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DePoppe hired as Gillespie Chief: Special Council Meeting August 15

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The council scheduled a special city council meeting on August 15 to appoint a chief for the police department.

The council first heard from Jennifer Hopper from the Health Department. Hopper came to the city to finalize an exercise route around the city. The route is the same route Black Diamond Days uses for their walk/run. The Health Department wants to put up signs on the route to mark the route so citizens know exactly where they are going and how far they are going. The signs will identify the exercise route, turn signals, and mile markers. All the signs will be paid for by the Health Department and will not cost the city any money at all. Although, the Health Department does not install the signs, they ask the city to do that. Included with the sign is all the necessary hardware: posts, signs, bolts, and nuts. The signs will be pre-assembled so the city just has to stick them in the ground. If the city would approve the signs, the Health Department would have maps of the route available for citizens to take in multiple locations around town. There was no objections from the council and Mayor John Hicks gave Hopper a tentative “yes”. After the city checks on liability issues, the council will vote on the signs at the next board meeting.

Before the city moved to executive session, Jim Alderson, alderman, made a statement about the cemetery. “We have all seen in the paper that the cemetery association solicits donations to run the cemetery,” Alderson said, “Many people ask why the city does not take care of their property. I want to make it clear that the city has no association with the cemetery as the cemetery is privately owned. It is referred to as the city’s cemetery, but the city has no connection with the cemetery.” In reality, the city has just granted the cemetery to use their name.

The council discusses liability issues on the sign.

The city then went in to executive session to appoint a chief of police to the police department. After 30 minutes, the council returned to open session. With a motion made to hire Jared DePoppe to chief of police, the council voted 6-1 with the only decline coming from Gus Ottersburg.

While waiting for DePoppe to arrive at the council meeting to swear in, Mayor Hicks updated the council on the demolition of the buildings on Macoupin Street. Hicks said there were many counts of asbestos and it will have to be removed before demolition. Demolition is slated to begin August 26. The asbestos will have be removed prior to the demolition, there was not much asbestos. The titles of the buildings has not been signed over to the city, but it is expected to be handled soon.

DePoppe then arrived at the meeting and was sworn in by city attorney: Kevin Polo. DePoppe and his wife, Joanna, have been living in Gillespie since June of 2005. DePoppe and his wife have 2 children: Bree (5) and Lock (6 months). DePoppe has been with the Gillespie Police Department since October of 2006 when he was hired as a volunteer police chaplain. In August of 2007, Depoppe was then hired as a part time officer and he served this position for a year and one half until he was hired full time in March of 2009. In January of 2011, DePoppe was again promoted to Sergeant and then Depoppe was acting chief of police when Dean Plovich resigned almost 2 months ago. Depoppe has been the pastor at First Baptist Church in Gillespie since January of 2006.

DePoppe hired as Chief of Police.

DePoppe earned his bible college diploma from Faith Bible Institute in Monroe, LA. Along with his bible education, DePoppe has a significant amount of education in the police field. DePoppe earned his law enforcement officer certification from Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board in Springfield, Illinois as well as his law enforcement transition certification from University of Illinois Police Training Institute in Champaign, IL. DePoppe then earned his certificate of training after 400+ hours of service at Law Enforcement Training Advisory Commission (MTU 10) in Springfield, IL; DePoppe received Academic Achievement Award for the highest overall academic class average on his certificate for training. DePoppe will act as chief immediately.

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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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