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Len Wells, News Director

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1215 4-23-14

Headlines for Thursday, April 3, 2014

Flooding is forecast on area rivers. The Little Wabash at Clay City was at 18.64 this morning and is forecast to crest at 21.8 ft. by Saturday. Flood stage is 18 ft.  The Little Wabash at Carmi was at 5.82 ft. this morning and is forecast to rise to 33.4 ft. by next Wednesday, April 9.  Flood stage at Carmi is 27 ft.  The Wabash at Mount Carmel was at 11.27 ft. this morning and is forecast to rise to 24.9 ft. by April 12. Flood Stage is 19 ft.

35-year-old Eric E. Bone of Fairfield was jailed this morning on a charge of aggravated domestic battery.  Bone is accused of battering his wife, 33-year-old Cherrie L. Bone during an altercation around 1:15 this morning at the couple’s home on W. Delaware.  The victim alleges her husband choked her and slammed her against a wall.

21-year-old David L. Buchanan of Fairfield was jailed Wednesday on a Wayne County warrant charging him with criminal damage to government supported property.  Buchanan walked into the Fairfield City Police Department and asked if he was wanted.  He has been lodged in the county jail under $15,000 bond.

McLeansboro PD31-year-old Bradley K. Rogers of McLeansboro has been jailed on charges related to the manufacture of meth.  A McLeansboro police officer smelled a peculiar odor coming from trash bags in front or Rogers’ house Wednesday, obtained a search warrant and returned to the suspect’s home.  Rogers faces charges of participation in meth manufacturing, possession of meth making materials and unlawful disposal of meth waste.


22-year-old Kaleb G. Withrow of Fairfield has been arrested on a charge of theft.  Withrow is accused of stealing a 4-wheeler belonging to Travis Howard of Geff.  Police found the stolen Honda 400 EX 4-wheeler at Withrow’s home.  It had been repainted yellow.

Wayne County Golf Course is offering free golf including cart and lunch on Saturday, April 12 during its membership drive open house.  Guests and potential new members who play golf at the open house will be entered into a drawing for a free individual or family membership. Grilled pork chops and pork burgers will be served for lunch. Carts will be available on a first come first serve basis from 8 until closing time.

Headlines for Wednesday, April 2, 2014

66-year-old Vic Hawkins of Grayville died Tuesday evening in a construction accident at the industrial park in Grayville.  Mr. Hawkins was working to repair a skid steer loader when it malfunctioned, pinning him between the boom and bucket.  A passerby spotted the accident and called for help shortly after 5 p.m.  Coroner Chris Marsh said Hawkins was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the cause of death.

elks kids I

JasperFairfield Elks Lodge # 1631 recently conducted their annual Americanism Essay Contest with the title being “What Does America Mean to Me”. Prizes and certificates were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in two divisions, 5-6th grade and 7-8th grade.  1st Place in the 7-8th grade of $100 went to Cheyanne Fenton of  Wayne City, 2nd Place of $50 in the 7-8th grade division was given to Gracie Musgrave of Wayne City and 3rd Place of $25 in the 7-8th grade division was awarded to Katelyn Harrison of Jasper School. 1st Place in the 5-6th grade of $100 went to Delainey Bailey of Wayne City, 2nd Place of $50 in the 5-6th grade division was given to Jaden Boyd of Wayne City and 3rd Place of $25 in the 5-6th grade division was awarded to  Jaxson Youngblood of Wayne City. Pictured above fromWayne City L-R:   Wayne City School Principal Mr. Mitchell, Cheyanne Fenton, Delainey Bailey, Jaden Boyd, Gracie Musgrave, Jaxson Youngblood and Americanism Chairperson Bob Osmond. Insert picture is from Jasper School.  L-R: Mr. Matt Shreve, Katelyn Harrison and Americanism Chairperson Bob Osmond.


Students from Center Street School recently took part in a speech contest sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America.  This year’s topic was “The importance of healthy living”. This year’s winners were 7th grader Jasmine Phelps, first place; 6th grader Jason Wright, second place; and 7th grader Cassi Hayes, third place.  Each of them will receive a trophy and gold award pins.  Gold award pins were also given to the other participants.  The 1st and 2nd place winners will compete in the county contest at Jasper school, Thursday night at 6 pm.

A Pontiac Grand Prix stolen from Meadowood Nursing Home in Grayville Sunday has been recovered.  Brittany Russell’s car was found burned out on a road south of Grayville.  A suspect, 25-year-old John T. Kissee of Grayville has been arrested in connection with the heist.

A recent poll of Illinois residents reveals that nine out of ten respondents believe their state is corrupt.  Currently, there are two state representatives facing federal investigation and a third resigned last week after police raided his office looking for child porn. Four of the last nine governors have served time in prison, including Rod Blagojevich who is currently serving a 14 year sentence for corruption.

Headlines for Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Murphy, Jr.Murphy, Sr.Shelton, ElizA Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy on routine patrol smelled anhydrous ammonia coming from a rural Fairfield, Ill. home Tuesday morning, stopped to investigate and found a suspected meth lab.  The investigation led to the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of numerous items commonly used in the manufacture of meth. The suspects have been identified as Charles E. Murphy, Sr. 50 of Mill Shoals, Charles E. Murphy, Jr., 26 of Fairfield and Elizabeth M. Shelton, 29 of Carmi.  Police made the arrests around 4:30 Tuesday morning at the Sue Robertson residence on Mount Vernon Road, west of the Fairfield municipal airport.  Police reported an elderly woman was living in the house as meth was allegedly being cooked. The home was also equipped with surveillance cameras, police said. Charles E. Murphy, Jr. faces preliminary charges of aggravated participation in meth manufacturing, possession of meth manufacturing materials, possession of anhydrous ammonia, possession of anhydrous ammonia in an unauthorized container and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The aggravating factor in the drug-related charges relates to the presence of an elderly woman in the household, as well as a pregnant woman – Elizabeth Shelton. Pictured left to right – Murphy, Jr.; Murphy, Sr. and Elizabeth Shelton

Forecasters are keeping their eye on the potential for severe thunderstorm development Thursday and Thursday night.  Heavy rainfall is also a possibility Wednesday night through Thursday night.  Widespread severe weather is a possibility.


bobcat IIIllinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.  The Illinois House approved the measure on a vote of 91-20. The measure now goes to the Senate.  The bobcat is the mascot of Frontier Community College.


hogThe Illinois Department of Natural Resources has imposed new rules that prohibit bringing feral hogs into Illinois to be hunted.  DNR officials are currently working with federal officials to eliminate a population of feral swine in Clay, Effingham, Fayette and Marion counties.


The annual Wayne-White Electric Cooperative meeting is this Friday at the Fairfield Community High School.  Three seats on the cooperative board will be up for election.  Entertainment this year will be provided by Jon Henninger’s band from Mount Vernon.

Headlines for Monday, March 31, 2014

carterUPDATED. . . . .

56-year-old Chalen K. Carter of Fairfield has been jailed on a felony charge of intimidation.  The charge stems from his arrest Sunday for DUI.  During the DUI investigation, Wayne County Sheriff’s police report finding detailed notes in Carter’s vehicle listing vehicle descriptions and license numbers of a specific Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy. Also included, were descriptions and license numbers of parents who drop their kids off at the home of the deputy’s mother for child care. Police later went to Carter’s home as part of their intimidation investigation and seized – as evidence -0 a .32 caliber handgun, a .22 revolver, a derringer, a muzzleloader gun, a suspected pot pipe; a prescription bottle containing 16 lorazepam pills with no label and ammunition.  While Carter had posted bond on the DUI case, he has been jailed on the intimidation charge which carries a $100,000 bond.

Fairfield City Alderman and former mayor Harry Morlan has died.  Mr. Morlan had been active in city government for decades, serving most recently as city alderman. He also served multiple terms as the city’s mayor.  Services for Harry Morlan are pending.

An analysis shows two Southern Illinois counties have the highest per-capita number of concealed carry applications. White and Hardin Counties topped the state for the most permit requests. So far, 184 applications have come from White County – 54 from Hardin County. Statewide, officials expect 300,000 concealed carry applications to be filed this year.

Illinois lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills recently to tweak the state’s new concealed carry law.  Some bills propose to make the law stricter, while others propose to make the law more lenient.  The first concealed carry permits were mailed out to Illinois residents about a month ago.

The Career Development Center has placed a textile collection container in Albion.  The container has been placed at TCB Detailing and Repair at 35 North First Street in Albion. Donated items will provide work opportunities for area residents with disabilities.

The Community Art Show at Frontier Community College is this Friday from 4 – 8 p.m.  Frontier will roll out the new Bobcat mascot design during the show.  The show will include a high school and adult division in several categories.  There is no entry fee for the show. More information is available by calling the college.

Headlines for Sunday, March 30, 2014

Edwards County officials continue to investigate an apparent suicide in West Salem.  The body of 38-year-old Charlie Stuessel was found around 7:30 Friday night in the garage of his home.  Invetigators said Stuessel and his estranged wife had been arguing much of the day Friday, and at some point, Mr. Steussel apparently went to the garage of his home and shot himself with a shotgun.  Edwards County Coroner Mark Curts, the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police Crime Scene officials are investigating the death.  Foul play is not suspected.

Wayne and Edwards counties had slightly lower unemployment rates for February compared to a year ago, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  Wayne County’s rate was 9.8 percent, while Edwards County’s rate was 10.5 percent.  The IDES said most southern Illinois counties had lower unemployment for February compared to a year ago.  The winter weather affected construction work and payrolls, as well as employment in the Retail Trade and Lesiure-Hospitality sectors.  Area unemployment rates for February ranged from 13.3 percent in Franklin county to 7.5 percent in Washington and Moultrie counties.

Frontier Community College in Fairfield is hosting a Job Fair on Tuesday, April 8th from 1 to 6 p.m. in the college’s Workforce Development Building.  The event is designed to give students, alumni and the general public a chance to meet with potential employers in a large setting and learn about possible job openings.  More information is available by contacting Mark Elliott at the college at 842-3711.

The application deadline for the Wabash Valley Association Scholarship has been extended to Monday, April 7th for students planning to attend Frontier Community College this fall.  To qualify for the $1000 cash scholarship, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, reside in the IECC district and be enrolled or accepted for fall enrollment in a degree-seeking program at Frontier.  Students must also submit a one-page essay regarding their concerns and thoughts for conservation in the Wabash Valley area.  More information is available by calling the college at 842-3711.

Congressman John Shimkus is co-sponsoring legislation that would expand the prohibition on inaccurate caller identification.  The practice is known as “spoofing” and attempts to trick call recipients.  The law currently bans the practice of spoofing on calls originating in the United States.  The proposed legislation would expand the ban to include calls originating outside the U.S. if the recipient is within the U.S.  The legislation is pending in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Headlines for Saturday, March 29, 2014

Center Street won this year’s Wayne County Scholastic Bowl, held at Frontier Community College in Fairfield.  Center Street defeated Cisne 235 to 155 to win the event.  Cisne defeated Wayne City, lost to Center Street and defeated New Hope in the semi-final round to reach the championship, while Center Street defeated Geff and New Hope earlier in the day to reach the championship.  Six teams competed in this year’s event.  They were Center Street, Cisne, Geff, Jasper, New Hope and Wayne City.  The competition was held in the West Classroom Building at Frontier Community College.

Edwards County officials are investigating an apparent suicide in West Salem.  The body of 38-year-old Charlie Stuessel was found around 7:30 Friday night in the garage of his home.  According to investigators, Stuesseel and his estranged wife had been arguing much of the day Friday, and at some point, Mr. Steussel apparently went into the garage of his home and shot himself with a shotgun.  Edwards County Coroner Mark Curtis, the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police Crime Scene officials are investigating the death.  No foul play is suspected, however an autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon (Saturday).

Two teens were injured and taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital Friday night following an accident in rural Wayne County.  State police said a 16-year-old female juvenile from Fairfield was southbound on county road 1800E just north of county road 200N when a deer entered the roadway.  The driver swerved to the right, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway and hit a ditch before overturning.  The driver and a female juvenile passenger were taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital following the 9:45 p.m. accident.  Police did not identify those involved due to their ages.  No tickets were issued.

Work is progressing on an upgrade and addition to Times Square Mall in Mt. Vernon, IL.  The west wing of the mall will soon be home to three new businesses, Hobby Lobby, Ross Dress for Less and Big Lots.  The $11 million project is employing around 60 workers, which includes major upgrades to the interior and exterior of the mall.  Construction began last August but has been hampered by winter weather.  The project is expected to be completed by early June.

Wayne County’s unemployment rate for February was 9.8 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 10.2 percent a year ago.  Edwards County reported a February rate of 10.5 percent, down slightly from 10.6 percent a year ago.  Franklin County had the highest February unemployment rate in southern Illinois at 13.3 percent, while Washington and Moultrie counties had the lowest at 7.5 percent.   The IDES said winter weather caused declines in construction work and payrolls, and also affected employment in the Retail Trade and Leisure-Hospitality sectors.

19-year-old Alice G. Fine of Chicago, IL and 20-year-old Daniel A. Groering of Evanston, IL were arrested early Friday morning after allegedly blocking a roadway in Harrisburg and refusing to move.  Officers were called to a report of several people and vehicles blocking Rocky Branch Road around 5:50 Friday morning.  Both face preliminary charges of obstructing traffic peddling, obstructing or delaying, and obstructing or resisting a peace officer.  Both are being held in the Saline County Detention Center.

Headlines for Friday, March 28, 2014

sauterIllinois State Police have launched a statewide enforcement operation targeting commercial motor vehicles.  Operation Sauter is a special enforcement operation dedicated to fallen Trooper James Sauter who was killed in the line of duty March 28 of last year when his patrol car was hit by a semi on I-294.  All Illinois State Police sworn personnel have been assigned to the special 24 hour detail.

An annual report finds that Woodford County in Central Illinois is the healthiest county in the state, with Alexander County in the far southern tip of the state ranking last.  Wayne County ranks 47th with White County ranking 74th.

An $11 million construction project is underway at Times Square Mall in Mt. Vernon.  Work continues on the construction of three new businesses – Hobby Lobby, Big Lots and Ross Dress for Less.  The shops should be finished by early June.

Illinois e-book readers are set to receive payments this week from a court settlement with five major publishers. The publishers conspired with Apple, Inc. to drive up the price of e-books by $3.

A proposal to impose a 3% surcharge on incomes of $1 million or more has been sent to the Illinois House floor for debate. The proposal passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee by a vote of 6 -4.  If enacted, the tax would bring in about $1 billion a year for elementary and secondary education.

The 26th annual Wayne Co. Scholastic Bowl is today at Frontier Community College. The championship matches begin at 6:30 and will be aired on WFIW FM – 104.9.

Headlines for Thursday, March 27, 2014

westallHelen Marie Westall has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting she hired a Mount Carmel man to murder 78-year-old Robert Westall.  Tyler McQueen stabbed Mr. Westall to death at his United Methodist Village apartment in Lawrenceville.  McQueen is currently serving a 50 year sentence for his role in the slaying. Westall entered a guilty plea to the charges last January and was sentenced Tuesday.

56-year-old Arthur L. Barton of Fairfield was jailed Wednesday afternoon on a charge of domestic battery. Barton is accused of shoving his sister, 35-year-old Amy L. Moore during an argument at the Fairfield High Rise.

The Democratic candidate for sheriff of Johnson County has died. Jay Merchant, a longtime Illinois Department of Corrections employee was found unresponsive at his home. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital in Marion.  Merchant ran unopposed in last week’s primary election.

Two Fairfield men have been jailed after county police raided their mobile home and found an operating meth lab.  Jeffrey M. Alldredge, 20 and Bobby C. Powell, 22, have been jailed on multiple charges related to the alleged manufacture and possession of methamphetamine.

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make the state’s “temporary” income tax increase permanent to prevent extreme and radical budget cuts.  In his budget address Wednesday, Quinn also said he wanted to give homeowners a $500 annual property tax refund.

About 800 elderly prisoners could have a shot at getting out of prison early.  A proposal in Springfield suggests that inmates over 50 years old who have been locked up for more than 25 years should be released.

Headlines for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Fairfield City Council is considering a measure that would require landlords to pay the utility bills of renters who skip town without settling up their account.  The proposal has been met with much resistance from owners of rental property.  A committee has been appointed to study the issue.  Members of the rental property community have been asked to be part of the discussion.

cornett croppedIllinois State Police are seeking help from the public in locating 26-year-old Arnold Samuel Cornett of Stonefort, IL.  Cornett escaped from a trooper last Monday night after being arrested on an Albany County, Wyoming warrant.  The suspect fled on foot following a traffic stop at Main and Poplar Streets in Harrisburg.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Arnold Samuel Cornett should contact your local law enforcement agency.


Municipal officials are investigating problems with new fire hydrants installed as part of the city’s new water treatment facility.  City councilmen learned Tuesday night that all of the hydrants between the new treatment plant and the Little Wabash River are unusable because of low water pressure.

A scheduled 5% rate increase on rural water districts has been postponed until at least the first quarter of next year.  Mayor Chuck Griswold noted that at least one rural water district holds a significant amount of debt. Adding a 5% rate increase would have placed that district in a negative cash flow position.

The Fairfield City Council said NO to a request from the Fairfield Public Library for a $2,000 donation to fund their annual summer reading program. The council also nixed a request to vacate a portion of Leroy Avenue between the municipal tennis courts to allow for the construction of a shelter house.

Two members of the Fairfield Fire and Police Commission have resigned. Dr. David Mills resigned after moving out of the city.  And, the commission’s secretary, Norma Bunting has retired after 25 years of service.

Headlines for Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shores Builders, Inc. of Centralia has been approved as the contractor to build a new fire station for the City of Albion. Shores’ bid was $892,000 – far above the architect’s estimate of $625,000.  The original low bidder for the project, Johannes Construction of Centralia has withdrawn their bid for the project.  Shores Builders was approved for the project during a special meeting of the Albion City Council Monday night.

everettFairfield Memorial Hospital has donated $1,500 in scholarship funds to Reece Everett, son of Mike and Charlotte Everett, to help cover tuition fees to attend a Leadership Summit on Medicine and Healthcare at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, this summer. Reece was nominated to attend the Summit through the FCHS guidance office based upon his academic record, leadership potential and interest in the field of medicine.  By attending the Leadership Summit on Medicine and Healthcare, Reece will be taking advantage of a unique opportunity to explore and connect with the field of medicine.

29-year-old James Denham of Broughton has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges he burglarized Tom’s Right Priced Foods in McLeansboro, stealing $800 worth of cigarettes.  His co-defendant, Charles Morgan drew a 4 year sentence in the case.  Denham was sentenced to a concurrent 5 year sentence for stealing car parts from a McLeansboro resident.

Mount Carmel Police are asking for help from the public in solving a rash of car burglaries.  In the early morning hours Sunday, thieves entered more than 40 cars in Mt. Carmel, stealing mainly electronic equipment such as MP3 players, GPS systems and IPads. A $300 reward is being offered through the Mt. Carmel Crimestoppers program. The number to call if you have information about these burglaries is 262-HALT.

phyllisAfter 30 years of service to the region, State Farm Insurance Agent Phyllis Hilliard is retiring.  A special retirement open house has been set for 9 – 5 today at the Phyllis Hilliard State Farm Office located at 521 West Main Street in Fairfield.  Folks are invited to drop by and enjoy cookies and punch, wish Phyllis a happy retirement and meet the new State Farm Agent, Carrie Rice. After retirement, Phyllis plans to do some traveling and volunteer work in Fairfield.  A native of Grayville, Phyllis says she has no plans to leave Fairfield.

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