You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
breakingtop story
Williamson County
Marion man arrested in death of his 3-month-old son

MARION — A 3-month-old baby died Monday after a Friday call to law enforcement reporting child abuse.



According to a news release from the Marion Police Department, officers responded to a call at about 9:39 p.m. Friday in Marion — a woman reported that her child was being abused. The woman was gone when officers arrived, however, the baby's father, Devin A. O’Daniell, 25, of Marion, was seen walking away from the area. He was taken to the Marion Police Department.

O’Daniell was charged with domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, and aggravated battery to a child.

The mother, who was not named in the release, had already taken the infant to Heartland Regional Medical Center when police arrived. He was later transported to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, where he died at 4:04 p.m. Monday.

According to the release, the mother will be donating her child’s organs, which will be going to save two other children and one adult through Mid-America Transplant in St. Louis.

A statement from the mother in the release says even though her son's death may have been tragic, he will be living through others and saving lives. The release says there is an honor walk planned at the hospital as the boy's body is transported to an operating room for the organ donation procedure.

The case is under review by the Williamson County State’s Attorney’s Office and is still being investigated by the Marion Police Department with the assistance of the Southern Illinois Child Death Task Force, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Unit and the Department of Children and Family Services.

According to Judici, O’Daniell is being held on $1 million bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10.

At SIU Carbondale, students' hands-on learning equals gains for community

CARBONDALE — When the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Rec Center had a pesky problem that threatened to become a big expense, it turned to the university’s College of Engineering for help. And the college turned to its students.

The little anchors that support the Rec Center swimming pool’s lane dividers were wearing away. And the part manufacturer had gone out of business.

“We would have had to have something custom-manufactured or had the pool retrofitted,” said Jamison Tryggestad, who tends the swimming pool at the Rec Center. “Either option was likely going to be expensive.”

Rec Center staff reached out to Bruce DeRuntz, a professor in the Department of Technology, who asked two engineering students, Nick Sjoberg, of Huntley, and Kyle Wente, of Teutopolis, to lend their 3D printing expertise to the project.

The two carefully measured the existing anchors, and created an intricate computer model for the replacement part.

Then they 3D-printed six replica pieces, using hand tools to finish them to fit perfectly into the 880,000-gallon pool’s walls.

Now those green anchors are in the hands of Rec Center personnel, ready to be used when the old pieces give way.


The green cup anchor, created by SIU students using a 3D printer, will replace the broken cup anchors in the Rec Center pool.

And SIUC saved a bundle, thanks to the pro bono help from its students.

“We probably only used $3 to $4 in materials for each piece,” Wente said, plus the $800 printer that was already on site, one of many dotted around the university.

This is not the first time students have pitched in to solve problems around campus.

“It’s been a longtime tradition,” said John Jackson, an SIUC professor currently housed in the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

"“There’s always been a volunteer spirit,” at SIU Carbondale, Jackson said, with students working to maintain the university, and the Carbondale community.

“When the derecho struck ... you can’t imagine how destructive it was,” Jackson said, referring to the devastating storm that hit Southern Illinois in 2009. “Students did a major part of helping to clean up after that, particularly in Thompson Woods, and contributed many hours of volunteer labor across campus.”

More recently, students’ contributions have come through campus organizations, class projects and thesis work.

“As we’ve been shrinking, the university has really trying to step up its hands-on experiential learning,” said Marj Brooks, associate professor of zoology at SIUC. “More and more, across campus, the average faculty are younger. Not to belittle experience, but we’ve got people coming in with fresh, new ideas, and I’ve found people in upper administration to be incredibly receptive, when I put forward a project.”

Currently, Brooks is supporting three teams of engineering students who are working on algae problems in Campus Lake as part of their senior design projects.

“This is a really cool project between zoology, aquatic ecology and engineering design,” Brooks said. “Students are designing new ways to play and exercise in the lake that will either aerate the lake, cool it off, or help sequester nutrients,” to combat the harmful algae.

In the works are numerous solar-powered fountains, several on-land stationary bikes connected to pedal-powered fountains, and a new mini-wetland designed and built by Brooks’s freshwater ecology students, on the east side of the lake.

“We planted a wide variety of wetland plants,” Brooks said, some purchased from a local nursery, and others transplanted from existing wetlands.

“The idea is that the greater biodiversity in that section of the lake will help break down nutrients faster,” discouraging the algae that plagues it, Brooks said.

Future students will build on the project, designing experiments to measure the benefits of the wetland, when compared with other areas of the lake that display less biodiversity.

Through it all, Brooks was able to show students how a wetland functions, and how it can be bolstered. “It’s a lot of fun working with these students,” she said.

A few miles from campus, at Touch of Nature, SIU Carbondale’s 3,100-acre forest and outdoor classroom, two graduate students, Molly Maxwell and Isaiah Tanner, used their graduate thesis work to start a project that could be a major boon to the local economy.

They led Touch to apply for a $200,000 state grant, to construct Southern Illinois’ first mountain bike trails.

In all, the project has attracted over $250,000 in grants and donations, and is poised to make major advances soon, as the state recently announced it would release the funds.

“The more that it grows, the more people will want to be involved and will jump on board,” Tanner told the Southern. “The community wants to see this happen.”

Sjoberg and Wente, the students who fixed the pool anchor problem, have also been at the forefront of implementing 3D printers in SIUC’s engineering program.

“When I came to SIU, I noticed we didn’t have any printers, and I worked with Dr. DeRuntz to select and purchase the first one,” Sjoberg said.

The College of Engineering now has at least four printers, Sjoberg said, and there are others around campus, including machines open to the public in Morris Library.

“Students are relying on them more and more now, and we’ve got a lot of people trained to use them,” Sjoberg said.

The student-run SIUC Robotics Team even helps the university acquire the costly filament that the printers use to produce objects.

Students took the lead in securing a partnership with a company called MakerGeeks, which regularly donates product samples to the university, plus excess filament from its production runs.

“We just reached out to as many companies as we could,” Sjoberg said. “They’ve been a big help.”

Someday, Sjoberg hopes to run teaching lab or a makerspace, “helping students learn how to do cool stuff like this,” he said.

Compared to the possibilities, solving the pool anchor problem was nothing major.

“It was kind of day-to-day stuff for us,” Sjoberg said.

Marion Council names new city attorney; discusses future of mall


MARION — When attorney Stephen Green of Marion won the seat of Williamson County Resident Judge Phillip G. Palmer in the Nov. 6 general election, the city of Marion was left in search of a new city attorney.

The City Council has selected the Lawler Brown Law Firm to represent the city's interests.

During the regular City Council meeting on Nov. 13, Mayor Anthony Rinella said several local attorneys and firms had expressed interest in filling the position of city attorney. The council continued the meeting to Nov. 19 to give members time to look at biographies and other information about potential city attorney candidates. They agreed to pick a couple to present to the council during the continued meeting.

During the continued meeting Nov. 19, the council heard presentations from Joseph Cervantez of Tetzlaff, Cervantez and Associates Law Firm, and from Adam Lawler, Nick Brown and David Lawler of Lawler Brown Law Firm.

“We chose the firm of Brown and Lawler, based on my recommendation,” Rinella said.

Rinella and commissioners Doug Patton, Jim Webb and John Goss voted to hire the firm. Commissioner Angelo Hightower abstained from voting.

Green was hired as the full-time city attorney about the same time as Rinella was elected to City Council.

Rinella added that Green had to learn municipal law very fast, which he did.

“When you called, he made time for you,” Rinella said. “He will be missed.”


David Lawler

Adam Lawler of Lawler Brown said the firm plans to send David Lawler to City Council meetings, but he and Nick Brown are available to fill in as necessary.

Council establishes list for people interested in North TIF, where mall is located

At the city’s regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 26, the council passed several ordinances relating to TIF districts.

Two of the ordinances establish an interested parties registry, rules for the registry and establish a date for a public hearing on the proposed Marion North Commercial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14, 2019. Rinella said the Marion North TIF includes the mall and area around the mall.

The interested parties registry lets individuals register with the city clerk if they would like to be included on any information about this TIF district. To register, individuals must present a driver’s license and proof of residency. The registry also allows organizations and businesses to register as interested parties.

“We are looking for a new owner to purchase the mall property and make the upgrades necessary to bring it into full use,” Rinella said.

Other ordinances create an interested parties registry and rules for a proposed Little Tractor TIF District and set a hearing for 5:40 p.m. Jan. 14, 2019.

“Because they signed an inducement agreement, they will be able to submit bills they have accrued before the TIF is in effect,” Rinella said.

He cited the Little Tractor project as proof the city is growing. He said they have inquiries every day from businesses that want to come to Marion.

“I received a call from our bond consultant. The Marion-Carbondale area is the 49th best of the top 200 small cities,” Rinella said, adding this is not news for him nor Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry.

Marion City Council’s next meeting will be Dec. 10.