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The Salem Cheerleaders were not immune from zombification


'Euuuuggghhh' the zombie. AKA Richard Rudy.

It was a spooky good time as the dead rose from their graves to walk the streets of Downtown Salem during the first annual Zombie Walk to benefit the Salem Area Foundation. Starting at IGA, the living dead made their way past the trick-or-treaters enjoying downtown Halloween Festivities, and shuffled all the way to the Salem Elk's Lodge, where the zombies were judged.

Richard Rudy stayed in character, dressed as a zombie groom, during the entire walk. It paid off--he took first place overall in the contest. Rudy says he came out to support the foundation.

"I was just thinking it would be nice to support the charity" moaned Rudy, introducing himself as "brrruuuuuuuhhhhgggg".

Even Salem's top brass got into the spirit of things. Former Mayor  and current Chamber of Commerce Director Leonard Ferguson, who came up with the event with the Salem Rotary, also led the walk and won the award for "oldest zombie". He hopes the walk can become an annual event.

"This is the first, and we hope it will happen from year to year" Ferguson said, "It's just a lot of fun. And once you do it, it takes a while, but people realize how much fun they can have."

Current Mayor John Raymer was also stricken with the zombie plague. Despite rotting flesh and an exposed ribcage, he called the event a huge success.

"I thought it was a really good idea that the rotary came up with...the people seem like they're really having a lot of fun for a first time event. And that's what it's really all about...getting out and having some fun on Halloween" Raymer told WJBD.

Zombies both young and old joined the zombified Salem High School Cheerleaders, a cadre of Zombie Hunters, a Zombie Photographer, a Zombie Prisoner and several just-married Zombie Brides whose weddings clearly did not go as planned. 

In the world of the living, Halloween Festivities were as popular as ever in Salem despite temperatures getting down into the thirties. Downtown was crowded with trick or treaters on the hunt from candy passed out by downtown businesses while the Salem High School band played a spooky medley for "Frozen" Princesses and the Living Dead alike.


Ron Daniels

The Regional Office of Education #13 is expanding in July, adding Jefferson County to the district that already includes Clinton, Marion, and Washington Counties. The region that formerly contained Jefferson and Hamilton Counties, Regional office of Education #25, was broken up and absorbed into other regions, leading to a showdown between current ROE 13 Superintendent Keri Garrett and ROE 25 Superintendent Ron Daniels.

Ron Daniels is the first term Regional Superintendent of Jefferson and Hamilton Counties. Before his regional Superintendency, he was a school administrator for 8 years, serving as both a principal and superintendent, and was a teacher for 13 years at both the grade and high school levels. Daniels also served on the Opdyke-Belle Rive School Board. Daniels says that if elected to the position, he aims to provide schools with the support necessary to face the many challenges that confront school districts today. He says taking on three new counties would be an easy transition, and says that many districts in Clinton, Marion, and Washington counties share many similarities with those in Jefferson County.

"I do bring the experience as being an administrator in a school district, and I think that is helpful as I help our administrators face the challenges they face in their schools" said Daniels.

Daniels is a Belle Rive resident, and is running as a republican.

If elected, Daniels will serve a four year term before her seat is up for reelection again. 


Keri Garrett

The Regional Office of Education #13 is expanding in July, adding Jefferson County to the district that already includes Clinton, Marion, and Washington Counties. The region that formerly contained Jefferson and Hamilton Counties, Regional office of Education #25, was broken up and absorbed into other regions, leading to a showdown between current ROE 13 Superintendent Keri Garrett and ROE 25 Superintendent Ron Daniels.

Keri Garrett was first elected to the post of Regional Superintendent eight years ago, and has been reelected two times, serving beforehand as a classroom teacher. Garrett says that if given a third term, her goals include effectively managing the transition of Jefferson County into the new region and grow and expand available programming and funding to support schools in Jefferson County, and keeping standards high in the region. She says she has a proven track record that shows her as the woman for the job.

"I would recommend you do your homework" said Garrett, "I would like for you to review my track record for the past eight or nine years in this office. I would like for you to read my audit and ask teachers, school administrators, and school board members what they think of the Regional office of Education. I think you'll find that we'll continue to work very hard and be great advocates for the schools"

Garrett is a resident of Patoka, and is running as a democrat.

If reelected, Garrett will serve a four year term before her seat is up for reelection again. 


Winners in the 8 to 12 year old division were (left to right) Payton Phillips (1st), Kyle Friend (2nd) and Ava Roberts (3rd).


Winners in the 4 to 7 Year old category were (left to right) Wayne Freeman (1st), Ethan Hodge (2nd) and Baylee Riddle (3rd).


Winners in the three and younger category (left to right) Blaise Freeman (3rd), Kaleigh Zimmer (2nd) and Anna Schmidt (1st).


From Left to Right: Zane Applegate, Devan Jennings and Emy Arnold


There were 49 children entered for judging in the annual Halloween Costume Contest sponsored by the Friends of Bryan-Bennett Library. 

In the three years and younger category, Anna Schmidt was first, Kaleigh Zimmer second and Blaise Freeman third. In the four to seven year old class, Wayne Freeman was first, Ethan Hodge second and Baylee Riddle third.  In the eight to twelve year old category, Payton Phillips took first, Kyle Friend second and Ava Roberts third.  

First Place prize was $25; Second Place, $15; and Third Place, $10.  The Salem Kiwanis will once again lend their expertise and judge the entries.

In conjunction with the Library contest, Keep Salem Beautiful held a special competition for Recycled Costumes. First place winner was Zane Applegate, Devan Jennings took second and Emy Arnold third. 

The judging criteria for the Recycled Costume Contest was on originality and creativity. Costumes had to be made of any combination of recycle materials such as newsprint, cardboard, plastic bottles/bags, caps, egg cartons, cans, paper bags, labels, printer spools, magazines, material, etc.


A fourth person has now died in the aftermath of a freight train-SUV collision at Main and 6th Street in downtown Vandalia early Thursday evening.  

Vandalia Police Chief Jeff Ray confirms the driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Crystal Anna of Greenville, passed away at 12:42 Friday afternoon at St. Louis University Hospital from injuries sustained in the crash.  There's no word on the now lone survivor of the crash, Anna's 9-year-old son Dylan Wisnasky, who was airlifted from the Fayette County Hospital in Vandalia to a St. Louis Hospital in critical condition.  

Anna's three other children, 10-year-old Abbie Wisnasky, 13-year-old Drake Wisnasky, and 18-year-old Alyssa Sewell, were all pronounced dead at the scene by the Fayette County Coroner.  

State Police have now released details on how the accident is believed to have occurred.  Police say the driver attempted to cross the railroad crossing while the crossing lights were on and the stop arms down and was struck in the passenger side rear area by an eastbound CSX freight train.  

The impact caused the SUV to spin clockwise.  The driver's side area then struck the metal support for the lights, sign, and stop arm of the crossing and continued spinning in a complete circle until the rear driver's side tire became pinned against a concrete barrier.  The male child seated in the rear middle passenger seat was ejected and landed 60 feet south of the train tracks against the concrete barrier.    A train camera recorded the crash.

The wreck occurred as the Vandalia Halloween Parade was just about to get underway and a large crowd had gathered along Gallatin Street about a block away from the accident scene.  Authorities believe the family was headed to the parade when the crash occurred.  The parade proceeded, with an estimated 2,000 in attendance.  

Vandalia Mayor Ricky Gottman says this is a tragedy that no one could expect to happen on an evening of excitement of the pending parade.  He says the community is still reeling after the accident.  Gottman notes first and foremost the City of Vandalia extends its prayers and condolences to the family involved in the accident.  He says the city also prays for the witnesses, first responders, train engineers, and the citizens of the cities of Greenville and Vandalia that they may find peace as they begin to process the events of Thursday night.  

Gottman is commending the first responders: the Vandalia Volunteer Fire Department, the Vandalia Police Department, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen, the Illinois State Police; CSX Railroad and the many bystanders who rushed in to help where they could.  He says each of these groups went above and beyond their call to duty and handled the accident scene like true professionals.

Gottman notes no one can ever plan for a tragedy like this in their family or their community, but it makes him proud to see everyone come together in a time of crisis and come to one common goal to support each other and the family.




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