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CLINTON - Ground will be broken this summer on Clinton's proposed five-screen entertainment center, which could open as soon as March.

The Clinton City Council placed on file the final construction plans from Eric Gubelman of Robinson, who wants to build the theater on Clinton's west side.

"The community has been anxious for this for a long time," Mayor Ed Wollet said last week. "But the community also has to support it. You've heard the old expression that if you build it, they will come. Well, you are going to build it and they will come and we're all very excited about it."

Gubelman plans to run first-run movies.

"I believe it will be a great boon to the economy," Commissioner John Wise said. "I think it will pave the way for restaurants and keep some of the money in town that we are losing to the north and south."

Gubelman has been working on the project for more than a year and says he can finalize the deal on the property within the next 30 days. Construction could begin in August and work would continue through the winter.

"It's not an easy job building a theater in a small community," Gubelman said. "It takes a team effort, but I feel that I have signed on with a good team."

The project is expected to cost about $1.6 million.

"We have been looking a long time for someone to build a theater here," Commissioner Tom Edmunds said. "We talked with a lot of people who didn't have the financial backing in order, but he has done a great job in making sure that everything has been completed in an orderly fashion."

Michelassi honored - A Clinton resident who worked to bring healing to a community torn apart by the deaths of three children and subsequent death penalty cases has been honored for her efforts by the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Helen Michelassi, prevention program manager for the DeWitt County Human Resource Center and a founder of the Coalition for Nonviolent Communities, received the Abolition with Passion Award at the ICADP's annual meeting in Chicago.

She was recognized for her leadership in initiating a dialogue about the death penalty after Amanda Hamm and her then-boyfriend Maurice LaGrone Jr. were accused and later convicted for their roles in the drowning deaths of Hamm's three children in Clinton Lake in September 2003.


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