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Local News Archives for 2017-10

Council Removes Restiction for At-Will City Employees


During their meeting on October 24, the Hillsboro City Council voted to remove a restriction from an ordinance that mandates all at-will city employees live within a 6-mile radius of Hillsboro.

According to Mayor Brian Sullivan, there are a few supervisors of departments within the city that will be retiring soon, and it could be difficult to immediately replace those employees if they have to be current residents of the city.

Commissioner Don Downs was opposed to removing the restriction, saying he believes those employees should live in Hillsboro and drive the same roads and walk the same sidewalks as other citizens. Commissioner Michael Murphy agreed with Downs, but said he sees the pros and cons to both sides of the issue. He added that he was okay with lifting the restrictions if the council puts an emphasis on living within the 6-mile radius or the willingness to relocate when hiring new employees.

The motion passed with Commissioners Murphy, Katie Duncan and Daniel Robbins voting yes, and Downs voting no. The removal of the restriction does not apply to elected officials, those appointed in a committee, or union members, such as police and firefighters.

The council also approved the purchase of a compact excavator and trailer.

The unit will be available to all departments in the city to make demolition and digging work safer and more efficient. The council was presented with a new and used Caterpillar, and a used Hitachi. After much deliberation, they voted to purchase the new Caterpillar for $59,950. The trailer was an additional cost of $7,472.

Parks Superintendent Jim May said the new model would provide the city the best value of all options.

Also at the meeting, the council approved a bid for liability, property and workers compensation insurance from Scheller Insurance Agency.

Mayor Sullivan said he, Commissioner Murphy and others on a committee interviewed representatives from the three lowest bidders for the contract. Sullivan said Scheller offered the best coverage for the lowest premium. The total cost will be $170,849, saving the city $30,000 annually as compared to the city's current provider. Illinois County Risk Management Trust will be the actual carrier of the policy. The motion passed, 4-0.

Before conducting business, Mayor Sullivan commented on the Tabletop exercise the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency recently hosted for tornado disaster preparedness. The exercise was held on October 21, at the Magnuson Grand Hotel and Conference Center. Sullivan said it was eye-opening to see both what city officials did right as well as what they did not know and needed to be prepared for.

The mayor also said that he has been in touch with State Senator Andy Manar and State Representative Avery Bourne regarding the power plant in Coffeen. He added that it's looking like a possibility that legislation will be introduced in the near future.

The council voted to approve advertising for the purchase of four new warning sirens for the city. Finance Commissioner Duncan said the city had budgeted $100,000 for the sirens, and City Clerk Cory Davidson said the city has needed to replace their sirens for a while. The motion passed, 4-0.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, at 7 p.m.

New Voter Cards for Macoupin County

Macoupin County Clerk Pete Duncan has announced that new voter cards are being mailed to every registered voter in the county.

Every registered voter should receive a new card. The new card should be checked to make sure the name and address of the voter is up to date. If it is not, the voter will need to change their registration before the next election.

If a voter does not receive a card, they can check their current registration statusby going online to www.macoupinvotes.com and using the 'Voter Lookup' tool or they can call the Election office at 217-854-3214 ext 707.

Voters are also asked that if a card arrives for a person who no longer resides at that address that the card be returned with a signature of a person living at that address saying the voter no longer lives there so the voter's registration can be removed.

Litchfield Fire Dept. To Host Open House


This weekend, National Fire Prevention Month activities will continue at the Litchfield Fire Department with an open house.

On Saturday, residents of all ages are invited to stop by the fire house where tours will be given in addition to live burn and rescue demonstrations. Guests will also be able to view a fire truck up close.

Staff and volunteers will be present at the event to answer questions, and hot dogs will be served. The event will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Seely Appointed as New Hospital CEO

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On Wednesday, HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield announced the appointment of Kevin Seely as President and CEO. He replaces past president and CEO, Patti Fischer, who serves as Chief Operating Officer of HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield. He will begin his new position on December 3.

Seely has over 25 years of clinical and health care leadership experience working with medical centers, integrated delivery systems and large medical groups in both for-profit and not-for-profit settings. He began his health career as an emergency medical technician before receiving a dual degree in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Kansas. He then received a Bachelor of Science to become an anatomic pathologist's assistant from Wayne State University.

In 2005, Seely earned his Master of Business Administration-Health Care Administration and Master of Science in International Health Management and Policy from the University of Colorado at Denver.

HSHS Central Illinois President E.J. Kuiper said Chief Nursing Officer John Peipert, who served as interim President and CEO, will continue to serve as Chief Nursing Officer after Seely begins.

(Photo Courtesy of HSHS St. Francis Hospital)

CAH Auxiliary Medical Scholarship

For the last two years, the Carlinville Area Hospital Auxiliary has awarded $1,000 scholarships to a Macoupin County high school graduate who intends to pursue a career in the medical field. The Auxiliary will award the scholarship again in the spring 2018 and has distributed forms to all of the county;s high school counselors.

Eligible students must also submit: a comprehensive list of community service/volunteer activities; a typed one-page essay outling why they want to pursue a medical career; and two letters of recommendation. The applicants also must have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher through their junior year.

The $1,000 scholarship is paid in two installments, the first $500 as soon as the recipient is accepted into an accredited college or university and the second $500 after the first semester, as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.

For scholarship purposes, "medical field" includes pre-med/medical school, dental school, nursing programs, pharmacy school, radiology, and an array of occupational, physical and speech therapy.

The Auxiliary's scholarship committee will review all submitted applications and support information in March of 2018 and then announce the winner in April.

Contact Jamie Bray for additional information at 217-854-3868.

Two Dead in Witt Structure Fire Tuesday


Two people were pronounced dead after a structure fire in Witt was extinguished early Tuesday morning.

Charles Shelton, 72, and Deborah Warren, 59, were pronounced dead by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham at a residence on North 3rd Street in Witt. Both resided at the address where the fire occurred.

According to the Coroner's report, the Witt Fire Department was dispatched to the area and located a fully involved structure fire. With the assistance of the Nokomis Fire Department, the blaze was extinguished. Shelton and Warren were located inside the structure after the fire was under control, and the coroner's office was requested and dispatched.

The incident remains under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office, Witt Fire Department, Montgomery County Coroner's Office and Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. The fire occurred shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

EMA Holds Search and Rescue Training

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On October 5, The Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency and Montgomery County Sheriff's Office sponsored a three hour ground search and rescue training event with the Illinois Search and Rescue Council.

According to County EMA Coordinator Greg Nimmo, 33 local first responders in the county participated. The event was held in the Lincolnwood High School Auditorium.

Captain Nimmo also stated that Dan Hough of Raymond was appointed as EMA Search and Rescue Team Leader by the Montgomery County County Emergency Management Agency. He said Hough will use this training as a foundational class to organize a County Search and Rescue Team.

Panhandle School District Superintendent Aaron Hopper and other school representatives partnered with the EMA and allowed them to utilize the auditorium for training.

Those who wish to volunteer to provide county EMA services may contact Captain Nimmo at 217-532-9560 or via email at gregn@montgomeryco.com.

County Board Approves New Health Insurance Plan


The Montgomery County Board approved a new health insurance plan for county employees during their meeting Tuesday morning.

The board heard a presentation from CIBC President Tony Johnston, who said a renewal with current provider Blue Cross Blue Shield for 2018 would see a 13.2 percent increase; which would be an $88,000 increase to the county and employee cost increase of $37,000 per year.

Johnston said he received a couple of options for a Health Reimbursement Arrangement from Health Alliance for a Point of Service plan or a Preferred Provider Option. The plan would come with a $7,150 maximum out-of-pocket deductible with county funding starting at $1500. For employee-only plans, after the $1500 deductible is met, the county and individual would evenly split the cost of the remaining $5,650; Therefore, an individual would be responsible for a maximum of $4,325 out of pocket. For an employee family plan, each amount is doubled.

Johnston said with the plan, the county could see a savings of $50,000, and the employee could save around $20,000. He added that the risk to the county is agreeing to pay 50 percent of the remaining deductible after the first tier is met. The motion passed with 19 voting yes, zero voting no, and two members absent.

The village of Ohlman was approved funding for the demolition of the old school building. The building had deteriorated and had become a public safety issue. The board approved an amount not to exceed $20,865 from fund 375 to go towards the demolition of the project. Prior to a policy change in 2015, the village was promised funding from the County to help with the project. The prior policy allowed coal funds to be used for such projects.

Board member Ron Deabenderfer said that the board should honor the promise, but be careful about making promises like this before bringing it to the board in the future. The board voted and the motion passed, 19-0, with two members absent.

A vacant seat on the board was also filled during the meeting. Dr. Robert Mulch was nominated to fill the seat vacated by Tim Hopper last month. Hopper stepped down from the board for personal reasons. Mulch's appointment was approved, 19-0, with one member absent at the time of the vote. He was not in attendance at the meeting as he was on a previously scheduled vacation.

Earlene Robinson, who is the board's representative on the 708 board, announced the appointment of a new 708 board member.

Dan Hough was appointed to the 708 board, filling the vacancy left by Ed Schumacher. Schumacher previously stepped down before moving out of the area. When speaking about the appointment, Jeremy Jones said he is appreciative for all the things Hough has done for the county, and that he has been an important part of the community. Hough's appointment was unanimously approved towards the end of the meeting.

When speaking of the senior citizens board, Ron Deabenderfer said Director Lynn Fugate had requested the board discuss the tax levied for senior citizens, which is separate from the county's general fund. According to Deabenderfer, there's a need to educate board members as well as the general public on the tax levy and what the general fund actually covers.

The next Montgomery County Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, at 8:30 a.m.

Bourne Appointed to Illinois Coal Consumption Task Force


State Representative Avery Bourne has been appointed to fill a seat on the recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal.

A new law, that was sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in the state and burned here as well.

In a statement, Bourne said that coal is one of Illinois' most abundant resources, and state citizens should be able to utilize that resource here. She added that thru the task force, they are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs. The vast majority of Illinois coal is being sold and burned out of state because of the sulfur content, which burns off at a higher rate than federal and state air quality standards allow. A way to prevent, or reduce, sulfur escaping into the air when the coal is being burned is to install costly scrubbers that help remove sulfur before leaving the stack.

The bipartisan task force's members' primary responsibility is to study the costs and benefits of the construction of new stacks or conversion of existing stacks at coal-fired power plants with flue gas desulfurization scrubber technology.

Leitheiser Says No Fall Election in 2017


Montgomery County Clerk Sandy Leitheiser recently announced to area voters that there is no fall election this year.

Illinois Law provides one election to be held each odd year in the state, which is the consolidated election held in April that elects local offices.

Two elections are held each even year in Illinois, and the next election will be the Tuesday, March 20, 2018, General Primary. In that election, Democratic and Republican parties will nominate U.S. Representatives, Illinois Senators and Representatives, judges if there are vacancies, Governor and Lt. Governor, County Clerks, County Treasurers, Sheriffs and State's Attorneys.

The 2018 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Those seeking information about the election cycle process may contact the Montgomery County Clerk's office, located at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro, by calling 532-9530, or emailing sandyleitheiser@hotmail.com.

Litchfield Approves Site Development for Timber Creek


At their meeting Thursday evening, the Litchfield City Council approved the Site Development Plan for the Timber Creek Assisted Living Facility, to be located on West Sallee Street.

The proposed facility will cover roughly six acres, and will be a 40 unit, 38,691 square feet building. A public hearing was conducted by the Planning Commission on Tuesday, October 3, and the commission voted 6 to 5 to accept the annexation and the zoning change from Agricultural to Multifamily. While there is no direct impact to the city's budget, the development would increase the city's tax base.

Alderman Woodrow Street said the contractor working on this project is the same on that worked on the new Copper Creek facility. He added that it should be a wonderful addition to the city. The motion passed with 7 alderman voting yes, 0 voting no, and Alderman Dwayne Gerl absent.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Matt Hughes Visits St. John's to Honor ICU Nurses

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Hillsboro native and former Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Hughes, along with St. John's Hospital personnel, honored two nurses Tuesday with a special award during a private ceremony.

Ashley Hull and Megan Simpson were nominated for the DAISY Award, which is a national award honoring extraordinary nurses that is awarded to one nurse each month at the hospital. Hull and Simpson were selected as DAISY Award Winners for October and November. They both work in the intensive care unit. Tony Zucca, a friend of the Hughes familiy, presented the nomination.

Matt, his wife Audra, and their daughters Hanna and Katelyn visited the hospital Tuesday to show their appreciation for the nurses and the rest of the St. John's medical team for helping Matt after an accident that occurred in June.

On June 16, a vehicle Hughes was driving was hit by a train, causing him to be airlifted to St. John's Hospital. He spent several days at St. John's before being transferred to a facility outside of Springfield.
(Photo courtesy of St. John's Hospital. Pictured from left to right are Audra Hughes, Katelyn Hughes, Ashley Hull, Matt Hughes, Megan Simpson, and Hannah Hughes)

County Clerk Registers H.S. Students to Vote


Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder Sandy Leitheiser recently visited Hillsboro High School government classes to register age-eligible students to vote at next year's General Primary Election to be held March 20, 2018.

According to Leitheiser, Illinois law allows individuals to register to vote for the primary if their 18th birthday falls on or before the November 6, 2018, General Election. As a result, 17-year-olds are eligible to vote at the March 20, General Primary election and may now register to vote.

Leitheiser also informed students about the program available with Hillsboro High School and HHS Government Instructor Michael Koniak's support for community service credit in return for their assistance at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro on Election night as ballots are brought in by election judges. She said that this program saves taxpayer costs for personnel on election night while giving students a valuable experience about the election returns process.

Similar voter registration outreach services are now underway for students in the Litchfield, Nokomis and Panhandle school districts.

Those needing more information about voter registration and election services are encouraged to contact the County Clerk's office at 532-9530 or visit their website at montgomeryco.com/countyclerk.

19-year-old Found Dead in Irving


A 19-year old male has died after first responders found him unresponsive in Irving Monday afternoon.

Dylan Roemelin was pronounced dead Monday at 3:26 p.m. by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham after first responders found him at 221 West Franklin Street in Irving.

According to the coroner's report, there is no evidence of foul play. Roemelin's death remains under investigation by the Coroner's office and the Montgomery County Sheriff's office. Assisting at the scene were the Hillsboro Area Ambulance, Witt Fire First Responders and sheriff's deputies.

West Nile Positive Mosquito Collected in Nokomis


The Montgomery County Health Department is reporting that the first West Nile Virus positive mosquito was collected in Nokomis on September 20.

To date, West Nile positive birds, mosquitoes, and/or human cases have been reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health in 55 counties. The Department of Public Health has also reported that the first West Nile Virus related death occurred in Kankakee County.

Due to the ongoing threat of the virus, area residents must remain vigilant and protect themselves. According to the Department of Public Health, the best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitos around your home, and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Additional Information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website. Dead birds or standing water can be reported by calling the Montgomery County Health Department at 532-2001.

Taylor Springs Man Arrested for Domestic Battery


A Taylor Springs man was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of Domestic Battery.

Zachary Daugherty, 22, was arrested Thursday afternoon after he allegedly grabbed, pushed and pulled the hair of his girlfriend, Shelby Porter.

The arrest came after police reportedly responded to three separate calls for domestic abuse at the same apartment. When authorities arrived at 1:22 in the afternoon, an officer spoke to Porter, 28, who stated that her boyfriend grabbed her, pushed her and pulled her hair, and then took off in his car. The couple's next-door neighbor told the officer that this was an ongoing issue between the two.

Daugherty was apprehended at First Community Bank in Hillsboro and was taken to the Montgomery County Jail. Ms. Porter then requested to speak with arresting officer Warren Hall, and told him that she did not want Daugherty arrested, and that she couldn't be responsible for his arrest. Hall advised her that she had no control over the situation.

Cornelia Alderman of Hillsboro

Cornelia Alderman, 88, of Hillsboro, passed away Monday, October 2. The Bass Patton Dean Funeral Home in Hillsboro is in charge of arrangements. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, October 4, at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery. Friends may call Wednesday from noon until the time of service.

West Nile Positive Mosquito Collected in Nokomis


The Montgomery County Health Department is reporting that the first West Nile Virus positive mosquito was collected in Nokomis on September 20.

To date, West Nile positive birds, mosquitoes, and/or human cases have been reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health in 55 counties. The Department of Public Health has also reported that the first West Nile Virus related death occurred in Kankakee County.

Due to the ongoing threat of the virus, area residents must remain vigilant and protect themselves. According to the Department of Public Health, the best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitos around your home, and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Additional Information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website. Dead birds or standing water can be reported by calling the Montgomery County Health Department at 532-2001.

Taylor Springs Man Arrested for Domestic Battery


A Taylor Springs man was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of Domestic Battery.

Zachary Daugherty, 22, was arrested Thursday afternoon after he allegedly grabbed, pushed and pulled the hair of his girlfriend, Shelby Porter.

The arrest came after police reportedly responded to three separate calls for domestic abuse at the same apartment. When authorities arrived at 1:22 in the afternoon, an officer spoke to Porter, 28, who stated that her boyfriend grabbed her, pushed her and pulled her hair, and then took off in his car. The couple's next-door neighbor told the officer that this was an ongoing issue between the two.

Daugherty was apprehended at First Community Bank in Hillsboro and was taken to the Montgomery County Jail. Ms. Porter then requested to speak with arresting officer Warren Hall, and told him that she did not want Daugherty arrested, and that she couldn't be responsible for his arrest. Hall advised her that she had no control over the situation.

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