Len Wells, News Director
44-year-old Dawn M. Turner of Fairfield has been jailed on charges of DUI and vehicle theft. Police were called to Spring Street around 6:30 Tuesday night on a report of an intoxicated person. When they arrived, they spotted Turner driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee. Turner was booked at the county jail with a blood alcohol level of .248 – three times the legal limit in Illinois. While being booked, police received a call from Mary Harper of Spring Street to report her Jeep Cherokee had been stolen.
The Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved a contract with a Missouri firm to plant 2,040 trees on 34 acres of wetland the city owns. Lovelace Custom Services of Elsberry, MO will do the work at a cost of $29,580. The trees are being purchased from Forrest Keeling Nursery of Elsberry, MO at a cost of $21,807. The tree planting work is part of a project to replace wetlands destroyed during the city’s failed attempt to build a side-channel reservoir east of town several years ago.
The Fairfield City Council tabled a request to install an Automated Electronic Defibrillator or AED at City Hall. The matter was tabled after councilmen were told that virtually no one at City Hall was willing to take the brief training course to become certified to use the potentially life-saving device. Some told the mayor they feared they might get sued if their life-saving efforts failed.
Voting members of the Wayne County Farm Bureau who live in Wayne County have been surveyed about their opinion on a tax referendum to impose a 1% sales tax to support school construction and maintenance in Wayne County. 74% of the 275 Farm Bureau members who responded to the survey say they oppose the referendum. A total of 775 surveys were sent out.
The Wayne County Shrine Club is sponsoring a screening clinic for orthopedic conditions today at Horizon Healthcare in Fairfield. The free clinic is for children under the age of 18 who could benefit from treatment at a Shriners Hospital for Children. The free screening clinic will run from 5 – 6:30 this evening.
An arrest has been made in Monday morning’s gun threat at Fairfield Community High School. Lucas W. Gifford, 20 of Fairfield was jailed late Monday afternoon. City Police Chief Keith Colclasure said officials with the social media website that Gifford allegedly used to make the threat provided police with the GPS location of his cellphone. Gifford was arrested at his place of employment and booked into the Wayne County jail on a felony charge of disorderly conduct – making a threat. Gifford allegedly used the social media telephone App “Yik Yak” to post the threat. The site is supposed to be anonymous. However, officials with “Yik Yak” cooperated with Fairfield City Police because of the nature of the alleged threat made at the high school.
42-year-old Jesse A. McDonald of rural Wayne City has been jailed after police found over 80 fully grown marijuana plants at his home. Another 3 ½ pounds of finished product was seized from McDonald’s mobile home. McDonald’s arrest comes after an investigation conducted by state and local police which included aerial surveillance of the suspect’s home by the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force. Police raided McDonald’s home at about 6:30 Monday morning. It took two pickup trucks to haul the contraband to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Many of the plants were more than 6 ft. tall.
45-year-old Shanna L. Bellamy of Carmi has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated battery of a peace officer – a Class-2 felony. She struck a White County jailer while being booked earlier this month on a charge of disorderly conduct.
18-year-old Keith Redmon, Jr. of McLeansboro has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Redmon stole a 2008 Chevy 2500 HD pickup truck on August 15. The truck was recovered the same evening after it ran out of gas in rural Hamilton County.
Petitions for Fairfield City Aldermen can be picked up at city hall today. One alderman in each of the city’s four wards will be elected during the upcoming April 7 Consolidated Municipal Election.
UPDATE – An arrest has been made in this morning’s threat at Fairfield Community High School. Lucas W. Gifford, 20 of Fairfield (pictured at left) was jailed late this afternoon. City Police Chief Keith Colclasure said officials with the social media website that Gifford allegedly used to make the threat provided police with the GPS location of his cellphone. Gifford was arrested at his place of employment and booked into the Wayne County jail on a felony charge of disorderly conduct. Gifford allegedly used the social media telephone app “Yik Yak” to post the threat. The site is supposed to be anonymous. However, officials with “Yik Yak” cooperated with Fairfield City Police because of the nature of the alleged threat made at the high school.
A threat that someone had a gun inside Fairfield Community High School resulted in a lockdown this morning of both the high school and nearby Center Street Grade School. Fairfield High School Supt. Jill Fulkerson reports that at 10:15 this morning, a report from two students almost simultaneously was made that there was a report on a social media outlet that there was a student in the bathroom with gun. Within minutes, Fairfield City Police, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies and Illinois State Police surrounded the school. Every entrance was covered by an armed officer and all students were locked in their classrooms – as required by emergency protocol. Sheriff Mike Everett said a sweep of the school netted no evidence of anyone with a gun, or any weapons at all. After a sweep of the school was completed, students were evacuated from the school. It took nearly 90 minutes to conduct the search and call an all-clear on the situation. Supt. Fulkerson added “Obviously, this is something we take very seriously and we are working with area police to investigate this situation as completely as possible.”
State and local police raided a rural Wayne City residence early this morning, seizing more than 80 fully grown marijuana plants and over three pounds of finished product. Arrested in connection with the large grow operation was Jesse A. McDonald 42 of rural Wayne City (pictured left). McDonald faces preliminary charges of unlawful production of marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver. He also faces a charge of being in possession of drug paraphernalia. Agents of the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force say a tip from Wayne City police led authorities to the site. The grow operation was confirmed by aerial surveillance. Police pulled up over 80 fully grown plants that had been cultivated behind McDonald’s mobile home, near a wooded area. Inside the home, police say they found marijuana plants being dried down in preparation of packaging. About 3 ½ pounds of processed marijuana in plastic containers was seized. No one else was home with the raid was conducted and no firearms were found inside the residence. Pictured above – Sheriff Mike Everett (left) and Chief Deputy Andy Milner (right).
Fairfield Community High School Senior Dakota Young was seriously injured Sunday in a 4-wheeler accident. According to family members and friends, Dakota sustained a serious leg injury when the 4-wheeler he was riding overturned, pinning his leg. He was taken to an Evansville hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the fracture. Young is a member of the FCHS Mules Football team.
Today is the application deadline for people who want to own medical marijuana businesses in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Agriculture and Department of Financial and Professional Regulation are accepting applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries until 3 o’clock today. Fairfield is still in the running for a cultivation center. If approved, it would be located south of town near the sewer plant.
Petitions can be picked up at the Fairfield City Clerk’s office starting Tuesday. One alderman in each of the city’s four wards will be elected during the Consolidated Election set for April 7. The filing period is Dec. 15 – 22. For more information on the election, contact City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft.
32 teams competed in the Midway Package Liquors 2-Man Chicken Feed Tournament Saturday. Kelly Hallam and Matt Poole of Mt. Vernon won the tournament with a 10 under par 95 for 27 holes. The second place team was Blaith Belangee and Aaron Musgrave.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau will be offering a flu shot clinic Tuesday from 1 – 3 at the Farm Bureau building in downtown Fairfield. The clinic is open to the public for people 18 and older. Flu shots are also available during normal business hours at the Wayne County Health Department.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau will be offering a flu vaccination clinic on Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Farm Bureau building in Fairfield. The vaccination will be administered by the Wayne County Health Department, and the clinic is open to those 18 years of age and older, and the cost of the vaccination is $30. Payments from Medicare, Medicaid, Blue-Cross Blue Shield, Healthlink and most major area insurance carriers will be accepted. Pre-registration is requested by calling 842-3342.
Petitions for the April 7, 2015 Consolidated Election can be picked up in the office of City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft starting this Tuesday from 8 a.m. til noon and 1 to 5 p.m. The filing period for the petitions is December 15th through 22nd, 2014. Among the offices in the election will be the city of Fairfield’s four wards, with one alderman to be elected from each of the city’s ward for a four-year term.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night at 6 in regular session. The council is expected to discuss the purchasing of salt products for the upcoming winter, and discuss the purchase of a defibrillator for City Hall. Other items on the agenda include discussion of an ordinance banning the illegal disposing of electronic devices.
Three former Williamson County employees were charged late last week in connection with the disappearance of thousands of dollars from the circuit clerk’s office. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says 43-year-old Kelly Trammel, 49-year-old Marsha Dickinson and 58-year-old Cheryl Cundiff face felony theft charges and official misconduct charges. The three are accused of plotting to steal over $80,000 from the county over a five-year period by taking money intended for the county’s jail bond and keeping it while concealing the theft.
An Illinois lawmaker wants to make pumpkin pie the state’s official pie. Republican state Representative Keith Sommer introduced legislation to make the designation last month. Illinois is reported to be the top producer of pumpkins in the country, with the industry bringing in $33 million for the state. Governor Pat Quinn issued a proclamation designating September 13th as Pumpkin Pie Day in Illinois. Currently no other state has pumpkin pie as their official state pie.
Petitions for the Consolidation Election to be held on April 7, 2015 will be available in the office of City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft in Fairfield beginning this Tuesday from 8 a.m. til noon and 1 to 5 p.m. The filing period for the petitions will be December 15th through 22nd, 2014. Offices to be elected include the city of Fairfield’s four wards, with one alderman from each of the city’s wards to be elected for a four-year term.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night beginning at 6 p.m. During the meeting the council is expected to discuss the purchase of a Defibrillator for City Hall, and discuss an ordinance to ban the illegal disposal of electronic devices. Other items on the agenda include the purchase of salt products for the winter, and seeking bids for the sale of Allis Chalmers at the Fairfield Airport and a mower for the city’s Cemetery Department.
Power is scheduled to be out this Tuesday morning for residents in the 400 block of SE 2nd Street, 400 block of SE 3rd Street, and the 200 and 300 blocks of East King and East Douglas Street. The outage is expected to begin at 8:30 Tuesday morning, weather permitting, and should last about three hours. The outage is being scheduled to allow workers to perform a required power line maintenance project.
Wayne City’s Bean Days activities begin today with the crowning of the Bean Days Queen. A full day of activities will be held next Saturday, September 27th, and will include the parade, a tractor show, flea market and the serving of the free ham and beans dinner, as well as a dance and rodeo next Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at the Wayne City Saddle Club.
Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro will be hosting its annual Wellness Program and Health Fair on Thursday, October 9th. Several screenings will be available to the public at various prices. The hospital will also be offerin adult flu vaccines for $25 during the fair between 9 a.m. and noon. All results from test screenings will be sent to the patient and their primary healthcare provider.
28-year-old Myles D. Allali of Norris City has been sentenced to 2 years in prison after failing to register as a sex offender as required by law. Allali was sentenced Thursday in White County Circuit Court at Carmi. He will have to serve another year of parole after he is released from prison.
31-year-old Nathan Edward Case of Evansville has been jailed on charges he stole a Jeep Liberty and was in possession of drugs. Case was arrested by Carmi Police near Burrell Park. He faces charges of theft and possession of a controlled substance.
A scheduled power outage has been set for next Tuesday for residents in the 400 block of S. E. 2nd Street, the 400 block of S. E. 3rd Street and the 200 and 300 blocks of East King and East Douglas Streets. Weather permitting, the outage will last around three hours.
The Wayne County Shrine Club will be sponsoring a free screening clinic next week for children with possible orthopedic conditions. Children under the age of 18 are eligible for the clinic. The event will be held from 5 – 6:30 next Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Horizon Healthcare in Fairfield.
Under a plea agreement reached Wednesday between federal prosecutors and Timothy C. Going, the former Fairfield Community High School teacher and coach will serve 20 years in prison for secretly videotaping FCHS female students in the girls’ locker room and FCHS female athletes at two different motels in the Metro-East St. Louis area. The motel videotaping incidents happened in 2012 and 2013 when Going took the athletes to a regional cross-country meet in the Metro-East area. The agreement also calls for a concurrent ten year prison sentence for possession of child pornography. Formal sentencing in the case has been set for January 5, 2015.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company has announced plans to build a 30-inch crude oil pipeline from north of Johnsonville to Patoka, IL in rural Marion County. The company also plans to repurpose an abandoned Trunkline natural gas pipeline near Wayne City to transport crude oil. The firm is in the process of contacting landowners for easements.
20-year-old Justin Gibbs of Mount Vernon, IN has been sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty in White County Circuit Court to a class-2 felony charge of burglary. State’s Attorney Denton Aud is recommending that Gibbs serve his sentence in the Department of Corrections Boot Camp program.
Eleven couples competed in the Mixed Couples Scramble hosted by the Wayne County Golf Course on Sunday, September 13th. Terry Powell, Susan Murphy, Sadie and Philip Powell were the winning team at three under par for nine holes. Everyone enjoyed a potluck supper in the clubhouse following the scramble. The winning team players are (pictured left to right) Terry Powell, Susan Murphy, Sadie Powell, and Philip Powell.
At this month’s meeting of the Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees, members accepted the resignation of Cindy Foerster, Director of Adult Education. The resignation was effect, Sept. 2.
The long-awaited security entrance to the Wayne County Courthouse was officially put into service this morning. Sheriff Mike Everett and his chief deputy Andy Milner were on hand this morning to guide folks into the new entrance, which is located on the northeast side of the courthouse. This new entrance is the ONLY way in or out of the courthouse now. Those entering the courthouse will be required to pass through a magnetometer. Bags and purses are subject to search by the security officers that man the entrance. Cell phones are also banned inside the courthouse. Pictured above is court security officer Brad Winter. In the background, Deputy Chris Otey escorts an inmate to a court appearance.
A Georgia man has entered a guilty plea to charges he scammed three Edwards County residents out of thousands of dollars in a driveway paving scam. 65-year-old Jack L. Harrison, Sr. of Acworth, GA appeared in Edwards County Circuit Court Tues day where he entered a negotiated guilty plea to a charge of theft. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,400 to Roy Longbons of Albion, $9,900 to MAP Oil Company of Grayville and $5,000 to Van D. Doty of Albion. Total restitution was $21,400. Harrison paid the restitution Tuesday with a certified check.
Health officials say that 12 states, including Illinois are now seeing a respiratory illness caused by an uncommon virus – enterovirus 68. The virus has shown up in Southern Illinois in the past few weeks. The virus affects children. Kids with asthma are especially vulnerable to the virus. No deaths have been reported from the illness.
A legislative panel said Tuesday that it wants more time to decide whether rules written by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to govern fracking can take effect. The panel has exercised a 45-day extension. Meanwhile, thousands of acres of Southern Illinois farmland remain under lease for the development of oil and gas utilizing horizontal drilling and fracking technology.
The Cisne FFA recently received a $500 donation to the chapter from Murphy Brown. The donation will be used to help sponsor upcoming FFA activities for 92 chapter members. Pictured above are Vice President Nick Konopasek, Murphy Brown Barn Manager, Rob Neikirk, and Chapter President Nicole Jordan.
Wayne County Property Tax bills will be mailed out this Friday. The total to be collected amounts to $13.6 million. The First installment will be due Oct. 24. The second installment will be due Nov. 24. The first installment of Edwards County Property Taxes is due today.
Following a several month investigation by the White County Sheriff’s Department and the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, a Maunie woman has been jailed on drug distribution charges. Jennifer L. Farney, 42 of 224 S. Morgan Street in Mounie was arrested this morning on a White County warrant charging her with two counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana – between 30 – 500 grams, and two new charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. During her arrest this morning, Sheriff Doug Maier says the Farney admitted she had a quantity of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in her home, which resulted in additional charges. Farney has been lodged in the White County jail at Carmi under $3,500 bond on the warrant and another $150 bond on the new drug charges.
It took years of legal wrangling, but the City of Fairfield was finally able to demolish a dilapidated house at 611 W. Center Street on Monday. The two-story house was owned by Jack and Linda Spurgeon. City officials had the home condemned and a track hoe demolished the house Monday. Fairfield firemen sprayed water on the debris as the old house was reduced to a pile of rubble.
The Fairfield City Police Department will conduct a city-wide storm warning siren test this Wednesday at 10 a.m. The test is being conducted to ensure the system works after lightning damaged some of the department’s radio equipment last week. Repairs to the radios have been completed, but a full test of the storm sirens must be completed to make sure system is working properly.
Groundbreaking was held Monday for a new high school in Mt. Vernon. The new school will cost $72.8 million to construct and will be the second largest school building construction project in Illinois. The new school will sit on an 82 acre campus, replacing the current 109-year-old school.
Frontier Community College graduates Tyler Lashbrook and Ryan Barrett have been hired as apprentice linemen for the Electric Distribution Department for the City of Fairfield. Graduates of the Frontier Community College Electrical Distribution Systems program, both men will spend the next three years completing on-the-job training and attending IBEW Apprentice Lineman classes in West Frankfort before becoming journeyman linemen.
Illinois State Police will be conducting special enforcement details at area rail crossings as part of Illinois Rail Safety Week this week. Troopers will be citing both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings.
Former Fairfield Community High School teacher and cross-country coach Timothy C. Going is expected to plead guilty this week to charges he secretly videotaped FCHS female athletes at a Metro-East hotel where they were staying in advance of an athletic event. Going is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court at E. St. Louis this Wednesday for a “Change of Plea” hearing. He faces federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. He faces up to 30 years in prison on the unlawful videotaping charge and another ten years in the child porn case.
42-year-old Dallas Broz of Fairfield was arrested Sunday morning after he allegedly torched a Chevy Blazer that belonged to him and his girlfriend, 44-year-old Dawn M. Turner of 1206 Illinois Avenue. Police initially found the Blazer parked over a smoldering fire in the yard late Saturday night. After separating the couple from a domestic disturbance and moving the car, firemen were called back early Sunday morning to find the Blazer fully engulfed in flames. Broz faces charges of arson and reckless conduct.
Some very unusual items auctioned off last month to help satisfy a $1.8 million court judgment against former Mt. Carmel businessman Kevin C. Williams failed to bring the high bids many had expected. Strands of hair from Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, George Washington and Andrew Jackson brought only $225 each. Williams remains in federal prison where he is serving time for swindling an elderly Mt. Carmel woman out of nearly $2 million.
26-year-old Joseph J. Reese of West Frankfort was seriously injured Sunday afternoon when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a Jeep on U.S. Rt. 45 in rural Saline County. The driver of the Jeep, 40-year-old Angela R. Reid of Harrisburg was cited for failure to yield at a private road.
The Wayne County Golf Course will host the 27-hole Midway Package Liquors 2-Man Chicken Feed Scramble this Saturday. A sign-up sheet is located outside the pro shop at the golf course.