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Local News Archives for 2022-01

The Governor is Set to Propose Tax Relief

There’s a lot of talk about inflation these days and Governor J.B. Prizker hears the noise. He’s preparing to unveil a $1 billion dollar tax relief proposal in Wednesday’s combined budget speech and State of the State address. The Chicago Tribune reports the Governor’s plan would suspend the 1% sales tax on grocery items, freeze the inflation-based increase to the gasoline tax, and offer homeowners a property tax rebate of up to $300. The sales tax on groceries is devoted to local governments, so Pritzker will suggest the state make up the difference, at an estimated cost of $360 million.  

Montgomery County Farm Bureau Foundation Accepting Scholarship Applications

The Montgomery County Farm Bureau Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year. Three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who will graduate this spring from High School, and three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to students already attending college. The applicant must be going into, or currently studying an agricultural-related field, or a field that supports agriculture. Also, the applicant or their parent or guardian must be a member of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau for at least a year before the application deadline of March 3rd, and that individual must be in good standing as well. The application deadline is March 3, and applications can be dropped off or mailed to the Montgomery County Farm Bureau office, on the Courthouse Square in Hillsboro, 102 N. Main Street, Hillsboro, IL 62049. The application can be found online at



Hillsboro Area Health Foundation Prepares for Valentine's Gala Drive Through Style

The 2022 Valentine Gala on Saturday, February 12, will feature a drive-through dinner at The Event Center (Formerly KC Hall) on Route 185 in Hillsboro. Dinner tickets are $60 per dinner and include prime rib, chicken, potato, salad, dessert and your choice of wine or beer. Order by February 7 and pick up your dinners between 5-7 p.m. on February 12.


The online auction will be open to all for bidding with no ticket purchase necessary. It will be posted on Aumann Auctions website at with online bidding ending February 12 at 9 p.m.


NEW THIS YEAR! We are selling raffle tickets for a chance to win up to $5,000 in cash and prizes with our BIG raffle drawing. Cost is $100 per ticket with fewer than 150 tickets to be sold. Ten prizes will be given away, including: $500 CASH (3 of these); $500 Airline Gift Card; Yeti Cooler and Accessories, Apple Watch & AirPods, Designer Handbag & more. Drawing will be on streamed live on February 12 at 8 p.m via the Hillsboro Area Health Foundation Facebook Page.


We are also seeking donation items for the auction and sponsorships for the event, contact Claire Eskew at 217-898-5961 or


DINNER AND RAFFLE TICKET ORDERING OPTIONS: To order online, visit and click the Valentine Gala Auction and follow instructions to online ordering or visit the Hillsboro Area Health Foundation Facebook page for online ordering link. If you do not want to order online, contact Contact Shannon Freeman at 217-532-4168 or or Claire Eskew at 217-898-5961 or by February 7 at 5 p.m. to make arrangements to order and pay with check or cash.


About the Cause:

Funds raised will go to the David A. Imler Initiative.  The mission of the David A. Imler initiative is to identify mental health needs within a community before implementing programs to provide resources for those needs. The David A. Imler initiative utilizes programs, such as Sources of Strength and the Blues Program to address mental health needs by retraining our brains to focus on positivity and reshape how we talk about our experiences while focusing on recovery and strength. In coordination with the Hillsboro Area Schools, one primary goal of the initiative is to increase the interactions between peers and caring adults to ensure our youth recognize the support system behind them. Students and peers are encouraged to rely on each other to help break away from unhealthy norms, bullying, and substance abuse. By creating a sense of community, children and teens are more likely to reach out to receive the support they need when they need it most. 

Litchfield Holding Virtual Meeting on Lake Management

The city of Litchfield is encouraging the community to participate in an online public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. regarding the Lake Lou Yaeger Dam. 

In coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, the city has developed rehabilitation alternatives as part of the Shoal Creek Supplemental Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Lake Lou Yaeger Dam. 

Residents will learn more about preferred alternatives based on technical, economic, social, and environmental findings in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related documentation requirements. 

Residents may learn more about the alternatives at the live, online public meeting. 

To join the Zoom meeting, visit The meeting ID is 828 8105 7378 and the passcode is 555722. Those interested may also access the meeting by dialing 1-301-715-8592, 1-312-626-6799, 1-646-558-8656, 1-253-215-8782, 1-346-248-7799 or 1-669-900-9128 or by visiting

A recording and online commenting will be available through Saturday, Feb. 26. Written feedback can also be mailed to Tonya Flannery, City Administrator, City of Litchfield, 120 E. Ryder Street, Litchfield, IL 62056. 

Coffeen Library Checks Out

With deep regret, the board members of the Community Library of Coffeen have decided to close its doors. Usage of the library facility has progressively declined over the past few years. Therefore the library will be having a book giveaway event on February 4th thru 6th. There will be no charge for the books; however, donations will be accepted. The Community Library Board plans to establish a college scholarship available for area students to promote literacy and education. The scholarship will be in memory of all the volunteers who have spent countless hours establishing and maintaining the library over the past years. Doors will be open February 4th from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M., February 5th from 9 P.M. to 3 P.M., and February 6th, 12 P.M to 3 P.M. 

The library hasn't just been a place to read but an important venue in the digital era. The library has provided free high-speed internet usage, online applications, and research; free GED and general tutoring; free programs for children; over 17000 books; paperback and magazine trade; convenient book drop; photocopy and fax services; and a meeting place for the communities. 

The Hillsboro Area Public Library District is offering refuge for residents who need library services.  They released a statement.


The Hillsboro Area Public Library District has always welcomed members and visitors of the Coffeen Library.  If you haven't already, feel free to get a library card with the Hillsboro Area Public Library District. To get a library card, residents of Coffeen must live in Montgomery County and Hillsboro school districts. All that is required is two proofs of residency which can be a 1. driver's license, 2. water bill 3. Electric and/or Gas Bill 5. voter's ID 6. voided personal check any of which must have a current name and address.  Those who live in Bond county are "out of district" and they are subject to paying the non-resident fee according to state law. For questions feel free to email or call (217) 532-3055 and ask to speak to Director Shelley Kolb. 

Bond County #2 School Board Votes to Close Sorento School, but the Story Might Not be Over

After weeks of packed meetings and public hearings, The Bond County Unit #2 School Board has voted to close Sorento School at the end of the school year.  The lone dissenters in a 4-2 vote were Sorento resident Stephanie Gerol and Aimee Frey. Superintendent Wes Olson noted enrollment has been dropping for more than a decade and he said current concerns about inflation and staffing add to concerns about maintaining the current level of buildings.   An attorney for Sorento parents, Michelle Coady-Carter says the process hasn’t met legal muster when it comes to the Open Meetings Act and laws concerning such moves. Coady-Carter also added a new wrinkle.  She believes the school could be dissolved from the district and annexed by a neighboring district. 

Wayne Rosenthal Announces Candidacy for State Representative in New 108th District

MORRISONVILLE, IL - Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) is announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for State Representative in the new 108th District, which covers all of Menard County and portions of Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties.


Endorsing Wayne for State Representative are Congressmen Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, and Mike Bost, State Representatives Avery Bourne, and Tim Butler, and former State Representative Mike Murphy.


“My family and I are excited to announce I’m running for State Representative in the new 108th District. I know this area well and have served the citizens of our communities in many roles for many years. Whether it’s serving in the Illinois Air National Guard, coaching youth baseball, or serving in the General Assembly, stepping up and serving others has always been my priority. I plan to work hard, share my conservative vision for our state, and earn every vote in this election. This will be the year the people of Illinois take back our state from out-of-touch Democrats like J.B. Pritzker and his allies in Springfield, and I look forward to being a part of that movement.” - Wayne Rosenthal

About Wayne:

Wayne is a conservative Republican. His top priorities are supporting law enforcement, fighting corruption, creating jobs, stopping tax hikes, advocating for Life, and protecting the Second Amendment.


Wayne served in the Illinois Air National Guard’s 170th Fighter Squadron for 30 years of commissioned service, retiring as a Brigadier General. He’s also a family farmer and former youth baseball coach.


Wayne currently serves as a Trustee on the Lincoln Land Community College Board of Trustees. An avid sportsman and hunter, Wayne previously served as Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources from 2015-2019. He served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011-2015. Wayne also served on the Morrisonville Community Unit School District #1 Board of Education and the Macoupin County Soil & Water Conservation District Board.


He’s a proud member of the National Rifle Association, Illinois State Rifle Association, Christian County Farm Bureau, American Legion Post #721, Knights of Columbus Council #1152, National Guard Association of Illinois/United States, and the Air Force Association.


Wayne resides in Morrisonville with his wife Marcia. Wayne and Marcia have three children and 5 grandchildren. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on February 12.

Bourne's Predecessor Wants to Be Her Successor, Rosenthal Announces State Rep Run

With State Rep Avery Bourne leaving the General Assembly for now, there was sudden uncertainty about who would run in the new 108th District, which covers all of Menard County and portions of Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties.  When redistricting placed him in the same district as Bourne, former Rep. Mike Murphy opted to leave the legislature.  His replacement, Rep. Sandy Hamilton doesn’t live in the new 108th.  Well the solution didn’t take long to find.   Former State Rep and Illinois DNR Director Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) is announcing his candidacy for  the Republican nomination for State Representative in the new 108th District.  Endorsing Wayne for State Representative are Congressmen Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, and Mike Bost, State Representatives Avery Bourne and Tim Butler, and former State Representative Mike Murphy. 


“My family and I are excited to announce I’m running for State Representative in the new 108th District. I know this area well and have served the citizens of our communities in many roles for many years. Whether it’s serving in the Illinois Air National Guard, coaching youth baseball, or serving in the General Assembly, stepping up and serving others has always been my priority. I plan to work hard, share my conservative vision for our state, and earn every vote in this election. This will be the year the people of Illinois take back our state from out-of-touch Democrats like J.B. Pritzker and his allies in Springfield, and I look forward to being a part of that movement.” - Wayne Rosenthal 

M&M Service Company to host NH3 Trainings

M&M Service Company will be hosting 5 events, starting next week in Macoupin, Montgomery, and Madison counties, allowing area farmers the opportunity to receive now required anhydrous ammonia training. The Illinois Department of Agriculture now requires that all growers or grower farm operators who transport or apply anhydrous ammonia or otherwise maintain anhydrous ammonia equipment, such as toolbars and nurse tanks, shall be certified to understand the properties of ammonia, to become competent in safe operating practices, and to take appropriate actions in the event of a leak or an emergency. All meetings will begin at 9 a.m. with light refreshments available. The training will last about 2 hours. 
Click here to register for one of the following locations:
  • January 25th - Girard Community Center
  • January 26th - Carlinville Farm Bureau
  • January 27th - Litchfield Community Center
  • February 2nd - Crystal Ballroom, Staunton
  • February 3rd - Marine Lions Club
Training is also available online at

Click here to learn more about the IDOA training requirements.

Bourne Won't Seek Re-election, Seeks Lt.Governor Instead

There's been buzz in recent days that State Representative Avery Bourne might not seek another term and instead shift her focus to statewide office.  Well that buzz has proven true as Bourne has launched her bid for Lt. Governor, serving as the running mate of Auroura Mayor Richard Irvin.  The campaign says "as Lieutenant Governor, Avery will be Richard Irvin’s partner in fighting crime, cutting taxes and spending, and cleaning up corruption."    Bourne was just 22 when she joined the Illinois General Assembly in 2015 , making her the youngest person to ever be sworn into state legislature. 

Nokomis High Student Helps Town Endure Life After Kroger

For Nokomis, the departure of Kroger was a tough pill to swallow...for some it’s been an inconvenience, others something far more impactful.  One man stepped up to help although he isn’t old enough to vote yet. Nokomis High Junior Mason Morris is riding to the rescue with a grocery pick up service, which seems even more helpful through the dead of winter. The service has another benefit, keeping seniors safe during the current wave of Covid 19.  Morris plays for the Redskins football squad and is a National Honor Society member.  For more information, visit his Facebook page at Mason’s Grocery Pick-Up or contact him by phone at 217-710-6330. 


Secretary of State Departments and Driver Services Facilities to Remain Closed an Additional Week – Reopening Jan. 24

Out of an abundance of caution and due to the continued high numbers of new COVID-19 cases statewide, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing that all Secretary of State departments – including Driver Services facilities – will resume conducting in-person transactions Monday, Jan. 24. The Secretary of State offices and facilities first closed on Jan. 3, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases statewide. Driver Services facilities operating on a Tuesday – Saturday schedule will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

“After careful consideration and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to extend the closures of offices and Driver Services facilities an additional week, with a reopening date set for Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, due to the continued high number of COVID-19 cases,” said White. “The health and safety of employees and the public remains my top priority, and face-to-face transactions potentially increase the further spread of the virus. We are pleased to see what appears to be the beginning of a downswing in COVID-19 cases and, if this trend continues, we will reopen Jan. 24 for face-to-face transactions.”

White noted that three Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) facilities will open on Tuesday, Jan. 18, for in-person CDL services only. The CDL facilities are: Rockford at 4734 Baxter Rd., Springfield at 
2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy. and Marion at 1905 Rendelman St.

White continues encouraging the public to visit for online services. Online transactions will remain open for all departments to conduct office services, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Renewing a license plate sticker.
  • Renewing a driver’s license or ID card for those who qualify (individuals may call 217-785-1424 to confirm their eligibility or to obtain their PIN).
  • Obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card.
  • Obtaining a driver record abstract.
  • Filing Business Services documents, such as incorporations and annual reports.

In addition, the Drivers and Vehicles Services hotline phone number remains open at 800-252-8980. Customers with issues involving administrative hearings may email or call 312-793-3722 or 217-782-7065.

As a reminder, White has extended all driver’s license and ID card expiration dates to March 31, 2022. Expiration dates for commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) and commercial learner's permits (CLPs) have been extended to Jan. 31, 2022 for CDLs and CLPs with expiration dates between Nov. 1, 2021, and Jan. 31, 2022.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023.

For more information, visit

Road Closure - Macoupin County

01/11/22 4:30pm


Macoupin Station Road will be closed to all traffic approximately 0.5 mile west of Finch Road from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 12th  for a culvert replacement project, weather permitting.  Please use alternate routes during the closure.

Covid Numbers Skyrocket in Montgomery County

New COVID 19 numbers are out from the Montgomery County Health Dept.  There is one new Covid related death to report, pushing the death toll to 88.  There have been a whopping 577 new cases since last Wednesday January fifth.  That moves the case count past the 6,200 barrier at 6,223.  There were 115 new cases on January fifth, another 156 on Thursday, 86 on both Friday and Saturday, 54 on Sunday and 80 more on Monday.   

Wooden Bridge on Red Ball Trail to be Closed for Repairs

The Bond County Highway Department has announced, the well-known, sometimes dreaded, wooden bridge on the Red Ball Trail in Bond County, just North of Greenville, will be closed on Wednesday (Jan 12) and Thursday (Jan 13) from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm each day. General wear and tear, including drivers traveling faster than the recommended 20 miles per hour, caused the bridge to become very rough and the speed limit to be lowered to 10 miles per hour in recent weeks. 

Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District to Hold Annual Election

The Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District will not be holding its annual in-person meeting this year, but the yearly election of the board of directors will still be held. Election for the board of directors for the Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District will be held on Thursday, January 20th at 7:00 pm, with voting open on that day from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. All persons, firms, or corporations who hold legal title or are in legal possession of any land lying within the boundaries of Montgomery County are eligible to vote in the election, regardless of whether you are a lessee, renter, tenant, or otherwise. Again only such persons are eligible to vote. 
Anyone interested in voting for the 2022 Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Directors can obtain a ballot at the USDA Service Center office in Hillsboro on the date of the election, January 20th, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, with the election taking place on January 20th at 7:00 pm.

Missing Hillsboro Man Reunited with Family

There’s a successful conclusion to the search for a missing Hillsboro man who vanished in Jacksonville on New Year’s Eve.   Hillsboro Police were able to track down 26-year-old Austin Corrado who was reunited with his grateful mother last evening.  The circumstances of how Corrado was found and where have not been revealed but we’re satisfied with the happy ending. Hillsboro Police were working the search along with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and their colleagues at the Jacksonville Police Dept and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office  

New Montgomery County Covid Numbers Include Two New Deaths

The latest Covid 19 numbers from Montgomery County Health officials show two deaths have occurred in connection with the pandemic.  That pushes the death toll to 87.  The Holidays appeared to spark an explosion in testing and positive tests.  There were 375 new cases reported between Wednesday (Dec 29) and Tuesday (Jan 4).  121 new cases were recorded on Tuesday alone.


Second Thanksgiving Shooting Victim in Farmersville Murder Case Makes Progress

Montgomery County States Attorney Andrew Affrunti could have a star witness in the murder trial of a Collinsville man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Thanksgiving Day in Farmersville, but even more importantly that star witness, the other shooting victim on Nobbie Street, has made major strides in his recovery at a Springfield Hospital.   Chris Smith of Farmersville was shot in the head in that double shooting at his residence.  He is now out of the intensive care unit and been moved to intermediate care.   His parents tell the Edwardsville intelligencer  they are hopeful he’ll be transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation center. For the moment, the 48-year-old has no memory of the night he was shot and Leslie Reeves was murdered.  The two met on their first date.  48-year-old Robert Bobby tarr is being held on first degree murder charges in the case.    A trust has been set up at the Bank and Trust Company in Farmersville that donors can contribute to, and a GoFundMe page has been set up by Smith’s sister to help pay for his care. 

Case Going Forward Against Man Accused in Farmersville Thanksgiving Double Shooting/Murder

Montgomery County Judge Jim Roberts finds probable cause against the Collinsville man accused in the execution style murder of his ex-girlfriend Leslie Reeves and shooting of Christopher Smith  Thanksgiving Day at Smith’s home in Farmersville.  Montgomery County Sheriffs Detective Jeff Roach’s testimony during Monday’s preliminary hearing for 48-year-old Robert "Bobby" J. Tarr moved the trial forward.  Roach was the only witness called by Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew Affrunti.  Evidence discussed included text messages, video surveillance and the fact murder victim Leslie Reeves of Troy had a stalker in 2019.   It was revealed that Reeves was on a date with 48-year-old Chris Smith, the resident of the murder scene in the 100 block of Nobbie, the day before Thanksgiving.  Reeves and Smith were both shot in the back of the head and Smith continues to battle for his life in an area hospital.  two silver 9mm shell casings were found at the scene and conversations with individuals that had known both victims led them to Tarr’s Collinsville residence.  Tarr claimed to be unaware of the location of Farmersville and had never been there.  He also maintained he didn’t leave home after 8pm, the night before Thanksgiving. Roach got a different story from Tarrs daughter Shelby.  She said he left the house twice, around 6pm and 9:15 pm.   He then woke her up in her bedroom about 2:45 a.m. Thanksgiving morning as "He was doing laundry."   

Bobby Tarr will remain in the Montgomery County Jail unless he can produce 10% of his $3 million bond.  Fahrenkamp asked for a jury trial and a pre-trial hearing to possibly set a trial date has been set for 9 a.m. Feb. 16. 

Davis Now Has Competition in GOP Primary

Congressman Rodney Davis will indeed face a challenger in the race for re-election.  Oakland based Congresswoman Mary Miller, who serves a portion of the Metro-East, has announced she will run just outside of her district borders and battle Davis in the new 15th Congressional District.   Miller also announced she has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.       


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