Votes Trickle in for 2014 Illinois Primary Election

Primary elections were held across the state of Illinois on Tuesday, March 18.  The election gave voters the chance to influence who will represent them at the state and local levels.

Early  and absentee voting began in late-February and March for Alexander and Pulaski Counties and was wrapped up over the weekend. Alexander  County Clerk and Election Authority Frances Lee opened her office on Saturday to accomodate the last of early voting in the county.

Af 11:00 a.m. on Saturday only five voters had come through the office.  The low numbers correlated with state-wide predictions of a low voter turnout.

“It’s been very quiet so far this election,” said Lee. “I think a lot of people have stopped caring.  John Q. Public is sick of the back-and-forth fighting between the different sides.”

Lee also cited the small amount of campaign advertising in the area as a factor in the low turnout.

“Usually there are signs and advertisements everywhere,” said Lee.  “That’s how people know that there’s an election approaching.  There isn’t much of that around this year.”

Monday afternoon saw the distribution of election equipment.  Election judges for the county picked up their precinct’s ballots and M100 voting systems.  The judges are responsible for the delivery as well as the return of the equipment after the election.

As the voting machines began leaving the County Clerk’s office late Monday afternoon, workers and election judges milled about and conversed with eachother.

“I’m starting to get all nerved up,” said Ellen Henderson-Bigham, a candidate for Alexander County Clerk.

The most closely watched race in this year’s primary election is that for representation in the election for Governor of Illinois.

With five candidates on the ballot in Alexander County, three being Republican, the possibility for change throughout the state is a possibility.

Election judge Vernon Stubblefield had only nine voters come through his precinct at the Alexander County Courthouse by 2 p.m. The slow trickle of voters left judges time to converse and offer ther opinions on the primary election.

“You would think that because of the number of Republican candidates on the ballot there would be more people from the party out voting,” said Vernon.

The Cairo Airport had only 14 voters come through the precinct by 2:30 in the afternoon.

“Some people would sure help the time go by quicker,” said Curtis Jones, and election judge at the Cache precinct.

As polling wound down, workers in the Alexander County Clerk’s office began counting and processing absentee ballots.  The process involves comparing records and signatures on previously submitted documents to weed out anyone attempting to vote more than once. Approximately 165 absentee and early ballots were processed and then added to the final tally by the County Clerk’s staff.

By 8:30 p.m. ten of the eleven precincts had reported back with a total eligible turnout of 14.5 percent.  Thebes, which struggled with tabulation issues,  reported at 9:05 p.m.

A closely watched aspect of the election was the race for Illinois Senate representation. Senator Durbin was opposed by Republicans Jim Oberweis and Doug Traux.  Strong opposition to Democrats has been major local news in recent months.

Senator Durbin ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket for position of senator and  garnered a majority of votes in Alexander  and Pulaski Counties.

Oberweis was victorious on the Republican side of the Senate race with 64 percent of the vote in Alexander County.

Tio Hardiman upset Pat Quinn for nomination to represent the Democratic Party for Illinois Governor in both Alexander and Pulaski Counties.

The complete tabulation revealed that 19.36 percent of eligible voters in Alexander County voted, just shy of the predicted 20 percent. In Pulaski County 18.64 percent of eligible voters took a trip to the polls.

1,082 total votes were cast in Alexander County and 864 in Pulaski County.

(See below for a full breakdown of votes)
Alexander County Treasurer Jerry Smith posts election results outside County Clerk's office in the Alexander County Courthouse Tuesday evening. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Alexander County Treasurer Jerry Smith posts election results outside County Clerk’s office in the Alexander County Courthouse Tuesday evening. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Cuirtis Jones, an election judge at Alexander County’s Cache precinct, housed at the Cairo Airport, laments to a friend about the low number of voters he has seen. Jones’ precinct had only 14 voters by early Monday afternoon. “The clock just isn’t moving,” Jones said. Low turnout was expected throughout the region with some speculating only 20 percent of eligible voters taking advantage of the opportunity to influence change in the forthcoming state elections. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Cuirtis Jones, an election judge at Alexander County’s Cache precinct, housed at the Cairo Airport, laments to a friend about the low number of voters he has seen. Jones’ precinct had only 14 voters by early Monday afternoon.
“The clock just isn’t moving,” Jones said.
Low turnout was expected throughout the region with some speculating only 20 percent of eligible voters taking advantage of the opportunity to influence change in the forthcoming state elections. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Among the stacks of ballots and voting equipment, Alexander County Clerk Frances Lee works in the back of her office with Wytiona Orr on Monday to prepare the precincts throughout Alexander County for the March 18 primary election.  “I’m going to miss doing this,” said Lee. “It can be fun if you enjoy working with people.” Low voter turnout was experienced throughout Illinois.  Alexander and Pulaski Counties were no exception with many speculating that only around twenty percent of all eligible voters would participate. “People don’t really seem to care until it’s the main election,” said Lee. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Among the stacks of ballots and voting equipment, Alexander County Clerk Frances Lee works in the back of her office with Wytiona Orr on Monday to prepare the precincts throughout Alexander County for the March 18 primary election.
“I’m going to miss doing this,” said Lee. “It can be fun if you enjoy working with people.”
Low voter turnout was experienced throughout Illinois. Alexander and Pulaski Counties were no exception with many speculating that only around twenty percent of all eligible voters would participate.
“People don’t really seem to care until it’s the main election,” said Lee. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Pulaski County Unofficial Results
Pulaski County Unofficial Results
Alexander County Unofficial Results
Alexander County Unofficial Results

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

 

 

Ash Wednesday Ushers in Lent

The beginning of Lent was marked by Ash Wednesday this week.  People throughout the country attended extra church services and received blessings as well as the ceremonious application of ashes to the forehead.

The ashes serve as a reminder of human mortality and as a sign of repentance.  The ashes are usually derived from the burning of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

A topic on the mind of many at this year’s Ash Wednesday was the shrinking number  of places for worship.  With congregations throughout the state consolidating due to closing parishes, many in the region attended the Ash Wednesday mass held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cairo.

Mary Caballero, a member a new member of the St. Patrick’s congregation stated that although the changes of venue have caused some difficulties, things are proceeding in a normal manner.

“Everybody’s ready for a new beginning,” said Cabellero.  “We’ve all been getting to know some new faces and it’s been a positive experience for the most part.”

Friar M.C. Mujule led the year’s Ash Wednesday mass and spoke of the changing of seasons as well as the journey that the season of Lent signifies.

“We devote ourselves during Lent as a way to experience what Christ went through,” said Mujule. “We do this through prayer, fasting, and arms giving.”

Mujule highlighted the importance of caring for others throughout the season and reminded those present of suggested canned and other food items which can often be important in a time of need. Nonperishables and canned meats and vegetables are always accepted at St. Patrick’s in Cairo.

Sunday mass for Alexander and Pulaski County Catholics takes place weekly at 11:00 a.m. in Cairo.

 

The Congregation at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cairo gathered last week to begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
The Congregation at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cairo gathered last week to begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

Cairo Booster Society Aims to Make Changes in Town

The newly established Cairo Booster Society is making the positive change they want to see in the area.  Through recent beautification projects around Cairo and organization of meetings and events, the group aims to make Cairo a more enjoyable place to reside.

The Booster Society recently inducted 14 students from the 6th grade 4-H class at Cairo Junior High in an effort to spark interest among the younger population of the area.  These students will help with the ongoing projects planned.

President Tim Means stated that the first project planned for the City of Cairo is the rebuilding of a gazebo at the entrance of Halliday Park.

“It’s been a little cold lately so we’re really just waiting on the weather to break before we get rolling,” said Means.

The next meeting of the Cairo Booster Society is planned for 6 PM on March 13 at City Hall in Cairo.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend with ideas on ways Cairo can be improved.

 George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

The Week in Photos: March 6, 2014

The Visual Report for the week of March 6, 2014:

Deb Oldham, with Election Management Associates, conducts accuracy testing on Alexander County ballot tabulating systems. The public test was held at Alexander County  Clerk’s office on Thursday afternoon. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Deb Oldham, with Election Management Associates, conducts accuracy testing on Alexander County ballot tabulating systems. The public test was held at Alexander County Clerk’s office on Thursday afternoon. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Alexander County Sheriff and Cairo resident Tim Brown debates the issue of animal control with Mayor Tyrone Coleman at a community breakfast held at Cairo High School in October 2013 -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Alexander County Sheriff and Cairo resident Tim Brown debates the issue of animal control with Mayor Tyrone Coleman at a community breakfast held at Cairo High School in October 2013 — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Malik Hagler of the Century Centurions  motions to his teammates during game 4 of the regional tournament Thursday night.  -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Malik Hagler of the Century Centurions motions to his teammates during game 4 of the regional tournament Thursday night. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson drives past Meridian defense at Century High School on Friday evening. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson drives past Meridian defense at Century High School on Friday evening. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Players fight for possession of the ball during game 4 of the Century Boys Regional Basketball Tournament on Thursday in Ullin.  Cairo lost to Century with a score of 55 - 47. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Players fight for possession of the ball during game 4 of the Century Boys Regional Basketball Tournament on Thursday in Ullin. Cairo lost to Century with a score of 55 – 47. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

Bryce Gardener makes a play at the 1A Regional Championship held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

Bryce Gardener makes a play at the 1A Regional Championship held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Center Bryce Gardner triumphantly holds the net from the 1A Boys Regional Championship game held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday.  The Pilots battled the Meridian Bobcats for the title  and were victorious with a score of 68 - 65. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Center Bryce Gardner triumphantly holds the net from the 1A Boys Regional Championship game held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday. The Pilots battled the Meridian Bobcats for the title and were victorious with a score of 68 – 65. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

 

Amanda Cheek and Zachary Sauerbrunn were crowned Century High School’s 2014 Homecoming King and Queen on Saturday, February 22. -- Photo Provided | The Cairo Citizen
Amanda Cheek and Zachary Sauerbrunn were crowned Century High School’s 2014 Homecoming King and Queen on Saturday, February 22. — Photo Provided | The Cairo Citizen

 

 

Linda K. Jackson

Linda K. (Clarke) Jackson, age 52, of Cairo, died at 7:54am Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014 at her parent’s home near Olive Branch.

She was born Mar. 28, 1961 in Cairo, the daughter of Peter J. and Sarah Jane (Travers) Clarke, grew up in Cairo and graduated from Cairo High School.  She met her husband Willis Jackson while working at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cairo, and they were married in July 1984.

Mrs. Jackson grew up in a family that had a strong tradition of community involvement.  She was involved in planning and coordinating Cairo Riverboat Days for over 15 years and was a past president of Beta Sigma Phi.  In 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed her to serve on the Alexander-Cairo Port District board which she has served on for over 3 years.  She has served over 14 years on the Cairo City Council beginning as a Councilwoman for the 4th ward and later becoming Councilwoman at large.  She was also the first woman to preside over the Cairo City Council as Mayor Pro Tem.  She was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church worked as a teller at First National Bank in Cairo.

Survivors include her husband, Willis D. Jackson of Cairo; 2 sons, Alex D. Jackson and Jacob R. Jackson, both of Cape Girardeau; 2 sisters, Sally Ann (Dr. Rick) Palen of Cape Girardeau and Mary Candace (Richard) Keates of Pequea, PA; 2 brothers, Honorable Mark H. Clarke of Mounds and John A. “Andy” Clark of Olive Branch; nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her father in 2012, mother in 2010, and infant brother Peter J. Clarke, Jr.

Visitation for Linda K. (Clarke) Jackson will be Thursday from 4-8 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cairo, where rosary services will be at 7:30pm.

Funeral mass will be at 10am Friday at the church with Father

Officiating.  Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Mounds.

Linda K. (Clarke) Jackson
Linda K. (Clarke) Jackson

Cairo Pilots Take 1A Boys Regional Championship

The regional basketball tournament held at Century High School last week pitted area teams against eachother for a chance to extend their seasons.

Cairo met the Meridian High School Bocats in the 1A Regional Championship game on Friday evening.

Game 6 was an aggressive match up that saw both teams fight back and forth for the lead over a majority of the four quarters.

Cairo Coach Brian Brantner expressed his gratitude towards the team he has worked with for the past several months.

“We’re a really balanced team,” said Brantner. “It’s been a different kind of year. We went up against teams that had more resources than us and we did well.”

Brantner also went on to commend Jarvis Woodson for his leadership skills and tenacity..

“Jarvis is our emotional leader,” said Brantner.  “There’s no quit in him.”

The Pilots were victorious over Meridian with a score of 68 – 65.

At the time of printing Cairo had a record of 15 – 13.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” said Coach Brantner. “Our schedule was brutal but they stuck with it and it payed off.”

Senior Center Bryce Gardner triumphantly holds the net from the 1A Boys Regional Championship game held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday.  The Pilots battled the Meridian Bobcats for the title  and were victorious with a score of 68 - 65. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Center Bryce Gardner triumphantly holds the net from the 1A Boys Regional Championship game held at Century High School in Ullin on Friday. The Pilots battled the Meridian Bobcats for the title and were victorious with a score of 68 – 65. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson drives past Meridian defense at Century High School on Friday evening. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson drives past Meridian defense at Century High School on Friday evening. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Players fight for possession of the ball during game 4 of the Century Boys Regional Basketball Tournament on Thursday in Ullin.  Cairo lost to Century with a score of 55 - 47. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Players fight for possession of the ball during game 4 of the Century Boys Regional Basketball Tournament on Thursday in Ullin. Cairo lost to Century with a score of 55 – 47. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Malik Hagler of the Century Centurions  motions to his teammates during game 4 of the regional tournament Thursday night.  -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Malik Hagler of the Century Centurions motions to his teammates during game 4 of the regional tournament Thursday night. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

 

 

Cairo Looks to Humane Society for Help With Strays

Members of the community met on Thursday at City Hall in Cairo to discuss possible avenues of dealing with the prevalent stray dog problem in the city.  The issue has been a source of debate for several months on exactly how to handle the problem as well as whether the responsibility falls on Alexander County or the City of Cairo.

Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman made the city council aware that he has been meeting with The Humane Society in Cape Girardeau in regards to finding an affordable way to curb the animal control issue. Coleman stated at a recent city council meeting that the possibility of having a year’s worth of the needed resources paid for by The Humane Society.

At a meeting between Police Chief Snelson, Coleman, and a group of  concerned area residents, a list of needed actions to prepare the city for a new animal control program were presented by Lorrie Hesselrode. The list included repairs to the existing kennels, getting the water turned on at the pens, and a thorough cleaning.

The responsibilities and scheduling of of a prospective were also discussed at length.

“This is something that actually needs to be a full-time position but we just don’t have the money to support it,” said Hesselrode.

The importance of keeping expenses at a minimum was stressed throughout the meeting.  The possibility of starting an animal control network with Tamms is an idea considered by Coleman.

An agreement between the City of Cairo, Illinois, Municipal Corporation and The Humane Society of Southeast Missouri lays out the framework for a program that will house domestic animals picked up by the City Health Officer and assistants.

The agreement states that the Society will house picked up animals for a five-day holding period as required by the State of Missouri.  After the five days have passed, the animals will become the property and responsibility of the state.  If the animals are observed to be suffering from illness or injury beyond recovery at the time of impoundment they will be released to the Society to be humanely euthanized.

Another stipulation of the agreement is that at least one pen will be set aside for suspected rabid animals. Animals suspected of carrying rabies will be held for ten days, as required by law.  If the animal is too vicious to house for the ten days it will be euthanized and sent off for rabies testing.

The term of the agreement will be for one year, running from March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015.  Cairo will pay the Society a fee of $2,500.00 in advance for the duration of the contract.

Coleman stated that he has also been in touch with individuals from the community who are willing to devote their time and resources to remedy the problem. Citizens in the area have already begun transporting strays to animal shelters on their own.

“It’s a serious matter for the community and a safety issue as well,” said Coleman. “There’s volunteers out there that want to help but including them is a very involved process.”

The city is now accepting applications for individuals who would like to volunteer their time and abilities to the new animal control program.

Alexander County Sheriff Timothy Brown had debated Mayor Coleman in the past on whether it is the county’s responsibility to handle animal control. When asked about the new program Brown remained optimistic.

“It sounds like it could be a pretty good deal,” said Brown.

Linda Swoboda has converted her personal car into an animal transportation vehicle as a means of helping the area combat the stray animal population. The act of volunteering her skills to help animals came as second nature for Swoboda

Using an app on her smart phone, Swoboda coordinates rides for animals between shelters in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.

“I can sign up to transport an animal in just a few seconds if I’m available or if it’s convienent for me to help,” said Swoboda.

The use of volunteers is an exciting prospect for Cairo which would keep costs low, however, the qualifications for volunteers will need to be established and reviewed.

“If I can say one thing to the residents of the area it is to be patient,” said Mayor Coleman. “We’re working towards a positive resolution but these things take time.”

Alexander County Sheriff and Cairo resident Tim Brown debates the issue of animal control with Mayor Tyrone Coleman at a community breakfast held at Cairo High School in October 2013 -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Alexander County Sheriff and Cairo resident Tim Brown debates the issue of animal control with Mayor Tyrone Coleman at a community breakfast held at Cairo High School in October 2013 — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

Cairo City Council Meeting: February 25, 2014

The Cairo City Council met at City Hall on Tuesday evening. Council members Linda Jackson and Bo Purchase were absent.

During mayor’s remarks Tyrone Coleman informed those present that an employee from the Illinois Department of Natural Resource was in town to photograph Fort Defiance in preparation for the transfer of responsibilities of upkeep and maintenance away from Cairo.

Coleman also spoke of a recent meeting with the Humane Society in Cape Girardeau about the possibility of having the cost of animal control within city limits covered. Coleman stated that the possibility of having volunteers  help with animal control is a “very involved” process.  Coleman also pointed out that stray dogs have been taken to shelters by city residents.

Motions to approve the minutes of the February 11, 2014 meeting, payroll ending February 17, and the bill list through February 21 were passed.

The council approved the use of TIF funds to pay Mid-America Electric Motor Sales $2135.00 for the repair of the trash rack at the 28th Street pump station.

The Council decided to refrain from proposing a motion that would allow bids to be accepted for timber harvesting along the Mississippi River Levee.

“Getting it cleaned up and ready for use will benefit us in the long run as opposed to making some quick money,” said Richard Pitcher.

Councilman Philip Hodges informed the council of quotes the city has recieved on two snowplows and a salt spreader. Hodges also stated that the city mechanic is searching for a gas tank for the snow plow currently owned by the city.

Before adjourning Mayor Coleman chose to acknowledge those who have and continue to make an impact on society in honor of black history month.

Mary Jewel Smith

Mary Jewel Smith, 90, of Cairo, Illinois died Wednesday, February 19, 2014.  She was known for her smile and positive attitude, and she always had a kind word for everyone.

Mary Jewel was born in Miller City, Illinois on September 22, 1923, to Leslie and Gertrude Bowers.  At just five years of age, her father passed away, leaving her mother with five children.   She later moved to Mississippi County, Missouri when her mother married Charles Mockett in 1932.  Mary Jewel learned the importance of hard work early on while farming with her mother, step-father, brother and three sisters.  She enjoyed being outside so much that she often said she would rather work in the fields than in the house.

Mary Jewel graduated Diehlstadt High School at the age of 16, and was the only one of her mother’s children to graduate from high school.  She later worked at Brown Shoe Company in Charleston, Missouri, and then at the munitions plant in Cairo, Illinois during World War II.

It was at this job, working on the assembly line, that she met her husband, Connell F. Smith, a union representative for workers at the plant. While they were dating, she often told him she would rather dance than eat.  Mary Jewel and Connell were married on December 8, 1945.  Connell shared his passion for hunting and fishing with Mary Jewel, and she was soon out-shooting and out-fishing him. They were married until he passed away in 1988.

Mary Jewel was a proud member of Laborers’ Local 773 and a self-described “hard-headed” Democrat.  She strongly believed that working people enjoyed good wages and working conditions because of unions.  She also believed that senior citizens could live life in dignity because of Social Security and Medicare.

Always a believer in hard work, Mary Jewel returned to work after her husband passed away.  She worked until she was 87 for the Southern Illinois Laborers’ Health & Welfare Fund until it relocated to Marion, Illinois.  She very much enjoyed working with her colleagues and was a firm believer in arriving early and staying until the job was done.

Mary Jewel was an avid Cardinal baseball fan and never missed a game on the radio or TV.

She was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cairo, Illinois, the Wyatt United Methodist Church, and the Charleston Methodist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband Connell F. Smith, her brother Lowell Bowers, and her sisters Dorothy Rodriguiz, Opal Noisworthy, and Jo McDaniel.

Mary Jewel is survived by her sons Connell F. Smith Jr., Edward M. (Betty) Smith, Alexandria, Virginia, granddaughter Jordan (Tyler) Edmonds, Anna, Illinois, grandson Matt Smith, Tamms, Illinois, great grandsons Trevor Smith and Graydon Edmonds and many nieces and nephews.

Her family would like to send a special thanks to John & Nancy Price, Nudie Moore, Donna & Carl Thomas, Bill & Chalen Tatum, Jana Cornelius, Dr. Wong & Betty Hunt, John Fischer, Vicky Green, Amy Farrow & Kim Potts of Capaha Bank, and Darrel & Mary Cutler.

Visitation and funeral will be this Sunday, February 23, 2014, at the Crain Funeral Home in Cairo, Illinois.  Visitation will start at 11 am and the funeral will start at 2 pm.  Immediately following there will be a private graveside service.

In lieu of flowers, the Smith family encourages donations to The Therapy Center (PO Box 364, Carterville, Illinois) or the Connell F. Smith Scholarship Fund (Laborers’ Local 773, 5102 Ed Smith Way, Marion, Illinois).

To leave online condolences visit www.crainsonline.com

Mary Jewel Smith
Mary Jewel Smith