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Rotary hears from State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson

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Felony charges have dropped from 2010

State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson enlightened the Area Rotary Tuesday, March 6 during a regular scheduled luncheon. Watson gave insight on what is going on at the State’s Attorney office at this point in time. Watson, who was an assistant State’s Attorney for twelve years, was appointed State’s Attorney in 2010 after Vince Moreth retired. “It was a natural normal course and my desire to be the State’s Attorney,” Watson opened.

Becoming State’s Attorney, Watson wanted to make some changes in the office. She did not have much time in 2010 because her predecessor left in September, so 2011 was her first full year on her own. Watson wanted to shed light on the charges she has had over the last year compared to the year 2010.

The major felony offenses that are commonly charged at the State’s Attorney’s office are burglary/theft, dangerous drugs (any controlled substance), aggravated batteries, sex crimes, criminal damage to property, stolen vehicles, weapon charges, forgery, and obstructing justice. After looking at those categories and comparing the charges from 2010 to 2011, there was a drop of the felony charges. “There were a few categories that went up,” Watson explained, “But overall, there was a drop by 17. There were 228 felonies in 2010 and 211 in 2011.”

The drop of seventeen felony charges is “very significant” Watson noted, as it would be almost two less a month through Watson’s office. “We consider that to be quite a bit.” Traffic citations also decreased in 2011, according to a report done by Judge Deihl, by 1,200 citations. Lastly, the felony driving while license revoked was reduced in 2011 by twenty-two from 2010.

After pondering what the reason could be that the felony driving while license revoked was down, Watson assumed that it could be down because of BAID system which is the breath analysis interlocking device that is installed in a vehicle after an individual has been revoked from alcohol charges. The individual has to breathe into the device to start the car and even breathe while driving the car also. “There are a lot of checks and balances,” Watson explained, “It isn’t like someone else can breathe into it and start the car and let someone else drive the car. They are prompted periodically to blow into the apparatus.”

In addition to the harsh penalties, driving while license revoked might be down because of the severe consequences that follow. According to Watson, you are looking at prison time and there are several people that can attest to that. “The most alarming statistic we found in 2011 was that out of 611 misdemeanors, 123 were domestic battery.” That is very alarming to State’s Attorney Watson as that is almost eleven each month.

One of the reasons why Watson believes that there is more domestic battery charges, because there might be more domestic out there and more reporting of it. “There tends to be hesitation for a victim of domestic violence,” Watson said, “Because there is always the hesitation that nothing might be done.” In this period, Watson believes there has been more reporting of it because the State’s Attorney office works closely with Safe Families and Order of Protection.


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To try and solve the hesitation problem, Watson has tried victimless prosecution. It happens a lot that the victim does not want to follow through with the charges because they got scared and unaware of the process, so it makes it very difficult for Watson to prosecute those kinds of cases. “We want to work on more victimless prosecution,” Watson explained, “It is an uphill process, but we can file motions to allow hear-say. That is something that is not practiced so often, but it is something we are working on.”

In addition to filing motions, the State’s Attorney office wants to work with police and start considering every domestic a ‘victimless domestic.’ “That way we are looking at certain things, like photographs of the scenes. We also would get statements from neighbors, kids, and even medical personnel,” Watson explained, “It is something we need to be working on actively and hope to have success with that while cutting down on repeat offenders.”

A slight increase in felony charges were found under dangerous drugs compared to the year 2010. “It was a slight increase,” according to Watson, “Because, I think, law enforcement agencies are charging teams instead of just individuals.” Several meth labs were shut down in 2011 and since agencies are dealing with teams, the State’s Attorney office is finding that more people are getting charged and a great number of people are being arrested. It is attributed to the fact that several people are being busted with labs.

Sex crimes has also decreased, from 18 in 2010 to 8 in 2011 while aggravated battery went from 32 in 2010 to 22 in 2011.

Macoupin County is starting ‘drug court’ which is statutory and can be found in most counties. “We are new to implementing it,” Watson noted. Basically, individuals that do not have a violent history can have a two year probation period. During those two years, you are drug tested at least three times a week during the first thirty days. After the first thirty days, the drug testing can be modified. A jail time of 180 days is subject to review at any time if there are violations found. If there are multiple violations, drug court is not applicable.

“This shows you how we are seeing a decline in crime,” Watson closed, “But there are certain aspects that are considered alarming to us. We are looking into it and taking it very seriously.”

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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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