Local News


Governor expanding State’s Home Visiting Program

Governor JB Pritzker hopes to expand the state’s home visiting program to all eligible families in Illinois by 2025.

He reports 500 additional children will be served this year with thousands visited over the next five years.  He says it’s vital to reach families during those early years.

“Home visits are proven to have an enormously positive effect on a child’s development.  It’s often said that a parent is a child’s first and best teacher.  And home visitation supports parents in that all-important role.”

The Governor says the state has recently secured millions of dollars in federal funding to improve early childhood programs across Illinois.  That includes increasing the early childhood workforce and raising salaries to improve retention rates.



No one injured when car slides under box truck carrying mail in downtown Centralia

No one was injured when a car ran into a box truck at the Poplar and Noleman Street intersection in downtown Centralia early Wednesday night.

Centralia Police Department reports indicate 79-year-old Carolyn Lashbrook of Walnut Hill Road in Centralia made a turn from Noleman in front of the southbound mail truck on Poplar Street driven by 35-year-old Kevin Schneider of North Sycamore in Centralia.


By Tim Ferguson


While Schneider swerved left to try and avoid the car, Lashbrook struck one of the rear tires causing the box portion of the truck to begin to tip over and bend the frame. The cab of the truck remained on the street. None of the mail spilled from the truck.

Lashbrook was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way at an intersection. North Poplar was closed for about an hour after the crash occurred at 5:14 Wednesday evening.

Thursday 1-23-20 weather

Winter Advisory in effect until six Friday night; watch for slick spots Thursday morning

Temperatures right around freezing in South Central Illinois could result in slick spots on area roads, parking lots, and sidewalks as a combination of rain, freezing rain and snow is falling Thursday morning.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until six Friday night as a result of the potential for slick roads.    Mixed precipitation becoming all snow this evening. Additional snow accumulations of one to three inches. The higher amounts are expected to be over portions of east-central Missouri and portions of southwest Illinois.   It only takes a small amount of wintry precipitation to make roads, bridges, sidewalks, and parking lots icy and dangerous. It is often difficult to tell when ice begins to form, so do not be caught off guard. For the latest road conditions, go to www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 4 pm. High near 35. South wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than a half-inch possible.
Thursday Night
Rain before 4 am, then rain and snow likely. Low around 33. Southeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming calm after midnight. The chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than a half-inch possible.
A chance of rain and snow before noon, then a chance of rain between noon and 5 pm, then a chance of rain and snow after 5 pm. Cloudy, with a high near 37. South wind 5 to 9 mph becoming west in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is 50%.
Friday Night
A chance of rain and snow before 10 pm, then a chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 33. West wind 9 to 14 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30%.
Cloudy, with a high near 39.
Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29.
Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.


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Illinois assesses damage from mistaken voter registrations

Illinois election officials say at least three of 16 voters who cast ballots after being mistakenly registered to vote are U.S. citizens after all.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office blames an error in Illinois’ automatic voter registration system for over 500 people who self-identified as noncitizens being wrongly registered to vote.

The State Board of Elections has said 16 of those individuals voted in elections in 2018 and 2019.

Spokesman Matt Dietrich said Wednesday that three are now confirmed as U.S. citizens and another two could be as well.

Republicans have called for the program to be suspended.

spencer - smith mugshot

Centralia man arrested for robbery later victim of aggravated battery in Marion County Jail   

Spencer Loyd and Blake Smith (Marion County Jail Photos)

A Centralia man arrested over the weekend for robbery ended up being a crime victim himself while being held in the Marion County Jail.

Blake Smith of East 3rd in Centralia was allegedly struck on the head and body at the jail on Sunday by another inmate.   That inmate, 26-year-old Spencer Loyd of Decatur, was formally charged in Marion County Court on Tuesday with aggravated battery.  His bond on the new charge was set at $10,000.   Loyd was being held in the Marion County Jail for unlawful possession of between 15 and 100 grams of methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, Smith was formally charged with the robbery in court on Tuesday.  He’s accused of taking a gold chain and U.S. currency from an 18-year-old Chicago man at the Point on Raccoon Lake on December 21st.   Smith’s bond was set at $10,000.  He later posted a $1,000 bond and was released.   The public defender was appointed to represent Smith.

courtroom gavel

Bluford man gets 25-year prison term on sex assault conviction    

A 23-year-old Bluford man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to one of two Class X felony charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13.

Branden Holt has been in the Jefferson County Jail since last August when he was arrested on a warrant charging the two offenses.

The victim had initially reported the incident to the Clay County Sheriff’s Department in 2018.   Jefferson County took over the investigation after it was determined the incident had occurred in Jefferson County.   Holt was not located to allow questioning until July of last year.   A warrant was then sought for his arrest.

National News

Inside the neo-Nazi hate group ‘The Base,’ which is the center of an FBI investigation

krblokhin/iStock(WASHINGTON) — A wide-ranging domestic terrorism investigation of the “The Base,” which authorities say is a neo-Nazi group, has culminated in the arrests of seven alleged members last week and has provided extensive new details about the inside operations of an organization that allegedly advocates for a “violent insurgency” to overthrow the U.S. government.The investigation…read more »

Billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner refuses to reveal full scope of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged multimillion-dollar theft

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Fragrance Foundation(NEW YORK) — Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of the L Brands retail empire, who in 2019 accused disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein of misappropriating “vast sums” of his personal fortune more than a decade earlier, has so far refused to reveal the full scope of that alleged multimillion-dollar theft.In a…read more »

Trump administration removes federal protections from streams, wetlands

TriciaDaniel/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration moves to remove Obama-era clean water protections intended to protect rivers, streams, wetlands and other bodies of water from pollution and runoff from industrial facilities and agriculture on Thursday, finalizing one of President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises to farmers.The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers altered…read more »

Man arrested with $3.7 million worth of drugs found in his car

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office(LITTLEFIELD, Ariz.) — A Utah man was arrested in Arizona when he got caught with nearly $3.7 million worth of drugs in his car, authorities said.Logan Lewis Pederson, 30, of Sandy had four different substances on him that tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and THC, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s…read more »

Monarch butterflies in California at critically low level for 2nd year in a row

ErikAgar/iStock(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The number of monarch butterflies wintering in California remains at a critically low level, according to a new study.The total number of monarchs observed this year during The Xerces Society Thanksgiving count was 29,418, according a press release issued Thursday by the nonprofit, which focuses on conserving invertebrates.While that number is slightly…read more »