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Local News Archives for 2013-03

Cash Seizure On Interstate 55

(Litchfield)--A traffic stop by Illinois State Police resulted in the cash seizure of over sixteen thousand dollars. According to District 18, a 2003 Volvo Station Wagon was stopped in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55, near mile marker 53.

Following an investigation, multiple bundles of money were located in the vehicle, along with documents in the vehicle that revealed that the money was intended for criminal activity. An investigation is ongoing by Illinois State Police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Macoupin County Deputy Injured

A Macoupin County Sheriff's deputy was seriously injured in a single vehicle accident Sunday morning west of Wilsonville.

The Sheriff's Office reports that deputy Larry Rayburn Jr. was responding to a 911 report of a home invasion involving a gun in Wilsonville when he lost control of the 2010 Chevrolet Impala squad car he was driving on Route 138 about 1.5 miles west of Wilsonville at 2:45am.

The vehicle, due to snow and ice, left the roadway, struck a utility pole and came to rest on the driver's side of the car.

Rayburn was trapped in the squad car and had to be extracated. He was then taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton and later transferred to St. Louis University Hospital.

The crash is being investigated by the Illinois State Police.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the 911 home invasion call was later determined to be unfounded.

High Speed Chase Ends In Accident

(Taylor Springs)--A 46 year old Harvel man was arrested following a high speed chase. According to the Taylor Springs Police Department, officers attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding Friday morning at 1:30. The individual went at a high rate of speed on Route 185 towards Coffeen, traveling up to 100 miles per hour in the wrong lane.

The chase went onto Nokomis Road, about nine miles east of Fillmore, when 46 year old Jeffrey Emerson crashed into a culvert. Emerson was taken into custody after being tazed. Emerson was taken to the Montgomery County Jail. He was cited with DUI, and aggravated fleeing of a police officer. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and the Hillsboro Police Department assisted with the chase.

Litchfield Hires New Superintendent

(Litchfield)--A new superintendent was hired during the Litchfield Board of Education meeting Thursday night. The board approved to hire John Mullett to a three year deal as the district's new leader. Mullett recently was the superintendent of the Breese School District. He succeeds Chad Allison, who will be leaving to become the superintendent of the Chillicothe School District. Mulllett's first day will be on July 1st.

The Litchfield Board of Education approved the honorable dismissal of teacher Barbara Tingley. They also approved the non re-employment of first year probationary teachers Kenneth Pierson and Ashley Stockamp.

The Board of Education also approved to eliminate the two week summer teaching contracts of Agriculture, Auto Shop, and Wood Shop.

Hostage Situation Averted In Raymond

(Raymond)--A 22 year old Raymond man was arrested following a reported incident Wednesday afternoon in Raymond. According to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, a call came into the office reporting a barricaded hostage situation. Two females were at a residence on East 5th Avenue. They reported that one of the victims sons was on his way to the house to kill them.

22 year old William Groves entered into the house and began threatening to kill the victims. Groves was also heard destroying windows, along with other items inside the house.

Sheriff's Deputies arrived at the scene, and arrested Groves with no further incident. Groves was taken to Montgomery County Jail. He has been charged with aggravated unlawful restraint along with other felony charges.

Vazzi Elected Co Chair On The ILEAS Board

(Hillsboro)--Montgomery County Sheriff Jim Vazzi was elected to serve to represent Region 8 on the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Governing Board. According to the board, the election happened at the 10th annual conference that was held March 3rd thru the 5th in Springfield.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Board consists of chiefs of police and sheriffs elected by their peers from eight regions of the state. Region 8 covers an area of 11 counties in southwestern Illinois ranging from East St. Louis to Nokomis.

Sheriff Vazzi will represent Region 8 as a co chair with Granite City Police Chief Richard Miller.

Bank of America Sells Hillsboro Branch Office

(Hillsboro)--Bank of America has sold seven branch office, including the Hillsboro Branch Office, and two drive up facilities to Indiana based First Financial Corporation. The agreement announced Tuesday would allow First Financial Bank to acquire two hundred and fifty two million dollars in deposits, adn two point three million dollars in small business loans. The purchase does not include credit card, mortgage, investment brokerage, or trust accounts.

According to First Financial, the transaction is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2013, pending regulator approval. Once complete, First Financial expects most of the employees at these locations to transition to the company.

Customers with accounts at the Hillsboro branch office, or the six others being acquired do not need to take any action at the time, and should use their current checks, debit cards, and other products and services. Once complete, First Financial will have 37 locations in Illinois.

Meth Lab Bust in Hillsboro

(Hillsboro)--The Hillsboro Police Department, and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office were called to an apparent meth lab in Hillsboro. According to Hillsboro Police, officers were called Monday to the one hundred block of East Brailey.

34 year old Michelle Scandell was taken into custody. She was charged with participation of meth manufacturing. Four children found at the location were taken under the protection of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Members of the State Police Methamphetamine Reponse team assisted with the investigation. An investigation is ongoing by the Hillsboro Police Department, and more arrests are anticipated.

Student Death Ruled Homicide

The death of a senior student at Blackburn College in January is now being investigated as a homicide.

Macoupin County Coroner, Brad Targhetta, ruled that the death of 24 year old Joshua Ramza was from opium intoxication. The ruling came after toxicology tests were completed because an autopsy revealed no apparent cause of death.

Ramza was found dead in his dorm room on January 19.

Carlinville police are now investigating the death as a homicide and anyone with any information concerning the matter is asked to contact the Carlinville Police by phone or at their website:

Drug Shipment Intercepted At Litchfield Airport

(Litchfield)--The Litchfield Police Department intercepted a drug shipment at the Litchfield Airport. According to Litchfield Police, on Saturday the department was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security regarding a flight of a small private plane that landed at the Litchfield Airport for fuel.

Officers, along with the K-9 unit, responded and contacted the occupants, a father and son from Pennsylvania. Upon the investigation, the Litchfield K-9 dog made an alert about the presence of narcotics on the plane. The request to search the plane was denied by the two individuals, and a search warrant was sought.

Reportedly the two suspects left in a cab as a search warrant was being executed. During the search, 39 pounds of marijuana with a street value of 156 thousand dollars was located in the plane.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the two occupants. The case remains under investigation by the Litchfield Police Department.

Theft at Royal Lakes Village Hall

A burglary and theft at the Royal Lakes Villiage Hall is under investigation by the Macoupin County Sheriff's Office.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office took a report of a burglary and theft which occurred at the Village Hall which also houses a Macoupin County Sheriff's Office sub-post.

The incident occurred sometime during the evening hours of March 5 or in the early morning hours of March 6. Items belonging to the village were stolen by the burglar(s) from the village hall area of the building. The room which houses the sheriff's sub-post was forcibly entered but nothing was taken belonging to the sheriff's office.

Anyone with information concerning the crime is urged to call the Macoupin County Sheriff's Office at 217-854-3135 or an anonymous tip can be made to the Macoupin/Montgomery Crime Stoppers at 1-800-352-0136.

More Cuts Proposed for the Hillsboro School District

(Hillsboro)--More budget cuts were proposed during a special Hillsboro Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. Assistant Superintendent Kyle Hacke presented a proposal for the board. Under his plan, the salaries for the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent would be reduced by 10 percent; Principal's and Assistant Principal's salaries would be reduced by 5 percent; the district would eliminate the Food Service Director's position, with those duties being assigned to the Assistant Superintendent, and elimate the Athletic Director stipend of five thousand dollars, the Assistant Principal would then become the district's new athletic director. According to Hacke, his proposal would be a reduction of over one hundred and four thousand dollars, or close to ten percent of the administrative costs.

Superintendent David Powell gave his proposal on what positions should be cut. For the high school; he proposed cutting Consumer Life Sciences; elimiate industrial arts and combine that with AG; cut one high school Business-Computer teacher; and cut one Social Studies teacher.

In the Junior High; two positions would be cut. The libarary would be staffed by a non certified staff member. However, it was added that the certified staff member could be moved to another position.

In the Elementary School; there would be only one fourth grade teacher at Beckemeyer School; one position with the Pre K program; and the district would not replace the retiring music teaching position.

For athletics; the district would cut the supply budget to close to thirteen thousand dollars. It was also proposed to freeze the uniform budget as well. Also proposed that most transporation trips would be cut as well. Powell did add that parents, or sports boosters would have to help the district out with those trips, especially those requiring overnight stays.

The Hillsboro Board of Education then went into closed session for personel. No action took place when the board came back into open session.

Authorities Respond To A Suicide In Litchfield

(Litchfield)--The Litchfield Police Department, along with the Montgomery County Coroner's Office responded to an apparent suicide Monday in Litchfield. According to the Litchfield Police Department, officers responded to the eight hundred block of South Lincoln. Reportedly a cell phone call came from the inside of the residence.

Upon arrival, officers discovered that the residence was secure. Attempts to call the residence by friends and Litchfield Police provided no contact either.

Following a second visit, officers gained entrance into the residence, and found the body of 59 year old Victoria Mattioda deceased in the bedroom, a victim of a self inflicted gun shot wound.

The investigation revealed that Mattioda was depressed over the loss of her husband, Frank, who passed away in February. An investigation is ongoing by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, and by the Litchfield Police Department.

Macoupin Farmer Wins $5_000 for Donation

Betsy Meisenheimer of Palmyra was selected as a winner in America's Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Grow Communities gives farmers the opportunity to win a $2,500 donation to direct to their favorite local nonprofit organization.

Because Macoupin County was declared a disaster area from the drought by the USDA, Meisenheimer was given the opportunity to place two $2,500 donations. She selected the Macoupin County 4-H and the Macoupin Military Support Group.

The checks were presented Monday night in Carlinville by a Monsanto representative.

Library Grants To Be Awarded To Area Schools

(Springfield)--Secretary of State and State Librarian Jessie White announced school grants totaling up to one and a half million dollars taht will be distributed to 642 school districts. The grants are part of the 2013 School District Library Program Grants. Locally the Hillsboro School District received over twelve hundred dollars; the Litchfield, Panhandle, and Nokomis School Districts will be receiving seven hundred thirty five dollars and fifty cents each.

The grants were based on a formula of seventy five cents per student, with the minimum grant awarded being $735.50. The funding could be used for library materials, electronic subscriptions, and improved technology for student research.


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