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Picketers line up for a photo during the picket

Members of two unions at the Union Pacific Railyards on the northeast side of Salem manned informational pickets Wednesday to protest changes they say the railroad has made improperly in their working hours.  The Local Chairman of the Brotherhood of Engineers and Trainmen Chad Black was one of those walking the picket line.

"We believe the Union Pacific Railroad has violated the railway labor act by unilaterally imposing job changes that increase variability and worsen the safety and health of our engineers and conductors that work out of Salem" said Black.

Black claims the change is not necessary.   The Smart TD Local 979 joined in the informational picket.   

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says the railroad believes it is following the working agreements with employees.  He adds there is a very precise process to handle the dispute that could eventually go to arbitration if it can not be worked out between the two sides.   

Kinmundy Police Chief Cory Parker guards Falcon's Varsity 8th Grader Deidre Hall

Local police officers took on the best basketball players that South Central Middle School has to offer as part of Red Ribbon Week.

Kinmundy Police Chief Cory Parker assembled a crack team of law enforcement officers to take on the South Central Middle School JV Girls, Varsity Girls, JV Boys, and Varsity boys in a full, four-quarter basketball game. The Law Enforcement Team included Parker, his brother, Kinmundy Patrolman Tyler Parker, Central City Police Officer Dave Lusch and his son, recent Lindenwood University Criminal Justice Graduate Jerrin Lusch. Rounding out the quad was middle school basketball coach Luke Krutsinger.

Parker says the event was designed to give kids a positive experience with law enforcement officers and reinforces the anti-drug message of Red Ribbon Week.

"It's a fun way to remind them to say NO to drugs. That's what we're really focusing on today. There is a reason we're here"

Red Ribbon week sponsor Stacy Lockhart and the SCMS student council picked out different dress-up day themes all week long as part of Red Ribbon Week.

"Our student council gets together and figures out what we're going to dress up for and we tie it into not using drugs. Today was mustache day, so we said we 'mus-stache' you not to do drugs" said Lockhart.

Parker says that the team was a "little shaky" but had hope that they could beat the students.

They did. The final score was 48-39 in favor of the Police.

Ericka Sanders

The vacancy of at-large 4th Circuit Court Judge Sherri L. Tungate has opened an election for her position on the court. Judge Ericka Sanders, a current Marion County Associate Judge, is one of those running for the vacant position.

Sanders, a democrat, lives in Centralia with her husband, a High School math teacher, and two dogs. She's a 1998 graduate of Southern Illinois University Law School and has previously served as a legal aid, private attorney and public defender before being appointed as associate judge nearly five years ago.

As a judge in Marion County, Sanders points to her work with setting up the specialized Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and Veterans Court as well as her experience on the bench.

"The Drug Courts, the Mental Health Court, and the Veterans Court are working in reforming people who have been in and out of prison. They're now working, they're breaking the cycles of addiction and poverty. Not only is it a lifesaving program, but it saves millions in tax dollars. It's what I believe in and I want to do more of it" said Sanders.

Sanders says the special courts work, and has expressed a desire to expand them into the juvenile justice system.

If elected over her opponent, Effingham Attorney Martin Siemer, Sanders will serve for eight years before facing a retention election.

Martin Siemer

The vacancy of at-large 4th Circuit Court Judge Sherri L. Tungate has opened an election for her position on the court. Attorney Martin Siemer, an Effingham Trial Lawyer, is one of those running for the vacant position.

Siemer, a republican, lives in Teutopolis with his wife, Lisa, and their four children, Eddie, Lauren, Joey, and Gus. He was a valedictorian at St. Louis University law school and has worked in the as an attorney since 1994.

As an attorney, Siemer specializes in Elder Law. He points to his 20 years of legal experience in a variety of courts qualifies him for the position.

"What I bring to the table with my experience and background makes me uniquely qualified to serve as a judge. Having handled a wide variety of cases over the years and my strong academic background, I have a lot to bring to the bench" said Siemer

Siemer approves of current work in specialized courts, such as the Drug, Mental Health, and says that he would work to expand accommodation for the elderly and those with mental health needs.

If elected over his opponent, Marion County Associate Judge Ericka Sanders, Siemer will serve for eight years before facing a retention election.

Mike Frerichs

One of the two men vying for your vote on November 4th for State Treasurer visited the WJBD Radio Studios on Wednesday as part of a multi-stop campaign tour of Southern Illinois. State Senator Mike Frerichs, a democrat from the small town of Gifford, Illinois, has been embroiled in a divisive and controversial campaign with his republican opponent, Tom Cross.

Frerichs and Cross are both battling for the seat of outgoing Republican Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who opted not to run for the office again after a failed bid to secure the Republican Nomination for Illinois Governor.

Frerichs, a former Champaign County Auditor and accountant, says that fixing the financial state of Illinois is going to be an uphill battle, but calls himself the man for the job.

"I'm the only candidate in this race with the financial experience to come in and do this job right" said Frerichs, "I'm the only candidate who wants to clean up this office and make it run better so we can focus on our real responsibilities of making good investments to grow our middle class."

The campaign for Treasurer has been unusually scathing. Frerichs took time to criticize his opponent, saying that Cross is unwilling to "clean up" the treasurers office.

"My opponent says he wants to sue people. I don't think we can sue our way into prosperity. I think we can by making smart investments in the people of Illinois--all parts of Illinois" Frerichs told WJBD.

On the Murray Developmental Center, Frerich's says he would work to keep the facility open, admitting that the treasurers office has little power to actually sway the decision. He said the center could easily remain funded and says that Cross--who visited the center earlier this year and supports keeping it open-- is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

"[I] served on the Commission of Government Forecasting and Accountability, and I voted against closing Murray Center. My opponent called for greater cuts in state government" Frerichs said.

Frerichs continues campaigning in downstate Illinois, hoping to gain support against his Chicagoland-area opponent. He hopes to visit the Murray Developmental Center before the November 4th Election.

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