Len Wells, News Director


images_banners_listentolocalnews1215 7-22-14

Headlines for Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GOING, TIMOTHY CFederal prosecutors have filed charges against Fairfield Community High School math instructor and cross-country coach Timothy C. Going.  A review of computer equipment seized from Going’s Fairfield home revealed he was in possession of numerous images of child porn – specifically images of girls under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The alleged child porn was believed to have been downloaded from the Internet.  Going is scheduled to make his first appearance on the federal charges on July 21 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.


Work is underway in the replacement of the roof over the Edwards County Fairgrounds grandstands.  The roof collapsed last December following a long period of sleet, freezing rain and as much as 13 inches of snow.  Lear Construction Company of Albion is doing the work.

All of Southern Illinois was placed under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10 o’clock Tuesday night.  Locally, there was plenty of thunder and lightning, but not a lot of rain.  Heavy rain and storms were reported in Saline County.

41-year-old Roger D. Groves of Fairfield has been sentenced to four years in prison on a conviction of unlawful possession of marijuana.  The judge gave him credit for 67 days spent in the county jail awaiting trial.

Illinois residents will be allowed to register to vote on Election Day this fall. Governor Pat Quinn has signed a law aimed at streamlining the registration and early voting process.  The state’s next election will be on November 4.

Headlines for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

28-year-old Rasheik Moore of Fairfield was arrested early this morning after he allegedly tried to stab a woman during an altercation in the street near the intersection of Wayne Street and Illinois Avenue.  The alleged victim, 20-year-old Tessie Bonin told police that Moore lunged at her with a lock-blade knife with a 7 inch blade.  She was not injured.  Moore has been booked on a preliminary charge of aggravated assault. The incident happened around 1 o’clock this morning.

20-year-old Jeffrey Alldredge of Fairfield was arrested Monday on a charge of retail theft.  Alldredge is accused of trying to steal about four pounds of ground beef from the Fairfield Hometown IGA store by stuffing the package down the front of his pants.

Three people are dead in a three-car crash in Williamson County.  State Police have not released the victims’ names pending notification of relatives. The crash happened on Ill. Rt. 13 at Cambria Road and involved a Porsche 911, a Toyota and a Pontiac.  The Porshe wound up in Crab Orchard Lake.  Police say speed contributed to the severity of the crash. The crash happened around 9:30 Monday night.

A Mt. Vernon man has been arrested on a charge of aggravated arson after allegedly setting a fire that heavily damaged Rend Lake Boat Storage on Friday.  Alec McLaughlin has been charged in the case.  Jefferson County Fire Chief Robert Beal suffered first-degree burns fighting the fire.

Thieves are targeting air conditioning units in White County.  Sheriff Doug Maier reports that a central air conditioning unit was stolen from a home near Grayville and another in Norris City.  It appears the units were targeted for their scrap metal value.

Headlines for Monday, June 30, 2014

A Boaz, KY man has entered a guilty plea to charges he robbed the Old National Bank branch facility in Harrisburg last October.  28-year-old Casey Allen Heflin was out on parole from a previous bank robbery conviction when he was arrested.  Federal prosecutors said Heflin was armed with a loaded derringer-type weapon when he held up the bank and made off with $4,197.  Sentencing has been set for Sept. 24.

WillieA guard at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna was seriously injured Friday after being attacked by an inmate.  The guard suffered a broken jaw and required 12 stiches to close his wounds.  The inmate has been identified as Willie Carter (pictured)  The injured guard was not identified. Carter has been transferred to the Menard State Prison at Chester.


Frank ZachmanHamilton Memorial Hospital board member Frank Zachman, Jr. was honored last week during the hospital’s regularly scheduled board meeting. Zachman is leaving the board after 18 years of service. During his tenure, he served as the hospital board’s president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

Flow testing of Fairfield fire hydrants will be conducted today.  The process could cause a discoloration of water and a dip in pressure. The testing is being carried out by the Fairfield Fire Department and Water Department.

You can forget term limits for Illinois lawmakers – at least for now.  A judge has ruled that signature-driven ballot measures calling for legislative term limits and a new political redistricting process cannot appear on the November ballot.  The judge said the measures didn’t meet constitutional requirements to make it on the ballot.

Headlines for Sunday, June 29, 2014

Salem, IL held its Relay For Life event Friday night and Saturday morning.  Reports say the event raised a total of $79,654 just short of a goal of $90,000.  Reports also said the event was delayed for 45 minutes due to rain in the area.  The top fundraising team was North American Lighting, raising $18,596.  Wayne County’s Relay For Life was held last weekend at Leo French Park and raised $24,704, not counting any money to be turned in later.  This was the 11th year for the Relay for Life in Salem, while Wayne County’s Relay for Life has been held for about the past 15 years.

The city of Fairfield’s fire and water departments will be flow testing fire hydrants throughout the city beginning at 8 a.m. Monday.  During the flushing process, residents could notice a slight loss in water pressure and a temporary discoloration of the water.  Those with questions can call the city water department at 842-7015.

Area producers are being reminded that the deadline to file an acreage report for spring seeded crops, including corn, soybeans, oats and grain sorghum is July 15th.  Producers should contact their local county FSA office if they are unsure about the actual acreage reporting deadlines, as the date may vary in some areas depending on the climate they experienced.

Entertainment for this year’s Corn Days in Carmi has been announced.  Performers will include singer-songwriter Josh Thompson and country newcomer Leah Turner.  Thompson performs over 200 shows a year, and has established himself as a noted songwriter in Nashville.  Turner was recently named Taste of Country’s #1 Woman to Watch in country music.  The Carmi Kiwanis Club will be staging this year’s Corn Days event.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officer of Law Enforcement is seeking qualified applicants to take the written exam for Conservation Police Officer Trainee.  The exam will be offered July 14th through 17th at several sites around the state.  In our region the test will be offered on a walk-in basis in Marion, IL.   Applicants will need to bring a completed CMS-100 application to the assessment center on the day of testing.  More information is available by calling (217) 785-8407.

Headlines for Saturday, June 28, 2014

54 Rend Lake College Practical Nursing students completed their program Thursday night during the annual Pinning Ceremony, held in the Rend Lake College Theatre.  Among the 54 students were some from Wayne County.  Students who graduate from the college’s LPN program have the option of going straight into the workforce or continuing their education in the Associate Degree Nursing program.  Among those graduating locally were Tymber Downen and Tiffany Schwartz, both of Wayne City.

The city of Fairfield’s fire and water departments will be flow testing fire hydrants in the city starting Monday morning at 8.  Residents could notice a temporary discoloration in the water and a slight loss in pressure during the flushing process.  Those with questions can call the water department at 842-7015.

Wayne County’s May unemployment rate was seven percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 7.7 percent a year ago.  Edwards County’s rate was 7.4 percent, down from eight percent a year ago.  The IDES said nearly all Illinois counties had lower unemployment for May compared to a year ago, with payroll advances noted in the wholesale trade and mining sectors in southern Illinois.  Seasonal employment gains also occurred in the construction, retail trade and recreation sectors.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s law to improve Illinois’ Graduated Driver Licensing program is set to take effect this Tuesday, July 1st.  The law requires those age 18 to 20 who failed to attend driver education to complete a six-hour driving training and education course before applying for a driver’s license.  Previously, teenagers turning 18 could apply for and obtain a driver’s license without any driver education.  The course will be offered at driving schools in the state that have been certified by the Secretary of State’s Office.  A list of providers can be found online at   www.cyberdriveillinois.com

U.S. Department of Agriculture and Illinois Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Scherrie Giamanco is reminding area agriculture producers that the deadline to file an acreage report for spring seeded crops, including corn, soybeans, oats, and grain sorghum, is July 15th.  Planted acres must also be reported to the FSA by July 15th.  The USDA said the date may vary in some areas depending on the climate they experienced.  Producers should contact their local county FSA office if they are uncertain about acreage reporting deadlines.

Headlines for Friday, June 27, 2014

62-year-old Donald J. Schubert of Fairfield was hurt in an accident late Thursday afternoon in Grover Township.  Police say Schubert was westbound on Sunrise Drive and missed a curve in the roadway, causing the vehicle he was driving to leave the roadway and overturn.  He was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.  No tickets were issued.

New officers for the Fairfield Rotary Club were installed at the club’s weekly meeting Thursday in the Elks Club dining room.  Succeeding Royce Carter as President is Clinton Legg.  Jervaise McDaniel will serve as Vice-President, with Brad Jesop continuing as Treasurer and Sharon Gualdoni as the club’s Secretary.  The officers will begin their duties on July 1st.

The city of Fairfield’s water and fire departments will be flow testing fire hydrants throughout the city starting at 8 a.m. Monday.  During the flushing process residents may notice a temporary discoloration in the water and a slight loss in water pressure.  Those with questions can call the water department at 842-7015.

The May unemployment numbers have been released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  Wayne County’s rate for May was seven percent, down from 7.7 percent in May of last year.  Edwards County’s rate was 7.4 percent, down from eight percent in May of last year.  The IDES said unemployment for May declined in all but three of Illinois’ 102 counties.   They also reported that all southern Illinois counties now have a May unemployment rate below ten percent.   May unemployment rates in the region ranged from 5.3 percent in Washington County to 9.9 percent in Alexander County.

Starting Tuesday, motorists traveling the bridge across the Wabash River linking Illinois Route 141 in White County with Indiana Route 62 will no longer have to pay tolls to the Indiana Department of Transportation.  Reports say officials decided to discontinue the tolls due to the low volume of cars that use the bridge and the costs associated with the bridge.  Drivers who have prepaid accounts to cross the bridge will be refunded their money once the toll collecting ends.

Local 4-H members, leaders and volunteers are being reminded of the 4-H Fairgrounds clean-up day on Saturday from 9 a.m. til noon.  Members are being asked to bring rakes, shovels, and weed eaters to help clean up the grounds prior to the county fair.  The Wayne County 4-H Federation will provide pizza and drinks to those that help with the cleanup.

Prosecutors in Madison County, Illinois have charged 43-year-old Virginia Puff of Alton, IL with aggravated cruelty to animals.  Puff is accused of killing a cat by dropping a frozen jug of water on its head.  Police said her live-in boyfriend witnessed the killing and went next door to call police.  Police said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.  Puff is currently free on bond.

Headlines for 6-26-14


New officers for the Fairfield Rotary Club were installed at the club’s weekly meeting today (Thursday) in the Elks Dining Room.  Succeeding Royce Carter as President is Clinton Legg.  Jervaise McDaniel will serve as Vice-President.  Brad Jesop continues as Treasurer and Sharon Guladoni is the club’s Secretary.  The officers begin their duties July 1st.  (Pictured left to right are Clinton Legg, Sharon Gualdoni, Royce Carter, Jervaise McDaniel and Brad Jesop)


A boil order has been issued for residents in the Jasper Water District on County Road 2300 East, south of 161 to 2200 East and from 1680 North to 1630 North.  Residents in this area should boil any water for human consumption.  The boil order will remain in effect until otherwise notified.

Oneal, Gregory BCarmi Police report the arrest of a Carmi man Tuesday evening. 45 year old Gregory B. Oneal (pictured above) of Burrell Street in Carmi was arrested shortly after 6pm on a domestic battery charge following an incident at 702 Foley Drive in Carmi. Booking records show Oneal was jailed shortly before 8pm Tuesday with bond set at $750.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding organizations and individuals sponsoring fireworks displays in Illinois to be sure their fireworks vendor has the required state licenses and certificates issued by the IDNR prior to their fireworks show. The Illinois Explosives Act requires that anyone who purchases, possesses, uses, transfers, stores or disposes of explosives, including display fireworks must have an explosives license and explosives storage certificate issued by the IDNR.

A 26-year-old Centralia man has entered an open guilty plea in Marion County Court to felony reckless conduct resulting in great bodily harm.

Jeffrey Stoops admitted in the charge to throwing his then two-month old infant multiple times into the air causing brain injuries to the young child. A Class X charge of aggravated battery to a child under 13 causing permanent disability was dropped. Judge Mark Stedelin set sentencing for August 5th at 11 am to allow for completion of a presentence investigation. The infant was treated at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis for a brain bleed and what appeared to be healing rib and clavical fractures from earlier injuries. Stoops had originally been found unfit to stand trial on the charges. However, after two months of treatment by the Illinois Department of Human Services both the prosecution and defense agreed to stipulations in a DHS report in April indicating Stoops was now fit to stand trial. Stoops remains in the Marion County Jail in lieu of a half-million dollars bond.

Governor Quinn has signed a bill that allows psychologists to prescribe medication to patients. The legislation was sponsored by both Senator Don Harmon and Representative John Bradley. Under the new measure psychologists have to get special training for prescription writing and will be required to work with a coordinating doctor.

Headlines for 6-25-14

tank fire photo

(photo courtesy of Richard Perkins III)

Several fighters were on the scene of a tank battery fire in Mt. Erie on Monday evening.  The Cisne Volunteer Fire Department, along with the Fairfield Rural Fire Department, Orachardville and Clay City were all on the scene alone with, what we have been told were several other responders.  A lightning strike is believed to have started the fire.  Above is a picture of the blaze sent to WFIW by an onlooker at the scene.  No injuries have been reported and no details of the fire are available at this time.

The Fairfield City Council met for about 90 minutes last night.  Much of the meeting was devoted to the possibility of establishing a pharmaceutical marijuana grow operation being developed locally.  Any medical marijuana in the state of Illinois would be sold by 60 dispensaries, who would buy the product from licensed growers in the state.  Mayor Chuck Griswold said the city of Fairfield has a site picked out for an operation, which would be a 50/50 effort with the county.  The site is located on ten acres south of the city’s sewer plant, which the mayor said would be in a rural area away from any residents.

45-year-old Gregory B. Oneal of Carmi was arrested Tuesday evening on a domestic battery charge, following an incident that occurred at 702 Foley Drive in Carmi.  Booking records indicate Oneal was jailed shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, with bond set at $750.

A Harrisburg woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing the identity of a senior citizen in her care. Kimberly Ital, 46, received the sentence Tuesday in Saline County court. Ital was arrested in September after prosecutors said she stole tens of thousands of dollars from a 72-year-old woman with dementia. She pleaded guilty in March to three counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of theft.

A trash truck apparently became entangled with a guy wire of the WNOI-FM radio tower on U.S. 50 in Flora, bringing the tower to the ground and knocking the station off the air. Part of the tower hit the radio building, causing a hole in the roof. There were no injuries. Pat Garrett, who was on the air at the time, said he had his headphones on and heard what sounded like a thunderclap.

The Illinois Treasurer’s Office plans to auction off nearly nine-thousand pieces of unclaimed property, including antique coins, jewelry and presidential campaign buttons. The property came from owners who haven’t claimed the items from the state for at least five years. The online auction runs July 7th through July 11th.


Headlines for 6-24-14

tornado1 tornado3

A confirmed funnel cloud and tornado were sited on the ground last night around 5:30 just SouthWest of Fairfield.  Reports tell WFIW that there were several downed trees on Big Mound Road just off Airport Road.  No other damage has been reported and no injuries have been reported at this time.

A trash truck turned out to be the culprit in an unusual accident in Flora today.  The Republic Services trash truck was at the Flora, IL local radio station, WNOI, picking up trash, when while backing up, ran over a guide wire attached to the radio tower.  The tower then was pulled down and collapsed onto itself, also destroying parts of the station’s office building.  Thankfully no one was injued in the accident.  There was no word on a damage amount or how long it would take to make repairs to the tower and building.


A search warrant turns up methamphetamine, paraphanalia and several other charges for a Fairfield man. Police served served a search warrant at the home of Robert D. Esmon and found methamphetamine, ammunition, plus several images depicting what appeared to be child pornography. Esmon was arrested and is awaiting bond. More charges are expected to be filed.

A 23-year-old Geff man has died in a weekend accident in Clay County. State Police say Timothy Bell was eastbound on Long Leaf Lane a mile east of North State Road three miles north of Flora when he failed to negotiate a curve and drove off the left side of the road.  Bell was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead on the scene.   Police report he was not wearing his seatbelt. The crash occurred at 11:23 Saturday night. State Police were assisted by the Clay County Coroner and Sheriff’s Department.

Many people in Harrisburg are mourning the loss of 18-year-old Machaela Sherrod. The newlywed died Sunday afternoon in a single vehicle crash, just south of Carrier Mills.     The day was supposed to be the start of a new life for Sherrod, who is known as Katie.  Katie was just married to the passenger in that crash John Gould,  less than 24 hours prior to the accident.   The crash happened on a stretch of Tuller Road, about a half-mile south of Carrier Mills. Illinois State Police say for some unknown reason, Katie drove off the road and flipped down an embankment. She died at the scene, and her husband was flown to an Evansville hospital for treatment. A former art teacher of Katie’s says she was stunned by the loss.  She says Katie was the type of student every teacher wanted in their classroom. According to wsil tv Goulds grandparents say, he tried his best to save her,” . Gould is recovering from his injuries but family says emotionally, he is having a lot of trouble. If you’d like to help Katie’s family, they’ve started a GoFundMe site to help pay for her funeral. That address is www.gofundme.com/alvs9g 

The Illinois Farm Bureau is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a felony conviction for the recent arson fires of equipment owned by Fred Tubbs of Wayne City, IL. A John Deere 4320 tractor, a John Deere 4960, a skid steer loader, and a Caterpillar E120 excavator were parked in a field owned by Fred Tubbs west of Geff, IL when the arson took place.

Domestic battery charges were filed against a Fairfield man on Saturday June 21st. Reports state that Shelly L Wodicker of Fairfield told police her husband had pushed her,and physically restrained her. When police arrived she had blood on her chin and lacerations on her lip. Vincent Wodicker was arrested and charged with domestic battery.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee is pleased to launch a new initiative to collect hats for cancer patients in the area. The “Hats On for Cancer” initiative is a joint project of the Wayne County Farm Bureau and Fairfield Memorial Hospital. The goal of the project is to collect 1,000 hats by August 15, 2014.




Headlines for June 23rd, 2014

A confirmed funnel cloud and tornado touched down southwest of Fairfield at approximately 5:30 Tuesday evening.  No watches or warnings were issued prior to the event, but the National Weather Service did confirm that it was a land spout which is a weak tornado that can form ahead of a thunderstorm.  Tornado sirens were activated after local police confirmed the tornado touchdown.  Trees were reported down along Big Mound Road just off Airport Road.

A car train accident was reported on Saturday morning in Jefferson County resulting in one death.  35 year old Shawn Betts of Wayne City was pronounced dead at the scene by Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Jo Marks.  Details of the accident are still pending and remains under investigations.

On Wednesday, June 18th at approximately 3:34pm several officers executed a search warrant at the home of Robert D. Esmon of Fairfield. Upon entering the home, police found extensive amounts of drug paraphanalia. Also found on Esmon’s phone were images depicting what appeared to be prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts and poses. Upon verification of the child pornography, future charges will be forthcoming.

There were several arrests over the weekend…..Friday June 20th at 1:51pm, Jacob K. Fenton of Fairfield was arrested for disorderly conduct. No bond has been set.  Also on Friday, June 20th, 30 year old Andrew J. Glad of Fairfield was arrested. He was charged with Aggravated battery, theft, and disorderly conduct. Bond has not yet been set.  Angela M. Story of Fairfield was arrested on June 20th on a Wayne County Warrant for Driving on a revoked license, failure to appear and deceptive practice. She bonded out of jail on a $1500.00 bond.  On Sunday, June 22nd at 13:35am, 25year old Daneille Nicole Buck of Fairfield was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs. No bond has been set.

Randall Legg of Cisne reported someone broke into his home on Sunday June 22nd. Leg told police that left his home around 5pm and when he returned around 630 that evening, several items were missing from his home. Mr. Legg was not sure how the intruder got into his home but did tell police several items were missing including Blue ray dvd player, drills, saws, a laptop plus many other items including numerous tools.

Wayne County Relay for Life was held this past weekend.  According to one of the event organizers, Janet Beard they raised $24,704.94 but that number does not include any outstanding money to be turned in at a later date.  The Wayne County Relay for Life was held for the 15th year at Leo French Park in Fairfield and all moneys raised go to benefit The American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.

Domestic battery charges were filed against a Fairfield man on Saturday June 21st. Reports state that Shelly L Wodicker of Fairfield had been at home when her husband Vincent Wodicker returned home intoxicated. They began to argue and Mrs. Wodicker accuses Mr. Wodicer of shoving her causing her to bite her lip, and also when she attempted to leave he pulled her hair and restrained her by putting his arms around her neck. When police arrived she had blood on her chin and lacerations on her lip. Vincent Wodicker was arrested and charged with domestic battery. His bond has not yet been set.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is offering a $1000 reward for information leading the a felony conviction for the recent theft of 13 cattle from George Kissner farm near Wayne City.  Anyone having any knowledge or information should contact the Wayne County Sheriffs office a t 618-842-6631.

According to a preliminary traffic crash investigation, Machaela Sherrod of Harrisburg, Illinois was driving her Ford F150 when for an unknown reason her vehicle left the roadway and overturned in a ditch.  Sherrod was pronounced dead at the scene and a passenger in the vehicle was transported to a hospital for treatment.  The accident remains under investigation.

Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill over the weekend to give voters a chance to be heard in the November 2014 election.  The bill focuses on raising the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10.  Sundays action is part of Governor Quinns agenda to build an economy that works for everyone.

FNB3Man 2014 B flight Jake Bushue Bob Green Josh Bushue FNB3Man2014 A Flight Hallam Pinkston Pool

Wayne County Golf Course (WCGC) hosted the Fairfield National Bank 3 Man Scramble Tournament Saturday June 21st with 45 players in the field.  The Mount Vernon Trio of Kelly Hallam, Travis Pinkston, and Matt Pool won the championship flight with an 87 for 27 holes at 18 under par.   Taking 2nd place, from Flora, at 17 under par were Steven Hamilton, Joe Hemphill, and Ryan Pottorff .  Brothers Jake and Josh Bushue with Bob Green won the B flight over Joe Mitchell, Larry Odum, and Richard Scott in 2nd place.  WCGC would like to acknowledge its appreciation to the tournament sponsors, staff and volunteers who made this event possible.


A Flight Winners (L-R) Kelly Hallam, Travis Pinkston, Matt Pool

B Flight Winners (L-R) Jake Bushue, Bob Green, Josh Bushue

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