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Local News Archives for 2022-04

Litchfield School Board Tabs Gorowski to Succeed Fleming

The Litchfield School Board is back up to full strength. Jimmy Growoski has been chosen to fill the seat vacated by former board member Mike Fleming. Like Fleming, Gorowski is no stranger to crunching numbers. He serves as a financial planner for Ameriprise Financial Services in Litchfield. He also doesn’t have to work hard to relate to the needs of teachers. His wife Brooke is a kindergarten teacher in Hillsboro 

Republican Primary Battle for Montgomery County Board Averted,Aumann Opts Out of District 2 Race

There will be now be two competitive races for Montgomery County Board and those races won’t happen until November. A three way battle between Republicans in District 2 has been averted after Kurt Aumann of Nokomis opted to pull out of the race. One of the challengers in that race, Ken Folkerts of Harvel, joined the county board this week to fill the vacancy created when Jim Havera resigned due to a move out of the county. So now Folkerts will remain on the board along with incumbent Gene Miles.  

Greenville University Offers Discounts for Teachers and Residents in Regional Office of Education #3

A new agreement between Greenville University and the Regional Office of Education #3 gives employees of the ROE #3 region a discount for online courses and opens opportunities for GU students.   In addition to offering educational opportunities to employees of the ROE #3 region, the MOU also brings the potential of collaboration with schools in the ROE #3 region to provide opportunities for GU students pursuing careers in education.The Regional Office of Education #3 serves Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette, and Montgomery counties in Illinois. Any business or organization interested in offering the benefit of reduced tuition for GU’s online classes to its employees, may contact Shaila Wong at

Litchfield City Council Passes New Budget

Litchfield has a new budget. Without objections, the city council agreed to a budget plan that is in the black, producing a positive balance despite sales taxes that have been slowed by the pandemic. Covid relief money helped balance out that shortfall. Among the highlights of the budget is money for a new street dept building. Speaking of budgets, the council also voted to keep spending blueprint architect Jereme Zook of Kerber, Eck and Braeckel on board as budget officer.  Facing a mix of mandates and needs, the council also agreed to a 2-year plan to increase sewer rates 12% each year for fiscal years 2022-2023 and 8% for 2023-2024 to cover maintenance and operational costs. The city is also getting help from Congressman Rodney Davis in a bid for federal dollars to help with sewer upgrades. Meanwhile, Lincoln Land Community College is facing overwhelming demand for their trucking school at the Springfield campus. Mayor Steve Dougherty says interested students face a five to six month wait. Now part of the solutions appears to be bringing additional training opportunities In college big rigs to the L-L-C-C Litchfield Center. The City won’t have to invest in the project to make it happen. The council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln Land and Litchfield School District. The city’s support was needed for Lincoln Land to seek USDA grant dollars for the project. In football, they say next man up. The same thought can be applied to the Litchfield Fire Dept. Bob Beechler was honored as he is retiring after 13 years of volunteer service and received a standing ovation.  Last night, Jeremy Heigert was sworn in to become the latest volunteer member of the dept.  He will now undergo 180 hours of training before scoring his own space at the firehouse. 


Shawn Balint

Twitter:  @ShawnBalint

HSHS St Francis Loosens Visitor Guidelines

Visitor restrictions put in place at HSHS St. Francis Hospital have been updated due to a decline in COVID-19 numbers in our region. 

Effective April 6, two visitors per patient per day will be allowed for COVID positive patients. Visitors of COVID positive patients must check in with nursing staff before entering a room to be provided with the mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE) for their safety. As the pandemic has improved, the adequate supply of PPE has allowed St. Francis to provide this protection to families and visitors. It is also recommended that visitors of COVID positive patients leave personal belongings at home, as purses and bags will not be allowed in the patient’s room. 

Paper, medical-grade masks (non-cloth) are still mandatory for all in health care facilities, per CDC guidelines. 

Hospital leadership reminds the public that no one should visit persons in a health care facility if they have any of the following: 

  1. A positive viral test within the last 10 days for SARS-COV-2, 

  1. Symptoms of COVID-19, or 

  1. Close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Visitors guidelines for other areas of the hospital remain unchanged and are as follows: 

COVID-19 patients or under investigation for COVID-19: Two visitors per patient per day. 


Emergency Department: 

  • Adult patient: Two visitors who must stay in the patient’s room for duration of visit. 

  • Pediatric patient: Two parents and/or guardians who must stay in the patient’s room for duration of visit. 


Inpatient units: 

·         Adult inpatients: Two visitors per patient per day. 

·         Pediatrics inpatients: Two parents or guardians allowed. 

·         Women and infants center: Two support persons during delivery who must remain the same for the hospital stay. 

·         End-of-life patients: Two visitors per patient per day. 


Surgery (inpatient and outpatient): Two visitors in waiting room only for the duration of the surgical procedure. 


Outpatient diagnostic and therapy services: Two visitors may accompany the patient or wait in designated waiting areas. Patients receiving outpatient services are encouraged to come alone whenever possible or have visitors wait outside until services are complete. 


Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disability or cognitive impairments: Two support persons. 


Approved visitors/support persons must be over the age of 18 unless they are parents of a child receiving care. 

These guidelines are subject to change at any time to address the health needs of our communities. By putting these guidelines in place, St. Francis Hospital is exemplifying its commitment to the dignity and care of all, especially the most vulnerable among us. 

Route 185 Will Have that Sinking Feeling Again on Tuesday

Get ready for that sinking feeling again.  Deer Run Mine has informed the Montgomery County Sheriffs Office and other county agencies that Route 185 will begin seeing subsidence between Hillsboro and Coffeen again starting Tuesday.   The road will remain open at a reduced speed during the mining process which we expect to last approximately 60 days.  They have already placed changeable message boards at the specified locations stated in our IDOT permit, and we will begin placing barricades along the shoulder of the road once subsidence begins to alert the public of our presence. Road crews will be working along the road as mining progresses, patching and temporarily smoothing the surface until final repairs can be made once subsidence is complete. 

Deer Run officials say it is their intention to insure the traveling public complete safety when passing through this work zone, and in some rare occasions they may have no option but to close the road during this period. Any closures would be brief, and would not likely extend more than 4 hours. These closures (if necessary) will be reported immediately through the IDOT and of course on WSMI and .  

Update: Double Murder Suspect in Madison County Tied to High Speed Chase Through Montgomery and Christian Counties, Dies at Hospital

The Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Internal Investigation (DII) is leading an  investigation into the discharge of an Illinois State Police Trooper’s duty weapon after the pursuit  of a homicide suspect wanted in connection to the murder of two women in the Collinsville area.  

On Saturday, April 2, 2022, at approximately 11:14 a.m., the ISP Collinsville Communications  Center communicated information via the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network  (ISPERN) provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office concerning a suspect wanted for a  double homicide in the Collinsville area. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., local law enforcement located  the vehicle north bound on IL Rt. 127 near Hillsboro. A pursuit ensued after officers attempted a  traffic stop, which was later joined by ISP Troopers. The pursuit crossed IL Rt. 16 then north onto US Rt. 51.  

After becoming partially disabled, the suspect vehicle came to a stop on US Rt. 51 just north of  Pana, IL at approximately 1:53 p.m. The driver of the suspect vehicle exited and pointed a firearm  in the direction of an ISP Trooper. The ISP Trooper discharged their duty weapon in the direction  of the suspect. The suspect was taken to a regional hospital for the treatment of serious, life 

threatening injuries. The cause and nature of those injuries is under investigation. He was pronounced dead Sunday morning.  No law  enforcement officers were injured in this incident.  

The involved ISP Trooper is a 26-year veteran of the Illinois State Police.  

In accordance with the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act (50 ILCS 727) and the  Illinois State Police Law (20 ILCS 2605), Special Agents of the Illinois State Police Division of  Internal Investigation are investigating these events. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is  investigating the double homicide in the Collinsville area. 

This investigation is open and ongoing, and all evidence and facts will be submitted for review  upon completion of the investigation to the Christian County State’s Attorney's Office. To fulfill  our commitment to integrity and transparency, additional information will be made public when  possible, with the advice and concurrence of the State’s Attorney. No additional information is  available at this time. 



EARLIER At 10:26 a.m. today ( Saturday April 2) the Madison County Sheriff’s Office along with the Collinsville Police were dispatched to a residence in the 1000 block of McDonough Lake Rd, in reference to a 911 call where it sounded like a possible disturbance. Upon arrival, Officers found the deceased bodies of 2 females outside this residence. Both females appeared to be victims of a possible homicide. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office took over the scene and after clearing the scene with the assistance of Collinsville and State Police Officers, it was determined the suspect had fled. The scene is currently being processed by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Coroner and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services.

A possible suspect was later identified and a regional broadcast was made to help locate the suspect. This afternoon, the suspect was observed  by the Illinois State Police at a location several miles North of Madison County and he was taken into custody. 

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office spotted the suspect's white 2015 GMC Sierra near Hillsboro and Witt.   Police tried to pull the suspect over but he reportedly refused.  He drove onward into Nokomis and then traveled to Christian County.  Another attempt to pull him over there failed.  Eventually, the suspect was stopped on US 51, 5 miles south of Assumption, where the suspect exited the vehicle and police opened fire.  The suspect was airlifted to a Springfield hospital.  There's no further word on his condition.  No officers were injured.  A press conference is expected tomorrow (Sunday) to reveal more details on the incident.  


Harvel Under Boil Order

Effective this (Friday) evening, the entire Village of Harvel is under a boil order for the water supply.  The boil order will remain in place until further notice.


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