Local News

sandoval mayor Pam Gelsinger

Sandoval Village Board hopes to raise $6,000 to $7,000 from Fall Fest  

Sandoval Mayor Pam Gelsinger was pleased with the turnout for the Fall Fest last weekend in the Sandoval Park.   She told the village board Tuesday night she hopes the event will be able to clear $6,000 to $7,000 for park improvements.

Meanwhile, the wait continues for a check from the state for the OSLAD grant awarded to the village earlier this year.  They expect the money any day, which will allow them to begin the more than $300,000 in park improvements.

The board promoted the two part-time workers hired for the public works department last month to fulltime because of their work ethic.  They are Garrett Bates and Jeremy Conrad.   The board will now look at hiring another part-time worker at least through the mowing season

The board set Friday, October 25th, as Trick or Treat night in Sandoval.  Hours are six to eight for those 12 and under.

Marion County Jail

Police Beat for Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

An 18-year-old Centralia man is being held on multiple charges in the Marion County Jail after Centralia Police were called to investigate a suspicious person hanging around the South Central Transit building in the 100 block of North Locust.  Police say Kheandre Hatchett of South Locust was agitated and allegedly refused to cooperate.  Hatchett was taken to the Marion County Jail for disorderly conduct, resisting/obstructing justice and obstructing identification.

33-year-old David Lane of West Rogers in Salem was arrested by Wamac Police on an outstanding Fayette County felony warrant.


Illinois opens 24 new investigations of alleged clergy abuse

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has opened 24 new investigations into alleged misconduct by Catholic priests amid concerns that cases turned over by the Archdiocese of Chicago weren’t properly reviewed.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that the archdiocese turned over more than 1,000 cases under a 2006 agreement requiring it to notify the agency every time it became aware of an abuse allegation, even if the accuser was no longer a minor.

The 24 new investigations involve adults who came forward years after the alleged abuse occurred. The cases were flagged as needing further investigation, and acting agency Director Marc Smith said he was uncertain whether it properly reviewed all of them.

The agency is trying to determine whether those accused might still have access to children.


Federal agency resists paying North Dakota oil protest cost

By JAMES MacPHERSON Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The federal government is contesting North Dakota’s claims that the state should be reimbursed for the $38 million the state spent policing prolonged protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Army Corps of Engineers filed a motion Tuesday asking a federal judge to dismiss the state’s lawsuit seeking to recoup the costs, arguing it has “limited authority to enforce its rules and regulations” on land it manages.

“The federal government acquired the Corps-managed land … without accepting any special criminal jurisdiction over this property,” the agency said in court documents. “Thus, North Dakota has the authority and responsibility to enforce criminal law on the Corps-managed lands…”

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenejem called the Corps’ claim that it is “toothless” in enforcing law on its land “preposterous.”

Stenehjem filed the claim in Bismarck federal court in July after the agency ignored an administrative claim he filed a year earlier.

Thousands of opponents of the $3.8 billion pipeline that’s been moving oil from the Dakotas through Iowa to Illinois for more two years gathered in southern North Dakota in 2016 and early 2017, camping on federal land and often clashing with police, resulting in 761 arrests over six months.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposed the pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners over fears it would harm cultural sites and the tribe’s Missouri River water supply — claims rejected by the company and the state.

Stenehjem has said the Corps “allowed and sometimes encouraged” protesters to illegally camp without a federal permit. The Corps has said protesters weren’t evicted due to free speech reasons.

The agency said in court papers it used discretion, calling the federal government’s relationship with the Indian tribes “contentious and tragic.”

The Corps said its “enforcement decisions” occurred in the “context of this complex and contentious history.”

The pipeline construction began while Barack Obama was in the White House. President Donald Trump just days after taking office in January 2017 pushed through completion of the stalled project.

The company announced plans this year to double the pipeline’s capacity.

Trump last year denied a state-requested disaster declaration to cover the state’s costs. The Justice Department later gave the state a $10 million grant for policing-related bills. The pipeline developer gave the state $15 million to help with the costs that were funded from loans from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.

Stenehjem has said the $25 million the state has received to offset the costs doesn’t get the Corps off the hook for the state’s $38 million total cost.

Seal of State of Illinois

Report: Ex-gaming head engaged in prohibited political acts

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The former chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board allegedly engaged in prohibited political activity while heading the agency that regulates gambling, according to a report released Wednesday by the Office of Executive Inspector General.

The report says Don Tracy made “loans and contributions either directly, or through his wife, to political committees” in violation of state law.

Tracy was named the Gaming Board’s chairman by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015. Tracy, whose term was to end July 1, resigned in mid-June. The Springfield lawyer told the Chicago Tribune the report was “baseless speculation.”

The inspector general’s 12-page report focuses on 30 contributions from Tracy and his wife, Wanda, from the time he became Gaming Board chairman until Oct. 29. Included are eight contributions totaling $7,600 from Wanda Tracy to Rauner’s campaign fund. Most of the checks were written from the couple’s joint account, though Don Tracy’s name was crossed off on many of them, the report says.

The report notes that between 1998 and the year he was appointed Gaming Board chairman, Tracy made 210 contributions to 67 political committees. Over the same period, Wanda Tracy made only one.

Given that history, “it is not credible” that Wanda Tracy began writing so many campaign checks “without any direction from her husband, or even discussion with him about it,” the report says.

Tracy dismissed the inspector general’s conclusion as “a bit sexist,” saying the inspector general’s office never spoke with his wife during its investigation.

“I don’t see anything at all wrong or unethical about Wanda exercising her constitutional rights,” he said.

The report also says Tracy remained chairman of Central Illinois for Responsible Government, which supported Rauner, while he was chairman of the Gaming Board.

Tracy, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the 2010 Republican primary, says he believes the investigation was politically motivated, but refused to say who he thinks was responsible.

The inspector general’s office recommended Gov. J.B. Pritzker take action he deemed appropriate. Tracy says Pritzker didn’t ask him to resign. The governor’s office had no comment.


Centralia Police Chief announces resignation  

Centralia Police Chief Brian Atchison is resigning effective October 18th.

City Manager Dan Ramey says Atchison leaves the Centralia Police Department after 30 years of service where he served in positions of Patrolman, Sergeant, and Lieutenant before being appointed chief on October 1st, 2016.   Ramey says the city will soon start the process of selecting a new police chief.

Atchison feels it is time to do something different and has tentatively accepted a position with the new Kaskaskia College Police Department.  In his letter of resignation, Atchison says he is grateful for the career opportunities that he has been given with the City.

Ramey says Atchison has been a dedicated Chief of Police who has always wanted to do the right things and make the Police Department a better department and make our city an even better place to live and raise a family with a safe environment.

Ramey says the chief has worked diligently with him over the past three years as police chief and accomplished several things including increasing technology for the department including GPS tracking for squad vehicles, increased surveillance cameras throughout the city and body cameras for officers.  Ramey says with his help, there has been no decrease in budgeted staffing levels for the past eight years in the police department.

Ramey adds Atchison’s dedication and commitment to the citizens of Centralia and to his staff will be missed and he believes the Mayor and City Council share his thoughts of wishing him the best at his new position he is undertaking and wish him a well-deserved retirement from the Centralia Police Department.

Ramey says he would appreciate any citizen seeing Chief Atchison in the next several weeks to say ‘thank you’ for his 30 years of service with the Centralia Police Department.

National News

One killed, seven injured after tour bus crashes off California highway

kali9/iStock(SHANDON, Calif.) — At least one person was killed and seven others injured when a tour bus crashed off a California roadway late Wednesday night, authorities said. The deadly crash occurred not long after the bus departed from a concert venue in the city of Paso Robles, where country and gospel singer Josh Turner performed…read more »