• The Salem City Council Monday night will have discussion on two possible future projects. One is a First Responder Memorial Monument in the East Lawn Cemetery. The other is development of Mountain Bike Trails near the Nature Trail on the north side of the Salem Reservoir.

    Salem Businessman Leon Chapman has requested permission to present the concept of placing a new monument in the cemetery to memorialize first responders, including city police, county sheriff's deputies, as well as members of the Salem Fire Protection District.

    Councilman Craig Morton has expressed interest in developing mountain bike trails near the Nature Trail. The council will be presented a very rough layout of the design. City Manager Bill Gruen says the city's risk management policy can accommodate development and promotion of the trails. The council will be asked to discuss how such a project could proceed.

    An update is planned on the Revolving Loan Fund Spend-Down projects. Gruen says unfortunately the person leading the effort to convert the old Selmaville School into a movie theater will not be able to attend and is not prepared to execute a redevelopment agreement with the city for the project. Gruen says the project will still be pursued, but the end of year deadline for projects to be in place for the spend down money won't be met.

    Economic Development Director Jeanne Gustafson will update other spend down projects which include an expansion of the Salem Community Theater and improvements to the Salem Community Activity Center.

    The council will be asked to discuss how the Brown Shoe property should be surplused. Gruen has supplied the council will a copy of the notice used earlier for the Salem Armory property on North College Street. Gruen says the city is required by law to surplus and provide notice to the public that bids and proposals are being sought. The city recently acquired title to the property after no one bid against them for the cost of the cleanup of the burned out building.

    Bids for a three-year audit service will be reviewed.

    The council meeting begins at six at Salem City Hall.

  • Pepsi is getting in on the Illinois Bicentennial celebration with a limited-edition can.

    Production is underway and Pepsi cans honoring Illinois' 200th birthday next year are about to hit the shelves. Governor Bruce Rauner says this literally puts the celebration into the hands of Illinoisans.

    "I can't wait to get out there and see these cans. We have the official Pepsi Bicentennial can they say they are going to make five million of them. That's a lot of Pepsi. Let's drink a lot of Pepsi and get those Bicentennial cans out there."

    Bicentennial Commission member Brad Cole says it's great to have merchandise to inspire pride in Illinois.

    "This commemorative Bicentennial can that is coming off the production lines right now as we speak the first version of these cans are being produced over in the production facility."

    Pepsi Mid America based in Marion will produce and distribute more than five million of the commemorative cans in their service area, which is primarily central and southern Illinois.

  • The Marion County Sheriff's Department has named its employees of the year.

    Those honored were Kevin Cripps as Deputy of the Year; Clayton Carter as Correctional Officer of the Year; Bryce Meigs as Communications Officer of the Year; and Jordan Johnson as Part-Time Officer of the Year.

    The awards were announced at the Department's Christmas Party over the weekend.

  • Centralia Police are investigating three armed robberies that occurred Sunday night. An arrest has been made in connection with one of the robberies as well as an earlier holdup at the Huck's Convenience Store on October 23rd.

    18-year-old Dzhai Brumfield of Columbus, Ohio, who is originally from Centralia and who had been staying in Centralia, is being held in the Marion County Jail for armed robbery and aggravated battery with a weapon.

    Centralia Police say Brumfield was arrested during an investigation of two females being robbed late Sunday night at 104 Fairway Drive. A resident of the complex had gone briefly inside her apartment, leaving her friend in the vehicle. The friend reported a man approached the car and asked for a lighter. After he was given one, the man allegedly pulled a gun and pointed it at the woman through the passenger window and grabbed her purse. A female who was with the man then opened the driver's side door and took the other woman's wallet. The two then ran as the driver of the car returned from her apartment.

    During the investigation, Brumfield was located in the area and taken into custody. Police say Brumfield was already a suspect in the Huck's armed robbery where a black male with a black hoodie struck one employee with a gun while demanding all the money in the cash register from another. The suspect reportedly grabbed all the money and ran eastbound on foot after the cash registered was opened.

    Earlier in the evening, police were called to armed robberies at the Hunan House restaurant at 130 North Cherry Street and at Lincoln Liquors at Broadway and Lincoln. At Hunan House, a robbery occurred at gunpoint around nine pm. Those responsible reportedly fled on foot. No injuries were reported.

    One black male is reported to have entered Lincoln Liquors about a half hour later. An employee was reportedly hit in the forehead with the butt of the gun before the suspect left the store on foot. The employee was treated on the scene by Centralia Fire and Lifestar Ambulance personnel, but refused hospital treatment.

    The Marion County K-9 was called to try and help track suspects in the two cases. The robbery call on Fairway Drive occurred at 11:40 Sunday night.

  • Marion County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a 35-year-old Mulkeytown man as he apparently walked away from a single vehicle crash on the North Hotze Road south of the Tonti Road.

    Deputies were initially notified by a passerby on Hotze Road that there was a man later identified as Matthew Eurgi who was walking away from an apparent wreck. Eurgi was limping from an injury he sustained.

    Deputies found the wreck nearby in a jog on North Hotze Road. An open bottle of vodka was found inside, although Eurgi said he only drank after the wreck occurred.

    He was arrested for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, illegal possession and transportation of liquor and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

    The call came at 10 Friday night.