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Headlines for Wednesday, July 9, 2-14

Delong croppedA Collinsville, Ill. man has entered a guilty to charges he was driving drunk the night he was hill jumping in rural Hamilton County, Ill., causing the deaths of five people. In Hamilton County Circuit Court in McLeansboro Wednesday morning, Darrell G. DeLong, 50 entered an open guilty plea to a single Class-2 felony charge of aggravated drunk driving causing a death.  Hamilton County State’s Attorney Justin Hood says the plea agreement calls for a sentencing cap of 20 years in prison.  Sentencing has been set for August 19 at 1:30 p.m.   In pleading guilty, DeLong admitted he was under the influence of alcohol on the night of Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The 2002 Chevy Trailblazer that DeLong was driving to hill jump rolled several times after speeding down a local country road known as “Thrill Hills”. DeLong was the only survivor of the crash, which claimed the lives of his wife, Tammy A. DeLong, 35, Tammy’s daughter, Katelyn Fancher, 16, Robert L. Parker, 49 and his wife, Loris S. Parker, 42, all of Collinsville, IL and Diana N. Wright, 23 of McLeansboro.  All of the victims, except Katelynn Fancher were pronounced dead at the scene. Fancher died the following afternoon at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

With one NO vote, the Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved a formal resolution in support of a Chicago-based firm’s plans to establish a medical marijuana grow operation on city-owned property.  The formal resolution bears the approval of Mayor Chuck Griswold, the City Council and Police Chief Keith Colclasure. If approved by the State of Illinois, The Wellness Group will establish a medical marijuana grow operation on property near the city’s sewer plant south of town.

MeganThe search continues for a missing Fairfield teen, last seen on Thursday, July 3.  City Police Chief Keith Colclasure says numerous leads have been received regarding the disappearance of 15-year-old Megan Nichols, but all have been dead ends. Chief Colclasure says that information is being received daily about the girl’s possible whereabouts and are vigorously investigated.  A prayer vigil is being held in front of the girl’s home on Center Street each evening at 7 p.m.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Megan Nichols is asked to phone the Fairfield City Police Department at 842-2151 or simply dial 911.

Bids are being sought to remove vegetation from Johnson Creek and Fairground Creek in Fairfield.  Documents spelling out the scope of work are available at City Hall.  Only vegetation that would impede the flow of water will be removed.

Lutteral Backhoe Service of Flora submitted the low bid for the construction of a commercial entrance to the Woolsey-Clark industrial site south of Fairfield. Lutteral’s bid was for $84,917.

Mayor Chuck Griswold has appointed a committee to come up with recommendations on how to effectively enforce the rules banning shepherd’s hooks and other monument decorations at Maple Hill Cemetery.  “Over decorating” of tombstones is causing lengthy delays in weed-eating efforts at the cemetery.

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