West central Illinois

The Friends of Dr. Richard Eells House

Illinois' Governor has posthumously pardoned three men for their work with the Underground Railroad. 

The men all lived in west central Illinois and were convicted more than 170 years ago based on laws that prohibited helping runaway slaves.  Those laws remained in place even after Illinois abolished slavery in 1824.  

Days after a 17-year-old girl accused of leaving her newborn baby alive in a trash bin was arrested for child abandonment, prosecutors in the west-central Illinois community of Jacksonville have decided to charge her with attempted first-degree murder.

According to The Jacksonville Journal-Courier,  http://bit.ly/1qHULly , prosecutors announced Monday the teen will be tried as a juvenile. Her name has not been released because of her age.  


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved permits for the FutureGen coal project to store carbon dioxide underground.

The permits approved Tuesday are a key piece of the project. FutureGen aims to capture carbon dioxide from coal at a power plant in western Illinois and store it. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas linked to climate change.  
The EPA said the permits are the first of this type for carbon sequestration.  


The U.S. Department of Energy has given the long-running FutureGen clean-coal project one of the final OKs it needs to start building.  

booking photo

A search by federal agents of a cabin owned by an Illinois judge turned up drugs, guns and ammunition.  
The search of former Judge Mike Cook's Pike County hunting cabin came two months after Associate Judge Joe Christ died last year of a cocaine overdose in the cabin's bathroom. Cook was in custody at the time of the search.

Passavant Area Hospital

Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville could soon be affiliated with Memorial Health System, which already oversees hospitals in Springfield, Taylorville and Lincoln.
The Passavant Board has agreed to partner with Memorial, pending regulatory approval.

Springfield Diocese

A priest who formerly served at a Jacksonville church is under investigation for sexual misconduct.   The Springfield Diocese issued a statement saying the Reverend Robert "Bud" DeGrand has temporarily withdrawn from the ministry.   He most recently was involved with parishes in east central Illinois in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville.


D.L. Dennis set out to write a book about a century old chapter in his family's history as well as the history of one west central Illinois town.  The Witwer Files follows his grandfather's time as marshal in the Greene County community of Hillview.  In 1915, Witwer shot and a killed a man and was brought up on charges of murder.  He was eventually acquitted.  

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

On Thursday morning, a unique barn near Carrollton will begin a trip to a new location where it will be preserved for decades to come. The plan to move the Fry Octagonal Barn, rather than see it torn down, is the result of cooperation between the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

Workers will start moving the barn, located on North Park Road in Carrollton, (http://www.mapquest.com/?q=39.3064,-90.4013) at 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 19. The move should take about two days.

Landmarks Illinois

Crews have finished demolishing an historic hotel in Quincy that was gutted by fire.  
Demolition of the Newcomb Hotel has ended and The Quincy Herald-Whig reports (http://bit.ly/1b6yb0e) streets in Quincy should reopen Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze that broke out late Friday. The hotel first opened in 1888 but has been empty for years.  
The city plans to put up a 6-foot fence around the building to keep people away from the debris. Removal of debris isn't expected to start for more than a month. The city must solicit bids for cleanup.  

Young Shooting Survivor "Adjusting To Life"

Sep 9, 2013

The grandmother of a 7-year-old who survived an April shooting in central Illinois that left several members of her family dead says the girl is adjusting to life.  
Kassidy Ralston now lives with her grandparents in Greene County. Grandma Pam Ralston says Kassidy is adjusting ``amazingly well.'' Ralston tells The State Journal-Register that the family is getting a lot of support.  


Mark McDonald estimates he has done 900 episodes of "Illinois Stories".  McDonald travels throughout the area to bring interesting people to the screen on public television stations WSEC/WQEC/WMEC.  A veteran TV journalist, his conversational style allows viewers to learn about places and individuals who might live right down the street. 


Regulators have signed off on a new transmission line that'd cut through central Illinois.   The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/15024Oj ) the Illinois Commerce Commission approved all but 30 miles of Ameren's Illinois Rivers Project during a meeting Tuesday.  
The $1 billion, 380-mile transmission line would run through 19 counties, traveling from Quincy to the Indiana border. It'd affect about 8,400 landowners.  

Dr. Dohner Fan Page/Facebook

From Governor's news release:


Beardstown is home to the only courtroom where Abraham Lincoln practiced that is still hearing cases.  And today that historic site gets a bit high tech.  Touch screen monitors have been installed that will allow tourists to learn more about the site.  Connie Foley, with the Old Lincoln Courtroom and Museum Commission tells how the effort began...

Find more details on the site here.

Creative Commons

This week,  the WUIS Harvest Desk has been bringing you the series “Changing Lands, Changing Hands,” a series of stories examining the implications of an unrelenting trend: The American farmer is getting older. Our reporting team has been considering the nuances of this demographic shift that affects not just rural America but the power and potential of an entire industry.  The latest segment takes us to west central Illinois:

It’s hard not to use the phrase “quintessential small town” when you describe Pittsfield, Ill. 


New Philadelphia was a Pike County town, founded by a former slave in 1836.  But there is another side to the story... What happened in New Philadelphia when the civil war broke out?   

Claire Fuller Martin, a research associate at the Illinois State Museum, will discuss that period during the next museum science series lecture. 

Mother, Two Sons Killed In Mobile Home Fire

Jun 27, 2013

The Morgan County Coroner says a mother and her two young sons were the victims of a fatal fire early Thursday morning.  Coroner Jeff Lair says smoke inhalation is blamed for the deaths of Kayla Perry and her two sons, 4-year-old Christopher and 7-year-old Joshua.  The family's mobile home caught fire around 1 am Thursday.  Neighbors placed the 911 call, and area firefighters say they arrived to find the residence fully engulfed in flames.  A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.  


Before Gen. Benjamin Grierson won acclaim for his tactical raid that helped the Union forces take Vicksburg.  But before then, he was a music teacher in Jacksonville.  This weekend, the community’s annual event to honor Grierson takes place.   Plenty of free events that tie history and entertainment together are part of Grierson Days.

Ron Gray coordinates the festival:


A series of public lectures in west central Illinois begins tomorrow night at the Kinderhook Lodge in Barry.  The series will discuss the Underground Railroad, Civil War military service, emancipation and safe havens, like the nearby historic town of New Philadelphia.