Headlines for Saturday, August 24th

White County Sheriff Doug Maier reports Friday two arrests were made in connection with two oil field thefts and a burglary at Union Ridge Cemetery.  A Crimestopper tip led the investigation to New Haven in Gallatin County.  A stolen John Deere Gator was located in New Haven.  38-year-old Joseph Webb and 25-year-old Samantha Wheatley were at the residence, and were arrested by Gallatin County Sheriff Shannon Bradley for possession of stolen property.  The John Deere Gator, along with other items, were recovered at two locations in New Haven, along with several oil field valves believed to be stolen from White County.  Webb and Wheatley were transported to the White County Jail in Carmi, and charged with two counts of theft and two counts of criminal damage to property.  Bond on Webb and Wheatley was set at $100,000 each.

Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker signed a bill Friday that enhances penalties against those knowingly causing harm to anyone engaged in prayer or other religious activities at a church, synagogue, mosque or other building used for religious activities.  Under the new law, an assault and battery committed in a religious place of worship is enhanced to aggravated assault or aggravated battery, making it a Class A misdemeanor for aggravated assault and a Class 2 felony for aggravated battery.

Illinois State Police announced Friday the arrest of 58-year-old Chet L. Shaffer of Thompsonville, IL on three counts of Official Misconduct, two counts of Custodial Sexual Misconduct and two counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault.  State police say the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received information regarding the allegations on August 15th.  Shaffer is a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office jail employee, and was placed on administrative leave.  An investigation resulted in Shaffer’s arrest Thursday.  Shaffer posted bond and has been released.

Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly announced Friday the line-of-duty death of ISP South SWAT Trooper Nicholas Hopkins.  Hopkins and other officers were executing a search warrant early Thursday morning at a residence in East St. Louis, when there was an exchange of gunfire.  Trooper Hopkins was hit and taken to a local hospital where he later died.  Trooper Hopkins was a 10-year veteran of the state police.

Wabash Valley College will be offering an IECC Concealed Carry Recertification course for those interested in recertiyfing their Illinois Concealed Carry Permit on September 14th.  The class will meet from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Advanced Technology Building.  Jay Carter will be the instructor.  More information is available by calling (618) 879-9420.

The DuQuoin State Fair is getting underway.  Harness racing is scheduled for today, along with monster truck shows.  Sunday’s Veterans Day/Bicentennial Day event will be held in the Exhibition Hall, where organizers hope the air conditioning will make it easier for older veterans to attend.  The fair runs through September 2nd.

River stages as of this morning:  Little Wabash River east of Fairfield, 18.06 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City, the stage is 18.46 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the river is at 20.22 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 9.14 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is at 6.52 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.