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Local News Archives for 2019-03

Hillsboro Approves Demolition of 29th Vacant Structure

Demolition proceedings were approved on yet another vacant structure in Hillsboro during the city council meeting Tuesday, Mar. 26.

Once the structure at 1116 S. Main St. is demolished, it will be the 29th over the last four years, according to Public Safety Commissioner Michael Murphy. He said the building has been sitting vacant and has been falling apart for many years.

Even though the council approved the motion, the city will not begin demolition right away. City Clerk Cory Davidson informed the council that two parties owe back taxes on the property; a Montgomery County trustee and a resident of Louisville, Ky. The city will have to wait until a judge signs off on the proceedings before moving forward.

Murphy commended the work that has been completed by Davidson, City Code and Zoning Enforcement Officer Gary Satterlee and City Attorney Kit Hantla. He said the work all three have done in cleaning up the derelict properties has improved the town.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 9, at 7 p.m.

LLCC wins first place at National PAS Conference


l-r: Nathan Goebel of Harvel, Will Rexroad of Athens, and Nathan Thompson of Carlinville.

Lincoln Land Community Colleges soil specialist team of Nathan Goebel (Harvel), Will Rexroad (Athens) and Nathan Thompson (Carlinville) won first place overall at the national Professional Agriculture Student (PAS) Organization conference, with Goebel taking honors as the high individual overall. The event hosted more than 600 attendees and was held in Loveland, Colo. March 13-16.

Ten LLCC Agriculture Club members competed in four team events as well as two individual competitions designed to test their knowledge and readiness for their future careers.

LLCCs beef specialist team of Clayton Schowe (Warrenton, Mo.), Austin Dennison (Lincoln) and Lori Jackson (Jacksonville) won fifth place. The crop specialist team of Mason Fesser (Fillmore), Dakota Dowson (Auburn) and Eston Coe (Illiopolis) placed 14th overall.

The LLCC college bowl team of Skye Kretzinger (Chestnut), Showe, Dennison, Dowson and Rexroad finished with a 3-2 record, losing to the eventual champions in the quarterfinals.

In individual events, Jackson placed second in the agriculture education interview contest, and Goebel placed third in the fertilizer and agrichemicals division of the same contest. Coe placed third in the agriculture sales competition.

PAS is a career and technical student organization for college students interested in agriculture and has members from 20 states. In addition to competitive events, the national conference provides an opportunity for students to attend workshops, hear from nationally renowned speakers and meet with representatives from a dozen agriculture firms with employment opportunities across the country.Learn more about LLCCs agriculture programs and club at
L-R: Lori Jackson, Sky Kretzinger, Eston Coe, Clayton Schowe, Austin Dennison, Mason Fesser, Will Rexroad, Nathan Goebel, Nathan Thompson, Dakota Dowson

Hillsboro Council Approves Water Meter Purchase

Two months ago, representatives from the company Midwest Meter, Inc. gave a presentation to the Hillsboro City Council about new water meters. On Tuesday, Mar. 26, the council approved the city's first purchase from the company.

The council approved 50 new water meters at a purchase price of $225 per unit. The total package will cost $19,750, with the meters totaling $11,250 and the start-up kit accounting for the remaining $8,500.

According to Public Improvements Commissioner Don Downs, several of the city's meters have experienced problems since the January presentation. Of the roughly 800 meters the city has, he said approximately 400 are experiencing product failure of some sort. He added that he ordered 15 new meters in January from a different distributor, but the city has yet to receive them.

One of the benefits of the products purchased from Midwest Meters is the web-based software that allows water department employees to access meter information on their smartphones or tablets, regardless of their location. The meters are also able to detect a leak and inform employees within six hours, as opposed to 30 days when meters are regularly checked.

Downs said he spoke to a few people comparing Midwest Meter to other options, and he recommended continuing further with the company. The council approved the motion, 4-0.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 9, at 7 p.m.

Threat Leads to Dismissal of Southwestern Students

Students at Southwestern Junior and Senior High Schools were dismissed early today because of a reported threat on school grounds.

According to Superintendent Brad Skertich, students were dismissed between 11 and 11:15 this morning after school officials were notified of a potential threat. The exact time the threat was made is unclear.

Police responded to the school and are continuing to investigate the incident. Details of the threat are not being released at this time. Skertich said an announcement will be made this evening regarding whether or not classes will resume on Thursday.

WSMI will have more on this story as information becomes available.

March State Crop Progress & Condition Report

March State Crop Progress & Condition Report

Statewide, the average temperature was 34.9 degree, 4.7 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 2.45 inches, 0.16 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 44 percent adequate and 56 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 45 percent adequate and 55 percent surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated at 4 percent very poor, 10 precent poor, 45 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 5 percent excellent. Soil temperature at 4 inches under the soil top on bare soil was 44.9 degrees at Vandalia, and 44.5 degrees at Springfield.

Elvers Hired as Litchfield H.S. Athletic Director

For most of the 2018-19 year, the Litchfield School District has had four people hold the title of athletic director. After the school board meeting on Thursday, Mar. 21, that number has been cut in half.

The board approved the hire of Mark Elvers as the high school athletic director beginning in the 2019-20 school year. Lisa Schaffer, who has been performing the duties at the middle school this year, will continue serving in that capacity. It's an opportunity Elvers said he is looking forward to.

"I'm excited," Elvers said during an interview on WSMI Sports Saturday. "I get to work with a lot of good men and women, a lot of whom I have worked with in the past."

Stability was important to Elvers when he applied for the position.

"I wanted to give back and add some stability," he said. "I've been part of, along with (former athletic director) Pat Reents, a character and leadership group the last few years. I helped and volunteered with him when he was coaching, and I just felt the need to give back and step in and help out."

Longtime teacher and coach Andy Kassebaum was hired as the district's athletic director last August. However, he resigned from the position in September. Louie Lang, Drew Logan, Victoria Knoche and Schaffer were hired at different times to fill the role for the remainder of the year. Even though he will not officially begin his duties until July 1, Elvers said he will use the rest of this year to work with the current directors to transition into the new role.

"I'm going to sit down with Drew and let him finish out the things that need to be done this year," he said. "Then I'll get to work on things that need to be done over the summer for next year."

Budget Presentation Leads to Discussion About Litchfield Water, Sewer Rates


A discussion about water and sewer rates in the City of Litchfield followed a budget presentation during the city council meeting on Thursday, Mar. 21.

Jereme Zook with Kerber, Eck and Braeckel presented the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. It included a recommended eight percent increase in water rates and a 12 percent increase in sewer rates for customers. He said for families with a $50 monthly water bill, it could mean an increase of between three to five dollars per month.

The city's sewer budget is the more pressing issue, Zook said. Based on its current trajectory, he told the council that the sewer department will be out of money in four years, even with the proposed 12 percent rate increase.

Alderman Dwayne Gerl said he did not believe an increase that high would pass in a vote, and that sewer customers are already frustrated with the current prices they pay. KEB representative Levi Suhrenbrock told the council that if they declined to approve an increase of any amount this year, they were looking at a possible 18 percent increase in sewer rates for the following year's budget. He said 12 percent was the number this year because the council neglected to increase the rates last year.

Zook said the increase did not have to be 12 percent, and that that was the lowest number recommended to help try and get the department's budget back on track. City Administrator Tonya Flannery added that nobody likes facing an increase in water and sewer rates, and that they tried to find the lowest numbers they could.

Alderman Ray Kellenberger questioned what would happen if the sewer department did run out of money in the projected four years. Suhrenbrock said the state could then sue the city to force them to increase their rates.

Increases of both five and six percent were also mentioned during the discussion, but nothing was agreed upon Thursday. The city will hold a budget hearing prior to their next meeting on Thursday, Apr. 4, and will vote on the proposed budget during that meeting.

Litchfield Recognizes Retiring Police Chief


The Litchfield city council recognized the city's retiring chief of police during their meeting Thursday evening.

Once the meeting began, Mayor Steve Dougherty read a proclamation thanking Chief Lee Jarman for serving the department for 26 years. He will retire from service on March 29.

Jarman began serving in Litchfield in 1993 as a dispatcher. From there, he earned numerous promotions until taking over as acting chief in 2013. The following year, the interim title was removed and he became the chief full-time. Dougherty said while serving the department, Jarman oversaw a number of major incidents in Litchfield -- including the megabus crash of 2012 and an aircraft seizure in 2013 when a large amount of marijuana was confiscated at the airport.

Jarman emotionally thanked those in attendance, including many officers and former mayor Tom Jones. He said he appreciated the city council for always supporting him and thanked the mayor and City Administrator Tonya Flannery for their support as well.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 4, at 6:30 p.m.

Panhandle Board Hires Girls Basketball Coach

The Panhandle School Board approved the hiring of a high school girls basketball coach during their meeting Monday, Mar. 18.

After returning from closed session, the board unanimously approved Justin Millburg as the new girls basketball coach at Lincolnwood High School. He will be the first girls coach since the mid 1980s.

In February, the board approved the creation of a girls basketball program at both the junior and senior high school levels. Lincolnwood Athletic Director Josh Stone said interest from a few students led to the creation of the program after twenty girls each at the junior and senior high schools signed up to play beginning in 2019-20. No coach has been hired to run the junior high girls program at this time.

In other personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of James Whalen and Jennifer Myles. Whalen was an assistant coach for the junior high baseball team and Myles was a clerical/in-house substitute for the district. The board also approved the hire of Lindsay Pope as a kindergarten teacher for the district. She will begin in the fall.

The next Panhandle School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Apr. 15, at 7 p.m.

Man Charged in East St. Louis Death


The St. Clair County State's Attorney's office has charged a 26-year-old man accused of killing a person in East St. Louis on Monday.

Herman Taylor of East St. Louis was charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of residential arson, one count of arson, one count of felon in possession of a weapon, and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

According to the state police, Taylor allegedly shot Ricardo Jackson Monday in the 800 block of 80th Street in East St. Louis. He is currently in custody at the East St. Louis Police Department with bond set at $1 million. The incident remains under investigation.
(Photo Courtesy of Illinois State Police)

Man Charged with Murder of Edwardsville Couple


The Madison County State's Attorney has charged a man accused of killing an Edwardsville couple who were found dead in their home Monday morning.

Zachary Capers, 23, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Michael and Lois Ladd. Major Case Squad Commander Jeff Connor announced the charges during a press conference Tuesday evening.

Capers was taken into custody Sunday morning on an outstanding warrant for an unrelated incident. Police said he was acting suspiciously prior to his arrest.

Michael and Lois Ladd were stabbed to death in their home on North Kansas Street in Edwardsville over the weekend. The exact time the crime was committed has not been released since the suspect was in custody a day before the victims were found.

Police were notified of the crime Monday morning after one of Lois's employees did a wellness check. Lois was a chiropractor in Edwardsville and had not shown up for work that morning. She was 68 and her husband Michael, a local contractor, was 79.

Investigators have been unable to find a connection thus far between the suspect and the victims. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is continuing to investigate the incident. Capers is currently being held at the Madison County Jail without bond.

Former Litchfield Teacher Named LLCC Director


A former teacher at Litchfield High School has been named the director of Lincoln Land Community College's Litchfield campus.

Jessie Blackburn began her duties as the official director on March 1. She previously served as the interim director of LLCC-Litchfield and academic success professional in the LLCC Center for Academic Success.

Blackburn has been with the college since 2014. Prior to that, she taught high school for ten years, including six at Litchfield. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English Education from Eastern Illinois University and is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Illinois Springfield.

"I am excited to serve in the director's role for LLCC-Litchfield and work hard to provide access to quality education and services for students," she said in a statement released through the school. "Montgomery County is my home -- where I grew up, attended school, taught in the public school system and am raising my own family -- so I am dedicated to the continued success of the LLCC-Litchfield center and its outreach in the local communities."

Missing Litchfield Woman Found

A Litchfield woman, who was reported missing and possibly suicidal, was found Monday afternoon.

At 12:25 p.m. Monday, members of the woman's family told Litchfield Police the victim had made statements that she would harm herself. She had also allegedly posted concerning statements on social media. Family members were unable to locate her after she had left her residence.

The victim's vehicle was found in a ditch along North 17th Avenue near Hillsboro Lake. According to Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins, the vehicle was damaged from an accident. Deputies responded to the scene but could not locate the woman. Assistance was requested from the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Drone Unit, Illinois State Police Air Operations and the Hillsboro Police Department.

At 3:36 p.m., Litchfield Police K-9 Officers located the woman in a treeline ditch. Robbins said she was found lethargic and unresponsive.

Authorities began performing life-saving procedures and were able to wake her up. Hillsboro Ambulance transported her to Hillsboro Area Hospital where she received medical attention.

Major Case Squad Investigating Double Homicide in Edwardsville

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is investigating a double homicide in Edwardsville after a couple was found dead in their home Monday morning.

Michael and Lois Ladd were found in their Edwardsville home on Kansas Street around 10:30 a.m. Monday. Michael was 79 and Lois was 68.

According to Maj. Jeff Connor, Chief Deputy with the Madison County Sheriff's Office, investigators are following up on multiple leads on the case. Anyone who has any information about the deaths is urged to call the Edwardsville Police Department at 618-307-1611.

No further information is being made available at this time.

Police Identify Suspect in Glen Carbon Carjacking

The Illinois State Police has released the identity of the suspect who shot and wounded a trooper in Staunton Saturday afternoon after an alleged carjacking.

Billy Walker Jr. of Hillsboro, Missouri, was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m. Saturday by the Macoupin County Coroner. He died from gunshot wounds he received while in a shootout with an officer.

According to the police, Walker, 53, was involved in an alleged carjacking near Sam's Club in Glen Carbon. The suspect allegedly fired shots during the incident, and fled the scene as troopers were arriving. The suspect drove north on Interstate 55 to the Staunton exit. After driving into Staunton, the man drove off the roadway and got the car he was driving stuck in the median near the intersection of Staunton Road and I-55. He then exited the vehicle and fled on foot while a trooper chased him. Police said Walker brandished a handgun and fired at the trooper, who returned fire and shot the suspect.

The 36-year-old trooper, whose identity has not been released, was wounded and was taken to a regional hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is an 11-year veteran of the state police.

Walker had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation resulting from weapons offenses prior to the Glen Carbon carjacking, according to the state police. He was considered armed and dangerous prior to the incident. The carjacking remains under investigation by the Glen Carbon police department. No further information is being released at this time.

Semi Crash Causes I-55 Traffic Jam

Traffic was backed up on Interstate 55 near Springfield for several hours Thursday morning after two semis collided with each other.

According to the state police, Juan Diaz of San Angelo, TX, was driving a semi north near milepost 93 when his truck collided with a trailer of a semi in front of him. Officers said Diaz failed to slow down to avoid the semi, as it was slowed because of traffic ahead of it.

Diaz, 50, had to be extricated from his truck by the Springfield Fire Department. He was taken to HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield by helicopter with serious injuries.

37-year-old Valentin Pavlyuk of Vancouver, WA, was driving the leading semi. His passenger was 29-year-old Julia Pavlyuk. No injuries were reported for either of them, and police said they were both wearing their seat belts at the time of the incident. It is not known whether Diaz was wearing his seat belt or not.

The incident occurred at 9:38 a.m. Thursday. It remains under investigation by the state police.

Litchfield Man Arrested for Theft, Posession of Controlled Substance

A Litchfield man was arrested in Hillsboro last week after allegedly attempting to steal from Dollar General.

Jeremy Uchtman, 21, was charged with retail theft and possession of a controlled substance.

According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, police responded to a call from Dollar General on Wednesday, Mar. 6 for a report of theft. When police arrived, Uchtman told officers that he had missed Valentines Day and he wanted to get something for his girlfriend.

While taken into custody, Uchtman was in possession of synthetic cannabis and a needle with a liquid inside. He told police that the needle contained Ice, which is also known as crystal methamphetamine. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail.

Staged Burglary, Stolen Cell Phone Reported at Hillsboro Business

Gold Mine Gaming in Hillsboro was the site of two separate incidents with both being reported to police early last Thursday morning.

At 6:43 a.m. on March 7, Hillsboro Police took a report of a burglary at the business on Main Street. Through video surveillance, police learned that an employee had entered the business and staged the scene to look like a burglary.

58-year-old Darla McDonald of Hillsboro was taken into custody on Friday for felony theft. According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, McDonald told police that she took the cash because she needed to pay rent. She also said she was going to gamble with the money, and she hoped to be able to pay it back.

At 7:45 a.m. on March 7, a man visited the police department to report a missing cell phone. The man said he had dropped the phone at Gold Mine Gaming.

The man had visited the business and was told by an employee that the cell phone must have been stolen during the burglary. The phone was eventually found and returned thanks to a smart phone app.

On Sunday, 41-year-old Jeremy Varner of Hillsboro was arrested for felony theft of the cell phone. Chief Leetham said they later learned that Varner had stolen items from a Hillsboro Police squad car weeks before while he was being transported for another situation. He was also charged for theft in that incident.

Mother and Son Saved From Well Near Irving

A three-year-old boy and his mother were both rescued from a water well Tuesday afternoon northwest of Irving.

According to Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins, Tiffany Crowder jumped into the well on Meisenheimer Ave. after witnessing her son fall in. Robbins said the depth of the water level was approximately 15 feet from ground level. Crowder, 24, was unable to touch the bottom of the well and she was found clinging to an old water pipe.

Before equipment from the Witt and Hillsboro Fire Departments had arrived, first responders who were already on scene found a ladder and lowered it with an attached rope into the well. Crowder put her son on the ladder and first responders were able to pull the child up and out into safety. He received immediate medical attention.

As soon as the rescue equipment arrived, a fireman was lowered into the well to assist Crowder. She and the fireman were both lifted out, and she received immediate medical attention.

Crowder's son was taken from the scene via ARCH Air Medical Services for additional medical treatment. Sheriff Robbins said he believes Crowder's actions saved her son's life.

"I commend her for her actions while disregarding her own safety," Robbins said. "Ms. Crowder stated that 'she had to' and that 'any mother would do it.'"

Responding to the scene were the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, Witt Fire Department, Hillsboro Area Ambulance Service, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue Department and Arch Air medical services.

Over 100 Have Voted Early in Montgomery County

More than 100 voters have voted early in Montgomery County as of March 8, according to County Clerk Sandy Leitheiser.

Leitheiser says that 127 total voters have either voted at the early voting center or have requested a vote-by-mail ballot for the April Consolidated Election. She said voters need no reason to vote early or by mail; and with the possibility of bad spring weather or higher turnout at some polls on Election Day, she said voting early or by mail are options to consider.

The early voting center at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro is open to registered voters every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. leading up to Election Day. It is also open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon prior to April 2.

Voters may also apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by downloading and printing the application form at the county clerk's website, The statutory deadline for the clerk's office to mail a ballot is Thursday, Mar. 28.

Anyone who would like more information about early voting or the vote-by-mail process should visit the county clerk's website, email, or call 217-532-9530.

Litchfield Fire Chief Sworn In


A new temporary Fire Chief was sworn in during the Litchfield City Council meeting Thursday evening.

Joe Holomy was sworn in to serve as chief on a part-time basis. He replaces former Chief Kevin Schott, whose contract expired and was not able to be retained due to a new State Statute.

Prior to being sworn in, Holomy addressed the council. He said he looks forward to being the city's fire chief for the next several months. He is in his 43rd year serving in a fire department and he said he has played a role in just about every aspect of fire service, including being a former paramedic.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m.

Local FFA Members Advance to State

Two Hillsboro and 14 Nokomis FFA members competed in 17 different areas at District 4 Proficiencies. The event was held at Sullivan High School on Thursday evening, March 7. Students were interviewed by a panel of judges about their recordbooks. Five students will be advancing to State and eight were runner-up in their specific areas.

One student will be advancing to State for Hillsboro, and that is Grace Anderson with her book in Specialty Crop Production, Hillsboro also had one runner-up and that was Erin Kistner with her book in Ag. Communications.

Students advancing to State for Nokomis will be Cody Knodle in Beef Production, Kendall Knodle in Grain Production Entrepreneurship, MacKenzie Adams in Nursery Operations, and Kristen Mascher in STAR Discovery Agri-Science.

Students who were runner up for Nokomis were Cody Knodle, candidate for STAR Farmer, Zach Schmitz in Dairy Placement, Bella Dailey in Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management, Keith Carlock in Home and Community Development, Ty Knodle in Fiber/Oil Crop Placement, Nick Mascher in Turf Grass Management.

Godfrey Firefighter Dies from Injuries in Structure Fire

The identity of the firefighter who was killed during Tuesday's structure fire near Bethalto has been released.

According to the Godfrey Fire Protection District, Capt. Jake Ringering died as a result of injuries he suffered when part of the structure he and other firefighters were attempting to extinguish collapsed. Ringering was a member of the Godfrey Fire Protection District.

Luke Warner, who is also a firefighter with Godfrey, suffered injuries and is currently in the hospital and recovering after undergoing surgery. He has two broken legs and other non-life threatening injuries.

According to a release from the Godfrey Fire Protection District, both firefighters were injured when a portion of a brick wall struck each man after part of the structure collapsed. Capt. Ringering was 37 and had been a member of the Godfrey district since 2010. He began his service as a firefighter with the East Alton Fire Department in 2001. He leaves behind a wife and three young children.

Tuesday's blaze occurred between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. at 4064 Culp Road in the Fosterburg Fire Protection District. The incident is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's office.

Litchfield Chamber Announces Award Winners

The Litchfield Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners that will be presented with awards during their 72nd annual dinner.

This year's Citizen of the Year award will be presented to Rick Weatherford. The Rising Star Member will be presented to Cory Evans of Country Financial. Sarah Waggoner will be receiving the Special Recognition award, and Marty and Kara Steffens of the Ariston and Maverick Steaks and Spirits will be recognized as this year's Business People of the Year.

In addition to the special awards, two new members of the Board of Directors will be introduced. They are Rachel Beckemeyer and Jessika Page. They join returning board members Perry Jackson, Cheryl Nickerson, Jimmy Gorowski, John Winans, Kelly Taylor, Mandy Jewell, Meghan Bertolino and Roberta Meyer. This year's retiring board members are Steve Bryant, Eric Johnson, Brenda Masters-Stout and Josh Maddaleno.

The 72nd annual Litchfield Chamber of Commerce Dinner will be held Thursday, March 28, at the Community Center. Reservations may be made by calling Chamber Executive Director Maggie Sinclair at 324-2533.

Two Injured During I-55 Accident Sunday

Two people suffered minor injuries during an automobile crash Sunday morning on Interstate 55 south of Farmersville.

According to the state police, a police vehicle was sitting on the inside shoulder of the northbound lanes with its emergency lights activated when a car, driven by Bailey Neiber of Belvidere, hit the rear end of the police vehicle. Neiber, 19, reportedly lost control of the vehicle while slowing down to approach the scene.

Neiber's vehicle then spun into the lane of traffic and was hit by a car, driven by 25-year-old Hanna Bodrom of Lincolnshire. Neiber was taken to St. John's hospital in Springfield, and Bodrom was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, both sustaining minor injuries.

The incident occurred at 10:48 a.m. Sunday. The northbound lanes were shut down for approximately one hour while the scene was cleared. According to State Police Trooper Jeremy Nairn, Sunday's incident is the eleventh time a state police squad car has been hit since January 1.

Litchfield Hires New Superintendent

The Litchfield School District has a new superintendent.

Dr. Greggory Fuerstenau was approved as the new permanent superintendent of schools during a special board meeting that was held Friday, March 1. The hire was approved unanimously.

Dr. Fuerstenau is currently the superintendent of the Taylorville School District. He will officially take over at Litchfield when the school year begins on July 1. He will replace interim superintendent John Mullett, who is completing a 120-working day contract following the resignation of former superintendent Debbie Poffinbarger.

Dr. Fuerstenau earned his Bachelor's degree from Black Hills State University in South Dakota, his Master's from Western Illinois University and his doctorate from the University of South Dakota. He has been the Taylorville Superintendent since 2006.

Electioneering Boundaries Set

The Montgomery County Clerk's office recently announced the boundaries where no electioneering should take place during early voting hours at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro.

State law says that if a polling room is located within a public or private building with two or more floors and the polling room is located on the ground floor, then the markers shall be placed 100 horizontal feet from each entrance to the polling room used by voters.

Electioneering is defined as working for or against or in the interest of a party, candidate or proposition. No electioneering or political signage will be allowed within all parking spaces located in the inner circle of the Courthouse Square, five parking spaces located on the west side of the Historic Courthouse in front of the Farm Bureau Building, and five parking spaces located on the north side of the Historic Courthouse. Violation of this law could result in a Class A Misdemeanor.

A copy of the electioneering boundaries map can be found on the county clerk's website, clerk. Anyone with questions about electioneering is encouraged to contact the county clerk's office at 532-9530.

Two Killed in Head-On Crash in Bond County

Two people were killed in an automobile crash Wednesday afternoon in Bond County.

Hillsboro resident Cimarron Gutierrez, 21, and 78-year-old Connie Linville of Greenville were both pronounced dead at the scene by the Bond County Coroner.

According to the state police, Gutierrez's vehicle was traveling south on Route 127 near West Ayers Road while Linville's car was traveling north at the same location. Gutierrez's vehicle crossed into the oncoming lane and struck Linville's vehicle head-on.

The State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit is continuing to investigate the incident. The crash occurred at 4:09 p.m. Wednesday. No further information is being made available at this time.


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