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Gillespie Hires 2 Full Time Police Officers

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Dave Link expressed his concerns about the demolition of the buildings.

After 90 minutes in executive session, the council returned for open action. With a motion made by the police commissioner, the council voted to hire two officers. Under a recommendation from Gus Ottersburg, the council hired Josh Cravins and Eric Howard as two new full time police officers for the City of Gillespie. The starting date for both men are as soon as possible, but Mayor Hicks advised they attend a City Council meeting to introduce themselves to the Council.

After all of the reports were accepted, council members heard from an array of visitors:

  • Mr. Gerald Cross was in attendance to check on his bid he submitted for the lot on corner of Spruce and Shelby. He came to answer any questions anyone might have.
  • Ed & Julie Zzar were in attendance to receive ownership of lot 6 on Western Lane in the Gillespie Lake area. With a 8-0 vote, the motion was carried and the ownership of the lot was transferred to the Czars.
  • Dave Link came to talk about the progress of demolition of the building on Macoupin Street. The council is going to try and salvage the front of the buildings, but it is looking like it will be done after it has been a complicated process. Dave wanted to keep the front of the buildings because it is tied into the north building.
  • Bob Fritz expressed concerns about the money raised from derelict buildings when the grass was mowed or other deeds. Bob recalls the account had 2-3k dollars in the account when he was alderman and he asked if the council could donate half or even all of the money to the cemetery as they are struggling.

In other executive session, the city decided the bid of $1,800 from Gerald Cross on the two lots on Shelby and Spruce was too low for the City to consider. The City has to have at least a 80% bid. The Council advised Cross to rebid once the bidding process has restarted.

The council then presented Chief of Police Jarod DePoppe with a plaque after the Trinity Baptist Church presented the City of Gillespie as well as Gillespie Police Department in honor of protecting the citizens of Gillespie. On behalf of the City, the council presented the plaque to the Chief of Police for the department.

In other business, the council received a letter back from their insurance company stating it was a bad idea to go forth with the walking trail the Macoupin County Health Department had presented to the city in last month’s meeting. The insurance company stated since the path did not have designated markings it was a bad idea. Mayor Hicks said the Health Department can proceed with marking the bike trail since it is a walking trail.

Gus Ottersburg presents DePoppe with a plaque.

In new business, the council received information from the Gillespie High School yearbook to advertise in the upcoming edition. The Council voted 8-0 to advertise for the same amount they have paid in the past.

Roger Divley expressed citizen concerns about a city clean up day. With lack of funds available to fund the $10,000 clean-up, the City will not be able to provide the service to the citizens this year.

Frank Barrett wants to name a lane coming off of Spanish Needle Lane, but Barret is going to gather more information after further discussion. Barrett wants to develop some of the lake property as only 3 cabins have electricity. Barrett would like to see electricity ran to other cabins as well, but the cabin owners have agreed to fund the project. The project would not cost the city any money at all, but it would provide electricity to the weekend-stay cabins.

Barrett has also contacted the insurance of the IP Building. Barrett asked the company if they would release the $15,000 if the city decided to build a new building. The insurance company said yes, the money would be released and under Barrett’s recommendation: the building should be built at Welfare Park. The meeting is scheduled Wednesday to hear about further opinions. The building would be funded by a loan along with the $15,000 insurance money. The building would house a batting cage and possibly other services that would be provided to students of CUSD #7. “I am just trying to make the community better,” Barrett stated. With instruction from the council, Barrett was advised to check on some other details and bring it up again at another council meeting.

Gus Ottersburg advised the council of a city wide trash pickup that was instated by a surrounding community. Under the 5 or 10 year contract that the city would have to sign, the city would charge the residents a flat fee per month. The community that Ottersburg referred to charged community members $14 per month. $13 of the dollars went to the trash company and the other dollar went to the city for administrative costs. Under the 5 year contract, the city would get: 5 roll off dumpsters, free recycling center, city wide cleanup and the trash service would only increase if the diesel fuel increased. The contract listed is from Area Disposable and would only be offered to residents. School, apartments, and businesses would not be included under the city trash pickup.

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Mayor Hicks grins as he hears concern over the city trash pickup idea.

Jerry Doliger informed the city that a new gear box for the brush hog was ordered. The one now is junk, reconditioned it was $850 and then with labor and installation included, it evened out around $1,000. Chairs in the civic center are low. The Civic Center had 500 at one time, but only 375 can be accounted for now. Doliger advised the council that 100 more should be ordered for big events, like weddings and gatherings, so the the city would not have to borrow chairs from Benld or anywhere else.

In closure, John Ronald asked how much money was in the beautification account. None of the council members had any knowledge. Ronald also advised that the city should charge residents a $10 fee to host a yard sale. Residents could not have a yard sale without a “yard sale permit” posted. The council also discussed a plan to build a central yard sale announcement sign. The sign could be built on the cities new main street property and only yard sale signs could be posted. With the construction of this sign, residents could not post announcements on any other light post in town which has been a problem since most signs posted are not removed after the sale is over.

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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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