The death of two boys – due to a purposely set fire ---is sending a man to prison for 30 years. 65-year-old Alex Sawyer plead guilty to setting a fire in April of 2016. That fire killed 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old Deshawn Watson. Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott handed down the sentence (Thurs) in Kankakee Court. Sawyer plead guilty earlier. Records show Sawyer was upset with his landlord because his security deposit wasn’t returned.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will wait until next month (September) to hear from Iroquois County whether the County Board will say Yes or No to a proposed livestock management facility at Stockland. The Board (Tuesday) voted to table its decision until more information can be gathered about three sites for an operation. Some usual concerns were aired by residents living near the site. Their reasons for opposing it include potential water supply problems, odors and truck traffic that could damage roads.
Board Chairman John Shure suggested waiting until September’s meeting to decide – just to make sure all questions are answered to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Nic Anderson is with the Department of Agriculture. He says the County has until September 18 to make a decision, so this delay is OK. Two additional hog barn locations will also be topics of discussion for a public hearing. The three sites are respectively labeled E4, E5 and E6. The first was a priority at the August 6 hearing.
Anderson and Wade Harrison, Busi Development Mg for Effingham Equity spoke about $15 to $20,000 in new tax revenues, economic development, and just a good investment in agriculture. Wade Harrison told the Board he appreciated the fact that board members Donna Crow and Leann Duby visited one of the company sites to educate themselves about the operation. Effingham Equity is in 22 locations, having started in Edgar County and now expanding into Indiana.
Dr. Peggy Wilken and Mark Tweedy are neighbors to the proposed confinement operation. They questioned the affects on water supplies and potential damage to roads. Wilken said a lack of pre-information raises too many concerns.
County Board member John Zumwalt’s motion to step up the vote and get Parkes Livestock moving forward was delayed by Tuesdays vote. He said the Department of Ag showed the proposal had passed the criteria test and he's confident the operation will be ok. Zumwalt also pointed out ag operation have evaporated over the years in Iroquois County and this is a positive for the ag economy. Zumwalt added, concern about the water issues and others are legitimate but he believes the Ag department has handled that explanation. He urges people to attend the public hearings to educate themselves.
Jason Tomes and Danielle Jeter of rural Sheldon are due in Iroquois County Court (Thursday). Both are charged with weapon and drug offenses following their arrests Tuesday by sheriff’s police. Authorities discovered multiple firearms, ammunition, narcotics and other drug paraphernalia during a search of their home.
Sheriff’s Police report an investigation came about after an agricultural aircraft pilot reported an individual on Tomes and Jeter's property was observed shooting a gun in the aircraft's direction as it flew nearby. No injury was reported.
The 47-year-old Tomes was charged with possession of weapons by a felon, being an armed habitual criminal and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The 36-year-old Jeter was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Both are jailed in Watseka.
Iroquois County weekend fun is on the calendar for Cissna Park and Sheldon. The 132nd annual Cissna Park Old Settlers event is Thursday thru Satiurday, August 15 - 17. American Legion Post 527 sponsors the event. Food, fun, music, games and the annual prade are all featured. Carnival rides are offered thru Swyear Amusements, Inc. Saturday's parade is at Noon.
Sheldon's Fun Days is Friday thru Sunday, August 16 - 19. The Sheldon T.I. E. S.committee leads the efforts to organize. Kids games, food, musical entertainment and a prade are part of the events scheduled. Sheldon native Nick Nagele brings Whiskey Acres to the beer tent Saturday. An assortment of offerings are available for tasting.Sunday's grand parade begiuns at 2 pm.
Water problems in the Village of Danforth have been resolved. Plans to shut off water in sections of town over the next few days to locate the source of why the system was losing water are now cancelled. ERH Enterprizes reports the problem area was located and repairs have been made.