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Local News Archives for 2015-12

Pets and Winter Weather

A new Illinois law will address pet safety in winter weather and other extreme weather conditions. Montgomery County Animal Control Officer and Shelter Manager Amanda Daniels says with all the heavy rains and flooding recently, they've received numerous calls about animals being left outside in standing water.

We've gone to the residence and talked to the pet owners and most of them have been very cooperative and just brought the animal inside or put them in a garage until the flood waters subside.

Daniels says Illinois passed a law this year regarding animal safety during extreme weather. The law will take effect January 1st.

When there's severe weather conditions such as below zero conditions or freezing rain, snow or extreme heat, pet owners are encouraged to bring their animals inside. If the animal is in danger of becoming ill or possibly dying from being out in the conditions, the new law states that the owner could be fined up to $2,500 for that.

Daniels says it's up to the local or county animal control agencies to enforce the law.

Just like with anything, if anybody feels that an animal is being neglected, they're encouraged to call our office so we can go out and check on the animals and make sure everything's okay.

You can contact Montgomery County Animal Control at 532-3334. Daniels also says they can always use volunteers and donations of blankets or towels for extra warmth for the animals at the shelter. Thomack 12/31/15

Drafting Legislation

With the new year comes new legislation. State Representative Avery Bourne's office has been going through the legislative drafting process. Bourne says the process takes all the ideas from constituents and the advisory boards and turns them into bills.

One of the ideas came from our Veteran's Advisory Board. Veterans only need half of the training to get their concealed carry, however, it costs the full amount. So, to create some parity, if they only need half of the training, it makes sense that our veterans would only need to pay half as much. So that's one (idea) that came out of our Veteran's Advisory Board. We've had others that have come from Village Board meetings, where they've said, 'Hey, we want to look into organizing our police differently and that would require a change in statute.' So some of them are little fixes that will hopefully help people individually or small communities.

Bourne says anyone with legislative ideas that could be included in the drafting process can stop by her office at 301 North Monroe in Litchfield, email bourne@ilhousegop.org or call (217) 324-5200. Thomack 12/30/15

Wet Weather Driving Safety

The recent rains and flooding in the area brought road closures and the need for less speed. Wet weather can lead to dangerous driving conditions. Illinois State Police Trooper Heath Bryan says with all the rain, the oil on the roads mixes with the water and can make roads slick.

"After the last few days we've had, that heavy rain, we're not going to have too much of that issue, but there's still some out there so if you're driving too fast for conditions or just driving the speed limit, it might be too fast for what the road is going to allow you. So, you need to be careful with that in mind - just kind of slow down a little bit."

Bryan says there also can be standing water on the roads and with that comes the possibility of hydroplaning.

"Hydroplaning can be dangerous. One thing that you need to keep in (mind) is when you start to hydroplane, do not slam on your brakes - let off the gas and almost coast into it. When you start to change your driving pattern erratically or significantly that can put you into a ditch or put you into a crash. So we like to say, just let off the gas, (go) slow into it. Same with ice, if you start to slide on that, you don't want to take too extreme of a change in your driving pattern - when you start to do that, bad things happen on ice or on water."

Other precautions to take while driving in wet, rainy conditions include increasing following distance as wet roadways and reduced visibility increase the amount of time it takes to safely stop your vehicle, also, turn on your headlights as this will make your vehicle more visible to other motorists.Thomack 12/29/15

$10,000 Reward for Information

A reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person of persons involved in the 2015 New Year's Day homicide in Woodburn has been announced by the Macoupin/Montgomery County Crime Stoppers.

Deputies found 34 year old Cody Adams dead from a gunshot wound, when they arrived on the scene in the 3000 block of Edwardsville Street in Woodburn. Witnesses in the residence told authorities an armec, masked intruder came into the residence and fought with Adams and other family members.

Anyone with information that would help solve this crime is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 217-854-3135. Anonymous tips can be made online at www.macmontcrimestippers.com or by texting "TIP722" and your message to CRIMES.

No Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees typically held in Litchfield did not take place this year. According to Litchfield Tourism Coordinator Sarah Waggoner, more money ended up going into decorating the trees than to the intended charities. Waggoner added, based on studies conducted, the event also did not serve the nature of a tourism event which is to bring in visitors from at least 50 miles away to Litchfield. The way the Festival of Trees worked was someone could sponsor a tree, decorate it and pick a charity they wanted proceeds to go toward. Others could then place silent bids on the trees with the money going toward the charity each tree represented. Waggoner says in recent years, the money from silent bidding did not outweigh the cost of decorating the trees. After last year, the Tourism Office decided to try to come up with other ideas for a similar event to raise money for charities and something that would reach a larger audience. Waggoner says they will be open to working with any organization willing to host the event next year. Contact the Litchfield Tourism Office for more information at (217) 324-8147. Thomack 12/22/15

Macoupin Mine Maps Preserved

Mine Maps and permits of Macoupin County mines have been digitally preserved and indexed.

According to Macoupin County Clerk, Pete Duncan, the maps and permits that date back to the 1880s, have been sitting in a cabinet in the dome of the Macoupin County courthouse for years. All records on file have been scanned and indexed and in the near future will be available to view on the County website. Duncan hopes to use the the maps to create a countywide GIS map of all areas listed in the maps that have been mined in the County.

"Macoupin County has a long history of coal mining and with that, there are nearly 1,000 maps and permits that are held by my office," Duncan said. "These records may seem unimportant, but just looking at what's happened in Benld these last few years show the importance of having these maps preserved and available."

Taylor Springs Fatal Crash

Two people died Sunday morning after the vehicle they were riding in went off the road and struck a tree near Taylor Springs. According to the Illinois State Police, 18-year-old Shayla Williams of Hillsboro was driving a vehicle north on Illinois 127 south of Taylor Springs around 1:55am Sunday, when the car veered across the south bound lanes and hit a tree. Williams was taken to the Hillsboro Area Hospital where she died. The passenger, 22-year-old William Brennan of Highland, was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is under investigation by the Illinois State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit. Thomack 12/22/15

Golden Circle Program Donations

The C.E.F.S. Golden Circle Nutrition Program received donations this month after the community found out meal deliveries would be reduced due to the state budget impasse. The program in Montgomery County serves home bound senior citizens in Litchfield, Hillsboro, Raymond and Witt. Because of the lack of budget, meal deliveries were being reduced to four days of the week. According to Golden Circle Nutrition Program Project Director Debbie Weber, because of donations, meals will be delivered five days of the week through December in Montgomery County. The program is only short 795 dollars to be able to deliver meals on the fifth day every week in January. Weber says she wants to thank the community for their help and donations to the program and no matter how big or small the donations, they were much appreciated. For more information, contact Debbie Weber at 342-2193 extension 119.

For more on the Golden Circle Nutrition Program, click here: CEFS Golden CircleThomack 12/16/15

Casey's Robbery Conviction

A man who robbed a Casey's in Hillsboro in July was sentenced on Wednesday. Thirty-three-year old Paul K. Henderson of Litchfield was sentenced to 11 years in prison in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the class two felony offense of robbery. According to a press release from the office of State's Attorney Chris Matoush, Henderson entered the Casey's General Store on School Street at 10:45pm on July 26th, and gave a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening harm if the cashier did not comply. The cashier gave Henderson approximately 75 dollars from the register. The Hillsboro Police Department conducted the investigation and identified Henderson after reviewing the gas station's security videos. Several days after the incident, officers found clothing at an abandoned house in Hillsboro that Henderson had been wearing the night of the robbery. According to the Police Department, officers got permission from the owner to search the house and found Henderson in a crawl space in the basement. Henderson faced an enhanced sentence range because of his prior criminal record including a previous robbery conviction. Henderson was also ordered to pay court costs plus restitution and his sentence will be followed by a three year period of mandatory supervised release. Henderson had been in continuous custody since he was arrested on August 2nd.
Thomack 12/14/15

2015 Deer Harvest Totals Up

Deer hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 86,771 deer during the serven-day Firearm Deer Season that closed on Sunday, December 6. That figure compares to 76,575 deer harvested during the serven days of firearm season in 2014.

Preliminary harvest figures for the second segment of the firearm season December 3-6 totaled 28,803 compared with 24,745 during the second season in 2014.

Deer taken in Macoupin County during the second part of the firearm season totaled 548. The county total for this year was 1,541 an increase of 339 deer over last years total. Macoupin County ranked 16th in the state for deer harvested in 2015.

Deer harvest totals were up this year in all counties surrounding Macoupin County.

Nutrition Program Reduces Meals

Starting this week, the C.E.F.S Golden Circle Nutrition Program will reduce the number of days they deliver meals to senior citizens. About 40 to 46 percent of the Nutrition Program's budget comes from the state. The program has been without funding since October because of the state budget impasse. Currently, meals can still be delivered because of local cash raised over the years and with money from the federal government. Golden Circle Nutrition Program Project Director Debbie Weber says they will no longer be delivering meals on Fridays.

"It's really a shame because... not only do they receive the hot, nourishing meal but they receive a daily check on. We've had volunteers that have found people that have fallen and couldn't get up until that volunteer driver was there to help them and sometimes it's the only link to the outside world that person has during the day. So it's a two-fold for these home bound seniors - they're not going to get a meal and they're not going to get a daily check on, because we cannot come together on the state level and put a budget in place. Even if we would receive a cut at least we would know where to go forward to. Right now, we can't do anything because you can't spend money you don't have or you're not sure you're going to get.

If there is still no budget passed by February 1st, the Nutrition Program will reduce to three meals a week. Weber says an anonymous donor in Litchfield made it possible to keep delivering meals there on Friday.

It's a gentleman himself, it's not a business, it's a local person that's going to pick up that fifth day until the state budget is put in place. So, kudos to him wanting to make a difference in the lives of seniors. So many times, that generation of people have been forgotten and they're the generation who have helped build all our communities and it's very easy to forget them because, you know, 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Weber says they still need monetary help with meals in Witt, Raymond and Hillsboro. She says they need approximately $360 a week to cover meals on Fridays in those areas. For information on how to help the C.E.F.S Golden Circle Nutrition Program, contact Debbie Weber at (217) 342-2193 extension 119 or here's a list of numbers for local nutrition sites: Golden Circle Nutrition Program ContactsThomack 12/3/15

Pizza Man Update

Building work on a new Pizza Man will begin soon. A fire in May caused significant damage to the building in Litchfield. According to Pizza Man's Scott Chandler, weather permitting, rebuilding will begin next Friday. Chandler says they've been busy with planning the building design, exterior and interior, electrical and plumbing and other preparation work. He says they plan to still have a smaller version of Ice Cream Man as a part of the building and are planning a larger pizza buffet and salad bar area. Chandler says, as of now, the plan is to finish building and be open by April 2016.Thomack 12/9/15

Montgomery Nursing and Rehab Angel Tree

Making sure residents at the Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center receive the gifts on their Christmas list is the goal of the Angel Tree. The tree at Dollar General in Hillsboro includes a list of gifts for each senior at the Center. Anyone can take a list and buy gifts for one of the residents this Christmas. Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Activity Director Mandy Smith says every year, the goal of the tree is to make sure every resident gets a gift delivered by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Just seeing the residents getting gifts from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.. we had a lady and she made these, to just kind of explain, she made these handmade necklaces and they're a Santa Claus face and she went with me and we went door to door and we made sure every single resident got one. It was just amazing - their faces lighting up - it's just a gift that they give us.

The lists on the tree can be found at Dollar General in Hillsboro. Anyone wanting to give gifts should have them wrapped and returned to Dollar General by the 20th. For more information, contact Mandy Smith at 532-6126 extension 1428. To hear the full interview with Mandy Smith, click here: Angel Tree InterviewThomack 12/5/15

Litchfield and Hillsboro Christmas Events

Christmas will be here this weekend in Litchfield and Hillsboro. The Litchfield Chamber of Commerce hosts multiple activities including a lighted Christmas parade and photos with Santa today. Before and after the parade, from 5 until 8pm, the Holiday Walk will take place. The theme of this year's parade is Christmas in Toyland and it begins at six tonight. Also tonight, from 5 until 8, the Train Show will be open at the Ameriprise Financial Building. Photos with Santa will be available after the parade at the Moose Lodge. On Saturday, the Jingle Bell Jog 5K Run/Walk starts at 8:30am at the Moose Lodge and a free showing of "The Polar Express" begins at noon at Westside Cinema. For more information and a full schedule of events, click here: Litchfield Christmas Events

In Hillsboro, today's events begin at 5pm around the Courthouse Square. This year, Imagine Hillsboro presents a How the Grinch Stole Whosboro theme. Food and holiday vendors will be open starting at 5pm, a Cindy Lou Who Contest takes place at 5:30pm and the lighted Christmas parade begins at 6pm. On Saturday, free showings of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will be at 11am and 1pm at the Orpheum Theatre. For more information and a full schedule of events click here: Hillsboro Christmas EventsThomack 12/4/15

Civil War Flag to be Unveiled

A restored regimental flag of the 122nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry will be unveiled at 2pm on Friday, December 4, at the Macoupin County Court House in Carlinville.

The regiment's national flage is already on display in the historic building's main hall. These and other historic sister flags are protected by the Illinois National Guard. Both are now on permanent loan to Macoupin County. The 122nd Illinois was composed mainly of men from Macoupin, earning it the nickname of "The Macoupin Regiment." Funds to restore the flags were raised by the Macoupin County Civil War Round Table. The regiment was mustered-in in the fall of 1862. It served fro the duration of the rebellion, and was engaged at Parker's Crossroads, Tupelo, Nashville and Mobile, among other places. The two flags, restored and displayed side-by-side, make Macoupin the state's only county where this has been done.

Civil War Flag to be Unveiled

A restored regimental flag of the 122nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry will be unveiled at 2pm on Friday, December 4, at the Macoupin County Court House in Carlinville.

The regiment's national flage is already on display in the historic building's main hall. These and other historic sister flags are protected by the Illinois National Guard. Both are now on permanent loan to Macoupin County. The 122nd Illinois was composed mainly of men from Macoupin, earning it the nickname of "The Macoupin Regiment." Funds to restore the flags were raised by the Macoupin County Civil War Round Table. The regiment was mustered-in in the fall of 1862. It served fro the duration of the rebellion, and was engaged at Parker's Crossroads, Tupelo, Nashville and Mobile, among other places. The two flags, restored and displayed side-by-side, make Macoupin the state's only county where this has been done.

Sleep Studies

Getting plenty of sleep can sometimes be difficult, especially during the busy holiday season. Hillsboro Area Hospital Respiratory Therapist Amanda Payne says getting good sleep requires having a routine.
"We tell people to practice the same thing everyday whether it's (that) you take a shower before bed or you read a book or you take a shower and then you watch a movie - but just something that gets your brain into that mode of, here's what I'm doing, this is my routine and, okay, now it's time for me to rest."

Payne says when you don't get enough sleep for your body, you can accumulate what's called, sleep debt.
"Say your body needs eight hours and you only got six, so you've created two hours of sleep debt. You can pay that off by sleeping extra or taking a nap, but if you've been in sleep debt for a long time, you can't really pay it off in one weekend - you can't sleep for 24 hours and pay off all your sleep debt. It does help (though) to get extra sleep. You won't really notice that you've had extra sleep or the benefits of that extra sleep for a full day. So if you get good sleep tonight, you won't really notice it tomorrow as much as you will the next day."

Some of the more serious sleep problems can be treated at someplace like a sleep clinic. Payne says people come to the sleep clinic because they may be experiencing restlessness or extreme tiredness during the day after not being able to sleep.

"A lot of times, all we really have to do is evaluate and examine what's happening to them at night and what kind of practices they are following and we can find out that they really just need to change their sleep hygiene - So, changing their environment, not sleeping with your TV in your room because that constantly keeps your brain engaged in that television show instead of allowing your brain to rest."

Payne says in most sleep studies, they monitor a patient's brain waves, eye and muscle movements, heart rhythm and rate and their oxygen level. For more information on sleep studies, contact the Hillsboro Area Hospital Sleep Clinic at 532-4176.Thomack 12/2/15

Litchfield Food Pantry

The Christmas giving season is approaching, but one local organization depends on people's giving spirit all year round. The Litchfield Food Pantry started in 1985 to help needy families in the Litchfield School District. Food Pantry Treasurer Dorothy Ernst says they accept monetary or non-perishable food donations including items such as boxed macaroni and cheese, instant mashed potatoes, canned vegetables and soup, cereal, pasta, bar soap and dish soap. Anyone can drop off donations at the food pantry located at 102 South Montgomery in Litchfield. The pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 until 2:30pm. Ernst says donations can also be taken to any church in Litchfield and they will see that the food pantry receives them. For more information about the Litchfield Food Pantry, contact Dorothy Ernst at 324-4264.

Thomack 12/1/15

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