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2019: A Year In Review


Kelsey Schaepperkoetter settled in as the new director at Nashville Public Library.

The Nashville Community High School Music took second in the Battle of the Bands during the Sugar Bowl competition in New Orleans. The department also won the spirit award.

Randall Koeller, 51, of Marissa was driving a Chevrolet Avalanche westbound on County Highway 6 at approximately 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 when he failed to stop at a stop sign. The vehicle was then struck by a garbage truck belonging to Waste Management of Belleville, which had been traveling south on County Highway 13. The Avalanche then rolled and came to rest upside down in the ditch on the southeast corner of the intersection. The garbage truck was stopped approximately 60 feet from the in- tersection. The truck driver, whose name has not been released, was taken to Washington County Hospital for treatment. According to the Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger, Koeller was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Nashville City Council reinstated its canine police with the Fraternal Order of Police. Blaze came aboard the department later that spring.

Washington County brings home three trophies from the SIJHSAA tournament held at Rend Lake College. The Okawville Junior Lady Rockets defeated Christopher 58-51 in overtime to win the Class M state championship. Trinity-St. John/Immanuel Lutheran School Lady Titans finished with a 33-22 win over Aviston for the Class S title. Nashville Middle School took third for its fourth straight trophy, winning the Class M title in a commanding 32-17 victory over Vienna.

Stan Johnson Company, one of the nation’s premier net lease brokerage firms, completed the sale of a 277,000 foot industrial building for Grupo Antolin. It was located at 18355 Enterprise Avenue in Nashville.


Robert Brittingham was hired as the new full-time police officer on the Okawville Police Department

More than 60 new citizens participated during the naturalization ceremony held at Kaskaskia College in Centralia.

County Engineer Kiefer Heiman informed the Wash- ington County Board that the winter weather storms in January and February have had quite an impact on the county’s roadways. Heiman said during the county board meeting on Tuesday, February 12, that the department has been running at fewer plows due to unexpected maintenance issues.

Allen Fisher, 52, of Swawick was found guilty of aggravated battery against Robert Pfister during a jury trial.

Dr. Steve W. Launius was awarded the Lifetime Achive- ment award on Friday, February 22, during the 67th annual All Ag Banquet held at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

A new look will soon be placed on the city’s water, the Nashville City Council learned at its meeting on Thursday, February 21.Mayor Erik Rolf informed the council that a couple designs created by students at Nashville Community High School have been chosen, and a look will be finalized after city leaders have discussions with the engineer and company in charge of painting.


Chuck Melton and members of the Team USA wheelchair rugby team were featured on an episode of “NCIS: New Orleans.”

The winningest boys basketball team in NCHS history came back with some hardware from the IHSA Class 2A State Tournament. The Hornets was the runner-up, as Chicago Orr won their third straight State Championship.

DuBois celebrated its 25th annual Polish Fest with a parade and a full schedule of activities.

Dr. Jay Colbrook was named the 2019 Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Judge Dan Emge addressed the Washington County Board at its regular meeting on Tues- day, March 12 to talk about upcoming changes that may affect how the court is able to generate revenue from nes. The new law stems from a task force that was implemented to make the amount of court costs and nes more uniform across Illinois.

The Nashville City Council donated $5,000 to the Washington County Fair.

NCHS senior Alex Johannes was named the 2019 Agricultural Communications State Proficiency Award Winner during the state competition.


Longtime nurse Carol Dycus retired from Friendship Manor after 49 years of service.

Captain, a three-year-old kangaroo, made its debut at Rainbow Ranch in Nashville.

Shawn Kabat and Gregory Hopfinger were elected as new members to the Nashville City Council, replacing Terry Kozuszek and Dennis Kellerman who did not seek another term. Susan Finke was also awarded a seat.

Oakdale celebrated its 26th annual Eggstravaganza.

After deliberating for more than four and a half hours in closed session, the Nashville Community High School Board decided to retain Doug Althoff as its head coach for the Hornettes girls’ basketball team during its meeting on Monday, April 15. The decision came after scores of supporters showed up at the board meeting. Several parents, former players and community members also backed Althoff as a long- time coach for the Hornettes program and mentor for the community.


Dave Scott lectured about the German perspective at the annual Washington County Historical Society banquet at the Nashville American Legion.

John Hallock was recognized for his years of service to the Nashville Community HIgh School Board. Kevin Rench was elected to take his place on the board, while members Paul Barczewski and Tom Speedie were re-elected.

Washington County Relay for Life raises more than $40,000 during its event at Nashville Grade School on May 10.

Washington County Hospital unveiled its telehospitalist program, which allows patients and providers to have direct access through computer conferences.

Hornettes finish sixth in the 4x200m relay at state. This marked the first girls track medal in a running event since 1999.

Lee Jett and Lee Borowiak of Nashville were selected to take an honor flight to Washington, D.C.

Neighbors voiced their objections of a tax exemption application for Community Link and its property in Beaucoup Township on May 21. Community Link was gifted the $750,000 King Property in Windswept Acres for a home for developmentally disabled adults.

NCHS senior Gavyn Lietz took home a sixth place medal in the Triple Jump. He set a personal record in the Prelims with a jump of 43’5.”


Area bus companies expressed concern over a shortage of drivers for the upcoming school year.

Okawville celebrated its annual Heritage Days Festival.

Nashville City Council donated $12,000 to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

A GMC pickup truck driven by Brad D. Williams, 52, of Addieville had left the roadway on the north side of County Highway 1 near Beaver Creek Road before it traveled through the ditch before colliding with the power pole. Williams was pronounced dead on the scene at 3:16 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19.

A cache of stolen wallets from the 1940s was found during the demolition of the Centralia High School building. City Hope Church is renovating the old campus for its new location and the wallets were uncovered in a heat vent.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for China Inn under its new owners Andy Chen and Kitty Weng.


Streets Superintendent Rich Schuette retired after 41 years with the city of Nashville.

Hoyleton celebrated its annual Hofbraufest.

Jaylyn Bowers was crowned the Washington County Fair Queen on July 7. She is the first county fair queen crowned in 33 years.

Jared M. Queen and Maria A. Moore, both 40, of Missouri were arrested after a high speed pursuit that led through Washington County. The couple was charged with attempted first degree murder for shooting at a Wamac police officer, among other crimes.

Washington County Trea- surer Natalie Lynch informed the county board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 9, that she needs to be informed about all county bank ac- counts prior to being opened. Lynch said she was notified about an account opened by the sheriff’s of ce at Farmers and Merchants Bank when a representative called her. She said it had been previously discussed at other meetings the importance from the auditors that she was the des- ignated person to open, close and maintain all county bank accounts.

Nashville City Council honored Rich Schuette and laborer Lindsey Lietz for their years of service to the streets department.

Allyson Grabowski, 21, was killed in a two-vehicle traffic accident in Missouri. Grabowski reportedly lost control of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark she was driving, crossed over the median and struck a second vehicle.

More than 25,000 minutes were logged in during the Nashville Public Library’s summer reading program. The theme was “It’s Showtime” and the program concluded with a magic show.

The Famous Blue Room in New Minden caught fire on Thursday, July 24, when smoke was seen coming from the freezer section of the kitchen.

Harvey A. Binford of Centreville was arrested following a high speed pursuit on Interstate 64.


Marcus Hayes of Gainsville, FL, was arrested after trafficking approximately 11 pounds of cannabis. The arrest was made after a brief foot chase.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held for Darren’s Precision Auto Detailing and McKay NAPA.

Washington County Animal Control received a $4,000 donation from Scott Waterman of Collinsville. The money was raised by Waterford’s online followers and will go toward needed renovations at the shelter.

Timothy L. Johnson, 48, of Richview was killed after a one-vehicle accident on U.S. Route 51 on Aug. 17. The Jeep Johnson was driving struck a driveway and overturned.

Michael L. Todd, 35, of Okawville died after an ATV accident in rural Washington County on Aug. 25. Todd was remembered by many emergency responding agencies as he worked for both Washington County Ambulance and the Okawville Fire Department.

Oakdale Presbyterian Church Pastor John Campbell retired after 14 years.


The Nashville City Council purchased a tandem recycling trailer during its Sept. 5 meeting. The purchase came after a brief hiatus where the shared services with the county truck was ceased due to liability issues.

The Okawville Wheat Festival was celebrated in the downtown village.

Tim and Chelsey Hanke received news that they were about to become parents of a newborn girl, a happy ending to their adoption story that had been chronicled on their Facebook page.

Washington County Board agreed to seek out emergency bids for the HVAC work at the county jail.

An unidentified man robbed the Circle K in Okawville on Sept. 18.

The Nashville Fall Festival was celebrated in downtown Nashville.

Nashville Superintendent Brad Turner was arrested after a hit-and-run accident in Perry County on Sept. 22.

Laura Mae Schmersahl, 55, of DuBois was killed in a two vehicle accident in Will County on Sept. 23.


Caitlin Happach was sentenced to probation for the 2018 hit-and-run fatal crash on Interstate 64 that killed World War II veteran Ervin Goeden, 93.

The Nashville City Council honored longtime city streets employees Leonard Bathon and David Lea during its Oct. 3 meeting.

Nashville District 99 was recognized nationally for its commitment to accomplished teaching. Only 81 districts in the country were given such an honor. It was also named in the top three districts by percent.

Former Councilwoman Linda Schultz donated a barn quilt painting to the Nashville Fire Protection District.

Nashville Police Officer Bryce Styninger carried an elderly man from a burning fire on Sept. 19.

The Nashville Middle School Junior Hornets finish second at the SIJHSAA Class M baseball tournament. The St. Ann/T-SJ/ILS Titans took home third place in Class S tournament.

Sarah Staley was crowned the 2019 Homecoming queen. The seniors took home the top float honors in the annual homecoming parade on Oct. 11.

Washington County Ambulance Service Administrator John Felchilia expressed concerns at the county board meeting on Oct. 8 about concerns with the county dispatch services. The 9-1-1 Board would also address the issue at its Oct. 10 meeting.

Montabert held a grand opening for its national distribution center in Nashville.

An information meeting on allowing marijuana businesses within in Washington County was held at the Community Center of Nashville on Oct. 30.


Jon D. Deneef, 56, of Okawville was charged with attempted first degree murder for slashing a male victim in the neck.

Police arrested unnamed individuals for stealing a donation jar from the Nashville Public Library.

A fire broke out on Nov. 18 at Meyer’s Greenhouse & Nursery at approximately 8 p.m. The blaze started near an outdoor outlet.

Mayor Erik Rolf announced his intent to resign from his office during the Nov. 21 meeting. Rolf was moving out of the city limits, and stated that as the reason for his departure.

Alfeldt’s Christmas Tree Farm celebrated 50th year this year.

The Nashville Firefighters Association raised a quarter million dollars in fundraising efforts with its annual chicken dinner this past summer.

The Hornets football team was the runner-up to the 2A State Championship, the first time that the team had been to the final game since 1998.


The Nashville Hometown Christmas event grew in its second year, with hundreds attending the festival and tree lighting.

The Nashville City Council and the Washington County Board each passed ordinances to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses within its borders.

A house fire was reported in the 500 block of West Goodner Street on Dec. 11.

Court records stated that a settlement had been reached in the Greg Hopfinger lawsuit against the city of Nashville. Details regarding the settlement have not been released.

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