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Local News Archives for 2019-05

Taylor Springs Man Killed in Memorial Day Crash


A 72-year-old Taylor Springs man was killed on Monday, May 27, when the motorcycle he was driving struck a semi south of Greenville.

Jimmie White died as a result of injuries he suffered during the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bond County Coroner.

A semi, driven by Keith Thompkins of Inkster, Michigan, was making a left turn from the southbound lane of Route 127 onto the eastbound ramp of Interstate 70, according to the Illinois State Police. Trooper Joshua Korando said the driver of the semi failed to yield when making the turn and White's northbound motorcycle hit the rear area of the trailer.

Thompkins, 49, was issued a citation for failing to yield while turning left. The incident occurred at 1:20 p.m. and remains under investigation by the State Police.

Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions 5/26/19


Due to continued wet conditions, corn and soybean planting progress are over 50 percentage points behind the 5-year average. There were 1.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 26, 2019. Statewide, the average temperature was 66.1 degrees, 0.9 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 2.60 inches, 0.98 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 30 percent adequate and 70 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 32 percent adequate and 68 percent surplus. Corn planted was at 35 percent, compared to 99 percent last year and the 5-year average of 95 percent. Corn emerged was at 20 percent. Soybeans planted was at 14 percent, compared to 89 percent last year and the 5-year average of 70 percent. Soybeans emerged was at 8 percent. Winter wheat headed reached 78 percent, compared to 90 percent for both last year and the 5-year average. Winter wheat condition was rated at 8 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 30 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

IDOT to Close a Portion of I-55 Beginning June 3


The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that intermittent nighttime lane closures will begin on Interstate 55 between Interstate 270/70 and Route 143 on Monday, Jun. 3.

The lane closures will take place nightly between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. northbound and 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. southbound. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. IDOT officials say this work is necessary to prepare the Maple Grove Road structure over I-55 for deck repairs and is expected to be completed by mid-June.

Delays may be experienced, and drivers should allow for extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to reduce speed, be alert for changing conditions, obey all construction signage and refrain from using mobile devices while approaching and traveling through the work zone.

Complete road construction maps are available online at gettingaroundillinois.com.

IDOT to Close a Portion of I-55 Beginning June 3


The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that intermittent nighttime lane closures will begin on Interstate 55 between Interstate 270/70 and Route 143 on Monday, Jun. 3.

The lane closures will take place nightly between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. northbound and 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. southbound. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. IDOT officials say this work is necessary to prepare the Maple Grove Road structure over I-55 for deck repairs and is expected to be completed by mid-June.

Delays may be experienced, and drivers should allow for extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to reduce speed, be alert for changing conditions, obey all construction signage and refrain from using mobile devices while approaching and traveling through the work zone.

Complete road construction maps are available online at gettingaroundillinois.com.

Terry Todt, Longtime WSMI Broadcaster, Dies

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Terry George Todt, 63, of Raymond died Thursday, May 23, 2019 at his home in Raymond.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 29, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Lincolnwood High School Gym. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 30, at 10 a.m. at the gym with burial to follow at Asbury Cemetery in Raymond. Hough Funeral Home in Raymond is in charge of arrangements.
Terry was born on Feb. 22, 1956, at Hillsboro Hospital to the late George and Vera (Bonacorsi) Todt of Raymond. A 1974 graduate of Lincolnwood High School in Raymond, he would continue his education at Lake Land College in Mattoon, earning an associates degree in 1976.
On March 22, 1980, he would marry Brenda Pinkston and the couple would eventually raise their two children, Brendan and Brigette, in Todts boyhood home in Raymond near his beloved Crawdad Stadium, the site of what is now the Raymond Park.
Destined for a career in radio after receiving a Western Auto Trutone six transistor radio for Christmas at age seven, he would work for radio station WFWA in Sullivan for two years before an ice storm in 1978 took down the radio tower at the station. After a brief part-time stay at WLBH in Mattoon, Terry returned to work for the station that he listened to growing up, WSMI in Litchfield, where he was hired on May 16, 1978.
Rising to the position of program director and sports director, Terry is best known for being the voice of high school athletics in central Illinois for the past 41 years, having called such memorable moments as Nokomis girls basketball state championships in 1998 and 1999, Hillsboros girls basketball state championship in 2006 and his alma maters state championship run in baseball in 2009. While many will remember him for those special teams, Terry made every game he broadcast seem special with his enthusiasm for the games and the kids who play them.
For his excellence on the airwaves, he was inducted into the media division of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Illinois Coaches Association (softball) Sportsperson of the Year in 2011. He was also honored by the Bottomley-Ruffing-Schalk Baseball Museum in Nokomis, was a recipient of the Panhandle Education Foundations Distinguished Alumni Award and was the Montgomery County Cancer Associations honorary chairman.
Terrys passion for youth athletics continued away from his job. For many years he worked with the Raymond-Harvel Sports Association, serving as president and coaching and officiating baseball, basketball and soccer. He also served on the Raymond Park Board for more than 20 years, where he was instrumental in expanding the park to add a new softball field and soccer field, the latter of which was renamed Terry Todt RHSA Field in October 2018 in honor of the man who lovingly referred to the field as my field.
Not only was he the voice of high school athletics, Terry was also the voice of the community for many, serving as a guest speaker and emcee for a number of events, including the MTXE check presentations that benefitted the Lincolnwood and Nokomis sports programs in honor of his friend, the late Maury Hough.
As Houghs legacy did with the golf tournament, Terrys legacy will continue through the T. Todt Shootout, an eight-game high school basketball extravaganza that started in 2018 and will benefit the Montgomery County Cancer Association in future years.
He is survived by his wife, Brenda; children, Brendan (D.J.) Todt of Iowa and Brigette Todt of New Hampshire; grandchildren, Jacob and Zachary Todt of Iowa; brothers, Larry (Glenda) Todt of Raymond and Garry (Teresa) Todt of Farmersville; sister, Sharri (Don) Huddleston of Palmer; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Memorials may be made to the Raymond Park District. Online condolences may be left at www.houghfuneralhome.com.

Hillsboro Council Members Sworn in


Members of the Hillsboro City Council were sworn in during their meeting on Tuesday, May 14, after each person was re-elected during the election in April.

Commissioners Don Downs, Katie Duncan, Michael Murphy and Daniel Robbins, along with Mayor Brian Sullivan, were sworn in after each was re-elected to serve a second term during the Consolidated Election. Judge Jim Roberts administered the oaths of office.

As for business items on the agenda, the council approved a request by the Glenn Shoals Lake Club to hold kayak races on Saturday, Jun. 15. The races will be held at the North Marina as a fundraiser for the revitalization of the marina.

The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Springfield Man Crashes Into Executive Mansion


An 87-year-old Springfield man crashed into the grounds of the Executive Mansion on Friday, May 17, after inadvertently pressing the accelerator.

According to a preliminary investigation by the Illinois State Police, Nils Thunman was exiting the Executive Mansion grounds near the Fourth Street Gate when he inadvertently pressed the accelerator and struck the west side wall of the grounds.

The incident occurred at 8:23 p.m. Thunman did not sustain any injuries during the crash. Additionally, no citations were issued.

Raymond Police Chief Dies in Two-Vehicle Crash


Two Hillsboro residents, including the Raymond Chief of Police, were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Thursday, May 16, south of Raymond.

Valerie Sheldon, 39, and Samantha Lapradd, 23, died as a result of injuries they suffered in the accident on Route 127 just south of North 21st Avenue. According to Illinois State Police Trooper Jeremy Nairn, Lapradd was driving north on Route 127 when her vehicle crossed into the southbound lane and struck Sheldon's car head-on. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham.

Sheldon, a member of the Raymond Police Department for nearly 12 years, would have celebrated her nine-year anniversary as the village's police chief in June, according to Mayor Denny Held. He called Sheldon a hard-worker and said she was great with the community.

"She was a number one people person for the village," Held said. "She was an excellent representation of the village and (I) had nothing but good rapport with her. She had good rapport with all the neighbors too and the other communities and other agencies. She was just a great officer and we're going to hate to lose her."

The accident occurred at 8:09 a.m. Assisting at the scene were the Raymond-Harvel Fire Department and Ambulance Service, Hillsboro Police and Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

Raymond Police Chief Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash


Two Hillsboro residents, including the Raymond Chief of Police, were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Thursday, May 16, south of Raymond.

Valerie Sheldon, 39, and Samantha Lapradd, 23, died as a result of injuries they suffered in the accident on Route 127 just south of North 21st Avenue. According to Illinois State Police Trooper Jeremy Nairn, Lapradd was driving north on Route 127 when her vehicle crossed into the southbound lane and struck Sheldon's car head-on. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham.

Sheldon, a member of the Raymond Police Department for nearly 12 years, would have celebrated her nine-year anniversary as the village's police chief in June, according to Mayor Denny Held. He called Sheldon a hard-worker and said she was great with the community.

"She was a number one people person for the village," Held said. "She was an excellent representation of the village and (I) had nothing but good rapport with her. She had good rapport with all the neighbors too and the other communities and other agencies. She was just a great officer and we're going to hate to lose her."

The accident occurred at 8:09 a.m. Assisting at the scene were the Raymond-Harvel Fire Department and Ambulance Service, Hillsboro Police and Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions 5/12/19

There were 0.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 12, 2019. Statewide, the average temperature was 56.0 degrees, 4.9 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.08 inches, 0.05 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 23 percent adequate and 77 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 30 percent adequate and 70 percent surplus. Corn planted was at 11 percent, compared to 88 percent last year and the 5-year average of 82 percent. Corn emerged was at 4 percent. Soybeans planted was at 3 percent, compared to 61 percent last year and the 5-year average of 34 percent. Winter wheat headed reached 35 percent, compared to 43 percent last year and the 5-year average of 53 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

Royal Lakes Residents Arrested for Arson in Hillsboro


A pair of Royal Lakes residents have been arrested on arson charges after a Hillsboro residence caught fire on Saturday, May 4.

Emanuel Welch, 22, and Alphonso Anderson, 52, were recently taken into custody by Macoupin County Sheriff's Officers before being transferred to the Montgomery County Jail. According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, the Hillsboro Fire Department extinguished a blaze at 10:20 p.m. on May 4, at 677 Park Street. Eye witnesses told investigators that the house had been set on fire by some unknown persons.

After witnesses gave authorities the description of the suspects' vehicle, investigators located it in Bunker Hill. After interviewing several people, they learned that four Individuals from the Royal Lakes and Bunker Hill area had purchased gasoline in Gillespie to light the structure on fire.

Welch and Anderson were both charged with Residential Arson, and their bond has been set at $150,000.

Hillsboro Man Arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine


After attempting to flee from police on a motorcycle, a Hillsboro man was arrested for allegedly in possessing methamphetamine on Saturday, May 11.

Andrew Leible, 25, was taken into custody on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession with the intent to deliver.

According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, officers attempted to stop Leible for multiple traffice offenses at 11:03 p.m. on Saturday. When an officer turned on his emergency lights, Leetham said the man on the motorcycle fled north on Industrial Drive from the School Street area.

While on his way to Schram City, the bike Leible was driving malfunctioned near the intersection of Jackson Street and School House Road at the edge of Kortkamp. Officers were then able to take Leible into custody after a short struggle, Leetham said. Two baggies of suspected methamphetamine were found on Leible while he was being patted down. Elam's Towing towed the motorcycle from the scene, and the 25-year-old was taken to the Montgomery County Jail.

In addition to the drug-related charges, Leible was cited for driving with a revoked license, disobeying a stop sign, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, unlawful display of license plates, and aggravated fleeing to elude police.

Police Investigating Automobile Crash in Taylorville


Authorities are investigating an automobile crash that occurred on Route 48 in Taylorville on Thursday, May 9.

According to Sgt. Don Kovack with Illinois State Police District 9, the incident occurred before 8:30 p.m. Thursday near McAdam Drive. Kovack said Route 48 had to be closed for an extended period of time while first responders were on scene.

The identities of the individuals and the number of vehicles involved have not been release at this time. WSMI will have more information on this story as it develops.

Farmersville Teen Dies in Car Accident


A Farmersville teenager died Thursday evening after he was involved in an automobile accident in Taylorville.

Austin Krager, 18, was pronounced dead at Taylorville Memorial Hospital as a result of injuries suffered during the accident.

According to the Illinois State Police, Krager was driving east on McAdam Drive at 7:54 p.m. when he attempted to turn left onto Route 48. His car was then struck by a southbound vehicle, driven by Stephanie Stivers of Taylorville.

Stivers, 41, and a 17-year-old Stonington girl, who was a passenger in Krager's vehicle, were both taken to St. John's Hospital in Springfield with non-life threatening injuries. The incident remains under investigation by Illinois State Police Crash Reconstruction Officers.

Schools in the Panhandle School District were closed Friday after students were notified of the death of a student. All Lincolnwood High School weekend activities have been canceled. Grief counselors will be available to students and staff when classes resume.

Litchfield, Hillsboro Play "Grace Game"

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A pair of Montgomery County softball rivals competed in Litchfield on Tuesday, May 7, but the teams joined each other before the game to recognize one young Hillsboro resident who is battling a rare disease.

The game between the Hillsboro Hiltoppers and Litchfield Purple Panthers was dubbed the Grace Game in honor of Grace Herschelman, the seven-year-old daughter of Kyle and Mary Herschelman. Grace was diagnosed with a disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, more commonly known as INAD. Children with the disorder experience difficulty in developing motor and intellectual skills and, in some cases, regress in their development.

Before the game began, Kyle Herschelman thanked everyone in attendance for their support, stating that their family has been blessed to receive so much support from the surrounding communities. To learn more about Grace and to follow her journey, visit the website, a-grace-filled-journey.blogspot.com.

The Hiltoppers defeated Litchfield five innings by a final score of 16-3.

Belusko Hired as Litchfield Ag Teacher


During a special meeting on Thursday, May 2, the Litchfield School Board approved the hire of a new high school agriculture teacher.

After meeting in closed session for two and a half hours, the board approved the hire of Matt Belusko, who will begin serving as the ag teacher in the 2019-20 school year.

Belusko, an alumnus of Litchfield High School, has been serving as the agriculture teacher in the Ramsey School District. He replaces Sarah Nichols, who submitted her letter of resignation in March. The motion passed, 6-0, with brother David Belusko abstaining from the vote.

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

Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions 5/5/19


There were 0.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 5, 2019. Statewide, the average temperature was 55.9 degrees, 1.3 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 3.22 inches, 2.33 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 26 percent adequate and 74 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 34 percent adequate and 66 percent surplus. Corn planted reached 10 percent compared to 68 percent last year and 66 percent for the 5-year average. Corn emerged reached 2 percent compared to 12 percent last year. Soybeans planted was 3 percent compared to 26 percent last year and 16 percent for the 5-year average. Winter wheat headed was 9 percent, compared to 13 percent last year and the 5-year average of 32 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated 6 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 33 percent good, and 5 percent excellent

ISP District 18 Releases April Service Statistics


Illinois State Police Trooper Jeremy Nairn has announced the number of requests for service District 18 had during the month of April.

According to Nairn, who serves as the Safety Education Officer, District 18 had 235 requests for service or assistance from the public. 153 of the calls were related to vehicles that had been disabled or drivers who were in need of assistance on area highways. 29 traffic crashes occurred throughout the five counties in the district, Nairn said. However, they did not handle any fatal crashes.

Traffic enforcement activities, Nairn said, resulted in 23 total alcohol-related arrests, which included 10 citations for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. In addition, 690 Citations were issued for the Fatal Four violations. That includes 10 for DUI, 371 for speeding, 76 for occupant restraint, 28 for distracted driving and 36 for Scott's Law violations.

Nairn said the district also made 17 criminal arrests throughout the month.

St. Francis Lifts Visitor Restrictions


HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield has lifted visitor restrictions and mandatory masking for colleagues -- practices that were imposed due to flu season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the hospital's infection control team, flu cases are on the decline and are now at a typical level for this time of year. As a result, hospital officials say flu precautions and general hospital-wide restrictions are no longer necessary.

While it is still possible for the hospital to receive influenza patients, other infection control measures must still be followed, such as hand hygiene.

Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions 4/28/19

There were 2.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 28, 2019. Statewide, the average temperature was 54.9 degrees, 1.1 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.03 inches, 0.18 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 2 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 53 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 1 percent short, 56 percent adequate, and 43 percent surplus. Corn planted reached 9 percent compared to 28 percent last year and 43 percent for the 5-year average. Soybeans planted reached 3 percent compared to 6 percent for last year and the 5-year average. Winter wheat headed was 3 percent, compared to 5 percent last year and the 5-year average of 17 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated 5 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 38 percent good, and 6 percent excellent.

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