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Local News

US EPA Announces Cleanup of Asarco Site

The area once was home to  the world’s largest lead smelter and in its day, when Asarco pumped out paychecks and put food on the table, it had a lot of positive impact. Then when it closed, the legacy became less and less nostalgic as the years have passed. Local leaders have sought a cleanup of the site far beyond their means. Yesterday, the US EPA announced a breakthrough on that front. The Asarco site was among sites chosen for cleanup in a third and final wave of cleanups under a one billion dollar effort nationwide. Asarco is among 25 new Superfund cleanup projects.  EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “This final round of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has made it possible for EPA to initiate clean ups at every single Superfund site where construction work is ready to begin. This is an incredible milestone in our efforts to clean up and protect communities, deliver local jobs, enhance economic activity, and improve people’s lives for years to come.”    

“Alongside Illinois’ rich industrial history lies the sobering reality of polluted sites that pose significant risks to public health and the environment,” said Sen. Dick Durbin. “This federal funding is critical in our mission to restore contaminated sites for the benefit of every Illinois resident and safeguard the surrounding ecosystems.”  

“I’m proud to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is continuing to support critical projects throughout Illinois, and I’m pleased this Superfund site in Montgomery County, Illinois, will benefit,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “Eliminating contaminated sites is an important part of protecting the health of children and families, and it is also a necessary part of helping spur development, job creation and economic growth for affected communities. I’ll keep working to help ensure that all Illinoisans can breathe clean air and live in a safe environment without fear of toxins and pollution.”  

“Illinois EPA is pleased to see this federal funding being directly applied to the Asarco Superfund site in Taylor Springs, Illinois,” said Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim.  “With no required state match, 100 percent of this funding will go directly to remediating this site, which is a win for Illinois residents.”  

Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, cleanup will begin at the Asarco Taylor Springs Superfund site. EPA completed the remedial investigation and feasibility study phase of the Superfund process in 2021 and issued a proposed cleanup plan for public comment in June 2021. Funding will be used to remediate lead- contaminated soil, process residues, and groundwater at the site. For the residential areas, this involves the excavation of contaminated soil and backfilling with clean soil.  At the former smelter property, cleanup includes excavation of source materials and lake dams and spillways repair to prevent release of contaminated material and protect aquatic habitat.  

Pickers Markets Set for 2024

If ain’t broke, don’t fix it but that doesn’t mean don’t add a new tweak or two. That sums up the gameplan for this year’s Litchfield Pickers markets. The Litchfield Tourism Office and Prairie Pickers have announced that the 2024 Litchfield Pickers Markets will again be on the second Sunday of each month from May through October. There is one change though as the event will start and finish one hour earlier running from 8am to 2pm in the Downtown area. The first Pickers Market is set for May 12th with the events running through October. New this year, in addition to the juried vintage antique sale organizers will also feature other vendors in the separate Monroe Street area – arts and crafts markets in May and October, non-juried toy and collectibles markets in June and September, and traditional farmers’ markets in July and August.More information and applications for all of the markets can be found on the tourism office’s website at visitlitchfield.com, or interested vendors and visitors can call 217-324-8147. 

Litchfield Looking for Route 66 Centennial Input

In 2026, the states through which historic Route 66 passes will celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the route’s designation. Posts on many Route 66 social media platforms show that travelers are already 

making plans to travel the route during its centennial. In preparation, the Litchfield Tourism Office, the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center and other area Route 66 landmarks and businesses would like to form a group comprised of those who are interested in helping plan for this once-in-a-lifetime celebration in the Montgomery County area.Route 66 was designated on November 11, 1926 by the United States Numbered HighwaySystem. Illinois was the first of the eight states through which the route passes to have its portionpaved, or slabbed, as it was called. Eight miles of the route pass through Montgomery County, with two alignments going through Litchfield. 

Every year, the historic route attracts not only visitors from across the U.S., but also thousands of international travelers, and local economies benefit from route tourism. From Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California and in every community in between, Mother Road tourism boosts employment opportunities, household incomes and government revenues. 

The tourism office will host the first planning meeting in the Carnegie Building at 400 N. State Street in Litchfield on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. The public and all interested parties are invited to attend the meeting. Those who would like to attend are asked to RSVP by calling the tourism office at 217-324-8147 or sending an e-mail to tourism@cityoflitchfieldil.com. 

Mapping Strategic Planning Sessions Involving Public Set to Begin February 12th

Litchfield is taking a grass roots approach to long term economic development and city planning.  They are teaming up with Western Illinois University’s Rural Affairs Program to bring  ‘MAPPING The Future of Your Community’ back to Litchfield, 22 years after a previous effort.  Mapping offers five, three-hour sessions at SCI  Regional Workforce Training and Innovation Center at 2001 Eilerman Avenue, Litchfield to discuss the questions: 
• Where are we now? 
• Where do we want to be? 
• How are we going to get there? 
• How do we make it happen? 
• How do we make it happen and maintain the momentum?  
Sessions will be held five consecutive Mondays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting next Monday February 12th.   City officials prefer participants take part in all five sessions.  
For more information, or to sign up to participate in the sessions, please contact Tonya Flannery at 217-324-8151 or tflannery@cityoflitchfieldil.com

Guidelines for Vote by Mail for Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Clerk’s Office reminds voters who wish to vote by mail for the Tuesday, March 19 th , 2024 General Primary Election that they may apply for a ballot from that office. To vote by mail, voters may go to the County Clerk’s page of the county website at www.montgomerycountyil.gov and download, complete and sign the Vote By Mail Ballot Application form and mail it to the County Clerk’s Office. Voters may also call the County Clerk’s Office at 217-532-9530 during business hours of Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (excluding holidays) to receive a Vote By Mail Ballot Application. All Vote By Mail Ballot Applications must be received at the County Clerk’s office by Thursday, March 14 th , 2024 in order to receive a mailed ballot. To be counted, Vote By Mail ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Election Day (March 19 th , 2024) and received within 14 days after Election Day. Voters may also return their Vote By Mail ballot by placing it in the secure outdoor Ballot Drop Box located on the north side of the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro, or they may return it to the County Clerk’s Office in person. Anyone needing further information about the upcoming election is encouraged to visit the county website or contact the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro in person, by phone at (217) 532-9530, or by email at countyclerk@montgomerycountyil.gov

 

Hillsboro Area Hospital Now Hillsboro Health

One of the trends in the hospital/health care field is changing names these days and that trend has reached Hillsboro. The name Hillsboro Area Hospital and its familiar abbreviation of H-A-H is entering the history books. Hospital officials announced late Monday that the facility has been rebranded to Hillsboro Health. Hospital officials say the rebranding effort underscores a commitment to growth, local access to health care, and additional services to meet the needs of people in the community. Hillsboro Health Chief Executive Officer Michael Alexander says  "This project is the next step in our long-range plan to provide a greater range of health and wellness services to our community,” . As part of the expansion, Hillsboro Health has opened a new primary care clinic. “By opening a primary care clinic and planning upgrades to our outpatient surgery facility, we want to go beyond being just a great hospital. We want people to choose Hillsboro Health the next time they need care," states Alexander. 

Health care providers Michael Koeppen, MD, and Katie Wollerman, FNP-C, are now available to see patients at the Douglas-Telfer Building, located at 1220 E. Tremont St. Anyone interested in scheduling an appointment at Hillsboro Health Primary Care may call 217-532-4351. 

While the rebrand includes a name and logo change, the organization remains a local, independent hospital. These entities are included in the change: 

  • Hillsboro Area Hospital, now known as Hillsboro Health 

  • Hillsboro Health Primary Care 

  • Hillsboro Health Specialty Clinics 

  • Hillsboro Health Therapy Services (formerly TeamWork Rehab) 

  • Hillsboro Health Assisted Living (formerly Tremont Ridge Assisted Living) 

  • Hillsboro Health Fitness & Aquatics (formerly Fusion Fitness & Aquatics) 

  • Hillsboro Health Foundation (formerly Hillsboro Area Health Foundation) 

Hillsboro Health, formerly Hillsboro Area Hospital, is a local, independent health care organization comprised of a 25-bed, not-for-profit, critical access hospital that provides inpatient, outpatient, and emergency services. Hillsboro Health also offers primary and specialty care, therapy services, assisted living facilities and a fitness and aquatics center. Hillsboro Health is committed to providing compassionate and quality care in an environment that fosters healing and wellness and follows the highest standards for patient safety. 

Litchfield, Others Offer Plan for Dangerous Cold Blast

The City of Litchfield is preparing for upcoming extremely low temperatures. The
temperatures are expected to be in the single digits with subzero windchills beginning
1/13/24-1/16/24. If you or someone you know needs relief or assistance from the cold call 217-324-5991. Listed below are some recommendations from the National Weather Service to prepare for the upcoming cold weather event.
 Check the Forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather app, station,
etc.: Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you'll know when
to expect cold weather.
 Adjust Your Schedule: If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside
during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning. Try to find a warm
spot for your children while waiting for the school bus outside.

 Protect Your Pets, Livestock and other Property: If you have pets or farm
animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly
exposed to extreme cold. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not
freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.
? Fill up the tank: Make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas
during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become
stranded.

Dress for the outdoors even if you don't think you'll be out much.
Update Your Winter Car Survival Kit

 

 

Senator McClure, Plummer, Harriss Launch Valentines for Seniors Drive

As Valentine’s Day approaches, State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) is once again working to make sure that senior citizens aren’t forgotten, with his annual “Valentines for Seniors” card drive. 

“Living in a nursing home or assisted-living facility can be a lonely experience,” said Senator McClure. “We want to make sure that those seniors know that they are an important part of the community and are loved.” 

To help with this goal, McClure is asking students, scout groups, churches, and other groups to consider creating homemade cards that will be delivered to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care facilities throughout the 54th Senate District. 

Cards can be dropped off from now until February 5th at McClure’s Litchfield district office, which is located at 410 N. Monroe Street in Litchfield, or his Effingham district office, at 208 N. 4th Street Suite B, in Effingham. There will be a drop box inside each office during normal business hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

As a way to honor area seniorsState Senator Erica Harriss (56th-Glen Carbon) and Senator Jason Plummer (55-Edwardsville) will host their annual Valentines for Seniors Card Drive through February 5, 2024.

“I often hear of people in the community looking for ways to help others. This is an opportunity people can show our seniors love and support this Valentine’s Day,” said Senator Harriss. “We have several nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the district, and I want to make sure these residents don’t feel unloved or forgotten about on a day focused on love.”

Both Senators are asking students, scout groups, churches, families, and other groups to consider creating homemade cards that will be delivered to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care facilities throughout each Senate District.

“This is a chance to make sure people know that we care and are thinking about them,” said Senator Plummer. “Every year our communities show these recipients that they are appreciated, and I look forward to another great response in 2024.”

 

Cards can be dropped off from now until February 5th at Senator Harriss’ District Office at 120 North Main Street, Suite 1B, Edwardsville or at Senator Plummer’s District Office at 310 West Gallatin Street, Vandalia.

There will be a drop box inside both offices during normal business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A small mailbox will be located outside the office for after-hour drop-offs.

Simeon Huber Passes Away

Heavy hearts in Hillsboro as little Simeon Huber passed away last week after a courageous battle with leukemia.   The three year old touched a lot of hearts in his short time on Earth and the people of Hillsboro and beyond made every one of his precious days on Earth count.   Not only were there a number of fundraisers but  Hillsboro poured their hearts out to Simeon and his parents Seth and Jessie,  rallying around them over the holidays with a  parade past his house with some of his favorite vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles and jeeps. Every entry was decorated for Christmas and a few days later a good number of residents turned up at the Huber home to sing Christmas Carols.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hubers and the entire Hillsboro community. 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Springfield Clinic "Patch things up"

There’s a huge breakthrough for Blue Cross Blue Shield customers who lost access to health care service from Springfield Clinic during their high profile divorce two years ago.   Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Springfield Clinic have come to an agreement that will once again put blue cross blue shield customers in network with Springfiled Clinic facilities in Hillsboro, Raymond, Nokomis and at HSHS St Francis Hospital’s campus where Springfield Clinic helps with specialties like nephrology, rheumatology and general surgery needs.  It’s a five year deal and will take effect on New Years Day. State Rep Sue Scherer of Decatur says her office has worked on the issue for two years now and she couldn’t be happier for constitutents who lost their insurance or their doctor.  Individuals with questions about their coverage can call the number on the back of their Blue Cross insurance card, on or after January 1."

Greenville University Offers Long Term Extension to President Suzanne Davis

As an affirmation of the accomplishments in her first three years as president of Greenville University, Suzanne Allison Davis has been offered a contract extension through the year 2030 by the University's board of trustees. 

"Based on the extensive positive developments occurring at Greenville University, the board of trustees initiated a conversation with the president about an extension of the traditional three- year contract," said Jerry Hood, board chair. "With President Davis' next strategic planning initiative being a vision for 2030, the board and Davis agreed to a six-year contract extension." 

Davis began her presidency three years ago with a 1,000-day plan focused on immersive experiential learning outcomes, interconnected partnerships, innovative operational tactics, financial stability obtained through vigorous enrollment, advancement, and alternative revenue, and a tightened alignment with the Free Methodist Church. 

Although the 1,000-day plan ends in mid-2024, Davis has accomplished much throughout her tenure as president. She championed the idea of immersive and real-world learning. She played an instrumental role in implementing SMART initiatives, a collaboration between the University, community, and regional businesses to cultivate economic development and educational opportunities in Greenville, Illinois. "Interconnected" is how she describes the University's 

relationship with the city of Greenville. "We are partners committed to regional growth," Davis  said. Greenville University and the town of Greenville plan for continued revitalization together. With streamlined budgets, aggressive goals, and a spirit of entrepreneurship, Davis begins her plans toward growth and her vision for 2030. 

Since taking office in 2020, some of the highlights of Davis's presidency include increased enrollment, increased retention; record-high giving, innovation through experiential learning initiatives, data-driven decision making; new program initiatives like a gymnastics center, a nursing partnership, an equine program, an outdoor adventure club, an engineering accreditation; grant funding for renovations to Burritt Hall and a maker space for engineering; 

construction of a residence hall and two buildings at the athletic complex; and creation of a partnership with the Free Methodist Church to form the Center for Pastoral Formation. 

  

Specific highlights of Davis' presidency include: 

• A 14% increase in enrollment when national college enrollment fell by 8%. 

• A new residence hall when other colleges in the region closed their doors. University Hall, a 

246-bed residence hall scheduled for completion in early 2024, will feature a state-of-the-art 

student workout facility. 

• Two new buildings and new bleachers are being constructed at GU’s athletic complex, with completion anticipated in early 2024. 

• Spiritual growth on campus has been a hallmark of Davis' tenure. Students gather weekly and discuss God's callto live lives of purpose. Focusing on spiritual formation hasresulted in increased attendance at weekly worship services. 

• Davis has broadened academic offerings by investing in a semester-long educational experience at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and soon GU will launch a gap semester program in the Dominican Republic. 

• An agreement with St. John's College of Nursing in Springfield, Illinois, and Hospital Sisters Health System has made an on-campus BSN nursing program possible. 

• Davis launched men's and women's college gymnastics with a community gymnastics center to benefit the Greenville community. 

  

• A partnership with Dynamic Campus now provides real-time data for improved decision- making. 

  

• Since June 2019, alums and friends of the University have raised support toward a $60 million campaign, the largest in GU's history. GU launched the campaign's public phase in the fall of 2023, and the total raised now stands at $52.5 million. 

"We are doing something special of God here," Davis said. "That's why I am here. And that's why my leadership team is here. This team has worked hard to embrace the 1,000-day vision, and now we are poised to expand upon that vision toward 2030. My longer-term commitment to the board is to see this vision for Greenville University come to fruition." 

Davis began serving as acting president in May 2020 after then-president Ivan Filby stepped down. University trustees officially named Davis president on January 21, 2021. Safety precautions associated with COVID-19 delayed the public inauguration celebration until the fall of 2021, in conjunction with the University's homecoming celebration. 

Davis previously served the University as executive vice president, vice president for university relations, dean of its Briner School of Business, and chief legal officer. She holds a master's degree in business administration and a juris doctor from the University of Illinois. Davis completed her undergraduate studies at Greenville University, with majors in philosophy and political science. 

Prior to returning to Greenville University in 2012 to teach and serve in administrative roles, she practiced law at the Lemna Moore & Carroll Law Office in Tuscola, Illinois, and taught at Eastern Illinois University's School of Business. 

In her two years as executive vice president, Davis aided in the University's successful accreditation effort, leading the financial, operations, and governance portions. She led the president's executive cabinet and managed the reorganization of enrollment, marketing, and international affairs at the University. She also oversaw the finance office, financial aid, and athletics departments. 

As president, Davis's enlarged president's council provides input from the campus community to make timely, informed decisions. The longstanding mission of Greenville University – "To empower students for lives of character and service through a transforming, Christ-centered education" – is central to Davis' innovative strategy for the future of the institution. "Amid the turmoil in higher ed, we are survivors, and today we are thriving,” says Davis. “I give much credit to my leadership team and all our employees working hard to fulfill GU's critical 

mission and vision. I am blessed to have an involved and supportive board of trustees equally invested in our mission. I am excited about the future of Greenville University." 

Davis serves on the boards of directors at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges. She is also a member of the President's Council of NCAA Division III. 

Litchfield Police Arrest Three on Drug Warrants

On Friday,  7:01 p.m., the Litchfield Police Department executed a search warrant in the 200 block of West Water Street. The residence and several occupants were secured and a search was conducted. 

During this search, several containers of suspected methamphetamine, items of 

paraphernalia and additional evidence of the possession and delivery of narcotics were  located. 

The following individuals were arrested and held on pending criminal charges. 

 Marty A Rolland, 54, Litchfield Meth Delivery, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Illegal use of Property 

 Ashley D LePage, 35, Litchfield Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Controlled Substance,  Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 

Matthew L Friesland, 53, Litchfield Possession of Methamphetamine and

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 

All individuals are being held, pending a pre-trial, hearing at the Montgomery 

County Sheriff’s Office. 

Additional criminal charges are pending in this case for individuals involved in the 

possession and sale of narcotics. 

The Litchfield Police Department was assisted by the Montgomery County 

Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office in the execution of  this search warrant. 

Application Deadline Nears for Litchfield Christmas Basket Program

After months of fundraising efforts, it's time to begin shipping out for the Litchfield Christmas Basket Association.

Application forms are now available for the Litchfield Christmas Basket Association through Monday (November 27). They are open Saturday and Monday from 10 to 4.
Forms are for Litchfield residents only who are in need and are available at Hearts United, 110 North Jackson Street in Litchfield during regular business hours. 
The association, which has been in existence for over 50 years, provides wholesome food baskets to those in need thanks to generous donations from banks, businesses, organizations, and the Litchfield Community. 
Food baskets will be delivered on Saturday, December 16 between 9 AM and noon. Those receiving a basket must be home to sign for it. If the basket is not received by 12 PM, then callNancy at 217-556-9708 or Pam at 217-313-0662.

New Exhibit at Museum for Historic Society of Montgomery County, Christmas Home Tour on Sunday (11/26)

The Historical Society Museum announces that the new museum displays titled "Main St. Merchants of Montgomery County" is now complete. 

We appreciate the many people who visited the "History of Montgomery County Schools" exhibit over the past months and thank you for all of your compliments. 

The new display showcases the many historic Main Street businesses of the past. Photos, artifacts, items given to patrons by businesses, documents, advertisements etc. Many items have never been seen before by most folks. We also have over 200 historic photos that roll every 10 seconds on the big screen t.v. 

The display cases are full and the walls are covered in historic photos from every community in Montgomery County.  

Have you ever heard of or seen photos of the General Store in Esther, Illinois in East Fork Township? Yes, I said Esther. How about the opera houses in Fillmore or Panama? Ever hear of the Manhattan Beer Company in 1800's Litchfield (we have the bottles to prove it) or Gees Tavern in Raymond? Medicine bottles from early county pharmacies or soda bottles from the 1880's and hundreds of other great items to see. 

The museum located behind the Harkey House will be open this Saturday, November 25 (extended hours of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the "Small Town Christmas" festivities) and on Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. for our Christmas home tour then back to normal hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

 

Here are the homes available for tour from 1 to 4

Blackman Evans Home 904 S Main 

Whitledge Kennedy House 215 S Broad 

The Historic Red Rooster 128 E Seward 

Historic Harkey House 305 S Broad 

Cozello Zimmer House 276 Miller Branch Trail 

$17 in advance $20 day of tour 

Officer Involved Shooting at Carlinville Area Hospital

There's word of an officer involved shooting at Carlinville Area Hospital.   In the Sunday evening incident around 6:15 pm, the suspect was shot in the hospital parking lot and suffered life threatening injuries.  State Police are investigating.  A Carlinville police officer reportedly shot a suspect who allegedly first pointed a gun at them.  The suspect was driving a vehicle that was reported stolen.   The officer was not injured. 

Bremer Membership Campaign Underway

BREMER SANCTUARY MEMBERSHIP CHAMPAIGN

The Stewards of Bremer Sanctuary are surprised at the number of hikers, picnickers, photographers and families that have taken advantage of our beautiful grounds in this past year. Our trail monitoring system tells us that our trails held more walkers, joggers, nature enthusiasts and families pushing strollers or pulling wagons than in past years. Local photographers can always find the perfect spot for family photos in any season. The sanctuary takes pride in their pristinely mowed trails and boasts about our two viewing platforms, covered foot bridge and shady picnic pavilion. Many acres of prairie wildflowers and quiet woodlands are only part of our on-going restoration projects which provide a remarkable habitat for wildlife. Programs, educational workshops and events are currently being planned for 2024.
The H & B Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary was donated in 1977 to the Illinois Audubon Society, a not-for- profit organization, by sisters Helen & Betty Bremer. Our chapter, Hickory Hills, was formed in 1980 and is funded solely through budgeted items submitted to IAS, grants, donations, memberships and volunteer efforts.
The 203-acre sanctuary is open to the public from dawn till dusk, 365 days a year, and while we don’t require membership to enjoy our property, if you appreciate all our hard work, why not join to support our efforts? We offer two types of membership, Illinois Audubon Society and a “Friend of Bremer”. The Illinois
Audubon Society was organized as an independent, statewide, educational and scientific organization, incorporated April 10, 1897 by the State of Illinois. They are the oldest nonprofit, conservation organization in
Illinois. Our mission is “to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native flora and fauna of Illinois and the habitats that support them.”
A basic Illinois Audubon Society membership starts at $25 per year and you can designate Hickory Hills Chapter for an additional $10.00, that way you will also receive all of Bremer newsletters and event invitations.
IAS Members will receive quarterly issues of Illinois Audubon magazine and invitations to many statewide field trips. Dues are paid directly to Illinois Audubon and dues reminders are mailed from them as well. You may find membership information on the Illinois Audubon website, illinoisaudubon.org.
 A “Friend of Bremer” is a membership to receive all of the sanctuary’s e-versions of our quarterly newsletter, invitations to our events and programs. A “Friend” is not eligible to hold an office or have voting
power in the chapter. A fee of $10.00 is due each January and should be sent to: Hickory Hills Chapter, P.O.
Box 395, Hillsboro, IL 62049. Please provide an email with payment in order to receive correspondence. Bremer Sanctuary is located one-half mile north of the Montgomery County Courthouse in Hillsboro,  Illinois.  194 Bremer Lane, Hillsboro, IL is the physical address, (we do not accept mail with this address, please use P. O. Box 395, Hillsboro).  The sanctuary is owned by the Illinois Audubon Society and operated by the volunteers of Bremer.   We are always looking for new volunteers to assist in various aspects at the sanctuary and donations are welcome! You can contact us by messaging our Facebook page; Bremer Sanctuary, Hickory Hills Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society or our website at bremersanctuary.com

Montgomery County Cancer Association Gives a Boost to St Francis Cancer Care Center

The Montgomery County Cancer Association (MCCA) recently presented a $10,000 donation to HSHS St. Francis Hospital for their Cancer Care Center. 

  

St. Francis Hospital President and CEO Jim Timpe expressed his appreciation for the contribution, saying, “This most generous donation from MCCA is particularly meaningful to us as we prepare to double the size of our cancer center. The expansion will allow us to offer additional services to more people while improving their quality of life by providing this important health care service close to home without the burden of traveling during their illness.” 

  

The hospital’s Cancer Care Center offers chemotherapy and infusion services five days a week, with services provided by a dedicated team of oncologists and caring colleagues.  

  

Linda Klotz, president of MCCA, credited the group’s fundraising efforts and the many hard-working volunteers for the generous donation. Klotz and Paula Endress, director of philanthropy for St. Francis Hospital, gave special tribute to Pat Cailey, a longtime colleague of St. Francis Hospital and treasurer of MCCA, who recently passed away. “Pat, along with the many dedicated volunteers of MCCA, have always been so supportive of our efforts as we are of theirs. We are so grateful for all they do for our community,” shared Endress. 

  

 

Ameren Urges You to Ask Fast if you Smell Gas

Jake Dukett is a public awareness supervisor for Ameren Illinois. He has been a guest before. Jake is going to share some valuable safety tips around natural gas. He is also an assistant volunteer fire chief in Sherman, Illinois.

 

Q. What steps should you take if you smell natural gas in your home or business?

 

A. If you catch any scent of natural gas inside your home, leave the premises immediately and call Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000.

Crews will respond at any hour of the day, seven days per-week. Additionally, there is zero customer charge for responding to a gas leak.

Average response time for reports of a natural gas leak is about 22 minutes.

 

Q. Is it true that natural gas is odorless and colorless?

A. Yes. Natural gas is odorless and colorless, but Ameren Illinois adds an odorant – mercaptan - to create the distinctive rotten egg smell. This makes it easier to identify and detect leaking gas.

 

Q. Is it true if the natural gas flame isn't a sharp blue color, there could be an issue with natural gas in your home?

 

A. Yes. The natural gas flame should be a sharp blue color. If it is orange, yellow or looks sloppy, that is a warning sign and is a sign of carbon monoxide.

 

Q. If you smell natural gas, why is it important not to open any windows before leaving your premises?

 

A.

 

Q. What should you do if you see a leak outside of your premises?

 

A.

 

Q. Let's say the customer or business owner has left their premises. What steps does Ameren take when responding to a natural leak?

 

A.

 

Q. After checking the gas meter, what additional safety steps does Ameren take outside of the home?

 

A.

 

Q. How much does it cost a customer for Ameren to come to your home or business, if you have called in a natural gas leak?

A.

 

Q. Can you give us any tips to prevent a gas leak?

 

A. Have your natural gas furnace and other appliances inspected annually by a qualified contractor. This way you can be certain everything is operating both safely and in an energy efficient manner.

 

If purchasing new natural gas appliances, ensure they are high quality and ENERGY STAR certified.

 

Never use a gas oven or range top as a space heater.

 

Avoid storing flammable products such as paint stripper, fabric softener or salt bags in close proximity of your natural gas water heater or furnace.

 

Always call 8-1-1 (J.U.L.I.E) before conducting any projects that require digging. This will help prevent underground facility damage and potentially dangerous situations.

 

Customers should add Ameren Illinois to their cell phone contact list, 800-755-5000.

More Details on Death of Young Woman at Farmersville Convenience Store

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has released more details on the tragic  death of a young woman inside a Farmersville convenience store restroom Friday.  

 

At approximately 11:25 a.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023 the Montgomery
County Sheriff’s Office Telecommunications Division received a call in reference to an
unresponsive female who had been located in the female latrine at 30239 W. Frontage
Rd. in Farmersville, IL. Local law enforcement and EMS personnel responded to the
scene and discovered a female, identified as Josyln Malone (18), to be deceased. The
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, and the Montgomery County
Coroner’s Office conducted an investigation. A Forensic autopsy was conducted in
Springfield, IL. on the morning of October 21, 2023 where evidence was gathered
showing a medical issue resulted in the natural manner of death. The investigation
revealed no indication of criminal activity contributing to the death.

Navigator CO2 Says Pipeline Project Has Been Cancelled

After extensive discussions and battles with farmers, regulators, landowners and others,  Omaha based Navigator Co2 has announced it's pulling the plug on its plan for a 1300 plus mile pipeline through the Corn Belt that would have pushed Carbon Dioxide deep below the soil.  The proposal has been dealt setbacks in its proposed starting point of South Dakota, as well as Iowa and here in Illinois.  It has been a dominant topic at Montgomery County Board meetings for months.   

Board Chairman Doug Donaldson said he's cautiously optimistic that this saga is over but he also notes there are other players in the carbon capture game, so there's always potential for someone other than Navigator to raise the issue again locally.

This was to be a pivotal week as Navigator was preparing to make their sales pitch for the project to the Illinois Commerce Commission but they pulled the proposal a second time, saying they were reassessing their plan.  Then, yesterday (Thursday), Navigator made significant layoffs, an indicator that the carbon capture plan was in peril.

 

Here's the statement from Navigator. 

 

The development of Navigator CO2’s pipeline project has been challenging. Given the unpredictable nature of the regulatory and government processes involved, particularly in South Dakota and Iowa, the Company has decided to cancel its pipeline project.

Matt Vining, CEO of Navigator CO2 remarked, “As good stewards of capital and responsible managers of people, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Heartland Greenway project. We are disappointed that we will not be able to provide services to our customers and thank them for their continued support.”

Vining continued, “I am proud that throughout this endeavor, our team maintained a collaborative, high integrity, and safety-first approach and we thank them for their tireless efforts. We also thank all the individuals, trade associations, labor organizations, landowners, and elected officials who supported us and carbon capture in the Midwest.”

Litchfield Woman Struck and Killed on Route 16 in Front of State Police Headquarters

A 38-year-old Litchfield woman is dead after she was struck by a vehicle on Route 16 in front of the Illinois State Police Headquarters. The incident was reported last night (Tuesday) at 9:05 p.m. to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The State Police were already there by the time deputies arrived after they also received a report of a pedestrian in the roadway. The victim, 38-year-old Rachel Marsala, was pronounced dead at the scene last night by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham. Litchfield Fire Dept. EMS was dispatched to the scene.  Litchfield Police, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist IL State Police. IL Dept. Of Transportation provided traffic control and road closure while IL State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit conducted their investigation. The roadway was closed for several hours. A forensic autopsy is scheduled for Thursday in Springfield.

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Breaking! Carlinville Funeral Home Operator No Long Has License, Lawmakers React

A Carlinville Funeral Home operator  accused of providing the wrong cremains to families and failing to provide mortuary care for individuals no longer has a license to practice mortuary services.  The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation  has revealed that Albert Heinz of Heinz Funeral Home has had his license to serve as a funeral director and embalmer permanent revoked.  The agency's website reports that decision was based on vital records non compliance, professional incompetence or untrustworthiness in funeral practice,  taking undue advantage of clients amounting to perpetration of fraud, performaning any act or practice that violates funeral regulations, unprofessional conduct and charging for professional services  not rendered.

 

Springfield, IL The investigation continues at Heinz Funeral Home in Carlinville over the treatment of human remains. State Representative Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) and State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) are completely shocked over allegations that the wrong cremated remains were intentionally provided to families, and they extend their condolences to the families who were affected.

 

“It’s appalling to me allegations of illegal practices have been ongoing within this family-owned funeral home that has affected multiple families,” said Rep. Rosenthal. “This investigation will unravel the truth behind the doors and the director will be held accountable for his actions. I send my condolences to the families who are grieving through this difficult and disgraceful time.”

 

“It’s heart-wrenching to imagine what the families are enduring over the handling of their loved ones,” said Senator McClure. “If these allegations are true, the funeral home needs to be held accountable to set an example so that this never happens again.”

 

Heinz Funeral Home has been a family-owned business for over 160 years providing central Illinois with cremation services and grief counseling.

 

A task force, which includes the coroner’s office and several law enforcement agencies, continues to investigate allegations of unlawful activities inside the funeral home. As of now, The owner of Heinz Funeral Home had his license to operate in Illinois permanently revoked due to records of non-compliance, professional incompetence, taking advantage of clients amounting to perpetration of fraud, violating funeral regulations, misconduct, and charging families for professional services which were not rendered.

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