Len Wells, News Director


images_banners_listentolocalnews1215 7-24-14

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

Headlines for Sunday, June 22, 2014

Few details are being released about a car-train accident early Saturday morning that resulted in the death of a Wayne City man.  Reports indicated 35-year-old Shaun Michael Betts of Wayne City was killed when his SUV was hit by a train at a crossing in Bluford shortly after 4:15 Saturday morning.  The report said Betts was pronounced dead at the scene by Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Jo Marks.  A spokesperson at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department did not provide any details on the accident this morning.  A visitation for Shaun Michael Betts will be held Monday evening at the Richardson Funeral Home in Wayne City.

This year’s Wayne County Relay For Life raised $24,704.94  The event was held Friday night and early Saturday morning at Leo French Park in Fairfield to benefit the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.  Activities included the Luminaria Ceremony and musical entertainment, along with various concession stands.  One of the organziers, Janet Beard, said the total does not include any outstanding money to be turned in later.  The annual event has been held at Leo French Park for about the past 15 years.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night.  One of the main items on the agenda is the possibility of a pharmaceutical marijuana grow-operation being established locally.  Under a new medical marijuana law passed recently by the Illinois Legislature, one pharmaceutical operation could be licensed in each of the state’s 22 state police districts.  Wayne County would be served by District 19, which is based in Carmi.  Other items on Tuesday’s city council meeting agenda is a proposal to clear away brush from Johnson Creek and Fairground Creek, a discussion of the city’s Bounty Program, and the sale of surplus vehicles and property.

The Wednesday edition of the Wayne County Farmers Market begins this Wednesday morning in Fairfield.  The market will run from 7 a.m. til noon at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.  A Saturday market will be held at the northwest corner of the courthouse square in downtown Fairfield.  Sellers must be from Wayne or adjoining counties, and the produce must be home grown, home baked or home grown.  Further information is available by calling 842-3702.

Kraft has recalled Velveeta cheese that was sold in Walmart stores in 12 states across the Midwest, including Illinois and Indiana.  The recall is being made due to the product not containing enough sorbic acid, which could cause it to spoil faster or cause food-borne illnesses.

Headlines for Saturday, June 21, 2014

A total of $24,704.94 was raised during this year’s Wayne County Relay For Life, held at Leo French Park in Fairfield Friday night and into Saturday morning.  The total does not include any outstanding money still to be turned in.

A White County jury has returned a not guilty verdict in the sexual abuse case of an Enfield man. Following a week-long trial, the jury found 28-year-old Jeffrey David Casillas not guilty of four class-2 felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and one class-X felony charge of predatory criminal sexual assault. The verdict was rendered Friday afternoon. Casillas had been in the White County jail since October of last year.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night with a fairly full agenda. One item on the agenda is the possible establishment of a Pharmaceutical Marijuana Grow-operation locally. The Illinois Legislature has approved a law that allows the sale of medical marijuana.

Kyle Ellis of Fairfield has been awarded an Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship.  He is the son of Randy and Cindy Ellis of Fairfield.  The $500 scholarship was presented to Ellis Friday by Wayne County Sheriff Mike Everett.

There is a recall on Velveeta Cheese.  Kraft says the cheese that’s being recalled was sold in Walmart stores. Locally, the cheese was distributed to Illinois and Indiana Walmart distribution centers.

The annual Wayne County Farmer’s Market officially starts a new season next Wednesday, June 25.  The Wednesday market will be at the Wayne County Fairgrounds from 7 a.m. until noon.

The Albion First United Methodist Women and Christian Friends Class are sponsoring a fundraiser Sunday for Elijah Henson for his mission trip to Haiti in July.  A drive-thru fish fry will start at noon Sunday at the church, which is located at 129 E. Main Street.

Headlines for Friday, June 20, 2014



Kyle Ellis of Fairfield has been awarded an Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship. Ellis, the son of Randy and Cindy Ellis of Fairfield, received the scholarship in a brief ceremony Friday morning from Wayne County Sheriff Mike Everett.  The scholarship is for $500. Pictured is Sheriff Mike Everett and Kyle Ellis.

Illinois State Police investigated a four-car chain-reaction accident Thursday afternoon in Wayne County.  A Chevy S-10 driven by 18-year-old Dylan W. Massie of Mt. Erie failed to slow down as he approached a construction zone on Rt. 45 and ran into the back of a Buick LeSabre driven by 57-year-old Michele Johnson of Rock Falls, IL.  Johnson was hurt and taken to a local hospital. Massie refused medical treatment. The other drivers, Sara Keck of Cisne and William Nuxoll Jr., of Teutopolis were unhurt.

80-year-old Dorothy Crane of Salem was killed Thursday in a freak accident while gardening at her home.  The victim’s husband, Bob Crane backed his pickup truck over her. Investigators said the truck then lurched forward and ran over the victim a second time.  The Cranes were in the process of putting up tomato stakes and were going to stand in the bed of the truck for additional height when the accident happened.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a felony conviction in the recent theft of 13 market-ready cattle from the George Kissner Farm near Wayne City.  The cattle had a reported value of over $25,000.  Anyone with information should call the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to begin today in the predatory criminal sexual assault trial of Jeffrey D. Casillas of Enfield.  Casillas is accused of sexually abusing a juvenile relative last fall.

Jeff Baker has been hired as Cisne High School head spring baseball coach.  Matt Racinowski has been hired as Cisne Middle School head baseball coach. The action was taken during this month’s meeting of the North Wayne Community Unit School Board.

Headlines for Thursday, June 19, 2014

McKensie Harrison

The Illinois Journalism Education Association and Illinois Press Foundation named McKensie Harrison of Cisne High School to the 2014 All -State Journalism Team. Harrison is the daughter of Steve and Angela Harrison of Cisne. The All-State Journalism Team recognizes those students who have proven to be key to their respective school media. Harrison just finished her sophomore year, but as copy editor of The Echo yearbook at Cisne High School, she has been invaluable, editing for AP and local style, and working with staffers to write concisely and with human interest. Her samples included the yearbook cover and a homecoming spread.  Pictured above – left to right –  Yearbook Adviser Trudy Hurd, McKensie Harrison with her All State Journalism Team Plaque and Illinois Journalism Education Association President Sarah Doerner.

The Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees has approved a major project for Frontier Community College.  The Resource Allocation and Management Plan for Fiscal Year 2016 includes $3.1 million for a Student Education and Support Center for Frontier Community College.

Wayne County Sheriff’s Police are investigating a cattle rustling case near Wayne City.  George E. Kissner reports 13 head of market-ready Black Angus cattle missing.  The theft amounts to more than $25,000.  The 13 steers were taken from a herd of 30 cattle on Kissner’s ranch.

BROWN, CODY DHATCHER, THOMAS LTwo suspects have been jailed in connection with a rash of burglaries in Wayne County.  Thomas L. Hatcher of Cisne (pictured right)  and Cody D. Brown of Fairfield (pictured left), both 19 are accused of burglarizing Boondock’s Café in Cisne along with the Buckshot Grill. Brown is also accused of burglarizing Ray’s Doghouse in Fairfield and home in Fairfield.  Cash and merchandise were taken in all of the heists, police said.


april bestApril Best of Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Therapy Services Department (pictured)  has been named the Employee of the Month.  April serves as the hospital’s Speech Language Pathologist.

Fairfield National Bank will host its annual 3-man scramble this Saturday at the Wayne County Golf Course.  Twenty-seven holes of play will begin Saturday morning following registration at 8:30 – 9:30. The tournament sign-up sheet is located outside the pro shop.

Headlines for Wednesday, June 18, 2014

55-year-old Karl Leland of South Prairie, Washington escaped serious injury this morning when the semi he was driving on I-64 in rural Wayne County ran off the road, struck a bridge and caught fire. The truck’s cargo of whiskey was damaged in the crash.  Fairfield Rural Firefighters responded to the crash at about 2:40 this morning.

Jury selection got underway Tuesday in the trial of an Enfield man accused of sexually abusing a female relative under the age of 18. 20-year-old Jeffrey David Casillas faces four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. White County State’s Attorney Denton Aud is prosecuting the case.

19-year-old Cody D. Brown of Fairfield was arrested Tuesday on charges he burglarized Ray’s Dog House in Fairfield and a house on N.W. 10th Street.  About $20 in cash and some soda was taken in the Dog House heist.

19-year-old Thomas L. Hatcher of Cisne was arrested early this morning on a Wayne County warrant charging him with burglary.  At about 1 a.m., City Police spotted Hatcher walking in the 300 block of N. First Street. A juvenile female runaway was with Hatcher. She has been returned to her parents.

State Fire Marshal officials are investigating the burning of three pieces of farm equipment on the Fred Tubbs farm west of Geff.  Officials said the fires that destroyed a tractor; backhoe and Bobcat were “suspicious.”


Caroline Neff, M.D. has received her Medical Doctor degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine.  Dr. Neff will begin her five year residence for General Surgery in Lexington, KY on July 1. After completing the residency in 2019, she will join the medical team at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. Pictured are Jessica Molt, Caroline Neff, M.D., and Patrick L. Molt, M.D. following Dr. Neff’s graduation ceremony from Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Headlines for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A heat wave is in store for Southern Illinois today and Wednesday. Temperatures into the 90’s and high humidity rates will push the heat index to near 100.

The Edwards County Community Unit School Board voted Monday night to place a sales tax referendum on the November 4th ballot.  If approved by the voters of the county, the money raised could only be used for school facilities.

Wabash Independent Networks is seeking a USDA grant to construct a Fiber-Optics to Home infrastructure to residents in portions of Jasper Township and the northern part of Grover Township.  The public can learn more about the project at meetings this Wednesday and Thursday from 5 – 8 at the Jasper Grade School. The meetings are “come-and-go” sessions.

Passengers on an Amtrak train en route to Chicago were delayed Monday when the locomotive pulling the train ran out of fuel near Salem.  A Canadian National Railroad locomotive towed the train back to the Centralia Station where passengers boarded busses to continue their travel.

Kayti Carter and Sabra Dawson from Frontier Community College in Fairfield are among ten students who recently received the Spotlight on Literacy Award from Secretary of State Jesse White.

A new time capsule will be buried at the Hanna House Museum on Saturday, June 21. The capsule will be buried for 25 years. The Wayne County Historical Society will accept small items for the new time capsule in exchange for a receipt of purchase from participating local merchants.

Headlines for Monday, June 16, 2014

46-year-old Carl Gibson of Fairfield was arrested at Leo French Park Saturday morning by Fairfield City Police.  Gibson was cited for being a registered sex offender in a prohibited place and violating an active order of protection.  He allegedly was attempting to make contact with his estranged wife, April Gibson.

29-year-old Carrie L. Cullins  of Fairfield was arrested Saturday afternoon on a charge of aggravated drunk driving.  City Police pulled Cullins’ vehicle over in the 900 block of  W. Delaware for speeding and suspected she was driving drunk. Brought to the county jail, she tested .260 – more than three times the threshold for DUI in Illinois. She was also cited for driving suspended and driving with no insurance.

72-year-old Johnny Worth of Owensboro, KY was killed Saturday morning when the motorcycle he was driving crashed on Ill. Rt. 1 in Hardin County.  The crash happened when another cyclist, 72-year-old Oliver Berry of Owensboro rear-ended Worth’s bike, causing him to be thrown off his motorcycle.

Investors around Illinois are jockeying for positions in the marijuana business as they wait for Illinois’ new medical marijuana law to kick in. At least 36 marijuana-related business names have been registered in Illinois. Locally, the City of Grayville has taken the first steps in its efforts to draw a medical marijuana grow-operation to town.  The name of the developer has not been publicly named.

While you might think your hometown is boring, the Will County community of New Lenox has been named the most boring place in Illinois.  The ranking is based on how many young adults live there, how many fast food restaurants are in the area and what the nightlife is like.

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