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Gillespie Council decides to move Atrazine Settlement money to specific account

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A disagreement with the Farmer’s Market ordinance leaves Kevin Polo to redraw it

City attorney Kevin Polo

City attorney Kevin Polo drafted a new ordinance allowing Farmer’s Market inside city limits following Ageless’ initial plans to host the market starting in May. He will redraw the ordinance following Monday’s meeting in hopes for an approval in April.

Mayor Hicks requested the council move the atrazine money into a special fund earmarked for water improvement only called the water improvement fund during a regular scheduled council meeting on March 11. The council passed the decision 6-0 which would hopefully allow the city to obtain water improvement grants in the future.

Before the vote, multiple people voiced their opinions regarding the Welfare Park indoor batting cage which Frank Barrett initially wanted to use the Atrazine settlement money for. Ryan Brown questioned the council if “Welfare Park” was the Welfare Park Association or the City of Gillespie’s. Mayor Hicks explained that question is up for debate as Frank Barrett is in attempts to establish a board to run Welfare Park as a separate entity. Brown then suggested Welfare Park should not be able to use the city’s tax identification since the money profited from the concession sales go toward the park and not the city. “Isn’t that illegal?”

Barrett explained all the money goes into the park. “So, Welfare has $17,000 in the bank – that is the City of Gillespie’s money right,” Brown questioned. Dan Fisher stepped in and explained the Welfare organization has been treated as an agent of the city acting on behalf of the city maintaining the fields for us because we own them. “The leagues are a separate matter,” Fisher explained. “Welfare is looking to change it around now to make it more structured.”

Brown went on to say he did some investigating to find out the Welfare Board was dissolved in 1982 to turn the park to the city for the city to obtain a grant to install lighting on the fields. “It doesn’t seem very right for an organization to be able to use the city’s tax identification,” Brown closed. “Every time people ask for records, none are able to be turned over. No one knows what the money is spent on, what is being purchased, or how much money is taken in.”

Steve Joyce returned to give an update on the banners he is working on for the street poles, but brought up a good point to the council. “Why has there never been an approach to create a park district,” Joyce asked. Mayor Hicks explained that was a good idea, but taxes were probably the reason it wasn’t. If you could generate $30,000-$35,000 through taxes each year by having everyone pay $20 or so that would be a nice addition, Joyce added. “Then you could have a board, buy property, build better facilities,” Joyce explained.

Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown said no one knows what Welfare’s money is spent on, what is being purchased, or how much money is taken in.

Joyce Madden and Melinda Barber also voiced their opinions about the Atrazine settlement money. Madden explained she is part of the “aging population” that Frank Barrett refers to so often. “I came here in 1962 and they talked about the aging population. They couldn’t do this, they couldn’t do that because of the aging population,” Madden explained. “Now I am really aging and thinking what we could have had if we would have started back then. Are we going to close up shop? I don’t think so. This atrazine is an old issue and if we could put that toward the water that would be great.”

Barber too would like to see the settlement money go toward replacing infrastructure. Her family moved here in 2001. “In 2002, my 2-year-old son was found to have led poisoning. Months prior, her husband had seizures for 4 years.” She then had Ranger replaced Barber’s water lines to find the house was being led poisoned by the water lines. “I would just like to see things like this updated,” she closed.

Farmer’s Market
Mayor Hicks explained city attorney Kevin Polo drafted a new ordinance allowing Farmer’s Market inside city limits following Ageless’ initial plans to host the market starting in May. “It’s a little bit more than tomatoes and cucumbers,” Hicks said. “Ageless wants to allow anything that is locally made or crafted – farm products and crafts.” Polo explained the ordinance allows any product adhering to state and federal law. “If it meets the state’s guidelines, fine,” Polo added. The ordinance is changing the definitions within the zoning code to allow this.

“There are extensive regulations through the Illinois Department of Agricultural,” Polo explained. Depending on what vendors are selling, they may or may not be inspected. Most vendors will not need to be inspected, Polo said. The ordinance would only allow farmer’s market inside business zoned areas, no residential areas.

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Dave Tucker questioned the word “operator” in the ordinance. Tucker explained the ordinance is set up perfectly for a business setting this up, but it isn’t preventing anyone else from setting a farmer’s market up either. “We can say operators are required to have a business license and be residents of the city,” Polo explained. “Yes, I want to protect our people and it gives responsibility through an annual fee. The annual fee is the business permit they already have,” Tucker added. “We don’t want anyone from out of town with a business license coming in and starting one.”

Kevin Polo suggested a committee meet before next council meeting and discuss which route to go with the ordinance, so he could draft it with all council members agreeing to it. “I am hearing multiple opinions and I want to make sure the ordinance is drafted correctly,” Polo said. The council decided to discuss the issue during the meeting rather than scheduling another.

“Are you going to charge a fee for the business license,” Polo said of the issue he was hearing. “If so will it just be the regular fee?” You mean tomatoes, Roger Diveley questioned. Dively did not want to see local residents being charged to see their homegrown produce. “You’re talking farmer’s markets, but I am talking the guy that sells tomatoes. Let them freaking sell them. I mean seriously,” Diveley continued. Polo suggested exempting anyone that has just one booth which would exclude a card table and tomatoes as a commercial venture. The council agreed that was acceptable. The decision will be voted on in the April meeting.

Old Business
Police chief Jared DePoppe explained the court fines from January were about $1,900 while city ordinance and towing fees were $2,600. DePoppe also advised the council he was informed of a grant available to the city from the Illinois Public Risk Fund earned from not having a claim. The $1,400 could be spent by a grant application. “The grant would have to go toward promoting public safety,” DePoppe explained. “We need a new handheld radar unit which would promote safety by keeping speeds lower.

Mayor Hicks then requested the council move the atrazine money into a special fund earmarked for water improvement only called the water improvement fund. The council passed the decision 6-0.

New Business
The council approved Ordinance #13-4 6-0 to enact and adopt a supplement to the ordinance book. This is the ordinance to adopt the new ordinance codes supplementing all of the current ordinance books along with an electronic copy.

The second action item was resolution #13-2 closing Route 4 for Black Diamond Days. Roger Diveley questioned if the council had any say so where the beer tent was. “It was the worst year ever last year from my experience working it. We had to drag the drunks all the way down to the police department. It was nice having the beer tent so close to the police department in previous years where we could just watch the police camera,” Diveley said.

Gerry Doliger said Black Diamond Days profited more than ever before last year after switching the beer tent.  Doliger suggested renting a golf cart for the event. Diveley agreed and said that would help a lot. “It was a hassle dragging the drunks all the way to the police department with a crowd following you,” he said. The resolution was adopted 5-0.

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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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