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Lindell Loveless Speaks to Area Rotary

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When his wife found a document recording the history of Gillespie among the couple’s papers in a file cabinet, Gillespie resident Lindell Loveless regarded it as an exciting discovery. “I got so excited that I invested $700 to bring it to the people of Gillespie,” Loveless told members of the Benld Area Rotary Club during the club’s regular meeting at noon, Tuesday, at Toni’s Family Restaurant, Benld.

Loveless said the manuscript was given to his wife, Jean, by the late Kathryn Blanchard, former publisher of the Gillespie Area News. It had languished in the file cabinet, apparently for decades, before being found.“The date on her work was 1970,” Loveless said. “That’s 40 years ago; that’s two generations. That’s a lot of people who would want to see this who weren’t even alive when it was written.”

Loveless said he hired Tom Emery of Carlinville, an author and historian who makes his living by publishing booklets on little known historical subjects. Emery prepared the manuscript for publication, including preparation of an index and footnotes. “When you print a book, you have to have a cover,” Loveless said. “I told Tom it had to be orange for Gillespie.” The orange cover is adorned with the familiar ‘miner’ logo. The book is available for $6 per copy at Michelle’s Pharmacy in Gillespie.

Loveless read a few passages from the booklet and offered a few comments. One passage dealt with the establishment of the city’s first grain mill in 1856 on the site that would later be the site of the Gillespie Elevator. The location is now the site of the Illinois Valley Rehabilitation Center and a public housing development. Loveless also read passages dealing with a 1905 fire that destroyed much of the downtown business district and the failure of a local bank in 1932. “This stuff just gets me so excited,” he said, “when I think about the obstacles they had to overcome. Nothing was easy for them.”

Having been bitten by the publishing bug, Loveless and Emery also have produced a booklet on Howard Knotts, identified as the “Ace of the Prairie.” Loveless said he was familiar with Knotts because he owned a farm north of Carlinville where his maternal grandmother and four of her children lived. As a child of six or eight years old, Loveless said, he often went to stay with his grandmother, where he learned more about Knotts’ exploits first as a World War I fighter pilot and later as an aviation pioneer. In addition to racking up an impressive record in the war, Knotts designed airplanes and helped draft state and federal aviation law.

Copies of “Howard Knotts: Ace of the Prairie” are available at the Bookshelf on the Carlinville square. Loveless said he currently is working on compiling a history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Macoupin County. The local CCC camp, he said, was located north of Carlinville at the site of the current Macoupin County Fairgrounds. The CCC book should be available in a couple of months, he said. Another project Loveless is working on is the establishment of a foundation “to help young people in Macoupin County expand their horizons and select a career.”

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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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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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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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