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Headlines for Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Deryke, ciara (2)The mother of a slain 7-year-old Effingham, Ill. girl has been sentenced to jail for obstructing a peace officer.  Ciara DeRyke, 26, the mother of Willow Long entered a guilty plea Tuesday to a charge of obstruction of a peace officer and was sentenced to 120 days in the county jail and was placed on 18 months of probation.  In pleading guilty, DeRyke admitted she lied to police when she told them on the morning of Sunday, September 8, 2013 that she had seen her daughter alive. She later changed her story, admitting that she hadn’t seen Willow since going out on the previous evening.  Prosecutors allege that Ciara’s brother, Justin DeRyke killed Willow Long that night and disposed her body before Ciara returned home.

There will be no sale of alcohol on Sunday at Fairfield service clubs and restaurants.  A committee appointed to study the issue made its recommendation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting and said NO to the question. Alderman Jim Griffith said there wasn’t enough public interest in the request to allow Sunday alcohol sales.

Water rates in Fairfield have been increased 10%.  The increase was actually approved in 2012, for implementation in April of 2013, but was never enacted.  To help pay for the new water treatment plant, Mayor Griswold is proposing a 5% increase in gas and electric rates. The proposal will be discussed at the next city council meeting.

Mayor Griswold has floated the idea of a small sales tax increase to help put the city on more stable financial ground. The matter would have to be put before the people in the form of a referendum.  It is not known if the issue can be presented in time for the upcoming March election cycle.

Airplane hangar rental rates are going up at the Fairfield Municipal Airport – the first increase in 18 years. The increase is expected to generate an additional $10,000 a year in income.

With three NO votes, the Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved donating $4,000 to the Fairfield Retail Merchants Association to help fund on-going promotions and pay for the printing of city maps.  NO votes came from Aldermen Morlan, Fletcher and Barbre.

The Frontier Community College Foundation is seeking to acquire the Fairfield movie theater property. The operator of the movie house fell behind on his revolving loan payments, so the city now has control of the property.

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