Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Salem Police Both Reporting Victims in Telephone Fraud Scams

August 20, 2016 Comments off

There are renewed calls from both the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Salem Police to not fall victim and to be aware of the numerous fraud scams that are currently being reported in the area.  The two departments say scams in recent days have resulted in area residents losing money.  

The sheriff’s department reports their latest problems have been with those who call to say they are fraud scam inspectors and if the person being called sends a sum of money they could get $2-million to $4-million back.  

Salem Police Chief Sean Reynolds says some residents have fallen victim to a Publisher Clearing House scam where the caller says they have won a prize and they need to send money in order to collect their winnings.   Centralia Police had earlier reported some victims of the Publisher Clearing House scam.  

The sheriff’s department says a simple rule should always apply….if it feels too good to be true, it is too good to be true. 

If you have questions about a call or offer, you are asked to contact your law enforcement department BEFORE you make any payments.  Officers will gladly take time to speak with you.   Police also encourage you to talk to elderly family members and friends and warn them about the scams.  The elderly are often targeted.      

Salem Police Detective Bryan Green has some other tips to avoid becoming a victim:

*  The Internal Revenue Service will not call you to attempt to collect a debt, nor will they threaten you with an arrest warrant.

*   Publishers Clearing House will not ask you to pay large amounts of money in order to collect your winnings.

*   The relative overseas, please send money scam, can be avoided by simply verifying where your loved ones are.  

*   DO NOT send money to strangers who have befriended you on social media.  

*   City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce will not attempt to gain your personal information by phone.   

Green say with advances in technology, frauds and scams by phone calls, mail or e-mails are becoming more and more prevalent. 

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Saturday Morning Balloon Flight Cancelled; Big Crowds For Friday Night Glow

August 20, 2016 Comments off

A full Balloon Glow replaced the first race of Balloon Fest cancelled Friday evening due to windy weather conditions. Photo by Pat Hodges.

The Saturday morning balloon race at Balloon Fest 2016 had to be cancelled due to the weather.  The weather also remains as a big question mark for the scheduled Balloon Glow scheduled for 7:30 Saturday night.  

Balloon Meister Kevin Knapp says the weather presented several problems Saturday morning.

“Yesterday evening I announced we had caution for this morning and that caution has come to fruition. We have storms in the area, low pressure system and a cold front coming towards us.  With the rain, the low ceiling and the fast winds as low as 700 feet that has kept balloon operations closed this morning,” said Knapp.  “We have storms coming through the day.  I’ll make a decision at four if the balloon will come out tonight.”  

Knapp says all the rain earlier this week has compounded the problem because of the ground already being saturated before any rain this weekend.  

While the balloon event is off Saturday morning, a full day of other activities is planned on Saturday at Balloon Fest.  The craft fair and concessions open at nine am, the children’s activity area is open from ten to four, a car show and display is set for 12:30 to 4, a karate demonstration at one, and if weather permits tethered balloon rides from six to nine pm.  Retro Boogie will perform pop, soul, and Top 40 on the main stage at 8:30 Saturday night.  

Another full day of activities is planned for Sunday when the weather looks more promising, including morning and afternoon balloon races.         

A large crowd filled Foundation Park for Day One of Balloon Fest 2016. While the winds prevented a balloon race, the crowd was treated to a full Balloon Glow of all the balloons participating in this year’s event.  

With rain threatening the ballooning events on Saturday, a scoring contest was held with pilots throwing tennis balls into Catfish Pond to determine who came closest to the target.

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Large Crowd Attends First Night of 2016 Balloon Fest

August 20, 2016 Comments off

A full Balloon Glow replaced the first race of Balloon Fest cancelled Friday evening due to windy weather conditions. Photo by Pat Hodges.

A large crowd filled Foundation Park for Day One of Balloon Fest 2016.

While the winds prevented a balloon race, the crowd was treated to a full Balloon Glow of all the balloons participating in this year’s event.  

With rain threatening the ballooning events on Saturday, a scoring contest was held with pilots throwing tennis balls into Catfish Pond to determine who came closest to the target.

In addition to a morning balloon race scheduled for 6:30 and evening Balloon Glow at 7:30, a full day of other activities is planned on Saturday at Balloon Fest.  The craft fair and concessions open at nine am, the children’s activity area is open from ten to four, a car show and display is set for 12:30 to 4, a karate demonstration at one, and if weather permits tethered balloon rides from six to nine pm.  Retro Boogie will perform pop, soul, and Top 40 on the main stage at 8:30 Saturday night.  

Another full day of activities is planned for Sunday, including morning and afternoon races.         

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Governor Rauner Helps Open New Mt. Vernon Township High School

August 20, 2016 Comments off

The Governor helps cut the ribbon opening the new Mt. Vernon Township High School on the first day of classes Friday.

Governor Bruce Rauner joined state and local leaders at the ribbon cutting Friday morning of the new Mt. Vernon Township High School to officially open the building for students.

The Governor said today a community’s dream for its students becomes a reality. He noted education is the most important thing we do as a society.  Rauner says it’s clear Mt. Vernon takes the responsibility of educating its youngest residents a priority, and he is excited to celebrate with the community as the new state-of-the-art facility is opened.

“This facility is dedicated to the way education should be done.  This gives parents and students choices in what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.   It gives the option, do you want to be on a college prepartory track and go to a great college? Awesome, go for it . You can do it here best anywhere.  Do you want to go into a technical career,  with great skills, to have a great income and a great future?  You can do it here.  And right out of this high school you can step into a great career with good pay and a strong future,” said Rauner.

Crews broke ground for the new facility in September 2014.  The school will be able to accommodate more than 1,800 students and features a 45,000 square foot career center. The new school is replacing the existing campus that contained 11 buildings. Those buildings were constructed between 1905 and the late 1970’s.

The project received $48 million in state funding as part of the school construction grant program.

The students of Mt. Vernon Township High School invited the Governor to attend the grand opening when he visited the school back in March.

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Farina Man Injured in Crash South of Altamont

August 20, 2016 Comments off

A 38-year-old Farina man was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital following a one vehicle crash Thursday night south of Altamont.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Department reports Jason Fletcher was southbound on the Altamont Blacktop near 800th Avenue when his truck ran off the road, rolled three times, struck a fence and caught fire.  

A passerby, 39-year-old Matt Robinson of Edgewood, stopped and pulled Fletcher from the burning truck.  Fletcher was taken from the scene by medical helicopter to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.  His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.  

Fletcher was ticketed for improper lane usage.  

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Three Plead Guilty to Misdemeanor Charges in Marion County Court

August 20, 2016 Comments off

Three people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in Marion County Court Thursday.

39-year-old Bryce Edwards of East Perry in Sandoval admitted to a domestic battery.  He was charged with biting Bryan Powe in an incident in May of this year.  Edwards was placed on one year misdemeanor probation and was ordered to surrender his FOID card. 

35-year-old Tyler Foster of East Mississippi in Sandoval pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of battery.  Foster was placed on one year court supervision and fined $100 and cost for pulling out Lindsay Mansker’s hair in a January 2015 incident.  

33-year-old Morgan York of South Sycamore in Centralia was placed on two years probation and fined $100 and cost after pleading guilty to a battery charge stemming from a May 2015 incident.

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Two Receive Minor Injuries in Route 161 Wreck East of Centralia

August 20, 2016 Comments off

Both drivers complained of minor injuries following a two vehicle crash on Route 161 at the Zion Hill Road east of Centralia Thursday morning.

Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies say 75-year-old Paul Rector of Old Salem Road in Kell ran into the rear of an SUV driven by 53-year-old Curtis Spangler of North 7th in Mt. Vernon when he stopped on Route 161 waiting to make a left turn.  

Rector was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The crash occurred at 10:40 Thursday morning.  

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