Arson is suspected in a Saturday night fire that destroyed the old Grayville High School.  Several area fire departments battled the blaze that broke out around 8:30 Saturday night.  The school has been abandoned since the early 1990′s and was in a dilapidated condition.  Officials with the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the blaze. Photo by Kent Wheeler – Grayville.

Despite the wet spring and early summer, the region is beginning to dry out, and more hot and dry weather is expected for at least the next week.  The U.S. Drought Monitor reported as of last Tuesday, parts of SW Indiana and central Illinois were experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions.  So far, southern Illinois is not included in the Abnormally Dry area.  Here at the studios of WFIW/WOKZ in August, 1.55 inches of rainfall has been recorded, with 1.17 of that falling on August 12th.

The Fairfield City Council is set to meet Tuesday night in regular session.  Approval of a street closing for Animals Requesting Friends Car, Truck and Bike Show is expected.  The council is also expected to discuss a Police Union Contract, as well as a Solicitor’s and Peddler’s Permit Fee.

Wayne County Treasurer Donna Vaughan is reminding mobile home owners that the taxes are due on Friday, September 13th.  Just over $170,000 is to be collected this year.  As of last Friday, Treasurer Vaughan said 37 percent of that amount had been collected.  A $25 penalty per month will be added each month to mobile home tax bills starting September 14th.  Those with questions can call 842-5087.

Wayne and Edwards counties both had a July unemployment rate at nine percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  The rate is up slightly from a year ago.  Clay County reported a July rate of 11 percent, with Franklin County reporting the highest rate in the region, at 12.9 percent.  The lowest July rate was in Clinton County, at 6.9 percent.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign a measure today requiring children in Illinois to start school at age six instead of seven.  Supporters say the earlier start will give the students more time to develop their math and reading skills, while opponents say parents should be the ones to decide when their child begins school.  The measure would take effect with the start of the 2014 school year.  Most states currently require children to start school at the age of five or six.

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