Washington County sees increase in overdose deaths in 2020

Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger released his annual report on Jan. 15, which revealed that the county saw an increase in the amount of overdose deaths reported.

In total, there were four overdose deaths in Washington County, according to the report. In 2019, the county reported for the first time in several years no deaths from drug overdose.

In 2020, the county coroner office responded to 125 calls, with 113 being considered natural causes. The nine accidental deaths included the overdoses (4), motor vehicle (3), one fire and one fall.

Washington County also had one homicide reported. David “Woody” Woodrome, 71, was found shot to death at his home in Ashley on Feb. 9. There have been no arrests made in the case.

Centralia police investigate five suspicious fires in two weeks

Centralia firefighters were called to metal garage in the 700 block of Johnson Street on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The blaze marked the fifth suspicious fire in the area during the past two weeks. (Photos by Tim Ferg CFPD)

(Standard Staff Report) – The Centralia Fire Department was reportedly called to its fifth suspicious fire on Sunday, Jan. 24.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., emergency personnel responded to a fire call in the 700 block of Johnson Street on the city’s northwest side. A metal garage had been engulfed in flames, and according to Tim Ferg, firefighters had a “difficult time” containing the fire. The garage was inside a gated area that had overgrown vegetation all around it.

According to WJBD Radio, the garage had two antique cars inside, a 1940 Ford and a 1957 Willy Jeep, which were both destroyed in the fire.

Most of the fires that the CFPD have recently responded to have been abandoned structures. The State’s Fire Marshall is also investigating other suspicious fires that occurred in the Centralia area, including: a vacant home in the 800 block of East Broadway near McDonald’s on Jan. 18 with damage mostly secured to the front porch; a small house in the 1200 block of South Cherry Street that had been condemned and designated for demolition and an apartment house fire on the corner of North Walnut and Conduit, both on Jan. 17; and an unoccupied mobile home in the 1000 block of Case Street on the southwest side of the city. The latter of which is reportedly being considered an arson.

No connection between the suspicious fires has been made. There have also been no named suspects or arrests.

Another suspicious fire was reported on the corner of North Walnut and Conduit streets. (Photo by Tim Ferg)

New online publication strives to bring factual, multimedia coverage to Southern Illinois

A new blog aims to bring factual and visual coverage to Southern Illinois.

The Standard (www.thestandard.press) launched in January 2021. It was started by like-minded journalists who want to bring back a stripped down version of today’s events while still representing the heart of the community. Our staff has more than 20 years of experience. We believe in just-the-facts, digital first kind of reporting. We want to be the place where you come to find out what is locally going on around you.

Some of he regular features that we are wanting to bring to the conversation include breaking news, weekly COVID-19 updates, This Week In History column, thorough features and think-pieces. Other special projects and entrepreneurial reports will be announced.

We hope that you enjoy the work we have poured into this blog. Follow us on our social media channels. Have a news tip? Email us directly at thestandard618@gmail.com.

– The Standard