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Three new felony drug charges filed in Marion County Court   

Three new felony drug charges have been filed following arrests that were originally made in June and July.

33-year-old Heather Wrolen of West 16th in Centralia was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance for allegedly having less than 15 grams of heroin in her possession on June 23rd.

25-year-old Kerry Whipple of Fairway Drive in Centralia and 54-year-old Robin Davis of Ballard Road in Nashville were both charged with unlawful possession of under five grams of methamphetamine.   Whipple was arrested on July 13th and Davis on July 10th.

All three were given notices to appear in court for August 26th.


Scalise tells Illinois GOP it can recover by rebuilding

By JOHN O’CONNOR AP Political Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House brought a hopeful message to the beleaguered Illinois GOP Thursday.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House minority whip, told the faithful at the Illinois State Fair’s Republican Day that grassroots organizing and better ideas flipped his home state from Democratic control when he began his political career to Republican domination of the legislature and statewide offices today.

“The ghost of Huey Long still walks the state Capitol in Baton Rouge,” said Scalise, referring to the legendary Depression-era Democratic governor and U.S. senator. “But we finally took it back … and in just a short period of time, you can do that, too.”

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s crushing defeat of Republican Bruce Rauner last fall gave Democrats control of every statewide office and extraordinary majorities in the House and Senate. Two GOP congressional seats flipped, which helped Democrats regain control of the U.S. House, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a central Illinois Republican is in a tight rematch with Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, whom he beat by 1 percentage point in 2018.

Scalise, 53, who walked to the podium with a crutch in his left arm, was gravely wounded in June 2017 when a gunman from Illinois, allegedly distraught over Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

“He is our story of redemption. He’s our story of recovery,” Davis, who was on the field during the incident, said of Scalise. “And he’s the story of what Illinois Republicans are going to be after the next election.”

Scalise urged the crowd, which waved signs reading “Fight the Machine” and “Reject Socialism,” to defend Trump’s immigration policy of securing borders, hailed the economy’s growth and continued the GOP plea for a health care program in which people can shop for the best deal.

Republicans are hoping for help from Democrats themselves because of Illinois’ reputation for political corruption. The latest example is Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park, who faces a federal indictment that he embezzled $275,000 in pay from a union for which he allegedly did little work.

The GOP is also pouncing on Pritzker’s “fair tax” plan. Voters will decide in November 2020 whether to amend the constitution to allow for a graduated income tax that takes a greater percentage of income from the wealthy.

“There is nothing fair about it,” Greg Baise, a longtime business leader, said in a statement which identified him as chairman of a group called Vote No on Blank Check Amendment Committee. “Approval means handing Springfield politicians a blank check to raise taxes on Illinois families.”


 Latest bankers survey indicates shrinking rural economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The latest monthly survey of bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states indicates a shrinking rural economy, and three-quarters of bankers said President Donald Trump’s trade policies are having a negative effect on their local economies.

The Rural Mainstreet survey released Thursday shows its overall index falling from an already anemic 50.2 in July to 46.5 this month. Any score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says trade tensions “are driving growth lower for areas of the region with close ties to agriculture.” Goss also noted that despite negative consequences from tariffs, nearly 7 of 10 bank CEOS surveyed support either raising or continuing the Trump administration’s current tariffs.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Bart N Brown

Centralia man found guilty of three charges in connection with New Year’s Day Shooting in Centralia  

A 33-year-old Centralia man faces a mandatory 6 to 30-year prison term after being found guilty by a Marion County Jury on Thursday afternoon of a Class X charge of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with a New Year’s Day shooting in the backyard of his home.

Bart Brown of the 700 block of East Rasback was also found guilty of two Class Two felonies on possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon.  Each count could be punishable by between 3 and 14 years in prison.   A lesser included charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm was dismissed.

Brown was found guilty of shooting Justin McMath in the upper back and shoulder area resulting in a lung collapse and piercing one of his ribs.   McMath was initially taken to SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital and transferred to a St. Louis hospital for treatment.   Due to complications, McMath said he has had to undergo several surgeries and is still having health issues as a result.

State’s Attorney Bill Milner says the Class X charge would require Brown to serve 85-percent of the time on any sentence handed down.   The other two charges would require 50-percent of the term to be served.

Judge Marc Kelley revoked Brown’s $350,000 bond after the jury returned their verdict after just one hour of deliberation.   The four-day trial had started on Monday.

Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Doran who handled the prosecution says she will consult with McMath’s family before making a decision on what sentence to ask for at the October 23rd sentencing hearing.

McMath took the stand for the prosecution and told the jury he had gone to Brown’s home to retrieve a phone he had left behind earlier.  He reported a struggle occurred as he attempted to enter the home and a shotgun Brown had in his possession discharged and struck McMath.

Other testimony included video from a neighbor’s surveillance camera that showed Brown leaving his home with the gun.    He was gone for 24 hours before returning home without the gun.   Doran indicated the gun has never been located.

Meanwhile, McMath said he called 911 himself to get help for his injuries.

Brown did not testify, but his attorney claimed her client was acting in self-defense and left the home with the gun after the shooting to keep it out of McMath’s hands.   A number of motion hearings were held during the trial when Brown’s attorney attempted to enter evidence that had not been provided to the prosecution before the trial.

Mt. Vernon Police Badge

Mt. Vernon Police arrest three on meth charges as part of on-going investigation  

Three people were arrested by the Mt. Vernon Police/Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department High-Risk Team following the execution of a search warrant on an apartment at 4152 Willow Springs in Mt. Vernon.

34-year-old Taccarra Young was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance.  39-year-old Terry Turner and 20-year-old Toni Latchford were arrested for possession of methamphetamine.

All three were taken to the Jefferson County Justice Center to await the setting of bond.

During the search, detectives say they located methamphetamine and drug equipment.

Marion County Jail

Police Beat for Thursday, August 15th, 2019

A 36-year-old Centralia man has been arrested by Odin Police for felony obstructing justice and on a Richland County felony warrant.  Joseph Tate of East Almond was taken to the Marion County Jail to await a first court appearance.

29-year-old Lacy Heitkamp of East Marvin in Centralia was arrested by Central City Police for felony theft.

Four others were still in custody Thursday morning after being arrested on Wednesday on outstanding Marion County failure to appear warrants by sheriff’s deputies.  40-year-old Brandy Wilkerson of James Street in Centralia and 28-year-old David Bacon Junior of Fairview Heights were both arrested on outstanding felony warrants.  34-year-old William Phillips of West 4th in Centralia and 39-year-old Dominick Arnold of West Fifth was arrested on outstanding misdemeanor warrants.

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