Searchers Recover Body of Missing Illinois River Kayaker

Search crews around LaGrange Lock & Dam have recovered the body of a kayaker who went missing Tuesday morning.

Brown County Sheriff Justin Oliver says that 73-year old Riley McLincha of Clio, Michigan went overboard on his kayak near a barge at LaGrange Lock & Dam at 11:46AM Tuesday. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office along with several other regional agencies responded to the scene and began the search. McLincha is said to have been pulled under the barge in the lock chamber and was not wearing a life jacket.

At approximately 11:55AM today, McLincha’s body was discovered in the river about a quarter mile north of the Pike County line on the Brown County side of the Illinois River. Oliver says he officially pronounced McLincha deceased at 12:14PM, and his body was recovered from the river. An autopsy is scheduled to be completed tomorrow in Bloomington.

Sheriff Oliver said in a press release he wished to thank all of the neighboring agencies who came to assist in the search and recovery: “I would like to thank all the search crews and the amount of professionalism from each department to bring an end to this horrible accident.”

The following agencies assisted during the search: Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Brown County Ambulance Service, Mt. Sterling Fire Department/Brown County Fire Protection District, Brown County Emergency Management Agency, Brown County Department of Public Health, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/LaGrange Locks, U.S. Coast Guard, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police, Illinois State Police Air Operations, Schuyler County EMA/Rescue, Meredosia Fire Department/Rescue, Morgan County Emergency Management Agency, Morgan County Dive Team, Morgan County Coroner’s Office, Adams County Emergency Management Agency, and the Federal Game Wardens.

Greene County Courthouse Tuck Pointing Project Gets Approval

A project long put off at the Greene County Courthouse may soon be completed.

The upper stories of the over 130-year old structure has needed significant tuck pointing for a number of years. The Greene Prairie Press reports that a bid was sought on the project several years ago, but came back at over $300,000.

With the opening of recent bids on tuck pointing to be done at the Greene County Health Department across the Carrollton Square and with current excess American Rescue Plan Act funds, the Greene County Board once again looked into getting the project completed.

Jun Construction has delivered a bid of $104,000 to the board to spot tuck point portions of the upper story and remove the smoke stack on the west side of the structure that is no longer in use and has fallen into disrepair.

The board approved the bid. A timeline on when the project will begin has not been released.

MacMurray Alumni Weekend Plans Finalized, New Exhibit to Debut at Jacksonville Museum

The MacMurray College Foundation and Alumni Association will get together this weekend after securing contingency plans.

Many of the original plans for Alumni Weekend were changed in the wake of the fire at McClelland Dining Hall. In light of this, several local MacMurray Foundation Board members worked to make alternative arrangements for some activities and the location of the host tent that were impacted by the situation at McClelland Dining Hall.

The Registration and social tent will be next to the former President’s House on East State Street. The President’s House is now owned by the neighboring Centenary United Methodist Church.

Alumni Weekend kicks off Friday at 5:30PM with a welcome reception for all alumni and friends of the college. Pre-registration, which is now closed, is required to attend. There will be recognition for the colleges Classes of 1974, 1984, 1994, 2004, 2014.

Saturday will have the reception beginning at 8:30AM for registration and then a continental breakfast under the Host Tent at the President’s House. Food trucks for lunch will be parked at Mac Hall from 11AM-3PM. The MacMurray Foundation Scholarship Awardees Reception will now be held at 11:30AM inside the President’s House. This is by invitation only. Memorial Service in Annie Merner Chapel for longtime MacMurray College professor Dr. Wolf Fuhrig will also be held at 11AM.

Tours of select buildings on the college’s former campus will be open for tours for alumni starting at Noon. The afternoon concludes with several activities at Annie Merner Chapel.

The alumni dinner and awards will be hosted at the Twisted Tree Wine Barn from 5-9PM.

The Jacksonville Area Museum will be open Saturday from 10AM-4PM during Alumni Weekend showing a new exhibit “Legendary MacMurray Professors” with other artifacts and memorabilia from the MacMurray archive on display.

Alumni weekend will conclude on Sunday with a non-denominational church service at 10AM led by MacMurray alumni Dr. Elizabeth and Reverend Mike Fender, with music by alumna Teri Benz.

Jacksonville Municipal Ambulance Commission Grapples With Lack of Quorum

The Jacksonville Municipal Ambulance Commission failed to meet quorum for the second straight time on Tuesday morning.

The commission had been reconvened several weeks ago after it was brought to the Jacksonville City Council’s attention that LifeStar Ambulance service was not meeting the 3 fully staffed advanced life support ambulances in service 24 hours/7 days a week as outlined as a requirement in the city’s ambulance ordinance. LifeStar is currently the only service licensed as an emergency response ambulance service to respond to calls within the city. LifeStar Ambulance officials have repeatedly cited the current lack of trained candidates that are licensed to work as EMTs and ALS technicians – citing onerous certification requirements by the state and the ability to attract candidates to the profession for their inability to staff 3 on-call ambulances.

Earlier this year, Echo Ambulance Service received a contract from Jacksonville Memorial Hospital to provide hospital transfer services from Jacksonville to Springfield. Echo Ambulance Owner Danny Kloever told the commission at a previous meeting that his company had been approached by private citizens asking if they would provide emergency services in Jacksonville.

The current municipal ambulance ordinance only allows for one licensed service at this time. Despite the single licensure, members of the ambulance commission and the city’s administration asked Echo Ambulance to submit an application to become a licensed ambulance service for the city.

For the last several months, members of the City of Jacksonville administration have been working on updating the city’s ambulance ordinance to add stronger regulations into the ordinance as well as taking into consideration whether or not to add Echo as a second ambulance service. The need for stronger regulation dates back to when American Ambulance abruptly left the city without proper notice in April 2018.

The commission of 7 members lacked having 4 members present to take action for the second straight meeting. The commission currently has two vacancies, making quorum that much more difficult to reach.

The previous meeting held lengthy discussions between multiple sides on proposed updates to the city’s ordinance, adding a fine and fee structure for ambulance services that fail to meet standards.

City Attorney Attorney Dan Beard said that the present members on Tuesday should work out a time for a new date to hold a legal meeting and refrain from any further discussion. Morgan County ESDA Coordinator and West Central Joint Dispatch Coordinator Phil McCarty said he was out of patience with the matter and refused to take up any more time on getting a legal meeting coordinated by all the parties involved: “It took an unbelievable amount of time just to get here today, and for the city not to have those positions filled…I don’t have that kind of time. No offense and out of respect to everybody else’s time. We have to figure out a better way because this is not okay.”

City Attorney Beard said after the meeting that discussions with the Mayor’s Office on getting the vacancies filled: “The problem is we were only able to have 3 members of the commission here. There are two vacant seats and the others were unavailable at the last moment for this meeting. We will try to get a couple of the vacant seats filled, and then, schedule a meeting as quickly as possible.” Beard confirmed that discussions with Mayor Andy Ezard on the vacancies would take place right after the meeting.

LifeStar President Roger D. Campbell, who was not present at the meeting, said in an email after the agenda was released more than two weeks ago that the commission should “not rush to a judgment that is not in the best interest of all concerned” when it comes to changing the city’s ordinance or even allowing a second ambulance service to operate in competition with one another.

In the meantime, the city is still awaiting a study of ambulance service in Jacksonville and Morgan County. The study is expected to reveal what everyone needs as far as number of ambulances and the current state of emergency services in the county sometime by the end of the summer.

Scott Co. Health Dept. Seeking Dead Birds for West Nile Virus Surveillance

The Scott County Health Department is seeking the public’s assistance in obtaining dead birds to submit to the Illinois Department of Public Health to test for the presence of West Nile Virus.

Please contact the Scott County Health Department in Winchester by calling 217-742-8203, extension 102 and staff will come retrieve species of perching birds (crows, blue jays, robins, cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds). In addition to perching berds, many species of sparrows, finches, flycatchers, swallows, warblers, wrens, and small or medium size hawks or owls will be accepted for submission to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

West Nile Virus was already reported in mosquito surveillance in Morgan County back on May 14th.

Health Department officials say the specimens should be less than 48 hours after death, died singly, not be decomposed, and have no other obvious cause of death. Dead birds that do not meet the requirements should be properly disposed of by an adult by burying or double wrapping in plastic bags and disposing properly without touching the carcass. Wash hands upon completion.

Local Authorities Searching IL River For Missing Kayaker Near LaGrange Lock & Dam

Several local first responder groups are searching the Illinois River at this hour for a missing kayaker.

Initial reports requesting the Morgan County Dive Team came to West Central Joint Dispatch at approximately 12:15 this afternoon for a missing kayaker near the LaGrange Lock & Dam on the Brown County side.

LaGrange is approximately 6 miles down river from Beardstown, and approximately 5 miles up river from Meredosia.

No further details are available at this time. Multiple agencies are continuing the search at this hour. We will pass along more information once it is available.

Brighton Man Charged by IL Attorney General’s Office For Child Pornography Dissemination, Possession

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has filed charges against a Brighton man in Macoupin County Court for possession and dissemination of child pornography.

34-year old David Crane of Brighton has been charged with one count of dissemination of child pornography of a victim under 13 years old, a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison; and 10 counts of possession of child pornography, Class 2 felonies, each count punishable by up to 7 years in prison. Sentences must be served consecutively and are ultimately determined by the court. Crane is currently detained at the Macoupin County Jail. His next court appearance is July 9th.

Raoul’s investigators, along with officers from the Brighton Police Department, the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police South Central Illinois Drug Task Force conducted a search of Crane’s residence in the 600 block of Brown Street in Brighton on Thursday. Crane was arrested when investigators discovered evidence of child pornography.

Raoul’s office is co-prosecuting this case with the Macoupin County State’s Attorney’s office.

Coady-Carter Appointed As Public Guardian in Two More Central IL Counties

An area attorney is getting an extended workload from the State of Illinois.

Springfield-based attorney Michelle Coady-Carter has been appointed by Governor J.B. Pritzker to serve as the Public Administrator and Public Guardian in Macoupin and Montgomery Counties.

In addition to these two counties, Coady-Carter already serves as the Public Administrator & Guardian in Christian, Calhoun, Sangamon, and Menard counties.

Coady-Carter is the managing attorney of Coady Law Group, LLC in Springfield, where the practice mostly focuses on civil litigation, adoption, guardianship, and probate. Coady-Carter has been practicing law in Central Illinois for over a decade, where she currently serves as the President of the Christian County Bar Association. She is also a member of the DCFS Statewide Adoption & Guardianship Adoption Panel.

She currently lives in Taylorville with her husband and three children. The appointment is pending the Illinois Senate’s approval

Sunday Blues Brunch Playlist 6/16/2024 – Dedications to Dad, Juneteenth, Hits of 1954, John Primer

There were a lot of mini themes interwoven here. We played Merry Clayton’s awesome, funky version of the Black National Anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” in honor of Juneteenth. We played “Working Man Blues” by the late Johnny Copeland to honor dear old dad for Father’s Day. Then, we spent the majority of an hour playing a lot of big hits on the R&B Charts from the year 1954. It’s hard to believe these songs are 70 years old now. I remember them being a regular part of “oldies” format radio when I was a kid. Most of those stations now play AM Gold from the 1970s – stuff once considered “classic rock.” It’s hard to get people to wrap their brains around that sometime. I rounded out the hour with some new tunes and a reminder about this weekend’s Mississippi River Festival return in Alton.

1. Merry Clayton – Lift Ev’ry Voice & Sing – The Best of Merry Clayton – Ode/Legacy (2013)

2. Johnny Copeland – Working Man Blues – Working Man Blues – Fuel 2000 (2002)

3. Ray Charles – It Should’ve Been Me – The Very Best of Ray Charles, Vol. 2 – Rhino (2000)

4. Smiley Lewis – Blue Monday – Highlights From Crescent City Soul: The Sound of New Orleans 1947-1974 – EMI (1996)

5. Lowell Fulson – Reconsider Baby – The Complete Chess Masters: 50th Anniversary Edition – MCA/Chess (1997)

6. Guitar Slim – The Things That I Used to Do – Sufferin’ Mind – Specialty (1991)

7. BB King – You Upset Me, Baby – Original Greatest Hits – Virgin/EMI (2005)

8. Big Joe Turner – Shake, Rattle & Roll – The Definitive Blues Collection – Atlantic/Rhino (2007)

9. The Robins – Riot In Cell Block #9 – The Very Best of The Coasters – Atlantic/Rhino (1994)

10. Ruth Brown – Mambo Baby – The Definitive Soul Collection – Atlantic/Rhino (2007)

11. Muddy Waters – I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – His Best: 1947-1955: Chess 50th Anniversary Edition – MCA/Chess (1997)

12. Howlin’ Wolf – Evil – His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary Edition – MCA/Chess (1997)

13. Little Walter – You’re So Fine – His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary Edition – MCA/Chess (1997)

14. Junior Parker – Sittin’, Drinkin’ and Thinkin’ – 1952-1955 – Classics (2006)

15. Tommy Ridgley – Jam Up – Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 – Atlantic (1991)

16. Amos Milburn – Good, Good Whiskey – The Best of Amos Wilburn: Down the Road Apiece – EMI (1993)

17. LaVern Baker – Tweedle Dee – It’s So Fine: The Complete Singles A’s & B’s 1953-1959 – Jasmine (2010)

18. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Work With Me, Annie – Sexy Ways: The Best of Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Rhino (1993)

19. Al Hibbler – After the Lights Go Down Low – Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974- Atlantic (1991)

20. Johnny Ace – Saving My Love For You – The Memorial Album – MCA (1973)

21. Otis Spann – It Must Have Been the Devil – The Chess Story 1947-1975 – MCA/Universal (1999)

22. James Cotton – Cotton Crop Blues – Sun Records: The Essential Blues Anthems – Warner Music Group (2012)

23. The Spiders – I Didn’t Want To Do It – Highlights From Crescent City Soul: The Sound of New Orleans 1947-1974 – EMI (1996)

24. Monster Mike Welch – If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day – Nothing But Time – Gulf Coast  (2023)

25. John Primer – You’re The One – Crawlin’ Kingsnake – VizzTone (2024)

26. Johnny Burgin – Ramblin’ From Coast to Coast – Ramblin’ From Coast to Coast – Straight Shooter (2024)

27. The Heavy Heavy – Happiness [Single] – ATO Records [2024]

28. Parlor Greens – Parlor Strut – In Green We Dream – Colemine Records [2024]

Non Show Spins

1. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Blue On Black – Trouble Is… – Revolution (1997)

2. John Primer – Slip Away – The Soul of A Blues Man – Blues House Productions (2019)

3. John Primer – Going Back to Mississippi – All Original – Blues House Productions (2008)

Beardstown Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for May 2023 Bust

A Cass County man arrested in a large drug and weapons bust last May has been sentenced to over a decade in prison.

44-year old Billy J. Surratt, Jr. of Beardstown pleaded guilty today to Class X felony possession of methamphetamine over 900 grams in Cass County Circuit Court.

Surratt was arrested in a traffic stop on 4th Street in Beardstown on the evening of May 3rd, 2023. A K9 free air sniff was conducted which indicated the presence of a narcotic odor. A subsequent search of the vehicle was conducted and approximately 928 grams of suspected methamphetamine was discovered. Further investigation led to the suspect’s residence and a consent search was conducted, and an additional 1,575 grams of suspected methamphetamine was located. The search also revealed a stolen firearm.

Charges of Class X felony Methamphetamine Delivery over 900 grams, Class X felony of aggravated methamphetamine delivery over 100 grams, Class 2 felony possession of a stolen firearm, and Class 3 felony possession of a firearm by a felon were all dropped per the plea agreement today in court.

Cass County Circuit Judge Timothy J. Wessel sentenced Surratt to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, 3 years of mandatory supervised release, and ordered a fine of $13,500 plus court costs and assessments. Surratt was given credit for 410 days served in the Schuyler County Jail.