Len Wells, News Director


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Headlines for Thursday, September 11, 2014

52-year-old Mark W. Johnson of Maunie has been sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to a Class 3 felony charge of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.  He was also ordered to serve one year mandatory supervised release following the prison sentence.  Several drug charges were dropped in return for the guilty plea, according to White County States Attorney Denton Aud.

24-year-old Ryan Tibbs of Cisne was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident early Tuesday morning in Saline County.  State police say Tibbs rear ended a vehicle driven by 30-year-old Kenneth D. Weasel of Crossville as he was in the southbound lane of College Road waiting to make a turn into the Southeastern Illinois College parking lot.  Tibbs was taken to an Eldorado hospital following the accident.

29-year-old Chance Ty Gilbert of McLeansboro was cited following an accident in rural Hamilton County Wednesday morning.  State police say Gilbert was southbound on Hamilton County road 1150E at 525N when Gilbert told them a truck tractor turned onto the roadway in front of him.  Gilbert swerved his vehicle to avoid a collision, causing it to leave the roadway and hit a ditch embankment.  Gilbert was taken to Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro for treatment of his injuries.  He was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, no valid driver’s license and DUI-drugs.

Voters in Hamilton County will decide in November if they want to authorize the county’s Ambulance Fund be used to assist in setting up an enhanced 911 system in the county.  Hamilton County is one of ten counties in the state without enhanced 911.  In 2013 the county received state approval from lawmakers to access the Ambulance Fund to assist with 911.  The Hamilton County Emergency Telephone System Board says there are several benefits to enhanced 911, including the ability for dispatchers to pinpoint a caller’s location, even if they’re unable to speak.

The Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opened last night with Church Night, featuring gospel music.  Threatening weather forced the event to be moved to the First Christian Church.  Activities tonight include the Fun Fest Prince and Princess Contest at 6:30 in the Entertainment Tent followed by the Roasted Chestnuts Brass Quintet at 7 p.m.  A 5K Run/Walk begins at 6 p.m. at the corner of Court and NE 4th Street.  Winning Fall Fun Fest Buttons for Wednesday were #538 and #343.

EOM August Bonnie Catton SCU ActivitiesEach month, Fairfield Memorial Hospital honors an employee who has exemplified outstanding patient care and customer service internally and externally.  In August, Bonnie Catton, Activities Director was named Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Employee of the Month.  (Pictured is FMH’s Social Services Director, Andrea Shupe, MSW, LCSW, presenting the August Employee of the Month Plaque to Bonnie Catton, Activities Director for the Skilled Care Unit)




Winning numbers drawn at the Fairfield Fall Fun Fest Wednesday were: #538 and #343  each worth $25.  Prize money can be picked up at the offices of McDowell, Kenshalo & Jesop.

Headlines for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett has announced 19 grant awards totaling over $1.5 million to local governments in the state to be used to conduct inspections at permitted pollution control facilities, such as landfills, and to investigate citizen complaints about illegal dumping.  Wayne County is among the grant recipients in the state, receiving a grant award of $32,902.  To be eligible for the solid waste enforcement grant, local governments must enter into delegation agreements with the Illinois EPA, in which they agree to hire and train landfill inspectors under the state’s certification requirements.

18-year-old Lucas M. Carey of Fairfield was arrested by city police Tuesday afternoon on a Wayne County warrant for failure to appear in court on a DUI charge.  Police took Carey into custody at his Westwood Drive home.  He was lodged in the Wayne County Jail on $150 cash bond.

National Weather Service forecasters say the area has a chance of some strong or severe thunderstorms late this afternoon or early this evening, as a cold front is expected to move through the region.  Heavy rainfall is also a possibility.  Once the cold front passes, much cooler weather is forecast for the end of the week, with high temperatures barely getting above 70 degrees.

Edwards County taxpayers are being reminded that the first due date for taxes is next Wednesday, September 17th.  The second installment due date is October 22nd.  Taxes can be paid in person, by mail or by using the drop box on the northeast corner of the Courthouse in Albion.  A postmark of September 17th will be considered as on time for payments, otherwise a one and a half percent penalty will be added.  Those with questions can call (618) 445-3581.

The Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opens this evening with gospel music in the Entertainment Tent starting at 6:30.  The Fun Fest Prince and Princess Contest will be held Thursday night at 6:30 in the Entertainment Tent.  The Fall Fun Fest runs through Saturday night, concluding with Egyptain Combo on the Main Stage from 6:30 til 10 p.m.

A southern Illinois man died after a zip lining accident.  38-year-old William Harris of Tamaroa, IL fell 33 feet from the backyard line Sunday night, according to an Associated Press report, and died instantly.  Harris had worked as a Marine Corp Veteran and a gurard at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

Headlines for Tuesday, September 9, 2014

16-year-old Nicholas O’Daniel died Monday afternoon after the car he was a passenger in ran off a rural Wayne County road, crashed through a guardrail and landed in a creek.  O’Daniel was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital where he later died from his injuries.  The driver of the car, Caleb Read of Fairfield suffered leg and ankle injuries and was transferred to Deaconess Hospital for further treatment.  O’Daniel was a junior at  Fairfield Community High School.  Services are pending at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield.

30-year-old Randall W. Gillihan of Mt. Carmel, IL was arrested Monday following the execution of a search warrant at his home on Hydraulic Avenue.  He was wanted on a Wabash County warrant for being in possession of child pornography.  Police say he is a registered sex offender who was recently arrested by Mt. Carmel police after failing to notify authorities of a change of address.  Gillihan is being held in the Wabash County Jail on $50,000 cash bond.

The Albion City Council met in special session Monday night to discuss the shallow water service lines recently installed by Haier Plumbing.  The service lines feed residents living on South 8th Street in Albion, and were found to be 14 inches below ground.  The council has formally requested that Haier come back and bury the lines at a depth of at least 30 inches below the planned level of the new street surface.

Three men were arrested on drug charges late Sunday night following a traffic stop in Fairfield.  A Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a pickup truck on NW 4th at Main Street in Fairfield for a license plate light being out.  A further investigation by police resulted in the arrest of 30-year-old Jarrod M. Talley of Carmi, 25-year-old Kiefer T. Best of Fairfield and 25-year-old Cody D. Gregory of Dickinson, ND on preliminary charges of being in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  All three were lodged in the Wayne County Jail.

A program on Civil War history will be presented tonight at 7 in the Fairfield Public Library.  The Wayne County Historical Society will feature Rick Moore of Broughton, presenting his research on Fort Shipley, which was constructed between Mill Shoals and Barnhill in 1864 on a bend of the Skillet Fork River.  The program is free and the public is welcome to attend.  The library’s west entrance will be open for the program.

The annual Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opens Wednesday night with gospel music at 6:30 in the Entertainment Tent.  Thursday night’s activities include the Fun Fest Prince and Princess Contest at 6:30 p.m. in the Entertainment Tent, with a performance by the Roasted Chestnuts Brass Quintet starting at 7 p.m.

Edwards County Treasurer Cindy Hocking is reminding taxpayers that the first due date for taxes is Wednesday, September 17th.  The second installment due date is Wednesday, October 22nd.  Taxes can be paid in person, by mail or by using the drop box on the northeast corner of the Courthouse in Albion.  Taxpayers can also pay online with a credit card.  More information is available by calling (618) 445-3581.

Headlines for Monday, September 8, 2014

16-year-old Nicholas O’Daniel died Monday afternoon when the car he was a passenger in ran off a rural Wayne County road, crashed through a guardrail and landed in a creek. The driver was identified as 16-year-old Caleb Read of Fairfield. O’Daniel was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was a junior at Fairfield Community High School.  Read suffered a broken leg and ankle in the crash and was taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. Services for Nicholas O’Daniel are pending at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield.

County Coroner Jimmy Taylor and Fairfield City Police are investigating the death of a young Fairfield woman who was found dead in her N.W. 7th Street home Sunday morning.  The body of 25-year-old Ashley D. Clark was found at about 8:45 Sunday morning.  Officials said there were no outward signs of foul play.  However, Coroner Taylor has scheduled an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

House IItooley IIAn Evansville woman who had been missing for two months was found alive Saturday in a mobile home in Posey County.  30-year-old Joelle Lockwood had been held against her will and was caged at times, police said.  Two suspects have been arrested in the case. They have been identified as 37-year-old Rick R. House, Jr (left) and 44-year-old Kendra S. Tooley (right).  At one time, police searched an area south of Maunie near the Wabash River for the missing woman.  After being treated at a local hospital, Lockwood was returned to her family.

Industry and environmental groups are still hoping for changes to new rules governing the use of high pressure, high volume hydraulic fracturing. Comments from both sides will be submitted to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources ahead of a Sept. 16 hearing. There’s no word on when the new rules will be implemented and high volume fracking can begin in Southern Illinois.

Industry representatives from 15 countries from around the world will be in New Harmony this week for an oil spill response workshop. The event is being sponsored by Elastec/American Marine.  Millions of dollars’ worth of oil response equipment will be demonstrated during the event.

The Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opens this Wednesday night in downtown Fairfield and runs through Saturday night.  Wednesday night will be Church Night with gospel music at 6:30 in the entertainment tent.

Headlines for Sunday, September 7, 2014

A little-known episode in local Civil War history will be the focus of a public program this Tuesday night at 7 at the Fairfield Public Library.  The Wayne County Historical Society will feature Rick Moore of Broughton, who will present his reserach on Fort Shipley.  Manned by Confederates and Southern sympathizers, the fort was constructed between Mill Shoals and Barnhill in 1864 on a bend of the Skillet Fork River.  The program is free and the public is welcome to attend.  The Second Street entrance of the library will be open for the program.

38-year-old Jeffrey T. Shaffer of Rosiclare, IL was killed Saturday morning in a two-vehicle wreck in rural Saline County.  State police said Shaffer was northbound on Illinois Route 145 when his vehicle crossed the centerline and hit a southbound semi head-on, driven by 51-year-old Tony D. Tite of Ozark, IL.  Shaffer was pronounced dead at the scene.  The highway was closed for over six hours as an Illinois State Police accident reconstructionist officer and a commercial vehicle enforcement officer investigated the crash.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Five people were hurt in a two-vehicle wreck on Illinois Route 49 about two miles south of Casey, IL late Saturday afternoon.  State police at the Effingham post report that 16-year-old Tanner May of Marshal, IL was westbound on a county road approaching a stop sign at the intersection of Route 49 and failed to stop, causing his vehicle to be hit in the driver’s side by a vehicle driven by 45-year-old Brad Musgrave of Oblong, who was northbound on Route 49.  The impact forced both vehicles into a field, ejecting May and causing Musgrave’s vehicle to catch fire.   Both drivers and a passenger in May’s vehicle and two passengers in Musgrave’s vehicle were taken to area hospitals following the crash.

The annual Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opens this Wednesday night in downtown Fairfield.  Gospel music will be featured at 6:30 p.m. in the Entertainment Tent.  Thursday night’s activities include the 5K Run/Walk at 6 p.m., the Prince and Princess Contest at 6:30 p.m. and a performance by the Roasted Chestnuts Brass Quintet at 7 p.m.

Published reports say Illinois’ pension liability as a percentage of state revenue is easily the highest in the nation, according to a major credit-rating agency.  The state’s three-year liability over revenue is reported to be 258 percent, more than 50 percent above the state of Connecticut with the next-highest rate, at 200 percent.  The report also said Illinois has a $100 billion deficit in the amount of money that should be invested in the portfolios of five state-employee pension accounts.  A plan to cut benefits and increase worker contributions to reduce the debt was adopted last fall by lawmakers.

Headlines for Saturday, September 6, 2014

Olivia Smith, the 7-year-old daughter of Tim and Emily Smith, was crowned this year’s Little Miss Geff Frontier Days.  1st runner-up is Ashley Anderson, 7-year-old daughter of Brian and Tammy Anderson, and 2nd runner-up is Chesney Young, 6-year-old daughter of Casey Musgrave and Christopher Young. The Geff Frontier Days celebration continues today, with the parade at 2 p.m. and a performance tonight by Toby Daskem starting at 6 p.m.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night in regular session.  Action expected during the meeting includes approving a street closing request for the Veteran’s Parade and the Retail Merchants, and the awarding of bids for brush clearing for Fairground Creek and Johnson Creek.  The council is also expected to discuss a street name change request, award a bid for a new mower for the cemetery department, and review and award bids for tree planting.

The annual Fairfield Fall Fun Fest opens this Wednesday night in downtown Fairfield and runs through next Saturday, September 13th.  Wednesday night will be Church Night, with gospel music starting at 6:30 in the Entertainment Tent.  The Fall Fun Fest concludes next Saturday night with musical performances by Chuck A Duck, the Fortress Quartet and Egyptian Combo.

The annual Wayne City Bean Days celebration is set for Saturday, September 27th beginning with a Tractor Show from 7-10 a.m.  Other activities include 5K run/walk at 7:30 a.m. and the parade at 10 a.m.  A dance will be held at 6:30 p.m. followed by a rodeo at the Wayne City Saddle Club at 7 p.m.  A Prom/Homecoming/Pageant dress sale will be held from noon til 4 p.m. at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall in Wayne City.

An Associated Press reports says several top Illinois House lawmakers are considering a plan to overhaul the state’s school funding formula, which, if approved, could direct more state money to rural school districts at the expense of some urban areas.   Members of the group said they have been meeting recently at the request of House Speaker Michael Madigan.  The Illinois Senate declined to take up a measure last spring that called for the first widespread revamping of the school funding formula in nearly 20 years, the report said.

Headlines for Friday, September 5, 2014

Fairfield Memorial Hospital and Deaconess Hospital in Evansville have entered into an affiliation agreement. The agreement is designed to enhance services and increase collaboration between the two healthcare providers and the counties they serve. Fairfield Memorial will remain a local, independent hospital.

36-year-old Terry L. Morgan of McLeansboro has been sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to a Hamilton County charge of aggravated battery. In pleading guilty, Morgan admitted he used a baseball bat to beat up George Weingartner on August 12, putting the victim in Deaconess Hospital with serious head injuries.

Steven R. Ritchey, 54 of McLeansboro has been sentenced to 4 years in prison on an aggravated battery conviction. He admitted to beating up Howard Ritchey with a rake on July 29.

20-year-old Chelsea M. English of 1402 W. Main St. in Fairfield was arrested Thursday for domestic battery. She is accused of shoving and slapping her roommate, 24-year-old Kristin A. Abel.

Wayne County’s Confederate history will be the focus of a public program next Tuesday at the Fairfield Public Library.  During the Civil War, Fort Shipley was manned by Confederates and Southern sympathizers. The fort was constructed between Mill Shoals and Barnhill in 1864 on a bend of the Skillet Fork River. The program will start at 7 p.m. and will feature historian Rick Moore of Broughton.

Headlines for Thursday, September 4, 2014

ALBERT A. PARKER IIGARY S. TAYLOR IIA tip from a neighboring Sheriff’s Department led authorities to the arrest of two Wayne County, Ill. men on charges they were operating a suspected meth lab.  Gary S. Taylor, 44 of Geff, Ill. (pictured right) and Albert A. Parker, 38 of Fairfield (pictured left) were arrested Wednesday afternoon at Taylor’s home west of Geff.  Both men face a felony charge of unlawful participation of methamphetamine manufacturing. When Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Taylor’s house to investigate, Parker ran out of a garage and into a nearby corn field. After a brief foot chase, he was arrested.  A few hours later, after police secured a search warrant for the house, Gary Taylor returned home and was arrested.  Officials said they seized a “shake and bake” meth lab from behind Taylor’s home.

The WFIW/WOKZ Radio Auction has been set for this Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.   Over 260 items will be sold from area businesses.  You may bid on items by phone or in advance at wfiwradio.com. The numbers to call to place a bid are 842-2159 or 842-3715.

A West Salem woman was injured Wednesday morning when the kitchen stove she was lighting exploded. The victim’s name has not been released. She was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital following the 10:20 a.m. accident. The scene of the accident was a home in the 400 block of Pinhook Street in West Salem.

FCC Mascot_BobcatFrontier Community College is hosting a Meet the Bobcats event from 5:30 – 7:30 this evening on campus.  Frontier athletes and the college’s new president, Dr. Jay Edgren will be there.  Entertainment will be provided by Tom Baker’s Mardi Gras Band, featuring local musician Dean Mounts. The event will be on the lawn next to Foundation Hall.


$550 in cash prizes will be offered during ARF’s Outrageous Dog Show coming up during the Fairfield Fall Fun Fest. The event has been set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 during the Fall Fun Fest.

Participants are being urged to register now for the Fairfield Memorial Hospital and Frontier Community College Run for your life 5-K. The event has been set for Saturday, Oct. 11.  Registration forms can be picked up at Fairfield Memorial Hospital or Frontier Community College or can be printed from either organization’s website.

Headlines for Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Donald Currier croppedA formal charge of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm has been filed against a Golden Gate man accused of stabbing a Grayville man Sunday night during the Grayville Days Celebration.  25-year-old Donald H. Currier (pictured)  is accused of stabbing Dustin “Stitch” Robson of Grayville during an altercation Sunday night in downtown Grayville.


kirkmanA Texas man has been jailed on charges he was preparing to hold up the Fifth Third Bank in Mount Vernon last Friday.  Detectives arrested 71-year-old Clark Wayne Kirkman of Big Springs Texas as he was sitting in his car in front of the bank writing a holdup note. Kirkman was on federal parole from two previous bank robberies in Missouri at the time of his arrest. He is also a suspect in a bank robbery last week in Chandler, AZ.


Bob O

Bob O’Daniel of Fairfield was presented the Earl Smith Memorial Award during the Labor Day Antique Tractor Drive. At 84, Mr. O’Daniel was the oldest driver in the event.  Money raised during the Tractor Drive will support the Wayne County Ag in the Classroom program.

Ambassadors FCCSarah Pickens and Madeline Richards have been selected as the Student Ambassadors for the 2014-2015 academic year at Frontier Community College.  They are responsible for promoting unity and engagement among the FCC student body, recruiting prospective students and promoting campus-wide events. Sarah Pickens is in her second year at Frontier and is working on degrees in Health Informatics and Medical Receptionist and Physician Assistant.  Madeline Richards is a freshman this fall, working on an Associate in Science Degree with plans to transfer to Murray State University.

Marion County leads the State of Illinois in the number of sex offenders per capita.  Marion County has just over 36 sex offenders per 10,000 residents.  Wayne County has just over 21 sex offenders per 10,000 residents.

Headlines for Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Donald Currier croppedStitch Robson cropped25-year-old Donald Currier of Golden Gate (pictured left) was arrested overnight in connection with a stabbing incident Sunday night in Grayville.  Currier is accused of stabbing 27-year-old Dustin Robson of Grayville (pictured right) in the abdomen during an altercation around 9 o’clock Sunday night during the Grayville Days celebration.  Robson was taken to the hospital in Mount Carmel.  Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies nabbed Currier.  Currier was found hiding in a vacant mobile home in rural Wayne County. He has been taken to the White County jail at Carmi where he will remain pending the filing of formal charges and setting of bond.

Heavy rain was reported overnight as a cluster of strong thunderstorms moved across Southern Illinois.  Scattered power outages were reported from the lightning associated with the storms.

NOELori Noe of Wayne City has joined the staff at Frontier Community College as the Coordinator of Financial Aid.  Noe will administer financial aid to students in accordance with federal, state, and district policies; place students in federal work study programs; determine and monitor student eligibility for financial assistance; and counsel students regarding financial aid opportunities. Prior to coming to Frontier, Noe worked at The Amy Center in Mt. Vernon as the Statistics Coordinator and Advocate. Noe holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University, which she earned in 1995.  She is a 1991 graduate of Fairfield Community High School. She serves as a Library Trustee for the Wayne City Library. She resides in Wayne City with her husband and two children.

22-year-old Seth A. Schmittler of Grayville was injured Monday morning when the GMC Yukon he was driving ran into a guardrail on Ill. Rt. 1 at Interstate 64.  Schmittler was taken to a hospital in Evansville following the 1:10 a.m. crash. State Police cited him for texting while driving and improper lane usage.

Wayne County property tax bills will be mailed out on Friday, Sept. 19. The first installment will be due on Oct. 24. The second installment date is Nov. 24.  Treasurer Donna Vaughan says the total amount to be collected this year is $13.6 million. The amount is $1.2 million more than last year.

Wayne County mobile home tax bills will be mailed out today.  The single due date has been set for Nov. 7.  The total amount to be collected is $170,247.

Edwards County High School is hosting the annual volley for the Cure game against Fairfield this evening.  In honor of the Volley for the Cure game, FCHS students will be selling spirit beads and ribbons to help raise money for the event.

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