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The dedication plaque at the entrance to the Crisp Technology Center is unveiled. From left to right: KC Board member Jim Beasley, College President Dr. Jim Underwood, Harry Crisp II of Pepsi Mid-America, KC Board Chair Bill Hawley and KC Board member Dr. Dee Boswell.

Pepsi Mid-America CEO Harry Crisp II lauds community colleges during dedication ceremonies of Crisp Technology Center.

Kaskaskia College has cut the ribbon to officially open the $2.9-million dollar expansion and renovation of the Crisp Technology Center.

Dean of Career and Technical Education George Evans says the renovation and expansion will allow all of the vocational programs to expand.  Board Chair Bill Hawley called it another truly great day for Kaskaskia College.

"Once again we have been able with the help of the community and friends, and donations and the hard work of all of the staff, to renovate this building and bring it to a state of the art facility that can provide jobs for people in a limited amount of time and put them to work being very productive citizens of this area," said Hawley.

The Chief Executive Officer of Pepsi Mid-America, Harry Crisp II, who donated the building to Kaskaskia College in the 1990's after Pepsi no longer needed it for a warehouse, was at the ceremony.  Crisp was heavily involved in the the Illinois Community College Board for a number of years.  

"I would see people who were single mothers that were waitresses that would get the opportunity to become an RN or other positions and it was just wonderful to see where people had opportunity if they wanted to put out the effort to do so.  And that is why I'm sold on the community college system," said Crisp.

Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby noted the importance of the vocational programs.

"In order to retain employees and in order to have the success of future employees for the city of Centralia and community around we have to have this type of vocational training.  This is the only way possible is through this type of training we can have that. The flexibility and the efforts of all the partnerships they are developing with all the industries this is the only way we can do this and be a market place for for future manufacturing services in the state of Illinois," said Ashby.

Salem Mayor John Raymer headed the campaign to raise $250,000 in cash and in-kind donations for the project.   He called it the easiest job he ever had as the manufacturers in the college district welcomed getting involved with the training programs.

"While we have seen the high school programs suffer over the last several years, we see the community college emerging  as the place that has stepped into the vacuum to fill the immediate need but also to provide the leadership that it is going to take to move us onto meet all of those needs of all of our manufactures and create the number of workers we need as our plants are expanding," said Raymer.  

Kaskaskia College's Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Greg Labiyak called it a long awaited and proud day. 

"I think we can safely say viewing this day very much as a beginning. A beginning of this drive toward reaching the full potential of our programs and for our students here.  The programs that will make available the very latest technology on a continuing basis so our students when they leave this place so they are completely ready for the ever changing 21st century workplace," said Labiyak.  "Programs that maximize their relevance for all the employers of our area and even beyond." 

The project was started in May of last year and is one of number of building projects being completed around the college district to enhance educational opportunities.

The ribbon is cut to officially open the renovated and expanded Crisp Technology Center.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Cripps administers the field sobriety test to the Sandoval High School playing the drunk driver in the mock accident. Emergency workers try to assist and free victims in the background.

One of the injured students in mock accident heads to Arch Helicopter that landed on the scene.

Sandoval Firemen use jaws of life to try and free accident victim.

The scene behind Sandoval High School looked real.  Two cars hit head on.  Bloodied bodies are hanging partially out of broken windows.   Others are trapped inside.  Some were no longer alive.

Fortunately, it wasn't a real accident, but one staged by Sandoval school officials, the Sandoval Fire Protection and other emergency providers to try and show students the dangers of drinking and driving or texting and driving.  

Students got to see firemen use their tools to try and free victims trapped in the vehicles, ambulance crews treat the injured, the coroner pronounce some of the occupants dead, and one seriously hurt student packaged for transfer by medical helicopter.  

A Marion County Sheriff's Deputy stood nearby those providing the medical help, giving a field test to one of the drivers for driving under the influence.  She was eventually taken away in the squad car to appear in custody later at one of the dead students funerals.  

Minister Claude Howell conducted the service in front of the casket with one of the accident victims and classmates lying inside.

"I want to encourage you to just make good decisions and choices, because this can become reality. You don't want that in your life.  You don't have to want to deal with it," said Howell.  "There is enough difficulty in the world to have to say goodbye to your child, your family, your friend."

And Howell reminded the Sandoval and Patoka High School students to think of the impact the crash will have on the person arrested for DUI.

"It is sad they have to go through life with the thought of taking someone's life, with the thought that I didn't consider this life precious enough that effected so many people that I am going to end up maybe incarcerated.  And even if you're not incarcerated the rest of your life, at least in your mind you're going to be dealing with this forever," said Howell.

Sandoval Fire Chief Chad Parson hopes the mock accident will make the students think about their actions.  It was held just before Saturday night's Prom.

Minister Claude Howell delivers the funeral message for one of the students killed in the mock accident.

Two Hurt in Patoka Crash

Both drivers were injured in a two vehicle crash at West Bond and Railroad Street in Patoka late Saturday afternoon.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputies say a van driven by 66-year-old Dennis Day of U.S. 51 in Sandoval had stopped at the stop sign at the intersection and preceded into the intersection where he was struck by 44-year-old Sandra Devall of West Bond in Patoka.  Day told deputies he didn't see the Devall vehicle coming towards him.  

Devall was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia by ambulance, while Day was taken by private vehicle.

A 19-year-old rural Kell man was injured in a one vehicle crash early Sunday morning on the Selmaville Road north of the Lowery Road intersection southwest of Salem.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputies say Donte Rush of England Road ran off the road.   He was able to get out of the vehicle on his own.  Rush was taken to Salem Township Hospital for treatment.

A 45-year-old Patoka man has been arrested by Marion County Sheriff's Deputies for alleged domestic battery.  David Powers of Deer Creek Road was taken into custody after deputies were called to his home Saturday afternoon.   He's accused of pushing Crystal Mann of the same address twice during an argument.

Two others were arrested on outstanding warrants.  34-year-old Casey Bodine of Short Street in Alma was arrested by sheriff's deputies early Sunday morning on an Effingham County failure to appear in court warrant.  22-year-old Darrin Gaston of Marion posted $1,500 bond after being arrested on a Williamson County DUI warrant.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department is investigating a burglary to a hunting cabin on the Kirby Road in rural Iuka.  The cabin is owned by Hershall Becker.  A neighbor noticed the damage and notified sheriff's deputies.

The sheriff's Department is investigating a criminal damage to property complaint at Double D Western Wear.  The phone line was reportedly cut and the door frame damaged sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning.  However, no entry was gained.

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