Len Wells, News Director
Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Governor in Illinois made a campaign stop in Fairfield this morning. A crowd of about 75 gathered around the bandstand to listen to Rauner’s campaign message. Rauner said – if elected, he would make Illinois a two-party state again. He also expressed his firm support for the practice of high pressure, high volume hydraulic fracturing in Southern Illinois. Rauner said fracking would bring badly needed jobs to Southern Illinois. Also joining Rauner in Fairfield this morning were U.S. Congressman John Shimkus and State Representative David Reis along with a number of local Republican candidates and elected officials.
A Chicago man is being held without bond on charges he sent a number of bomb threats to Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. 21-year-old Derrick Dawon Burns allegedly sent the threatening letters in October of 2012 and October of 2013. Entitled “The War on SUI”, Burns’ letters included threats to rape and murder, blow up buildings and decapitate female students. Burns also demanded $50 million or he would carry out his threats.
33-year-old Anthony C. Dunn of Fairfield has been jailed after he allegedly beat his wife during an altercation Monday night. He is also accused of striking a neighbor, Brian Malone. When police finally located Dunn, he had allegedly been smoking pot. Dunn has been jailed on preliminary charges of domestic battery, aggravated battery, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dunn’s wife, 27-year-old Jessi Dunn did not require medical attention.
Officials say the first approval letters have been sent to Illinois patients who have applied to use medical marijuana legally. Illinois is taking applications from patients whose last names begin with A through L. Patients whose last names begin with M through Z are asked to wait until Nov. 1 to apply.
Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Governor in Illinois will make a brief campaign stop in Fairfield today. Rauner will be on the south lawn of the Wayne County courthouse at about 9:45 this morning.
Artists from Illinois and Missouri will be coming to Fairfield October 8 – 11 for the third annual Fall Foliage Paint Out. Artists will be painting outdoor scenes in the community through noon on Saturday, Oct. 11. More information about the event is available at www.fairfieldpaintout.com.
The lawyer that represented former White County jailer Phillip Lowery in his first sex abuse trial has withdrawn from the case. Last week, Lowery tendered his resignation as a correctional officer at the White County jail. He is now being represented by public defender Brian Shinkle. Special prosecutor Michael Valentine of Albion is still the State’s Attorney on the case. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Oct. 16.
A fundraising goal of $5,000 has been set for reward money in the case of missing Fairfield teen Megan Nichols. A benefit cookout and bake sale was held Saturday at the Fairfield Wal-Mart. Megan has been missing since the evening of July 3.
The annual Bare Haunted School has been set for this Saturday at the former Sims Grade School. The hours are 7:30 Saturday night until 12:30 Sunday morning. The price is $5 per person. After expenses, a donation will be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation in memory of Robert Staton. A “non-scary” version of the event will run from 6 – 7 p.m. at a cost of $2.
Artist from Illinois and Missouri will be coming to Fairfield to participate in the third annual Fall Foliage Paint Out Oct. 8 – 11. Artists will be painting outdoor scenes in the community through noon Saturday, Oct. 11. The public is invited to view their works each evening from 6 – 7 at the Landing, at the corner of N. E. Third and Court Streets in Fairfield.
Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 105,000 motorcycles from the 2014 model year because their clutches may fail, causing stopped bikes to creep forward and potentially crash. The company is also recalling 1,384 motorcycles made this year to test for possible fuel tank leaks.
Family and friends of missing Fairfield teenager, Megan Nichols, staged a fundraiser Saturday outside the entrance of the Fairfield Super WalMart. Reports indicated the fundraiser was held to raise reward money in hopes of bringing the 16-year-old teen home. Megan has been missing from her home since July 3rd. A reward for information leading to Megan’s safe return currently stands at $2000, however a goal of $5000 has been set for the reward fund.
72-year-old Janice Lewis of Louisville, IL was injured Saturday morning in an accident in Clay County. State police said Lewis was southbound on U.S. Route 45 at Persimon Drive north of Flora when the vehicle she was driving went off the roadway and hit a culvert before overturning and hitting a tree. Lewis was taken to Deaconess Hospital following the crash. Police said it was suspected that a medical condition caused the accident.
Artists from throughout southern Illinois will gather in Fairfield October 8th through 11th to participate in the 3rd Fall Foliage Paint Out. They will be painting scenes in the community through noon Saturday, October 11th. The public is welcome to stop by and visit with the artists as they paint. The public is also welcome to view their works at The Landing on the corner of NE Third and Court Street each evening from 6 to 7 p.m.. There will also be a public viewing and art sale Saturday, October 11th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The state of Illinois plans to spend nearly $27 million on improvements to highways in some of the state’s southern counties. Published reports indicate a construction project on U.S. Route 45 in Saline County is among the projects. Work will include widening part of the highway to four lanes from Illinois Route 142 to Texas City Road.
Landowners affected by a pipeline planned by Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC, are being encouraged to attend a meeting this Thursday night at 7 at the First Christian Church in Salem, IL. The pipeline is scheduled to run from a location four miles north of Johnsonville northwest to Patoka through Clay and Marion counties. Registration for the meeting is being requested by calling the Wayne, Clay, or Marion county farm bureau. The program will feature Laura Harmon, Senior Counsel with the Illinois Farm Bureau, and Chris Byron, a pipeline attorney from Edwardsville, IL.
Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC, known as ETCO, is developing plans to convert existing pipeline assets from natural gas to crude oil in western Wayne County, as well as installing a new 30-inch pipeline from four miles north of Johnsonville northwest to Patoka through Marion and Clay counties. Landowners affected by the pipeline are being encouraged to attend a program sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau this Thursday, October 2nd at the First Christian Church in Salem, IL beginning at 7 p.m. Registration for the meeting is requested by calling the Wayne, Clay or Marion County Farm Bureau.
The White County Farm Bureau Board of Directors have voted to support passage of the referendum on the November 4th ballot which would ask White County voters to increase the sales tax by one percent to raise revenue for school maintenance and construction in the county. Directors approved a resolution supporting the tax at their September 8th monthly meeting, with the announcement of their support of the referendum made on Friday.
44-year-old Curtis L. Goolsby of Eldorado, IL was charged with DUI, driving with a revoked license and improper lane usage after crashing his motorcycle in Hamilton County early this morning. State police say Goolsby was southbound on Illinois Route 142 just north of Hamilton County Road 200N when he missed a curve in the roadway, causing his motorcycle to leave the roadway and enter a group of trees before overturning. Goolsby was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. A passenger on the motorcycle, 37-year-old Misty D. Yarber of Harrisburg, IL was flown to an Evansville, IN hospital for treatment of her injuries.
Wayne City’s Bean Days celebration will take place today. Activities include a 5K walk/run in the park and the parade this morning, followed by the serving of the ham and beans dinner, and a rodeo tonight at the Wayne City Saddle Club south of Wayne City beginning at 7 p.m. There will also be music and kids activities throughout the day.
Wayne and Edwards counties unemployment rate for August was 7.5 percent, according to numbers released Friday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Both rates are lower compared to a year ago. The IDES says the beginning of the school year increased employment activity throughout the region, with employment remaining high in the construction and leisure-hospitality sectors.
The Fairfield Community High School District is on much better financial footing now than years past according to the 2013-2014 District Audit presented Thursday by local CPA Kent Reeves. The FCHS District Financial Profile is rated at 3.9 out of a perfect score of 4.0. The district’s financial profile had dipped to as low as 2.1 in 2006. The district is currently on the state’s Recognition List.
At Thursday night’s meeting of the FCHS Board, members accepted the resignation of Bob Simmers as Head Baseball Coach. The board also hired Hunter Bryan as an Instructional Aide.
Four new teachers at Fairfield Community High School were introduced during Thursday night’s meeting. They are Jenna Turpin, math instructor, Samantha Smith, Agriculture and Consumer Science, Kelsey St. Ledger, English and Bethany Rush as a Special Education instructor.
Fairfield’s newest police officer began patrol duties this morning. Josh Manahan graduated from Police Academy Thursday at Champaign after 12 weeks of training. Manahan had been a resident of Wayne City. He now lives in Fairfield.
Governor Pat Quinn has to hold off on firing 58 Illinois Department of Transportation workers. They were supposed to be fired by the end of the month, but a judge says they can stay on the job until they have their day in court. The employees in question were allegedly hired based on their political connections instead of skill.
Wayne City Bean Days activities begin at 7:30 Saturday morning with a 5-K run. The annual parade will be at 10 a.m. Serving of Ham and Beans will begin at 11 a.m. A flea market, car show and plenty of entertainment will also be featured Saturday.
Municipal workers accidentally cut a 2 inch gas line in the one-thousand block of North First Street in Fairfield this morning, which has resulted natural gas service being shut down for several areas of the north end of Fairfield. Workers were digging to make repairs to a smaller line when they cut the 2 inch line. There was no resulting fire or explosion and no one was hurt. Areas affected include: The 900, 1000, 1100 and 1200 blocks of North First Street; the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Atkinson Drive; 100 block of Lakeview; 800-900 blocks of Epworth; 800-900 blocks of Laurel and the 100 and 200 blocks of Doris Drive. Gas Dept. spokesman Rick Doty says mutual aid was called in from Salem, Olney and Clay City to help get gas service restored to each residence. Late this afternoon workers with the city’s gas department said nearly all affected homes have had their natural gas services restored.
More than 350 groups have submitted applications to grow or sell legal and taxed medical marijuana in Illinois. Officials said 158 applications were received for cannabis cultivation centers with 211 applications for medical cannabis dispensaries. A Chicago firm wants to establish a cultivation center south of Fairfield near the sewer plant.
Officials with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department and Southern Illinois Drug Task Force report the seizure of 70 fully-grown marijuana plants from a location south of Ill. Rt. 13 near Ben Road in Saline County. The pot plants had a reported street value of $150,000. Sheriff Keith Brown is pictured above with the seized plants.
Former Harrisburg Spanish teacher Larry Luna has been sentenced for pulling a gun on a woman in the drive-thru of a McDonald’s Restaurant in Harrisburg last October. Luna, 62, was placed on one year of court supervision and ordered to pay $1,572 in fines and court costs. Police said Luna was upset about how long it was taking the woman ahead of him to place an order.
Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois will make a campaign stop in Fairfield next Tuesday. Rauner’s campaign bus is expected to make a stop on the south side of the Wayne County courthouse at 9:45 next Tuesday.
The Edwards County High School will have a homecoming parade at 12:45 this afternoon. The parade will begin in front of the courthouse and will travel down Main Street to the west, ending at the Edwards County High School.
44-year-old Dawn M. Turner of Fairfield has been jailed on charges of DUI and vehicle theft. Police were called to Spring Street around 6:30 Tuesday night on a report of an intoxicated person. When they arrived, they spotted Turner driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee. Turner was booked at the county jail with a blood alcohol level of .248 – three times the legal limit in Illinois. While being booked, police received a call from Mary Harper of Spring Street to report her Jeep Cherokee had been stolen.
The Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved a contract with a Missouri firm to plant 2,040 trees on 34 acres of wetland the city owns. Lovelace Custom Services of Elsberry, MO will do the work at a cost of $29,580. The trees are being purchased from Forrest Keeling Nursery of Elsberry, MO at a cost of $21,807. The tree planting work is part of a project to replace wetlands destroyed during the city’s failed attempt to build a side-channel reservoir east of town several years ago.
The Fairfield City Council tabled a request to install an Automated Electronic Defibrillator or AED at City Hall. The matter was tabled after councilmen were told that virtually no one at City Hall was willing to take the brief training course to become certified to use the potentially life-saving device. Some told the mayor they feared they might get sued if their life-saving efforts failed.
Voting members of the Wayne County Farm Bureau who live in Wayne County have been surveyed about their opinion on a tax referendum to impose a 1% sales tax to support school construction and maintenance in Wayne County. 74% of the 275 Farm Bureau members who responded to the survey say they oppose the referendum. A total of 775 surveys were sent out.
The Wayne County Shrine Club is sponsoring a screening clinic for orthopedic conditions today at Horizon Healthcare in Fairfield. The free clinic is for children under the age of 18 who could benefit from treatment at a Shriners Hospital for Children. The free screening clinic will run from 5 – 6:30 this evening.
An arrest has been made in Monday morning’s gun threat at Fairfield Community High School. Lucas W. Gifford, 20 of Fairfield was jailed late Monday afternoon. City Police Chief Keith Colclasure said officials with the social media website that Gifford allegedly used to make the threat provided police with the GPS location of his cellphone. Gifford was arrested at his place of employment and booked into the Wayne County jail on a felony charge of disorderly conduct – making a threat. Gifford allegedly used the social media telephone App “Yik Yak” to post the threat. The site is supposed to be anonymous. However, officials with “Yik Yak” cooperated with Fairfield City Police because of the nature of the alleged threat made at the high school.
42-year-old Jesse A. McDonald of rural Wayne City has been jailed after police found over 80 fully grown marijuana plants at his home. Another 3 ½ pounds of finished product was seized from McDonald’s mobile home. McDonald’s arrest comes after an investigation conducted by state and local police which included aerial surveillance of the suspect’s home by the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force. Police raided McDonald’s home at about 6:30 Monday morning. It took two pickup trucks to haul the contraband to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Many of the plants were more than 6 ft. tall.
45-year-old Shanna L. Bellamy of Carmi has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated battery of a peace officer – a Class-2 felony. She struck a White County jailer while being booked earlier this month on a charge of disorderly conduct.
18-year-old Keith Redmon, Jr. of McLeansboro has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Redmon stole a 2008 Chevy 2500 HD pickup truck on August 15. The truck was recovered the same evening after it ran out of gas in rural Hamilton County.
Petitions for Fairfield City Aldermen can be picked up at city hall today. One alderman in each of the city’s four wards will be elected during the upcoming April 7 Consolidated Municipal Election.
UPDATE – An arrest has been made in this morning’s threat at Fairfield Community High School. Lucas W. Gifford, 20 of Fairfield (pictured at left) was jailed late this afternoon. City Police Chief Keith Colclasure said officials with the social media website that Gifford allegedly used to make the threat provided police with the GPS location of his cellphone. Gifford was arrested at his place of employment and booked into the Wayne County jail on a felony charge of disorderly conduct. Gifford allegedly used the social media telephone app “Yik Yak” to post the threat. The site is supposed to be anonymous. However, officials with “Yik Yak” cooperated with Fairfield City Police because of the nature of the alleged threat made at the high school.
A threat that someone had a gun inside Fairfield Community High School resulted in a lockdown this morning of both the high school and nearby Center Street Grade School. Fairfield High School Supt. Jill Fulkerson reports that at 10:15 this morning, a report from two students almost simultaneously was made that there was a report on a social media outlet that there was a student in the bathroom with gun. Within minutes, Fairfield City Police, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies and Illinois State Police surrounded the school. Every entrance was covered by an armed officer and all students were locked in their classrooms – as required by emergency protocol. Sheriff Mike Everett said a sweep of the school netted no evidence of anyone with a gun, or any weapons at all. After a sweep of the school was completed, students were evacuated from the school. It took nearly 90 minutes to conduct the search and call an all-clear on the situation. Supt. Fulkerson added “Obviously, this is something we take very seriously and we are working with area police to investigate this situation as completely as possible.”
State and local police raided a rural Wayne City residence early this morning, seizing more than 80 fully grown marijuana plants and over three pounds of finished product. Arrested in connection with the large grow operation was Jesse A. McDonald 42 of rural Wayne City (pictured left). McDonald faces preliminary charges of unlawful production of marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver. He also faces a charge of being in possession of drug paraphernalia. Agents of the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force say a tip from Wayne City police led authorities to the site. The grow operation was confirmed by aerial surveillance. Police pulled up over 80 fully grown plants that had been cultivated behind McDonald’s mobile home, near a wooded area. Inside the home, police say they found marijuana plants being dried down in preparation of packaging. About 3 ½ pounds of processed marijuana in plastic containers was seized. No one else was home with the raid was conducted and no firearms were found inside the residence. Pictured above – Sheriff Mike Everett (left) and Chief Deputy Andy Milner (right).
Fairfield Community High School Senior Dakota Young was seriously injured Sunday in a 4-wheeler accident. According to family members and friends, Dakota sustained a serious leg injury when the 4-wheeler he was riding overturned, pinning his leg. He was taken to an Evansville hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the fracture. Young is a member of the FCHS Mules Football team.
Today is the application deadline for people who want to own medical marijuana businesses in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Agriculture and Department of Financial and Professional Regulation are accepting applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries until 3 o’clock today. Fairfield is still in the running for a cultivation center. If approved, it would be located south of town near the sewer plant.
Petitions can be picked up at the Fairfield City Clerk’s office starting Tuesday. One alderman in each of the city’s four wards will be elected during the Consolidated Election set for April 7. The filing period is Dec. 15 – 22. For more information on the election, contact City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft.
32 teams competed in the Midway Package Liquors 2-Man Chicken Feed Tournament Saturday. Kelly Hallam and Matt Poole of Mt. Vernon won the tournament with a 10 under par 95 for 27 holes. The second place team was Blaith Belangee and Aaron Musgrave.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau will be offering a flu shot clinic Tuesday from 1 – 3 at the Farm Bureau building in downtown Fairfield. The clinic is open to the public for people 18 and older. Flu shots are also available during normal business hours at the Wayne County Health Department.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau will be offering a flu vaccination clinic on Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Farm Bureau building in Fairfield. The vaccination will be administered by the Wayne County Health Department, and the clinic is open to those 18 years of age and older, and the cost of the vaccination is $30. Payments from Medicare, Medicaid, Blue-Cross Blue Shield, Healthlink and most major area insurance carriers will be accepted. Pre-registration is requested by calling 842-3342.
Petitions for the April 7, 2015 Consolidated Election can be picked up in the office of City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft starting this Tuesday from 8 a.m. til noon and 1 to 5 p.m. The filing period for the petitions is December 15th through 22nd, 2014. Among the offices in the election will be the city of Fairfield’s four wards, with one alderman to be elected from each of the city’s ward for a four-year term.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night at 6 in regular session. The council is expected to discuss the purchasing of salt products for the upcoming winter, and discuss the purchase of a defibrillator for City Hall. Other items on the agenda include discussion of an ordinance banning the illegal disposing of electronic devices.
Three former Williamson County employees were charged late last week in connection with the disappearance of thousands of dollars from the circuit clerk’s office. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says 43-year-old Kelly Trammel, 49-year-old Marsha Dickinson and 58-year-old Cheryl Cundiff face felony theft charges and official misconduct charges. The three are accused of plotting to steal over $80,000 from the county over a five-year period by taking money intended for the county’s jail bond and keeping it while concealing the theft.
An Illinois lawmaker wants to make pumpkin pie the state’s official pie. Republican state Representative Keith Sommer introduced legislation to make the designation last month. Illinois is reported to be the top producer of pumpkins in the country, with the industry bringing in $33 million for the state. Governor Pat Quinn issued a proclamation designating September 13th as Pumpkin Pie Day in Illinois. Currently no other state has pumpkin pie as their official state pie.