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Local News Archives for 2018-03

Hillsboro Approves Agreement with Woodard & Curran

Hillsboro Approves Agreement with Woodard & Curran

On Tuesday evening, the Hillsboro City Council approved an operations and maintenance agreement with the firm Woodard and Curran for the management of water services at the city's water treatment plant.

The council approved the agreement, 3-2, with Mayor Brian Sullivan making the deciding vote. Commissioners Michael Murphy and Daniel Robbins voted for the agreement with Don Downs and Katie Duncan voting against. The agreement was approved in front of a packed council chambers.

Prior to discussing the matter, three Hillsboro citizens spoke out against the agreement during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Bruce Holcomb said that he was a firm believer in keeping as much work and as many Hillsboro city employees in town as possible. He also said that he is concerned about what will happen with employee pensions after moving to a new company. He noted that he once served on the council and was faced with a similar dilemma during his time as an official.

Pastor James Hayes stated that he hoped the council had put a lot of thought into the decision and that they weren't just flying by the seat of their pants.

One water treatment plant employee who spoke said that Woodard and Curran may be the greatest company in the world to work for, but there's no sense of community pride when it comes to working for that company. He pleaded for the council to vote against the agreement for the sake of community pride.

After opening up the discussion on the actual motion, Mayor Sullivan said that all water treatment plant employees will be offered positions with the new company at similar wages. He said the matter at hand had been studied for a long time rather than talked about in short order.

Woodard and Curran Regional Manager Marc Thomas was in attendance to address the concerns both council members and city employees had.

"Our business is people," he said, "and we look forward to showing they are a good firm."

One of the biggest concerns appeared to be with an article in the agreement dealing with employees status if the agreement is terminated by a future council. Downs asked if a new council came in and terminated the agreement, would the city employees who became employed by Woodard and Curran still have jobs? Thomas said they would be happy to sit down and work out any language in the agreement with city officials. He said that the way the article was worded was their standard contract.

Duncan asked what constituted an emergency situation to spend $10,000, when city policy is that any amount over $5,000 has to be approved. Thomas answered that the company would still bring all costs exceeding the $5,000 limit before the council for approval before spending that much money.

Prior to voting, Downs reiterated that he is not a politician and that he will not try to persuade his fellow council members minds on a vote. Murphy spoke to the amount of time that was spent on the matter, stating that the decision may seem like a sledge hammer to the public, but a lot of thought was put into the agreement.

Despite the uncertainty and possible tension felt in the room, members of the council and those from the public who were in attendance remained respectful in what could have been an otherwise heated meeting.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m.

Litchfield To Hold Spring Brush Pick-Up

The City of Litchfield will be offering Spring brush pick-up to residents next week, weather permitting.

Pick-up will begin in Ward 1 and progress through each of the four wards accordingly. According to city official Shelly Herman, the staff will make a single pass on each street. Once they pass, the staff will not return.

Residents who participate in brush pick-up are asked to have their brush out at the boulevard by 7 a.m. on Monday. If residents miss pick-up, they are allowed to drop brush off at the city facility on South Adams Street Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The facility will also be open the weekend of April 7th and 8th only.

Yard waste, big logs, whole trees, limbs or any trees or limbs that have been cut down by a contractor will not be picked up. Contractors are not allowed to deposit brush or trees at that facility.

For questions or clarification on brush pick-up, call 217-324-5253.

Hillsboro to Host Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration in April

The Hillsboro School District has announced that they will be holding Pre-K and Kindergarten screening registration during the week of April 9.

Registration will be available at Coffeen and Beckemeyer Elementary Schools April 9th through the 13th. Parents interested in having their child registered should stop in either school to set up an appointment and pick up registration paperwork for the May 16th or 17th play-based screening at Coffeen Elementary School.

Parents of children who expect to be enrolled in Kindergarten in the fall and who are not currently in the district Pre-K class with Mrs. Atkins, Ms. Armbruster, Mrs. Rivas, Mrs. Sarah VanMiddendorp or Miss Keillor should register to determine if their child is developing on target for Kindergarten. This will allow the district to plan for 2018-19 enrollment and class size.

Children enrolling in Kindergarten must be 5 years old on or before September 1. Parents of Children who will be 3 or 4 years old before September 1, and wish to enroll their child in the District Pre-K program in Coffeen, at Hillsboro Free Methodist Church or at HCCDC Daycare Center should register at this time.

Parents who intend to enroll their child in another pre-school program should also have their child screened to ensure their child is on target in their development, including hearing and vision. This will also assist the district in planning for future kindergarten enrollment.

Montgomery County Election Results

About 35 percent of registered voters turned out in Montgomery County or submitted an early voting ballot for Tuesday's General Primary Election.

Here are the results from the General Primary Election in Montgomery County. The candidate races are all from the Republican ballot, as there were no contested races on the Democratic ballot for Montgomery County.

For the position of Montgomery County Treasurer:
Jay Martin - 1701 votes (50.52%)
Daniel Robbins - 1666 votes (49.48%)

For the position of Montgomery County Sheriff:
Rick Robbins - 2191 (60%)
Scott Woods - 1460 (39.9%)

For a seat on County Board District One:
Megan Beeler - 338 (72%)
Jim Allen - 131 (27.9%)

Nokomis Cemetery Tax Question:
Voting Against - 238 (51.8%)
Voting For - 221 (48%)

All results are unofficial until canvassed on or before Tuesday, April 10.

Macoupin Primary

Voter turnout in Macoupin County was 20 percent for Tuesday's Primary election.

There were few contested races for the county in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

County Board District 4 on the Democratic ballot results were:

Mark Dragovich 428
David Thomas 282
John Goldacker 252

County Board District 1 on the Deomocratic ballot results were:

Roberta Vojas 345
Michael Tranter 278
Donald Brown 256

The Northwestern Fire Protection District question was passed by voters 203to 89 and the Medora-Shipman Ambulance Service advisory question was turned down by voters 276 to 166.

All results are prelimanary until they are officially canvassed.

Man Who Allegedly Shot Three in Taylorville Monday Dies

The man who shot himself after he allegedly shot and wounded three people in Taylorville Monday morning has died.

Lee Wayne Kennedy was pronounced dead at 12:33 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, according to Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards.

Kennedy, 43, opened fire on a home on South Walnut Street in Taylorville at 5 a.m. Monday, wounding three people, including Kennedy's 13-year-old daughter, the girl's mother and a Sangamon County man who was at the house. Each victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

After the shooting, Kennedy drove to Hillsboro and left the white truck he was driving in the McDonald's parking lot. The sighting of the vehicle prompted Hillsboro School officials to place schools on administrative lockdown. After leaving his truck, he allegedly stole a car from Hillsboro, then robbed a convenience store in Stonington.

After the robbery, he led police on a pursuit that ended in front of Taylorville Memorial Hospital at 4 p.m. when the suspect turned a gun he had on himself and shot himself in the head. He was taken inside the Taylorville Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The mother of the 13-year-old victim had filed an order of protection last month against Kennedy. The order came after the woman claimed Kennedy threatened her and then threatened suicide. The identities of the victims are not being released at this time.

Man Shoots Himself, Allegedly Steals Car in Hillsboro

A 43-year-old man allegedly stole a car and shot himself outside a Taylorville hospital Monday afternoon hours after wounding three people.

Lee Wayne Kennedy shot himself in the head around 4 p.m. Monday after leading police on a pursuit that ended outside Taylorville Memorial Hospital. He was taken inside the hospital for treatment before being transferred to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. The state of his condition has not been released at this time.

According to the Taylorville Police, Kennedy arrived at a residence on South Walnut Street in Taylorville at around 5 a.m. Monday and allegedly began shooting. Three victims were wounded, including a 13-year-old girl, and were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

According to Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile, the mother of the 13-year-old had an order of protection against Kennedy due to an ongoing domestic situation; and over the past few days, Kennedy had posted threatening messages on his Facebook page.

After the shooting in Taylorville, Kennedy fled the scene and went missing for several hours. The white truck he was driving was found at McDonald's in Hillsboro, which prompted Hillsboro School Superintendent David Powell to place schools on administrative lockdown. Hile said that Kennedy stole a gray Ford Focus while in Hillsboro, and fled again. At around 3 p.m., he allegedly committed an armed robbery at the Colonial Pantry in Stonington and left before officers arrived.

After the robbery, officers spotted Kennedy on a rural road and began a pursuit, which ended at the Taylorville Hospital around 4 p.m.

The identities of the victims and the condition of Kennedy's injuries have not been released at this time. WSMI News will have more information on this story as it becomes available.

Police Looking for Man After Allegedly Shooting Three People in Taylorville

Authorities are looking for a man believed to be armed and dangerous after allegedly shooting three people in Taylorville Monday morning.

43-year-old Lee Wayne Kennedy was last seen driving a white 1996 GMC Sierra extended cab truck, and is believed to possibly be headed towards southern Illinois after wounding three people in Taylorville Monday morning. The license plate number on the white pickup truck is 2363510B.

Officers were called to a residence on South Walnut Street in Taylorville around 5 a.m. Monday on a report of shots fired. Three victims were found, and taken to a hospital in Taylorville before being transferred to Springfield hospitals.

According to the Taylorville Police, one of the victims had a valid order of protection against Kennedy as part of an "ongoing domestic violence situation."

Anyone with information on Kennedy's location should contact the police. The Christian County State's Attorney's Office, Christian County Sheriff's Office, and State Police are assisting with the investigation.

Alton Man Injured in I-55 Accident

An Alton man was injured in an automobile accident Wednesday evening on Interstate 55 near Pawnee.

According to the preliminary traffic crash investigation, Tracy Buchanan was driving a semi north on the interstate when his truck left the roadway to the left, causing the vehicle to roll over onto the driver's side and come to rest in the center of the median.

Buchanan, 63, was taken to Memorial Hospital in Springfield with non-life threatening injuries. He was cited with Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid a Crash. The accident occurred at 6:39 p.m. Wednesday near exit 82.

Crimestopper Authorizes Two Payments

At their meeting Wednesday evening, the Macoupin-Montgomery County Crimestoppers authorized a payment for a tip leading to the discovery of a gun on Hillsboro High School grounds last week.

Hillsboro police investigated and discovered a gun in a vehicle in the high school parking lot. One person was apprehended and turned over to school administration. Crimestoppers awarded a payment of $400 for the tip.

Crimestoppers also approved a $350 payment to a person who provided information about a woman wanted on drug warrants, and who was allegedly involved in a burglary. The subject was arrested by Hillsboro Police on February 22, and was taken to the Montgomery County Jail.

County Board Room Open During Election Night

Interested local residents may once again gather in the Montgomery County Board room Tuesday, March 20, to view County Election returns as they become available after the polls close.

According to Montgomery County Clerk Sandy Leitheiser, updated results from the website will again be shown on an overhead projector, and individual precinct reports will be provided on an as-needed basis.

Leitheiser said that they are pleased to once again offer this service to Montgomery County residents. She also encourages voters to gather in the board room at the Historic Courthouse in order to be a part of the General Primary Election returns process as it occurs.

WSMI will also have up-to-the-minute local election results during election night. Results will also be available on the county's website,

Taylor Springs Man Arrested for Criminal Damage to Property

A Taylor Springs man was arrested Sunday morning after allegedly tearing up the Taylor Springs Village Park with his pickup truck.

Brock Ondesko, 20, was arrested Sunday morning for Criminal Damage to State Supported Property and Illegal Consumption of Alcohol by a minor. According to Taylor Springs Police Officer Warren Hall, a village official informed authorities that Ondesko allegedly drove through the park with his truck, as tire tracks were leading back to the suspect's house.

When Officer Hall asked Ondesko about the incident, the 20-year-old admitted to going mudding at the park. While Ondesko was being placed under arrest, Hall noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from him. He was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and given a breathalyzer test. The test results showed a blood alcohol content of .096. He remained in jail as of Sunday evening.

Gun Found in Parking Lot, Not Related to Threatening Note

A gun that was found in a student's vehicle in the Hillsboro High School parking lot Wednesday is not suspected to be related to the threatening note found in a bathroom stall Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday, a crimestoppers tip led to the search of a student's vehicle in the parking lot, and police found an unloaded shotgun in a gun case under a seat.

In a statement released Wednesday, Hillsboro Superintendent David Powell said that while this is a very serious matter in its own right, it has been determined by school administration and law enforcement NOT to be related to the threatening note found in a school bathroom on Tuesday.

The statement also read that it is believed the shotgun had been used for hunting last weekend and was left in the truck unintentionally. "The incident is still a serious violation of school policy, Powell said, and is being handled as such."

Authorities are continuing to investigate the threatening note that was found in the bathroom at Hillsboro High School mentioning a gun being brought to the school on Friday. Powell has emphasized that at this time, the district is still planning on having classes as normal. The district is partnering with Hillsboro Police and Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputies to secure a heightened police presence at the schools.

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that may lead to an arrest of the person or persons involved. Anyone who may have information about the student or person who left the note should contact Macoupin Montgomery County Crimestoppers at 1-800-352-0136 or call the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office or Hillsboro Police Department.

Virden Police Officer Honored

Virden police officer Troy Parish has been recognized by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge for his on-duty actions that saved the life of a local woman one year ago.

FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood made the award presentation at this week's Virden City Council meeting.

Officer Parish received the FOP Lifesaving Award for his actions on February 24, 2017. Parish was on duty that day a 3pm when he responded to a call about a woman having a seizure in a car. When Parish arrived he realized the woman, Krista Hunter, was in full cardiac arrest and immediately began CPR, keeping up the procedure until the emergency medical assistance arrived. Hunter was revived, was later released from the hospital and rejoined her family.

The FOP Lifesaving Award is given for outstanding efforts in performing actions or applying techniques that result in saving or sustaining a human life.

Litchfield Council Awards Bid for Sluice Gate Installation

The Litchfield City Council awarded a winning bid last Thursday for a construction contract to install a sluice gate.

The gate will go inside the north half of the Five Mile Lake Twin Monolithic Drop Inlet, which is a standalone structure commonly referred to as a weir box.

Four company's were contacted about installing the gate, and two expressed interest in the project. The winning bid was awarded to Kinney Contractors, Inc. in the amount of $6,980. The cost of the project will be taken from the city's Lake Operation budget.

The council also approved a second amendment to an operating agreement with Grand Rental for boat rental services at Lake Lou Yaeger.

In 2015, the city council approved a one-year rental agreement with an amendment to include 2016 and 2017 to allow for boat rental at Lake Lou Yaeger. Signage was installed along with marketing information to promote the service. Despite a slow start, the word spread about the availability of the boat rental.

The Lake Department agreed that an amendment to the operating agreement similar to that of last year's arrangement should be approved. The approval will have no expenditures by the city, but would have revenue from boat slip rental, purchase of fuel and other sundries by users. The motion passed, 8-0.

The council also voted to pay a roofing company for city hall's roof repair, but cut the original payment in half.

Joiner Sheet Metal and Roofing of Greenville was responsible for repairing the roof as part of city hall's roof and HVAC renovation project. Alderman Woodrow Street said that due to leaks and a sagging roof, he recommended the original payment of $138,819.60 be cut in half. He also said that the city did not want to abuse the company, but did not feel that they should make the entire payment at that time. Mayor Steve Dougherty agreed, saying that the council would like to get the company's attention.

The council voted, and an amended payment of $69,409.80 was approved.

The purchase of three iPad 32 gig devices and Otter Box Defender cases through the city's contract with Verizon was also approved.

According to the council, the fire department needs the ability to have access at scenes of fires and school shootings for real-time information and preplans that have been jointly prepared by the fire and police departments. The cost of the tablets and cases is $982.44.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Hillsboro Awards Bid for New Warning Sirens

On February 27, the Hillsboro City Council accepted a bid from Whiteside Communications on four new outdoor warning sirens for the city.

City Clerk Cory Davidson said he had advertised for bids for two separate kinds of sirens: a Vortex R-4, and a Whelen WPS-2908. According to Davidson, the Vortex model sirens are less expensive,, but the Whelen model sirens are a top-of-the-line product.

The city received bids for both types of sirens from Whiteside Communications and ADS Electric. The winning bid was awarded to Whiteside for its Whelen WPS-2908 Siren in the amount of $139,995. Davidson said he had only budgeted $105,000 for the sirens, but recommended going with the more expensive siren since it is a higher quality product.

Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan said the additional funds could be taken out of the Capital Improvement fund, but Davidson said money from the General Reserve could be used instead. Mayor Brian Sullivan and the other commissioners agreed that using funds from the General Reserve was the better option. The council voted and accepted the bid, 4-0. The amount includes a turn-key installation and will be delivered in eight weeks.

A representative of CTI -- the new fiber-optic internet service provider moving to Montgomery County -- was in attendance at the meeting and spoke during the public comment portion.

CTI General Manager Bobbie Durbin said that the company is currently in Montgomery County and is expected to reach Nokomis in April and Hillsboro by June or July. She also said that the company is planning on housing an office in Hillsboro, and that because of this, they will be creating ten new jobs. In order to fill the new job openings, there will be a hiring event held at city hall on Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to noon.

When asked if the company will provide on-the-job training for certain positions, Durbin said that for the right candidate, they would offer that training. She said that employees with experience in a related field would be preferred, but are not required.

The council also approved a maintenance agreement with Cummins Sales and Service for the water plant generator.

The topic was one that was tabled from the previous meeting in order for city officials to look into the possibility of including the sewer generator into the same agreement; But Public Improvements Commissioner Don Downs said that they will not be able to address the sewer generator until next year. The cost of the agreement for the water plant generator is $1,290.14. The motion passed, 4-0.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, at 7 p.m.


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