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Local News Archives for 2019-04

Board Members Sworn in During Special Meeting


The Litchfield School Board held a reorganization meeting on Thursday, Apr. 25, to swear in the board members who were elected on April 2.

New members David Belusko, Mark Bloome, and Mike Fleming took their Oaths of Office for the first time, along with re-elected members Julie Abel and Valerie Cain. Also serving on the board but were not up for re-election were Ron Anglin and Craig Hires. Abel will serve as the new board President, with Anglin as Vice President and Cain as secretary.

Following the reorganization, the board voted to accept the resignations of district employees Chris and Abby Headrick. Chris is currently the high school guidance counselor and Abby is a third grade teacher. Both will resign following the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.

Personnel matters were also discussed prior to the reorganization meeting. The board accepted the resignation of seventh grade boys basketball coach Chris Baugher, effective immediately. The board also accepted a letter of intent to retire from bus driver Tom Billiter, effective at the end of this school year.

The board also approved the voluntary transfers of three teachers. Whitney McSperritt was transferred from third grade to first grade, Lisa Evans was transferred from fourth grade to second grade, and Shelby Fults was transferred from fifth grade to fourth grade. Each of those transfers will take effect in the 2019-20 school year.

The next Litchfield School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m.

Litchfield Man Arrested After Standoff with Police


A Litchfield man was arrested Sunday, Apr. 28, after allegedly barricading himself and another person inside a house next to the Litchfield Bowling Alley.

Benjamin Ballhurst, 35, was charged with Aggravated Assault, Reckless Discharge of a Firearm and Possession of a Firearm without a valid FOID card.

Authorities responded to the scene at 11:34 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 27, after receiving a report that a man had armed himself with a rifle at 3342 IL Rt. 16 and had barricaded himself and another subject inside the residence. According to the Litchfield Police, another person who was inside the home fled the residence after Ballhurst allegedly pointed the rifle towards the individual and made threatening statements.

After arriving at the scene, Litchfield officers and Montgomery County sheriff's deputies attempted to make contact with the occupants of the home. While approaching the residence, officers heard multiple gunshots coming from inside the house. Police established a perimeter, evacuated local residents from their homes and closed a portion of Route 16. The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System also responded to a request for assistance.

At 2:31 a.m. Sunday, two subjects exited the residence while members of the ILEAS attempted to make contact with the occupants. They were detained without incident. A search warrant was issued and Ballhurst was taken into custody.

Also assisting at the scene were the Illinois State Police, Macoupin County Sheriff's Department, and the Mt. Olive Police.

Royell to Provide Internet, Phone for Hillsboro Parks Dept.


During their meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 23, the Hillsboro City Council approved an internet and phone service provider for the parks and street departments.

The council voted to approve Royell Communications as the service provider for both departments. According to Public Properties Commissioner Daniel Robbins, the company would provide access to WIFI at the fireman's clubhouse. The total cost of going with Royell is $4,150. Robbins said that includes the tower and all the equipment, but does not include the monthly fee. The motion passed, 4-0.

While giving his department report, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Murphy announced the retirement of one of Hillsboro's police officers.

Murphy read a letter of intent to retire from officer Frank Kenny, who will be retiring on May 1. In the letter, Kenny said the changes he has seen in Hillsboro over his 20 years of service have been outstanding. He also said the community has a police department that serves the needs of Hillsboro.

After reading the letter, Murphy thanked Kenny, saying he appreciated his many years of service. Council member Don Downs also called him a 'class act.'

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

Morrisonville FFA Chapter Holds Annual Banquet

The Morrisonville FFA Chapter held their annual banquet last night, Wednesday, April 24 at Morrisonville High School. After an nvocation given by Chapter Chaplain Ali Harris, a meal catered by the 6th Street Market was served. Following the meal, recognition of donors to the State FFA Foundation were given, and awards and degrees were passed out. This year Morrisonville has 9 members who receved their Greenhand Degree, 9 members that receved their Chapter Degree, and one member who will be receving their State Degree in June at the State Convention in Springfield. After the awards ceremony, some end of the year remarks were given by Advisor Josh Bullard, and by retiring seniors Johnny Davidson who was President, Maria Brockamp who was Reporter, and Hallie Schneider who was Historian. Following the closing remarks the officers for the next year were installed. Officers for 2019-2020 for Morrisonville are President Mackenzie Harmon, Vice President Bekka Fesser, Secretary Carly Goebel, Treasurer Shawn Goebel, Reporter Gabby Foster, Sentinel Jhadyn Walker, Chaplain Ava Saxe, and Historian Ali Harris.

House Passes Bill That Would Allow Schools to Hire Resource Officers


The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow school districts to hire resource officers and mental health professionals using funds received from a school facility tax.

According to State Representative Avery Bourne, House Bill 3244 would allow school districts in counties that impose a school facility tax to put a referendum question before voters to allow a portion of the funds to be used to support the hiring of school resource officers.

"School resource officers play an important role in securing school facilities and keeping students safe," Bourne said after the legislation passed. "This bill will give districts the flexibility they need to use existing funds to hire a school resource officer."

Of the 102 counties in the state, 52 currently impose a school facilities tax, including Montgomery County. Bourne said the bill would amend the Counties Code to allow a portion of the school facilities tax funds to be used for the hiring of school resource officers or mental health professionals.

Bourne propsed a similar bill in the House last session, but she said it did not move through the General Assembly. H.B. 3244 now waits for consideration in the Senate.

Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions 4/21/19

There were 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 21, 2019. Statewide, the average temperature was 53.9 degrees, 0.6 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.11 inches, 0.16 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 1 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 54 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 1 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 48 percent surplus. Corn planted reached 1 percent compared to 3 percent last year and 17 percent for the 5-year average. Winter wheat headed was 2 percent, compared to 4 percent last year and the 5-year average of 6 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated 5 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Illinois Pork Producers Celebrate Earth Day

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In honor of Earth Day, we take a moment to reflect on the contributions that pig farmers are providing the earth, each and every day. Our responsibility is big, but our commitment to keeping the farm thriving for the next generation, is even bigger.

1. Alternative Energy Sources
Pig farmers are utilizing alternative sources of energy to power their farms. For example, solar panels on Gary Asays farm in Osco, IL provide enough electricity that he doesnt have a power bill for the pig barns. The panels capture sunlight and convert it into energy, which then powers his farm. He has a net metering agreement with the power company. When they produce more energy than needed, excess goes into the power grid. When they don't produce enough, he can pull power off the grid. The panels are connected to an app on his cell phone where he can track the incoming energy levels.
Picture Caption: Pig Farmer, Gary Asay of Osco, checks the app on his phone to see the productivity of his solar panels, which are powering his pig barns. 2. Soil Health
Pig manure is contained in deep concrete pits underneath pig barns. Slatted floors allow manure from the animals to fall beneath them and keep them clean. When the time is right, farmers carefully pump out manure from the pits to farm machinery that injects it beneath the horizon to crop fields. Manure is a highly valuable, organic fertilizer that boosts soil health and crop production. Specifically, manure increases organic matter in the soil, water-holding capacity, and enhances soil-biodiversity, fostering a wide range of insect and bird species.

00493_Manure_Application.jpg
Picture Caption: A tractor and manure applicator inject manure beneath the soil, to provide nutrients for the upcoming crop. 3. Air Quality
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2016, only 3.9 percent of U.S. GHG emissions came from animal agriculture, and pork production contributed even less at 0.35 percent. Pig farmers know that there is potential to lessen that number even more. To do so, farmers are planting tree buffers around their pig farms to recycle air. Trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. This natural process helps to clean the air. As a tree matures, it can consume 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. It also releases enough oxygen to supply your (human) needs for two years. IPPA has provided three rounds of cost-share funding for pig farmers to plant tree buffers on their farms. So far, 18 counties and 21 farms have taken part in this initiative. You can find a map of all these tree buffers at ilpork.com.

00494_Monarch_on_a_Milkweed.jpg Coming soon pollinator plantings! IPPA is currently working with a family farm in Knox County to grow a pollinator plot to ensure the future of Monarch butterflies in Illinois. With the manpower from ROWVA school and seed donation from GROWMARK, the Ericksons will soon have a lush butterfly habitat.

Litchfield Council Waives Late Fees at Brown Shoe Apartments


The Litchfield City Council agreed to waive the late fees for water service at the Brown Shoe Apartments during their meeting on Thursday, Apr. 18.

The facility is in the process of being transferred from the Illinois Housing Authority to the Montgomery County Housing Authority. The latter has requested that water service not be shut off as they plan on paying late fees with funds received after closing on the property.

According to City Clerk Carol Burke, the facility currently has an outstanding balance of $4,475.95. Of that total, she said the late fees have accumulated to $406.95.

Mayor Steve Dougherty said the Montgomery County Housing Authority is planning to invest up to $7 million in construction. He also said having affordable housing in Litchfield is important. The council voted and the motion passed, 7-0, with alderman Dwayne Gerl absent from the meeting.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m.

Ryker Sworn in as Litchfield Police Chief

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In front of a crowded council chambers, Lt. Kenny Ryker was sworn in as the new Litchfield Chief of Police on Thursday, Apr. 18.

Ryker takes over for former Chief Lee Jarman, who retired in March. After being sworn in during the city council meeting, Ryker expressed his gratitude for being considered for the position.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity," Ryker said. "I'm looking forward to moving forward with guys I've worked with for a long time, continuing the professionalism of the agency as we move into the future."

Those who attended the swearing-in included Ryker's family, a handful of officers with the Litchfield Police Department, and Jarman. Ryker said he was glad so many of his family members were able to attend.

"I had quite a bit of family show up today," he said. "My parents, in-laws, my nephew and some close friends. I'd certainly like to thank them for coming up and being here for the moment. That was pretty cool."

After being sworn in, Ryker was given a standing ovation by everyone in attendance. Mayor Steve Dougherty congratulated Ryker on the moment and also thanked Jarman for his many years of service.

Later in the meeting, the council approved the chief's salary in the amount of $75,000. The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m.

State Dept. of Ag. to Honor Former Director

The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to honor former agriculture director and former U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Block.

The agency said on Wednesday, April 17, that it plans to dedicate a plaque with Block's likeness on Monday morning at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield. Block served as U.S. Agriculture Secretary under President Reagan from 1981 to 1986.

He was born in Gilson in west-central Illinois in 1935 and graduated from West Point. After serving in the Army he returned to his family farm, which had expanded from 300 to 3,000 acres.

He was appointed to lead the state agriculture department in 1977 under then-Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.

Panhandle Board Approves Junior High Girls Basketball Coach


Almost two months after approving the creation of a girls basketball program, the Panhandle School Board has hired head coaches for both the junior high and high school teams.

On Monday, Apr. 15, the board unanimously approved the hire of Carrie Matthews as the head coach of the Lincolnwood Junior High girls basketball team for this upcoming school year. In May, Justin Millburg was hired to serve as the coach of the high school team.

Lincolnwood will sport a girls team at both the junior high and high schools after a number of girls expressed interest in creating a team. Through the 2018-19 school year, girls in the Panhandle district had been traveling to Pawnee to play for their basketball team. Lincolnwood has never had a junior high girls basketball team, and the high school has been without a team since the 1980s.

In other personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Joe Webb as assistant boys basketball coach at Lincolnwood High School. Webb first began as an assistant with the team in 2011. His resignation was approved, 6-0, with one board member absent.

The next Panhandle School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Litchfield Conducting Housing Survey


The City of Litchfield has formed a Housing Initiative Committee and is currently seeking help from residents.

According to a press release, the committee is seeking information to assist with current and future housing needs in Litchfield. Information applies to all residents, no matter whether residents rent or own or the particular type of domicile they live in.

On April 9, Mayor Steve Dougherty told the Montgomery County Board that city officials are gathering surveys, and meeting with developers and investors to address Litchfield's housing situation.

Residents interested in helping the housing committee are asked to fill out a survey online, which is available at surveymonkey.com/r/litchfieldhousingsurvey. It is available through Friday, Apr. 19.

Wood River Man Dies in Motorcycle Crash


Police have identified a man who was killed in a motorcycle crash in Wood River on Friday, Apr. 12.

William Morales of Wood River was pronounced dead Friday at the Emergency Department of the Alton Memorial Hospital after life-saving measures were unsuccessful. The crash occurred on Madison Avenue near Second Street. According to Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn, Morales, 28, died as a result of blunt trauma to the torso.

Routine toxicology testing for the presence of alcohol and drugs will be performed. The crash remains under investigation by the Wood River Police Department, Illinois State Police Accident Reconstruction Division and the Madison County Coroner's Office.

Nokomis Suffers Second Water Main Break in a Week


For the second time in less than a week, the City of Nokomis suffered a major water main break.

The most recent incident occurred Thursday afternoon near the corner of South Elm Street and Route 16 in front of Route 16 Grain, according to Public Information Officer Joe Gasparich. The break occurred around 4:20 p.m. with service being restored to customers at around 8:45 p.m.

Despite water service being restored, however, the entire city is currently under a boil order until further notice. Gasparich says that water should be boiled before it is consumed, but for uses such as laundering and sanitation, it is okay to use.

This marks the second water main break in Nokomis this week. The main at the corner of Hickory Street and Route 16 broke early Tuesday morning, causing customers to be without water for five hours.

Granite City Man Killed in Crash in Madison County


A Granite City man was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 270 in Madison County on Tuesday, Apr. 9.

The incident occurred at 2:30 a.m. in the eastbound lanes near milepost 10. According to the State Police, a 34-year-old man was driving his car directly behind a semi when his vehicle hit the rear end of the trailer. The car then left the roadway to the right and came to stop in the ditch.

The semi did not stop and police were unable to immediately locate it. The 34-year-old was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officers with the Illinois State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit are investigating the incident. No further information is being made available at this time.

Crop Progress & Condition for the Week Ending 4/7/19

Crop Progress & Condition for the Week Ending 4/7/19

There were 1.1 days suitable for field work during the week ending April 7, 2019. Statewide the average temperature was 48.4 degrees, 1.1 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 0.34 inches, 0.32 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 46 percent adequate ad 54 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 54 percent adequate and 46 precent surplus. Winter wheat headed was at 1 percent, compared to 3 percent last year, and the 5-year average of 1 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated at 5 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 50 percent good and 5 percent excellent.

Atlas 46 CEO Speaks About Economic Development


The CEO of Atlas 46 attended the Montgomery County Board meeting Tuesday, Apr. 9, to discuss the potential he sees for economic development in the area.

Brian Carver told the board that his five-year plan includes bringing 500 jobs to the county. His company currently employs 18 at their Hillsboro location, which opened in February, and Carver said he hopes to have 50 employees by the end of the year. Atlas 46 manufactures premium gear for construction and trades jobs. They have been in business for three years but are already selling their products globally.

Creating an epicenter of American-made products in Montgomery County is another one of Carver's goals. One of the aspects of the area he has found most attractive, he said, is that the talent and dedication levels of the people are much easier to find than in the St. Louis area. He also said a number of his Fenton employees have requested to move to the area in order to work in Hillsboro.

Another interest Carver has is rehabilitating old buildings, and he said he is working with the City of Hillsboro on renovating some of the old, vacant properties in town.

Hillsboro Mayor Brian Sullivan and Litchfield Mayor Steve Dougherty also attended the meeting and spoke about the county's development. Sullivan commended Bob Buda for helping connect Atlas 46 to the area. Buda is with the Montgomery County Growth Initiative, a group of citizens tasked with attracting outside businesses to the county.

Dougherty said he is glad to see the county involved in new ideas, and that economic development is the answer to a lot of issues plaguing the county. He stressed the importance of eliminating animosity between communities in favor of working together to continue the county's development.

Some board members told Carver, when asked, what they would like to see his company do to continue to give back. Glenn Bishop said he would like to see some of the internet sales used to promote Montgomery County. Bob Sneed said he would like to see the company communicate with the schools to build up confidence in vocational job opportunities. Ron Deabenderfer also referenced the schools, expressing his desire to see area high school graduates remain in the county.

Sandy Johnson said that, while she knows Hillsboro and Litchfield are a focal points, she would like to see expansion into other communities as well. Carver said he will be focused on that as he brings other businesses to visit the area.

The next Montgomery County Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, at 5:30 p.m.

Nokomis Water Service Restored After Break in Main


The City of Nokomis was without water for several hours Tuesday, Apr. 9, after a water main suffered a major break along Route 16.

According to Nokomis Public Information Officer Joseph Gasparich, the break occurred on the line near the corner of Hickory Street and Route 16. He said the break was between the water treatment plant and the water tower, causing the entire city to be without water. It has since been repaired.

The break occurred before 4:30 a.m. and service was restored just before 10 a.m. However, residents of Nokomis and the Village of Coalton are under a boil order and will remain so until further notice.

Gasparich says the water is safe to use for cleaning and sanitation purposes, but it should be boiled before it is used for drinking or cooking.

Nokomis Residents Without Water After Main Break


Nokomis water customers will be without water for several hours after the city's water main suffered a major break this morning.

According to Nokomis Public Information Officer Joseph Gasparich, the break occurred on the line near the corner of Hickory Street and Route 16. He said it appears to be on the main line between the water treatment plant and the water tower, causing the entire city to be without water.

Additionally, Gasparich says Route 16 is being shut down between Vine and Kinney Streets while workers are on scene.

For sanitation purposes, Gasparich says water from residents' hot water heaters may be used; however, because the pressure in the system has been lost, this water should not be consumed as potable water.

Council Awards Bid for Mowing


Members of the Litchfield City Council approved a two-year contract with a company for mowing and trimming services during their meeting on Thursday, Apr. 4.

The council awarded a bid to Precision Lawn Mowing for mowing and maintenance of various city-owned derelict properties around the community. The bid is for $4,100 per week for a total of 29 times during the season.

According to City Administrator Tonya Flannery, Precision Lawn Mowing submitted the only bid for the project, and they agreed to hold the amount if the city agreed to a two-year contract. The council agreed and the motion passed, 8-0.

The council also agreed to renew health insurance coverage for city employees through Blue Cross Blue Shield. Shannon Hall from Scheller Insurance told the council members that rates will see an increase of seven percent. She said they were initially going to increase 17 percent, but she was able to reduce the increase after negotiation.

Employees will have a choice in the amount of their monthly premium, ranging from $6 a month to $219 per month. According to Hall, those plans would normally cost between $500 and $700 per month if employees were to purchase them on their own.

Hall also said that Scheller was recently acquired by the Diamond Brothers Insurance Agency. While the name may change, she said that nothing else would.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 18, at 6:30 p.m.

Council Approves Water and Sewer Rate Increases


Litchfield water and sewer customers will pay more over the next two years after the city council approved increases for both rates during their meeting Thursday, Apr. 4.

In a 7-1 vote, the council approved a two-year plan that would see sewer rates increase 12 percent for the 2019-20 fiscal year, and another 12 percent for the 2020-21 year. The vote to increase water rates was much closer, but the council approved increasing rates by eight percent both years in a 5-3 decision.

Before voting on the increases, Kerber, Eck and Braeckel representative Levi Suhrenbrock spoke to the council about some of their concerns. He said he believed there was still some confusion about exactly how much the utility rates would increase.

"Do not think your bill will go up 20 percent," he told the council. "It will go up a little less than 10 percent."

Using his own utility bill as an example, Suhrenbrock said that in January, his water bill was $30.08 and his sewer bill was $34.88. After applying the proposed increases to the same bill, he said his water bill would be $32.49 and his sewer bill would be $39.07. The total increase between the two would be 9.43 percent. He again emphasized the importance of increasing the rates Thursday for the sake of the departments' budgets, stating that the sewer department is in danger of being out of money in three years.

According to City Attorney Kit Hantla, the law says that the departments' funds must be self-sustaining and that money from other departments cannot be used to offset costs. Some of the council members asked Suhrenbrock what he would tell water and sewer customers who have expressed displeasure over the proposed increases.

"What would you tell customers who are living paycheck to paycheck?" asked Alderman Woodrow Street. Suhrenbrock responded by saying costs in each department are continuing to increase. He also noted that in four of the last eight years, the council did not approve an increase in rates at all.

"Now you have to pay the piper," he said.

Litchfield is not the only municipality dealing with this issue. According to the KEB representative, Edwardsville will be increasing their water and sewer rates by 90 percent over a three-year period. They will then increase their rates five percent each year beginning after 2022.

Street, Mark Brown, Dave Hollo, Dwayne Gerl, Tim Wright, Marilyn Sisson and Kassidy Paine voted in favor of the sewer rate increase. Ray Kellenberger was the lone vote of dissent. In the vote to increase water rates, Brown, Hollo, Wright, Paine and Street voted yes, and Sisson, Kellenberger and Gerl voted no. The increases will be applied to the budget beginning on May 1.

The next Litchfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 18, at 6:30 p.m.

Macoupin County Election

Voter turn out for the April 2nd consolidated election was 11.54% in Macoupin County.

Contested election results were:

Benld Ward 3 Alderman
Dustin Fletcher 71
Peyton Bernot 52Bunker Hill Ward 1 Alderman
Kerri Brown 32
Oscar Hurst 24
Jerad Burch 18Bunker Hill Ward 2
William Manar 73
Glenn Bruckert 73
Dwayne Trover 73
Grover Webb 51Gillespie Ward 1 Alderman
Donna Rauzi 72
Dwayne Trover 73Gillespie Ward 2
Rick Fulton 80
Janice Weidner 27Staunton Ward 1 Alderman
Brooke Wallace 172
Rick Garde 170

Staunton Ward 2
Randy Hanks 60
Ray Scroggins 53Staunton Ward 3
Chad Plenske 60
John Kolkovich 55
Michael LaRosa 17Shipman Trustee
Kyle Christopher 54
Garrett Sebastain 44
Joshua Corby 39
Jack Cameron 17Standard City Trustee
Josh Daugherty 42
Myron Craig Reed 41
Elizabeth Daugherty 31
Thomas Mitchell Jr 17
Dilynn Stewart 3
Patrick Janssen 3
Robert Douglas 1Wilsonville Village President
Jeff Rhodes 75
Harold Besserman 48

Wilsonville Trustee
Stanley Katich 62
Gerald Reid 48Gillespie School Board
Jennifer Alepra 793
Mark Hayes 763
Weye Schmidt 727
Becky Hatlee 657
Jerry Yeager 273

Benld City Police Proposition
NO 176
YES 104

All results are unofficial until canvassed.

Montgomery County Sees 23 Percent Voter Turnout


Twenty-three percent of registered voters cast ballots in Montgomery County during the Consolidated Election Tuesday, Apr. 2. Here are the results from the contested races in the county:Coffeen Mayor:

Sheila White, 75
Junior White, 15
Nokomis Mayor:

Russell Foster, 321
Brian Keagy, 201
Hillsboro City Council (Top 4 Elected):

Don Downs, 579
Katie Duncan, 463
Michael Murphy, 448
Daniel Robbins, 417
Chris Sherer, 353
Nokomis City Council (Top 4 Elected):

Jonathan Nash, 332
Michael Holliday, 329
Derek Durbin, 308
Ann Brookshire, 278
Kevin Laurie, 254
Jake Leonard, 70
Farmersville Village Trustee (Top 3 Elected):

Lynn Clarke, 79
Mark Krager, 69
Joe Poggenpohl, 56
Phillip Fuchs, 44
Hillsboro School Board (Top 4 Elected):

Matthew Lentz, 903
Barbara Adams, 769
Bryce Rupert, 670
Dan Tester, 659
Ed Ervin, 600
Craig Scroggins, 429
Litchfield School Board, 2-year unexpire term (Top Elected):

Julie Abel, 650
Sara Zumwalt, 505
Litchfield School Board, 4-year term (Top 4 Elected):

Michael Fleming, 1,084
David Belusko, 535
Valerie Cain, 500
Mark Bloome, 489
Jim Odle Sr., 465
Jennifer Reid, 451
Dennis Scobbie, 450
Meg Wertin, 215
Nokomis School Board (Top 3 Elected):

Joseph Gasparich, 475
Julia Crowe, 413
Chad Ruppert, 391
Ben Tarter, 374
Carl Kettelkamp, 309
David Schweizer, 242
Panhandle School Board, 2-year unexpired term (Top Elected):

Gabe Pope, 269
Shane Gilpin, 118
Panhandle School Board, 4-year term (Top 4 Elected):

Dana Pitchford, 311
Brett Slightom, 285
Linda Brown, 250
Darrin Daugherty, 243
Teresa Payne, 227
All election results are unofficial until canvassed on or before Tuesday, Apr. 23.

U of I Extension's "Annie's Project" Concludes

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(L to R) - Karyl Dressen, Debbie Kibler, Tina Zimmerman, Jean Weitekamp, Amy Hernandez, and Heather Hampton+Knodle

Annie's Project concluded on March 26 with participants engaging in discussion and networking with one another. Phillip Alberti, University of Illinois Extension Commercial Agriculture Educator, presented a webinar entitled Soil Testing for Crop Production. The webinar provided participants with an understanding of soils including soil characteristics, soil testing basics, soil testing types, interpreting soil tests, and fertilization strategies. Debbie Forbes presented a presentation called, QuickBooks 101. QuickBooks is a software program businesses use to manage sales and expenses and keep track of daily transactions, which could be potentially beneficial to farmers. Participants of this years program were Karyl Dressen, Heather Hampton+Knodle, Amy Hernandez, Debbie Kibler, Jean Weitekamp, and Tina Zimmerman.

Annies Project is a six-part course offered by University of Illinois Extension in partnership with Annie's Project Organization. The program strives to empower women in agriculture by holding discussion-based workshops that bring women together to learn from experts in production, financial management, human resources, marketing, and the legal field. Annies Project would not be possible without our local sponsors Bank of Hillsboro, First Community Bank of Hillsboro, First National Bank of Nokomis, First National Bank of Raymond, Litchfield Farmers Grain, Litchfield National Bank, and Montgomery County Farm Bureau.

Annies Project was offered at Montgomery County Extension Office in Hillsboro, IL from 5:30 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. on February 29, 26 & March 5, 12, 19, 26 2019 (Tuesdays). Throughout the six-part course, participants heard from a variety of speakers on a wide range of subjects important for operating a farm.

Topics and speakers included:
History and Overview of Annies Project by Andrew Holsinger, University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator.
Real Colors by Valerie Belusko, University of Illinois Extension Community & Economic Development Program Coordinator.
Understanding Financial Statements by Brian Lewey, Farm Loan Officer at USDA Farm Service Agency.
Business Planning by Andrew Holsinger, University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator.
Commodity Marketing by Spencer Janssen, Litchfield Farmers Grain.
Grain Markets, Bid Sheets, & Common Grain Contracts by Caleb May, Farm Credit Risk Management Product and Training Specialist.
Crop Insurance Basics by Nick Kuhns, loan officer with First Community Bank of Hillsboro.
Using Local Resources: Farm Bureau, Farm Service Agency & Natural Resources Conservation Service by Katie Wilson, Montgomery County Farm Bureau Manager; Carolyn Slightom, FSA County Executive Director for Montgomery County; Brian Lewey, FSA Farm Loan Officer; and Christine Goldstein, who is a District Conservationist with NRCS in Montgomery County.
Generational Transfers: Estate Planning by David Pritchard and Steven Dumstorff from Kerber, Eck & Braeckel LLP and Erik Hyam, Silver Lake Group, ltd.

Litchfield VFW Hosts Vietnam War Veterans Ceremony

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A small crowd of veterans and guests gathered on Ryder Street in Litchfield Friday for a ceremony recognizing Vietnam War Veterans.

"This is a day that is long overdue," said Ray Kellenberger, commander of VFW Post 3912. His opening remarks were followed by Mayor Steve Dougherty, who began with an apology.

"I would like to offer a message to Vietnam Veterans on behalf of my generation: We are so sorry," Dougherty said. "The majority did not participate in protests (during the Vietnam War), but we should have done more."

Dougherty also warned that some of the ideas veterans fought to keep out of the U.S. during the war are on the verge of making their way into the U.S. today. State VFW Commander Dave Stout followed the mayor as the guest speaker. He said everything the mayor said was true.

"The U.S. Military never lost a battle in Vietnam," Stout said. "Our friends in Washington let us down. More than 2 million troops served our country, and I'm proud of each and every one of them. I'm proud to be with you."

Stout, like many Vietnam War veterans, served two tours during the war. He said the second was much tougher.

"I have good memories and terrible memories of that place," he said. "Most of us have developed a knack for locking the bad stuff away."

The ceremony concluded with Kellenberger reminding those in attendance to never forget.

"To be killed in battle is not the worst. To be lost is not the worst. To be forgotten is the worst thing that can happen to a veteran."

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