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Local News Archives for 2016-12

New Laws for 2017


The new year brings new laws, and the Illinois State Police has announced a few that become effective on January 1.

In an effort to protect first responders, Scott's Law, known as the "Move Over" law, requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with emergency lights activated. Beginning in 2017, this law will also apply to any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights activated. If you see flashing lights ahead, you must move over or slow down.

Laws have also been changed for work and school zones. Speeding 26 miles per hour or more, but less than 35 mph, is now a Class B misdemeanor; and 35 miles per hour or more in excess of the posted work or school zone limit is now a Class A misdemeanor.

Motorists who have been convicted of driving without insurance and still choose to drive without insurance could have their vehicle impounded the next time they are stopped by the police. The law now requires officers to tow the vehicle if a person has been convicted of driving without insurance twice within a 12-month period.

For a complete list of all the new public acts, visit the Illinois General Assembly website.

Loud Noise Raises Eyebrows in Raymond


A loud explosion was heard in the Raymond area Monday, but the actual cause is unknown at this point. The noise was heard Monday afternoon, and the Raymond-Harvel Fire Department was dispatched around the same time, but the events were unrelated.

According to Raymond-Harvel Fire Chief Danny McCallum, the fire department was dispatched aroudn 2:45 p.m. because of a vehicle trailer that was on fire, but the wrong address was given and the fire was actually in the Farmersville-Waggoner fire district.

McCallum said the dispatching of the fire department and the loud sound occurring near the same time was coincidental. While there has been some speculation as to the origin of the noise, no official cause has been determined.

Alpha Tau Grant

The Alpha Tau Chapter of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honorary organization for leading women educators is offering a $500.00 grant to a deserving college student who will be doing his/her student teaching during the 2017-2018 school year.

To be eligible for the grant, the student must have graduated from any high school in Macoupin County. To apply, send a resume including important highlights, work experience, and educational background to: Alpha Tau Educational Grant C/O Jackie Klaus - 600 N.Francis Street - Gillespie, IL 62033.

Information must be postmarked no later than February 6, 2017.

Bremer Sanctuary New Year's Walk


Another year is coming to a close, and Bremer Sanctuary in Hillsboro will ring in a new one with their annual New Year's Walk.

On Sunday, a group of people interested in participating will meet at the barn at the sanctuary at 2 p.m. The walk will go through Timber Trail and will last approximately one hour.

According to Bremer Sanctuary officials, the woods are great in the winter with most of the leaves on the ground giving the walker a line of sight down the gullies. There's an increase in the Barred Owl population, and a Great Horned Owl was released at the Owl Prowl in October. A dwindling population of Red Headed Woodpeckers has also been seen in the trees north of Turtle Pond.

Following the walk, there will be a potluck soup and snack meal in the barn with a fire and furnace on hand to keep the place warm. Bremer Sanctuary is located a half mile north of the Montgomery County Courthouse on North Road. They will be celebrating their 40th year as a chapter in 2017.

Fatal Fire Near Brighton

A Brighton man died in a Christmas Day fire in rural Brighton.

According to the Macoupin County Coroner Brad Targhetta , at 2:32am on Sunday, he was notified of a garage fire with one fatality at 2908 Brighton-Bunker Hill Road. The fire was reported at 1:51am to the Macoupin County 911.

The victim was identified at 83 year old Thomas Vernatti who lived alone at the address. An Autopsy will be performed.

The Illinois Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

The Brighton Betsey Ann Fire Protection District and the Macoupin County Sheriff's Office were initially on the scene of the fire.

Fatal Crash Near Gillespie

A Gillespie resident was killed in a two vehicle crash Friday afternoon west of Gillespie.

According to Illinois State Police, 53 year old Billy Malloy of Gillespie was driving a 2005 Chevrolet southbound on Spanish Needle Road at 4:49pm. Malloy came to the intersection with Rt. 16 and when he pulled out onto Rt. 16, his vehicle was struck in the passenger side by a 2007 Chrysler driven by 71 year old Larry Secor of East Gillespie.

A passenger in the Malloy vehicle, 56 year old Margaret Malloy of Gillespie, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Macoupin County Coroner.

Billy Malloy, Larry Secor and a passenger in his vehicle, 27 year old Bennie Secor of East Gillespie, were all transported to a local hospital.

The Macoupin County Sheriff's Office and Gillespie Fire and Ambulance assited at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation.

Panhandle School Board Approves Athletic Coops


At the December meeting of the Panhandle School Board Monday evening, the board approved athletic coops for various sports. The district will coop for soccer with Morrisonville and Nokomis; and for high school golf, basketball and cheerleading as well as junior high basketball and cheerleading, the board approved a coop with Morrisonville.

The board also adopted the 2016 tax levy and set May 19, 2017, as the graduation date for Lincolnwood High School.

After returning from closed session, the board approved a leave of absence request from Lindsay Pope for student teaching, beginning January 3 through May 2017.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m. The next Panhandle School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23.

Litchfield Board Approves Contract for Poffinbarger


The Litchfield School Board held their December meeting Thursday evening and, after returning from closed session, addressed personnel matters in the district.

The board unanimously approved a three and a half year contract with Debbie Poffinbarger as the new superintendent of the school district with a base salary of $120,000. Poffinbarger will take over on January 1, with her contract set to expire on June 30, 2020. The board also accepted the resignation of Head Football Coach Seth Hill, who completed his only season in October as the leader of the Purple Panthers. Litchfield finished 0-9.

A 12-month contract was approved for Jeff Strieker to serve as an independent contractor for 240 hours at $60 an hour beginning January 1, and ending December 31, 2017. Strieker is stepping down as superintendent on December 31.

The board also approved the monthly list of classroom volunteers who have completed the necessary paperwork and background screening. The meeting adjourned at 10:35 p.m. The next Litchfield School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 19.

Former ISP Employee Donates to "Cops for Kids"

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The Illinois State Police received a generous donation on Monday to the "Cops for Kids" toy drive from a fomer colleague.

Ray Remienschneider, who is retired from working at the District 18 office in Litchfield, donated his collection of metal toy cars to the drive. After years of collecting them, Riemenschneider was recently told his collection was not worth more than what he paid for them. Because of this, he decided to donate the cars to the cause, stating that they were worth more in a child's hands than on his shelf collecting dust.

"Cops for Kids" is a toy drive campaign that is being held by various law enforcement agencies in Montgomery County. The program was started by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department to give gifts to children who are less fortunate.

If you would like to help donate, contact Trooper Heath Bryan at 324-4900 extension 223, or call your local police department within Montgomery County for a drop box location.

Wreaths Across America Ceremony

The Montgomery County Starr Shooters 4-H Club invites families and veterans to attend the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Witt cemetery on Saturday at 11 am.

It will take place in conjunction with the national "Wreaths Across America" ceremony at Arlington Nation Cemetery and at more than a half million grave sites around the country.

111 wreaths will be laid in Witt on Saturday. The Star Shooters thank everyone who donated a wreath to lay at a veterans grave.

Voice of Democracy Essay Contest

Litchfield High School student Hannah Niemann was named the winner of the 69th annual Voice of Democracy Scholarship essay contest on Saturday night at the Litchfield VFW. The theme was My Responsibility to America. Niemann won 500 dollars and will advance to the 12th District level. Paige Seipp won 200 dollars for her second place finish. Cam Morris finished third and won 100 dollars.

Julia Bader won the Patriots Pen Essay contest, for students in sixth to eighth grade. Bader won 100 dollars and advances to 12th district judging. Emma Reid finished second and won 50 dollars, Natalia Deren placed third and won 25 dollars.Dakota Porter won 100 dollars for winning the Creative Patriotic Art Contest. Cailey Brown finished second and won 50 dollars. Braxton Brummett placed third and won 25 dollars. Porter's entry will advance to State judging.

Hillsboro man arrested for delivery of Methamphetamine

A Montgomery County arrest warrant was served on 48 year old Jimmy A. Milanos of Hillsboro on November 30th for unlawful delivery of methamphetamine.

The South Central Illinois Drug Task Force led the narcotics investigation, which led to Milanos' arrest at his business in Hillsboro. During the arrest Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies and Hillsboro police officers seized suspected methamphetamine from Milanos, which will result in an additional charge of possession of methamphetamine. Milanos was processed into Montgomery County Jail where he is being held in lieu of bond which was set at 75 thousand dollars.

"Cops For Kids" in Montgomery County

This holiday season police officers in Montgomery County will be collecting toys for kids in the area. "Cops For Kids", which was started by Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy Mark Brazel, is in response to the recent attitude towards police around the country. Brazel wanted to do something positive for the people they protect and serve. Toys or cash donations can be dropped off at the Montgomery County Sheriff's office, the Litchfield, Hillsboro and Nokomis police departments and the State Police department. Donations can also be dropped off at Hibbett Sports and Petal Pushers in Litchfield. Brazel says if you call him at 217-313-4895, he will come and pick up your donation. "Cops For Kids" will take donations until December 20th.

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