Former Salem Woman Arrested on Warrant

October 23, 2014 Comments off

A 19-year-old former Salem woman who had been living in California turned herself in Tuesday at the Marion County Jail on an outstanding warrant charging home invasion, criminal damage to property and possession of a stolen firearm.  

Abigael Devore remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $25,000 bond.  Devore was charged with home invasion for allegedly entering an apartment occupied by Dakota O’Dell and Brittany Chambers on East Poplar Street in Odin.  She’s also accused of damaging the property of O’Dell and Chambers as well as with possession of a firearm she should have known was stolen or converted.  

Devore had been arrested immediately after the incident for criminal trespass and battery and released on bond.  However, a Special Prosecutor named to handle the case because State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach had a conflict later elevated the charges and sought the issuance of the arrest warrant. 

There were no injuries in the incident.   

Wamac Man Arrested After Being Found Hiding in House

October 23, 2014 Comments off

A 22-year-old Wamac man who told police he was homeless was arrested hiding under the bed of a home on West 17th Street in Centralia Tuesday.  

James Townsend was taken to the Marion County Jail on charges of criminal trespass and criminal damage to property.  

The home’s owner, Scott Cooksey, said he had gone to the home on Monday and found a broken window and said it appeared someone had been inside.  When Cooksey returned on Tuesday, the lights he had turned on were off and an attempt had been made to barricade the back door shut from the inside.  He called Wamac Police who were joined by Centralia Police in searching the home.  

Townsend denied breaking out the window that appeared to have been used to enter the residence.  

Townsend was released after posting $150 bond.

Police Beat for Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

October 23, 2014 Comments off

A 22-year-old Centralia man who apparently was upset when his parents wouldn’t take him to purchase K-2 allegedly started an altercation in their car.  They stopped the car in the Junction City Bowling Alley Parking lot until Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and took Kyle Obermeier of West Kell into custody for criminal damage to state supported property, interfering with a 911 call and domestic battery.  Deputies were told Obermeier grabbed his mother’s phone when she was trying to call 911 and hung it up.  He’s also accused of earlier striking his step-father. 

26-year-old Matthew Stebbins of North Elm in Centralia was arrested by Centralia Police for alleged violation of sex offender registration.  

Two others are being held on outstanding warrants.  23-year-old Shane Bell who told Wamac Police he was homeless was arrested on an ordinance violation warrant.  48-year-old WIlliam Walker of Sanders Street in Wamac was arrested by Wamac Police on an ordinance violation warrant.  

 21-year-old Trey Nix of Airport Road in Salem posted $300 bond on an outstanding traffic warrant. 

52-year-old Darrell Sullens of Foster Lane in Iuka posted $500 bond and was released after being arrested on a DUI warrant.

34-year-old Nathan Bailey of East Third in Centralia posted $595 bond after being arrested by sheriff’s deputies.

18-year-old Brock Metcalf of North Hamilton Street in Salem was released on personal recognizance bond after being arrested by State Police for illegal consumption of a liquor by a minor and illegal transportation of liquor.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of a 12 foot long aluminum brake construction tool from the Christopher Chappel residence on Berry Road in Patoka sometime before 6:30 Tuesday night.  

Centralia Taco Bell Reopening Friday or Saturday

October 23, 2014 Comments off

The Taco Bell Restaurant in the Fairview Park Shopping Center in Centralia is reopening this Friday or Saturday.  

The old restaurant was torn down in August to make room for the new facility.  Centralia Economic Development Director Kayla Lambert says construction on the new restaurant was expected to be completed on Tuesday.  

The city valued the new building at $365,000 when issuing the building permit.  

Salem Changes Sign Code Ordinance

October 21, 2014 Comments off

The Salem City Council has approved changes in the sign code ordinance that for the first time will allow the city to issue ordinance violation tickets for those with signs that have fallen into disrepair.  City Manager Bill Gruen thinks there are only about a dozen signs that fall into that category, but feels the oversight is warranted as the city works to clear up other unsightly problems on private property.

“First step is to take a survey of the city and see what signs are out there that cause concern. We’ll make a list of where those are and after that, Brian Hunt, our code enforcement officer, does a good job of communicating to property owners…and we’ll work with people to come into compliance” said Gruen.

The sign code changes now allow for pennants, propellers, paddle wheels, streamers, spinners, and other items designed to be set in motion by the wind.  Off premise signs will be permitted and the requirement for temporary signs placed by businesses and organizations have been relaxed.   

The Salem City Council gave their approval to seeking bids to tear down substandard and vacant homes at 10-24 North Jackson, 302 West Whittaker, 508 South Washington, 315 West Lake and 12-20 South Broadway.  The brick hotel next to the South Broadway home will be spared.  Gary Purcell is purchasing the hotel building for back taxes and wants to renovate it for his plumbing business.

The council set a public hearing on the creation of a business district for the new Holiday Inn Select at Kinney Boulevard and West Main for Monday, November 3rd, at six pm.   

The council held off on a zoning change on property at 13-13 East Main from commercial to residential pending an inspection of the building on the property that has been vacant for a number of years.  Council woman Sue Morgan wants to make sure the home is safe to inhabit.  

The city will accept a $20,000 Illinois Capital Bill grant to make heating and air conditioning improvements to the police department.  Some inside doors will also be replaced.   

The council gave first reading approval to the proposed property tax levy for property taxes to be collected in 2015.  It is proposed to be 4.99 percent higher than this year’s levy.  

Expect Gas Rates to Drop in Salem

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen says residents and businesses can both expect another natural gas rate reduction.   His comment came following a review of the audit for the last fiscal year that showed all of the city’s utilities operating in the black.  

“What I’m looking at would be a reduction for everyone, business and residents. That could come, perhaps, later this year” Gruen told WJBD.

There was another rate reduction last year that followed complaints from a Salem industry that the city’s rates were too high for industrial customers, especially with the large surplus the city had in the gas fund.  

Auditor Fred Becker of Glass and Shuffet CPA told the city council Monday night that the city saw an overall increase in the value of its assets last year.  He noted the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund had $4.6-million in cash available, with liabilities of $7.4-million leaving an unfunded balance of $2.7-million dollars.  However, Becker said the shortfall is close to normal and no city fully funds the IMRF.  

Bonnie Man Admits to Murder, Gets 40 Years in Prison.

October 21, 2014 Comments off

It’s likely that a Bonnie man will spend the rest of his natural life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in Jefferson County Court. 

44 year old Timothy S. Newell admitted to the murder of his grandmother, Rita Newell. Rita was killed on October 3rd, 2013 at her home after being beaten and stabbed in the neck. 

Newell was sentenced to 40 years in prison on the charges. Jefferson County States Attorney Douglas Hoffman noted that Newell will have to serve 100% of his sentence, meaning he wont be eligible for release until 2054–when he will be 84 years old.


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