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Safe on the ground. All three wheels touched down safely at the Centralia Municipal Airport after indicator lights indicated potential problems with the landing gear. Photo by Tim Ferguson.

A two engine airplane carrying a Chinese student pilot and an Federal Aviation Administrator giving him a final exam for his license made a successful emergency landing at the Centralia Municipal Airport Monday morning.

Centralia City Fire Officials say the indicator in the cockpit showed only two of three landing wheels were down.   While the indicator for the third wheel eventually came on, the hydraulic pump on the landing gear failed to shut off.   When it was manually turned off, the indicator lights no longer worked.  

After making one pass over the airport where a visual inspection on the ground indicated all the wheels were down, the plane made a safe landing with no problems.    

The Centralia Fire Department had pumper and aerial truck on standby that was joined by two ambulances and two Centralia Police officers.  

Fire officials say the FAA administrator indicated the student pilot passed the final exam.

A 14-year-old driver went airborne and knocked a hole in the brick wall of a home on West 17th Street west of Centralia.

A 14-year-old boy lost control of a car he was driving on West 17th Street Road and crashed into a home while airborne in the vehicle.

The boy was able to get out of the car on his own and was sitting on the steps of the home when emergency personnel arrived.  The extent of any injuries were not immediately known.  

The car knocked a hole in a solid brick wall of the home, but bounced off.  The car was heavily damaged.  The wreck occurred just east of Sewer Road about a mile outside the south west Centralia city limits.

The crash occurred around noon.  Reports are not yet available from the Clinton County Sheriff's Department on what led up to the crash that occurred around noon Sunday.   

The ribbon is cut in multiple places to open the new $10.5-million dollar Phase II of Salem Township Hospital Saturday afternoon.

New private patient room at Salem Township Hospital. The couch in the rear of the room is for family members and can be closed off from the room with a curtain.

The large waiting room area that provides a view of the Salem Reservoir and contains helpful features as cell phone charging stations.

The patient wing contains a family meeting room complete with microwave oven and sink.

A large number of area residents toured the new $10.5-million dollar Phase II renovation and expansion of Salem Township Hospital during a Saturday open house.

The upper level of the new wing contains 23 private patient room with amenities for the family, a three bed ICU unit, a large waiting room with large windows overlooking the Salem Reservoir.  The bottom level has five specialty physician offices, each with their own waiting room and four exam rooms.  It also includes a Davita Dialysis unit that will teach patients how to provide the dialysis to themselves at home.  A Surgical Clinic is still under construction.

The Master of Ceremonies for the Ribbon Cutting, Board Chairman Dick Haney, called the event the biggest of his life after his marriage and birth of his children.  

A Representative of Congressman John Shimkus offered his congratulations.  

State Senator Kyle McCarter commended the hospital for being able to complete the project during uncertain financial times. "Sometimes it is a struggle to find funds to expand hospitals and provide better care and greater access.   But our local communities can obviously do it, and this is proof of it today, so congratulations," said McCarty.

State Representative John Cavaletto noted the importance of the project to the area.  "If this doesn't help be one of the big plusses,  with our schools, to help Salem to grow I think we are missing a point.  People will look at this facility when they come to town and they'll see it and they'll think nothing but the greatest thing here," said Cavaletto.  "The medical care in Salem has just gone up fen fold." 

Cavaletto also remembered the late Barney Bruce who did so much for the hospital as the President of the Hospital Foundation.  

In introducing Hospital President Stephanie Hilton-Siebert, Haney noted it was her vision and her work that brought the addition to reality over the past five years.  

Hilton-Siebert noted the importance of the hospital to provide emergency care and save lives. She says the hospital has done that with the right combination of doctors, care, and equipment.  "Today is an absolutely wonderful day.  Looking back at all the planning that has been involved, but most importantly it is all of you who are here today, because this hospital is for you.  That's what it is all about," said Hilton-Siebert.  "The entire time I've been here it has been about the community and the people who live in this community."

Hilton-Siebert noted the revisions in the plans during the construction process as a result of the rapid ongoing changes in health care.  She says originally the new wing was only going to have the new patient rooms, with the basement level being left as a shell for future growth.  

"We want to make sure people in Salem and the surrounding area have access to the same care as someone in the metropolitan area.  We needed to bring more speciality physicians in.  We needed to create a space.  I no longer could schedule any more specialty physicians because I did not have the space to put them in.  So we went ahead and moved forward and finished that out so we could have more speciality physicians come to Salem," said Hilton-Siebert.

Hilton-Siebert says the surgical clinic and dialysis program where also added once the planning process had began.  She says the project touched two-thirds of the hospital and a lot of the original infrastructure was rebuilt.   Hilton-Siebert noted changes continue to come about and she hoped the community would be supportive of moving Broughton Road in the future if the hospital continues to grow.  

She commended the hospital foundation and auxiliary for their tremendous support.  Just before the ribbon cutting, the Hospital Foundation presented another $100,000 check towards the furnishing of the new wing.  The foundation has now raised about $1.5-million dollars for hospital projects.  

The hospital cannot begin using the new wing until the Illinois Department of Public Health grants an occupancy permit.  The hospital requested the inspection in mid-February and expect it will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

The Salem Township Hospital Foundation presente,000 check towards furnishing of the Phase II addition.

Illinois School District finances continue to show the strain of operating with fewer funds from federal, state and local services.

The Illinois State Board of Education says the number of district's earning ISBE's top financial rating dropped again this year, while those districts that are projected to deficit spend increased to 550, or 64.2 percent of all districts.  State officials note many districts have made significant cuts, reduced staff, delayed building repairs and upgrades, and eliminated academic and extracurricular programs with little financial relief in turn.  

One Marion County School District has gone onto the State Board of Education's Financial Watch List, while another has come off. Centralia High School has gone onto the list, seeing its financial profile score falling from 2.8 to 2.1 during the past year.  The State Board reports Centralia High School has 36 days of cash on hand to keep the district running compared to 48 last year.  

Sandoval High School came off the list, seeing its financial profile improve from 2.55 to 3.0.  Sandoval is now on the early warning list.  Sandoval's cash on hand improved from 24 to 36.   

Joining Sandoval on the early warning list are Central City which saw its financial profile improve from 2.9 to 3.0, and Grand Prairie which saw its financial profile score fall from 2.75 to 2.65.  

Two others are on review status.  They are Odin School (3.55 to 3.10) and Centralia City Grade School (3.45 both years).  

The rest of the districts are in the best financial category, recognition.  Salem High, Salem Grade, North Wamac, and Raccoon Grade all had perfect 4.0 scores.  Others receiving full recognition were Kell Grade (3.45 to 3.55), Patoka School (3.55 the last two years), Selmaville Grade (3.45 to 3.55), South Central School (3.55 to 3.7), Willow Grove Grade (3.45 to 3.8), Carlyle (4.0 to 3.65), Rome Grade (3.65 both years), Farrington Grade (3.9 both years), Field Grade (3.55 both years), Mt. Vernon Grade (3.35 to 3.8) and Mt. Vernon High (3.15 to 3.70).

The Financial Profile is created by using five indicators or performance.  They are fund balance to revenue ratio, expenditure to revenue ratio, days cash on hand, and the percent of long and short-term borrowing ability remaining.   

NASHVILLE, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois judge has ruled that a 7-year-old girl who survived a plane crash that killed four family members is now under the legal care of her half-sister

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that a Washington County judge granted guardianship of Sailor Gutzler to her half-sister Kasie Dlubala and her husband Daniel of Nashville. 

Court guardian Julie Kozuszek wrote in a report that Sailor was doing well in school and involved in extracurricular activities while living with the Dlubalas family. The guardian wrote that Sailor expressed desire to live with the family. The ruling was made Jan. 30.

Sailor's parents, 9-year-old sister and 14-year-old cousin were killed in the Jan. 2 crash in Kentucky as they returned from a Florida vacation.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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