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Pete Duncan updated the Rotary on County news

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Voter maintenance really helps

The Area Rotary met in a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 17th at Toni’s Restaurant in Benld. Pete Duncan, the county clerk for Macoupin County, updated the Rotary on the redistricting and the upcoming election.

Pete Duncan, who resides in Gillespie, kept it short and sweet for the Rotary members Tuesday. Duncan opened with redistricting, where is it mandated to be completed every 10 years after a census has been done. “It is the redrawing of district lines for representatives based on population,” Duncan opened.

Recalling the 2010 census, Duncan explained that it was just completed last year and this upcoming election will be the first election in which the new district lines will be in use.

Pete Duncan explained that the new districts are much simpler than they were previously.

To start, Macoupin County is going from the 17th district to the 13th district. “The whole county and every township will change,” Duncan clarified. That is the simple part, according to Duncan. The county is going to go from Bobby Schilling, the current representative for the 17th district, to Tim Johnson. Johnson is the current member in the 13th district, but is up for reelection, so it is possible if that changes.

In terms of the state senate level, Macoupin County has been in the 49th district for decades while having just one state senator. Our current state senator is Sam McCann and for the first time starting with this election, Macoupin County will be “split.”

Gillespie and Benld will be in the 48th district which currently does not have a member. Two candidates are vying for the position right now, Duncan noted. Duncan went on to say that the cut is on township lines this decade and “is very clean.” Sometimes they have gone down the middle of the street Duncan stated, where a neighbor across the street is living in a different district than I am.

The state representative level basically goes on township lines too on the older map until you get down to Brighton and Shipman where it splits the township a little bit. The new map, under the redistricting, got cleaned up too and will just use district lines too this decade.

“It is very unusual [to use township lines],” Duncan explained, “As our county is one of the few in the entire state to do that.” It is definitely a plus for our county, according to county clerk Pete Duncan.

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Duncan then moved on to the county level where the county chose to keep the same districts. Meaning Gillespie and Benld would still either be in the 4th or 5th district. The county did change the number of members per district. Originally being with three members per district, the county board cut it back to just two members to save the tax payers some dollars. “So now instead of having 27 members, we now only have 18,” Duncan explained. “Starting next December.”

The entire county board will up on the next election, all 18 positions. In certain conditions, there will be three incumbents running for two spots which “will make things a little more edgy.”

The other thing Duncan touched on during his short time at the Rotary was voter maintenance. “This is where we mail out new voter cards to every registered voter in the county,” Duncan opened, “We did this back in November.” Duncan explained that this process is very important because the county gains knowledge about a deceased voter or if someone has moved out of the county. Through this mailing, the county can update the voting role and update the current information.


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For example, during the last election is April which was townships and school boards, the county had 34,000 voters. After the voter maintenance, the county is down to 30,000 voters. The only thing this means is there should be a shorter time voting and checking in because less people are showing up at polls and there is less paperwork for the election judge to sort through to find someone.

From the last census, the county has a total population of 36,970 eligible voters out of 47,000 people. “This number is extremely close and almost 93% of the number of registered voters we had back in April,” Duncan noted. In a normal year during a presidential election, Macoupin County has 23,000-25,000 registered voters that vote.

Having 30,000 voters overall, “it lines up pretty well because you are never going to have 100% turn out.” The voter maintenance had made sure that it is easier to vote on election day, for one, and the voter rolls are more accurate than they have been in quite some time.

Duncan went on to say that the state board set up a website that keeps track of movements in and out of the county. The website will pick up if someone has registered in another county and sends a notice out if that voter is registered in any other county. “It is not the best system, but it helps out a lot,” Duncan explained.

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The biggest problem faced by Duncan and Macoupin County is deaths out of the county. “If someone dies at a hospital in St. Louis, their death certificate is filed there and we never see it unless a family member brings it to us. If they bring it to us, we can take them off the voter rolls. If they don’t, we will never know anyone passed away until we do voter maintenance,” Duncan closed.

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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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