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Jefferson County Board tables revised weed/nuisance ordinance

MOUNT VERNON — The Jefferson County Board voted to table a revised weed/nuisance ordinance after a brief discussion during its most recent meeting.

According to Sentinel archives, during the October board meeting Mount Vernon Township Road Commissioner and concerned citizen Kenny Hayes raised some concerns regarding a new weed/nuisance ordinance that would have given the county enforcement options on nuisance properties. Hayes raised concerns with the ordinance addressing things such as the amount of electrical sockets in each room, hot water requirements and more. He said an ordinance was needed for properties that are falling apart and volunteered to review the ordinance on a committee with board members Joey McDermott and Jeff Nowland.

As the discussion began at the most recent meeting, County Administrator Suzy Tate said she believed one of the changes that was sent was not added to the revised ordinance that the board members were looking at.

“There is one area that I don’t know if everything that we were supposed to put in it is in it,” Tate said.

Nowland went over the section in question.

“Any building or structure which has or may be damaged by fire, decay or other cause to the extent of 50% of its value shall be torn down and removed upon determination by the fire chief or building officer official,” Nowland read.

After some technical issues arose, Board Chairman Cliff Lindemann made a suggestion.

“We can do this next month if you need more time to work on it,” Lindemann said.

Nowland said that he thought the revised ordinance was fine. Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun suggested that if there is a consensus the ordinance could be voted on tentatively, then he would review it and give his legal opinion.

Board member James Malone raised a question/concern regarding appeals to the county board and said he believed it needed to remain in the circuit court.

“I think this should be a process once it is started, it starts there (circuit court) and it finishes there, we shouldn’t have to go back and do anything,” Malone said. “I mean when you get a citation on your property and you don’t meet that in 15 days, you go back to the circuit clerk, get an extension and if that doesn’t work then the circuit clerk sends it to the state’s attorney and whatever legal action needs to be taken, instead of bringing it back to the Jefferson County Board.”

Lindemann said they would need a motion to tentatively approve the ordinance with the proposed changes. At that time some board members noted that information was not fully matching up.

“I would recommend that you guys push this so that everybody can get the same ordinance up front,” Featherstun said. “Of course it is up to you guys. I only say that because it doesn’t sound to me like everybody has the same version of the ordinance in front of them.”

Some board members also raised concerns with junk vehicles mentioned in the language that would be reviewed. Featherstun also asked the board to send him a copy of the revised ordinance for his review as Lindemann entertained a motion to table.

“I have a motion to table this to complete it, we can get it sent to Mr. Featherstun for final approval,” Lindemann said. “Then we can approve it next month after everybody has a chance to read all of it.”

The board expects to vote on the ordinance during the December board meeting. The meeting is currently set for Dec. 20 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

First Presbyterian Church members Judy Myers, RIGHT, and Susan Gajewski decorate cookies Monday in preparation for the church’s annual Cookie Walk fundraiser. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 4 at the church’s new location at 3205 Broadway.

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Bagels & Brews to open shop in MV
  • Updated

MOUNT VERNON — The Bagels & Brews shop in Sesser will be opening a new location in Mount Vernon early next year, according to Co-owners Michael and Angie Smith.

Currently, Bagels & Brews has a location in Sesser that has been in business since August of 2020. The new site in Mount Vernon will share a location with RE/MAX Elite at 2003 Broadway, a historical building that provides the “perfect coffee shop vibe,” the owners say. RE/MAX Elite is a branded real estate company currently located at 2419 Broadway in Mount Vernon. RE/MAX plans to change locations and move into the 2003 Broadway site which it purchased and is remodeling.

“My husband was inspired by New York-style grilled bagels, we wanted to offer Southern Illinois a specialty shop with gourmet coffee and bagels,” Angie Smith said of Bagels & Brews. “The owners of RE/MAX were impressed with our bagel and coffee shop and approached us with this great idea to have a shop in the same building as their office in Mount Vernon.”

The new shop will be an extension of the Sesser Bagels & Brews but will have a more condensed menu filled with some of the shop’s customer favorites such as espresso drinks, pastries and bagels and schmears. Bagels & Brews in Sesser offers gourmet bagel sandwiches, coffee, smoothies, frappes, pastries and schmears created by shop employees.

“All our food and drinks are made to order, which makes us a unique shop,” Michael Smith said. “The Mount Vernon location will be a mini version of the Sesser location, offering all but the grilled bagel sandwiches.”

Remodeling is ongoing at the 2003 Broadway building and the owners hope to open the new Bagels & Brews in Mount Vernon by Feb. 1, 2022, Michael Smith said.

“The historic building is located at 2003 Broadway (in) Mount Vernon,” Michael Smith said. “RE/MAX is currently remodeling their historic building, making it more accommodating for customers, creating a seating area that will be available, along with free wi-fi, to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry, making it an inviting establishment to visit. ... We are very excited to be starting our second location and serving the Mount Vernon area.”

RE/MAX Co-owners Robin Gelfius and Allison Martychenko issued a written statement on the situation Monday.

“We at RE/MAX Elite are thrilled about our new location,” the statement reads. “We look forward to a place where the community can enjoy the new Bagels & Brews — Mini in a relaxed atmosphere with real estate professionals readily available to answer your questions. You are welcome to come in to sit and work, chat with friends, or meet for business. We are excited to bring the community together in our new location. Thank you to everyone in the community for your support and positive feedback.”

For more information, visit the Bagels & Brews website or Facebook page.

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Elks offering free children’s orthopedic clinic in MV
  • Updated

MOUNT VERNON — A free children’s orthopedic assessment clinic will be held by appointment only from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Neuromuscular Orthopaedic Institute office of Dr. Alan Froehling.

According to a press release, the event is sponsored by Mount Vernon Elks 819, Centralia Elks 493, Fairfield Elks 1631, Salem Elks 1678 and McLeansboro Elks 1882 Lodges in cooperation with the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation. Bill Block, administrator of the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation, discussed the benefits of the program.

“The benefit is for people who don’t have insurance or haven’t made their deductible, it is a free clinic,” Block said. “If their child is complaining of joint pain, back pain, clumsiness, just any kind of joint pain, they can come in and see Dr. Froehling at no charge.”

Sentinel archives state that the Elks Organization has been working with physically challenged children since 1928. The free clinic is an ideal time to have a child reviewed for bone and joint development. Froehling said that this is something provided on a voluntary basis as he discussed the purpose of the clinic.

“It is a screening clinic. We are looking for children that may need interventions, if a child is limping or if something looks wrong about their foot, their joint or some other orthopedic problem, we examine them, we order x-rays if necessary and then we tell the family what is going on,” Froehling said. “Many times it is a condition like pigeon toes where the kid just grows out of it. Sometimes we recommend special shoes or braces, sometimes we recommend therapy and sometimes we recommend long term follow up and consultation with a specialist. We also work with the Shriners hospital in St. Louis if the patient needs surgery.”

No medical referral is necessary for the clinic but physicians are welcome to refer patients to the clinic for a specific reason or second opinion. School nurses are welcome to refer children and families to the clinic.

The clinic is by appointment only. To make an appointment call the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation office at 1-800-272-0074 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are no charges for any services at this clinic. The Elks will hold the clinic at the Neuromuscular Orthopaedic Institute office of Dr. Alan Froehling. The office is located at 302 Broadway in Mount Vernon.

“I think it is a noble venture for the Elks and I admire them for sticking with it after all of these years and still doing it,” Froehling said.

The Elks will provide financial assistance to the best of their ability for kids needing further treatment or specialty equipment if the family lacks the resources for that, the release states. In the past, the Elks have purchased therapy services, corrective shoes, braces, wheelchairs and augmentative communication devices to help children overcome different physical challenges, Sentinel archives state.

“Once there is a diagnosis we may ask the family for further treatment to possibly use their insurance and if they don’t have any insurance we will work out some kind of plan to keep the child being seen by the physician,” Block said.

For more information, contact the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation.

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Man arrested in aggravated battery case

MOUNT VERNON — A 23-year-old Iowa man was arrested early Monday after allegedly battering a front desk clerk at the Fairfield Inn in Mount Vernon.

Juma Burnett was arrested and booked on initial charges of aggravated battery and resisting arrest. Formal charges are under consideration by the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office, said Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun Monday.

According to Mount Vernon Police Department incident logs, authorities were initially contacted at 1:20 a.m. Monday after Burnett was allegedly being disorderly on a Greyhound bus and was asked to leave the bus in the vicinity of the Circle K at 103 S. 44th St. The bus driver reportedly called 911 to say Burnett was being disorderly and refusing to get off the bus. Then a second 911 call was received from Burnett stating he was being kicked off the bus and that he didn’t know what town he was in, the logs state.

Then at 1:34 a.m. Monday, a front desk clerk at the Fairfield Inn, 217 Potomac Boulevard, reported that a man, later identified as Burnett, had allegedly walked into the hotel and attacked her in the hotel lobby area. Prior to this alleged attack, Burnett was allegedly behaving in a strange way in the lobby, said Mount Vernon Police Chief Trent Page.

“His behaviors were very alarming and disturbing with the things he was saying and the way he was moving around in the lobby area,” Page said. “He attempted to access the floors of the hotel through an elevator. He was trying to remove merchandise without paying for it. He became upset when the clerk advised he’d have to pay for it.”

At some point, the clerk told Burnett to leave the hotel and he refused. The clerk was on the phone with a 911 operator when Burnett allegedly came around the counter and “made physical contact” with her shortly before officers arrived on scene, Page said. The clerk did not require medical attention.

When officers arrived, Burnett allegedly resisted arrest. The police deployed a K9 to apprehend Burnett when he tried to flee, Page said. The K9 dog stopped Burnett from leaving and Burnett was treated and released from a local hospital for the dog bite before being incarcerated at the Jefferson County Justice Center.

Burnett is currently being held at the Justice Center with bond to be set.