Len Wells, News Director


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Headlines for Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tubbs wreck edited

Former Fairfield Mayor and City Alderman Harold Tubbs died Saturday in a traffic crash in rural Gibson County, Indiana.  Tubbs, 72 was driving a bus for Frey Produce at the time of the accident.  He was near the intersection of Indiana State Rod 165 and County Road 700 S when the bus ran off the road. Tubbs apparently overcorrected, crossing both lanes of traffic before striking a tree.  Mr. Tubbs was pronounced dead at the scene. (Photo courtesy Gibson County Sheriff’s Department)

50-year-old David Brassard of Carmi died Saturday morning when fire swept through his mobile home on South 8th Street.  Officials said the blaze broke out around 5:30 Saturday morning.  White County Coroner Chris Marsh and Carmi City Police are investigating the fatal blaze.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms moved through the region overnight, prompting a flood warning to be issued for Hamilton County until noon today, after more than two inches of rain was recorded.  Hamilton County officials reported several roads in the county were underwater and impassible, including parts of Route 14 near McLeansboro.  More rain is in the forecast for the area today and tonight.  Here at the studios of WFIW/WOKZ,  two inches of rain has been recorded, as of 8 a.m.

16-year-old Dorian L. Reeves of Centralia, IL was cited for improper lane usage and driving without insurance following a wreck Saturday night on U.S. Route 51 near Walnut Hill Road in Centralia, IL.  State police said Reeves was westbound on Route 51 and lost control of the vehicle, causing it to leave the roadway and hit an embankment, overturning on its top.  Reeves and a passenger, 16-year-old Tyria A. Billberry of Centralia, IL were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, IL for treatment of their injuries.

Frontier Community College will be holding evening registration Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on the campus at Student Services.  Evening registration continues August 25th through 28th in Student Services and the Bookstore for textbook pickups.  Fall semester begins on Thursday, August 21st.  More information is available by calling the college at 842-3711.

The 6th annual Wayne County Antique Tractor Drive is set for Labor Day, Monday, September 1st.  The route will begin and end at the Crop Production Services plant in Johnsonville with check-in at 9 a.m. and a planned departure time of 10 a.m.    Participants will have lunch at the Skillet Fork Grill in Orchardville.  Registration is $30 per tractor, and lunch is included with the registration fee.  Lunch for non-drivers will be $10 and they are encouraged to contact the Wayne County Farm Bureau to RSVP their attendance.

Headlines for Saturday, August 16, 2014

A rural Edwards County farmer became entangled in a feed auger Friday afternoon on the Stumpy Hill Hog Farm south of Albion.  The victim was identified as Keith Roosevelt, one of the owners of the farm.  His foot was somehow drawn into the device.  Roosevelt was extricated from the device with help from the Edwards County Ambulance Service, Albion Police and the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department, and flown to an Evansville, IN hospital for treatment of major injuries.

For the second time in less than a week, Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown reports a fall at the Garden of the Gods recreational area Friday morning.  50-year-old Hines Basse of Laatzen, Germany, fell about 15 feet to a ledge near a rock formation known as the Devil’s Smokestack.  Authorities received the call for help around 10:30 a.m.  Basse suffered injuries to an ankle, knee and leg and was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, IN.

White County Sheriff Doug Maier says his office was asked to search an area in southern White County near Dogtown Thursday as part of an investigation into the disappearance of 30-year-old Joelle Lockwood of Evansville, IN.  A heavily wooded area was searched in connection with property owned by a person of interest in the Lockwood disappearance.  Sheriff Maier said nothing was found Thursday as a result of the search.  Lockwood disappeared July 9th near Pigeon Creek.  At the time of her disappearance police said they had no evidence to suggest foul play.  Lockwood was described as 5’3″ and weighing around 125 pounds, and possibly driving a silver Chevy Malibu with Indiana license plate 2111 TYC.

Officials with “Citizens for Reopening the Harmony Way Bridge” say they have been informed that three Posey County Commissioners will vote next week on whether to take over ownership of the bridge, which has been closed for over two years.  The meeting and expected vote will take place Tuesday morning at 9 at the Hovey House in Mt. Vernon, IN.  A member of the citizens group says over 3000 signatures have been gathered on petitions signed in White and Posey counties supporting the effort to reopen the bridge.  It was reported that businesses on both sides of the river has lost anywhere from ten to 30 percent of their revenue since the bridge closed in May of 2012.

Carmi-based Elastec American Marine could likely play a role in helping curb the spread of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.  Elastec Sales Manager Jeremy Pretch says he’s been fielding questions about the company’s MediBurn device as a weapon in the fight to curb the spread of Ebola.  MediBurn is a diesel-fueled incinerator for the disposal of infectious and pathological waste in remote locations.  Elastec has manufactured over 600 of the devices since their inception, and have been used on every continent except Antarctica.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he’s directing state lottery officials to end the contract with Northstar Lottery Group, the firm hired to run the state’s lottery.  The move comes after Northstar has fallen nearly a half-billion dollars short of the revenues it promised to raise for the state over the past three years.  The contract requires the company to make up the difference between revenue projections and actual profits, but so far that hasn’t happened because, the company claims, the past three years numbers have not been audited.

Headlines for Friday, August 15, 2014

lockwoodPolice in White County, Ill. were asked to search a remote wooded area near Dogtown as part of the investigation into the disappearance of 30-year-old Joelle Lockwood of Evansville. Sheriff Doug Maier says his office received a request for assistance from the Evansville Police Department Thursday to search a heavily wooded area near Dogtown in connection with property owned by a person of interest in the Lockwood disappearance. The location is along the Wabash River south of Maunie, in southern White County. Sheriff Maier reports nothing was found as a result of the search. Joelle Lockwood was last seen on July 9 walking near Pigeon Creek. At the time of her disappearance, police said they had no evidence to suggest that foul play was involved in the case. Lockwood is described as 5’ 3” tall and weighing around 125 pounds.  She has brown hair and eyes. According to Evansville police, she might be driving a silver Chevy Malibu with Indiana license plate 2111 TYC.

A Johnston City teen was seriously injured early this morning when the pickup truck he was driving ran off Ill. Rt. 14 in rural Hamilton County, hit several culverts and overturned. 18-year-old Derek Smith was airlifted to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries. A passenger in his truck, 18-year-old Andy Vaughan of Carmi fled the scene on foot and is being sought by police. Derek Smith was cited for DUI following the 12:01 a.m. crash.  Vaughan later checked in at an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

39-year-old Jason L. Hart of Spring Street in Fairfield was arrested Thursday night on a charge of domestic battery.  Hart is accused of assaulting his wife, 25-year-old Elizabeth J. Hart during an argument. He is accused of pulling her hair and striking her on the neck.  Police responded to the call at 7:30 Thursday night.

A McLeansboro man remains hospitalized after being beaten with an aluminum ball bat. 35-year-old George Weingartner suffered major injuries when he was allegedly beaten by 36-year-old Terry Morgan of McLeansboro.  Morgan has been jailed under $100,000 bond on a charge of aggravated battery.

Farmers are expected to harvest a record-breaking corn crop this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the USDA.  The nation’s corn harvest is expected to hit 14 billion bushels. The soybean crop is expected to set a new record as well at 3.8 billion bushels.  Local corn and soybean crops are said to be in excellent condition.

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation aimed at improving emergency response in rural areas of Illinois. The law allows ambulance providers in rural areas to be upgraded to the highest emergency medical technician license of any person staffing that ambulance. Current law restricts an ambulance to a set level of emergency care regardless of the qualifications of those staffing it.  Sponsors of the law say the change allows more kinds of life-saving procedures to be performed in the ambulance.

Headlines for Thursday, August 14, 2014

Johnson, BruceMore than a year after being formally charged, a trial date has been set for former Wayne-White Electric financial officer Bruce D. Johnson. Johnson, 50, of Wayne City is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the co-op and faces two class-3 felony charges of theft.  A January 20, 2015 trial date has been set.  Johnson remains free after posting $5,000 cash bond in July of last year.

A Tamaroa truck driver was injured Wednesday when his truck load of hot asphalt overturned at a construction site on Interstate 64 in Jefferson County.  State Police reported the truck was on uneven pavement when it tipped over, spilling its load of hot asphalt.  State Police did not release the identity of the 53-year-old driver.

For the first time since the fatal accident in 2007, former Illinois State Police trooper Matt Mitchell has publicly apologized for the Interstate 64 crash that killed 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 13-year-old sister, Kelli.  Mitchell was back at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in Centralia this week trying – for the fifth time – to get his drivers’ license back.  The Secretary of State’s office has 90 days to make a decision on Mitchell’s request.

Another rash of telephone scams is targeting area consumers. The latest one comes from a group claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. These scammers are asking victims for personal and financial information.  The IRS has identified over 1,100 victims who have lost around $5 million in the scams.  IRS officials say they will never ask for debit, credit or prepaid card information over the phone.

The annual Elm River Chowder has been set for Saturday, August 30. Volunteers are asked to show up around 7 a.m. to help cut up vegetables.  Thirty cast iron kettles will be placed over wood fires to produce approximately 900 gallons of chowder. Serving will begin around 12:30 in the afternoon.  Bluegrass music will also be featured.

Headlines for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

police truck

The Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved the purchase of two pickup trucks to be used as patrol vehicles for the Fairfield City Police Department. The two trucks will be purchased from LeMonds in Fairfield at a cost of $26,150 each. The vehicles will be Dodge Ram Special Service Crew Cab 4-wheel drive pickup trucks. Pictured above is a representation of the trucks being placed into service for the Fairfield City Police Department.

The Fairfield City Council has approved seeking bids for a firm to plant 2,040 trees on 26 acres of wetlands the city previously secured to replace the wetlands damaged by the failed attempt to build a side channel reservoir east of Fairfield.  The trees have been purchased at a cost of $22,000 and will be delivered on Oct. 1.

An On-Line Utility Exchange has been established for the City of Fairfield.  Customers seeking to establish a utility account with the city must submit to a credit check.  Those with good credit will have to pay a $150 utility fee or no fee at all. Those with bad credit will have to pay $450.

Mayor Chuck Griswold has announced that a company has been secured to begin collecting unpaid utility bills. Anyone in Fairfield with an unpaid utility bill should pay up now, as the bills are about to be turned over for collection.

63-year-old Phillip D. Brown of Laurel Street in Fairfield was arrested Tuesday night for domestic battery.  He is accused of slapping and kicking his girlfriend, 59-year-old Clara A. Dicus.

The annual Wayne County 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Fundraiser will be this Friday at the Geff Ruritan Building. Serving will be from 5 – 7.  All the money raised will benefit Wayne County 4-H programs and activities.

Headlines for Tuesday, August 12, 2014

stacy oneA missing Mt. Carmel teen has been located and is back home with her family.  Alisa Stacy, 15 was located in Evansville, Indiana and returned home late Monday night.  Stacy was last seen by her family on Saturday around 10:00 pm and noticed missing early the next morning.  Mt. Carmel Police were assisted by Princeton Police, Gibson County Police and the Evansville Police Department.  The investigation continues as police try to determine if adults assisted her in leaving her residence.

At a specially called meeting of the Fairfield Community High School Board Monday night, members approved a number of personnel matters. Kelsey St. Ledger has been hired as an English teacher. Kelsey is a native of Ellery and most recently worked at Gibson Southern High School. She replaces John Maus who has resigned. Billy Rogers of Fairfield has been hired as the district’s in-school detention teacher.  Justin Sanders has been employed as the school’s cross-country coach. Hunter Bryan has been approved as a volunteer FCHS football coach.

Gasoline prices have fallen in recent weeks. The cheapest gas price in the area is in Flora at $3.19 per gallon. The cheapest gas in the state was noted in Sparta at $3.18 a gallon.

Vandals have damaged several tombstones at the Toms Prairie Cemetery in rural Jasper Township.  Police spotted a broken tequila bottle near the entrance to the cemetery and several tombstones overturned or broken. No damage estimate was available.The annual Wayne County 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Fundraiser will be held this Friday, August 15 at the Geff Ruritan Building.  Serving will be from 5 – 7.  All proceeds from the dinner will benefit Wayne County 4-H programs and activities.

Headlines for Monday, August 11, 2014

stacy onestacy twoPolice in Mount Carmel, Ill. are requesting the public’s help in locating a missing Mt. Carmel teen that has not been seen since 10 o’clock Saturday night.  The missing juvenile has been identified as 15-year-old Alisa D. Stacy.  Stacy is believed to be in the Princeton, Indiana or Mt. Carmel area.  Police say the missing teen told her mother she was going to bed and when her mother checked on her early Sunday morning she was missing.  Stacy is believed to be wearing bright orange Sketcher tennis shoes.  The missing teen has changed her hair color to brown and one side of her head is shaved.  She also has a stud piercing on her  bottom lip.  Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts are asked to call the Mt. Carmel Police at 618-262-4114 or the Wabash County Crime Stoppers at 618-262- 4258.

Bond has been set at $100,000 for an Arkansas man accused of scamming an Albion man in a driveway paving scheme. Jack Lee Harrison, Sr., 65 of Fort Smith Arkansas faces a Class-2 felony charge of theft and a Class-3 felony charge of intimidation.  Harrison is accused of scamming an Albion man out of $9,900.

71-year-old James G. Roberts of Eldorado has been sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing two children under the age of 10.  Roberts was arrested in March of last year following an investigation by Illinois State Police detectives.

21-year-old Nicholas R. Zoglman of Newburgh, IN was seriously injured Saturday when he fell at the Table Rock formation at the Garden of Gods. Zoglman was airlifted from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

Illinois State Police from the District-19 Post in Carmi issued 412 tickets and 806 written warnings during the month of July.  Commander Capt. Kelly Hodge says troopers also arrested 5 suspected drunk drivers and investigated one fatal traffic crash.

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation ending the practice of posting a driver’s license as security for certain types of traffic citations. The new law eliminates posting a driver’s license as bail. Instead, it allows drivers to sign a citation as their guarantee that they will appear in court or pay a fine.

The Fairfield Community High School Board meets in special session tonight. Members are expected to approve the employment of an English teacher, a one-on-one aide, an in-school detention teacher, a cross country coach and a volunteer football coach. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Headlines for Sunday, August 10, 2014

44-year-old Timothy W. Hightower of Xenia was cited for DUI and improper lane usage following an accident late Saturday morning at the east edge of Flora.  State police said Hightower was westbound on U.S. Route 50 and crossed the center line into the eastbound lane and onto the shoulder, striking a disabled pickup truck head-on, driven by 51-year-old Jamey L. Tolliver of Clay City.  Both drivers had major injuries along with a passenger in Hightower’s vehicle, 34-year-old Shane R. Hightower of West Salem.  All of the injured were taken to Clay County Hospital in Flora.  Police said additional charges against Hightower were pending.

A squirrel was blamed for causing a blown fuse along a power line on Leininger Road in Fairfield around 7:30 last night.  A city power plant spokesperson said it was not known how many homes were affected by any power outages.  It was first believed a transformer had blown along the line, however city workers believe the squirrel was the culprit.

An Indiana man was injured in a fall Saturday afternoon at the Garden of the Gods in Saline County.  The Saline County Sheriff’s Office says a call was received shortly before 1:45 p.m. reporting a man had fallen near Table Rock at the Garden of the Gods.  21-year-old Nicholas R. Zoglman fell near the Table Rock formation and suffered a knee injury.  He was flown from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN for treatment of his injuries.

Illinois State Police District 19 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge has announced the activity and enforcement figures for the month of July in Distict 19.  Troopers answered 283 calls for service and initiated 990 incidents in the field.  Enforcement figures totalled 412 citations and 806 written warnings, including 139 speeding tickets, five DUI’s, 97 seatbelt citations, three child-restraint citations, 250 written warnings for speeding and 25 criminal arrests.  One fatal traffic crash was investigated by District 19 police during July, resulting in one fatality.

The North Wayne School District has scheduled their Open House for later this month.  Mt. Erie and Johnsonville schools will conduct their Open House on Tuesday, August 19th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Cisne Middle and Cisne High School will conduct their Open House on Wednesday, August 20th from 5 to 6 p.m.  The public is welcome to attend both open houses.

Headlines for Saturday, August 9, 2014

An arrest warrant has been issued for 65-year-old Jack Lee Harrison Sr. of Fort Smith, AR.  Harrison is accused of scamming an Edwards County man out of nearly $10,000 in a driveway paving scheme.  Harrison faces a Class-2 felony charge of theft and a Class-3 felony charge of intimidation.    According to a criminal information filed by Edwards County State’s Attorney Michael Valentine, Harrison is accused of scamming the victim, Roy Longbons of Albion, by entering into an oral agreement to pave his driveway for a specific price per linear foot, and after the project was completed, Harrison allegedly charged Longbons by the square foot, resulting in a much higher price.  The intimidation charge accuses Harrison of threatening Longbons with physical harm if he didn’t pay him the money.  Bond on Harrison was set at $100,000.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night in regular session.  Alderman are expected to seek additional bids for the clearing of brush from Johnson and Fairground creeks through Fairfield.  The council is also expected to seek bids for the planting of trees on 34 acres of land as part of a wetland mitigation project.  The city must plant the trees to satisfy a U.S. Corps of Engineers order following the failed construction of a side-channel reservoir east of town, which was being built without Corps of Engineers authority, resulting in the city being forced to secure alternative wetlands to replace the wetlands disturbed by the failed project.

71-year-old James G. Roberts of Eldorado, IL has been sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual contact with two juveniles under the age of ten.  The sentence was handed down in Saline County Circuit Court at Harrisburg, IL.  Roberts drew a consecutive three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a Class-2 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 13.  The victims in the case were six and seven years old at the time of the assault.

Former Harrisburg Mayor Ron Crank died Thursday, just one year after he had been chosen for the job.  Reports indicate Crank had to resign his position to finish cancer treatments.  He had served on the Harrisburg City Council for three years before being named the city’s Mayor last year.

Illinois is inching closer on the medical marijuana program application process for patients and caregivers.  Reports indicate the state has posted the official forms online, but has asked people not to submit anything prior to September 2nd.  Applications for operators of cultivation centers haven’t yet been posted, but some guidance for entrepreneurs who are preparing their paperwork was published Friday.  Once everything is operational, patients and caregivers will have to submit applications before they can be approved for an official identification card that will permit them to purchase medical marijuana.  Patients will pay $100 a year to apply for the card, while veterans and those with disabilities will pay $50 a year.  Patients will be able to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a two-week period from a state-authorized dispensary.

Headlines for Friday, August 8, 2014

While the search for 16-year-old Megan Nichols continues, Fairfield City Police advise that “at this time, interviews and evidence lead authorities to believe Megan left her residence of her own free will.”  Megan has been missing from her W. Douglas St. home since July 3.  As a result of the search for Megan, authorities in Oklahoma have arrested Megan’s biological father, John David Jackson Nichols for failure to register as a sex offender.  U.S. Marshals interviewed John David Nichols and concluded he had no knowledge of Megan’s whereabouts.

The Fairfield Community High School Board meets Monday night to consider a number of personnel matters. The board will consider the employment of an English teacher, a one-on-one aide, an in-school detention teacher, a cross country coach and a volunteer football coach. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the District Office.

Thieves tried to steal a bridge this week in Marion County.  Sheriff Jerry DeVore said the bridge was on a Citation Oilfield Road. The would-be thieves were apparently scared off when a torch being used to cut up the bridge ruptured a gas line that was carrying methane gas away from an oil well.  They left their cutting torches behind

Frontier Community College is offering firefighting classes starting August 25.  The instructors will be Aaron Brown and Andrew Miller. Tuition for this class will be waived for in-district students.  For more information, call the college.

Hypnotist Dan Ladd will be featured this evening at the annual Cisne Reunion.  Also tonight, local band Rollin Country will perform at 6:30 and 8:30.  The Cisne Reunion parade will begin at 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon.

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