Len Wells, News Director


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Headlines for Friday, August 15, 2014

lockwoodPolice in White County, Ill. were asked to search a remote wooded area near Dogtown as part of the investigation into the disappearance of 30-year-old Joelle Lockwood of Evansville. Sheriff Doug Maier says his office received a request for assistance from the Evansville Police Department Thursday to search a heavily wooded area near Dogtown in connection with property owned by a person of interest in the Lockwood disappearance. The location is along the Wabash River south of Maunie, in southern White County. Sheriff Maier reports nothing was found as a result of the search. Joelle Lockwood was last seen on July 9 walking near Pigeon Creek. At the time of her disappearance, police said they had no evidence to suggest that foul play was involved in the case. Lockwood is described as 5’ 3” tall and weighing around 125 pounds.  She has brown hair and eyes. According to Evansville police, she might be driving a silver Chevy Malibu with Indiana license plate 2111 TYC.

A Johnston City teen was seriously injured early this morning when the pickup truck he was driving ran off Ill. Rt. 14 in rural Hamilton County, hit several culverts and overturned. 18-year-old Derek Smith was airlifted to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries. A passenger in his truck, 18-year-old Andy Vaughan of Carmi fled the scene on foot and is being sought by police. Derek Smith was cited for DUI following the 12:01 a.m. crash.  Vaughan later checked in at an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

39-year-old Jason L. Hart of Spring Street in Fairfield was arrested Thursday night on a charge of domestic battery.  Hart is accused of assaulting his wife, 25-year-old Elizabeth J. Hart during an argument. He is accused of pulling her hair and striking her on the neck.  Police responded to the call at 7:30 Thursday night.

A McLeansboro man remains hospitalized after being beaten with an aluminum ball bat. 35-year-old George Weingartner suffered major injuries when he was allegedly beaten by 36-year-old Terry Morgan of McLeansboro.  Morgan has been jailed under $100,000 bond on a charge of aggravated battery.

Farmers are expected to harvest a record-breaking corn crop this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the USDA.  The nation’s corn harvest is expected to hit 14 billion bushels. The soybean crop is expected to set a new record as well at 3.8 billion bushels.  Local corn and soybean crops are said to be in excellent condition.

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation aimed at improving emergency response in rural areas of Illinois. The law allows ambulance providers in rural areas to be upgraded to the highest emergency medical technician license of any person staffing that ambulance. Current law restricts an ambulance to a set level of emergency care regardless of the qualifications of those staffing it.  Sponsors of the law say the change allows more kinds of life-saving procedures to be performed in the ambulance.

Headlines for Thursday, August 14, 2014

Johnson, BruceMore than a year after being formally charged, a trial date has been set for former Wayne-White Electric financial officer Bruce D. Johnson. Johnson, 50, of Wayne City is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the co-op and faces two class-3 felony charges of theft.  A January 20, 2015 trial date has been set.  Johnson remains free after posting $5,000 cash bond in July of last year.

A Tamaroa truck driver was injured Wednesday when his truck load of hot asphalt overturned at a construction site on Interstate 64 in Jefferson County.  State Police reported the truck was on uneven pavement when it tipped over, spilling its load of hot asphalt.  State Police did not release the identity of the 53-year-old driver.

For the first time since the fatal accident in 2007, former Illinois State Police trooper Matt Mitchell has publicly apologized for the Interstate 64 crash that killed 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 13-year-old sister, Kelli.  Mitchell was back at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in Centralia this week trying – for the fifth time – to get his drivers’ license back.  The Secretary of State’s office has 90 days to make a decision on Mitchell’s request.

Another rash of telephone scams is targeting area consumers. The latest one comes from a group claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. These scammers are asking victims for personal and financial information.  The IRS has identified over 1,100 victims who have lost around $5 million in the scams.  IRS officials say they will never ask for debit, credit or prepaid card information over the phone.

The annual Elm River Chowder has been set for Saturday, August 30. Volunteers are asked to show up around 7 a.m. to help cut up vegetables.  Thirty cast iron kettles will be placed over wood fires to produce approximately 900 gallons of chowder. Serving will begin around 12:30 in the afternoon.  Bluegrass music will also be featured.

Headlines for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

police truck

The Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved the purchase of two pickup trucks to be used as patrol vehicles for the Fairfield City Police Department. The two trucks will be purchased from LeMonds in Fairfield at a cost of $26,150 each. The vehicles will be Dodge Ram Special Service Crew Cab 4-wheel drive pickup trucks. Pictured above is a representation of the trucks being placed into service for the Fairfield City Police Department.

The Fairfield City Council has approved seeking bids for a firm to plant 2,040 trees on 26 acres of wetlands the city previously secured to replace the wetlands damaged by the failed attempt to build a side channel reservoir east of Fairfield.  The trees have been purchased at a cost of $22,000 and will be delivered on Oct. 1.

An On-Line Utility Exchange has been established for the City of Fairfield.  Customers seeking to establish a utility account with the city must submit to a credit check.  Those with good credit will have to pay a $150 utility fee or no fee at all. Those with bad credit will have to pay $450.

Mayor Chuck Griswold has announced that a company has been secured to begin collecting unpaid utility bills. Anyone in Fairfield with an unpaid utility bill should pay up now, as the bills are about to be turned over for collection.

63-year-old Phillip D. Brown of Laurel Street in Fairfield was arrested Tuesday night for domestic battery.  He is accused of slapping and kicking his girlfriend, 59-year-old Clara A. Dicus.

The annual Wayne County 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Fundraiser will be this Friday at the Geff Ruritan Building. Serving will be from 5 – 7.  All the money raised will benefit Wayne County 4-H programs and activities.

Headlines for Tuesday, August 12, 2014

stacy oneA missing Mt. Carmel teen has been located and is back home with her family.  Alisa Stacy, 15 was located in Evansville, Indiana and returned home late Monday night.  Stacy was last seen by her family on Saturday around 10:00 pm and noticed missing early the next morning.  Mt. Carmel Police were assisted by Princeton Police, Gibson County Police and the Evansville Police Department.  The investigation continues as police try to determine if adults assisted her in leaving her residence.

At a specially called meeting of the Fairfield Community High School Board Monday night, members approved a number of personnel matters. Kelsey St. Ledger has been hired as an English teacher. Kelsey is a native of Ellery and most recently worked at Gibson Southern High School. She replaces John Maus who has resigned. Billy Rogers of Fairfield has been hired as the district’s in-school detention teacher.  Justin Sanders has been employed as the school’s cross-country coach. Hunter Bryan has been approved as a volunteer FCHS football coach.

Gasoline prices have fallen in recent weeks. The cheapest gas price in the area is in Flora at $3.19 per gallon. The cheapest gas in the state was noted in Sparta at $3.18 a gallon.

Vandals have damaged several tombstones at the Toms Prairie Cemetery in rural Jasper Township.  Police spotted a broken tequila bottle near the entrance to the cemetery and several tombstones overturned or broken. No damage estimate was available.The annual Wayne County 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Fundraiser will be held this Friday, August 15 at the Geff Ruritan Building.  Serving will be from 5 – 7.  All proceeds from the dinner will benefit Wayne County 4-H programs and activities.

Headlines for Monday, August 11, 2014

stacy onestacy twoPolice in Mount Carmel, Ill. are requesting the public’s help in locating a missing Mt. Carmel teen that has not been seen since 10 o’clock Saturday night.  The missing juvenile has been identified as 15-year-old Alisa D. Stacy.  Stacy is believed to be in the Princeton, Indiana or Mt. Carmel area.  Police say the missing teen told her mother she was going to bed and when her mother checked on her early Sunday morning she was missing.  Stacy is believed to be wearing bright orange Sketcher tennis shoes.  The missing teen has changed her hair color to brown and one side of her head is shaved.  She also has a stud piercing on her  bottom lip.  Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts are asked to call the Mt. Carmel Police at 618-262-4114 or the Wabash County Crime Stoppers at 618-262- 4258.

Bond has been set at $100,000 for an Arkansas man accused of scamming an Albion man in a driveway paving scheme. Jack Lee Harrison, Sr., 65 of Fort Smith Arkansas faces a Class-2 felony charge of theft and a Class-3 felony charge of intimidation.  Harrison is accused of scamming an Albion man out of $9,900.

71-year-old James G. Roberts of Eldorado has been sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing two children under the age of 10.  Roberts was arrested in March of last year following an investigation by Illinois State Police detectives.

21-year-old Nicholas R. Zoglman of Newburgh, IN was seriously injured Saturday when he fell at the Table Rock formation at the Garden of Gods. Zoglman was airlifted from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

Illinois State Police from the District-19 Post in Carmi issued 412 tickets and 806 written warnings during the month of July.  Commander Capt. Kelly Hodge says troopers also arrested 5 suspected drunk drivers and investigated one fatal traffic crash.

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation ending the practice of posting a driver’s license as security for certain types of traffic citations. The new law eliminates posting a driver’s license as bail. Instead, it allows drivers to sign a citation as their guarantee that they will appear in court or pay a fine.

The Fairfield Community High School Board meets in special session tonight. Members are expected to approve the employment of an English teacher, a one-on-one aide, an in-school detention teacher, a cross country coach and a volunteer football coach. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Headlines for Sunday, August 10, 2014

44-year-old Timothy W. Hightower of Xenia was cited for DUI and improper lane usage following an accident late Saturday morning at the east edge of Flora.  State police said Hightower was westbound on U.S. Route 50 and crossed the center line into the eastbound lane and onto the shoulder, striking a disabled pickup truck head-on, driven by 51-year-old Jamey L. Tolliver of Clay City.  Both drivers had major injuries along with a passenger in Hightower’s vehicle, 34-year-old Shane R. Hightower of West Salem.  All of the injured were taken to Clay County Hospital in Flora.  Police said additional charges against Hightower were pending.

A squirrel was blamed for causing a blown fuse along a power line on Leininger Road in Fairfield around 7:30 last night.  A city power plant spokesperson said it was not known how many homes were affected by any power outages.  It was first believed a transformer had blown along the line, however city workers believe the squirrel was the culprit.

An Indiana man was injured in a fall Saturday afternoon at the Garden of the Gods in Saline County.  The Saline County Sheriff’s Office says a call was received shortly before 1:45 p.m. reporting a man had fallen near Table Rock at the Garden of the Gods.  21-year-old Nicholas R. Zoglman fell near the Table Rock formation and suffered a knee injury.  He was flown from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN for treatment of his injuries.

Illinois State Police District 19 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge has announced the activity and enforcement figures for the month of July in Distict 19.  Troopers answered 283 calls for service and initiated 990 incidents in the field.  Enforcement figures totalled 412 citations and 806 written warnings, including 139 speeding tickets, five DUI’s, 97 seatbelt citations, three child-restraint citations, 250 written warnings for speeding and 25 criminal arrests.  One fatal traffic crash was investigated by District 19 police during July, resulting in one fatality.

The North Wayne School District has scheduled their Open House for later this month.  Mt. Erie and Johnsonville schools will conduct their Open House on Tuesday, August 19th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Cisne Middle and Cisne High School will conduct their Open House on Wednesday, August 20th from 5 to 6 p.m.  The public is welcome to attend both open houses.

Headlines for Saturday, August 9, 2014

An arrest warrant has been issued for 65-year-old Jack Lee Harrison Sr. of Fort Smith, AR.  Harrison is accused of scamming an Edwards County man out of nearly $10,000 in a driveway paving scheme.  Harrison faces a Class-2 felony charge of theft and a Class-3 felony charge of intimidation.    According to a criminal information filed by Edwards County State’s Attorney Michael Valentine, Harrison is accused of scamming the victim, Roy Longbons of Albion, by entering into an oral agreement to pave his driveway for a specific price per linear foot, and after the project was completed, Harrison allegedly charged Longbons by the square foot, resulting in a much higher price.  The intimidation charge accuses Harrison of threatening Longbons with physical harm if he didn’t pay him the money.  Bond on Harrison was set at $100,000.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night in regular session.  Alderman are expected to seek additional bids for the clearing of brush from Johnson and Fairground creeks through Fairfield.  The council is also expected to seek bids for the planting of trees on 34 acres of land as part of a wetland mitigation project.  The city must plant the trees to satisfy a U.S. Corps of Engineers order following the failed construction of a side-channel reservoir east of town, which was being built without Corps of Engineers authority, resulting in the city being forced to secure alternative wetlands to replace the wetlands disturbed by the failed project.

71-year-old James G. Roberts of Eldorado, IL has been sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual contact with two juveniles under the age of ten.  The sentence was handed down in Saline County Circuit Court at Harrisburg, IL.  Roberts drew a consecutive three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a Class-2 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 13.  The victims in the case were six and seven years old at the time of the assault.

Former Harrisburg Mayor Ron Crank died Thursday, just one year after he had been chosen for the job.  Reports indicate Crank had to resign his position to finish cancer treatments.  He had served on the Harrisburg City Council for three years before being named the city’s Mayor last year.

Illinois is inching closer on the medical marijuana program application process for patients and caregivers.  Reports indicate the state has posted the official forms online, but has asked people not to submit anything prior to September 2nd.  Applications for operators of cultivation centers haven’t yet been posted, but some guidance for entrepreneurs who are preparing their paperwork was published Friday.  Once everything is operational, patients and caregivers will have to submit applications before they can be approved for an official identification card that will permit them to purchase medical marijuana.  Patients will pay $100 a year to apply for the card, while veterans and those with disabilities will pay $50 a year.  Patients will be able to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a two-week period from a state-authorized dispensary.

Headlines for Friday, August 8, 2014

While the search for 16-year-old Megan Nichols continues, Fairfield City Police advise that “at this time, interviews and evidence lead authorities to believe Megan left her residence of her own free will.”  Megan has been missing from her W. Douglas St. home since July 3.  As a result of the search for Megan, authorities in Oklahoma have arrested Megan’s biological father, John David Jackson Nichols for failure to register as a sex offender.  U.S. Marshals interviewed John David Nichols and concluded he had no knowledge of Megan’s whereabouts.

The Fairfield Community High School Board meets Monday night to consider a number of personnel matters. The board will consider the employment of an English teacher, a one-on-one aide, an in-school detention teacher, a cross country coach and a volunteer football coach. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the District Office.

Thieves tried to steal a bridge this week in Marion County.  Sheriff Jerry DeVore said the bridge was on a Citation Oilfield Road. The would-be thieves were apparently scared off when a torch being used to cut up the bridge ruptured a gas line that was carrying methane gas away from an oil well.  They left their cutting torches behind

Frontier Community College is offering firefighting classes starting August 25.  The instructors will be Aaron Brown and Andrew Miller. Tuition for this class will be waived for in-district students.  For more information, call the college.

Hypnotist Dan Ladd will be featured this evening at the annual Cisne Reunion.  Also tonight, local band Rollin Country will perform at 6:30 and 8:30.  The Cisne Reunion parade will begin at 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon.

Headlines for Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nichols new pic croppedMeganThere’s been a twist in the search for Megan Nichols, a 16-year-old Fairfield girl who has been missing from her West Center Street home since July 3. City Police Chief Keith Colclasure reports that as the investigation progressed, it was discovered that Megan’s biological father, 35-year-old John David Jackson Nichols (pictured left)  was an out of compliance sex offender in the State of Illinois.  Nichols was convicted in 1998 and last registered with the Fairfield City Police Department in February of 1999. Working with Oklahoma authorities and the U.S. Marshal Service, John David Nichols was located in Tulsa, OK and taken into custody July 29 on a Wayne County warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.  “U.S. Marshals interviewed John David Nichols and it was determined that he did not know the whereabouts of Megan,” said Chief Colclasure. “John David Nichols has been charged in Oklahoma for Failure to register as a Sex Offender and has waived extradition back to Wayne County for local charges.” Chief Colclasure added that the City Police Department and assisting agencies continue to investigate all tips provided concerning the whereabouts of Megan.  “At this time, interviews and evidence lead authorities to believe Megan left the residence of her own free will,” Colclasure said.


A pickup truck crashed into the front doors of the Fairfield Masonic Lodge this morning. Pictured above are Fairfield Firemen and other emergency workers who responded to the crash a little before 7 o’clock this morning. The truck was driven by Aaron Meloy of Cisne. City Police report Meloy’s truck ran a red light and struck a car driven by 41-year-old Nicole Kline of Fairfield. Kline was hurt and taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital.  Meloy was ticketed for running a red light.

ward23-year-old Tory D. Ward of Mount Carmel was arrested Monday by Gibson County, Indiana authorities on a drug charge. At about 7:15 Monday afternoon, a deputy pulled Ward’s 2004 PT Cruiser over for speeding on U.S. Highway 41 in Fort Branch.  Approaching the vehicle, the deputy smelled marijuana.  The deputy retrieved two baggies of suspected marijuana from the back seat and a large amount of cash and more marijuana. Ward was taken to the Gibson County jail where he was booked on a charge of being in possession of marijuana with a prior conviction.  His bond was $650 cash.  He was also wanted on an unrelated warrant out of Vanderburgh County, IN.

16-yeMeganar-old Megan Nichols has been missing for more than a month now. She was last seen at her West Douglas Street Home on the night of July 3. According to Megan’s mother, Kathy Jo Hutchcraft, a $2,000 reward has been established for her safe return. Anyone with information about Megan Nichols’ whereabouts should call the Fairfield City Police Department at 842-2151.  Fairfield City Police, along with other area law enforcement agencies continue to followup on leads as they are received.

61-year-old Cheryl R. Shaffer of Rosiclare died Wednesday when the car she was driving collided with a semi head-on on Ill. Rt. 34 in southern Saline County.  The driver of the semi, 41-year-old James N. Certain of Equality was not injured.  The crash happened shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday.

26-year-old Justin Neaveill of Evansville has been sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of being in possession of a stolen vehicle in White County. It has been recommended that Neaveill serve his time in the state’s impact incarceration program, more commonly known as Boot Camp. The sentence was handed down Wednesday in White County Circuit Court at Carmi.

The University of Illinois has suspended study-abroad programs in Sierra Leone and plans extra screening for students arriving from West Africa in response to the recent outbreak of Ebola. Officials at the U of I say that all new international students will be screened for communicable disease.

The Cisne Reunion continues this evening with the Miss and Little Miss Pageant at 7 this evening.  New this year will be a Tiny Tot Pageant. The celebration continues through Saturday. The big Cisne Reunion Parade has been set for 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon.

Headlines for Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GOING, TIMOTHY CA protective order has been agreed to in the sexual exploitation case of former FCHS teacher and coach Timothy C. Going of Fairfield.  The names of Going’s alleged victims will not be released to anyone not associated with the case in a professional manner.  Court documents will only refer to the alleged victims by the initials of their first and last names. Going’s federal trial has been set for Sept. 30 in U.S. District Court at E. St. Louis. Going remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.

No foul play is suspected in the death of 50-year-old Timothy Brown of Phillipstown. White County Coroner Chris Marsh says Brown died Monday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

52-year-old Sharon K. Withrow of Fairfield was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a preliminary charge of retail theft. Police say surveillance video at Bullard’s Produce in Fairfield captured Withrow stealing a bottle of peppermint extract.

EOM July Tyra Winker CNA MedSurg croppedEach month, Fairfield Memorial Hospital honors an employee who has exemplified outstanding patient care and customer service. In July, Tyra Winkler, CNA, was named Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Employee of the Month. As a Certified Nurse Assistant on FMH’s Med/Surg unit, Tyra continually strives to ensure her patients receive the best care during their stay. Tyra is described by her peers as being very caring and is always willing to help patients, visitors, and coworkers with a smile on her face. She is mindful of the care she gives her patients and is very respectful of her coworkers. Tyra is always extra attentive to make certain not only are the patients cared for, but also that the patient’s loved ones have what they need. She is always willing to assist not only the coworkers within her department, but also the other departments when in need.

The 2014 Cisne Reunion opens tonight at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies and the announcement of the 2014 Cisne Reunion Parade Marshall. Christian Music will be featured tonight starting at 6:30. The annual parade will be at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Cisne Fire Department’s Food Stand will be open from 4 – 10 Wednesday thru Friday during the Cisne Reunion and 10 a.m. til 10 p.m. on Saturday.  The menu includes Walleye Fish Plate, Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches, burgers, fries and drinks. Proceeds will be used to help fund equipment purchases, the Junior Fireman Program and the National Fire Prevention Week  school program and a $500 scholarship.

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