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DECATUR - After questions arose about the educational credentials of the Republican candidate for Macon County sheriff, Valdimir Talley Jr. has told the Herald & Review that he plans to enroll in a traditional program to complete his bachelor's degree.

On his resumé, Talley listed a master's degree in insurance studies from Hamilton University in Evanston, Wyo., but "60 Minutes" exposed the school in 2004 as a diploma mill with no faculty or campus two years after Talley earned the degree. The school has since been closed.

"I did take classes and received grades," Talley said. "I thought it was a legitimate online program or I wouldn't have put it on my bio."

The incident prompted him to investigate the online program he used to finish his bachelor's degree after he completed 119 credit hours toward a major in speech communications at the University of Illinois between 1978 and 1982.

He declined to identify the program, but he said he discovered it was not legitimate either and has removed both degrees from his biography.

Talley said he's now looking at enrolling in the PACE program at Millikin University, the University of Illinois at Springfield or another college.

"This is disappointing for me, but I believe in ethical behavior," Talley said.

Sheriff Thomas Schneider, a Democrat running to retain his post, refused to say anything negative about his opponent.

"I respect him and his family," Schneider said. "I'm concerning myself with my daily duties and running a positive campaign."

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