Local News


Both drivers hurt in two-vehicle crash on U.S. 51 south of Sandoval 

State Police say both drivers were injured in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 51 south of Sandoval Friday afternoon.

Preliminary investigative details indicate a 16-year-old Patoka resident was traveling southbound just south of Red Stripe Road when the driver lost control and skidded sideways into the northbound lane.   The juvenile’s car struck a northbound vehicle in the passenger side door driven by 35-year-old Sheila Towler of Sandoval.

Towler was taken by Sandoval Fire Ambulance to SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia.   The juvenile was transported by Life Star Ambulance Service to St. Mary’s Hospital.

The juvenile was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The crash occurred at 3:39 Friday afternoon.

Joel Powless Clay County Resident Judge

New Clay County Resident Judge Appointed by Illinois Supreme Court

Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Joel J.C. Powless as a Resident Circuit Judge of Clay County.

Powless is being appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Wm. Robin Todd on January 18, 2019.

“Just as the people of Clay County expressed their confidence in Mr. Powless when they elected him their state’s attorney, his appointment today [Friday] as the county’s Resident Circuit Judge reflects the court’s confidence that he will make an outstanding judge,” Karmeier said. “His training, background and commitment to his community make him well suited for the position. I have every faith that he will carry out his responsibilities with dignity, fairness, a commitment to justice, and respect for all who appear before him.”

The appointment takes effect on March 1, 2019, and will conclude on December 7, 2020, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2020 general election.

“I am honored and humbled by the appointment. I want to thank Chief Justice Karmeier, his appointment committee, and the Supreme Court for their confidence in me, and for entrusting me with this tremendous responsibility,” Powless said. “I really look forward to serving the people of Clay County.”

Chief Justice Karmier recommended the appointment to the full Court following a review of applicants by a six-person screening committee consisting of lawyers who reside in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Powless has served as Clay County State’s Attorney since 2016. Prior to election to that post, he worked in private practice for four years and served as a municipal hearing officer for the City of Flora. Powless has also been admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Kentucky where he served as a part-time Assistant Commonwealth Attorney and briefly practiced with a law firm in Benton, Kentucky.

Mr. Powless graduated magna cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University and earned his Juris Doctor from the St. Thomas University School of Law. He also holds an L.L.M. in taxation from the University of Miami School of Law.

The Fourth Judicial Circuit encompasses nine counties: Christian, Clay, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, Montgomery and Shelby.


Shimkus votes YES on border security and spending agreement; agrees border situation is national emergency

Congressman John Shimkus agrees with President Trump that the crisis at the Mexican border is a national emergency.

The 15th District Congressman who represents a large part of South Central Illinois also voted in support of the final Fiscal Year 2019 spending agreement.

“Speaker Pelosi said she would give President Trump just $1 for the border wall, and this deal provides $1,374,999,999 more than she offered,” said Shimkus. “That’s a huge win for the Border Patrol agents who, because of this agreement, will soon have 55 miles of new physical barrier where they say they need it most.”

The Senate and House-passed bill was signed by President Trump on Friday avoiding a second shutdown of the federal government.  Trump also declared a National Emergency and will now begin an effort to find additional money to build a wall along the border.

Shimkus has requested that his name be added to H.R. 714, the EL CHAPO Act. This legislation would reserve any amounts forfeited to the United States Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera (commonly known as “El Chapo”), for security measures along the Southern border including the completion of a border wall.

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Centralia man charged with aggravated battery following alleged severe spanking of young girl

Bond has been set at $5,000 for a 34-year-old Centralia man who has been charged with aggravated battery to a child.

Centralia Police arrested Andrew Rushing of Anderson Street after a family member notified them on Wednesday of the bruising the boy under the age of 13 received as a result of a severe spanking.   Rushing reportedly told police he administered the spanking due to the girl’s poor attitude and grades in school.

The Public Defender was appointed to represent Rushing.  If released on bond, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

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Centralia man charged with possession of meth after allegedly trying to flee police on bike  

A 37-year-old Centralia man has been charged with unlawful possession of under 5 grams of meth after allegedly trying to get away from police on a bike.

Centralia Police say they tried to stop Jeremy Lewis of North Locust Street after being called to a burglary in progress Wednesday afternoon in the 1500 block of South Cherry.   Police eventually caught up with Lewis.   During a search, they allegedly found Lewis in possession of a baggie that contained meth and hypodermic syringes.

A person with Lewis did not try to flee and was released after being questioned by police.

Lewis had the public defender appointed to represent him.  A preliminary hearing is set for April 2nd.

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Centralia woman faces new methamphetamine charge 

Bond has been set at $15,000 for a 44-year-old Centralia woman who was formally charged in Marion County Court with unlawful possession of under five grams of methamphetamine.

Centralia Police say they stopped Tammy Crabtree of South Hickory while she was walking at 6th and Poplar to do a check on her since she is on probation.

They allegedly found 3.9 grams of meth and three drug pipes.

Crabtree had the public defender appointed to represent her.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 12th.

National News

Aurora shooting suspect opened fire during termination meeting: Police

ABC News(AURORA, Illinois) — A “disgruntled” worker of an Illinois factory opened fire after being called into a meeting to terminate his employment, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was shot dead in a gunfight, officials said Saturday.Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the suspect, Gary Martin, 45, committed Friday’s massacre…read more »

Former US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked by Vatican over sex abuse claims

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Pope Francis officially defrocked the disgraced former cardinal of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick on Friday, following a secret Vatican tribunal into allegations that he molested a 16-year-old boy decades ago.”On 11 January 2019, the Congress of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC,…read more »