The Carmi Kiwanis Club held its regularly scheduled noon meeting on June 6, 2019 at the White County Farm Bureau Building. Club President Katelyne Wolff opened the meeting with the Kiwanis Creed, Song, Pledge and Prayer. The 50/50 drawing was won by Art Saunders, but he was not able to pull the orange ball for the $65.00. Jim Davis won the $10.00 Huck’s gas card.
Guests of the club meeting were Don Puckett, Chairman of the White County Board of Supervisors; Anna Baumgart, Banterra Bank; Abbey Gholson, First Bank; Doug Greenfield, ERA realtor from Evansville; and Brett Vaughn, McLeansboro. Good News was given by Doug Greenfield, military veteran, saluting all veterans and the veterans of WW II for their bravery on the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, France; Andrea Hays on the first entry for Kiwanis Corn Day Chili Cook Off; Art Saunders on the successful retired teachers pork burger lunch held on June 1; Amy McCarty on the planting of the 4-H Garden; Justin Dartt on the Chamber of Commerce golf outing on June 22, requesting players and sponsors for the event; Clint Taylor on his successful fishing trip, which wasn’t so successful the day of the fishing tournament; and Denton Aud on the GOP golf outing on June 15, sponsored by the White County Republican Party.
In club business, President Wolff reminded the group that a board meeting is June 12 at Dartt and Company, and there are 128 days to Corn Days 2019.
Club President Katelyne Wolff introduced the program speaker, Denton Aud, White County States Attorney. Denton is a graduate of Carmi-White High School, a graduate of Murray State University with a degree in Political Science and a law degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He started his private law practice in 2008 and then later was appointed Assistant States Attorney under Scott Webb. He was elected to White County States Attorney in 2012 when Webb was elected to a circuit judge seat, and was re-elected in 2016. Denton stated that he ‘cannot say enough’ great words about his two mentors, Mark Stanley and Scott Webb. Both men provided him with ‘outstanding’ direction, humility and knowledge to better serve the people of White County and uphold and defend the constitution. They emphasized that it is better to seek justice and not just seek to convict, but work to make people’s lives better. He stated that the office is to prosecute the offender, but hope that their lives will turn around and they will be better citizens. In his philosophy as an elected official, he takes his time to fully analyze the situation, the case, the people affected, before making a statement on the matter. He stated that the job is “not about me”, that the “office was before me” and “it will be after me” so while in office, he wants to do the work the right way.
Aud stated that over 240 cases were filed in White County in 2018, placing the county in the third to fifth caseload volume of the 12 counties in this circuit. The two largest counties in the district are Jefferson and Franklin. In his time in office, he has prosecuted cases for murder, sexual assault, drug and meth use, burglary, and assault cases. He also talked about the funniest things that defendants say in court in front of the judge, which brought laughter from the club and guests.
Aud spoke highly of the past and present elected officials of White County who conduct the daily business. He is very appreciative of White County Circuit Clerk Kelly Fulkerson, who handles the work that comes from the courtroom. He said in his six years in office, the electronic changes are the most dramatic changes to the court system. He said that he likes to handle paper, but now it’s all computers and digital information from filings, the court room, the judges, the attorneys, to the Circuit Clerk’s office. He said that the court also has systems in place for ‘court call,’ where the defendant remains in the jail and speaks with the court.
Denton stated that he recently testified before the legislative judiciary committee. He spoke of the changes in Illinois law and how it has made the States Attorney office more work, handling those changes. He said that he spoke openly to the committee about the changes he agreed with and those he did not agree. He mentioned the cannabis legalization and meth prosecutions.
Aud has a good working relationship with State Representative Darren Bailey and State Senator Dale Righter. He statedthey both care about the interests of Southern Illinois and are reaching out to the people.
Denton concluded his presentation by taking questions on guns laws, and FOID registration. He expressed his thanks to the community for their support.