Len Wells, News Director


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Headlines for Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fairfield National Bank is updating its brand with a new logo.  Fairfield National Bank, along with its branches – Tri-County Banking Center in Grayville and Bean Capital Banking Center in Wayne City will begin advertising as FNB.  In addition to updating the look, FNB will begin offering new products including financial tools and enhanced security features.

Eight hikers missing in the Shawnee National Forest Wednesday night have been found. The group; including an adult male, four adult females and three children got lost while hiking in northwest Pope County near Burden Falls and Bell Smith Springs. The group was found around 8:45 Wednesday night.

Wayne County Sheriff’s Police are investigating an alleged aggravated battery case.  Derek M. Halbin, 26 of Bluford tells police that he was severely beaten after arriving at a late night weekend party. He suffered a head injury and broken nose and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Police say they have a suspect, but no arrests have been made at this time.

Illinois authorities have released the name of a man who shot and wounded a police officer near Pana Tuesday night before being killed by SWAT team members during an exchange of gunfire. The victim is 25-year-old Josh Edwards of Pana. The wounded Pana officer – not identified by authorities – is listed in stable condition at an area hospital.

Federal authorities are investigating after a pipe bomb was found outside a downtown Springfield restaurant.  A Secretary of State Police bomb squad used a high-powered water cannon to disable the 7-in-long pipe filled with explosives.

Headlines for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Harrisburg police report two strong-arm robberies in the past few days. A suspect knocked a worker down at the Ponderosa Steak House and stole her money bag. The Harrisburg Dominos Pizza Restaurant has also been targeted. Neither employee suffered serious injuries.

31-year-old Roger L. Spoonemore of Carmi was seriously injured Monday when a dog he was attempting to discipline turned on him and bit his hand. Spoonemore lost a thumb in the attack and was airlifted to a regional hospital for surgery.

Illinois Department of Public Health officials report that West Nile Virus has been found in mosquito samples taken from the Washington County community of Ashley. The number of positive tests statewide is down considerably this year, most likely because of the cool, wet summer weather.

Former Albion resident, Tony Brake will be riding in the 35th annual Pan Mass Challenge in Massachusetts this weekend to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Tony lost his brother, Tim Brake to cancer last week.

Edwards County Treasurer Cindy Hocking says Real Estate tax bills will be arriving in area mailboxes the week of August 11.  Due dates have been set for Wednesday, Sept. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 22. The total extension for Edwards County Real Estate taxes is $5.1 million.

Registration for Fairfield Community High School students will be from 1 – 6 today and 10 – 2 Thursday.  Registration will take place in the FCHS Study Hall.

Headlines for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A September 30 trial date has been set for former Fairfield Community High School math teacher and cross country coach Timothy C. Going. Going appeared in U.S. District Court at E. St. Louis Monday where he entered a not guilty plea during arraignment on three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of being in possession of child pornography. A detention hearing has been set for August 5 to determine whether or not Going should be held without bond pending trial.

20-year-old Zachary R. Wheeler of Fairfield has been arrested on a Franklin County warrant charging him with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, one count of indecent solicitation of a minor and one count of grooming. Wheeler is being held under $75,000 bond pending trial.

An Eldorado couple arrested last week following a kidnapping investigation appeared in a Missouri courtroom Monday. Courtney Godwin entered a guilty plea to charges of motor vehicle tampering and possession of drug paraphernalia. She drew a ten day jail sentence. Her boyfriend, Sonny Pilgrim is being held on charges of resisting arrest and vehicle tampering and is due in court August 7.  Courtney Godwin told police she was not kidnapped – claiming she left Eldorado willingly with her boyfriend.

Starting this Thursday and continuing through approximately August 7, Hawkins Drive and Dorris Drive in Fairfield will be open to local traffic only. The two streets are being resurfaced.

The 18th annual White County Crop Tour has been set for Wednesday, August 20.  Participants will be assigned to one of the ten townships in the county to gather data from 10 different locations in each township.  To participate, call the White County Farm Bureau office at 382-8512.

Headlines for Monday, July 28, 2014

MeganA series of fundraisers Saturday for a missing Fairfield teen netted over $4,500. Mayor Chuck Griswold declared this past Saturday as Megan Nichols Day. The 16-year-old girl has been missing from her W. Center Street Home since July 3.  The money raised will be used to establish a reward fund.


Goinig croppedFormer Fairfield Community High School math teacher and cross country coach Timothy C. Going is scheduled to make an appearance in Federal Court this morning.  Going will be arraigned this morning on federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.  If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

28-year-old Amanda M. Scott of Laurel Street in Fairfield was cited Friday for being in possession of marijuana. City Police went to her home Friday afternoon to speak to her about failing to pay for fuel at a gas station in Flora when they smelled marijuana coming from her home. She was given a notice to appear in court. Police say they recovered a small amount of cannabis from the home.

State and Union officials say a prisoner assaulted a guard Friday at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna. The officer, not identified by authorities, suffered a concussion after being head-butted by an inmate.

Registration for Fairfield Community High School has been set for this Wednesday from 1 – 6 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Registration both days will take place in the Study Hall.

Headlines for Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wayne County and surrounding areas were placed under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and were under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a time Saturday evening as thunderstorms moved through the area.  Wayne County’s warning was issued shortly before 6:15 Saturday evening for the southwest part of the county.  Jefferson, Hamilton, Richland and Lawrence counties were also under warnings Saturday night as storms moved through, according to the National Weather Service.  No major damage has been noted from Saturday night’s storms.

Wayne County’s June unemployment was at 7.1 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 8.6 percent a year ago.  Edwards County’s June rate was 7.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in June of last year.  June unemployment rates ranged from 5.7 percent in Effingham County to 10.8 percent in Hardin County.  The IDES said there were only three counties in southern Illinois with a June unemployment rate of over ten percent.

38-year-old Christopher C. Huber of St. Marie, IL was hurt Saturday morning in an accident on a county road about 1 1/2 miles southwest of St. Marie, IL.  State police said the vehicle Huber was driving went off the roadway into a ditch, causing him to overcorrect and come back on the roadway before overturning.  Police said Huber was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the wreckage, and taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN.

An accident in Clay County Thursday morning injured a Louisville, IL motorist.  49-year-old Lisa J. Whipps of Valparaiso, IN was stopped on U.S. Route 50 at Olive Road in Flora, and attempted to turn onto Route 50, and turned into the path of a motorcycle operated by 37-year-old Chad A. Barbee of Louisville, IL.  The impact caused Barbee to lay his bike down, causing him to be thrown from the wreckage.  He was taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN with major injuries.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was joined Friday by Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau to commission 37 new state troopers during a graduation ceremony in Springfield.  The new troopers will begin their duties at various state police districts around the state on Monday.  Six of the troopers have been assigned to the District 11 post in Collinsville.  No troopers were assigned to the District 19 post at Carmi, the District 13 post at DuQuoin or the District 12 post at Effingham.

Headlines for Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fairfield Mayor Chuck Griswold has declared today as Megan Nichols Day.  Megan, now 16 years old, has been missing since July 3rd.  Organizers are staging a cookout, bake sale and bucket brigade today to raise money for a reward fund for information leading to her whereabouts.  City police say they continue to investigate Megan’s disappearance, and have followed numerous leads, but so far no credible evidence has surfaced as to her whereabouts.  Anyone with information should call the city police department at 842-2151 or dial 911.

71-year-old Dean Heley of Norris City was killed Friday morning when he fell off his tractor and was run over by the vehicle on the family farm.  Authorities say Heley was found by his oldest son shortly after the accident.  Heley was pronounced dead at the scene by White County Coroner Chris Marsh.  Reports indicate the accident happened around 8:30 a.m.

60-year-old Lance P. Avery of Creal Springs, IL was killed in an accident Friday morning in Saline County.  State police say Avery was operating a motorcycle eastbound on Illinois Route 13 just east of Harco Road and for unknown reasons attempted to change lanes, when an SUV, driven by 68-year-old Kim H. Fowler of Harrisburg, IL, struck Avery’s motorcycle on the left side.  Avery was pronounced dead at the scene due to his injuries.  Fowler was not injured.

Unemployment numbers for June from the Illinois Department of Employment Security show Wayne County’s rate at 7.1 percent, down from 8.6 percent in June of last year, and Edwards County’s rate for June at 7.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in June of last year.    The IDES says unemployment was lower for June compared to a year ago in all southern Illinois counties, with just three counties, Alexander, Hardin and Pope in far-southern Illinois reporting an unemployment rate of over ten percent.

Results of the Edwards County 4-H Bucket Calf & Beef Show, held this past Wednesday, have been announced.  The champion dairy bucket calf was showed by Shelbey Walker, who received a trophy donated by David and Joy Coles.  The champion beef bucket calf was showed by Ava Greathouse, who received a trophy donated by Citizens National Bank of Albion.  The bucket calf showmanship belt buckle, donated by Citizens National Bank was also awarded to Greathouse.  Several other awards were presented, including a trophy to Olivia Hallam for showing the Grand Champion Market Steer donated by the Edwards County Farm Bureau.

Headlines for Friday, July 25, 2014

An Eldorado man has been arrested at a truck stop in Matthew Missouri after being accused of kidnapping his teenage girlfriend. 23-year-old Sonny Pilgrim was initially sought for kidnapping 19-year Courtney Godwin. Godwin later told police she left willingly with Pilgrim.  Pilgrim faces preliminary charges of vehicle theft and resisting arrest. Godwin faces a charge of being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

Local and state labor leaders, mayors and lawmakers gathered in Marion this week to put pressure on the state’s Hydraulic Fracturing regulators. It has been more than 400 days since Governor Pat Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. However, rules governing the practice have still not been implemented. Thousands of acres of Southern Illinois land has been leased for the production of oil and gas utilizing Fracking. Many of those leases run out this year.

Charlton Greathouse, the son of Mike and Joanne Greathouse of West Salem has won the Master Showmanship Contest at the Edwards County 4-H Fair.  He will be competing at the State Fair on August 8.

52-year-old Allen Gervais of Harrisburg has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty in White County Circuit Court to a felony charge of deceptive practice. He has also been ordered to pay $4,386 restitution to his victims.

Elastec American Marine has inked a deal to sell a large quantity of oil spill recovery equipment to the state oil company of Ecuador. The equipment will be used at PetroEcuador’s Esmeraldas facility, the country’s largest refinery. Elastec operates manufacturing facilities in Carmi and Fairfield.

Headlines for Thursday, July 24, 2014

going teachertimothy-goingGoinig croppedNew allegations have surfaced in the case of former Fairfield Community High School teacher and coach Timothy Going. On Wednesday, a Federal Grand Jury unsealed a four-count criminal indictment against Going. New charges allege that Going videotaped FCHS female athletes at a Madison County, Ill. motel as far back as August of 2012. The athletes were there to participate in a regional track meet. The new evidence was discovered during a forensic examination of computer equipment seized from Going’s Fairfield home this past May. Pictured above are Going as an FCHS teacher,  a Logistics Captain in the Illinois National Guard, and eventually – a criminal- defendant.

An Eldorado woman was involved in a traffic crash Wednesday afternoon that claimed the life of an Evansville truck driver.  A vehicle driven by 72-year-old Carolyn Boulds of Eldorado crossed the median on the Lloyd Expressway near the University of Southern Indiana and hit a truck head-on. The truck driver, 61-year-old Daryl Lattner died at the scene. Boulds was taken to Deaconess Hospital.

Lewis Scrap Metal in Burnt Prairie will be closed Friday and Saturday in honor of Tim Lewis, Sr. Mr. Lewis died last Friday in an accident at the scrap yard.

Thieves have targeted electrical breaker boxes at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Fairfield.  Ed Garrett reports to City Police that more than $5,000 worth of damage was done to the equipment as thieves made off with electrical components from the boxes.

The West Nile Virus is being reported in Carbondale. Two mosquito batches and a crow tested positive for the virus.  Nearly 120 people in Illinois were infected with the virus last year. Eleven died.

Local talent will be featured tonight at the Edwards County Fair. Katlin Schmittler, Abbi Rivers, Jordan and Brianna Robinson will perform starting at 5:30.

Headlines for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MeganFairfield Mayor Chuck Griswold has declared this Saturday “Megan Nichols Day”. Megan has been missing from her West Center Street home since July 3. A series of fundraisers will be held Saturday to raise money to establish a reward fund. Volunteers will hold a cookout, a bake sale and bucket brigade to raise money for the reward fund.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Megan Nichols should call the Fairfield City Police Department at 842-2151 or dial 911.


coaleBill Coale of Fairfield was awarded a 60 years of service award at the  Embassy Suites in East Peoria on July 19th, 2014 at the Sportsmanship officials Conference. Hhe was accompanied by his son Brett Coale also of Fairfield. Bill now 80 has served as referee and umpire for both girls  and boys softball, baseball and basketball in Fairfield, and the
surrounding area for 60 years. Bill suffered a stroke back in December which slowed him down just for a short time. Bill says “It’s my passion and when It’s time for me to go, I hope it’s right here on the field or the court”.

A plan to clear the brush from Johnson Creek and Fairgrounds Creek in Fairfield has hit a snag.  Only one bid was submitted for the project. The bid was for $307,820.  Mayor Griswold has appointed a committee to find other sources of funds for the project.

The Fairfield City Council has approved a change order for the raw water intake project at the Little Wabash River. Due to materials and labor not needed for the project, the city is receiving a deduction of $76,720 on the project.

Fairfield Police Chief Keith Colclasure has submitted a proposal to replace two aging cruisers with pickup trucks. The chief says the trucks would be cheaper than police cruisers and will be turned over to other city departments after three years of use.  Bids are being sought for the trucks.

The City of Fairfield has a new street sweeper.  The Elgin-brand “Cross Wind” sweeper cost $199,905. Elgin gave the city $8,750 trade in for the old sweeper.

60-year-old Robert D. Bushkill of Norris City was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon when the Harley Davidson motorcycle he was riding ran into the back of a truck turning off of Rt. 45 in Saline County.  Bushkill was airlifted to a hospital in Evansville for treatment of major injuries.

Headlines for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A federal magistrate has ordered former FCHS math teacher and cross country coach Timothy Going held without bond on charges he was in possession of child pornography and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.  Going, 43 made his first appearance on the federal charges Monday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.  He still faces state charges of unlawful videotaping of underage girls in Wayne and St. Clair Counties.

Josh Manahan of the Wayne City area will be Fairfield’s newest police officer. Manahan is currently attending a 12 week police academy training program.  He is replacing Sgt. Steven Sons who retired earlier this month.

A federal judge has ordered 29-year-old Dillion Wayne Bailey of Albion held without bond on federal charges that he was in possession of two ounces of methamphetamine. A Grayville police officer arrested Bailey on June 13 following a traffic stop. A Sept. 8 trial date has been set. The order was issued Monday following a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Benton.

A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that the state can close the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. A group of parents and local residents had sought a preliminary injunction to keep the facility open. The center provides services to people with developmental disabilities.

Kiddie Kollege and the Wayne City Early Learning Center have been notified that they will be funded by the Illinois State Board of Education to serve 40 children at the Fairfield and Wayne City Centers in the state’s pre-kindergarten program.  Classes start August 11.

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