Len Wells, News Director
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.
The Fairfield Community High School Varsity Scholastic Team captured the Masonic Sectional Crown Saturday by going 6 and 0 on the day, defeating Vandalia, Hamilton County, South Central, Effingham St. Anthony, Edwards County and Altamont. Kyle Ellis led the tossup scoring for FCHS, answering 37. FCHS is now 29 and 8 on the year, and will be in action again February 27th in a Southern Illinois Academic Conference meet in Salem, then in the Masonic State Tournament in Springfield, IL on March 1st.
Edwards County took 2nd place in the 2014 Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Sectional Tournament Saturday. They posted wins over St. Anthony, Vandalia, Hamilton County, South Central and Altamont and losing to Fairfield. Ean Stanhope led Edwards County’s tossup scoring, answering 15. Edwards County’s next action will be in sectional play on March 10th.
Rain is expected to move into the region Monday morning, which could be mixed with a little freezing rain at the onset. Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Lincoln, IL have issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Clay, Richland and Lawrence counties for Monday morning starting at 6 a.m. until noon. Temperatures are expected to warm into the 40s later in the day. High temperatures could reach the low 60′s by Thursday, and the area has a chance of some thunderstorm activity.
Cisne FFA members Nick Konopasek, Courtney Pogue, Jefferson Mugrage, Marissa Byars, Haylee Walker and Darian Shrearer finished as the 2nd place varisty team at the Section 23 Parliamentary Procedure Career Development Event held this past Thursday at East Richland High School in Olney. Individual honors included 4th place Chairperson-Nick Konopasek and 3rd place Secretary-Courtney Pogue. Mitchell Levi received 1st place Secretary and Rebecca Mugrage 2nd place Chairperson. The teams will advance to the district level at SIU-Carbondale.
This week, February 16th through 22nd, has been proclaimed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as National Court Reporting and Captioning Week. Chief Judge Thomas J. Tedeschi of the Second Judicial Circuit, which includes Wayne and 11 other area counties, says the circuit currently employs 16 full-time court reporters who cover the 12-county area. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14 percent growth in the court reporting profession by the year 2020.
The Fairfield Community High School Board meets Thursday night at 7 in regular session. Several personnel matters are scheduled to be dealt with, and the board is expected to approve setting this year’s graduation for May 18th at 2 p.m. An executive session is also on the agenda to deal with pending litigation.
48-year-old Tammy Bruner of Wayne City was seriously injured Thursday afternoon in a one-vehicle accident on Illnois Route 145 near the Saline-Pope County line. Police said Bruner was northbound when the vehicle she was driving veered off the roadway and hit a culvert before overturning. She was flown to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN and listed in critical condition. The accident occurred at about 1:15 p.m.
The Fairfield Community High School Board meets this Thursday night at 7 for their monthly meeting. The board is expected to set graduation for May 18th at 2 p.m. An executive session is listed to deal with personnel matters and pending litigation, including the employment of a girls track coach and assistant, assistant baseball coach and volunteer softball coach.
West Frankfort, IL resident and Bluford native, Shannon Woodworth, has been named the manager of the DuQuoin State Fair. Woodworth is a 14-year veteran of the state fair, and as a volunteer has overseen the Black Diamond Harley-Davidson Scholarship Program since its beginning five years ago, helping to give out over $250,000 to graduating high school seniors in southern Illinois. The Illinois Department of Agriculture made the announcement on Friday.
Members of the Edwards County FFA Parliamentary Procedure team recently placed 5th at the Section 23 event held at East Richland High School on Thursday. Members of the team included President Andrea Marks, Secretary Shelbey Walker, and floor members Lindsey McKinzie, Chase Hortin, Ragan Bailey and Quentin Speir. Walker placed 2nd as Secretary.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 6 o’clock this evening. Moderate to heavy snow will move across the region during the daylight hours. The heaviest snowfall will be north of a line from Pinkneyville, IL to Rockport, IN. Travel could become difficult and visibility could be reduced.
Area hunters may have a more difficult time obtaining deer hunting permits next hunting season. The Ill. Department of Natural Resources plans to revise deer population objectives for more than 40 counties. Fewer permits will be available in those counties. Officials say the state’s objective of reducing deer population has been met in many counties, resulting in the availability of fewer permits.
One person was seriously injured in a traffic crash in rural Saline County Thursday afternoon. The accident happened on Ill. 145 near the Saline-Pope County line. The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Tammy Bruner of Wayne City, and was flown to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. The Saline County Sheriff’s Office says Bruner received multiple injuries after the car she was driving veered off the roadway, hit a culvert and overturned.
Illinois lawmakers are considering changes in the state’s new concealed carry law. A series of changes are being introduced, including an expansion of the list of locations where people would be allowed to carry a firearm. Another proposed change would reduce the number of hours of training required to obtain a permit.
The Wayne County Clerk’s office will be open from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday for voter registration only. Next Tuesday, Feb. 18 is the last day for voter registration ahead of the March 18 General Primary Election. If you have moved, you need to transfer your registration. If you have changed your name, you need to do a new registration.
An Alberta Clipper low pressure system will move southeast into the Ohio Valley Friday. The quick moving system will spread snow into the region Friday morning through the afternoon hours. Show accumulations of one to two inches are likely during the daylight hours.
A White County Concealed Carry Firearms Instructor who was ticketed last December for poaching deer has pleaded guilty to the charges and has been fined. 45-year-old Gary Maricle of Carmi entered a guilty plea to two misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of a whitetail deer. He was placed on two years court supervision and ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $1,102. Charges of spotlighting deer and hunting from the roadway were dropped in return for the guilty plea.
Caanan T. McKinney, 22 of Fairfield was arrested Tuesday on a preliminary charge of aggravated battery. McKinney is accused of choking Shane E. Withrow during an altercation early Tuesday morning.
Retired White County Sheriff’s Deputy and longtime County Sheriff’s Department Dispatcher Mark Hall was found dead in his home in Carmi Wednesday morning. He died from apparent natural causes.
Frontier Community College is hosting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Night tonight in the Workforce Development Center. The program will run from 4 – 7 p.m. and is for anyone who anticipates the need for financial aid for college. A second “FAFSA” night has been set for Thursday, Feb. 27.
Chris Wise has been sworn in as the newest member of the Fairfield City Fire Department. A vacancy on the fire department was created by the announced retirement later this year of Chief Mike Pottorff. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and member of the Fairfield Rural Fire Department, Wise is the son of Jeff and Charlotte Wise of Fairfield. Pictured above left to right are Fire Chief Mike Pottorff, Firefighter Chris Wise and Fire and Police Commissioner Dr. David Mills.
Central States Fireworks of Athens, Ill. has been awarded a $10,000 contract for this year’s Fourth of July fireworks show. Three companies bid on the show. The contract with Central States is for three years.
Nussmeyer Tree Service of Cisne has been awarded a contract to trim a number of trees at the Fairfield Municipal Airport that are limiting visibility for aircraft landing at the airport. Nussmeyer’s bid was for $2,400.
The City of Fairfield ranks the third lowest in water and sewer rates among 20 area municipalities. The lowest rate for 6,000 gallons of water usage and minimum sewer rates is Olney at $47.12 per month. The highest is Flora at $94.38. Fairfield’s monthly rate stands at $55.38 following a recent ten percent increase.
Fairfield Rural Firemen were called to a flue fire at the Richard Gruen residence in the Manor East subdivision early Tuesday morning. Firemen tapped out the fire quickly and no damage or injuries were reported.
26-year-old Joshua Newman of Carmi has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to a Class-2 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Newman entered the plea Tuesday in White County Circuit Court at Carmi.
Former Mt. Carmel businessman Kevin C. Williams has been transferred to a federal prison in Arkansas where he will serve a ten year sentence for stealing more than $10 million from an elderly Wabash County woman’s trust fund. The former CPA was recently moved from the Federal Transfer Facility in Oklahoma City to the federal lockup in Forrest City, Arkansas.
Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe is warning area residents about another scam that’s going around. The latest scam involves a letter that contains a check for nearly $5,000. The scam artist asks the victim to cash the check to cover the costs associated with a $125,000 “prize”. The check is worthless, leaving the victim on the hook for the entire amount of phony check.
The Fairfield City Police Department will be participating in an active shooter drill at Northside School this afternoon. The event, in cooperation with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and school staff members is set to begin around 1 p.m.
Ashley Carson, an employee in the Social Services Department has been named Employee of the Month at Fairfield Memorial Hospital.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, has been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit was filed by a former office employee who claims Rutherford made sexual advances toward him multiple times.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night. Officials will report on how the City of Fairfield’s water rates compare to other communities in the area. Tuesday night’s meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall. Officials are trying to find ways to pay for the new water plant east of Fairfield.
24-year-old Ian Merideth of Cisne has been sentenced to 42 months in prison after pleading guilty in Clay County Circuit Court to a charge of theft. Merideth stole a 1988 GMC truck owned by Joey S. Bales of Clay County. He will have to serve another year of parole once he gets out of jail.
Advocates of gambling expansion in Illinois say the time is right to push the legislation through the Illinois General Assembly this spring. Gov. Pat Quinn says he will consider legislation that would add five new casinos and slot machines at racetracks and airports.
Getting into the medical marijuana business in Illinois won’t be cheap. Rules require about $50,000 in application, registration and annual fees, plus the business would have to have $400,000 on hand with verification of how they acquired the money. Those who cultivate marijuana would have to pay about $375,000 in fees and registration costs.
The Frontier Community College Student Nurses’ Association will sponsor a Blood Drive today from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. The Red Cross Blood Mobile Bus will be parked in front of Classroom Building West. All blood types are needed at today’s driver.
A Skywarn Weather Spotter Class will be conducted this Thursday evening at the Fairfield City Police Station. The class is free and starts at 6 p.m. Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service Office in Paducah, KY will be the instructor.