Meet the WICS TV News Team
Alicia Lewis - Reporter
Alicia Lewis joined ABC NewsChannel 20 in October 2012 as a General Assignment Reporter. Relocating from the Land of 10,000 Lakes to the Land of Lincoln, she is excited to be a part of a community so rich in history.
Alicia began her love of journalism at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where she worked at UTVS News, a local television station in St. Cloud. As the Managing Editor, Lead Anchor and Field Reporter, she prided herself on sharing local events and stories of the individuals within her community. She also wrote and produced three live newscasts daily.
During her time at UTVS News, Alicia was an integral part of the award-winning newscast that won Best Television Newscast in the nation, as voted by the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, as well as the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Whether she is in front of the camera or behind the lens, she is passionate about engaging communities through the art of storytelling and enjoys sharing that passion with her viewers. Don't hesitate to say hello or send an email. She would love to hear from you.
Andrew Hansen - Anchor / Reporter
Andrew Hansen is ABC Newschannel 20's morning co-anchor. During his time at WICS, he has worn a number of hats. He started as a general assignment reporter, then anchored sports for one year, then covered the Illinois capitol before landing his current role with the station.
Andrew is originally from Joliet and went to college at Valparaiso University. There, he majored in Television/Radio and Sports Management and minored in business. Following college, Andrew started his television career in Quincy, where he worked as a bureau reporter in Macomb and as a fill-in sports anchor.
After being in Springfield for a number of years, Andrew is excited to be at the anchor desk. He says his favorite thing about reporting is meeting people in the community and telling their stories.
In his spare time, Andrew enjoys fantasy football, biking, playing euchre, and especially hitting the golf course.
Brett Baldeck - Reporter
Brett Baldeck joined ABC NewsChannel 20 and FOX Illinois as a multimedia journalist in October 2013. He comes to us after spending a year as a multimedia journalist at WBKO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Brett is originally from Rochester New, York. He graduated from Niagara University in Niagara Falls in May 2012. He is proud to now call Springfield home, and tell the stories of the people of central Illinois.
Brett has always had a passion for television news. As a child, it was his nightly ritual to watch the local news with his family. After a suggestion from his high school English teacher, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a news reporter.
When Brett is not at work, he enjoys working out and checking out the newest restaurants downtown. Brett is also an avid auto racing fan. He says anything with a motor and wheels, he will watch on television.
Christina Mueller - Reporter / Weekend Weather Anchor
Christina joined WICS in January 2013 as a Weekend Weather Anchor/Weekday Reporter. Christina moved to Springfield from Quincy, where she worked in the same role at KHQA-TV. While working in Quincy she covered stories in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa ranging from politics to agriculture. She would love to hear whats going on in your neighborhood. If you want to ask her a question or just chat, shoot her an e-mail or look her up on Facebook and Twitter.
Christina graduated from Quincy University with a bachelors degree in Communication with a concentration in Broadcasting. While at QU she worked on the campus news webcast, QUTV, and held an internship as a weekend reporter for KHQA-TV. She was a member of Lambda Pi Eta, a communications honor society. She was also active in Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) women's fraternity, where she helped plan campus philanthropy events to benefit the National Arthritis Foundation.
Christina is from Godfrey, in the St. Louis metro area. (Yes, she is a Cardinals fan). On her time off,Christina spends time with her family, curls up with a book, or spends time outside.
Garrett Brnger - Reporter
Garrett Brnger joined WICS in August 2013 as a General Assignment Reporter covering the Springfield City Council. Garretts a lifelong New Englander so hes learning to appreciate waves of corn instead of trees and mountains.
Garrett graduated from Boston University in 2011 with a Bachelors degree in News & Editorial Journalism. He started his career out as a print reporter, first as a temporary New Hampshire Statehouse Reporter for the Associated Press and then as a General Assignment Reporter at the Keene Sentinel, his hometown paper. He made the switch to television in 2012 as a one-man-band reporter for WBIN in Derry, NH and hasnt looked back since. He has reported on a variety of subjects from the Boston Marathon bombings, to medical marijuana, to gun laws, to orphaned bear cubs.
As a frugal Yankee, Garrett prefers to bake or cook his own food and can often be found trying out a new pie recipe. His favorite is a Caramel-Apple-Pecan pie, or as he refers to it, Type 2 Diabetes.
Joe Crain - Morning and Midday Meteorologist
Joe helps you plan for the day at work and school with the Storm Team 20 forecast every weekday from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. during "Sunrise This Morning". Joe also keeps you updated on the latest weather with local updates during "Good Morning America" and has a complete look at your forecast during "ABC NewsChannel 20 Midday" at 11:00 a.m. weekdays.
At the young age of 12, Joe got an early start to his career with school and community announcements on his hometown radio station in Cairo, Illinois. Joe has held a variety of on-air, programming and management positions with radio stations in St. Louis, Duluth, Green Bay, Sioux City, Omaha, Peoria and Springfield. Joe joined the ABC NewsChannel 20 family in the summer of 2004 as a weekend weather anchor. He was named the morning and midday weather anchor in March 2008.
Joe is a graduate of Mississippi State University's Broadcast Meteorology Certification program and holds a B.A. in Radio-Television Sales and Management with a minor in Journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Joe is a professional member of both the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. Additionally, Joe has been honored by his peers with numerous awards such as the "Silver Dome" from the Illinois Broadcasters Association and multiple nominations for the national "Gavin Award" that showcases excellence in radio programming.
Joe has been recognized for his community involvement with a number of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, Land of Lincoln Goodwill, Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Camp CoCo, Central Illinois Down Syndrome Society and Salvation Army. As a member of Storm Team 20, Joe enjoys speaking each year to dozens of school and civic groups about weather and severe weather safety.
Joe, along with his wife Ann and children, Megan and Thomas, reside in Springfield. He's a model railroader and train collector. Joe's an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Fighting Illini and SIU Salukis. And, by his own account, Joe is a "below average" golfer.
Joe's always glad to hear from you and is eager to answer your weather related questions.
Kimberly Howard - Reporter
Kimberly joined ABC NewsChannel 20 in May 2012 as a one-man-band reporter. That means she shoots, writes, edits and reports her stories. As a self-proclaimed news junkie, Kimberly is thrilled to call the Land of Lincoln her new home. She had her first stint on-air as a reporter and anchor for UCTV-14 News at the University of Connecticut. She graduated from UConn in 2009 with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Communication Sciences. She then became an associate producer and assignment desk editor at News 12 Connecticut. When she wasn't writing or coordinating behind the scenes of TV news she spent time working for three news websites as a one-man-band reporter: LocalOnlineNews.TV, CTNewsJunkie.com and AOLs Patch.com. Much of her work centered on local politics, but telling the compelling stories of her neighbors has always been her first love. She took that love to Gainesville, Florida where she was a one-man-band reporter for GTN News, a CBS and NBC affiliate. And now, on to central Illinois! When not on assignment, Kimberly loves being outdoors, reading, enjoying live music and playing with her adorable cats Oliver and Olivia. Reporting isn't only her career, it is her passion.
Krista Lander - Sports Director / Anchor
After spending the first five years of her career in different parts of the country Krista finally returned home to Central Illinois in December 2010. Krista grew up a Cornjerker in Hoopeston, Illinois and is very proud of her small town roots.
Krista graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2005 and immediately entered the sportscasting field as the weekend sports anchor in Twin Falls Idaho. After spending two plus years in the Gem state she moved to West Texas to be the sports director at a station in Odessa. While in Texas she had the opportunity to cover 'THE' Friday Night Lights team the Permian Panthers. On top of great high school football Krista also covered the Dallas Cowboys training camp and the Texas Tech Red Raiders for three seasons.
While it has been an experience traveling the country Krista is happy to finally be home. In her spare time she chases around her Boston Terrier Haley and follows the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks, as well as the Cleveland Browns. While she enjoys covering the University of Illinois her college allegiance lies with the Purdue Boilermakers.In the summer she looks forward to spending weekend afternoons inside the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Kristine Frazao - Reporter
Kristine Frazao is an Emmy award winning journalist, with more than a decade of on-air experience. As the National Correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group, Kristine
reports on the top political stories of the day along with investigative reports on government waste, fraud and abuse.
Prior to joining the Sinclair news team, Kristine was the White House Correspondent for RT America. She covered the 2010 and 2012 elections both on the road and in Washington, and anchored nightly newscasts on RT for three years as well. Also during her time at RT, she reported extensively on the impact of hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Pennsylvania, as well as the tragic rate of teen suicide on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Kristine was born and raised in San Diego, CA, where she also worked for four years as a general assignment reporter, working for the Fox affiliate (XETV) as well as the NBC affiliate (KNSD) where she received an Emmy for coverage of the Wildfires of 2007.
She got her on-air start working in beautiful Savannah, GA at WJCL/WTGS, where she worked as the political reporter, covering City Council and County Commission. She also traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi to cover the damage and devastation from Hurricane Katrina.
Kristine loves living in the Washington, DC. area and covering politics. She spends her free time traveling, reading and going on adventures with her black lab , Chomsky.
Connect with Kristine:
Lindsey Hess - Reporter
Lindsey is a reporter for ABC NewsChannel 20, specializing in agriculture. She most previously worked as an Anchor/Reporter at the NBC affiliate station, WGEM, in Quincy, Illinois. While reporting, Lindsey worked as a one-man band, covering assignments as a photographer, reporter and editor in three states. She covered the agriculture beat, reporting on a wide range of farming stories, including the 2012 drought. Lindsey is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois where she earned a degree in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. During college, she was involved in IC TV and Sigma Phi Epsilon Literary Society, and was a member of both Lambda Pi Eta and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Societies.
Community involvement is a big part of Lindsey's life. She is the Executive Director of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program, an official preliminary pageant to Miss Illinois and Miss America. Each year, the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program awards thousands of scholarship dollars to young women. For the past seven years, Lindsey has been a mentor to a young girl named Bailey in Jacksonville. She and Bailey were matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and have spent the last several years spending time together and growing their lifelong friendship. As Miss Adams County and Miss Quincy, Lindsey used her titles to bring awareness to bullying and cyber bullying. She continues to speak at schools, organizations and service clubs to educate others on the cause. In February 2012, Lindsey was able to bring light to the issue in her in-depth news report, "Mean Girls."
Liz Foster - Anchor / Reporter
After growing up in the South, Liz Foster is excited to join the NewsChannel 20 team and explore the Midwest. Liz join WICS in October 2010. She hails from Georgia, where she began her career WMGT in Macon. While in Middle Georgia, Liz covered a variety of stories from crime and consumer reports to how kids with cancer cope. Prior to reporting in Macon, Liz interned at WBTV in Charlotte after graduating from Georgia Southern University. At GSU, she earned a degree in Communication Arts with a major in Broadcasting.
Working in news is a lifelong dream for Liz... she even taped her own news show as a child on her family's video camera! Liz looks forward to getting involved in community organizations in Central Illinois. Away from the cameras and the newsroom, she enjoys playing with her Yorkie Bella, cooking, traveling, volunteering and watching Braves baseball and SEC football. Liz appreciates hearing from viewers and welcomes anyone to email with a story idea or just to say hello!
Maggie Poteau - Anchor
Maggie Poteau anchors the 5 p.m and 6 p.m. newscast for ABC NewsChannel 20 and the 9 p.m. newscast for FOX Illinois. She joined WICS in November 2013. As a newcomer to the Midwest, she is excited about becoming involved in the community, engaging viewers in central Illinois and exploring the Land of Lincoln.
Interestingly, Maggie began her television career as a general assignment reporter in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Before moving to Springfield, Illinois, she worked at ABC 3340 in Birmingham, Alabama, where she was an anchor for "Good Morning Alabama" and show host for "Talk of Alabama." Prior to her time in central Alabama, she worked in east Tennessee for WATE 6 News and FOX 43. Her passion for storytelling has allowed her to cover stories of people from all different walks of life, from people we like to people we do not like. Some of the prominent stories she has covered include the criminal trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy (the first executive tried under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), the disappearance of Natalie Holloway, and the deadly tornados that ripped through Alabama in 2011. To date, career-wise, she is most proud of her invitation from The White House to serve as moderator for "The Urban Economic Forum," Birmingham 2012.
Born on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, she is proud of her Haitian and Cuban heritage. Maggie grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Mass Communications. She is also a proud alumna of the UCONN Women's Soccer program and still loves to play whenever possible. Maggie would tell you her proudest accomplishment is her adult"yes, adult--daughter Brittanny, who earned her bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University and her masters degree from Arizona State University. Brittanny now works in higher education in the greater Boston area.
If you have a great story idea, feel free to connect with Maggie on Facebook or Twitter.
Mike Brooks - Reporter
Mike Brooks has been with the ABC News Channel 20 team since 2008, starting out as a part-time news photographer, and now a full time reporter. He has done a little bit of everything here, from operating satellite and microwave trucks to running newsroom shots, and now is spending his time in front of the camera, as our Statehouse Bureau Chief.
Born and raised in Sangamon County, Mike graduated from Tri-City High School in Buffalo (go Tornadoes!), then headed to the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign, where he cemented his love for the Fighting Illini and met his wonderful wife Jodie. Now the two live back home on the Brooks family farm, with an infant son, a herd of Polled Hereford cattle, a few goats, a rather large cat, and their Blue Heeler, Remo.
For Mike, his favorite part of the job is telling the stories of the people who make Central Illinois such a unique and wonderful place, and he really doesn't mind going to all those car shows every summer either.
Ric Kearbey - Meteorologist
Ric Kearbey loves giving the nightly weather forecast on television!
Ric says, "It's something that everyone cares about and knowing I can help them plan their day or weekend is a fun responsibility!"
Ric also knows the importance of severe weather and keeping families safe.
He is committed to staying with ABC NewsChannel 20 views on their televisions until the threat of severe weather leaves the area. You may even see Ric on the air at noon or 3am.
Community involvement is a passion of Ric's. "Connecting with the community, our viewers, makes what we do more real. To actually meet the people who watch us is a great feeling,
and it makes each night's broadcasts more personal for me. Don't be surprised to hear I was at your child's school, or if you see me at the local benefit for an important cause because it's extremely important to me," says Ric.
Ric also loves to interact with viewer through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Ric also is a Pinterest enthusiast, sharing all of his favorite things with viewers.
In his free time, Ric enjoys spending time with his family, running, and working out.
Hes crazy about the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a Bethalto, IL native.
His TV career as taken him to Augusta, GA, Peoria, IL, St. Louis, MO, and now Springfield!
Shantel Middleton - Anchor / Reporter
Anchor/Reporter Shantel Middleton worked in both North and South Carolina; Washington, DC; the Caribbean Island of Saint Thomas, and New York City before joining WICS, ABC Newschannel 20/15 in September of 2011.
She started her career at WCIV, ABC News 4 in Charleston, South Carolina. Throughout her career, Shantel has reported on events across the United States, including the 2008 presidential election and the arrests of two Egyptian-born college students for allegedly driving with bomb-making materials near the naval brig that housed enemy combatant Ali al-Mari. In 2008 Shantel was a part of the Emmy award-winning Choose or Lose Street Team for MTV News, The Associated Press, and The Knight Foundation. Her work was shared nationally on VH1, the MTV Network channels, and in publications like USA Today.
Craving a better understanding of the political machine after the election, Shantel went on to work as a TV news reporter in the US Virgin Islands and then unpaid at the US Capitol. She was there when the Affordable Healthcare Act originally passed through the US House of Representatives in November of 2009.
Volunteering is a significant part of Shantel's life. After a friend's diagnosis of childhood cancer, Shantel knew she would one day volunteer to help other kids with cancer. At 20 she became a volunteer with the non-profit, childhood cancer support organization Happy Days and Special Times in Charleston, South Carolina. Here in central Illinois she volunteers at Saint John's Children's Hospital and is a member of the Lincolnland Stroke Support Network's Advisory Board.
Sheila Gray - Special Correspondent
Special Correspondent Sheila Gray reports on issues affecting women and families in Sinclair Broadcast Groups Family 411 reports.
Sheila is a native of Columbus, Ohio and studied at the prestigious Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
She began her career in Charleston, West Virginia, eventually being named the 6 & 11 p.m. anchor at WSAZ-TV. She was recognized by the West Virginia Associated Press for her reporting.
Sheilas next stop was Cincinnati, Ohio, where she co-hosted the Fox 19 Morning News.
She is happy that her alarm is no longer sounding at 2:30 a.m. and is looking forward to this new chapter in her career, and a new broadcasting family with Sinclair.
Sheila and her husband Ric are the parents of four children, Kasey, Kari, Katie, and Kari.
Connect with Sheila:
Vince DeMentri - Anchor / Reporter
Vince DeMentri joined the ABC Newschannel 20 team in September 2012. He anchors the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts and the 10 p.m. newscast with Liz Foster.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Vince is a graduate of Temple University, where he double-majored in journalism and political science. He played linebacker for the Temple Owls football team, which earned him a scholarship.
Vince's television reporting career has taken him to news outlets across the country, from Des Moines to New York City.
A skilled investigative reporter, Vince has won seven Emmy awards, 14 AP/UPI awards, and an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor--one of the highest civilian medals recognized by Congress--for his reporting on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His 9/11 reporting also earned him two Edward R. Murrow awards--often considered the highest honor in broadcast news.
Vince's investigative stories have prompted laws to be enacted and changed, and caused several politicians to resign from office.
In addition to 9/11, Vince has been among the first to report on numerous major world events, including Operation Desert Storm, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of Princess Diana, and the installation of Pope Benedict XVI. Notable interview subjects include Mother Teresa, Jack Kevorkian, and presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Vince's hobbies include reading, traveling, and competitive power lifting. He has one teenage daughter.
He is very happy to be in Springfield, and looks forward to meeting the folks of central Illinois and becoming part of the community. He encourages viewers with tips for investigative stories to contact him with details.
Natalie Sparacio - Anchor
Natalie Sparacio joined WICS in January 2012 as Sunrise This Morning Anchor and Reporter for ABC Newschannel 20. After working at television stations in Austin, Minnesota and Wausau, Wisconsin, Natalie is thrilled to deliver the news in her home state. A graduate of Marquette University, Natalie majored in journalism.
Throughout her television career, Natalie has been active in the communities shes lived in. Shes coached several club and high school soccer teams, served on boards for the United Way, March of Dimes, DonateLife and been recognized as a Red Cross Real Hero nominee.
When Natalie is not anchoring or reporting she loves spending time with her big Greek and Italian family, watching the Blackhawks, traveling and running in races. She just completed her first half marathon in September 2011. She adopted her Chihuahua Terrier, Hamilton, during a pet segment interview. It was love at first sight! Natalie enjoys life in the Land of Lincoln and welcomes emails to say hello or offer up story ideas!
Rebekah Thurston - Reporter
Rebekah Thurston graduated cum laude from North Central College with a BA in Broadcast Communications and Theatre in June 2013. While in school, she interned with Naperville Community Television as a reporter for their weekly news program, Naperville News 17. After graduation, Rebekah returned to her hometown of Chatham to intern with ABC Newschannel 20 for the summer. She officially joined the Channel 20 team in August. Rebekah enjoys reporting for the news station that she watched growing up and is excited to continue exploring the city of Springfield.