Len Wells, News Director
21-year-old Zachary Jordan of Cisne was arrested Tuesday afternoon following an incident at the Fairfield Super Wal-Mart. Police say Jordan and 21-year-old Mitch Belmont of Wayne City encountered each other at the Wal-Mart where a verbal altercation began that turned physical with Jordan allegedly opening a car door and hitting Belmont, and pushing and punching him. Jordan was lodged in the Wayne County Jail pending a bond hearing. Neither Jordan or Belmont required medical treatment.
27-year-old Matthew L. Rusler of Fairfield was jailed Tuesday afternoon on charges of driving revoked or suspended, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Bond was set at $575 cash.
At last night’s Fairfield City Council meeting, Mayor Chuck Griswold presented a comparison of Fairfield’s utility rates compared to other communities. Griswold said Fairfield’s gas and electric rates are among the lowest among area communities, and with the third lowest water rates, makes Fairfield’s utility rates “very competitive”. A proposed deferred payment plan was presented that would allow customers to sign up for the plan for one bill per year, allowing them to pay half of the bill, with the remainder put on a loan and divided into three monthly installments with a 20 percent interest charge assessed on the remaining balance. The council decided to defer the proposal after some discussion was raised about the legality of the 20 percent interest rate.
38-year-old Jeffrey W. Money of Norris City was jailed Monday on two warrants out of White and Perry counties. The White County warrant was for failure to appear on DUI and illegal transportation of alcohol charges with bond set at $2500 cash, while the Perry county warrant was for driving revoked, with bond set at $700 cash.
Jeff Abbott and Joyce Batteron, both of Mt. Carmel, IL were jailed Monday night following an incident in the 100 block of Pecan Avenue in Mt. Carmel, IL. Abbott is accused of taking a baseball bat and damaging a pickup truck, while Batterton is accused of attacking Felicia L. Donnals of Mt. Carmel, IL and allegedly biting off a portion of her ear. Abbottt was charged with criminal damage to property and criminal damage to state-supported property after police say he banged his head on a squad car as he was being taken into custody, damaging the trunk area. Batterton was charged with aggravated battery.
The 68th annual Illinois Oil and Gas Association convention and trade show has been set for Thursday and Friday, March 6th and 7th in Evansville, IN. A crowd of over 900 is expected at this year’s event, and IOGA officials report the exhibitors area has been expanded to include nearly 100 oil and gas industry representatives. The keynote address will be presented by Dr. John Felmy, chief economist with the American Petorleum Institute.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau is offering its members a chance to obtain their certification to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois. The two-day training course will be offered Wednesday, March 5th and Thursday, March 6th in the meeting room of the Wayne County Farm Bureau. Range testing will be held at the Fairfield Gun Club. The course will run from 9 a.m. til 6 p.m. both days. Pre-registration is required, and can be done by calling the Farm Bureau at 842-3342 or in person at 301 East Court Street in Fairfield. There is a maximum capacity for the class, and a $70 fee for the course.
59-year-old Randy C. King of Fairfield entered a guilty plea Monday to two class-2 felony charges of being in possession of child pornography charges and is scheduled to be sentenced April 21st. King entered the plea before Circuit Judge Tom Dinn. In return for the guilty plea, the state’s attorney dropped three class-X felony charges. King was arrested last September following an investigation by agents of the Illinois Attorney General’s office. King was returned to the Wayne County Jail following Monday’s hearing. He faces up to seven years in prison on each conviction.
57-year-old Charles W. Wallace of Xenia was lodged in the Wayne County Jail Monday night on a Wayne County warrant for delivery of a controlled substance. County police made the arrest, with bond set at $4000 cash.
38-year-old Jeffrey W. Money of Norris City was jailed Monday night on two warrants out of White and Perry counties. The White County warrant was for failure to appear on DUI and illegal transportation of alcohol charges, while the Perry County warrant was for failure to appear on a driving revoked charge. Total bond was set at $3370 cash.
Jeff Abbott and Joyce Batterton, both of Mt. Carmel, IL were jailed Monday night following an incident in the 100 block of Pecan Avenue in Mt. Carmel, IL. Police were called to the location on a report of a man damaging a pickup with a baseball bat, and upon arrival, located Abbott and Felicia L. Donnals of Mt. Carmel, IL outside the residence, with Donnals bleeding from the ear. Donnals told police that she and Abbott had went to the residence to purchase synthetic cannibis and were later told to leave. As they were leaving, Batterton, one of the home’s owners, allegedly came outside with a baseball bat and attacked Donnals, with Batterton allegedly biting off a portion of Donnals’ ear. Abbott is then accused of taking the bat and damaging the pickup, and as police were taking him into custody, Abbott began banging his head on the squad car, damaging the trunk area. Abbott was jailed on charges of criminal damage to property, while Batterton was charged with aggravated battery.
32-year-old Josiah Seth Stover of Carmi entered a guilty plea Monday to an aggravated battery charge and has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, plus one year of parole after he is released from jail. Stover was arrested on the charge in May of last year and had been free on $2500 bond pending Monday’s sentencing. A charge of domestic battery was dropped in return for the guilty plea.
Saline County authorities are searching for 24-year-old Matthew W. Boyd of Harrisburg, IL. (pictured left) after he escaped from the Saline County Courthouse in Harrisburg, IL Monday. Boyd had entered the courthouse around 10 a.m. and broke free from courthouse security as he was being taken into custody on charges of failure to appear on previous charges of burglary and theft. Boys is 5’4″ weighing 143 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt with black sleeves. Anyone with information on Boyd’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Saline County Sheriff’s Department at (618) 252-8661.
The Fairfield City Council meets tonight at 6 p.m. Discussion is expected on the city’s Utility Payment Plan. Several residents expressed their disapproval with high utility bills last month. The council is also expected to compare the city’s gas and electric rates with surrounding communities, and compare the city’s natural gas prices vs. propane during tonight’s meeting.
Minor flooding is expected to continue along the Little Wabash at Clay City and the Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL. At Clay City the river is falling and should be below flood stage of 18 feet by Wednesday. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL is forecast to crest more than three feet above flood stage by Monday, and at New Harmony, a crest of about two feet above flood stage is expected Wednesday morning.
59-year-old Randy C. King of Fairfield entered a guilty plea Monday to two class-2 felony charges of being in possession of child pornography. Sentencing has been set for April 21. King entered the negotiated guilty plea Monday afternoon before Circuit Judge Tom Dinn. In return for the guilty plea, the state’s attorney dropped three Class-X felony charges against King. Judge Dinn ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and advised King that the sentences on the two separate charges will have to be served consecutively. King was arrested in September of last year as a result of an investigation by agents of the Illinois Attorney General’s office.
Due to recent rainfall and snow melt, area rivers are on the rise. The Wabash at Mount Carmel is forecast to crest more than three feet above flood stage by Sunday.
An Olney man is being held in the White County jail on home repair fraud cases dating back to 2006. In Wayne County Circuit Court last week, home repair fraud charges against Lawrence Meyer were dropped by the state’s attorney. However, $2,140 bond posted in his 2006 case was assigned to a local victim – Ruth Ann Young. Meyer is currently being held in jail on an Edwards County home repair fraud charge from 2007. Meyer is expected to appear in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing in Edwards County Circuit Court.
The FCHS Math Team had a very successful day at a meet Saturday on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Several FCHS Mathletes will advance to state competition.
The City of Fairfield’s utility payment plan is expected to be discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Fairfield City Council. The issue arose earlier this month after a number of residents expressed difficulties in paying higher than normal heating bills brought about by the harsh winter.
An autopsy has revealed a Southern Illinois University student found dead in a wooded area last week likely died of exposure to the cold. 19-year-old Parvin Varughese had been missing for a week. He was a criminal justice major at SIU.
A member of State Rep. David Reis’ office will be at Fairfield City Hall this Wednesday from 2:30 – 3:30. He will also be at the Carmi City Hall Council Chambers from 9 – 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Fairfield Community High School had a very successful day Saturday at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics regional at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. Several teams and individuals brought home hardware, with many advancing to state competition. Those advancing to state competition included the geometry written team, the Freshman/Sophomore 2-Person team and the Freshman/Sophomore 8-Person team. Individually, Senior Cody Simpson placed second in the PreCalculus competition, Junior Samantha Ochs placed second in the Algebra II competition and junior Dakota Young placed third. The three also advance to state competition. Four other teams for FCHS placed second on Saturday.
Flooding is expected to continue through mid-week on the Little Wabash River at Clay City and until further notice on the Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL. The Little Wabash at Clay City was at 19.2 feet Saturday night, and expected to crest at 20.5 feet early Monday morning. Flood stage is 18 feet. The Wabash at Mt. Carmel, IL stood at 15.6 feet Saturday night, with a crest of 23.2 feet expected Monday morning. Flood stage at Mt. Carmel, IL is 19 feet.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night starting at 6 p.m. During the meeting the council is expected to award bids for the sale of the old Red & White store sign, the sale of a grader and mosquito chemicals for the coming summer. Also on the agenda is the next payment to the contractor building the city’s new water treatment plant, amounting to nearly $200,000. Discussion is also expected on the city’s smoke-free policy, and a comparison of Fairfield’s gas and electric rates with surrounding towns.
State Representative David Reis has announced his latest round of traveling office hours. A member of his staff will be at the Carmi City Hall on Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m., at the Mt. Carmel City Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at Fairfield City Hall from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Residents are welcome to address any concerns they may have about government. Residents can also call his office at (618) 392-0108 or stop by his office in Olney at 219 East Main Street to address any concerns they may have.
All four Republican candidates running for Illinois Governor agree that the state’s prison system is overcrowded and action is needed to address what they believe is a public safety hazard. Three of the candidates, including State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard said in a report that they would consider reopening the super-maximum security lockup at Tamms in southern Illinois to help with the overcrowding. The facility was closed by Governor Pat Quinn in 2012, along with the Dwight women’s maximum-security prison in upstate Illinois.
Flood warnings have gone up for the Little Wabash River at Clay City and the Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL due to recent rain and snow melt. The Little Wabash at Clay City was at 19.4 feet this morning, a foot and a half above flood stage, with a crest of 20.5 feet expected Monday. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL was at 15 feet this morning and forecast to climb to 23.2 feet by Monday afternoon, more than four feet over flood stage. Dry weather is currently in the forecast through the end of next week.
32-year-old Nicholas I. Pinkerton of Sturgis, KY was arrested Thursday night after leading police on a high-speed chase through southern Illinois in a stolen pickup truck. Jefferson County Sheriff’s police began pursuing Pinkerton on Illinois Route 15 after spotting a 2009 Chevrolet pickup that had been reported stolen from Nashville, IL in Washington County. Wayne City Police Chief Anson Fenton and County Deputy Lee Rankin cornered Pinkerton on a county road just off Starvation Curve. Pinkerton faces numerous charges in Wayne and Washington counties, as well as Sturgis, KY in connection with the chase. Police said Pinkerton told them as he was being arrested that he “had killed several people, including Spiderman.”
During this week’s meeting of the North Wayne District school board, the board accepted the Intent to Retire resignations from Cary Pond, Elizabeth Pond and Lisa Fearn at the end of the Fiscal Year 2017. The board approved setting graduation dates for Saturday, May 17th at 2 p.m. for Cisne High School and Friday, May 16th at 7 p.m. for Cisne Middle School. Nikki Basnett was hired as the Title I aide at Johnsonville and Mt. Erie schools, replacing Debra Collier, and Rick Dennison was hired as a special education aide at Mt. Erie school for the remainder of the current school year.
47-year-old Sammy R. Kehrer of Mt. Vernon, IL has been formally charged with three counts of First-Degree Murder in the stabbing death of 37-year-old Eric Houser of Mt. Vernon, IL outside the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsman’s Club on Tuesday. Bond on Kehrer was set at $3 million, according to Jefferson County States Attorney Douglas Hoffman. Hoffman alleges that Houser and Kehrer got into a physical altercation that ended with Kehrer fatally stabbing Houser in the chest.
A report from Springfield, IL says all four Republican candidates for Illinois Governor agree that the state’s prison system is overcrowded that action is needed to address what they say is a public safety hazard. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, one of the candidates, was quoted as saying the population in the correctional facilities is “dramatically overcrowded” and said “there are 49,000 inmates in a system designed for 32,000.” The Republican candidates include State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, along with venture capitalist Bruce Rauner and Rutherford.
A Sturgis, Ky. Man who led police on a high-speed chase across Southern Illinois Thursday night in a stolen pickup truck has been jailed. Nicholas I. Pinkerton, 32 told police after his arrest that he “had killed several people, including Spiderman.” Jefferson County, Ill. Sheriff’s Police began pursuing Pinkerton on Ill. Rt. 15 after spotting a 2009 Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck that had been reported stolen in the Washington County, Ill. community of Nashville. Wayne City Police Chief Anson Fenton and County Deputy Lee Rankin eventually cornered Pinkerton on a county road just off Starvation Curve. Pinkerton faces numerous charges in Wayne and Washington Counties as well as Sturgis, KY. Police stated that Pinkerton was “either under the influence of drugs or was mentally disturbed.”
A line of severe storms moved through the region Thursday night, triggering tornado warnings for parts of Wayne and Edwards Counties. While funnel clouds were spotted by trained weather observers, no major damage was reported.
43-year-old David Michael Chargaulf of Evansville was injured Thursday night when high winds blew his semi over on Interstate-64 in rural White County. Chargaulf was headed eastbound shortly after 6 p.m. when a gust of wind blew his Freightliner semi over at the 128 mile marker. He was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital. Eastbound traffic was re-routed for much of Thursday evening because of the wreck.
The Fairfield Community High School Board has set graduation for Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m. The ceremonies will be held in the FCHS Gym. The board also appointed Jenna Montgomery as a volunteer girls’ softball coach and re-employed the spring coaches for next school year.
The Jasper Grade School Board has set graduation services for Thursday, May 15 in the Jasper gymnasium. The board also accepted the resignation of Beth Meeks as bookkeeper and treasurer this July after 40 years of service to the district.
A proposal to ban smoking on public college campuses is advancing in the Illinois Legislature. The bill would ban smoking on all properties belonging to state-supported colleges and universities starting July 1. The measure passed out of a House committee and now goes to the full House for further debate.
42-year-old Mark P. Scates of Shawneetown died Wednesday morning when fire swept through his house. Scates was taken to the Harrisburg Medical Center where he died at 8:41 a.m. Scates was a third generation partner in the Scates Family Farms, which operates a large farming operation in Gallatin and White Counties.
Westbound traffic on I-64 at the 120 mile marker was shut down for several hours Wednesday after a semi hauling plastic pellets caught fire. Grayville and Fairfield Rural Fire Departments responded to the blaze. Firemen had to cut open the sides of the trailer to get firefighting foam onto the burning cargo. No one was hurt. Officials said it appeared the fire started in the sleeper cab of the truck.
61-year-old Cynthia D. Bruce of rural Wayne County entered a guilty plea Wednesday to a reduced meth-related charge and will be sentenced in April. Bruce was one of seven suspects arrested Jan. 13 when Wayne County Sheriff’s Police raided her home and seized a suspected meth lab. Judge Melissa Morgan also approved a reduction in Bruce’s bond from $25,000 to $4,000, which enabled her to get out of jail pending the April 28 sentencing date.
35-year-old Randy E. Stilley of Wayne City entered a guilty plea Wednesday to charges he sexually abused a relative under the age of 16. Judge Melissa Morgan sentenced him to 5 years in prison – which will run concurrent with a 5 year sentence handed down in Hamilton County for the same offense.
47-year-old Sammy H. Kehrer of Mt. Vernon has been jailed on a preliminary charge of aggravated battery following a stabbing incident Tuesday night at the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsman’s Club. Kehrer is accused of stabbing to death 37-year-old Eric W. Houser of Mt. Vernon during an argument outside the club.
Jefferson County authorities are investigating a stabbing death at a club north of Mount Vernon. The victim has been identified as 37-year-old Eric House of Mount Vernon. The killing took place outside the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsmen’s Club Tuesday night.
72-year-old Gary Melton and his 73-year-old Brother Don Melton died Tuesday morning when fire swept through their mobile home on E. Davis Road near Mt. Vernon. Investigators say it appeared both tried to escape the burning structure but were overcome by the smoke and intense heat. No foul play is suspected in the deaths.
Police have found the body of a Southern Illinois University student who was reported missing last Wednesday. The body of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese was found Tuesday in a wooded area in Carbondale. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.
Deborah K. Garland of 103 Broadway in Fairfield reports to City Police that someone entered her home and stole her 30-day prescription drug box, a necklace and earrings worth $1,000 and a pack of cigarettes. She discovered the items missing early Tuesday morning.
An Illinois lawmaker wants to make it illegal for motorists to smoke in cars with children. State Senator Ira Silverstein says second-hand smoke in confined areas is dangerous for children.
Fairfield Memorial Hospital held their annual Valentine’s Day Basket Raffle last week, raising $1,062. Fern Atwood is the winner. Proceeds will be used to help fund the construction of the hospital’s new kitchen and dining room.
Two rural Mount Vernon, Ill. men died early Tuesday morning when fire swept through their mobile home. A neighbor spotted flames coming from the home around 1:25 Tuesday morning and alerted authorities. The home, located on E. Davis Drive on the south edge of Mount Vernon, was fully engulfed in flames when Mount Vernon Rural Firefighters arrived. A relative arrived as firemen battled the blaze and informed them that his father and uncle were likely inside. The badly burned bodies were pulled from the structure shortly before daylight. The Jefferson County Coroner says it appears both men tried to escape the blaze, but were apparently overcome by smoke and intense heat. The brothers have been identified as 72-year-old Gary Melton and 73-year-old Don Melton.
Numerous accidents have been reported around the area overnight due to black ice. Moisture left over from yesterday’s rainfall re-froze overnight, creating difficult driving conditions.
18-year-old Kent T. Pollard of Carmi was injured Monday night when the Chevy Cobalt he was driving on Rt. 14 in Hamilton County hit a patch of black ice ran off the road and hit a tree. He was taken to the hospital in McLeansboro where he was treated and released. State Police say Pollard was wearing his seat belt.
The Fairfield Grade School Board met Monday night, approving a two-year contract with Iconik Studios of Fairfield for photography services. The board also voted to hire Jeffery Morris as boys track coach and accepted the resignation of Northside secretary Kayla Xanders.
Randy Dunn has been named the next president of Southern Illinois University. Dunn has been president of Youngstown University in Ohio for the past seven months. He replaces Glenn Poshard. His contract expires June 30 of this year. Dunn will be making $430,000 a year as President of SIU.
Circuit Judge Sherri Tungate has retired. A reception for the Fourth Circuit judge was held over the weekend at the courthouse in Louisville. Tungate was the first woman to ever serve as judge in Illinois’ Fourth Circuit. She plans to join her husband in his law practice in Flora.
20-year-old Jordan M. Gabbard of Fairfield was arrested Friday on a charge of DUI-drugs. Gabbard’s 1990 Cadillac ran into a parked car at Laurel and Elm around 7:10 Friday night. Gabbard told police he had smoked some K-2 – a synthetic form of marijuana – moments before the accident. He also faces a charge of being in possession of a controlled substance.
23-year-old Jeremy A. Cline of Fairfield was arrested Saturday on a preliminary charge of aggravated domestic battery. He is accused of head-butting, choking and beating his girlfriend, Kasheena J. Callahan of Rinard. The alleged incident happened around 2 p.m. at the Budget Inn in Fairfield.
The Fairfield High School Varsity Scholastic Team captured the Masonic Sectional Crown Saturday. The team now advances to the State Masonic Tournament in Springfield on March 1. Fairfield’s record is now 29 and 8 on the year.
Agriculture experts say Illinois farmers should be on the lookout for weeds that are now resistant to the most popular herbicides. A dozen different weed varieties have become resistant to glyphosate, an active ingredient in the most commonly used farm herbicide.
All five Republican candidates for Wayne County Circuit Judge have been invited to a Meet the Candidate night this evening at the Wayne City Community Building. The event starts at 7 p.m. Candidates include Resident Judge Kevin Kakac, David Williams, John C. Robison, Jr., Mike Molt and David Harrison. The Republican Primary Election is set for Tuesday, March 18. The Wayne City Ruritan Club is sponsoring the event.