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Manar urges vigilance, safety at rural rail crossings

manar rrsign 061418PANA – As the community of Pana today marks one year since the loss of five family members in a collision with a freight train, State Senator Andy Manar is reminding drivers and pedestrians about the dangers of rural railroad crossings.

“Today, we’ll pause to remember five respected citizens who are missed terribly by their loved ones and friends,” Manar said. “We owe it to them and their families to do everything in our power to protect people around train tracks and ensure rail crossings are unobstructed and well maintained.”

Manar objects to lack of downstate voices on state commerce board

manar 052818SPRINGFIELD – Access to water and electricity, fair utility rates, decent cell phone and cable service, and safe railroad grades are all issues that are vitally important to rural Illinois consumers.

Yet no rural or downstate residents today sit on the Illinois Commerce Commission, the powerful five-member state panel that regulates utilities, approves utility rates, licenses trucking and towing companies and oversees railroad safety and crossing improvements.

Long-delayed teacher minimum wage boost endorsed by Senate

manar 051718Bipartisan support for gradual update of Illinois’ minimum teacher salary after 38 years

SPRINGFIELD – An effort to update Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for teachers – one that could attract more young people to the profession by sending a message that their work is valued – was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.

Illinois has not updated its minimum mandated salary for teachers since 1980. For 38 years, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary should be about $32,000.

Manar commends residents for help combatting opioid abuse

manar 050118BUNKER HILL – A three-hour drug takeback event in Macoupin and Montgomery counties Saturday morning resulted in hundreds of pounds of old and unused medications being removed from homes and taken to local pharmacies for proper disposal.

Participating pharmacies reported collecting 50 pounds or more of unwanted medications each, including dozens of bottles containing the kinds of controlled substances that fuel opioid addiction.

State Senator Andy Manar expressed gratitude to everyone who participated – particularly the citizens who dropped off medications and the pharmacists who made their stores available as collection sites.

“We put out the call for people to help us fight opioid abuse locally, and the response was incredible,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “I think people are grateful when an opportunity like drug takeback day comes along each year because it’s a useful reminder and a simple way to help the community and the environment.”

Twelve independent pharmacy locations in towns throughout Macoupin and Montgomery counties served as collection sites for unwanted human and pet medications Saturday. Some of the results:

  • Michelle’s Pharmacy in Bunker Hill, Carlinville and Gillespie reported 150 pounds of medications returned at its three locations, including 84 bottles of controlled substances and more than $8,400 in mail-order pharmaceutical waste.
  • Sullivan’s Drugstore locations in Hillsboro, Litchfield and Raymond nearly filled a 30-gallon garbage can with pills after they were removed from the bottles.
  • Sav-Mor Pharmacy sites in Nokomis and Virden each collected more than 50 pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals.
  • Sullivan’s Drugstore in Carlinville saw the return of numerous unwanted controlled substances, including hydrocodone, an addictive opioid pain medication.
  • Drop-offs were swift at Sullivan’s Drugstore in Staunton but less so than during last year’s takeback event, which was interpreted as a positive sign that people have been disposing of their medications.

“The success of this event is a testament to the power of government, businesses, citizens and nonprofit groups coming together to achieve a common community objective,” Manar said. “By working together, we can help break the cycle of opioid addiction.”

Saturday’s drug takeback was organized by Manar’s office with the assistance of county law enforcement authorities, public health officials, local independent pharmacies and others. This was the second year for the event, and plans are under way for next year’s takeback.

Macoupin County sponsors included Sheriff Shawn Kahl, State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson, the Macoupin County Public Health Department and the Macoupin County Anti-Meth Coalition.

Montgomery County sponsors included Sheriff Jim Vazzi, State’s Attorney Bryant Hitchings and the Reality Coalition.

Many pharmacies and law enforcement offices offer permanent collection sites year round. Locally, they include the police departments in Litchfield, Hillsboro, Gillespie, Carlinville and Mount Olive, and the Macoupin and Montgomery sheriff’s departments. Customers also can check with local pharmacies for collection policies.

Sen. Andy Manar

manar2014hs

48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.