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Len Wells, News Director

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Headlines for Monday, July 14, 2014

Much cooler weather is on the way to Southern Illinois, following the passage of a cold front later today.  High temperatures will dip into the mid to upper 70’s Tuesday, with lows dipping into the 50’s.  The fair weather should continue through Friday.

Former U.S. Congressman Ken Gray died Saturday.  Gray represented Southern Illinois for 20 years. He was often referred to as the “Prince of Pork” for bringing as much as $7 billion in projects to his district. A portion of Interstate 57 in Southern Illinois bears his name. He was also responsible for securing the funds to build Rend Lake.

The Wayne County Fair is underway and will run through Saturday night. Harness racing will be featured at 7 tonight.  Tuesday night, the Illinois Stock Pullers and local truck pullers will be featured at 7.  Motocross is Friday night, with the fair wrapping up Saturday night with a demolition derby.

Members of the Wayne County Farm Bureau are invited to the organization’s annual Member Appreciation Dinner on Friday, August 1 at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Fairfield.  Tickets for the dinner are $2 with $1 going towards the group’s Ag in the Classroom program.  Tickets may be purchased at the Wayne County Farm Bureau Office through July 25.

Hamilton Memorial Hospital has joined the Memory and Aging Network at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Center for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders.  Hamilton Memorial becomes part of a network that includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and other staff members dedicated to serving patients with memory problems and their families.


Headlines for Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Wayne County Fair in Fairfield is underway.  Grandstand attractions began last night with the Lucas Oil Tractor Pull.  Today’s events include harness racing at 2 p.m. and a gospel concert at 6:30 this evening.  More harness racing will be held Monday night at 7.  The fair wraps up this Saturday night with the popular demolition derby starting at 7 p.m.

The southern Illinois region has a chance of showers and thunderstorms today and especially tonight, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service in Paducah, KY along with a slight risk of isolated severe weather.  Once the rain moves out later in the day Monday, a much cooler airmass is expected to dominate the area for the remainder of the week, with highs in the mid 70s by Tuesday.  Some forecasters say the setup will be similar to the pattern experienced last winter which brought several rounds of arctic air to the region.

35-year-old Samuel Carter of Sandoval, IL was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident after the 1997 Ford Ranger truck he was driving overturned on Red Stripe Road a quarter mile east of U.S. Route 51 in Marion County Friday.  The truck overturned twice after hitting a culvert, police said.  Carter was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, IL following the accident.

Hamilton Memorial Hospital has announced it is joining the Memory and Aging Network at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.  SIU’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease is made up of 37 community-based provider sites throughout its 93-county service area.  Network provider sites include hospitals, mental health centers, senior service centers, care facilities and other organizations.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau’s annual Member Appreciation Dinner is set for Friday, August 1st at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on outer West Delaware in Fairfield.  Tickets for the dinner are $2 each and must be purchased by July 25th.  No tickets will be sold the evening of the dinner.  Along with the dinner, a silent auction will be held to benefit the Wayne County Ag in the Classroom Program.  More information is available by calling (618) 842-3342.


Headlines for Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Wayne County Historical Society will bury the Time Capsule for 2039 on the grounds of the Hanna House Museum today at 11 a.m.  The public is invited to the event.  In a cooperative effort with Fairfield Retail Merchants, the City of Fairfield and the Historical Society, about fifty people donated items for the capsule which will be opened in 25 years.  To make sure this capsule is not lost, the city plans to pour a small square of concrete over the hole.

White County Sheriff Doug Maier is warning area residents about an increase in scams in his county in the past few weeks.  The latest scam is reportedly from Publishers Clearing House, in which a caller advises the resident that they have won $50,000, but in order to claim the prize the caller is asked to obtain “red dot” prepaid visa cards to send to them, or wire money to supposedly cover taxes or a processing fee.  The call may also be followed up by someone claiming to be from a “consumer fraud” division of the government, advising that they are trying to catch the scammers, and will also want money to further the investigation.  Sheriff Maier says this is a scam, and anyone receiving such a call should simply hang up.

The Wayne County Fair opens today and runs through next Saturday, July 19th.  Tonight’s grandstand event is the Lucas Oil Tractor Pull starting at 7 p.m.  Also today the fair and the Wayne County Farm Bureau Young Leaders are combining efforts to offer young people a chance to participate in a youth pedal tractor pull.  Registration begins at 4:45 p.m. in front of the grandstand, and the first ten participants to register in each class will participate in the event, which starts at about 5:15 p.m.

The Wayne County 4-H Horse Show was held this past Wednesday at the Wayne County Saddle Club.  Trophy winners included Carter Walker, Kirsten Rodgers, Ivy Fitch, Luke Atwood, and Gideon Walker.  Showmanship winners were Bailey Fitch, Carter Walker, Gideon Walker and Ivy Fitch.

The Pork Day USA celebration in Albion continues today.  Activities include the big parade at 10 a.m. followed by an official flag raising ceremony at 11:15.  Entertainment will include Mike Porter and the Panther Creek Band at 11:30, the Little Miss Pork Day event at 1:30, local talent at 2:30, the Hawf Family String Band at 4 p.m., Dennis Stroughmatt with Swing-N-Country at 5:30 p.m. followed by Nashville Recording Artist Ron Williams at 6:30 and the featured entertainment for the weekend, Grand Ole Opry Star Leona Williams at 7:30.

35-year-old Samuel Carter of Sandoval, IL was seriously hurt in a one vehicle accident on Red Stripe Road a quarter mile east of U.S. Route 51 in Marion County Friday.  State police say Carter was driving a 1997 Ford Ranger truck which went off of Red Stripe Road and hit a culvert, causing it to overturn twice.  He was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, IL for treatment of his injuries.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau’s Member Appreciation Dinner is set for Friday, August 1st at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Fairfield.  Tickets for the dinner, open to farm bureau members are $2 each, with 12 and under free.  This year’s dinner will also feature a silent auction to benefit the Wayne County Ag in the Classroom Program.  More information on the dinner or donating items for the auction is available by calling (618) 842-3342.


Headlines for Friday, July 11, 2014

GOING, TIMOTHY CTimothy C. Going has resigned his position as a Fairfield Community High School math teacher, assistant track coach and cross country coach.  The FCHS Board accepted Going’s resignation during a specially called meeting Thursday night.  Going is awaiting trial on felony charges he videotaped girls in an FCHS locker room and a motel room in Fairview Heights, IL. He also faces federal charges of being in possession of child pornography. Going is due in Federal Court at E. St. Louis on July 21.

MeganThere is still no news to report about the case of 15-year-old Megan Nichols of Fairfield. She has been missing since July 3.  Concerned mothers and friends of Megan’s family placed green ribbons around light poles around Fairfield on Thursday. Missing person flyers have been widely distributed. City Police continue their search for Megan, but maintain no foul play is suspected in her disappearance.

41-year-old Anthony L. Tolliver of Clay City died Thursday in a logging accident east of Benton in rural Franklin County. Mr. Tolliver died from multiple fractures to his skull and chest when he was struck by a falling tree.

36-year-old Dennis L. Galbraith of Wayne City was arrested Thursday by Fairfield City Police. Galbraith was jailed on charges of driving on a revoked license and for being in possession of ammunition without a valid FOID card.

Pork Day USA opens tonight with a Kids Tractor Pull at 6:30. Magician Don Baggett will perform at 6 with a movie to follow at 8 p.m.  The annual Pork Day USA Parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday.  Grand Ol’ Opry Star Leona Williams will perform Saturday night at 7:30.


Headlines for Thursday, July 10, 2014

The State of Illinois is lagging far behind in the hiring of employees needed to oversee the use of high pressure, high volume, hydraulic fracturing. So far, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has hired only 4 of the needed 53 employees to oversee fracking.  Some believe the state will delay the implementation of the practice until after the November elections.

clarkWayne City native Craig Clark has been hired as superintendent of the Centralia City Grade Schools. Clark is currently the superintendent of the Dodds Elementary School in Mt. Vernon.  Centralia School Board President Ron Johnson says Clark will begin his duties sometime in August.

An August 19 sentencing date has been set for a Collinsville man who entered a guilty plea Wednesday to a charge of aggravated drunk driving causing a death.  49-year-old Darrell G. Delong was at the wheel of a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer last November that overturned on “Thrill Hills” killing five passengers, including his wife. The plea agreement carries a cap of 20 years in prison.

Illinois State Police have arrested a West Virginia truck driver for driving under the influence of drugs.  33-year-old Richard A. Mayes was driving an oversize load on I-64 in Wayne County when he was pulled over for reckless driving. Police say they recovered a quantity of pills from the cab of his truck.

Wayne County’s 2014 plat book township maps are available for preview at the Wayne County Extension office until Friday, July 18.  Landowners can stop by to check the maps for accuracy before the actual plat book is printed later this year. Their offices are open from 8 – noon and 1 – 4 daily.


Headlines for Wednesday, July 9, 2-14

Delong croppedA Collinsville, Ill. man has entered a guilty to charges he was driving drunk the night he was hill jumping in rural Hamilton County, Ill., causing the deaths of five people. In Hamilton County Circuit Court in McLeansboro Wednesday morning, Darrell G. DeLong, 50 entered an open guilty plea to a single Class-2 felony charge of aggravated drunk driving causing a death.  Hamilton County State’s Attorney Justin Hood says the plea agreement calls for a sentencing cap of 20 years in prison.  Sentencing has been set for August 19 at 1:30 p.m.   In pleading guilty, DeLong admitted he was under the influence of alcohol on the night of Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The 2002 Chevy Trailblazer that DeLong was driving to hill jump rolled several times after speeding down a local country road known as “Thrill Hills”. DeLong was the only survivor of the crash, which claimed the lives of his wife, Tammy A. DeLong, 35, Tammy’s daughter, Katelyn Fancher, 16, Robert L. Parker, 49 and his wife, Loris S. Parker, 42, all of Collinsville, IL and Diana N. Wright, 23 of McLeansboro.  All of the victims, except Katelynn Fancher were pronounced dead at the scene. Fancher died the following afternoon at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

With one NO vote, the Fairfield City Council Tuesday night approved a formal resolution in support of a Chicago-based firm’s plans to establish a medical marijuana grow operation on city-owned property.  The formal resolution bears the approval of Mayor Chuck Griswold, the City Council and Police Chief Keith Colclasure. If approved by the State of Illinois, The Wellness Group will establish a medical marijuana grow operation on property near the city’s sewer plant south of town.

MeganThe search continues for a missing Fairfield teen, last seen on Thursday, July 3.  City Police Chief Keith Colclasure says numerous leads have been received regarding the disappearance of 15-year-old Megan Nichols, but all have been dead ends. Chief Colclasure says that information is being received daily about the girl’s possible whereabouts and are vigorously investigated.  A prayer vigil is being held in front of the girl’s home on Center Street each evening at 7 p.m.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Megan Nichols is asked to phone the Fairfield City Police Department at 842-2151 or simply dial 911.

Bids are being sought to remove vegetation from Johnson Creek and Fairground Creek in Fairfield.  Documents spelling out the scope of work are available at City Hall.  Only vegetation that would impede the flow of water will be removed.

Lutteral Backhoe Service of Flora submitted the low bid for the construction of a commercial entrance to the Woolsey-Clark industrial site south of Fairfield. Lutteral’s bid was for $84,917.

Mayor Chuck Griswold has appointed a committee to come up with recommendations on how to effectively enforce the rules banning shepherd’s hooks and other monument decorations at Maple Hill Cemetery.  “Over decorating” of tombstones is causing lengthy delays in weed-eating efforts at the cemetery.


Headlines for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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High winds from a line of very heavy thunderstorms raked southern Illinois Monday afternoon.  A large tree fell on the Raymond Knight residence at 250 S. First St. in Albion. The home was destroyed.  Six utility poles were broken in the Geff area. Numerous power lines and transformers were knocked down in Golden Gate.  No injuries were reported. Above photo courtesy Mark Curtis.

Mark Wells has been hired as a dispatcher for the Fairfield City Police Department.  Wells is a former employee of WFIW.  After leaving broadcasting, he became a dispatcher for the city police and then joined the Illinois State Police. His last assignment was as a State Police dispatcher at the post in DuQuoin.

The Albion City Council met Monday night. Aldermen approved a budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget amounts to $2.6 million.

32-year-old Melinda Clifford of Carmi has been sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of domestic battery – a class-4 felony. After prison, she will have to serve another four years of parole.

59-year-old Michael L. Benns of Benton received major injuries Monday afternoon when the Harley Davidson motorcycle he was riding collided with a pickup truck on Ill. Rt. 13 near Shawneetown. The truck driver, Danny Combs, 52 of Shawneetown was not hurt.

Winners have been named in WFIW’s Business of the Day promotion.  Winning $200 that can be spent at any single business of the day sponsor is Mildred Masterson of Fairfield. Winner of $100 is Anita Winter of Ellery. Third place of $50 goes to Sue Maculavics of Geff.


Headlines for Monday, July 7, 2014

At this time, no foul play is suspected in the disappearance of 15-year-old Megan Nichols of Fairfield.  Nichols has been missing since last Thursday, July 3.  City Police say they are actively searching for Nichols. Police have been following up on reported sightings of the teen as well as comments posted on social media websites. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Megan Nichols is asked to call the Fairfield City Police.

32-year-old Kathleen Ann James of Carmi was seriously injured Sunday morning when the car she was driving ran off Rt. 1 at Commerce Street in Grayville and hit a tree. She was airlifted to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville following the 6:41 a.m. accident.  James told police that she fell asleep at the wheel.

23-year-old Ethan Cummins of Prairieville, LA was injured Sunday when the pickup truck he was driving ran off the Bridgeport Blacktop and hit a sign post. Cummins was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville following the 2:37 a.m. accident.

35-year-old Carol Barnard of Fairfield was arrested Saturday on a charge of domestic battery.  She is accused of striking her husband, 36-year-old Eric Barnard during a disturbance Saturday afternoon.

Jason A. Locke, 33 of Fairfield was arrested Sunday afternoon for driving revoked.  Locke was spotted riding an ATV on S.W. 7th Street. He was also cited for unlawful operation of an ATV on a city street.

40-year-old Phillip M. Youngblood of 703 Kerney St. in Carmi was arrested Friday for battery and criminal damage to property.  Youngblood is accused of striking John Roberts at his home on Silver St. in Grayville and damaging his home.  Edwards County Sheriff’s Police made the arrest.


Headlines for Sunday, July 6, 2014

Megan P Nichols (2)The search continues today for a missing Fairfield teen.  15-year-old Megan Nichols of Fairfield has been missing for over three days now.  Fairfield City Police are asking for help from the public in locating Megan. Megan is described as 5’ 6” tall, weighing 111 pounds. She has blond hair and hazel eyes. If you have any information about Megan Nichols whereabouts you are asked to call the Fairfield City Police Department at 842-2151, or simply dial 911. At this time, there is no indication of foul play involved in Megan’s disappearance – however, family members and friends have begun the process of posting missing person flyers around town seeking information about her whereabouts.

Cisne FFA members Janaye Barnfield and Russell Hilliard had a successful day of competition at the Section 23 FFA Livestock Fair held Saturday at the Richland County Fairgrounds in Olney. Barnfield showed the Champion female in the goat division. Hilliard was awarded Champion Market Goat, Champion Buck and the Goat Showmanship Award.

Wabash Area Development will begin making appointments Monday for the Summer Energy Assistance Program.  The program will run until July 23 or until funding is depleted.  Contact your local WADI office for more information.

Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose says he will introduce a bill next spring to legalize the sale of fireworks in Illinois.  Rose says the sale of fireworks in Illinois would generate as much as $12 million a year in retail sales tax revenues.

Grand Ol’ Opry star Leona Williams will be the headline act at the annual Pork Day USA celebration next weekend in Albion.  The celebration opens Friday night and continues through Saturday.  Leona Williams will perform at 7:30 Saturday evening.


Headlines for Saturday, July 5, 2014

A huge crowd enjoyed this year’s Fourth of July fireworks show at Southwest Park in Fairfield.  Those attending enjoyed a great show, clear skies and cool weather.

A Harrisburg woman was seriously injured Friday evening in a single vehicle crash in Saline County.  27-year-old Stephanie L. Walker of Harrisburg was a passenger in a 2013 GMC Acadia that ran off Ill. Rt. 145 near Butler Road and landed in a ditch. Walker was airlifted to an Evansville Hospital for treatment of major injuries. The driver, 24-year-old Kyle Day of Carrier Mills was not hurt.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night. Aldermen are expected to seek bids for a contractor to clear the brush from Johnson Creek and Fairgrounds Creek through Fairfield.  The council is also expected to approve a contract to build an entrance to the Woolsey Operating Company off Rt. 45 south of Fairfield.

The Illinois Agriculture Reporting Service has listed the condition of the entire state’s corn crop at 80% “good to excellent.”  Much of the region’s corn crop has already started silking. Needed rain is in the forecast for next week.

The annual Pork Day USA celebration opens next Friday night in Albion. Activities will continue through Saturday.  The annual parade will be at 10 a.m. Saturday.  The featured entertainment this year will be Grand Ol’ Opry Star Leona Williams performing at 7:30 Saturday night.  New activities this year include Laser Tag, a mechanical bull and a climbing wall.


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