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Council approves new alert sirens for City of Gillespie

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Board creates commission to preserve Coal Mining Heritage

Larry Norville presented Mayor Hicks a check on behalf of the Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance for dispatching services.

Larry Norville presented Mayor Hicks a check on behalf of the Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance for dispatching services.

The decision to approve or deny new alert sirens for the City of Gillespie was finally brought before the council for a vote during the regular July meeting on Monday, July 8. Discussions had taken place over the course of the previous months and bids were presented to the council with Blue Valley Public Safety being the low bidder of $34,202.80 with the addition on electrical work costing no more than $2,000.

Members of the council still were not convinced the two sirens were necessary. Alderman Gus Ottersburg said if the sirens were going to be located in the same place they are now, the coverage for Kelly Street will be minimal. George Holesko, public safety director, said the replacement sirens are rotating rather than stationary sirens. “The siren by the water plant does not rotate, it is broke,” Holesko explained. “The money for relocation expense is a waste.”

Holesko said the sirens were better than before providing additional coverage area than what is covered now and multiple engineers agreed the location for the new sirens should be at the same location they are in now. “I believe where they are going to be located will not do any justice for the residents of the community,” Ottersburg responded.

Mayor Hicks assured Ottersburg if the sirens do not work as they should, the only cost the city would have would be the relocation of the siren. “Then, we go back to the company and tell them to move it,” Hicks explained. “Just a thought if you say it won’t happen.” Jerry Doliger agreed with Ottersburg saying 60% of the coverage area is outside of the city limits.

Jim Alderson motioned to purchase the two replacement sirens at the low bid of $34,202.80. The motion was carried with a vote of 5-3 with Ottersburg, Doliger, and Frank Barret voting against the replacement sirens.

The council went on to pass ordinance #13-9 preserving the Coal Mining Heritage in the City of Gillespie. “The city has a rich heritage of coal mining whereas the city council finds it within the best interest to create a provision to preserve the heritage of coal mining,” Hicks read from the ordinance. The mayor will appoint 5 members (Dave Tucker, Jenni Alepra, Dan Fisher, Shari Albrecht, & Steve Joyce) to serve on the committee preserving the Coal Mining Heritage. Both the ordinance and members were approved 7-0.

Police News

Chief of Police Jared DePoppe explained to the council the police department recently updated 3 computers to brand new computers, but the department recently had a problem with their server which is actually a computer used as a server. DePoppe said the hard drive on the computer acting as the server needs to be replaced, so he presented the council with a bid for repair and another bid with replacement.

DePoppe said there $2,500 available from the Mine which is designated for police use. DePoppe questioned if the police department can use $1,000 to purchase a new standalone server rather than using a computer to act as a server. The council approved his request and advised him to get the server replaced.

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Court fines from June were available for the months of May and June. He went on to report the department brought in $530 from junking cars from the impound lot and $350 in ordinance violations. The police department brought in a total of $6,785.52 for the month of June.

The police chairman, Steve Kluethe, reported the police department made 239 traffic stops during the second quarter (April, May, and June) generating 104 citations and 217 written reports. The visibility problems at the corner of Route 16 and Chestnut Street have improved, Kluethe explained. The owners of the property fixed the issues and Kluethe said he stopped by and thanked the property owners.

New Business

Alderman Gus Ottersburg reviews the areas the alert sirens will cover. Ottersburg disagreed with replacing the two alert sirens, but the motion passed anyway 5-3.

Alderman Gus Ottersburg reviews the areas the alert sirens will cover. Ottersburg disagreed with replacing the two alert sirens, but the motion passed anyway 5-3.

The council approved to give the same donation they did last year to the TAILS Golf Classic set for July 19. Hicks also updated the council on the new generator at the new BenGil Elementary School. “The wiring has started and the generator should be in by August and everything should be done when school starts,” Hicks explained.

The council passed an ordinance to rezone the business belonging to Kyle Lowry at 214 West Easton from B-2 to M-1 light manufacturing. The business will be a dual business specializing in car care and light welding. The ordinance was passed 8-0.

Under personnel, the council hired Rachel DePoppe as a part time dispatcher to start as soon as possible.

The council passed ordinance #13-8 to create a two-way stop at Chestnut and Shelby. The “dangerous intersection” will have a stop sign on the western and eastern paths. Hicks said it is for the best interest for the community to provide stop signs at this intersection. “A stop will be required at the east bound intersection as well as the west bound intersection before proceeding through the intersection,” Hicks read from the ordinance. The motion was passed 8-0.

Guest Recognition

The council welcomed Larry Norville back to the meeting on Monday. Norville presented the check to the city council for this year’s dispatching services for the Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance. “We included $3,000 and then all of the board of directors included what they get paid,” Larry laughed. Norville went on explain many people called and wrote letters how appreciative they were thanking the fire department how they went door to door checking on residents after the storm. “That is what we are here for and we work together,” Norville closed.

Rick Fulton returned to the council questioning the status of the culvert on Cedar Street. Mayor Hicks explained he didn’t know when the bid would come back, but the money is already approved for it. Hicks added they are trying to complete two with the same funding: the Cedar Street culvert and another one on Second Street.

Committee Reports

Dave Tucker reminded the council the city will hold recycling this Saturday again, but the city will have their own recycling area shortly. The cardboard trailer is already on site by the city shed behind the civic center. Tucker said the bins will be coming shortly. The council approved the bid of $238 from the BenGil Post to print signs for Gillespie Recycling.

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Frank Barrett reported the Gillespie Lake had a great weekend with the Fourth of July holiday. He went on to add he jumped the gun when he extended the campground. The city was written up for two things following the inspection: ants and the power box. Barrett got the paperwork and said he will get it complete and turned in.

Jerry Doliger said the maintenance department needs a new cage to use at the street department to use to hang Christmas decorations, flags, banners, and other necessary work. Doliger said a new one cost $3,500 and the city has been spending nearly $1,000 a year renting one. The motion was carried 8-0 to purchase a new one for the street department.

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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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Community News

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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