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Local News Archives for 2018-07

Police: Hillsboro Burglaries Likely Committed by Same People

Authorities are investigating a string of burglaries that occurred over the weekend in Hillsboro that police believe were committed by the same people.

At around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Hillsboro Police received a report of three males entering vehicles in the 1400 block of Center Street. Police responded to the scene but were unable to locate any of the suspects involved. On Saturday at about 9 a.m., police responded to a report that several vehicle burglaries had occurred overnight. At 9:20 a.m., police were notified that a burglary had occurred at the Central Park pool house and concession area. Investigators believe all of the crimes were committed by the same individuals.

Hillsboro Police are reminding residents to remove any items of value from their vehicles, and make sure that their vehicle doors are locked as well.

Anyone who has any information about the crimes committed or witnesses suspicious activity is encouraged to call the Hillsboro Police Department or the Macoupin-Montgomery County Crimestoppers.

Hillsboro Man Injured After Stolen Motorcycle Crash

A Hillsboro man was taken to a Springfield hospital with severe injuries after a motorcycle crash Wednesday evening.

Kevin Perkins was first taken to Hillsboro Area Hospital with severe injuries before being airlifted to Springfield by helicopter. The motorcycle he was allegedly driving crashed at the intersection of Broadway Street and Seyborn Avenue at around 7:50 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the Taylor Springs Police, the motorcycle was not street legal and Perkins was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Police also said that the motorcycle was found to be stolen out of Alton. The incident remains under instigation.

Bethalto Man Charged with First-Degree Murder

A Bethalto man is facing murder charges after he allegedly drove a vehicle into a group of people early Sunday morning, killing one and injuring another.

Caleb Lenhardt, 21, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of Failure to Report a Traffic Crash Involving Personal Injury or Death, and one count of Aggravated Battery for his role in the incident.

At around 3 a.m. Sunday, the Alton Police responded to the scene in the 400 block of Belle Street after a vehicle had driven into a group of people in a parking lot. Katie Bunt, 21 was killed when Lenhardt's car allegedly struck her. Another woman, identified as 25-year-old Ashley Allgood, was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries she suffered as a result of the collision.

According to the investigation, Lenhardt failed to report the crash to authorities and instead fled the scene in his vehicle at first, and then on foot. He was later located by an Alton Police K-9 Unit. Bond has been set at $1 million.

Man Arrested for DUI after I-55 Crash

A St. Louis man was arrested for allegedly Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol after a single vehicle crash Sunday afternoon on Interstate 55 south of Springfield.

Austin Winn, 26, was traveling north on the interstate at mile marker 87 when his vehicle traveled off the left side of the road and struck the median barrier wires. The passenger in his vehicle, identified as 26-year-old Steven Poss of St. Louis, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Winn refused medical treatment at the scene and was subsequently arrested for Driving Under the Influence.

The incident occurred at around 2:47 p.m. Sunday. It remains under investigation by the State Police.

Panhandle to Offer Developmental Screenings

The Panhandle School District will be offering free developmental screenings on Thursday, August 9, for children who reside in the district and will be three or four-years-old by September 1.

The teachers will be using the Brigance assessment with the children, which should provide a snapshot of a child's mastery of early developmental and academic skills. The screening will also identify children who qualify for the district's prekindergarten and early childhood special education program.

The screenings will be held in the Pre-K classroom at Farmersville Gradeschool from noon to 3 p.m. Children will be screened by appointment only. Anyone interested in making an appointment for their child should call the Farmersville Grade School office at 227-3306 beginning on July 30.

Lewis and Clark to Offer Bachelors Degrees in Nursing

Earlier this summer, Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey announced a partnership with the University of Illinois to offer Bachelor of Science Degrees in Nursing at their institution.

The partnership, which was aided by State Senator Andy Manar and State Representative Monica Bristow, would allow the two-year college to offer a four-year Bachelor's Degree in the nursing program so that local students don't have to enroll full-time at a university that doesn't have a nearby campus.

Manar said this partnership was formed after a bill he sponsored failed to pass in the General Assembly during the Spring Session. He said the bill would have allowed a select group of community colleges to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing.

Lewis and Clark was one of ten community colleges that would have been allowed to offer the nursing degrees. The list also included Lincoln Land Community College, and Manar said he hopes a partnership will form next between Lincoln Land and the University of Illinois.

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Manar added that he does not quit on a good bill, and he said that he will continue to work with the General Assembly to see about allowing other community colleges to offer Bachelors Degrees in Nursing.

Hillsboro Man Found Dead Saturday

A Hillsboro man was found dead outside a residence early Saturday morning.

Levi Titsworth, 23, of Hillsboro, was found at 12:28 a.m. Saturday by the Hillsboro Police. He was pronounced dead by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham.

According to Leetham, Hillsboro Police responded to 616 Jefferson Street after a report of a possible suicide. Officers arrived on scene and discovered the deceased male outside the residence. The investigation is ongoing by the Hillsboro Police Department and the Montgomery County Coroner's office.

County Board Hears Update on Eagle Zinc Cleanup

Members of the Environmental Protection Agency at both the State and Federal levels gave an update Tuesday morning on the progress of the Eagle Zinc cleanup in Hillsboro.

Illinois EPA Project Manager Nicole Wilson and US EPA member Margaret Gielniewski spoke to the Montgomery County Board about the cleanup progress that has been made at the site, which was used for smelting and manufacturing of sulfuric acid, zinc oxide and leaded zinc oxide up until 2003.

Gielniewski said they have conducted daily air monitoring in order to make sure the area located near Schram City remains safe. Wilson said work is going well, but one of the challenges workers have faced is the amount of concrete structures located underground. She said they anticipated structures underground, but not to the degree in which they are being discovered.

Gielniewski said the group has focused on the western most portion of the site when monitoring the air quality since it is next to a residential area. Board member Ron Deabenderfer asked if people playing and visiting the Hillsboro Sports Complex have been affected at all by the cleanup. Gielniewski said they had not been, adding that the sensitivity of the monitors they use is very high. She noted that the only factors that have triggered their alarms to this point have been work from an adjacent lumber yard and mowing.

According to Wilson, the contract for cleaning up the site runs through December 31, but work will most likely continue into March or April.

During committee briefings, the Board voted to give $10,000 to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation as part of a county school study. The money, which is half of what is needed to fund a school study, will be used to hire a consultant to look into improvements that can be made to schools in order to make Montgomery County more attractive. One possible outcome includes consolidating at least two current school districts.

Board member Dr. Robert Mulch, who also chairs the MCEDC board of directors, said he and other volunteers from Hillsboro, Litchfield and Raymond were motivated by concerns brought forth by Jim Hewitt of Allscripts. Earlier this year, Hewitt told the board that he was having a hard time getting Allscripts employees to relocate to the county because of the state of the schools, in addition to high property taxes and a lack of quality, affordable housing.

The board unanimously approved the measure, and the remainder of the roughly $20,000 needed to fund the study will be obtained via fundraising.

708 Board liaison Earlene Robinson briefed the board on funds that had been approved by her committee.

Four of the funding applications will be made in quarterly payments. They include FAYCO Enterprises for $194,000 for the Fiscal Year, the Montgomery County Health Department for $244,280, the Litchfield School District for $55,000, and the Panhandle School District for $42,420.

Payments that will be made one time to organizations for the fiscal year include the Continuing Recovery Center for $3,000, The Autism Support Connection for $6,500, the Unified Child Advocacy Network for $15,000, and Standing Against Addiction and Drugs for $35,000. In total, Robinson said the 708 Board awarded $595,200 in grant money for this fiscal year.

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

Fire Protection, Ambulance Districts in Montgomery County Awarded Grants

Seven rural fire protection and ambulance districts in the area have been awarded small equipment grants through the office of the State Fire Marshal, according to State Senator Andy Manar.

Five of the seven districts are located in Montgomery County. They include the Fillmore Community Fire Protection District, Nokomis Area Fire Protection District, Nokomis-Witt Area Ambulance Service, Taylor Springs Fire Department, and Raymond Community Fire Protection District. The Morrisonville-Palmer Fire Protection District and the Long Creek Fire Protection District in Macon County were the others that also received the grants.

100 fire departments statewide have been awarded a share of $2 million in funds for the Fiscal year 2018 Small Equipment Grant Program, which provides grants of up to $26,000 to purchase small equipment. Examples of small equipment include firefighting items such as cylinder tanks, flashlights and hand-held radios; EMS emergency response equipment such as AED machines, backboards and stair chairs; and vehicle rescue equipment such as extrication tools and air lifting bags.

Hillsboro Adopts Ordinance for Water Connections

The Hillsboro City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday evening addressing water connection requirements in the city.

The ordinance, which had been tabled from the June 26th meeting, makes two changes from the previous ordinance. The first, according to Public Improvements Commissioner Don Downs, is that it gives the city water superintendent less discretion in regards to materials used for water connections. The second is that copper tracer wire must be used when installing water lines. The motion passed, 4-0.

The council also heard from Dave Strowmatt, who is a member of the Montgomery County Growth Initiative.

Strowmatt, who last week addressed Litchfield's City Council, spoke about the new initiative to attract people to the county. He said the group is trying to find people who have no ties to the area and attract them to Montgomery County. Each council member spoke favorably of the initiative after hearing Strowmatt explain the vision, and a resolution of support was adopted unanimously.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 24, at 7 p.m.

Body of Missing Effingham Man Found in River

The body of a missing kayaker was recovered from the Kaskaskia River near Cowden last Thursday evening, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The body of Wallace Darcow, Jr. of Effingham was recovered from the river during a surface search at approximately 8 p.m. July 5. Darcow, 35, was kayaking on the river near the Route 128 bridge during the late afternoon of June 30. Witnesses reported seeing the kayak flip near a logjam, ejecting Darcow into the river.

Conservation Police Officers utilizing sonar equipment participated in the search throughout the week, and officers conducting a surface search by airboat recovered the victim Thursday night. Search agencies assisting in the recovery included the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Shelby County Dive Team, Cowden Fire Department, and citizen volunteers.

IDNR Conservation Police Officers are continuing to investigate the incident.

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