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Headlines for Saturday, April 27, 2013

Flooding continues on the Little Wabash and Wabash rivers following recent heavy rainfall, with more rain in the forecast through this weekend.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is forecast to crest at 30.6 feet Sunday, more than 11 feet above flood stage.  The Little Wabash at Carmi is expected to crest at 30.2 feet Wednesday, more than three feet over flood stage.  East of Fairfield at the filter plant, the river went up two inches Friday to 26 feet, 7 inches, more than nine feet above flood stage.

The Fairfield Grade School District board will meet in special session Monday night starting at 6 p.m.  According to the board agenda, the meeting is being called to handle personnel and disciplinary matters, including the employment of a custodian, an 8th grade Boys Basketball coach and an athletic director.

Wayne County’s unemployment was reported to be higher for the month of March compared to a year ago, according to numbers released this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  Wayne County’s jobless rate for March was 9.1 percent, up from 8.6 percent a year ago.  Edwards County’s rate was 9.5 percent, up from 8.8 percent a year ago.  The IDES said unemployment rates increased in most southern Illinois counties in March, and noted that poor weather conditions delayed construction activity on several projects.  Marion County had one of the highest rates in the area for March, at 11.7 percent.

11-year-old Parker Matthew Noble Webster died Tuesday when fire swept through his home near Sumner.  He had ties to Wayne County, and was the brother of Kaleb and Bryton Withrow, both of Sims, and maternal grandparents, Karla Morse and Tom Sharp, both of Golden Gate.  Officials said the fire broke out early Tuesday morning, and that Webster was unable to escape the burning structure.

A jury has been seated in the murder-for-hire case of 21-year-old Tyler R. McQueen of Mt. Carmel, IL.  McQueen faces multiple first-degree murder charges for the March 25, 2012 stabbing death of 78-year-old Robert V. Westall of Lawrenceville, IL.  The jury was seated on Thursday, with opening statements set to begin Monday morning.  Matt Vaughan of Fairfield is serving as Defense Attorney.   48-year-old Helen Westall of Lawrenceville, IL is awaiting trial on a charge of solicitation of murder for hire for allegedly arranging to pay McQueen $10,000 cash and a 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme automobile to carry out the killing.

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