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Sheriff Don Albrecht updates Area Rotary

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Scammers are relentless

Macoupin County Sheriff Don Albrecht spoke to the Benld Area Rotary during a regular luncheon on Tuesday, May 29. He updated the group on scams and the sheriff department.

The agency Albrecht oversees is a county wide operation for Macoupin County which is 864 square miles they patrol. He oversees 50 employees in the 7th largest county in Illinois which includes the correctional staff, court security, detective division, patrol division, telecommunication, and office administration.

Albrecht also mentioned that the sheriff’s office took over 911 for Macoupin County last November. “When you call 911, hopefully you get a good response from our agency,” Albrecht said. “I went from 7 telecommunicaters to 12.”

The sheriff department has 15 patrol deputies while only 3 are on the road at any given point. They back up the local agencies when they need it and sometimes assist with major cases when local departments do not have investigators.

According to Albrecht, the department works with registered sex offenders and the new registered child homicide offenders. “Fortunately, we do not have any registered child homicide offenders yet,” Albrecht noted.  “There are plenty of sex offenders. Get online and check them out.”

Most recently, the sheriff office received money from a grant and crime stoppers to purchase ballistic vests for sheriff officers. The grant the county obtained was for $3,000 and then with the crime stoppers $3,500 donation, the office was able to gather $6,500. The office used the other $4,000 from bond fees they collect. “We have 21 vests in use and all were purchased without tax payer money.”

Sheriff Albrecht noted that domestic problems have been a big issue for the department recently. He blames the trouble on the economy. “Everyone is happy when they are not fretting for money,” he explained. Domestic violence issues pretty much go up with the downturn in the economy as well as thefts and scrap metal theft, according to Albrecht.

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Recently, the state has passed some laws that the scrappers have to identify people and keep records of who brings what in. This sometimes makes it easier for the sheriff’s office. A few years ago, Albrecht brought the initiative to the Illinois Sheriff Organization for scrappers to require a photo identification shown on any scrap over $100 and to keep a record of it. “It worked, but then they just bring it in by $50 increments,” Albrecht said. “There is a way around everything.”

“The criminal mind thinks about everything,” Albrecht explained. “If they would just go out and work, it would be a lot less trouble for them.”

Albrecht then updated the Rotary on scams that have been popular lately. “The scams work because of greed of ignorance,” Albrecht noted. “Humans are very greedy.” The scammers are relentless; they send out postcards, emails, letters, or anything that will draw attention.

Scammers are “relentless” and they tag on to anything that is popular whether it be Opera, Reader’s Digest, tsunami victims, or anything. “They can come from people in different countries,” Albrecht closed.

There is nothing out there for free, according to Albrecht. Nobody will give out anything for free that cost you money. “That is the big key, no one is giving you anything for free after you pay for it.” He went on to warn that forwarded emails can give you a big virus.

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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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