The identity of the person found in a burning car last Thursday morning has been released.  According to Bond County Coroner Tony Brooks, the person in the car was 56 year old Steven Struberg, Sr., of rural Greenville. 

Police and local firefighters found Struberg inside a car on fire early Thursday morning.  According to Brooks on Thursday, April 10, at 1:07 a.m., a 911 call was received of a vehicle on fire on Hookdale Avenue, approximately one mile west of the Keyesport Road.  Bond County Sheriff’s Deputies and Smithboro Firefighters responded. 

Upon arrival, deputies found a vehicle partially in a ditch on the north side of Hookdale Avenue fully engulfed in flames.  After firefighters extinguished the fire, Struberg was found lying inside the Chevrolet minivan.  Bond County Coroner Tony Brooks pronounced the victim dead at 2:07 a.m. 

Brooks said an autopsy was performed Friday evening and showed the probable cause of death to be smoke inhalation.  Toxicology reports are pending and no foul play is suspected.



36 year old Jason E. Ehlers, of Bethalto, was charged Friday in Madison County with two counts of alleged Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child and two counts of alleged Criminal Sexual Assault. His bond was set at $250,000.
Ehlers is a teacher in Triad Community Unit School District #2, a former teacher at Bethalto Community Unit School District #8, and a former administrator of Southwestern Community Unit School District #9.

Jason E. Ehlers

Ehlers is charged with allegedly having sex with a minor under the age of 13 between September 2010 and March 2011 and with a minor under the age of 18 between July 2011 and July 2012.

Investigators say no current or former students of Mr. Ehlers have been victimized by him.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact the Bethalto Police Department.

Counselors are available at Triad, Bethalto, and Southwestern schools to assist families with this issue.

Photo courtesy of the Bethalto Police Department



SIUE hosted the St. Louis Regional Botball Tournament recently.  Under the direction of team mentor Chris Ziemba, the Greenville High School Robotics Club finished in fifth place out of 25 teams from four states.

Photos courtesy of Randy Alderman


You will have another opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs.  You may help prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding your home of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

Take your unwanted drugs to the Greenville Police Department Saturday, April 26, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  The Drug Enforcement Administration cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps; only pills or patches.  This service is free and anonymous.  For more information, call the police department at 664-2131.



The Greenville Police Department has released its March report.  The report shows three residential burglaries, one theft from a motor vehicle, four cases of retail theft or shoplifting, and three incidents of damage to property.  There were three incidents involving juveniles and two crimes dealing with illegal drugs.  Traffic violations show ten uninsured motorist citations, three DUI arrests, one arrest for illegal transportation of alcohol, eleven driver’s license violations, 23 speeding tickets, and four seat belt violations.  Officers responded to six traffic accidents with one of those involving injuries.  There were 113 fire district calls with 23 for Greenville, 20 for both Keyesport and Mulberry Grove, 27 for Pocahontas, 10 for Shoal Creek, and 13 for Smithboro.

Prairie Farms


The Greenville Fellowship of Christian Athletes is sponsoring a Sports Power Camp June 30 through July 2. The day camp will be held at the Greenville Junior High School and is for students going into 5th through 8th grades. Ish Smith, with the FCA, told us the event will offer coaching in several sports, including basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, football, cheerleading, track and field, and soccer.

“It starts at 8:30 in the morning and we feed them a continental breakfast,” said Smith.  “We have a day’s activity and feed them a free lunch.  We give them a T-shirt, give them a Bible, give them good coaching, give them a chance to hear coaches and athletes give their testimony.  Each camper chooses two sports for which they want to have instruction. We’ll have local high school and college coaches in charge of that.”

Smith said the camp is offered free of charge thanks to donations received at the FCA’s annual banquet. The camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day. Applications will be available at the elementary and junior high schools as well as some area churches. For more information, call 664-1747.



Two workshops will be offered at the Bond County Historical Society’s 12th Annual Quilt Show on Saturday, May 3 at the Greenville Free Methodist Church. Jan Eyman with the Quilter’s Club told us more about the workshops.

“One is for beginning rotary cutters, and that’s 9:30 to 11:30. It’s being taught by Joyce Wise of Mulberry Grove who has a quilting shop there called Joyce’s Beginnings and Beyond Quilting and Sewing Shop. The price is $20,” Eyman told WGEL. “The second class is from 1:00 to 3:00. It’s a twisted log cabin using stable piecing. It’s an intermediate class, and it’s $20, plus $17 for furnished supplies. And it will be taught by Lora Kennedy of Greenville who’s associated with Farmland Quilting and Embroidery.”

To sign up for a workshop, call Jan at 326-7343. The Quilt Show will feature the work of over 100 area quilters and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Cost for admission is $3.



Congressman John Shimkus will be available to meet with local constituents in Bond County Wednesday, April 16, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. at the Greenville City Hall on South Third Street.  This is your opportunity to discuss a problem you are having with a federal government agency or express your thoughts on legislation or other issues.  To schedule an appointment, call 288-7190. 


Friday, the Lady Comets softball team defeated Carlinville, 6 to 3.  April Stich led the Comets hitting two homeruns and driving in three RBIs.  Whitney Gray got the win. 

On Saturday, the Comets beat Granite City in a doubleheader 16 to 1 and 14 to 9.  Emma Richardson was 7 for 8 on the day with 4 triples.  Erin Smith got the win.

The Comets are 1 and 0 in the conference.


William R. “Bill” Zelke

William R. “Bill” Zelke, age 89 of Highland, passed away Sunday, April 13 at Highland Health Care Center. Funeral services will be Thursday, April 17 at 10:00 a.m. at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland.   Burial will be in Highland City Cemetery.  Friends may call Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until service time at the funeral home.  Memorials are suggested to the American Lung Association.

He was born on Saturday, November 22, 1924, in Omro, WI, the son of Adolph and Evelyn (nee Roycraft) Zelke.

On Thursday, December 26, 1946, he married Dorothy J. Zelke (nee Holtz) who passed away on Monday, March 31, 2014.

He was a retired Teamster.

Born at Omro, Rushford Township, Wisconsin. At age 18 he was drafted, he served with the US Army, active duty from 5/27/1943 to 2/25/1946, during WW II. He lived most of his life at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was an over the road truck driver and drove for Olson Trucking later known as CW (Central Wisconsin) Trucking, head quartered out of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; he retired after 40 years. In February 2013 he and his wife moved to Highland, Illinois and lived with their daughter for 10 months, later moved to the Highland Home in December 2013. He enjoyed boating, fishing, snowmobiling and traveling. He and his wife vacationed to Las Vegas and throughout the United States, visiting their daughter and grandchildren.

Survivors include:
Daughter - Sherrie A. Barkhaus, Highland, IL
Grandson - Scott K. (Erika) Barkhaus, Mascoutah, IL
Granddaughter - Staci M. (Joseph) LaPorta, Highland, IL
Granddaughter - Tami L. (Lt Col Rob, USAF Retired) Gilchrest, Fairfax Station, VA
Great Grandchild - Tyler (Constance) Barkhaus, Valdosta, GA
Great Grandchild - Megan (Chris) Bray, Pensacola, FL
Great Grandchild - Olivia LaPorta, Highland, IL
Great Grandchild - Alexandra LaPorta, Highland, IL
Great Grandchild - Samuel LaPorta, Highland, IL
Great Grandchild - Isabella LaPorte, Highland, IL
Great Grandchild - Jarrett Gilchrest, Fairfax Station, VA
Great Grandchild - Quintin Gilchrest, Fairfax Station, VA
Great Grandchild - Spencer Gilchrest, Fairfax Station, VA
Great Grandchild - Jaylin Gilchrest, Fairfax Station, VA
Great Great Grandchildren - Five

He was preceded in death by:
Father - Adolph Zelke
Mother - Evelyn Zelke
Wife - Dorothy J. Zelke (died 03/31/2014)
Brother - Emmett Zelka
Brother - Robert Henry "Bob" Zelke
Sister - Harriett Zelke
Sister - Alda Bauer
Son In-law - CMSGT Robert H. "Bob" Barkhaus, USAF, Retired (died 11/11/2008)

Ralph Eugene Rainey

Ralph Eugene Rainey, age 91, of Carlyle, passed away Sunday, April 13 at Carlyle Healthcare Center.  Funeral services will be Thursday, April 17 at 11:00 a.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church in Carlyle.  Burial with military honors will be at Yingst Cemetery in Carlyle.  Friends may call Wednesday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Zieren Day Funeral Home in Carlyle and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to service time at the church.  Memorials are suggested to Yingst Cemetery.

He was born on December 12, 1922, in Section 1, Carlyle Township, Clinton County, Illinois, a son of Wallace A. and Jessie I. (Ringer) Rainey. His birthplace was the Clinton County Poor Farm, where his father was the resident superintendent. Soon after graduating from Carlyle High School in 1940, he operated a taxi service in Carlyle before enlisting in the United States Army on February 20, 1942. He married Frieda W. Goesling on May 9, 1946, at Messiah Lutheran Parsonage in Carlyle, by Rev. Paul F. Hartmann.

Survivors are his wife – Frieda Rainey of Carlyle; 2 daughters – Marilyn Mason of Walnut Creek, California and Phyllis Albat and husband Edward of Carlyle; a daughter-in-law – Kim Rainey of McKinney, Texas; a sister – Lila Mahlandt of Carlyle; 3 grandsons – James Mason, Robert Mason and friend Kim, and Jason Rainey; 2 granddaughters – Tammy Eigenrauch and husband Wayne and Jessica Carver and husband Rusty; his great grandchildren – Tiffany and Travis Eigenrauch and Colt Rainey; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents – Wallace and Jessie Rainey; a son – Gary Rainey; a grandson – Charles H. Mason, III; 2 brothers – Walter and Floyd Rainey and 2 sisters – Myra Godell and Mildred Bruenemeyer.

Mr. Rainey was a plumber by trade, licensed in Illinois and a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 101, Belleville for over 55 years. He worked mostly in the Belleville and Carlyle areas, and had a plumbing shop in Carlyle for a time. He and his wife also owned and operated Riverside Tavern from 1949 – 1956, and during that same time also ran Club Royale. Later, they owned and operated Reaban’s Drive-In, which was later known as Rainey’s Drive-In, for 18 years, beginning in 1969. During that time, they had a Pick-Ur-Own Strawberry Farm in Wheatfield Township from 1962 – 1978. They also ran a Trap and Skeet Shooting Range for a few years.

His hobbies included trapshooting and genealogy. He competed in many shoots in numerous states, including 28 Grand American Tournaments. After many years of research, he published a 400 page family history of Rainey-Ringer and Allied Families in 1985.

Mr. Rainey served 3 years and 7 months in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member and Past Adjutant of V.F.W. Post 3523, member and Past Commander of the American Legion Post 404 in Carlyle and a member of American Legion Post 1227 in Beckemeyer. He served on the combined firing squad for military funerals for many years.

He was a Life Member of the Amateur Trapshooting Association; a member of the National Rifle Association; a contributor to the Rainey Times, a family research publication; a member and contributor to the Ogle/Ogles Family Association; a member and benefactor of the Clinton County Historical Society; Secretary-Treasurer of Yingst Cemetery Association and was a benefactor and caretaker of Yingst Cemetery for many years.

Kenneth Zarecki, Sr.

Kenneth Zarecki, Sr., age 65, of rural Mulberry Grove, passed away Saturday, April 12.  Funeral services will be Friday, April 18 at 1:00 p.m. at the Columbus Church.  Friends may call Friday at the church from 11:00 a.m. to service time.  Memorials are suggested to the family.  The Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Kenneth, the son of Harry Zarecki, Sr. and Helen (Simpson) Zarecki, was born October 20, 1948 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  He grew up in Cocranton where he attended the local schools.  Kenneth went to high school and later joined the United States Navy where he served 20 years.  He was a mechanic for the Navy working on Jets.  After his retirement, he worked in crew construction as a contractor.  Kenneth fully retired in 2013 so he could be home with his family.

Kenneth was united in marriage to Kathy (Sorrell) Zarecki on June 7, 1995 in St. Louis, Missouri.

He is survived by his wife, son Kenneth Zarecki, Jr. of St. Louis, MO and his wife Amanda, step-son Louis Mabus who lives at home and a step-daughter Amanda Mabus who also lives as home.  He was the loving grandfather of 1, Frederick Zarecki.

Kenneth was one of five children; Harry Jr. (Shirley) Zarecki of Florida, David Zarecki of Pennsylvania and Wayne "Skip" (Mary) Zarecki of Pennsylvania, his sister Lynette "DeeDee" Cowin preceded him in death as his parents also preceded him in death.

Alma L. Riepshoff

Alma L. Riepshoff, age 97, of Highland, passed away Friday, April 11 at Alhambra Care Center.  Funeral services will be Monday, April 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland.  Burial will be in Highland City Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to the Alhambra Care Center, Unity Hospice, Evangelical United Church of Christ, or Hoyleton Children’s Home.

She was born May 18, 1916, in Marine, IL, the daughter of Fred H. and Anna M. (nee Keck) Riepshoff.

She was a member of Evangelical United Church of Christ.

Alma was born and grew up on the family farm near Marine. At the age of 19 she moved to Highland. She was employed as a Nurse's Aid at St. Joseph Hospital from 1956 to 1963, and from 1967 to 1986 when she retired at age 70. She moved to Faith Countryside Apartments after retiring. She moved to Alhambra Care Center 6 years ago. She enjoyed crocheting, traveling and going on tours.

Survivors include :
Nephew - Orville F. (Lois) Riepshoff Jr. , Highland, IL
Nephew - Glenn E. (Gladys) Riepshoff, Alhambra, IL
Niece - Doris (Darvin) Huller, O'Fallon, IL
Nephew - Donald (Fredericka) Riepshoff, Alhambra, IL
Nephew - Jerry Riepshoff, Goreville, IL
Great Nephews and Nieces - Numerous .

She was preceded in death by :
Father - Fred Henry Riepshoff died 2/13/1955
Mother - Anna Marie Riepshoff nee Keck died 1936
Brother - Elmer Riepshoff died 6/20/1982
Brother - Orville Riepshoff died 5/4/1994
Niece - Elvira McMichael


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