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Headlines for Saturday, March 16, 2013

48-year-old Jay A. Griggs of Mt. Carmel, IL has been sentenced to six months in the Wabash County Jail and four years probation for sexually molesting an 11-year-old girl.  Griggs was sentenced Thursday on a felony conviction of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.  He was found guilty of the charge last February following a bench trial before Circuit Judge Larry Dunn.  Griggs was also ordered to pay $7595 in fines and court costs, which includes a $3000 fine.  Additionally he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and can have no contact with any child under the age of 17.

An Illinois House committee delayed voting Friday on a measure that would regulate high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking,  in the state.  The House Revenue and Finance Committee was expected to meet Friday morning to vote on the regulatory proposal, however lawmakers did not show up in Springfield.  Backers of the measure announced Thursday they have agreed on the fees and extraction taxes that drillers would pay to the state.  Oil operators have spent over $150 million leasing up land in 12 southern Illinois counties to develop the New Albany Shale formation.  Producers are waiting on the state legislature to approve fracking regulations before starting any exploration.

Belken Oil Company, LLC of Oblong, IL was named Wildcatter of the Year following the annual meeting of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association.  The company was honored for a crude oil discovery in Christian County that produced over 1400 barrels per day.  Also at the meeting, the Petroleum Professional Woman of the Year Award went to Lynda Middle Calf of Olney, while Mike Kuykendall of Olney was named the Oilfield Service Person of the Year.  The annual meeting was held in Evansville, IN and was attended by nearly 800 Tri-State oil industry representatives.

Wayne City High School seniors and graduates who were member of the FFA and/or are pursuing a degree in agriculture should contact Ruth Kissner at the Wayne City High School Guidance Office for a copy of the Herman Hood Ag Scholarship.  The Wayne City High School Foundation will award up to three $3000 scholarships.  Applications are due this Friday, March 22nd.

The local Amicum Sorority is awarding two $250 scholarships to non-traditional students planning to attend or who are already attending Frontier Community College in Fairfield.  Applications are available at the college and must be returned by Monday, April 15th.

State Representative David Reis defended gun owners rights on the Illinois House Floor during debate this week on a push for a ban on large-capacity magazines.  The measure would ban the possession of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.  Reis said “every law-abiding citizen has the right to own a gun and the clip needed to use that firearm.”   An amendment to ban large-capacity magazines has failed in the House and  Reis says over 50 amendments to restrict gun owner rights have been introduced.

A four-vehicle accident in Williamson County Friday morning sent two drivers to local hospitals with injuries.  State police report the crash occurred on Illinois Route 13 just west of the Williamson County Parkway in a construction zone.  70-year-old Paul Bliss of Johnston City, IL was westbound approaching three other units, including a state police squad car, that had stopped in the construction zone, and sideswiped the state police vehicle.  Bliss’ vehicle then continued west and hit the two other vehicles, hitting the fourth vehicle head-on.  Bliss and the driver of the fourth vehicle, 64-year-old Jack E. Smith of Marion, IL were extricated from their vehicles.  Bliss was cited for improper lane usage, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

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