Ina Man Sentenced to Prison for Meth Manufacturing

July 30, 2014 Comments off

An Ina man will spend the next 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to Meth Manufacturing in Jefferson County Court. 

42 year old Johnathan Cooper was arrested in August of 2013 by Ina Police following an investigation into suspected Meth production at Cooper’s residence. One police officer was injured during Cooper’s arrest after being exposed to meth-related chemicals.

Cooper previously served three years in prison on a possession of a controlled substance charge.

Following his sentence, he will serve two years of mandatory supervised release.

St. Peter Trick Horse Rider Returns Home For C-Bar Rodeo at Fair Wednesday Night

July 30, 2014 Comments off

A trick horse rider who got her start at an early age in local rodeos is returning home Wednesday night for a performance with the C-Bar Rodeo at the Marion County Fair.  

Dusty Rhodes, who grew up in the St. Peter area and is a 2005 graduate of South Central High School, has been working for the past eight years at the Dixie Stampede at Dollywood Tennessee.  “I started doing local rodeos and shows around home so it is exciting for me to come her and perform and knowing people are going to come out and watch my performance is very humbling because these are the people that saw me when I started,” said Rhodes.  “This is awesome to me.”

Rhodes has some exciting acts planned for the rodeo.  “For the trick riding act, I’ll be on my horse Royal and I’ll be doing gymnastics on horseback.  I’ll be hanging upside down, standing up, jumping off all at very high speed.  The Roman riding acts are what I’m known for. that’s kind of my thing.  I’ll be standing up on two horses, my horses Royal and Blue.  We’ll be trying some high stakes maneuvers.  We’re going weaving and splitting fire and jump a giant ring of fire,” said Rhodes.

The C-Bar Rodeo begins at seven Wednesday night in front of the grandstand at the Marion County Fair.   Tickets are ten dollars for reserve seats and pit passes and $8 for general admission.  Also at the fair tonight, the 4-H Livestock Sale will begin at six pm.  

Salem Fire Department Get Signal Changing Equipment

July 30, 2014 Comments off

The Salem Fire Protection District will now have an easier time making it through the Main and Broadway intersection downtown when headed to emergency calls.  

Fire Chief Roger Mann announced Tuesday that a generous donation from Larry Rogers at the Rogers-Atkins Funeral Home has allowed the department to install a Tomar system that will allow lead fire department engines to give a green light to traffic in front of them.  

“It will allow the vehicles to clear the intersection in the direction they are going and allow us to get through in a more timely manner,” said Mann.   “It won’t necessarily increase our speed going through the intersection, but it lets us work the people on the road to clear the road to make the path for the emergency vehicle better.”

Mann says in the past it has been difficult at times to negotiate the intersection during periods of heavy traffic.  The light strobe attached to the siren and light bars can change the lights up to 2,500 feet away.  

The Salem Fire Protection District had initially sought a grant to provide the signal changing ability at all stop lights in town, but it was not funded.  At that point, Rogers inquired if he could help and stepped forward with the donation.  

The chief says other intersections can be added later.  Mann adds the service will also be made available to other emergency providers, but they will have to buy the strobe units for their vehicles that change the signal lights.   

Fire Department Engineer Jim Bryant coordinated the study of systems available and the installation.  

Mann says they are appreciative of Rogers and the funeral home for their assistance in making the project a reality.  

Morgan Belcher of Vernon Crowned 2014 Marion County Fair Queen

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Marion County has a new 2014 County Fair Queen, and it’s Morgan Belcher of Vernon.

The stands were packed during what is arguably the biggest event of the entire week: the Marion County Fair Queen Pageant, where nine girls competed to win the crown of outgoing 2013 Fair Queen Lacey Honaker.

The girls competed in individual interview, swimwear, and evening wear competition in front of a panel of judges to determine who would get to wear the crown, and while each girl was impressive, it was Morgan Belcher who came out wearing the sash and crown.

“I’m overcome with happiness, this has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I feel very blessed” said Belcher after she was crowned.

Describing herself as a “relaxed” girl who “goes with the flow”, Belcher is the 20 year old Daughter of Greg Belcher and Denise Forehand. She graduated from Kaskaskia College in the Spring and plans to transfer to Greenville College to major in Elementary Education in the Fall.

First Runner Up was Charli Decker of Salem, Second Runner Up was Becky Black of Salem, and the Miss Congeniality Award went to Emily Downs, also of Salem.

The audience included visiting fair queens from Clinton, Effingham, Monroe, Richland, Clay, Fayette, Jasper, and Perry Counties, and most notably Miss Illinois County Fair Queen herself, Summer Robbins of Coffeen in Montgomery County. Robbins says Belcher will be a fantastic ambassador for Marion County.

“She’s a beautiful person” said Robbins, “Inside and out.”

The fair continues this week with the Rodeo on Wednesday, the Draft Horse Pull on Thursday, the Demolition Derby on Friday, and closes with the NTPA tractor pull on Saturday.

Route 161 Improvements Near I-57 Coming Soon

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Those bone shaking, car rattling trips on Illinois Route 161 near the Interstate 57 interchange may soon come to an end.  

State Senator Kyle McCarter has announced the Illinois Department of Transportation will open bids on the project on Friday, August 1st.  The estimated cost of resurfacing the nearly 1.5-miles of Route 161 from west of Interstate 57 to Illinois Route 37 is expected to cost about $900,000.  Once the bids are opened, it usual takes about 45 days before contracts are awarded.   

The pavement has fallen into serious disrepair over the past few years and several attempts at patching have left the road with a very rough surface. 

4H Show Winners Announced

July 29, 2014 Comments off

The Marion County 4-H members continued their 4-H shows at the Marion County Fair on Monday evening with the 4-H Rabbit, 4-H Poultry, and 4-H Crops Shows.

Here are the winners: 

  • Grand Champion Market Pen – Katie Shumate of Kinmundy
  • Reserve Grand Champion Market Pen – Travis Nattier of Patoka
  • Grand Champion Rabbit – Katie Shumate
  • Reserve Champion Rabbit – Cassie Bailey of Salem
  • Senior Showmanship – Summer Purcell of Alma
  • Reserve Senior Showmanship – Hannah Garner of Patoka
  • Junior Showmanship – Olivia Ranaud of Walnut Hill
  • Reserve Junior Showmanship – Makayla Karrick of Patoka


  • Grand Champion Poultry – Jacob Hanks of Iuka
  • Reserve Grand Champion Poultry – River Altom of Centralia
  • Grand Champion Market Pen – Adrianna Gillett of Kinmundy
  • Reserve Champion Market Pen – Olivia Wilkins of Iuka
  • Senior Showmanship – Wyatt Reich of Dix
  •  Junior Showmanship – Rachel Neubauer of Kell


  •  Senior Champion – Blake Hayes of Kell
  •  Intermediate Champion – Jacob Hanks of Iuka
  •  Junior Champion – Blaze Courson of Kinmundy
  •  State Fair Delegates – Blake Hayes of Kell and Jonathan McConnaughhay of Iuka

Marion County 4-H activities continue this evening the 4-H Carcass Show at Farina Locker Service in Farina at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening will be a big evening for Marion County 4-H livestock exhibitors as the Youth Livestock Auction will begin at 6 p.m.

West Nile Shows Up in Ashley Mosquito Sample

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Washington County has its first indication West Nile virus is in the area.  A mosquito sample taken on July 22nd in Ashley has tested positive for the virus.  

The number of positive tests statewide is down considerably this year, most likely as a result of the cool, wet summer weather.  

Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesman Melaney Arnold says a year ago 4 percent of the mosquitoes trapped in counties around the state carried West Nile. At this point in 2012 that figure was 14 percent. But this year it’s just 1 percent.

University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Phil Nixon says there are plenty of mosquitoes around. But most aren’t the Culex mosquitoes that transmit the virus.  But a run of hot, dry weather that favors Culex could increase their numbers.

The drought of 2012 is believed to have led to the high populations.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers