Federal court hearings begin Tuesday over Illinois’ legislative maps

Federal court hearings begin Tuesday over Illinois’ legislative maps

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Hearings into the fate of the state’s legislative maps begin Tuesday with deadlines for upcoming elections looming.

Democrats at the statehouse passed partisan drawn maps for state lawmakers for the next ten years. The first maps they drew in May and Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted in June were based on estimates.

Democrats revised those maps in September after the final Census data was released. Pritzker then enacted those maps. Both were challenged by statehouse Republicans, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the NAACP.

A federal court found the Democrats passed erroneous maps based on estimates and said revised maps passed in September may be tweaked.

In October, MALDEF attorney Ernest Herrera said the maps Democrats passed and enacted are unconstitutional.

“The issue with it is that it dilutes Latino voting strength and creates a racial gerrymander against Latino voters in House District 21 and Senate District 11,” Herrera told The Center Square.

The NAACP had similar concerns for how the maps dilute other minority groups.

“To summarize, [NAACP’s] remedial districts remedy the constitutional and Section 2 violation by drawing [districts] based on race-neutral, traditional redistricting criteria,” according to the NAACP filing. “The remedial districts remain faithful to the legislature’s non-racial priorities for the Metro East region … preserving communities of interest, and minimizing the splitting of municipalities.”

Each plaintiff group has provided their proposals, to which Democrats responded in legal filings. The three-judge federal panel begins a full day of hearing arguments from litigants Tuesday in Chicago.

The offices of House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, didn’t immediately respond when asked by email what the leadership hopes to get out of the hearings starting this week.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, last month said the courts are sensitive to the time crunch to get maps in place.

“The circulation for offices for next November will begin in mid-January, Jan. 13, so we need to have this finalized soon so folks can go out and circulate petitions to get on the ballot and the court understands they need to respect that timeline,” Butler told WMAY.

The legislative maps deal with statehouse seats for the Illinois General Assembly. They are not the Congressional district maps Democrats passed along party lines and the governor enacted last month.

Guebert re-elected IFB president

Guebert re-elected IFB president

ILLINOIS (RFD) — Another two-year term as Illinois Farm Bureau President for Rich Guebert Jr. He was re-elected to the position at this week’s IFB Annual Meeting in Chicago. Guebert began serving on the IFB Board nearly 20 years ago.

This will be Guebert’s fifh and final term as IFB President. He farms in Randolph County

Several Treated Following Possible Chemical Explosion in Hurst Monday

Several Treated Following Possible Chemical Explosion in Hurst Monday

HURST, IL — Hurst Fire and EMS personnel were sent to a possible chemical explosion at T&T Recycling in Hurst around 10:15 Monday morning.

According to Hurst Fire Chief Tom Gottschalk, the chemical that was released was identified as chlorine gas. Williamson County Ambulance, United EMS, Carterville EMS and Air Evac were called in for additional medical resources. A HAZMAT  team was also requested to help Hurst Fire with the incident. Chief Gottschalk says five patients were treated and taken to local medical facilities with one of those patients being airlifted for further treatment. Two others were treated and released from the scene. The matter of this incident is being investigated by the Williamson County Sheriff’s office.

Fire personnel from Carterville. Williamson County, Carbondale, Herrin, Marion, Murphysboro. Lake Egypt, Benton and West Frankfort assisted in the incident.

NWS Confirms Tornado Hit West Frankfort, Southern Franklin County Sunday Night

NWS Confirms Tornado Hit West Frankfort, Southern Franklin County Sunday Night

WEST FRANKFORT, IL — Franklin County Emergency Management Director Ryan Buckingham says after meeting with National Weather Service officials Monday, they have confirmed that a EF-1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 95 mph that went for almost five miles. It started around 10:20 p.m. Sunday a mile south of Orient and ended around 10:30  p.m. one mile northeast of West Frankfort.

Some businesses and homes sustained damage, especially roof damage. There was tree damage along the path. At one point just over 2,000 people were without power. No fatalities or injuries were reported.

Buckingham says this is subject to change as assessments continue. The National Weather Service office in Paducah will release further details on the tornado when they become available.

Centralia man shoots gun in home during domestic dispute with wife, chases her down street

Centralia man shoots gun in home during domestic dispute with wife, chases her down street

CENTRALIA, IL — Bond was set at $50,000 Monday in Marion County Court for a 32-year-old Centralia man accused of chasing his wife down the street early Saturday after firing a gun inside their home. Brodrick Currie was formally charged in court Monday with Class 2 felony being a felon in possession of a firearm and Class 4 felonies for aggravated assault with the discharge of a firearm and domestic battery with a prior conviction.

Centralia police arrested Currie Saturday morning after being alerted to the alleged incident at his South Hickory home. He allegedly discharged the firearm during a domestic dispute before chasing his wife down the street. While she was running from Currie she reportedly was able to jump into a car and seek help. A child was reportedly inside the home when Currie fired the gun. The weapon was apparently found when Currie was taken into custody. Fentanyl was also allegedly discovered. A December 28th preliminary hearing and first appearance with counsel has been scheduled in the case. A January jury trial for Currie was scheduled for Currie in Clinton County on a 2020 Class 2 felony charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also scheduled to appear in Marion County Court this week on a 2019 Class 1 felony charge for possession of more than 15 grams of methamphetamine.

Currie was advised in court Monday that he is to have no contact with the alleged victim, her residence or her place of employment.

All hands on deck Tuesday for Jefferson County Toys for Kids

All hands on deck Tuesday for Jefferson County Toys for Kids

MT. VERNON, IL — Jefferson County Toys for Kids is asking for the public’s help.

The group says it’s still short quite a few gifts especially for older kids. They say they’re short 35 gifts for girls ages 10-12. ($30 value), 16 gifts for boys 10-12, 6 gifts for girls 13-17 and 6 gifts for boys aged 13-17. They are also short 3 stocking stuffer gifts for boys 7-9 and 4 for boys aged 13-17 ($10 value). If anyone can purchase a toy or toys to fulfill these needs, they can be delivered to their giveaway location at 2325 Benton Rd. Tuesday evening by 5:30. Unfortunately there is a rush to get these today because they will have to go buy whatever they are lacking tonight.

Jefferson County Toys for Kids has nearly 800 Jefferson County Kids registered to receive toys on Saturday. That’s 300 local families you’ll have a chance to give back to this Christmas. @jeffersoncountytoysforkids on Facebook for more information.

Pennsylvania man found dead in vehicle on I-70 in Fayette County

Pennsylvania man found dead in vehicle on I-70 in Fayette County

FAYETTE COUNTY, IL — Fayette County authorities are reporting a 39-yar-old Pennsylvania man was found dead in his vehicle over the weekend in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70.

According to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office, Richard J. Deshong, of Ford City, Pennsylvania was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner’s office was reportedly dispatched Saturday evening in regards to an individual being found dead in a vehicle at mile marker 72 in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Effingham.

Investigations into the death are continuing by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police.

James Scott Reeves

James Scott Reeves

James Scott Reeves, 53, of Carbondale, passed away at 9:11 p.m., Sunday, November 21, 2021, at Carbondale Memorial Hospital.

He was born September 5, 1968, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the son of Jerry and Brenda Reeves.  He attended Shawnee Community College and Southern Illinois University, and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa.  He was a veteran of the United States Army, serving from 1989 until 1993, achieving the rank of Specialist.

James had a hunger for life and anyone that knew him or met him could see that.  He loved his family, and would do anything for them.  James also loved to read, learn, and play video games, and most of all, loved being around people.  His friends in Carbondale would call him the “King of Carbondale.”  He was well-known and loved by the students of SIU and was dearly respected.  He also attended Shawnee Community College, and was called a saint and scholar by his friends.

He had two sayings, “It’s not so much what life does with you, but what you do with your life,” and “If you’re given challenges, you have two choices.  You can either be defeated by them, or you can defeat them.  Nothing is so bad that you can’t get around it.”  James loved his cat, Sloan, who was a big part of his life.  The world will not be the same without his bright, shining smile.

James is survived by his mother, Brenda K. (Murphy) Tuggle and friend Raymond Elliot (A.J.); one brother, William Joseph Staley;  one sister, Leslie Dunn and husband Thomas;  and many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces-and-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his step-father, Charles Tuggle; great-niece, Willow Swan; maternal grandparents, Ernest and Lena Murphy; and two aunts, Linda Murphy and Margaret Rollinson.

            In accordance with his wishes, cremation rites have been accorded, and a gathering for his family and friends will be held Monday, December 13, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., at the Osborn Funeral Home in Dix.  Memorial gifts may be made to Mrs. Brenda Tuggle, and will be accepted at the service, or by mail to the Osborn Funeral Home, P.O. Box 130, Dix, Illinois 62830.  Online condolences may be made at www.osbornfuneral.com, or on the Osborn Funeral Home Facebook page.



MT. VERNON, IL — On Monday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office along with the Mt. Vernon Police Department reported the following arrests to WMIX/WDML News;

32-year-old Robert Brown of Mt. Vernon was arrested Friday by the Mt. Vernon Police Department for Aggravated DUI while License Suspended/Revoked.

22-year-old William Canning of Mt. Vernon was arrested Saturday by the MVPD for Contributing to the Criminal Delinquency of a Minor.

27-year-old John Woodworth of Mt. Vernon was arrested Saturday by the MVPD for Aggravated Battery to a Peace Officer, Criminal Trespass to Land, and Resisting/Obstructing an Officer.

25-year-old Tyler Hamilton of Mt. Vernon was arrested Saturday by the Mt. Vernon PD for DUI of Alcohol & Possession of a Scheduled Narcotic.

19-year-old Shane Johnston of Centralia was arrested Sunday by Mt. Vernon Police for Illegal Possession of Ammunition without a FOID.

31-year-old Zackery Stumbaugh of Mt. Vernon was arrested Sunday by the MVPD for Possession of Meth & Violation of Bail Bond.

19-year-old Johnathan Williams of Mt. Vernon was arrested Sunday by the Mt. Vernon Police Department for Violation of Bail Bond.

62-year-old Claude Kirkwood of Centralia was arrested Sunday by Mt. Vernon Police for Criminal Trespass to Land.

This information comes directly from the daily booking report at the Jefferson County Justice Center. The information provides a list of individuals arrested for a crime and processed or booked at the JCJC. All individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Two injured in Friday night side-by-side crash

Two injured in Friday night side-by-side crash

WALNUT HILL, IL — Two people were injured around 7 o’clock Friday night when the side-by-side in which they were riding crashed in the 100 block of Main Street in Walnut Hill.

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, the driver of the side-by-side was 22-year-old Jonathan Cavaletto of Walnut Hill and the passenger was 22-year-old Zackary Schilling of Centralia. Cavaletto was reportedly airlifted to a St. Louis Hospital, while Schilling was transported to a St. Louis Hospital by ground ambulance.

It’s unclear at this time what led to the crash.

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