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Local News Archives for 2016-02

Hillsboro Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

A Montgomery County business owner surrendered to law enforcement on Friday after pleading guilty to evading more than $40,000 in sales tax payments to the state. According to a press release from Attorney General Lisa Madigan's Office, 50-year-old Long Clayton of Hillsboro pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to one count of sales tax evasion and one count of aggravated identity theft, both Class 2 felonies. Clayton was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and agreed to pay restitution of $44,934.68 to the Illinois Department of Revenue. He will also pay $2,030.11 to Ameren Illinois. As the owner of the Cozy Cafe in Hillsboro, Clayton convinced current and former employees to register the cafe under their names in order to use their business tax numbers to report sales in an attempt to evade paying more than $40,000 in taxes. Clayton fraudulently used those business tax numbers due to his own business tax number being revoked by IDOR for delinquency in paying previous taxes. Clayton also fraudulently used a Social Security number of a former employee with a developmental disability to open a utility account through Ameren Illinois.

"Individuals who defraud our tax system and commit acts of forgery must be held accountable," said Revenue Director Connie Beard . "I applaud the efforts of Revenue's Criminal Investigation Division, as well as the Attorney General's Office in this case. My office will continue to work with the Attorney General to ensure that lawbreakers are held accountable and that full restitution is paid on behalf of taxpayers."

The case was investigated by IDOR's Criminal Investigations Division and referred to Madigan's office for prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Gregory Stucka handled the case for Madigan's Special Prosecutions Bureau.Thomack 2/29/16

Fatal Fire in Scottville

One person is dead following a fire Thursday in Scottville.

Macoupin County Coroner Brad Targhetta responded to the structure fire in Scottville on Thursday and upon arrival pronounced 79 yer old Charles Camerer of Scottville dead at 5:45pm.

According to the Coroner, Camerer and his son-in-law were working on a vehicle when fuel was apparently ignited when the fumes reached the water heater in a shed. Both men tried to remove vehicles from the machine shed but the last time Camerer entered the structure, he was unable to get out.

Upon completion of the investigation, Camerer was taken to the Stults-Neece Funeral Home as requested by the family. No autopsy will be conducted. The cause of death appears to be carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bowling Fundraiser Exceeds Goal

A bowling tournament fundraiser held last weekend to benefit the Litchfield Golden Circle Nutrition Program exceeded its goal. According to event organizer Rick Weatherford, the goal was to raise around $3,500 for the Nutrition Program. The grand total of funds raised from the tournament, auction and other donations over the weekend was just over $5,000. All of the money raised will go to the Litchfield Golden Circle Nutrition Program. Because of the Illinois budget stalemate, the program, which relies on state funding, had to consider reducing days that meals are delivered each week. They recently have been able to keep serving all five days each week because of help from local donations. For more information about the Golden Circle Nutrition Program, click here: CEFS Golden CircleThomack 2/26/16

Baby Box Program

A local organization recently took a 75-year-old tradition in Finland and tailored it to help new mothers in the area. The Elizabeth Ann Seton Program helps pregnant and parenting women in the central Illinois area who may be poverty stricken or going through some type of crisis. According to EAS Program Executive Director Dawn Morris, over 50 percent of the women in the three counties they serve do not have a home or bed for their baby. The EAS Program used to offer new mothers bassinets or baby beds. Due to new laws and regulations, Morris wondered if they were offering a safe or practical bed for mothers who were homeless or in transitional housing.

Let's stay that they were staying with their aunt or a friend, Morris said. Well, they would have to leave and most of them don't have transportation, (so) to take the baby bed was such an issue so either the home owner wouldn't let them take the baby bed or they couldn't figure out a way to get the baby bed from point A to point B. So in doing that, I just talked to my Board of Director's and I said, 'Look, this is a real struggle.' Immediately my board president says, 'Dawn, have you thought about the baby box program?' I immediately (said), 'What are you talking about?' She said she had just read an article online and Finland - their government (gives) every child that is born (there) a baby box. So of course I did my homework and I fell in love with the idea because not only is it a box, but it's everything that the child needs, depending on the size of the child, usually we can make this work for the first 30 days of life.

The baby box serves as a bassinet and also has diapers, onesies, blankets and everything else a child might need.

It is a cardboard box but it is FDA approved - we definitely did our homework on that. Morris said. That's why we go through the baby box company out of Texas, because everything of theirs has been tested and approved. But it is a cardboard box and everything comes in the box: the pacifiers, a swaddler, a health kit, a pair of socks, a bib, washcloths, wipes, a diaper kit and even a little book. (Also), after the child has outgrown that box many of the women we work with have nothing (from) when their child was younger - No baby pictures, no first picture at preschool or even Sunday School and that kind of blew my mind. So what we do is we even give her information about making that box then become that child's memory box. Everything that's worth keeping of that child's should fit in that box.

Before becoming a memory box, it serves as a safe sleeping place for the baby.

So many times too, the women we work with, they co-sleep with their babies. Morris said. Since I've been working here at the agency, we have lost two babies to co-sleeping. Just being uneducated and we've all done it - We've all made that mistake of just laying our baby on the couch with us or on our chest but then you fall asleep - it's very dangerous and then, of course, the issue with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). So, overall, it's been a wonderful additive to the program.

While it is known as the Baby Box, Morris has a different name for it.

We take referrals on this several different ways, Morris said. It could be the hospital or it could be another agency that knows that a mother gave birth and doesn't have something for the baby to sleep in. I call it the Box of Love - as we're taking it and we're delivering it to these newborn babies and getting to see the mom and getting to provide such a needed item for her baby. Actually that (name) started from one of the nurses when I delivered (it), she says, 'Dawn, every time you walk in here with that box, all I think of is that box is so full of love.

The Elizabeth Ann Seton Program will accept monetary donations or donations of baby items for the boxes. The Litchfield EAS Office is at 309 South State Street and their phone number is (217) 324-3270.

For more information on how the baby box started in Finland, check out this article: Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes

Also, here's a link to an Elizabeth Ann Seton Program newsletter with a feature about their baby boxes: EAS Newsletter.Thomack 2/23/16

Jersey County Fatal Accident

One person was killed in a two vehicle head on crash Saturday in Jersey county.

According to Illinois State Police, 26 year old Mallory Barrs of Collinsville was driving a 2006 Dodge northbound on IL Rt. 267 and while passing serveral vehicles the Dodge crashed head on into a 2007 Pontiac.

Mallory Barrs was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jersey County Coroner. The driver of the Pontiac, 59 year old Terry Burch of Medora sustained serious injuries and was airlifted by ARCH helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital.

IDOT assisted at the accidnet scene and IL Rt. 267 was shut down for about four hours.

The crash remains under investigation.

Major Case Squad in Macoupin County

Remains found in Macoupin County could be of a missing Royal Lakes man.

On Monday, at approximately 3:30pm, the Macoupin County Sheriff's Office responded to the area of Illinois Route 159 near Prairie Dell Road, south of Royal Lakes, in reference to the discovery of human skeletal remains. Children playing in the area reportedly made the discovery and told their parents, who in turn called the sheriffs office. Evidence discovered at the scene leads investigators to believe the victime likely died as the result of homicide. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was activated, by the Macoupin County Sheriff's Office, and is investigating the matter. The Major Case Squad will be conducting the investigation out of the Bunker Hill Police Department. A preliminary examination of the remains by an anthropologist suggests the remains are that of a male.

In the spring of 2014 the Sheriff's Office took a report of a missing person in the area just north of the site where the skeletal remains were discovered. That missing person was identified as Joseph Wilson, who was 24 years of age at the time of his disappearance. Investigators can't confirm the remains are those of Wilson, but are considering that possibility.

Anyone having information related to Joseph Wilson or the discovery of the remains are asked to contact the Major Case Squad at 618-585-3214.

Litchfield Spring Duathlon


It's time to train for the Litchfield Spring Duathlon. The event takes place in a little over a month and will benefit the Litchfield High School Girl's and Boy's Cross Country teams, which are not funded by the school district. The duathlon is a two mile run, 12 mile bike and another two mile run. Brian Quarton is a Family Physician in Carlinville and organizer of the duathlon.

There aren't a lot of things that we do in this day and age that really challenge us," Quarton said. "That when you stand on the starting line, to start this activity, that you're not sure if you're going to be able to do it or not. This is one of them - this is going to be a challenge, but it's very doable. Just come with a spirit ready to have fun and enjoy (yourself).

This year, an opportunity to meet professional triathlete Lisa Roberts, originally of Benld, will take place the night before the event.

She's a professional and she's extremely accomplished as a triathlete," Quarton said. "She was recently second at the Pan American Half Ironman Championships in Panama and she has been a runner up at other Ironman races numerous times. She's, again, from this area and was going to be back in town, so we are glad to kind of have like a meet and greet where the athletes can come and pick up their packets and friends and well wishers can also come out just to hear her speak and tell her story.

Early packet pickup begins at 6pm and the meet and greet at 7pm on Friday, March 25th, at the Holiday Inn Express in Litchfield. The race begins at 10am on Saturday, March 26th, at the Litchfield High School. For more information, or to register, go to the Active website. The race is sanctioned by the USA Triathlon Organization and sponsored by M&M Multisport Club, the Carlinville Family Practice Center and Bank and Trust in Litchfield.
Thomack 2/17/16

Picker's Market Registration

Vendors can begin registering next week for the 2016 season of the Litchfield Picker's Market. Due to the success of the first season of the market featuring antique and vintage items, it will return for another season, April through October. Litchfield Tourism Coordinator Sarah Waggoner says they received great feedback from the vendors all season.

They really love coming to our market. I know most people, this year, have told me they want to sign up for every one for this season. They love that all the items are prior to 1980 - that's really the key for our specialized market, so if you're looking for quality vintage items and antiques, you need to come to Litchfield. It's really the place for one stop shop for all these items (and) we're really excited to have it back. I know I have entertainment lined up for the whole season already, so that's really exciting as well, and I have all the information posted online.

The full entertainment schedule, registration forms and market guidelines can be found on the Litchfield Tourism website or forms can be picked up in person at the Litchfield Tourism Office at 120 East Ryder Street. For more information, contact the Tourism Office at (217) 324-8147. Vendor registration begins at 10am on Monday. Spaces for vendors run on a first come first serve basis. The market will again be held from 9am to 3pm on the second Sunday of the month, beginning April 10th.Thomack 2/12/16

Stolen Firearms

Troy Police recovered over $10,000 worth of stolen firearms and arrested six people involved with the theft. According to the Troy Police Department, on January 8th, a Troy resident reported six firearms, considered collector's items valued over $10,000, were stolen from her home. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the firearms were stolen during a house party on January 1st. The investigation also revealed one of the stolen guns was found in a Metro-East high school on January 7th. A police officer at the Collinsville High School took a juvenile suspect into custody after the stolen gun was discovered. The Troy and Collinsville Police Departments learned of an exchange of four of the stolen firearms which they intercepted. The remaining firearm was voluntarily returned. On February 3rd, after results of the investigation were presented to the Madison County State's Attorney's Office, warrants were issued for the six suspects. Eighteen-year-old Kameron Garcia and 18-year-old Cole Young, both of Collinsville and four juveniles were arrested without incident for Aggravated Possession of Stolen Firearms. Garcia and Young are being held on $100,000 bond at the Madison County Jail and the juveniles are at the Madison County Juvenile Detention Center. Aggravated Possession of six to ten firearms is a Class X felony with a sentence of six to 30 years in prison. The Class One felony of Unlawful Delivery of Stolen Firearms carries a sentence of four to 15 years in prison.

Thomack 2/10/16

Staunton Teen Killed in Crash

A teenager from Staunton was killed in a single vehicle crash Monday morning near Staunton.

According to Madison County Coroner, Stephen Nonn, 17 year old Matthew Deweese was pronounced deat at 1:41am at the accidnet site by an investigator for the Coroners office. Deweese was driving a 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass eastbound on Williamson Avenue when for unknown reasons the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver was wearing a seatbelt; however, due to the damage of the vehicle, he was ejected from the car.

Illinois State Police in Collinsville continue to investigate the accident.

Raymond Car Crash Fatality

The teenager involved in a two vehicle accident on Thursday passed away on Saturday due to injuries. Shortly after 3pm on Thursday, 17-year-old Caitlyn Welsh of Raymond was driving from Black Diamond Trail across Route 48 when her car was hit by a semi traveling on Route 48. Raymond Fire and EMS were on scene and Arch transported Welsh to St. John's Hospital in Springfield where she passed away at 4:03 Saturday afternoon. Caitlyn Welsh was the daughter of John Welsh of Farmersville and Eva Boehler of Raymond. The Hough Funeral Home in Raymond is handling arrangements and funeral services will be held at 11am on Friday in the Lincolnwood High School Gym in Raymond.

Thomack 2/8/16

Raymond Accident

A 17-year-old Raymond resident was seriously injured in a two vehicle accident yesterday afternoon. According to the Illinois State Police, shortly after 3pm, the 17-year-old was driving a passenger car and pulled out from Black Diamond Trail to cross Route 48. The car was struck by a semi traveling on Route 48, driven by a 50-year-old man from Florida. Raymond Fire and EMS were on scene and Arch transported the car driver to St. John's Hospital in Springfield. Route 48 was shut down for about two and a half hours. The crash is still under investigation.


Thomack 2/5/16

Sheriff's Scholarships

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office gives area students the opportunity to apply for scholarships and give insight into current issues. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to a student who is either a high school senior or college freshman. Other requirements are that a student must be an Illinois resident and the scholarship must be used at institutions of higher learning within the state. Montgomery County Sheriff Jim Vazzi says part of the application process includes answering the following essay question in 350 words or less.

When someone dies from a heroin overdose, it's because the narcotic suppresses their essential functions so deeply their body forgets to breathe. Their respiratory drive shuts down, their blood pressure drops and their heart stops beating.

In your opinion, is there a heroin epidemic in your community and what steps could be taken to combat the problem? What is driving the demand behind heroin use in teens and why do you think the heroin use is soaring in the United States?"

Sheriff Vazzi says, each year, the essay questions are usually based on current issues.

We believe that the teens who are writing this, they have an idea of what really is going on - The police don't necessarily know. You know the young community, they have their own slang and they have their own reasoning for doing things and we'd like to get their perspective as far as what they see and what they see law enforcement can do for them, rather than law enforcement being closed-minded and thinking they're the only ones that know anything about it.

According to Sheriff Vazzi, the essays and application materials will be reviewed by a group of retired teachers. Applications can be picked up at the Sheriff's Office or found on the Illinois Sheriffs' Association website. Students must complete the application, answer the essay question and return everything to the sheriff's office in their permanent county of residence by March 15th. Thomack 2/2/16

Sticking With Your Resolutions

According to the Statistic Brain Research website, out of the 45 percent of people who usually make New Year's resolutions, only about eight percent achieve their goals. If you feel as if you might not be part of the eight percent this year, there may be some things you can change to get back on track with your resolution. University of Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Lisa Peterson says to make sure your resolutions are specific.

What we do at the Extension, is we use something called SMART Goals and that's how I lead off with looking at resolutions or any type of goal. A SMART Goal is something where you're looking at - is the goal Specific, is it Measurable, is it Achievable, is it Results focused and then is it Timely, so do you have a time line for it? So that's a great way to start looking at those resolutions is looking at how specific am I being? So thinking: 'I want to set a goal to be healthier.' Well, what does healthier mean? Am I going to be eating a little bit better? Am I going to be being more active? So being specific.

Peterson says another thing to ensure New Year's resolution success is to set mini goals.

With New Year's resolutions we often say, 'I'm going to eat more vegetables.' Well to be more specific with that, you could say, 'I'm going to have at least one vegetable with lunch everyday for the next week.' So it's something that is specific and if you set it for a week, setting those mini goals will help, because it will make you feel better because once you achieve one of these mini goals, you're more likely to stay consistent with it because you're already achieving a goal.

Peterson also says finding an exercise buddy, a support group or someone to keep you accountable is a key to successfully achieving your New Year's resolutions. For more information on sticking with your goals, you can contact the University of Illinois Extension at (217) 532-3941 or go to the Extension Website.Thomack 2/2/16

State of Hillsboro Breakfast

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner gave his State of the State address and a local city announced their upcoming State of the City event. The Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce will present their first State of Hillsboro Breakfast in March. Greg Holcomb is on the Chamber Board of Directors. He says the Chamber came up with the idea for the breakfast last year.

This is a great place to get a very quick overview and update of a variety of things going on around the community - There's lots of discussion, a lot of excitement and activities going on around Hillsboro, a variety of groups that are doing things to try to improve the community and the business environment. This will be a way to get an update on, really, a lot of those different areas in one place and in a relatively short time frame. For many people who are just looking for a general update of how these things tie together and what's going on around the community, this is going to be a great place to do that. The breakfast is being offered at no charge to members and we will open up some spots for the general community, depending on seating. Again, it's geared towards our members but we do want to do this as a service to the community as well.

Holcomb says there will be updates from the Chamber, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the CEO program and Mayor Brian Sullivan will give the State of the City address.

The mayor will talk about what's going on with the city give a very brief State of the City address. Then, Will Shalter from Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation will give an update on their efforts when it comes to business development in Hillsboro, resources that might be available to existing Chamber members and organizations as well as any other efforts that are related to improving our communities around the county and, primarily Hillsboro, for this discussion. Then we'll have Ryan Follis and Montgomery County CEO students will be there also to give a brief update on what's going on with their program. Then we'll close it out from there. So, a very short agenda (will) get everyone back to work, their offices or their businesses, hopefully by 9am.

The State of Hillsboro Breakfast begins at 7:30am on Thursday, March 17th, at the Hillsboro Moose Lodge. For more information, to RSVP, or to become a sponsor, contact the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce at (217) 532-3711.Thomack 2/1/16

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