Len Wells, News Director
There’s been a management shakeup at Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro. On Tuesday, the board of directors voted to fire the current Chief Executive Officer Randall Dauby (pictured left). The final vote was 7 to 1 to terminate Dauby’s employment. Board president Rick Basinger declined to discuss the reasons behind Dauby’s termination, because the issue was discussed in closed session. After news of Mr. Dauby’s firing, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Brad Futrell (pictured right) submitted his resignation. Futrell’s departure will be effective November 19. Board President Rick Basinger said a special meeting of the board has been called for Thursday, Nov. 6 to consider options on hiring a new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
The last edition of the Edwards County Times Advocate hit the streets of West Salem Tuesday. Established in 1900 as the West Salem Advocate, the weekly newspaper ceased operations because of declining revenues. Publisher Erin Fenton says she and her husband Harvey Fenton will concentrate on their other business, Fenton Auction Services. The paper office will be re-opened as an antiques store later.
White County Sheriff Doug Maier reports two 17-year-old boys are being held in juvenile detention in connection with the theft of two four-wheelers from a residence near Burnt Prairie and a Ford F-250 pickup truck. All three vehicles have been recovered.
Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch is seeking the identity of a fake cop who used red and blue lights on his pickup truck to pull over a motorist on Richview Road near Woodlawn earlier this week. The police impersonator was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.
The public is invited to the Hannah House Museum at 11:30 this Saturday morning for the dedication of a bench in memory of Carroll Hilliard. A group photograph will be taken with the new bench. The finished portrait will become a reminder of Carroll’s many contributions to the community and will be on permanent display in the Hanna House Museum.
High school and college-age students will be trick-or-treating in Fairfield tonight for non-perishable food items to help stock the WADI food pantry. The event is a project of the Fairfield Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Workers with the New Hope Water System will be flushing hydrants through the entire month of November. Hydrants are flushed each spring and fall to keep the system clean and provide safe water for consumers.
A Geff, Ill. man and his son were jailed Wednesday night after police raided their home and seized a suspected meth lab. Steven L. Cook, 56 (left) and his son, Steven M. Cook, 37 (right) were arrested after Wayne County Sheriff’s Department deputies executed a search warrant at their home at 1921 County Highway 2 at Geff shortly before 10 p.m. Wayne County Sheriff Mike Everett reports his deputies recovered an operating meth lab and several items commonly used in the manufacture of meth. Police also recovered 43.8 grams of a liquid that tested positive for meth, police said. An Illinois State Police meth response team was brought in to dispose of chemicals seized form the Cook’s home.
27-year-old Brandi Holland of Carmi was jailed Wednesday afternoon after she allegedly grabbed a Fairfield City Police officer’s badge during an altercation on N.W. Second Street. Police said Ms. Holland was screaming, cursing and threatening people during a property exchange. She was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital to be checked out before being jailed on charges of aggravated battery of a police officer and disorderly conduct.
35-year-old Joshua L. Reynolds of Grayville has been sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of robbery, a class-2 felony. Reynolds is accused of stealing a wallet belonging to 31-year-old Jackie L. Bowman of Herrin last month. Reynolds punched Bowman, knocked him to the ground and took his wallet. Charges of aggravated battery and possession of a controlled substance were dismissed in return for the guilty plea. The incident happened in downtown Grayville.
State Police investigated a 4-vehicle chain reaction crash Wednesday afternoon on Rt. 34 at Willow Road in Saline County. A semi driven by Eric Wrentmore, 49 of Harrisburg failed to slow down, striking a pickup truck slowing down to make a turn. The other drivers were identified as Donny Hall, Jr. 37 of Stonefort, Teresa Ricketts, 47 and David Workman, 37, both of Harrisburg. Rickets and Workman were hurt and taken to a local hospital.
65-year-old Mary Smith of Marshall, IL was killed Wednesday afternoon when a John Deere combine pulled into her path on Ill. Rt. 1 at Clark County road 1050 N. The driver of the semi, 73-year-old Harry Greenlee of West Union, IL was not hurt.
The public is invited to participate in a family-friendly Fall Carnival tonight at Frontier community College. The event will run from 6 – 9 p.m. and is sponsored by the FCC Student Senate and Phi Theta Kappa. The carnival will feature games for the kids, a cake walk, 50-50 raffle, basket raffles and Halloween costume judging for kids through the fourth grade.
The Fairfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary made a pledge and has donated $10,000 for the new Kitchen and Dining Room project that is currently underway. Pictured is Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Katherine Bunting-Williams, Ph.D., (left) accepting a donation on behalf of the Hospital from Auxiliary Officers: Treasurer, Pat Vaughn; Vice President, Judy Gruner; and Secretary, Marie Rutger.
The Fairfield City Council has taken the first step in refinancing $9.3 million in municipal bonds that were sold in 2006 to pay for the construction of a power transmission line from Albion to Fairfield. If enacted, the interest rate on the bonds will fall from 4.77% to 3.19%, resulting in a savings to the city of $1.6 million.
Each month, Fairfield Memorial Hospital honors an employee who has exemplified outstanding patient care and customer service internally and externally. For the month of September, Mary Knight, was named Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Employee of the Month. As the Administrative Assistant, Mary is instrumental in nearly every department and function of the hospital. She ensures organization is kept across the board and communications are put out quickly and accurately to all staff.
Fairfield American Legion Commander Bert Englekiss presented petitions from local club members seeking a change in the city’s liquor ordinance that would allow the clubs to be open from 1 – 7 on Sundays. The City Attorney has been instructed to draw up an amendment to the ordinance to allow Sunday hours with the council voting on the issue at a future date.
The Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved the planting of 25 trees in the city to replace trees damaged or destroyed by disease or storms. The trees will cost $200 each and will be planted by Higgins Tree Farms, a firm located near Mattoon.
49-year-old Timothy R. Hart of rural Fairfield has been arrested on a preliminary charge of domestic battery. Hart is accused of battering his 3-year-old grandson. The case was investigated by Wayne County Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The Career Development Center is in the process of installing security cameras at its drop box location in Fairfield. CDC wants to prevent people from stealing donations as well as discourage folks from dropping off television sets or old computer monitors. CDC currently has as many as 200 old television sets they will need to dispose of at a cost of over $2,000.
A White County, Ill. Sheriff’s Department 911 dispatcher entered a guilty plea Tuesday and was sentenced on charges she had unlawful communications with a juror in the sex abuse trial of county correctional officer. Melissa L. Kittinger, 35 of Carmi entered a negotiated guilty plea to two Class-A misdemeanor charges of unlawful communications with a juror. In return for the guilty plea, the judge placed her on two years of conditional discharge and ordered her to pay $2,382.04 in fines and court costs. She had originally been charged with a Class-4 felony. Part of the plea agreement is that she submits her resignation from the White County Sheriff’s Department.
20-year-old Ivan D. Hinds, Jr. of Albion (pictured left) has been jailed on charges he choked and beat 49-year-old Ivan D. Hinds, Sr. during an altercation last Tuesday, Oct. 21. In a criminal information filed by Edwards County State’s Attorney Michael Valentine, Ivan Hinds, Jr. is accused of strangling Ivan Hinds, Sr. with his hands. In a second charge of domestic battery, Hinds, Jr. is accused of striking Mr. Hinds, Sr. about his head with his hands and has prior convictions of domestic battery. Bond has been set at $5,000 cash. As part of the investigation carried out by Edwards County Sheriff’s deputies, Albion City Police and Illinois State Police, Ivan Hinds, Sr., 49 of Albion has been formally charged with unlawful production of marijuana. After executing a search warrant, local and state police recovered 13 suspected pot plants. He has also been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond in the Ivan Hinds, Sr. case has been set at $1,000 cash.
An Albion man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of being in possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. 30-year-old Dillion W. Bailey has been in federal custody since his arrest in Grayville on June 13. Police seized two ounces of meth and $2,131 cash from Bailey. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 18.
Following up on a Wayne County Crimestoppers tip, 40-year-old David L. Owen of Fairfield was arrested Monday night by Fairfield City Police on warrants out of Wayne, White and Hamilton Counties. Owen was wanted for failure to appear in Wayne County Court on a charge of DUI. He was also wanted on DUI charges in Hamilton and White Counties.
The third in a series of pro-fracking meetings has been set for 7 o’clock tonight at the First Baptist Church in McLeansboro. Organizers are hoping to get the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to issue permits to oil companies wanting to develop oil-rich shale formations in Southern Illinois. The event is being sponsored by Opportunity in Land.
Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe reports the arrest of three drug suspects following a traffic stop in Grayville. The suspects have been identified as Amber M. Walkenbach, 29 of Grayville, Eric R. Cowling, 32 of Albion and Ashley D. Roosevelt, 29 of Grayville. Police recovered quantities of suspected marijuana and methamphetamine during the traffic stop.
High school and college-age students will be going door-to-door this Friday evening trick-or-treating for canned goods and other non-perishable food items. The food will be donated to the WADI Food Pantry. The Fairfield CP Church is sponsoring the event.
Angie Mason of Fairfield and Joplin Tedford of Norris City have been awarded the Clemence Elizabeth Cox Scholarship for the 2014 fall semester. The $500 scholarships are awarded semi-annually to second-level nursing students at Frontier Community College. Both recipients will complete the Associate Degree in Nursing in May 2015. The memorial scholarship was established by Jerry Cox of Mill Shoals, son of John and Clemence Cox, who operated the Western Auto store in Fairfield for many years, and were the builders and first operators of the Uptown Motel. Pictured left to right are: Jerry Cox; Jan Wiles, Assistant Dean of Student Services; scholarship recipients Angie Mason of Fairfield and Joplin Tedford of Norris City; Nursing Faculty and Dept. Head Theresa Marcotte, MSN, RN; and Lori Noe, Coordinator of Financial Aid.
This week’s weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid-80’s today and near freezing by Saturday night. Winds out of the south and southwest today will be from 10 – 15 mph with gusts as high as 33. Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday.
Mount Carmel High School Special Education Teacher Kirby J. Cheesman has been formally charged with having unlawful sexual contact with a student. Cheesman, 28, is free after posting $1,000 cash bond on a class-2 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between the ages of 13 – 18. Mrs. Cheesman is due in Wabash County Circuit Court in Mount Carmel Nov. 10 for a first appearance. The case against Mrs. Cheesman was investigated by agents of the Illinois State Police.
The Fairfield Mules, with a record of 6 and 3 will head to Marshall in the opening round of the IHSA football playoffs this weekend. Mt. Carmel will host Anna-Jonesboro. In Class 2A, Carmi will play at Chester, Eldorado travels to Johnston City and Lawrenceville hosts Nakomis.
Bill Book, Chris Medler, Richard Scott, and Marty Vaughan shot a 10 under par 60 as a team for 18 holes to win the Medler Mowing & Lawn Care Golf Scramble at Wayne County Golf Course on Saturday, October 25th. Thirty-One players comprised eight teams selected by captain’s pick. Taking second with a 62 by scorecard play-off were Ray Elliott, Don Sutton, Tom Walters, and Steve Webber. Darrell Arview and Red Thomas were the closest to the pin winners. For lunch players enjoyed a hearty beef stew pot pie prepared by Bill Book. Pictured left to right: Marty Vaughan, Bill Book, Chris Medler, Richard Scott)
A 76-year-old former Southern Illinois preacher has been committed to state custody for 51 years for molesting a 4-year-old child in 2010. Bill Vandergraph of Alto Pass has been ordered into the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Vandergraph once was in charge of raising funds to restore Bald Knob Cross of Peace, a tourist attraction at Alto Pass.
The Fairfield Public Library Foundation’s Second Annual “Radiothon” Has been set for Monday, Nov. 3 from 6 – 8:30 in the reading room of the library. Five teams of volunteers will manage the emcee duties. Local talent will be featured throughout the event.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night. Main items of business include discussion on the refinancing of bonds for the city and the redevelopment of the city’s downtown through TIF money. Also on the agenda is the rescheduling of the November city council meeting, tree planting and the Career Development Center disposal fees.
Angie Mason of Fairfield and Joplin Tedford of Norris City has been awarded the Clemence Elizabeth Cox Scholarship for the 2014 fall semester. Both will complete the Associate Degree in Nursing at Frontier Community College in May of next year. The scholarship was established by the Coxs’ son, Jerry Cox of Mill Shoals.
Unemployment in Wayne and surrounding counties continues to decline from where it was a year ago. The Illinois Department of Employment Security shows Wayne and Edwards counties rates for September at 6.6 percent, down from just over eight percent in September of last year. Clay County had one of the highest rates in the area, at 8.6 percent, while Washington County reported the lowest rate, at 4.7 percent. All southern Illinois counties have an unemployment rate under ten percent. The IDES reported increased labor market activity this fall, and high construction activity on highway and commercial building projects.
Illinois State Police safely located an abducted eight-month-old infant in Jefferson County Friday and took three suspects into custody in connection with the incident. The infant was reported missing in Memphis, TN around 4:15 Friday morning. Illinois State Police were alerted that the suspects may have entered Illinois around 8 a.m. An Illinois State Trooper eventually located the vehicle on I-57 at the 103 mile marker, and with the help of other agencies, including deputies from the Jefferson and Marion County Sheriff’s Department, stopped the vehicle near the 106 mile marker and recovered the infant unharmed. The infant was taken to an area hospital for further evaluation. The suspects were identified as 28-year-old Brandon M. Wright of Homewood, IL, 27-year-old Betty Jo Mitchell of Muncie, IN and 29-year-old Samuel Nichols of Chicago. Samuel Nichols is believed to be the infant’s biological father. Formal charges are pending against all three suspects.
28-year-old Kirby J. Cheesman of Mt. Carmel, IL has been formally charged with having unlawful sexual contact with a student. Cheesman was booked Friday on a class-2 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child between the age of 13 and 18. The alleged crime is an elevated felony because the victim is a juvenile and she holds a position of trust. Cheesman is free on $1000 cash bond pending a first appearance November 10th in Wabash County Circuit Court.
A White County Sheriff’s Deputy was stuck by a needle Thursday evening while making an arrest in connection with a stolen ATV and drug possession case in Springerton. 30-year-old Jeffrey D. Parker of Carmi was arrested on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, driving without a license and failure to appear warrants out of Hamilton and Jefferson counties. As a deputy was searching Parker following a vehicle stop, he spotted a plunger from a hypodermic syringe in his front pocket and a syringe cap on the ground directly under Parker’s feet. The deputy was stuck with the needle and received medical treatment for the injury. The syringe tested positive for methamphetamine.
Unemployment in southern Illinois continues to decline from where it was a year ago, according to Friday’s numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Wayne and Edwards counties rates for September were both at 6.6 percent, down from just over eight percent in September of last year. The IDES also said labor market activity has increased this fall, with construction activity on highways and commercial buildings at high levels.
Illinois State Police District 19 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge, has announced that officers will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in Wayne and White counties during November. Troopers will be concentrating their efforts on drivers who are speeding, not wearing seat belts, and other driving offenses. Safety Belt Enforcement Zones may also be used during the STEP patrols. Police say speeding is a contributing factor in 31 percent of fatal crashes nationwide, and over 40 percent of all traffic fatalities in Illinois.
A White County Sheriff’s Deputy was stuck with a needle Thursday night while arresting a Carmi man on charges he was in possession of a stolen ATV and methamphetamine. 30-year-old Jeffery D. Parker (pictured left) faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and warrants out of Hamilton and Jefferson Counties. The deputy who was stuck by the needle was treated for the injury and will receive additional tests in the future. The Kawasaki side-by-side ATV recovered from Parker had been stolen from the James Elliott farm near Burnt Prairie on Oct. 20.
A bench in memory of Carroll Hilliard will be dedicated on Saturday, November 1 at the Hanna House Museum in Fairfield. Carroll worked for many years at Frontier Community College in Fairfield. The public is invited to attend the dedication service at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. A group picture of people whose lives Carroll touched in small ways or large will be taken at the bench and will become a part of the museum’s permanent exhibit.
The third in a series of pro-fracking meetings set for next Tuesday in McLeansboro is being moved to a new location. The Opportunity in Land Meeting slated for 7 p.m. next Tuesday has been moved from the Laborer’s Union hall to the First Baptist Church in McLeansboro.
Investigators say that a fire that destroyed a mobile home on North First Street in Fairfield Wednesday was intentionally set. Billy and Robin Smith of Fairfield were in the process of moving out of the trailer when it caught fire. No arrests have been made. The investigation continues.
Illinois State Police will be conducting special traffic enforcement patrols during the month of November in Wayne and White Counties. Troopers will concentrate on the offenses of speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and other driving offenses.
Today is the last day to buy advance tickets for ARF’s HOWLoween Hairball. The event will be Saturday night at the Fairfield Elks Club starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available from Julie McGill at Kincaids Home Décor Department or from Jessica McCleary at Country Roads Realty.
FNB is hosting a tailgating event tonight at Fairfield Community High School as the Fairfield Mules take on Chester. FNB employees will be giving away food and drinks from 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Fire heavily damaged a mobile home on North First Street in Fairfield Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters were called to 1007 North First Street shortly before 1 p.m. Police said the last known occupant of the home was Billy Smith. No one was hurt. The structure sustained heavy damage. Two kittens were rescued from the structure. The blaze is being investigated by a State Fire Marshal Arson Investigator.
Two Fairfield men were arrested Wednesday afternoon for domestic battery. 22-year-old Clayton A. Robertson and his estranged partner, 23-year-old Joseph B. Smith are accused of getting into a fight in their yard around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. Both men have been jailed on charges of domestic battery.
A California man arrested in Fairfield last April has entered a guilty plea on federal charges related to being in possession of methamphetamine and a handgun. 36-year-old Thomas Gregory Lilley of Fontana, CA was arrested by Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies who discovered a Walther 7.65 handgun and 15.1 grams of methamphetamine in Lilley’s car. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 18, 2015.
33-year-old Ryan Earl Bess of Ridgway has entered a guilty plea to federal charges he was growing a large amount of marijuana. Bess was caught growing more than 100 marijuana plants at a location in rural Gallatin County. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 11, 2015.
The former Best One Tire business on W. Main Street in Fairfield will have a new tenant soon. Powless Auto Sales and Repair will be moving into the structure soon. Best One Tire closed abruptly earlier this month. The owners have given no reason for the closure.
A crowd estimated to be around 400 gathered at the First Christian Church in Fairfield Tuesday evening for the second of three scheduled pro-fracking meetings. The town-hall meetings are being staged by a group called Opportunities in Land. One of the keynote speakers Tuesday night was Rod Taylor, an Indianapolis attorney and native of Wayne County who filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a number of Wayne County landowners over delays in the issuance of drilling and fracking permits in Southern Illinois. Another key speaker was oil producer Wayne Woolsey. Woolsey told the crowd that his tests of oil-rich shale formations in the area resemble those discovered in North Dakota which triggered a huge oil boom.
Fairfield has lost another business. The Wagon Wheel Diner has closed its doors and is now for sale. Located in the 900 block of W. Delaware, the new owners had transformed the former Elvira’s 909 into the diner. The “For Sale” signs went up this week.
45-year-old Tracy J. Wilhite of Fairfield was arrested Tuesday evening on charges of theft, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. Wilhite is accused of stealing a bottle of pain pills from her mother’s home on Broadway Street in Fairfield.
39-year-old Jason L. Hart of Spring Street in Fairfield was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he allegedly threw a cell phone at his wife, Elizabeth, striking her in the chest. Jason Hart was jailed on preliminary charges of domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of a domestic battery complaint.
A load of frozen pizzas was destroyed Tuesday when a semi caught fire on Interstate 57 near the rest area south of Salem. The semi driver, Gabriel Torres of Alabama got out of the burning cab without injury