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Local News

Montgomery County Fair Heads into Weekend of Big Events

Royalty is in place for the 2022 Montgomery County Fair. Madalyn Kraus of Farmersville has been chosen to serve as Miss Montgomery County Fair Queen. Miss Congeniality honors were won by Paitynn Wilson and the first runner-up was Alecia Miller. The Junior Miss Montgomery County crown went to Ady Fergurson of Litchfield and winning in a field of 13 girls was the new Little Miss Montgomery County Sawyer Spencer of Nokomis. Her older sister Summer previously won the crown. This weekend’s fair highlights include Motocross Racing at 7:30 tonight (Friday) in the Grandstand. Admission is $5, with pit passes going for $10. Tomorrow (Saturday)  is kids day with a carnival matinee from 1 to 3 and games and prizes. Then tomorrow night, the demo derby gets underway with prizes of up to one thousand dollars up for grabs. The demo derby starts with the powerwheels kids division at 7 and then the grown ups start sending cars to their demise at 7:30. The event runs rain or shine. The cost is ten dollars for adults, five dollars for children. To enter the Demo Derby, contact Ken Reese at 217-710-0506. Then Sunday brings the Truck and Tractor Pulls Sunday at noon.   For more information, contact Don Walker at 217-250-6041. Grandstand admission is five dollars per person, pit passes 15 dollars.  

Person of Interest Nabbed in Hardee's Armed Robbery

On June 10, 2022 at 1:23pm Montgomery County 911 received a call of an armed
robbery that occurred at Hardees in Hillsboro located at 201 School St. The initial
report came into dispatch that a thin build black male with dreadlocks wearing a dark
hoodie with a design and writing on the front wearing a mask with light colored writing on the front came into Hardees pointed a handgun at the front clerk and demanded cash.
When the manager saw the the gun pointed at the clerk she yelled at the male subject to get out and the male subject left, running north from Hardees. Police began searching the area for the male and spoke with community members that had seen the person several blocks away on foot.
Later the same evening a subject matching the description was located and detained
at a Casey’s General Store in Hillsboro. Police learned the male subject had been
staying at a residence in the 800 block of E. Seward St in Hillsboro. A consent search
of the residence discovered items linking the male subject to the crime. Danien D.
Taylor 21 of Florissant, MO was arrested and taken to the Montgomery County Jail.
The Hillsboro Police Department wishes to thank Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
and Illinois Conservation Police for their assistance in the investigation.

Montgomery, Macoupin Counties at COVID High Community Risk Level

Like the horror movies with a bunch of sequels where the deranged serial killer keeps coming back, COVID 19 just doesn’t want to go away. New COVID stats show a surge in the number of counties at high community risk level. Montgomery County has returned to the list along with Macoupin and neighboring Sangamon Counties. Illinois Public Health officials say the Memorial Day Weekend started an uptick in cases with a ten percent increase in cases since. Prior to that, the state saw a two week downward trend. Public health officials are urging residents to prepare for more family gatherings on Father’s day by having up to date vaccinations and boosters.  

 

Raymond Board Told Water Rates Should Go Up, No Decision Yet

Many meetings in recent times in Montgomery County villages, cities and towns have been dominated by talk of the water supply. This week’s Raymond Village Board Meeting was no exception. Board members received results of a water rate study from the Illinois Rural Water Association and the verdict was that the village should boost water rates. The board will tackle the issue again next month after they’ve received additional information.  
 

Litchfield Woman Dies in Tuesday Route 16 Crash

A 23-year-old Litchfield woman is dead  after the car she was driving struck the rear of a bus Tuesday afternoon near Litchfield and the Macoupin/Montgomery County Line. 23-year-old Grace Keeton was pronounced dead at the hospital after the 4:23 PM crash on Illinois 16 at County Line Road, about three miles west of Litchfield. The driver of the bus and three passengers were not injured. The bus was stopped in the eastbound lane at the intersection behind another vehicle, which was waiting to turn north onto County Line Road. Keeton’s vehicle was eastbound and struck the rear of the bus. Route 16 was shut down for nearly four and a half hours.

Three Dead After Two Location Domestic Incident in Witt Township, Nokomis

On Wednesday, June 1st, 2022, at approximately 3:14 A.M., the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a shooting at 20293 Pine Trail in Witt Township. Trista D. Casey (38) of Witt and Michael S. Cunningham (40) of Litchfield were both located inside the residence. Evidence at the scene indicated that both individuals had been shot multiple times. Trista Casey and Michael Cunningham were both pronounced dead at the scene by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.  

Based on information obtained during the investigation Deputies identified Trista Casey’s ex-husband, Matthew A. Casey (40) of Nokomis, as a person of interest. Further investigation led Deputies to believe Matthew Casey had returned to his residence in Nokomis. 

With the assistance of Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew Affrunti a search warrant was obtained for Matthew Casey’s residence in Nokomis. During the morning hours of June 1st, 2022, with the assistance of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm Systems (ILEAS) Response Team, Deputies executed the search warrant at Matthew Casey’s residence. Matthew Casey was located inside the garage at the residence with a single gunshot wound. Matthew Casey was pronounced dead at the scene by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. A preliminary investigation of the scene indicated Matthew Casey’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

The Hillsboro Police Department, Nokomis Police Department, the ILEAS Response Team, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, Illinois State Police, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services, and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office assisted with the investigation. The Nokomis/Witt Area Ambulance also responded to and assisted at the scene. 

Motorcycle Crash Leaves One Man Dead, Witt Woman Injured

A motorcyclist is dead, a passenger battling serious injuries after a one motorcycle wreck near Witt Sunday evening. It all unfolded on East 20th Road at North 15th Avenue just after 5 p.m. State Police responded to the scene. Early findings show a 2006 Blue Harley Davidson was southbound on East 20th approaching the intersection with North 15th. For unknown reasons, the motorcycle left the roadway to the right, reentered the roadway and traveled through the intersection. Then the motorcycle veered south into a farm field, overturned and ejected the motorcyclist and his passenger. The driver, a 65-year-old male from Forest Park, Illinois, was pronounced dead on the scene by the Montgomery County Coroner.  The passenger, a 50-year-old female from Witt, was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries.  No further information is available. 

HSHS Hospice Illinois invites community to Memorial Butterfly Release Ceremony at HSHS St. Francis Hospital

HSHS Hospice Illinois invites community members to join them for a butterfly release ceremony at HSHS St. Francis Hospital on Thursday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the circle drive in front of the hospital, by the St. Francis statue.

 

Shawna O’Dell, director of post-acute care, shared, “The butterfly represents the transformation of the spirit as our loved ones transition from this life. We look forward to sharing in this special time with the families in our communities.”

 

Family and friends are invited to celebrate and remember the life of a loved one who has passed. The ceremony will include a butterfly release and the reading of the names of those being honored.  

 

If you would like to participate in the ceremony, please RSVP to Valerie Engelbart, volunteer/bereavement coordinator, at 217-685-0702 or email valerie.engelbart@hshs.org.  Butterflies will be released for all of those honored, but you are invited to personally release a butterfly for your loved one by reserving a butterfly for $15 to be paid prior to the ceremony.

 

For more information about HSHS St. Francis Hospital, visit stfrancis-litchfield.org.

Nascar's Most Popular Driver Appearing in Litchfield

Earl Flack has really outdone himself this time. In case you weren’t sure what kind of clout McKay Auto Parts has with international auto parts giant Napa, question no more. The most popular driver in Nascar’s Cup Series for four straight years and the 2020 Cup Champion is coming to town. Chase Elliott with the Hendricks Motorsports #9 car will appear at the new McKay Napa Auto Parts Distribution Center in Litchfield next Friday (June 3rd) during an event from 11 to 1 featuring food trucks, autographs and kids activities. Elliot tt will take part in a meet and greet from 11:30 to 12:30. Elliott will be in the area to race at Madison’s Worldwide Technology Raceway for the Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300. The Distribution Center is located at 120 South Industrial Drive.  

Dumpsters Available for Spring Cleaning in Hillsboro

The City of Hillsboro will have dumpsters available from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm Thursday, May 26 th ,through Saturday, May 28 th for residents who wish to dispose of household items. The dumpsters will be at the City maintenance building, 722 City Lake Rd., at the entrance to the Old Lake Park. Residents must check in at the maintenance office and provide proof of residency in order to use the service. Each household is limited to one truck load of items. Items that will not be accepted are; tires, paint cans, batteries, electronic equipment, large appliances and household garbage. Please call 217-532-5566 if you have any questions.

Davis Announces Service Academy Process

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-III.) announced today that he is accepting applications from students who wish to seek a congressional nomination to one of our nation's service academies for the Class of 2027. Davis can nominate to the following academies: U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), U.S. Military Academy (USMA), U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). His office will also be hosting a Service Academy Day informational event for interested students, parents, and school officials with the office of U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood in Springfield on Saturday, June 18th. More details below and registration is required. 

 
 

Service academies offer fully funded four-year scholarships to young U.S. citizens with a desire to serve their country, who qualify by age and academics, who demonstrate desirable leadership qualities, and who have the wherewithal to strive for excellence in all their endeavors. A four-year education at one of the service academies has an estimated value of approximately $300,000. 

 
 

“As a Member of Congress, each year I have the honor of nominating well-qualified, accomplished young men and women to our nation’s service academies,” said Davis. "I encourage any student interested to visit my website, call my office, or attend our event to get the process started.” 

 
 

Application Information: 

 
 

To receive an application or for more information about the nomination process visit rodneydavis.house.gov/service-academy and submit your information or call Davis' Champaign office at (217) 403-4690. 

 
 

Event Information: 

 
 

WHAT: Service Academy Day hosted by Offices of U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Darin LaHood (IL-18) 

WHEN: Saturday, June 18th, 10:00am-12:00pm, doors open at 9:30am 

WHERE: Springfield Air National Guard, 183d Wing, 3101 J. David Jones Parkway, Springfield, IL 

WHO: Students, parents, school counselors are invited to join congressional staff and representatives from the service academies 

RSVP: Registration is required by June 15th to enter the Air National Guard facility. E-mail Rachel.Kaiser@mail.house.gov or call (217) 403-4690 to register. 

FBI Investigating Harvel Costly Arson Spree, Crimestoppers Seeking Tips

The FBI and Crimestoppers are looking to crack the case of a costly arson spree last month at a pipeline repair site in Harvel. On or around midnight on April 21,  someone gained access to an excavator owned by Vance and Associates, Inc. using it to destroy a trailer and a sandblaster. The subject(s) then set fire to the excavator and a semi-tractor trailer resulting in several hundred thousand dollars of damage. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered by Vance and Associates, Inc. for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this crime. If you have information regarding this incident call FBI Springfield at 217-522-9675, email: springfield@fbi.gov, or contact Macoupin/Montgomery County Crimestoppers at 800-352-0136. 

Free dentist event Friday in Litchfield

Residents in the Litchfield community and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to receive free dental services at Litchfield Family Dentistry on Friday, May 20. 

  

Dr. Apok Gupta and team at Litchfield Family Dentistry will be improving the oral health of the community as part of Free Dentistry Day, a day dedicated to providing free dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 108 million Americans are living without dental insurance. 

  

“We understand that many people in our community and across the nation haven’t been to the dentist for a long period of time. Some don’t understand the importance of dental health, but more often than not, they don’t have the financial means,” said Dr. Gupta. “This event is a great opportunity for us to share our time and resources with those less fortunate and give back to the community.” 

  

There is increasing evidence that links oral health to overall health and well-being. The signs and symptoms of over 100 medical conditions, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and oral cancer may first be detected through traditional oral examinations. 

  

“Dental health is a vital part of a person’s overall health,” said Dr. Gupta. “Through this event, we hope to educate patients on the importance of dental health and encourage them to adopt an ongoing oral care regimen.” 

  

During Free Dentistry Day, cleanings, fillings and extractions will be provided to patients on Friday, May 20, between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. at 620 West Union in Litchfield. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call 217-324-3431 or visit www.FreeDentistryDay.org

  

“It’s very gratifying to see the impact that events like Free Dentistry Day can have on the life of a person. While we’re changing their life, they’re changing ours,” said Dr. Gupta. 

  

About Litchfield Family Dentistry 

Dr. Apok Gupta and team are proud to serve the Litchfield community, providing first-class general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry and outstanding patient service. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 217-324-3431 or visit http://LitchfieldFamilyDentistry.com/

Rural Hillsboro Man Killed in Mowing Accident

It seems so safe when it comes to the eye test, traveling along on your mower at speeds that would never test the speed limit if you were on the highway. But tragically, maintaining lawns and grass has its share of dangers. That was proven again over the weekend when a Rural Hillsboro man was killed in a mowing accident. 72-year-old Fred Roach was killed Saturday night when he became pinned beneath the mower on Old Litchfield Trail, four miles west of Hillsboro. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Mongomery County Coroner’s Office.  

Carlinville Motorcyclist Dies in Wednesday Evening Crash on Rte 108

A Carlinville motorcyclist loses his life in a Route 108 crash, just west of I-55. 49-year-old Ronald Schaaf was trying to pass a pair of vehicles when his motorcycle collided with a truck hauling a box trailer just before 6pm Wednesday. The box truck driver was turning left onto East Second Street as Schaaf approached. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash shut down the highway for some four hours as police investigated.  The driver of the truck, Harold K. Schmidt, 57, of Carlinville, was not injured. There are no indications of citations.  

Litchfield Endures Extended Power Outage in Muggy Conditions

It was a long evening in the muggy conditions for Litchfield residents impacted by an Ameren power outage last night. Nearly 1200 customers were impacted by the outage that began In the late afternoon. About 500 were back on by 5:40 pm. Roughly 250 were back on around 1:;30 pm as Ameren crews rerouted power to the impacted residents. . The last customers were expected to see power restored by 2 a.m. The Issue appears to be a fault on the power lines.

Congressman Rodney Davis' Office Hosting "Traveling Help Desk" Hours

Taylorville, IL - U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) has announced that his staff will be holding a series of Traveling Help Desks in May. Traveling Help Desks are held while Congress is in session to ensure constituents in every corner of the district have an opportunity to connect with staff if they need help with a federal agency or have questions about legislation. Traveling Help Desks will take place in Bond, Champaign, Christian, DeWitt, Greene, Jersey, Macon, Madison, and Montgomery counties. The details can be found below and on Davis' website, rodneydavis.house.gov

 Details for Constituents 

The office of Congressman Rodney Davis will be hosting a series of Traveling Help Desks with congressional staff in May. If you need assistance with a federal agency, have policy issues you would like to discuss or just want to say hi, please stop by to meet with them. We encourage you to make an appointment in advance of these help desks. To do so, please contact the appointment number listed with the help desk you wish to attend. 

 
 

Montgomery County 

Litchfield Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Tuesday, May 10th from 1:00pm - 2:30pm 

WHERE: City Hall, 120 E. Ryder St., Litchfield, IL 62056 

Appointment Number: 217-824-5117 

  

Hillsboro Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Wednesday, May 11th from 10:00am - 11:30am 

WHERE: City Hall, 447 S. Main St., Hillsboro, IL 62049 

Appointment Number: 217-824-5117 

 

Christian County 

Morrisonville Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Tuesday, May 10th from 9:00am - 10:30am 

WHERE: Village Hall, 307 S.E. 6th St., Morrisonville, IL 62546 

Appointment Number: 217-824-5117 

  

Pana Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Wednesday, May 11th from 2:00pm-3:30pm 

WHERE: City Hall, 120 E. 3rd St., Pana, IL 62557 

Appointment Number: 217-824-5117 

 

Madison County 

Godfrey Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Thursday, May 19th from 11:30am - 1:00pm 

WHERE: Village Hall, 6810 Godfrey Rd., Godfrey, IL 62035 

Appointment Number: 618-205-8660 

  

Bond County 

 Mulberry Grove Traveling Help Desk 

WHEN: Thursday, May 19th from 9:00am - 10:30am 

WHERE: Village Hall, 205 N. Wood St., Mulberry Grove, IL 62262 

Appointment Number: 618-205-8660 

 

State Police Investigate I-55 Shooting

For the second time in less than a month, a driver has been shot on I-55 in Northern Montgomery County. State Police report a driver told authorities he was shot Sunday morning just after 11:30 on Southbound 55 at Milepost 67, some five miles south of the Farmersville exit. The victim reported a white passenger car pulled alongside his vehicle and fired into his vehicle before driving off. The victim was struck by gunfire and transported to an area hospital for treatment, where he was later released. If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Special Agent Thomas Miller (618-402-5979). 

Dougherty Tabs Longtime Litchfield Coach Newkirk to Fill City Council Seat

He won't be able to bring his whistle but it appears Litchfield High Track and Field and Golf Coach Dan Newkirk is taking his skills to Corwin Hall.  He’s Litchfield Mayor Steve Dougherty’s choice to fill the City Council seat of Mark Brown, who resigned from his Ward Two seat last month.  

The choice of Newkirk will be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Newkirk has also played a key role in the Litchfield wrestling programserving as coach for the grapplers at Litchfield Middle School 

New Deer Run Maps Are Out

Montgomery County Clerk/Recorder Sandy Leitheiser recently 

announced the County Clerk/Recorder’s office recently received a 

copy of Hillsboro’s Deer Run Coal Mine 2021 Annual Mining Map. 

The map defines the location of both previously mined areas and 

proposed mining areas for Deer Run Coal Mine on a yearly basis. 

Leitheiser stated anyone interested in viewing the Deer Run Coal 

Mine 2021 Annual Mining Map may do so on the Montgomery 

County website’s (montgomeryco.com) G.I.S. mapping page, 

looking for the “Deer Run Coal Mine Annual Mining Map” link. A 

printed copy of the map is also available for viewing at the County 

Clerk’s office. Anyone with questions relating to the map is 

encouraged to contact Patton Mining Engineering Associate Brian 

Monk at 12051 9 th Av, PO Box 457, Hillsboro, IL 62049. 

Litchfield School Board Tabs Gorowski to Succeed Fleming

The Litchfield School Board is back up to full strength. Jimmy Growoski has been chosen to fill the seat vacated by former board member Mike Fleming. Like Fleming, Gorowski is no stranger to crunching numbers. He serves as a financial planner for Ameriprise Financial Services in Litchfield. He also doesn’t have to work hard to relate to the needs of teachers. His wife Brooke is a kindergarten teacher in Hillsboro 

Republican Primary Battle for Montgomery County Board Averted,Aumann Opts Out of District 2 Race

There will be now be two competitive races for Montgomery County Board and those races won’t happen until November. A three way battle between Republicans in District 2 has been averted after Kurt Aumann of Nokomis opted to pull out of the race. One of the challengers in that race, Ken Folkerts of Harvel, joined the county board this week to fill the vacancy created when Jim Havera resigned due to a move out of the county. So now Folkerts will remain on the board along with incumbent Gene Miles.  

Greenville University Offers Discounts for Teachers and Residents in Regional Office of Education #3

A new agreement between Greenville University and the Regional Office of Education #3 gives employees of the ROE #3 region a discount for online courses and opens opportunities for GU students.   In addition to offering educational opportunities to employees of the ROE #3 region, the MOU also brings the potential of collaboration with schools in the ROE #3 region to provide opportunities for GU students pursuing careers in education.The Regional Office of Education #3 serves Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette, and Montgomery counties in Illinois. Any business or organization interested in offering the benefit of reduced tuition for GU’s online classes to its employees, may contact Shaila Wong at shaila.wong@greenville.edu

Litchfield City Council Passes New Budget

Litchfield has a new budget. Without objections, the city council agreed to a budget plan that is in the black, producing a positive balance despite sales taxes that have been slowed by the pandemic. Covid relief money helped balance out that shortfall. Among the highlights of the budget is money for a new street dept building. Speaking of budgets, the council also voted to keep spending blueprint architect Jereme Zook of Kerber, Eck and Braeckel on board as budget officer.  Facing a mix of mandates and needs, the council also agreed to a 2-year plan to increase sewer rates 12% each year for fiscal years 2022-2023 and 8% for 2023-2024 to cover maintenance and operational costs. The city is also getting help from Congressman Rodney Davis in a bid for federal dollars to help with sewer upgrades. Meanwhile, Lincoln Land Community College is facing overwhelming demand for their trucking school at the Springfield campus. Mayor Steve Dougherty says interested students face a five to six month wait. Now part of the solutions appears to be bringing additional training opportunities In college big rigs to the L-L-C-C Litchfield Center. The City won’t have to invest in the project to make it happen. The council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln Land and Litchfield School District. The city’s support was needed for Lincoln Land to seek USDA grant dollars for the project. In football, they say next man up. The same thought can be applied to the Litchfield Fire Dept. Bob Beechler was honored as he is retiring after 13 years of volunteer service and received a standing ovation.  Last night, Jeremy Heigert was sworn in to become the latest volunteer member of the dept.  He will now undergo 180 hours of training before scoring his own space at the firehouse. 

 

Shawn Balint

Twitter:  @ShawnBalint

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