Balloon Fest


My name is Leah Williams, and I am a writer, editor, photojournalist and web developer living in Southern Illinois. I have been a professional writer for more than 10 years.

I believe in the importance of good, quality local news coverage. These are the stories of people, whether it is a local team’s run for a state title, a soldier coming home to his son after a deployment or emergency responder’s attempting to save a dog from an icy pond.

I strive to make issue better than the one before it. A perpetual student, I want to learn more each and every day. I have met some amazing people over the course of my career, and I look forward to continue in community journalism.

Well-behaved women seldom make history.

– Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Photo Gallery

The Nashville Hornettes celebrate a play at home against Pinckneyville on Sept. 11, 2019.
Jaxon Goforth (87) celebrates in the air with Nick Miller (10) after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter Friday night. The Hornets kept off a Lions rally to win 41-38.
Big brother and Captain America Connor Toomey, 6, of St. Charles, MO, wraps his arm around Yoda (Bryce, 3) during the annual Superhero Parade. Their mom is Megan Toomey, who is originally from Nashville.
Nine-year-old Jeremiah “Kirk” Johnson sneaks a hug from his dad Joshua Johnson, 29, on Nov. 1, 2006, during a “Parade of Recognition” celebration that ended at the Drury Inn in Mt. Vernon. Joshua Johnson was home after serving a tour in Iraq. Kirk was particularly glad to have his dad home and retired from the military, hugging him constantly during the ceremony and making plans to play games later. “If I didn’t have him, I’d be alone in this world,” Kirk said. “So I’m glad to have him.”
Hal Wolfe and his photo
In this photo taken in October 20006, Hal Wolfe of Mt. Vernon goes through photographs taken during his days serving in World War II. Wolfe was among the soldiers who fought on the island of Iwo Jima.
Matthias Wright, 4, enjoys a jump on the bounce house during the Oakdale Eggstravaganza in 2012.
Belle, played by Alexa Smith, reads will the rest of the town mocks her odd behavior during the first act of Salem Community High School’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” in March 2014. Published: Centralia Sentinel
Judy Holmes canoodles with seven-year-old Isabella Love Saturday during the Blessing of the Animals at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Centralia. Isabella Love was among the creatures blessed during the ceremony.
The Mt. Vernon Fire Department rescues a pit bull that fell through the icy waters at Veterans Park in 2007.