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Benld Council votes to help host Christmas Dinner

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Council pays Band Bill from Memorial Day

Cathy Petrak hands over the bill to repair the grease trap in the Nutritional Center to Mayor Robinson.

Cathy Petrak brought up the Christmas Dinner for the second time during a regular scheduled meeting on November 13. Petrak approached the council in October about possibly donating toward the dinner to help fund the meal. Last year, the meal was purchased by an anonymous donor. This year, it will be paid for by Build Benld and a contribution from the City of Benld.

The decision was tabled last month, so Petrak reminded the council that a decision was not made. During the public recognition portion of the meeting, Petrak asked the council if they made a decision yet. “This is an election year, let me remind you,” she explained. “Those seniors get out and vote, so this is your chance to deliver a meal to your voters. I leave it in your hands.”

Jim Tilashalski recognized both Build Benld and the Library are ran through the city in terms of the audit. “I guess my question would be why do we have to make a contribution when Build Benld has sufficient funds in their account?” Tilashalski explained he was not being negative, but is still dissatisfied by some of the things the council has gone away with in the best past such as the dumpster program. “If the budget is there and they can take care of it, let’s use our money for different things.”

Petrak explained Gillespie, Mt. Clare, and Wilsonville all do the same thing as Benld does and they still contribute to the seniors. “Our money strictly goes right back into Benld,” she expressed. “We spend every cent on projects for Benld.” Tilashalski assured Petrak that assumptions made in other communities are not always the right thing.

“All other municipalities in our area has had a senior Christmas dinner besides the City of Benld,” Lynn Fraelle stepped in. “We are not asking the City of Benld to do that. We are simply asking for a contribution toward the dinner with Build Benld bearing the larger portion.” Tilashalski questioned the attorney’s opinion whether Fraelle, who is the only member of Build Benld on the council, has the freedom to vote on the resolution. “There is no conflict, there is none whatsoever for a Build Benld member who is a council member as well to vote,” Rick Vertichio explained.

“We owe something to the seniors of Benld,” Fraelle said as she motioned to make the contribution. She went on to add the City is doing “a lot” better this year in financial status compared to previous years. “I do not see why the City has to obligate funds toward this. I support Build Benld and I will make a contribution from myself as I see that more fit than the City donating money,” Bernot stepped in. The motion was approved 4-2 and the council donated $400 toward the Christmas Dinner. Lynn Fraelle then explained Build Benld is looking at purchasing playground equipment for next spring, and “that is not inexpensive.”

Lynn Fraelle, chairwoman of the finance committee, explained the band bill was never paid from Memorial Day. “The amount was $930 and you left that up to Peyton and I,” she explained. Mayor Robinson questioned why one month the municipal band issued a bill for $930 and then $750 a couple months later. “They sent a thorough breakdown the second time and explained the amount was wrong on the first bill,” Tilashalski explained. Fraelle explained the money is available, so they may as well just pay it. She assured the band is in different leadership now and there will be better communication between the band and the council. The council approved the motion 6-0 to pay the $750 bill toward the band for the Memorial Day service.

Vertichio proposed a new maximum fine of $1,500 and a new minimum fine of $100 for ordinance violations. The motion was approved.

City Attorney’s Report
Rick Vertichio looked into raising the maximum and minimum on ordinance fines. “A lot of municipalities have gone toward a higher fine to seek compliance,” he explained. “You can ask the judge to raise the ordinance violation as high as possible for derelict properties to seek compliance. Then, you can amend the violation as progress is completed.” Vertichio proposed a new maximum fine of $1,500 and a new minimum fine of $100. The council passed the motion 6-0.

Vertichio went on to explain he was unable to secure programs from the EPA to assist tearing down buildings. He explained those programs he has worked through in the past are “gone away.” The building Rick is referring to is the “Conlee property.” He obtained a court date on November 19, at 9 o’clock in the morning, to proceed with the nuisance of the property. “EPA is not giving us containers; we will have to take care of it ourselves.”

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The council then approved a motion 6-0 to declare the property on 300 East Central a nuisance. The property is directly aside the Benld Public Library and parts have fallen off in the parking lot of the library. Part of the library parking lot is blocked off currently due to recent pieces that have fallen off of the building. “It is a hazard,” Gloria Sidar confirmed.

New Business
Jim Kelly explained Rich Plavonich, who the city hired to do the building inspections, was upset with the decision made last month. So, Kelly called Bob Lancaster and explained the situation. Lancaster is the city inspector in Gillespie and explained he would like to have the job if Rich did not want it. Lancaster requested the City of Benld to reimburse the City of Gillespie half of his last certification and training. “So, we would owe the City of Gillespie around $300 or $320. He will bring the bill in once he receives it,” Kelly explained. The council approved the motion 6-0 to hire Lancaster and reimburse the City of Gillespie.

The council then approved a motion 6-0 to approve the levy appropriation. An ordinance levying taxes for all corporate purposes for the City of benld for the fiscal year commencing on the 1st of May, 2013, and ending on the 30th day of April, 2014.

Committee Reports
Lynn Fraelle, finance chairperson, explained the city was shown the Illinois Municipal League insurance for the city which was “extremely high.” According to her, the question came up if the city could get a better rate. Fraelle talked to 3 insurance brokers, one being the insurance provider for CUSD #7. “All three are interested in giving us a bid and all three believe they can come in lower than IML, but unfortunately time is a factor. We have been sending information to all of them as fast as we can,” she explained.

Fraelle went on to explain the security camera for the city office, that was recently approved, will be installed this Saturday.

Finally, Lynn explained the city truck was nearly two decades old and was in “dire shape.” “There is exhaust in the truck, it is rusted out, it starts and it doesn’t start, it is sad,” she explained. The City had an opportunity to purchase a 2002 1500 Half-Ton Dodge Ram with 68,000 miles for $5,500. Fraelle explained she called all the alder people, other than Tilashalski because she did not have his number, and everyone favored the decision to replace the truck. “We had to move quickly, so we purchased the truck and it is in our possession,” Lynn said. “When I heard about it, it was a done deal,” Jim said. “I was concerned about the method of communication this went down in. It did not come out of a committee. What if it was a $25,000 item?” The council went on to approve the purchase of the truck 5-1 with Tilashalski obliging.

Gloria Sidar, police chairperson, checked into the use of the bike trial after Gina Mendenhall brought the issue up last month. “The City of Gillespie has no ordinances in their books regarding the use of the bike trail,” Sidar explained. “The trail is lighted.” She went on to say that the committee agreed there are enough ordinances in the ordinance book to cover any issues that may arise.

Sidar went on to mention that the police committee discussed other potential ordinances. She explained there are sanitation and pest concerns with trash issues and some even involving vehicles. “The committee is also going to look at the unlicensed vehicle ordinance to see if it can be reworded to incorporate a time frame,” she added.

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Lastly, Sidar explained the Chief of the Police and chair of committee will check into the possibility of applying for a grant to replace the older police vehicle. It is not a dire need, she explained, but they will be looking into grants.

Mayor Robinson questioned Peyton Bernot, water chairman, why he was not returning the phone calls to residents in the community. “How about this lady that paid her bill, but there is no water usage used at her property,” Robinson suggested as he tossed the bill across the table. “Well, there is a minimum. By ordinance, residents are charged the minimum if they use under the minimum or use nothing at all,” Bernot explained. Other board members chipped in as well and explained this policy has been defined by ordinance for “forever”.

“I have a question for you sir, housing,” Robinson directed toward Tilashalski. “Why are we inspecting houses in Sawyerville?” Tilashalski, along with multiple other board members, explained the city always has because they pay the fee. “Alright,” Robinson backed down. Tilashalski went on to ask if any council members had an issues with any inspections. None were brought up.

Public Recognition
Courtney Wood, of Macoupin Economic Development Partnership which Benld is a part of, spoke to the council about small business development efforts that will be put into effect 2013. “We are going to analyze results from a recent business survey to see what suits our small business needs,” Wood explained. Anything thought to raise overall participation and garner the most benefits to small businesses will be put into effect by MEDP. The push after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, Wood explained. This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 24. “Spread the word to shop local,” Wood closed.

Cathy Petrak explained the grease trap “next door” at the Nutrition Center has been filled, repaired, and checked. Petrak presented Mayor Robinson the bill for the City of Benld to pay their portion. “This is the finished bill,” Petrak handed over. “The total amount was $867.09.” The amount was split between the Benld Nutrition Center and the City of Benld.

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Progressive Club to celebrate 90th anniversary

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Benld Entreprise

The Wilsonville Progressive Club will celebrate and host a 90 year Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 11. The party will include a catered dinner, a live band, and fireworks.

Doors will open at 2 pm with a catered dinner being served at 4 pm.  The Shane Kessinger Experience (live band) will play at 5 pm, and a grand fireworks display will be held at dusk.

The Progressive Club was originally established in 1934 by the Progressive Miners and was located on the northwest side of Wilsonville’s main street. The Club moved to their new building in January of 1949 and today this is still the current location at 212 Wilson Street in Wilsonville.

Wilsonville was founded in 1917 when Superior Coal Co. Mine No. 4 was sunk and this was the most modern mine in the Superior field. At that time, the little settlement which grew up around the mine was called Wilson. One day a worker paused and asked, “What are we going to name this town?” President Wilson was in office, thus the town was then and there named Wilson until 1919 when it was incorporated and the name expanded to Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Progressive Club is operated and maintained by an elected panel of trustees and loyal members.  The Club is open to the public and membership is always welcome.  The large outdoor covered pavilion and manicured grassy side lot offer an attractive and convenient venue for any event along with inside facilities. 

If you are interested in renting for any kind of event, call 217-835-3122 during open hours which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 pm to close, and Sunday doors open at 2 pm.  Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm is the Queen of Hearts drawing and the Club is on Facebook as well.

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Gillespie Police Report: April 14-20, 2024

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SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Oak Street in reference to a dog bite.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street to pick up a found item.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Chestnut Street in reference to a burglary.

An officer was out in the 200 block of North Macoupin Street in reference to a motorist assist.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Schmidt Street in reference to a 911 call.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South 1st Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

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An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical call.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of South Illinois Street in Benld in reference to illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Horizon Street in reference to a 911 call.

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

An officer was dispatched to Gillespie Police Department to speak with a male in reference to a theft in the 100 block of South Main Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Osie Street in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Nicholas O. Landolt, 36, of Gillespie was arrested on multiple warrants including one out of St. Clair County for possession for methamphetamine, a second one out of Montgomery County for failure to appear for driving while license was revoked, and a third out of Macoupin County for failure to appear for methamphetamine.

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An officer was dispatched to East Walnut Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical alarm.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a theft in the 200 block of West Oak Street.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to criminal damage to her property.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to identity theft.

An officer spoke with a female in the 100 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a neighbor dispute.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

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An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Southern Street in reference to a suspicious person.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 1100 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to criminal damage to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 900 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespass to property. Melissa J. Hughes, 49, of Benld was arrested on a Montgomery County warrant for theft/larceny.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Francis Street in reference to a traffic crash.

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An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil issue in the 700 block of Rose Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Pine Street to assist the Department of Children and Family Services.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Broadway Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Central Avenue in Benld in reference to a 911 call.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2024

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to fraud in the 200 block of South Macoupin.

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 500 block of East Elm Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

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An officer was dispatched to Route 4 and Staunton Road in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Gillespie Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer was dispatched to High Street and Gillespie Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of High Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was flagged down at Elm Street and Clinton Street and spoke with an individual in reference to a civil issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a suspicious circumstance.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2024

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 400 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a panic alarm sounding.

An officer was dispatched to the 1300 block of South Second Street in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Osie Street in reference to a dog bite.  Heather L. Kimberlin, 47, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was out with a suspicious vehicle in the alley in the 500 block of Park Avenue.

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut and South Main Street in Benld in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the Veterans Memorial Park in Benld in reference to a suspicious vehicle that had been parked there for a couple of days.

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Gillespie Police Department was requested for traffic control by the Gillespie Fire Department for a fire on Eagarville Road.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to a traffic crash.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South Street in Gillespie in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Litchfield Road in East Gillespie in reference to a suspicious person at the storage units. Kathy J. Henderson, 49, of Sawyerville was arrested on a Macoupin County warrant for failure to appear for bad checks

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Maple Street and Macoupin Street. Kenny L. Fults, 18, of Belleville was issued a citation for possession of cannabis.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Burton Street in reference to an animal complaint.

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SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespassing. Timothy J. Dalpozzo, 57, of Benld was arrested for criminal trespassing to residence and a Macoupin County warrant for criminal trespassing to a residence.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at South Street and Chestnut Street and charges are pending crime lab results.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to Macoupin Street and Elm Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Osie Street in reference to a dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 8th Street in Benld in reference to medical assist.

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An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of West Spruce Street in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Park Street in Benld in reference to a medical call.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to an ordinance issue.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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HSHS St. Francis Hospital offers volunteer opportunities for feens

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LITCHFIELD, Ill. — HSHS St. Francis Hospital is offering service opportunities to area teens this summer through the 2024 Junior Volunteer Program. Applications are being accepted now through May 1.

Applicants must be high school students maintaining at least a “C” average, be a minimum of 14 years of age by June 1 and be willing to volunteer at least two hours per week during the summer program. Junior volunteers will perform a variety of duties in various hospital departments. 

Registration materials are available on the hospital’s website volunteer page at https://www.hshs.org/st-francis/community/volunteer.

All participants in the program will be required to present proof of immunizations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Varicella (chicken pox). An additional requirement includes attendance at a hospital orientation.

A limited number of positions will be available. For more information, contact HSHS St. Francis Hospital at 217-324-8200.

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