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Illinois health campaign among nation's costliest

By The Associated Press
CHICAGO - The campaign to promote President Barack Obama's health care law in his home state of Illinois has been one of the nation's costliest with a $33 million contract for work by high-priced public relations experts.

An Associated Press review of hundreds of pages of documents finds more than 90 people billed at least $270 an hour under a contract with few built-in restraints.

Illinois got a late start, and executives at the contractor, the PR agency FleishmanHillard, say that meant they needed to flood the assignment with their best people during the first months.

Jennifer Koehler, the top government official for Get Covered Illinois, says the state is making sure there are "legitimate justifications for every expense" submitted by the FleishmanHillard.
Increase seen in Illinois health plans for 2015

A spokesman says United Healthcare has filed an application to sell policies on the Illinois insurance marketplace that's a cornerstone of the nation's health care law.

United Healthcare spokesman Kevin Shermach said Thursday it's ''a first step'' that will help company officials make a final decision about participating. United Healthcare was absent from the marketplace this year.

Earlier Thursday, the Illinois Department of Insurance said 10 insurance carriers submitted 504 health plans for approval to be sold on the marketplace for coverage in 2015.

That's an increase compared to last year when eight insurance carriers offered 165 plans.

  • Parent Category: News

Dwight Police investigating shooting, 1 man shot, 2 women may be dead

The Livingston County Coroner's Office is involved in an investigation of a reported shooting in Dwight. The Dwight police report they found three people inside a home on West North Street today (Saturday).

Dwight Police Chief Tim Henson issued a press release stating the coroner is involved in the investigation but it was not clear if any of the victims are dead.

Police officers discovered the man's body "lying on the floor inside the residence," according to the release. "The officer also located two females at the residence who showed no signs of life."

Chief Henson stated multiple police agencies are working to "apprehend the suspect or suspects who are involved in this malicious act."

Further details are expected at a 3 pm news conference today.


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  • Parent Category: News

Parmalee headlines Ford County Fair

The country music band Parmalee billboards the 2014Ford County Fair. The annual event at Melvin runs June 22-28 and will feature a new carnival, rodeo, the local talent competition, livestock shows and much more.

Parmalee performs at 7 pm. Tuesday, June 24. Your $20 ticket includes the concert and admission to the fairgrounds. Concert tickets are available for sale online at fordcountyfair.org.

Swyear Amusements provides the carnival rides. The well-known Swyear name is common at the Iroquois County Fair and at Old Settlers Reunion at Cissna Park.

Parmalee is best known or the hit "Carolina," which was recently certified gold, and "Close Your Eyes" is on the rise. The band also was a semi-finalist in the Academy of Country Music;s New Artists competition. They'll open for country star Jake Owen at the Illinois State Fair in August.

Opening for Parmalee at Melvin will be the John King Band, which "brings two outstanding Nashville artists to the area," said Fair Board president Kirk Miller.

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  • Parent Category: News

Governor Quinn Announces $1.6 Million for Construction Projects in Northeastern Illinois

                           Includes Work in Iroquois, Kankakee and Livingston Counties

PONTIAC – Governor Pat Quinn today announced an investment of $1.6 million for construction projects in Iroquois, Kankakee and Livingston Counties. Funded by his Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the projects are part of Governor Quinn's commitment to creating jobs and driving Illinois' economy forward.

"These projects will address critical infrastructure needs in northeastern Illinois, improve safety and increase mobility," Governor Quinn said. "The projects will also employ a number of construction workers, which benefits the local economy."

The projects will be managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Iroquois and Kankakee Counties:

Outsen Electric Inc. of Kankakee received the contract to maintain traffic signals, flashing beacons and roadway lighting in Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. Their bid was $66,365, the lower of two submitted.

Livingston County:

County Highway 16 will be improved from the McLean County line to Illinois Route 116 for $1,563,749 by T & T Cartage Inc. of Herscher, the lower of two bidders. The work includes surfacing, crack control treatment and shoulder construction.

The projects are part of Governor Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation.

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  • Parent Category: News

Watseka attracting jobs, Lyon Metals expanding

The parent company of Pride Metals in Watseka is closing a Paris, Illinois factory and bringing up to 70 new jobs to Iroquois County.

The announcement from the Iroquois Economic Development Association could make Lyon Metals the county's largest employer, in time. IEDA Executive Director Ken Barragree said the Paris closing displaces about 70 people. More than a dozen of them plan to relocate to Watseka.

Lyon Metals acquired Pride Metals in Watseka through bankruptcy in 2013. The company manufactures metal lockers, tool boxes and other similar storage products.

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