The escaped inmate from the Bond County Jail has been caught according to Sherriff Jeff Brown.  Brown told WGEL that Andrew Walker, who escaped from Bond County Jail Friday night, was apprehended on Pokey Road after fleeing in a car.  Brown said Walker allegedly led Sheriff’s deputies in a car chase on Pokey Road this morning before crashing the car into a ditch and taking off on foot. 

Walker was caught during that foot chase by deputies and was taken into custody around 7:30 a.m. Brown said no one was hurt during the chase, accident, or arrest and Walker was not armed.  Walker has been returned to Bond County Jail.     

Walker escaped around 7:00 p.m. Friday through a vent that led to an outer room. He broke through a drop ceiling and escaped through an egress door.  Brown told WGEL the Illinois State Police were in the air Friday night with their infrared equipment. K-9 units and 15 people were involved in the original search Friday evening. 


Andrew Walker

Photo courtesy of Bond County Sheriff's Department



The Greenville City Council held two of the three scheduled public hearings on the topic of occupancy permits on Thursday. Occupancy permits would require passing a city inspection before a new home owner or renter can occupy the house or apartment. The second meeting consisted of a vast majority of local real estate agents. All that spoke during the meeting were against the idea of occupancy permits in Greenville. Lester Harnetiaux began the public hearing by voicing his opinion that occupancy permits could hurt property values in Greenville. Lester said that if property values go down due to the new regulation, then tax revenues go down, then it would be likely that tax rates would go up to make up the difference in the revenue. 

When asked about the need for occupancy permits City Manager Dave Willey said houses with unaddressed safety issues are a danger for the whole community. Willey asked the group of real estate agents what they might suggest to help combat the problem of unrepaired and derelict properties. The suggestion was made to help educate renters about their rights to safe housing. Currently if a renter feels that the property they are renting has unsafe conditions they can request an inspection by the city code enforcement officer. That information could be included with water bills from the city or given to renters as they sign their lease.    

It’s not known how many apartments or homes have issues with unsafe conditions that are not up to code, however all agreed that the majority of properties in Greenville are well maintained. The last public hearing on the topic of occupancy permits is schedule for Tuesday the 22nd at 6PM at city hall.



According to the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2014 financial profile scores, Bond County school districts are among several others in the state struggling financially. The Mulberry Grove Unit 1 School District dropped two rating levels, from review to watch. Their score dropped from 3.35 in 2012 to 2.55 in 2013.

Bond County Unit 2 Schools actually improved their financial profile score slightly, moving from 2.8 up to 2.9 but received the same rating of early warning, the rating ranked between review and watch.

Mulberry Grove Unit 1 is one of 49 districts statewide to receive the watch rating, the lowest rating given.

ISBE reported that nearly 62 percent of all Illinois school districts are struggling financially, deficit spending, using their reserves or borrowing, compared to less than 33 percent in 2008.



Illinois pork farmers are reporting cases of a new virus that killing off piglets across the country. Stephanie Kraus, manager of the Bond County Farm Bureau told us more about the virus.

“The virus is called PEDV, which stands for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and basically this virus causes diarrhea, severe nausea, and dehydration in pigs,” Kraus said. “It can actually kill pigs and it’s wiped out quite a few across the United States already. It’s been spreading from state to state and it’s actually been reported in 30 different states now, so it’s spreading pretty quickly. I don’t know if there’s been any locally or not, but there has been some reported in Illinois.”

Kraus said the virus could be very damaging to local farmers.

“It can have a pretty big effect on their livelihood because they’re making an investment with these pigs, because they’re purchasing them and trying to raise them. If they’re losing their pigs to this virus, then obviously there’s going to be no opportunity for them to make any kind of profit off of this.”

While the virus is dangerous for pigs, it cannot be transferred to people who eat pork.


The City of Greenville was recently named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 19th year. The city achieved the national designation by meeting the programs four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capital and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The Arbor Day Foundation says some of the benefits enjoyed by Tree City USA communities include cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, increased property values and commercial activity. To learn more about the program, visit their website at www.ArborDay.org/TreeCityUSA.



A St. Louis Cardinals slugger from the 1980s, who hit one of the most famous homeruns in team history, is this year’s featured guest at the Cardinals Baseball Luncheon, hosted by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Jack Clark’s dramatic 3-run homerun in game six of the National League Champion Series propelled the Cardinals into the 1985 World Series. Clark, nicknamed “The Ripper” for his homerun prowess, played for the Cardinals for three seasons - 1985 through 1987 - and provided the power in a lineup full of speedy base runners.

Clark will discuss his career, analyze the 2014 Cardinals team, and sign autographs at the luncheon, Tuesday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Donnewald Distributing meeting room, 2100 Samuel Andrews Drive in Greenville. Tickets are $15.00 each and include a barbecue lunch, complimentary color photo of Clark’s NLCS homerun, and one autograph. Only 100 tickets will be sold. This event is open to the public.

The Cardinals Baseball Luncheon is a community outreach program for the Chamber, according to John Goldsmith, executive director of the organization. 

“While our focus is supporting our business members, we also see great value in offering opportunities like this to the community," Goldsmith told WGEL. "We’ve been joined in the past by attendees from surrounding towns, too.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Greenville Chamber of Commerce at 664-9272.


This year’s Bond County Historical Society Quilt Show will feature more than 100 quilts, contests, workshops and a free live demonstration.

“We will have a demonstration at noon, by Lynne Mears of Woodlawn, IL,” Jan Eyman of the Quilter’s Club told us. “She formerly owned the Cotton Patch and most of the quilters around here are familiar with her. She’s going to demonstrate an appliqué method called ‘leaves galore’.”

The 12th Annual Quilt Show will be held Saturday, May 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Greenville Free Methodist Church. Cost for admission is $3. For more information, call Jan at 326-7343



The Bond County Health Department Board of Health is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the health department. Items on the agenda include a discussion and possible vote on making the health department a smoke-free campus and votes on the hospice policy, the Prairie Counseling Annual Management Report, and an immunization administration fee increase. Updates on the Dental Clinic, the department building, and the flu will also be provided during the meeting.

The City of Greenville Plan Commission scheduled a public hearing for 7:00 p.m. in the Greenville Municipal Building.  The hearing is to consider a request by Bass Mollett Publisher, Inc. to vacate an alley between lots 23 & 24 of the Original Hutchison’s Addition and lots 9 & 10 of the Replat of Hutchison’s Addition.  For more information, call the city manager at 664-1644.

The Greenville City Council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenville Municipal Building. Items on the agenda include the 2014-2015 budget discussion and/or approval and appointments to boards and commission.




Cyril J. Athmer

Cyril J. Athmer, age 86, of Breese and formerly of Aviston, passed away Friday, April 18 at Faith Countryside Homes in Highland.  A funeral mass of Christian burial will be Tuesday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Breese.  Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery in Aviston.  Friends may call today from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:00 to 9:45 a.m. at the Moss Funeral Home in Breese.  Memorials are suggested to Alzheimer’s Research, Hospice of Southern Illinois, Cure JM Foundation, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

He was born May 10, 1927 in Trenton to Frank and Mary (Gebhart) Athmer: they preceded him in death.

He married Thelma “Timmy” Fuhler August 24, 1948 at St. Francis Church, Aviston. She preceded him in death October 20, 1990.

Also preceded in death by a grandson Ian Elliott, son-in-law Randall Elliott, brother Norman Athmer, father-in-law and mother-in-law Herman & Bertha (Stoff) Fuhler, brothers-in-law an d sisters-in-law Eugene Lohman, Jerome Hagen, Raymond Foppe, Herman Fuhler Jr., Raymond Buscher, Marie and Clarence Albers, Jeanette Perkes, Viola and August Wellen, Ralph Fuhler, Arnold Moss

Surviving are his children Connie Frankovich of Breese, Sandy (Mike) Renspurger of Highland, Peggy Elliott of Highland, Daniel (Deborah Kay) Athmer of Aviston, Joni (Pete) Wilken of Aviston, Susie Dulle of Highland, Craig (Missy) Athmer of Highland

9 grandchildren Melanie (David) Holden, Heather (Brian) Luitjohan, Michael (Lynn) Renspurger, Michele (Gary) Toennies, Tyler Elliott, Shaun (Storm) Wilken, Casey (Greg) Jasper, Melissa (fiancé Clint Beckmann) Dulle, Tiffany (Joey) Santiago

15 great grandchildren

Sisters Cleopha Lohman of Aviston, Shirley Moss of Aviston, Marilyn Hagen of Breese, Donna (Jim) Elliott of Davenport IA.

Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Bernice “BC” Foppe of Aviston, Edna (Cyril) Markus of Glen Carbon, Irene Buscher of Aviston, Elmer “Buddy” Perkes of Breese, Don (Jane) Fuhler of New Baden, Joann Fuhler of Highland.

Cyril retired after 34 years with the U.S. Postal service in Aviston and Mt Olive. Cyril was an Army Veteran.

Member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Breese, Knights of Columbus Council #2869 past grand knight and financial secretary and District Deputy Breese, Bishop Althoff 4th degree Assembly, American Legion Post 252, Breese, Honorary member of the Aviston Fire Department, Breese Lions Club and past president.

Gay Rench

Gay Rench, age 60 of Highland, passed away Friday, April 18 at Relais Bonne Eau in Edwardsville. Funeral services will be Tuesday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. at the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Highland.  Burial will be in Highland City Cemetery.  Friends may call today from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland and Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to service time at the church.  Memorials are suggested to the Hospice of Southern Illinois or the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Highland.

Joseph R. Vander Pluym

Joseph R. Vander Pluym, age 62, of O’Fallon, IL, passed away Wednesday, April 16 at his home.  A mass of Christian burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 22 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Carlyle.  Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.  Friends may call today from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Zieren Day Funeral Home in Carlyle.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to a charity of the donor’s choice.

He was born on November 18, 1951 at St. Joseph's Hospital, in Breese, IL. He was the youngest son of Loretta (Sellers) Vander Pluym and Richard Vander Pluym. He grew up most of his life in Clinton County and then moved to Arizona when he was a child, where his family lived for several years. At that time, the family came back to their roots to settle in Breese, IL, where their hearts always remained. He graduated from Mater Dei Catholic High School in 1969. There, his love of music and the arts flourished, and he also met the love of his life, Janice (Sautman) Vander Pluym. They married on January 7, 1971.

He is survived by his soulmate and loving wife, Janice; 2 daughters – Amber (Vander Pluym) Rigsby and husband Michael of Bloomington, IL, and Lauren Vander Pluym and partner Joe Tiberio of Chicago, IL; 2 brothers – John Vander Pluym and wife Cathy of St. Louis, MO, and Jerry Vander Pluym of Arizona; sister Jan (Vander Pluym) Petersen and husband Pete of Reno, NV; 2 sisters-in-law – Gayle (Sautman) Warnecke and husband & soul brother Phil of Carlyle, IL and Angie (Sautman) Schoendienst of Bel Air, MD; and several nieces and nephews and their children who he loved dearly.

He was preceded in death by his beloved parents – Richard and Loretta (Sellers) Vander Pluym; brother-in-law & soul brother Dick Schoendienst, and mother-in-law – Rosalind (Winkeler) Sautman.

Joe was a lifelong retail industry executive. Since early 2014, he was the Senior Vice President of Sales at Scrubs & Beyond in Brentwood, MO. Previously, Joe was the Chief Operations Officer for Bakers Footwear Group in St. Louis, MO. Joe put his heart and soul into building Bakers, where he worked for over a decade. Joe began his retail career at Merry Go Round Enterprises of Baltimore, MD. His career with MGRE is a testament to his hard work and dedication, as he started out as an hourly employee on store floors as a nineteen-year-old, and over the years, worked his way up to Executive VP of Operations. During his time at MGRE and Bakers, Joe made lifelong friends who are now part of his family. Joe inspired many careers throughout his lifetime, and he touched the soul of every colleague. He loved them all dearly in return.

Joe was a creative soul in every sense of the word, and he passionately shared his many talents with the world. He was an incredible visual artist, specializing in charcoal drawing and screen-printing. He built beautiful additions of his own design to his family’s home that they will cherish forever.

His family knows that Joe was put on this Earth to share his musical gifts with the world. He was an incredible, self-taught bassist, guitarist, harmonica player, and vocalist. Additionally, he spent his life building a state-of-the-art home recording studio, where he wrote and recorded music with countless artists. In this way, he shared a special bond with his daughter, Lauren, who frequently wrote songs with him and sang on many recordings. His wife, Janice, also sings beautiful harmony. Janice and Lauren often sang with Joe in his many band performances. His daughter, Amber, and Joe shared a bond through her work in radio. Janice and her daughters are music lovers and will always be Joe’s biggest fans.

Joe left a beautiful legacy of recorded music, including his heartfelt homage to Southern Illinois life in Breese, IL: Breese to the Blues, which was played by his closest friends and family – all area musicians – under the name of The Vanders. Joe donated all proceeds of this album to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association in honor of friends and family who have passed on, and his family will continue this tradition. You can honor Joe by downloading this album on iTunes at: http://bit.ly/1i2FW5p.

His heart always belonged in Breese with his best friends and fellow musicians. Through the years, Joe played in numerous bands with countless musicians across the United States, including The Livin’ End, Arem Bay, Mr. Wizard, Quasi, Native Creative, Back Down 50, and so many others. Most recently, Joe played bass and sang for Gypsy Jones and Lucky Dog Band. This family of musicians inspired and fulfilled him all of his life.

His fulfillment in life was not limited to music. Joe lived his life as a true humanitarian. He gave so much to friends, family, people in need, and many charitable organizations, such as Catholic Charities, The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He will always be remembered for his generosity and kindness.

There was not a soul that Joe encountered that he did not impact in life-changing ways. He will be missed and loved by so many forever.

Rock on, Joe.

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