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Miners gear up for playoff game today, Lawrenceville first up for Gillespie

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The town is fired up for the playoff game

Gillespie Miners

After defeating Staunton during the last regular season game, the chances Gillespie would host their first playoff game at home increased dramatically. The Miners were thinking they would be playing New Berlin or possibly Staunton, but learned they would be playing Lawrenceville, an opponent many fans were unaware of, after the Illinois High School Association announced the pairings Saturday evening.

The matchup will take place today at 2:00pm at the Schmidt Complex in Gillespie. District 7 administration announced earlier this week parking will not be available parallel to the football field. Playoff fans will have to park in the staff parking lot across the street from the high school, the parking lot behind Dairy Queen by the middle school, or the parking lot north of the new Ben-Gil Elementary school which is west of the football field.

GHS (8-1) is seeded third in the southern quadrant of the Class 2A bracket with their only loss to South Central Conference champion rival Greenville, while Lawrenceville (7-2) is seeded sixth. The Miners are making their 13th appearance in the state playoffs this season after rebounding from a 3-6 finish in the 2012 season.

The talk of the town all week has been the big game today. Parents and fans have decorated the town all week for the big game, players and coaches have watched countless hours of game film, and the question “Who is Lawrenceville?” has been asked hundreds of times.

Well, we did a little homework.

Lawrenceville, the home of the Indians, is a city laying on the Embarras River comprised of about 4,300 people. It is a 3-hour drive from Gillespie and a short 10-minute drive from the state of Indiana.


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Third-year coach Greg Wood leads the Lawrenceville football team and this season marks consecutive playoff appearances for LHS after making the playoffs in 2012. The Indians also made the playoffs in 2004, 2002, and 1977, but they are still searching for their first post-season win and they haven’t won their conference since 1979.

Although the team has a spread of upper and lower classmen, junior quarterback Zach Shoulders provides the offensive spark. Shoulders is the team’s 6’2”, 180-pound quarterback who accumulates most of their rushing yards. In addition to Shoulders, the Indians have three running backs that are all equal threats: Dalton Vories, Wyatt Rinsch and Austin Wanke.

Expect the Indians to run the ball nearly every offensive play as their passing game has proved to be unsuccessful thus far. Also expect Lawrenceville to attempt a 2-point conversion following scoring plays, much like Gillespie. The Indians might also throw trickery at the Miners if they think they see a loophole. The team has successfully recovered onside kicks this season and Shoulders does take snaps from a shotgun formation every once in a while.

The quarterback, Shoulders, has been nagging injuries this season, but he is supposedly 100% and healthy. If Shoulders isn’t the play-caller, the Indians turn to freshman Bryce Winningham and line up in a wishbone formation. When Winningham is under center, Shoulders doubles as a running back.

Both Gillespie and Lawrenceville have been doing their homework all week on each other after the head coaches met on Sunday to exchange game film. Both teams are in the same position, but its Gillespie who has the home field and home crowd advantage.

The winner of the Gillespie-Lawrenceville matchup today will play either Carmi (6-3) or Chester (8-1) in next week’s second round of playoffs.

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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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