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Benld City Council Accepts Two $1,500 Checks

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The Benld City Council accepted two $1,500 checks from Monte Jones from Maryan Mining LLC. The checks, totaling $3,000 together, was strictly a donation to the city. “I think the money should go into the city property fund since we have property we are going to have to address with bulldozers in the future,” Mayor Hendricks said, “This will benefit us most with that extra money handy, along with the money we already have there.” With no discussion or disagreement, the council voted 5-0 for the donation to rest in the city property fund. The City of Benld greatly thanks Maryan Mining.

Lynn Fraelle updates the council on the route signs for walking and jogging.

In other new business, the council hired part time police officers Levi Rosentreter and Joshua Carter. Both applicants have been working with the city for the time being since Mayor Hendricks temporarily appointed them until the next board meeting. The two officers were hired on a part time basis after a 4-1 vote with the only oblige from Tilashalski. “I only say no because the funds could be used in other areas of the police department,” Tilashakski went on to say.

The council voted 4-1 to accept First National Bank’s offering of the old Tarro Grocery Store on 208 East Central. Mayor Hendricks explained the City has a party that has expressed much interest over the property and has gone all the way to even have the property inspected. After inspection, the party said the mold issue was not nearly as bad as expected and could be cleaned up rather quickly. Mayor Hendricks said the city will call FNB and accept the offer and then go from there as far as demolition, leasing, or selling is concerned. Tilashalski expressed concerns about what the party’s intention of the building was and are they even going to buy it so the city will not be “stuck” with it. Tilashalski later voted no, but the motion was still carried out.

The council then heard from alderman Peyton Bernot about the Illinois Codification Services. The council has been under discussion to remove old ordinances and adding new ones after receiving notification from the company who has revised the ordinances in the past, which is Illinois Codification Services. “Basically, I asked what the procedure was,” Bernot explained, “They would come in, look at the book, and would cost the city around $6,000.” The $6,000 figure is negotiable, and the process would take nearly six months. Bernot went on to explain that there are ordinances that are mandated from the State and Federal governments for municipalities and the government agencies send out auditors to audit the city’s ordinance book. The mandated ordinances are not in Benld’s book. The city decided to address city attorney Rick Vertichio about the mandated ordinances and table the decision to revise the ordinance books.

Before listening to the public, the council set the Halloween trick-or-treat days and hours. The hours will be from 6:00-8:00pm on October 30 and 31. The council also approved 5-0 to adopt-a-class from Benld Elementary for $100.00. Mayor Hendricks suggested this was best for the council after reading a letter from Angela Turcol, Benld Elementary Principal.

The council heard from numerous residents of the city:

Gina and Mike Mendenhall addressed the council of burning in the city during hours that are not allowed. Burning is permitted in the City of Benld from 6:00am-6:00pm and is limited to just garden waste, but Gina went on to say that the burning in her neighborhood has been more than garden waste. “There is a lot more being burned in my area than garden waste,” Gina said, “It has been plastic and even aerosol cans popping. Other people bring their trash over to burn it.” To burn plastic and aerosol cans are against EPA regulations and also against the city ordinances. Mayor Hendricks advised her to call the police when she notices it and the police will handle it.

Lynn Fraelle from Build Benld showed the council the calendars that are for sale. The calendars can be purchased from Lynn or anyone else involved in Build Benld. The route for walking and jogging with be posted with signs in the spring rather than in the fall. The Macoupin County Department of Public Health, who donated the signs, has requested to wait until after the winter weather has passed. Lynn also stated that Build Benld would like a ‘bike path watch’ due to the number of complaints of small trafficking and even criminal activity.

Cathy Petrak advised the city some of the problems with the nutrition center. There has been much debate over the nutrition center and Fritz, the owner. Fritz owns the building right next to the nutrition center on the east side. Petrak went on to explain that there will be a Christmas Party this year and the event has already been booked at the Civic Center. Petrak would like to see the aldermen donate $25 each and also deliver food to the citizens who are unable to make it to the party.

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Tom Hubert said there should be a note on the water bill concerning the burning issue. In the years past, there was space for two lines of text for announcements and other news, but that has been done away with. Bernot, the water commissioner, said there is a chance it can be reinstated. If not, he will consider running an ad in the newspaper to get the information out.

Cathy Petrak passes on a bid she received for the work to be done on the nutrition center.

In committee reports, all bills were paid under police, maintenance, and sewer. The finance committee paid all bills and went on to address that the audit from last year should be compete by the end of October. Water hydrants in the city will be flushed in the upcoming weeks, after Gillespie flushes theirs. All water bills were then paid.

City property chairman Mickey Robinson gave the report on the city property. Robinson said the four trailers sitting on the railroad track at central avenue will be taken out as agreed by Illinois EPA, United Pacific Railroad, and Norfolk & Southern Railroad. The trailers will be taken out per IEPA regulations. Robinson also presented that the city is in process of replacing the motion sensor on the light on the flagpole at Veteran’s Memorial Park as well as finding someone to look at the commode in the women’s restroom in the city park. The commode does not shut off.

The council then briefly discussed raising the rates of the rental of the Benld City Park of the Civic Center. Rates will be increased to $150 upon a vote, but the decision was tabled for a future meeting.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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