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Local News Archives for 2018-12

Charges Filed Against Hillsboro Man in Standoff


Charges have been filed against a Hillsboro man who barricaded himself in a Schram City residence Wednesday night, causing a standoff with police.

Steven Gingerich, 53, has been charged with Unlawful Restraint, Domestic Battery, Possession of Firearms with no FOID Card, Possession of Ammunition with no FOID Card, and Possession of more than Five Cannabis Plants.

According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, police took a report of a domestic disturbance that occurred sometime between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at a residence on Klar Avenue. During the investigation, police learned that the suspect was possibly in possession of firearms without a FOID card, and he had threatened a shootout if police arrived.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins monitored the residence when Gingerich first made an appearance. After officers attempted to make contact, Gingerich fled back inside. Authorities began to negotiate with the suspect who was refusing to cooperate.

At 6:08 p.m. Wednesday, Gingerich surrendered peacefully and was taken to the Montgomery County Jail. Bond has been set at $100,000. The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System swat team assisted at the scene.

Man Locks Himself in House Creating Standoff in Schram City


A man locked himself in his house in Schram City Wednesday afternoon creating a standoff with the police as officers attempted to execute a search warrant.

Officers with the Hillsboro Police first made contact with the man at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at his residence on Klar Avenue. He eventually surrendered at 6:08 p.m.

According to a report from the Journal-News, the incident stemmed from an alleged domestic battery that occurred Tuesday night when a victim told police that the man had firearms in the residence with no valid FOID card. The incident on Wednesday forced The Korner Store, formerly Kink's Korner, to close its business for the rest of the evening. A spokesperson with the store said police had employees remain locked in the building until the man had been placed into custody.

The spokesperson said each department that responded to the scene was very helpful and professional in their work. They also said that officers were in constant contact with store management and were diligent in keeping all employees away from potential harm.

According to Police Chief Randy Leetham, the man has been charged with domestic battery stemming from the original Tuesday incident, however more charges are likely to follow.

Nine Hires Approved by Litchfield School Board


Nine hires were approved by the Litchfield School Board during their December meeting last week.

After meeting in closed session, the board approved the hire of Mark Hunt as the middle and high school librarian and high school Dean of Attendance, effective January 4. The motion passed, 6-1, with Meg Wertin voting no.

Larry Blevins was hired as the district's social worker and family engagement coordinator. Christina Ortega was hired as a ten-month clerical aide at the high school, and Melissa Allen was approved as an elementary instructional tutor. All of those hires were approved unanimously.

Five people were hired as substitute bus drivers for the district, pending the completion of all state and federal requirements. They are Jeanne Gebhardt, Karen Savage, Martin Steffens, Kelly Streubel and Donald Weeks.

In addition to the hires, outgoing personnel matters were also addressed.

The board accepted letters of intent to retire from teachers Dan Newkirk and Bill Jones. Newkirk is the middle school health teacher and is set to retire following the 2022-23 school year. Jones is a high school math teacher who will retire following the 2023-24 school year. The board also accepted the resignation of assistant football coach Tyler Rife, effective immediately.

The next Litchfield School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 17, at 6 p.m.

Greene County Fatal

A Carrollton resident was killed in a two vehicle head-on crash Friday in Greene County.

According to Illinois State Police, 26 year old Bryce Dooley of Decatur was driving a 2006 Impala northbound on US 67 at the Macoupin Creek Bottom when for unknown reasons the vehicle crossed the center line and ran head-on into a 2003 Dodge Stratus at 9:04am.

47 year old Mary Griffith of Carrollton , the driver of the Dodge, was flown by Survival Flight to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis where she later died.

Bryce Dooley and a passenger in his vehilce, 25 year old Hailey Taylor of Pana, were transported by ambulance to Thomas Boyd Hospital in Carrollton. Attempts to fly Taylor to Memorial Hospital in Springfield were canceled do to poor weather conditions. She was then transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital.

US 67 was shut down aprroximatley five hours.

An investigation into the cause of the accident continues.

School Board Candidates File Petitions for April Election


A total of 30 candidates submitted petitions for 17 open school board seats in Montgomery County prior to the filing period coming to a close.

Candidates filing for the four four-year-term seats that are open in the Hillsboro district are Barbara Adams, Dan Tester, Bryce Rupert, Matthew Lentz, Craig Scroggins and Ed Ervin.

Candidates filing for the four four-year-term seats open in Litchfield are Meg Wertin, Dennis Scobbie, Jennifer Reid, Jim Odle Sr., Mark Bloome, Michael Fleming, Valerie Cain, David Belusko and Matt Belusko. Candidates filing for one two-year term seat in Litchfield are Julie Abel and Sara Zumwalt.

In the Nokomis district, six candidates are running for three four-year-term seats that are open. They are Joe Gasparich, Carl Kettelkamp, Ben Tarter, Chad Ruppert, David Schweizer and Julia Crowe.

In the Panhandle district, there are four four-year-term seats open, with five candidates running. Candidates include Linda Brown, Teresa Payne, Brett Slightom, Dana Pitchford and Darrin Daugherty. Additionally, Shane Gilpin and Gabe Pope are each running for one two-year-term seat that is open.

Candidates will be elected April 2, as part of the 2019 Consolidated Election. In addition to school board seats, voters will elect officers in municipalities, park districts, library districts, educational service regions, community college districts and fire districts. More information about the 2019 April Consolidated Election is available at the County Clerk's office, located on the first floor of the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro.

St. Francis Names New President and CEO

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HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield has named a new President and CEO.

Jim Timpe was selected to serve in the role, effective December 11. He joins St. Francis from HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield where he most recently served as the director of imaging services, rehabilitation services, and sleep and neurodiagnostics. He had been in that role since 2011.

E.J. Kuiper, who is the president and CEO of HSHS Central Illinois Division Hospitals, called Jim a "proven top-performing leader" and said he will be an asset to St. Francis and the community it serves. Timpe and his wife, Denise, will be relocating to Litchfield with their two sons, Scott and Matt, who are currently attending college.

In a statement released earlier this week, Timpe expressed his excitement in joining the Litchfield community.

"It is an honor to be chosen to serve as the top leader at St. Francis and I look forward to getting to know our colleagues, medical staff, board members, volunteers and community members."

Timpe fills the position that was left vacant following the August resignation of Kevin Seely, who had held the position for less than a year.

Board Discusses Moving 911 Dispatch

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The Montgomery County Board held their final morning meeting Tuesday, and much of it was spent discussing a move of the 911 dispatching system.

911 dispatch currently operates out of the sheriff's office. Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Nimmo said that he will be applying for a grant that could be worth up to $400,000 for equipment and software. He said the county is in dire need of new 911 equipment, and the grant would help pay for that.

The grant is available through the state police and Nimmo said it will be available to "next level" 911 dispatch systems. He said moving out of the sheriff's office and into their own area would help them qualify.

When asked how he felt about the move, Sheriff Rick Robbins said he would support it if the county can afford it. He elaborated by saying the grant would cover the software, but the hardware that is involved could come at a high price as well. Nimmo said the cost of the software alone could be as much as $500,000.

Time is not a luxury the 911 board has, according to Nimmo. The window to apply for the grant is December 14 through January 31. Grants will be awarded by June 30, 2019, and departments may begin submitting for reimbursements by September 1. The board approved the 911 dispatching system moving to the basement of the new courthouse, contingent upon the county receiving the state police grant.

The next Montgomery County Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8, at 5:30 p.m.

Atlas 46 to Open Facility in Hillsboro

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A Missouri-based manufacturing company is opening a facility in Montgomery County.

Representatives from Atlas 46, a company based out of Fenton, Missouri, announced Wednesday afternoon that they will open a second manufacturing facility in Hillsboro. Company CEO Brian Carver said their business was facing a labor problem and they had to decide either to expand onto their current structure or open a second facility. They opted for the latter.

According to Vice President of Marketing Adam Laug, the company manufacturers military-quality apparel for construction and trade workers. He also said they will be renovating a building on Berry Street with the hopes of completing the project by early February.

Both Litchfield and Hillsboro made offers to bring the company to their respective cities, and Atlas 46 eventually decided on Hillsboro. After the announcement, Mayor Brian Sullivan expressed how excited he and other area officials were after learning of the news.

"We're very excited for Hillsboro and the entire area because (Atlas 46) is going to be hiring from anywhere near us. This is a big opportunity for the entire Montgomery and Macoupin area. It's something we've been working on for a while, and it's great to see a Missouri company moving to Illinois. The Illinois DCEO really stepped up to make this happen."

The decision was made possible thanks to the efforts of the Montgomery County Growth Initiative a group of citizens focused on finding ways to attract businesses to the county. Prior to signing the certificate of intent to open in Hillsboro, Carver thanked Bob Buda, who was instrumental in the committee's effort.

As to why Atlas 46 chose Montgomery County, Carver said the area's character played a big factor.

"We like the character and charm of the area. We like the people of the area, and we like the (restoration) of some of the old buildings and hopefully getting with the town and creating a great community."

Imagine Hillsboro Hosts 'A Storybook Christmas'

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Prior to the storm that produced rare December tornadoes, Imagine Hillsboro hosted their annual 'A Storybook Christmas' event over the weekend.

Festivities began Friday evening with a lighted parade beginning at 6. Characters from various holiday favorites could be found roaming downtown Main Street, including the Grinch, Buddy from the movie "Elf," Frosty the Snowman and, of course, Santa Claus. The organization also hosted a 'Cindy Lou Who' costume contest, based on the character from Dr. Seuss's famous Christmas story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

The events continued Saturday morning with the annual Frosty 5K Fun Run and Walk and Breakfast with Santa. This was the fourth year for Imagine Hillsboro's Christmas festival.

Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation Job Opening

Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation Job Opening


The Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District has an opening for a Resource Conservationist.

The basic responsibility of the Resource Conservationist position is to provide administrative leadership, technical, clerical, and educational assistance and representation of the Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District in their promotion of the wise use of natural resources.

Common knowledge of Microsoft programs including Word, Excel and Outlook. There will be a division of time spent both in the office and in the field assisting with survey and design work, resources identification and field monitoring. Training will be provided and be a major component of the job. Some local travel will be required for training and meetings. Experience with land survey, practice design, soil composition, aerial photography and good communication skills.

A valid driver's license is a requirement and three references to the MCSWCD by December 10, 2018 via mail, email or in person.

Contact: Melissa Cauble
217-532-3361 ext 3
melissa.cauble@il.nacdnet.netSalary and benefits are commensurate with education and experience.

The Montgomery County SWCD is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Imagine Hillsboro Hosts 'A Storybook Christmas'

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Prior to the storm that produced rare December tornadoes, Imagine Hillsboro hosted their annual 'A Storybook Christmas' event over the weekend.

Festivities began Friday evening with a lighted parade beginning at 6. Characters from various holiday favorites could be found roaming downtown Main Street, including the Grinch, Buddy from the movie "Elf," Frosty the Snowman and, of course, Santa Claus. The organization also hosted a 'Cindy Lou Who' costume contest, based on the character from Dr. Seuss's famous Christmas story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

The events continued Saturday morning with the annual Frosty 5K Fun Run and Walk and Breakfast with Santa. This was the fourth year for Imagine Hillsboro's Christmas festival.

Tornadoes, Hail Cause Damage in Montgomery County

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Some Montgomery County residents spent the last few days cleaning up damage caused by multiple tornadoes that ripped through the county Saturday evening.

According to County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Greg Nimmo, there were approximately five tornadoes and multiple funnel clouds located in the county during the storm cell that passed thru on Saturday. Some residents also reported receiving hail as large as three inches in diameter. Nimmo said that two homes were destroyed, four sustained major damage, eighteen were damaged but inhabitable, two commercial buildings sustained major damage, and multiple bins, outbuildings and sheds were destroyed or damaged.

The most powerful of the tornadoes that passed through Montgomery County registered as an EF-2, which contained wind speeds between 110 and 137 miles per hour. Nimmo said that only one injury was reported in the county during the storm, which occurred during a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 55 near Raymond.

Due to damage caused by the storm, the Montgomery County Government Complex and offices in Hillsboro experienced phone outages. Nimmo said that the tornado ended up damaging some switching equipment from New Wave Communications that county phones route through. The phones, however, are back up and running now.

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