Another change at Oak Hill

After several closed personnel discussions involving the county-owned senior living center in recent weeks, the Oak Hill agenda item at Monday’s Monroe County Board meeting only lasted about two minutes. 

Board chairwoman Vicki Koerber read a brief statement alluding to the recent closed sessions before asking for a motion to terminate the employment of Oak Hill Director of Nursing Susan Nordhaus.

The firing came a little over a week after Brian Koontz resigned as Oak Hill administrator.

The reasons for his resignation and Nordhaus’ termination have not been released.

After the board voted unanimously to end Nordhaus’ employment, Koerber directed acting Oak Hill administrator Kim Keckritz to begin advertising for a new  administrator to fill the vacancy left by Koontz.

Keckritz, who had been Oak Hill’s administrator from 2001 until Koontz was hired last year, had stayed on in a semi-retirement, part-time position at the care center until being named acting administrator upon Koontz’ resignation.

After the board meeting, Keckritz announced to staff at Oak Hill that Nordhaus’ replacement had already been selected. She said Shandra Goersch will be the new director of nursing at the facility.

Goersch has worked at Oak Hill as an RN since 2013 and has worked for many years at Career Center of Southern Illinois, where she educated both LPN and CNA students.

Keckritz reported that Goersch holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, adding “she possesses extensive knowledge of nursing practices, but most of all she is a caring, compassionate nurse that is loved by all who know her.”

There were dozens of people in attendance to either speak about an agenda item to approve a Stumpy’s Spirits and Distillery expansion off Route 3 near Hanover Road. Read more about by clicking here.

Also during the meeting, Monroe County Health Department  Administrator John Wagner gave the board a COVID update. Tor read more details of his report, click here.

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger addressed the board next with a proposal to lower the speed limit to 45 miles per hour on H Road from Route 156 to Goeddeltown Road near the Willow Lakes subdivision.

That section of roadway is in two separate road districts, so the board voted to approve the speed change in two separate actions.

The board also acknowledged Ryan Weber’s retirement after 20 years of service with Monroe County EMS. As discussed with the board, this only includes Weber’s years of full-time service; he had assisted long before then. Weber will continue with EMS in a part-time, as needed role.

An action item that was not on the original agenda was approval of funds to purchase a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and equipment for use by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. The new vehicle will replace a 2013 Chevy Impala, the last such sedan in the MCSD fleet.

Sheriff Neal Rohlfing told the Republic-Times that the department has been utilizing SUVs for several reasons, mostly to handle terrain in the Bottoms and rural areas. 

He said the Impalas would last around 4-5 years of service while the SUVs generally last 6-7 years.

Rohlfing said he did not expect to be able to get a new vehicle until next fall due to the nationwide vehicle shortage, but he was notified recently that this Tahoe had become available. 

The board also made two proclamations for 4-H Week and Home and Community Education Week and also recognized Suicide Awareness Month.

University of Illinois 4-H Program Coordinator Kelly Brandt and gave the board an update on recent 4-H activities around the county. She reported that the Master Chef program has been well-received and also noted that 4-H was able to begin a new science club at the Valmeyer school, among other activities from the past year.  

Monroe County Home and Community Education  officer Janice Sondag reported that COVID has hurt membership and involvement, but they are currently working on ways to attract new members.

Sondag mentioned that HCE is working to create a social media presence to help spread awareness of the group.

Monroe County HCE will hold a Ladies Night Out BUNCO party at Immaculate Conception Church in Columbia on Oct. 14 from 6-10 p.m. Call, text or email Kathy Ritter at 618-281-5386 or; or Glenda Sexauer: 618-520-9369,  at for more information and to register. 

The next regularly scheduled county board meeting will be Oct. 18 beginning at 8 a.m.

Ryan Weber was recognized by the Monroe County Board on Monday for his years of service with Monroe County EMS. Pictured, from left, front row, are Monroe County Commissioners George Green, Vicki Koerber and Dennis Knobloch; standing: Monroe County EMS member Devin Godier, Monroe County EMS Director Carla Heise, Weber, current EMA director Kevin Scheibe and Monroe County EMS member Doug Franklin.
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Madison Lammert

Madison is a reporter at the Republic-Times. She has over six years of experience in journalistic writing. Madison is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Before graduating and working at the Republic-Times, Madison worked for SIUE’s student newspaper, The Alestle, for many years. During her time there she filled many roles, including editor-in-chief. When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her dog and try new restaurants across the river.
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