Len Wells, News Director
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced Friday the completion of a nearly $100 million, four-year project to install over 1000 new miles of high-speed fiber optic broadband infrastructure across 55 Illinois counties. Among the counties included are Clay, Lawrence, and Richland. The project created nearly 700 jobs expanding access to high-speed broadband services for schools, libraries, hospitals and Internet providers throughout Illinois. The project was funded by a $62 million competitive award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was made possible by a $24 million commitment from the Illinois Jobs Now capital program and nearly $10 million in other university, local and private resources.
33-year-old Daryl G. Nenninger of Lawrenceville, IL pled guilty Friday in Federal District Court to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender, and faces up to ten years in prison when he is sentened on November 20th. Nenninger traveled to Mexico on December 11th of last year after registering as a sex offender, and was arrested there on March 28th of this year. He remains in custody pending the November 20th sentencing date.
28-year-old Dustin L. Turner of Noble, IL was injured late Thursday night when the off-road motorcycle he was operating was hit by a van on Illinois Route 250 in Richland County. State police said 34-year-old Steven L. Atwood of Noble, IL was attempting to turn into his private drive and didn’t see Turner’s unit, which had no operating lights, causing Atwood to hit Turner’s motorcycle head-on. Turner was airlifted to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN following the crash. Police cited him for operating an ATV on a highway, operating an uninsured vehicle and driving without lights when required.
55-year-old Norman Risley of Sesser, IL has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to a reduced weapons charge. Published reports say Risley was sentenced Thursday in Franklin County and had been found with several firearms and explosives when he was arrested in December 2012 as investigators seized explosive materials and devices in his home, which included blasting caps.
The Illinois State Police hosted its 37th annual Awards Ceremony Friday, paying tribute to acts of heroism and professionalism displayed by 92 men and women who were honored during the event. Among those honored as Officer of the Year Nominees were Trooper Matthew D. Haywood from District 19, headquartered at Carmi for patrol duties, and Luke O. Lay from DuQuoin Communications covering districts 12, 13, 19 and 22 as a Telecommunicator of the Year nominee. The Purple Heart was awarded posthumously to Trooper James M. Sauter, who died in 2013 when he was struck and killed while on duty on I-294 in northern Illinois.
Gov. Pat Quinn has announced $17.9 million for several road projects in Southern Illinois. Locally, $690,000 has been released for pavement marking work on Interstate 64 through Wayne County. In Edwards County, $162,000 has been released to patch and resurface Ill. Rt. 130 north of Grayville for 1/3 of a mile.
23-year-old Kurtis D. Harvey of Mt. Carmel was arrested Thursday on drug charges following a vehicle stop by Gibson County, Ind. police. Harvey was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over on U.S. Highway 41 in Gibson County. A deputy noticed Harvey reaching for something in the back seat during the traffic stop. A search of the vehicle revealed a package of hypodermic needles behind the driver’s seat. Harvey was taken to the county jail in Princeton where he was booked on a preliminary charge of being in possession of a syringe. Total bond – $1,500.
Bill Young with the Jasper Waterworks Corporation is asking for the public’s help in locating a water main leak. Anyone with information is asked to call 516-3332.
A Honda TRX-420 4-wheeler stolen from the Roger Stocke residence near Enfield July 16 has been recovered in Dubois County, Indiana. A suspect who lives in Evansville allegedly stole the 4-wheeler and sold it to an individual in Dubois County, Indiana. Information about the suspect has been forwarded to the White County State’s Attorney for the filing of charges.
A semi was destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon on Interstate 64 in rural Jefferson County. Lonnie C. Burton, 41 of Florida was driving eastbound at the 63 mile marker when he discovered a tire had caught fire. The flames spread quickly, destroying the tractor and trailer. Burton was not injured.
Mt. Carmel’s Tyra Buss has been named the 2014 National High School Coaches Association Senior National Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year. Buss, a Parade All-American, was named Illinois’ Ms. Basketball in 2013 and 2014. She will be attending Indiana University this fall.
Fairfield National Bank is updating its brand with a new logo. Fairfield National Bank, along with its branches – Tri-County Banking Center in Grayville and Bean Capital Banking Center in Wayne City will begin advertising as FNB. In addition to updating the look, FNB will begin offering new products including financial tools and enhanced security features.
Eight hikers missing in the Shawnee National Forest Wednesday night have been found. The group; including an adult male, four adult females and three children got lost while hiking in northwest Pope County near Burden Falls and Bell Smith Springs. The group was found around 8:45 Wednesday night.
Wayne County Sheriff’s Police are investigating an alleged aggravated battery case. Derek M. Halbin, 26 of Bluford tells police that he was severely beaten after arriving at a late night weekend party. He suffered a head injury and broken nose and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Police say they have a suspect, but no arrests have been made at this time.
Illinois authorities have released the name of a man who shot and wounded a police officer near Pana Tuesday night before being killed by SWAT team members during an exchange of gunfire. The victim is 25-year-old Josh Edwards of Pana. The wounded Pana officer – not identified by authorities – is listed in stable condition at an area hospital.
Federal authorities are investigating after a pipe bomb was found outside a downtown Springfield restaurant. A Secretary of State Police bomb squad used a high-powered water cannon to disable the 7-in-long pipe filled with explosives.
Harrisburg police report two strong-arm robberies in the past few days. A suspect knocked a worker down at the Ponderosa Steak House and stole her money bag. The Harrisburg Dominos Pizza Restaurant has also been targeted. Neither employee suffered serious injuries.
31-year-old Roger L. Spoonemore of Carmi was seriously injured Monday when a dog he was attempting to discipline turned on him and bit his hand. Spoonemore lost a thumb in the attack and was airlifted to a regional hospital for surgery.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials report that West Nile Virus has been found in mosquito samples taken from the Washington County community of Ashley. The number of positive tests statewide is down considerably this year, most likely because of the cool, wet summer weather.
Former Albion resident, Tony Brake will be riding in the 35th annual Pan Mass Challenge in Massachusetts this weekend to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Tony lost his brother, Tim Brake to cancer last week.
Edwards County Treasurer Cindy Hocking says Real Estate tax bills will be arriving in area mailboxes the week of August 11. Due dates have been set for Wednesday, Sept. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 22. The total extension for Edwards County Real Estate taxes is $5.1 million.
Registration for Fairfield Community High School students will be from 1 – 6 today and 10 – 2 Thursday. Registration will take place in the FCHS Study Hall.
A September 30 trial date has been set for former Fairfield Community High School math teacher and cross country coach Timothy C. Going. Going appeared in U.S. District Court at E. St. Louis Monday where he entered a not guilty plea during arraignment on three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of being in possession of child pornography. A detention hearing has been set for August 5 to determine whether or not Going should be held without bond pending trial.
20-year-old Zachary R. Wheeler of Fairfield has been arrested on a Franklin County warrant charging him with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, one count of indecent solicitation of a minor and one count of grooming. Wheeler is being held under $75,000 bond pending trial.
An Eldorado couple arrested last week following a kidnapping investigation appeared in a Missouri courtroom Monday. Courtney Godwin entered a guilty plea to charges of motor vehicle tampering and possession of drug paraphernalia. She drew a ten day jail sentence. Her boyfriend, Sonny Pilgrim is being held on charges of resisting arrest and vehicle tampering and is due in court August 7. Courtney Godwin told police she was not kidnapped – claiming she left Eldorado willingly with her boyfriend.
Starting this Thursday and continuing through approximately August 7, Hawkins Drive and Dorris Drive in Fairfield will be open to local traffic only. The two streets are being resurfaced.
The 18th annual White County Crop Tour has been set for Wednesday, August 20. Participants will be assigned to one of the ten townships in the county to gather data from 10 different locations in each township. To participate, call the White County Farm Bureau office at 382-8512.
A series of fundraisers Saturday for a missing Fairfield teen netted over $4,500. Mayor Chuck Griswold declared this past Saturday as Megan Nichols Day. The 16-year-old girl has been missing from her W. Center Street Home since July 3. The money raised will be used to establish a reward fund.
Former Fairfield Community High School math teacher and cross country coach Timothy C. Going is scheduled to make an appearance in Federal Court this morning. Going will be arraigned this morning on federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography. If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
28-year-old Amanda M. Scott of Laurel Street in Fairfield was cited Friday for being in possession of marijuana. City Police went to her home Friday afternoon to speak to her about failing to pay for fuel at a gas station in Flora when they smelled marijuana coming from her home. She was given a notice to appear in court. Police say they recovered a small amount of cannabis from the home.
State and Union officials say a prisoner assaulted a guard Friday at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna. The officer, not identified by authorities, suffered a concussion after being head-butted by an inmate.
Registration for Fairfield Community High School has been set for this Wednesday from 1 – 6 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Registration both days will take place in the Study Hall.
Wayne County and surrounding areas were placed under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and were under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a time Saturday evening as thunderstorms moved through the area. Wayne County’s warning was issued shortly before 6:15 Saturday evening for the southwest part of the county. Jefferson, Hamilton, Richland and Lawrence counties were also under warnings Saturday night as storms moved through, according to the National Weather Service. No major damage has been noted from Saturday night’s storms.
Wayne County’s June unemployment was at 7.1 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 8.6 percent a year ago. Edwards County’s June rate was 7.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in June of last year. June unemployment rates ranged from 5.7 percent in Effingham County to 10.8 percent in Hardin County. The IDES said there were only three counties in southern Illinois with a June unemployment rate of over ten percent.
38-year-old Christopher C. Huber of St. Marie, IL was hurt Saturday morning in an accident on a county road about 1 1/2 miles southwest of St. Marie, IL. State police said the vehicle Huber was driving went off the roadway into a ditch, causing him to overcorrect and come back on the roadway before overturning. Police said Huber was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the wreckage, and taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN.
An accident in Clay County Thursday morning injured a Louisville, IL motorist. 49-year-old Lisa J. Whipps of Valparaiso, IN was stopped on U.S. Route 50 at Olive Road in Flora, and attempted to turn onto Route 50, and turned into the path of a motorcycle operated by 37-year-old Chad A. Barbee of Louisville, IL. The impact caused Barbee to lay his bike down, causing him to be thrown from the wreckage. He was taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN with major injuries.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was joined Friday by Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau to commission 37 new state troopers during a graduation ceremony in Springfield. The new troopers will begin their duties at various state police districts around the state on Monday. Six of the troopers have been assigned to the District 11 post in Collinsville. No troopers were assigned to the District 19 post at Carmi, the District 13 post at DuQuoin or the District 12 post at Effingham.
Fairfield Mayor Chuck Griswold has declared today as Megan Nichols Day. Megan, now 16 years old, has been missing since July 3rd. Organizers are staging a cookout, bake sale and bucket brigade today to raise money for a reward fund for information leading to her whereabouts. City police say they continue to investigate Megan’s disappearance, and have followed numerous leads, but so far no credible evidence has surfaced as to her whereabouts. Anyone with information should call the city police department at 842-2151 or dial 911.
71-year-old Dean Heley of Norris City was killed Friday morning when he fell off his tractor and was run over by the vehicle on the family farm. Authorities say Heley was found by his oldest son shortly after the accident. Heley was pronounced dead at the scene by White County Coroner Chris Marsh. Reports indicate the accident happened around 8:30 a.m.
60-year-old Lance P. Avery of Creal Springs, IL was killed in an accident Friday morning in Saline County. State police say Avery was operating a motorcycle eastbound on Illinois Route 13 just east of Harco Road and for unknown reasons attempted to change lanes, when an SUV, driven by 68-year-old Kim H. Fowler of Harrisburg, IL, struck Avery’s motorcycle on the left side. Avery was pronounced dead at the scene due to his injuries. Fowler was not injured.
Unemployment numbers for June from the Illinois Department of Employment Security show Wayne County’s rate at 7.1 percent, down from 8.6 percent in June of last year, and Edwards County’s rate for June at 7.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in June of last year. The IDES says unemployment was lower for June compared to a year ago in all southern Illinois counties, with just three counties, Alexander, Hardin and Pope in far-southern Illinois reporting an unemployment rate of over ten percent.
Results of the Edwards County 4-H Bucket Calf & Beef Show, held this past Wednesday, have been announced. The champion dairy bucket calf was showed by Shelbey Walker, who received a trophy donated by David and Joy Coles. The champion beef bucket calf was showed by Ava Greathouse, who received a trophy donated by Citizens National Bank of Albion. The bucket calf showmanship belt buckle, donated by Citizens National Bank was also awarded to Greathouse. Several other awards were presented, including a trophy to Olivia Hallam for showing the Grand Champion Market Steer donated by the Edwards County Farm Bureau.
An Eldorado man has been arrested at a truck stop in Matthew Missouri after being accused of kidnapping his teenage girlfriend. 23-year-old Sonny Pilgrim was initially sought for kidnapping 19-year Courtney Godwin. Godwin later told police she left willingly with Pilgrim. Pilgrim faces preliminary charges of vehicle theft and resisting arrest. Godwin faces a charge of being in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Local and state labor leaders, mayors and lawmakers gathered in Marion this week to put pressure on the state’s Hydraulic Fracturing regulators. It has been more than 400 days since Governor Pat Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. However, rules governing the practice have still not been implemented. Thousands of acres of Southern Illinois land has been leased for the production of oil and gas utilizing Fracking. Many of those leases run out this year.
Charlton Greathouse, the son of Mike and Joanne Greathouse of West Salem has won the Master Showmanship Contest at the Edwards County 4-H Fair. He will be competing at the State Fair on August 8.
52-year-old Allen Gervais of Harrisburg has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty in White County Circuit Court to a felony charge of deceptive practice. He has also been ordered to pay $4,386 restitution to his victims.
Elastec American Marine has inked a deal to sell a large quantity of oil spill recovery equipment to the state oil company of Ecuador. The equipment will be used at PetroEcuador’s Esmeraldas facility, the country’s largest refinery. Elastec operates manufacturing facilities in Carmi and Fairfield.
New allegations have surfaced in the case of former Fairfield Community High School teacher and coach Timothy Going. On Wednesday, a Federal Grand Jury unsealed a four-count criminal indictment against Going. New charges allege that Going videotaped FCHS female athletes at a Madison County, Ill. motel as far back as August of 2012. The athletes were there to participate in a regional track meet. The new evidence was discovered during a forensic examination of computer equipment seized from Going’s Fairfield home this past May. Pictured above are Going as an FCHS teacher, a Logistics Captain in the Illinois National Guard, and eventually – a criminal- defendant.
An Eldorado woman was involved in a traffic crash Wednesday afternoon that claimed the life of an Evansville truck driver. A vehicle driven by 72-year-old Carolyn Boulds of Eldorado crossed the median on the Lloyd Expressway near the University of Southern Indiana and hit a truck head-on. The truck driver, 61-year-old Daryl Lattner died at the scene. Boulds was taken to Deaconess Hospital.
Lewis Scrap Metal in Burnt Prairie will be closed Friday and Saturday in honor of Tim Lewis, Sr. Mr. Lewis died last Friday in an accident at the scrap yard.
Thieves have targeted electrical breaker boxes at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Fairfield. Ed Garrett reports to City Police that more than $5,000 worth of damage was done to the equipment as thieves made off with electrical components from the boxes.
The West Nile Virus is being reported in Carbondale. Two mosquito batches and a crow tested positive for the virus. Nearly 120 people in Illinois were infected with the virus last year. Eleven died.
Local talent will be featured tonight at the Edwards County Fair. Katlin Schmittler, Abbi Rivers, Jordan and Brianna Robinson will perform starting at 5:30.