Len Wells, News Director
A strong winter storm system dropped over a foot of snow in many areas of the region overnight Thursday and into Friday afternoon. Here at the studios of WFIW/WOKZ, a total of 13 inches was measured, with 4 1/2 inches falling Thursday night and another 8 1/2 inches on Friday. The snowfall resulted in numerous cancellations, and caused the cancellation of both the Fairfield and Albion Christmas parades. Another chance of some wintry precipitation is in the forecast for Sunday.
Area roadways remained snow-covered and hazardous this morning. Reports indicated there were several spinouts on highways and vehicles sliding into ditches. No major accidents have been reported by area police involving serious injuries, but motorists are being encouraged not to travel unless necessary until the roadways can be cleared.
Arctic air is expected to dominate the region for the weekend and most of next week. Low temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits by the middle of next week, with high temperatures not getting above freezing until at least next Friday.
The Fairfield Beautification Committee’s Christimas Light Tour for senior citizens is set for Monday, December 16th. Seniors will be picked up at 5 p.m. at several locations in town. The public is encouraged to nominate homes with Christmas light displays within the Fairfield city limits through this Friday, December 13th. Nominations can be made by calling 847-2921. Homes will be judged by the seniors on December 16th, with first place receiving $40.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced Friday that the Illinois Department of Human Resources will offer immediate food assistance to 15 counties, including Wayne, Wabash and Jasper counties, beginning this Wednesday. The IDHS has been authorized to offer special Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to residents in the counties declared federal disaster areas as a result of tornadoes and severe storms last month. Applications will be accepted December 11th through 13th and 16th and 17th from 8:30 a.m. til 4 p.m. More information is available by visiting the IDHS website at www.dhs.state.il.us
A powerful winter storm has blanketed the region with ice and snow, making travel treacherous. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 this evening. Another 4 – 8 inches of snow is expected to fall during the daylight hours today. City Police Chief Brad Winter has asked residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. All area roads are snow covered, slick and hazardous. – Pictured above is Ill. Rt. 15 at east edge of Fairfield
49-year-old Darrell Delong of Collinsville has been jailed on multiple charges related to a crash last month that left five people dead. Police believe Delong was hill jumping on Thrill Hills in southern Hamilton County when his 2002 Chevy Trailblazer crashed, killing five. Delong faces five counts of aggravated drunk driving causing a death and one count of reckless homicide causing 2 or more deaths. He is being held in the White County jail at Carmi under $250,000 bond.
38-year-old Brian K. Bowlby of Eldorado has been sentenced to natural life in prison for sexually abusing a 9-year-old Hamilton County girl. The sentence was handed down Thursday in Hamilton County Circuit Court at McLeansboro. Bowlby was already serving a 270 year sentence out of Saline County for the same offenses when he was put on trial in Hamilton County.
The judge that presided in the double murder trial of notorious gangster Charles “Blackie” Harris has died. Judge Charles W. Jones of Urbana died Monday. He was 89. Judge Jones sentenced Harris to 60-75 years in prison for the 1964 murder of Betty Newton and Jerry Meritt. Harris served 15 years behind bars and was paroled.
Due to bad weather, the due date for the second installment of Wayne County Property Taxes has been moved to Monday, Dec. 9.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 3 this afternoon through 6 p.m. Friday. Freezing rain and sleet will overspread the area during the afternoon hours with the precipitation transitioning to sleet and snow tonight before winding down Friday afternoon. Forecasters now say 4 – 8 inches of snow is possible in the warning area, which includes Wayne and surrounding counties
42-year-old Karen Miller of Mt. Vernon was injured Wednesday when the Toyota Rav-4 she was driving ran into the back of a work truck at a construction zone on Ill. Rt. 14 at the White-Hamilton County line. She was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Two construction workers escaped injury.
20-year-old Jesse York of Fairfield has been arrested on charges he stole a check from 20-year-old Quinton Clevenger of Fairfield and forged it for $200. York has been booked at the county jail on charges of forgery and theft.
Winners have been named in the annual Wayne County VFW Post 4535 Voice of Democracy contest. Winners are Haylee A. Walker, a Junior at Cisne High School, Logan A. Hosick, a Junior at Cisne High School, and Nicole D. Smith, a sophomore from the Wayne City High School. Each will receive $1,000.
Retired state workers will take a cut in their annual cost of living increases under the new pension plan. A spokesman for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police alleges that the new formula will erode the value of a retiree’s pension by nearly a third.
The Fairfield Beautification Committee’s annual Christmas Light Tour for Senior Citizens has been set for Monday, Dec. 16. Nominations for the program should be called in no later than Friday, Dec. 13 to 847-2921.
The National Weather Service has now issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for Wayne and surrounding counties from 3 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon. The Wayne County region could see several inches of snow from this winter storm. Travel will become difficult as the precipitation transitions Thursday evening from rain to freezing rain, sleet, then all snow.
Edwards County State’s Attorney Michael Valentine has filed formal charges against two Evansville, IN men accused of stealing scrap metal from the Quinn Hunley property near West Salem last week. Sean M. Detty and Jason D. Willemsen face charges of being in possession of a stolen trailer and felony theft.
Enfield RHCC received a substantial donation to purchase new flat screen televisions for the residents. The source of the donation wishes to remain anonymous. Activity aid/ CNA Darlene Taylor and Administrator Chasity Harris braved the crowds at the “Black Friday” sales to ensure the donation went as far as possible. Chasity was accompanied by her nieces Rachel and Riley Peyton, and other family members. Pictured on the left is Chasity Harris, and Darlene Taylor is on the right.
Thieves broke into the Orchardville Church on Thanksgiving Day, stealing $800 from one office, $20 from another and a Swiss Army Knife. Intruders entered the church through a window and broke down a number of doors looking for cash.
Oil spill cleanup equipment manufactured by Carmi-based Elastec/American Marine is being used to mop up thousands of gallons of fuel that spilled into the Mississippi River at LeClaire, Iowa. The fuel spilled after the 144 ft. towboat Stephen L. Colby went down last week after striking a submerged object on the LeClaire, Iowa waterfront.
The Illinois Legislature approved a historic plan Tuesday to eliminate the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall. Public employee unions, who oppose the bill, vowed to quickly take legal action. They say the law is unfair to workers and retirees who for years made faithful contributions to retirement systems but now will see their benefits being cut because of governmental mismanagement.
Nine drug suspects were rounded up in Harrisburg Tuesday after a Saline County Grand Jury issued several indictments. Most of the arrests were for delivery of a controlled substance and marijuana.
*WINTER STORM WATCH ISSUED* THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON. * TIMING: FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA THURSDAY EVENING...AND THE PRECIPITATION WILL END AS SLEET AND SNOW FRIDAY AFTERNOON. * MAIN IMPACT: SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE...SLEET AND SNOW WILL LIKELY RESULT IN TREACHEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. IN ADDITION...SOME ISOLATED POWER OUTAGES CANNOT BE RULED OUT...WHERE FREEZING RAIN IS MOST PREVALENT.
Oil spill cleanup equipment manufactured by Carmi-based Elastec/American Marine is being used to mop up thousands of gallons of fuel that spilled into the Mississippin Rive3r when a towboat sunk at LeClaire, Iowa. The towboat Stephen L. Colby went down on Tuesday, Nov. 26 after striking a submerged object on the LeClaire, Iowa waterfront. Coast Guard officials said the vessel had 89,000 gallons of fuel aboard and was leaking petroleum into the river. Officials with Elastec said thousands of gallons of oily water have been recovered as efforts continue to raise the 144-foot vessel. A spokesman for Elastec said containment boom, sorbent boom, skimmer vessels and workboats are among the equipment manufactured by the Carmi-based company and deployed by Oil Spill Response Organizations (OSROs) in the recovery operation.
The Phelps Family Christmas Display is up and running each evening, located at 307 West King Street in Fairfield, across from Fairfield Community High School. Santa Claus will be at the Phelps Family Christmas Display on Wednesday, December 4th, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. passing out candy canes! Stop by and see the lights and hear the beautiful Christmas Music! The Christmas Display will be lit each evening from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. now through Christmas.
Arctic air will spread across the region Thursday and Friday, bringing wintry weather to the Tri-State. The potential exists for moderate accumulations of ice or sleet and some snow. Forecasters say it is still too early to say how much the system will impact the region.
20-year-old Charles E. Schnepper of Fairfield was arrested Monday on a Wayne County warrant charging him with burglary and theft. Schnepper is accused of stealing two air conditioning units from property owned by Christine Kollack on Spring Street. Bond has been set at $3,500 cash.
23-year-old Sean K. Robinson of Galatia has been arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on a man in the drive-thru of the Hardee’s Restaurant on Main Street in Benton over the weekend. Robinson was allegedly upset over loud music coming from the car behind him. He faces charges of DUI and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
52-year-old Linda Jean of Dix was seriously injured Monday when she was struck by a pickup truck while walking her dog. She was it by a truck driven by 56-year-old Reif Palmer of rural Mount Vernon. The dog the victim was walking was killed in the accident.
Lawmakers are scheduled to meet today to consider a deal that would solve the state’s $100 billion pension crisis. State employee unions oppose the measure. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford also opposes the legislation, claiming it will not withstand judicial review.
The Secret Santa Tree at Kincaids is in need of public support. If you’d like to participate, pick up a tag from the tree and return a gift to Kincaids by next Monday, Dec. 9. The gifts will be delivered to children on the 13th and 14th of December.
Accumulating snow, sleet and freezing rain is being forecast for overnight Thursday through Friday. The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement about the potential for wintry precipitation late this week. Mainly rain, mixed with sleet is forecast Thursday with the precipitation transitioning to freezing rain, sleet and then snow Thursday night through Friday.
Richard Davis, Chris Medler and Andrew Weaver combined for a 66 to win the Wayne County Golf Course annual Black Friday Scramble on November 29th. Terry Powell, Tom Walters and Allen Wilson came in second place at 67. Eighteen players made up six teams in the field and enjoyed brunch of farmer’s casserole and biscuits and gravy prepared by Norma Vaughan.
Two Kansas City, KS residents were seriously injured Sunday when the driver fell asleep and ran off I-57 north of Mount Vernon. Charlie Taylor, 62 and his wife, Linda Taylor, 57 were hurt in the crash. It took nearly an hour to free Linda Taylor from the wreckage. The crash happened a little before 5 Sunday morning.
Thousands of Illinois residents with high medication costs are now seeing some gains from a provision of the Affordable Care Act. For the first ten months of this year, nearly 115,000 Illinois residents who reached the coverage gap have saved an average of $801 per person.
Talking on a cell phone while holding it to your ear and driving in Illinois will soon be illegal. Beginning January 1, drivers will have to have a Bluetooth earpiece or have a built-in speaker phone system in their vehicles. Motorists who break the new law could be ticketed.
The annual Mount Erie Ruritan Club Farm Machinery Consignment Sale has been set for Monday, Jan. 20 at the Mt. Erie Ruritan building. For an item to be listed on the sale bill, it must be consigned no later than Dec. 20. All types of farm machinery, ATV’s, trucks, trailers, combines and livestock equipment will be sold.
The National Weather Service is keeping its eye on a developing system that could bring wintry precipitation to the region towards the end of the week. A system is expected to evolve in the nation’s mid-section as arctic air invades the Tri-State. The best chance for wintry weather will be Thursday night into Friday evening. Stay tuned to WFIW for more information.
The 70 MPH speed limit will soon be posted on rural Illinois Interstate highways. Barring any significant weather events, the Illinois Department of Transportation says it hopes to have new speed limit signs up by Jan. 17.
The Gathering of the Juggalos will no longer be held in Hardin County. The Insane Clown Posse event has been held at the Hog Rock Campground at Cave-In-Rock since 2007. Officials have not said where the event will be held. The event has produced a number of problems over the years, including fights, overdoses and even deaths.
The Festival of Lights opens tonight at Leo French Park. The hours will be from 5:30 – 8:30. The light display is a project of the Volunteers for a Progressive Fairfield.
The annual Fairfield Kiwanis Club Christmas Parade has been set for this Saturday, Dec. 7. The parade will begin at 5 p.m.
The Fairfield City Band will perform a Christmas program this evening at the First Christian Church in Fairfield. The free concert begins at 6 p.m.
The Volunteers for a Progressive Fairfield Festival of Lights is set to open Sunday at Leo French Park. The hours will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with workers from Fairfield National Bank the hosts Sunday night. Donations will be accepted at the gate with proceeds going towards expenses related to replacing the lights and paying the utility bill. Mark Curtis of Albion will be offering carriage rides for a fee.
Illinois State Police plan to conduct roadside safety checks in various areas of the state in December. In our area, state police at the District 13 post in DuQuoin plan to conduct checks in Williamson County during December, as well as Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement, or ACE, patrols, and nighttime enforcement patrols. Officers will be watching for motorists driving drunk and violating various traffic laws to help keep roadways safe.
A 7th person has died as a result of the tornadoes that struck central and southern Illinois on November 17th. Reports from Peoria say 82-year-old Rosamund Allison died Thursday at a local hospital from injuries sustained when an EF4 tornado hit Washington, IL causing extensive damage. Relatives said Allison was hurt when winds pulled her from her home and dropped debris on top of her.
Illinois lawmakers are set to return to Springfield on Tuesday and vote on a plan to solve the state’s $100 billion pension crisis. A report said the plan, if approved, would save $160 billion over 30 years and allow the state’s pension system to be fully funded by 2044. The retirement age for workers age 45 and younger would be increased on a sliding scale, and annual cost-of-living increases of three percent would be replaced. The new system would also result in smaller annual adjustments for the highest earners.
Young people in Illinois who have passed a hunter safety course can begin applying to hunt wild turkeys on private land across Illinois next spring. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it is accepting applications from youth under the age of 16 to hunt on a private Illinois Recreational Access Program site. 25 counties in Illinois have the private sites. Successful applicants will be notified where their hunting site is located and given a permit to hunt on the specified property. The youth turkey hunting season begins in late March of next year.
Huge crowds were reported Thursday night at the Fairfield Super Wal-Mart as the big box store got an early jump on Black Friday shopping. Crowds lined up more than an hour before the store opened at 6 p.m. to take advantage of many advertised specials. Local Fairfield merchants have already launched their holiday shopping season with an open house earlier this month. Local retailers continue to offer many Christmas shopping specials.
The Fairfield Kiwanis Club sponsored Christmas Parade has been set for Saturday, December 7. The parade is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. While the deadline to register an entry for the parade has passed, more information about the event is available from Phyllis Hilliard at her State Farm Insurance Office in Fairfield.
Officials with the Illinois Department of Corrections have announced that an inmate who walked away from the Robinson Corrections Center in late August will now be charged with escape. 30-year-old Jared Carter walked away from a grass cutting detail. He was serving a ten year sentence for residential burglary out of Bond County when he escaped.
A training session on the recently updated Illinois Model Domestic Violence Protocol was held recently at the Windsor Oaks Inn at Grayville. Among those involved in the training were Fairfield Police Chief Brad Winter and Gwen Basinger, an Illinois State Police Detective.
The second firearm deer hunting season opens next weekend, Dec. 5 – 8. During the first firearm season, Nov. 22 – 24, hunters bagged 55,708 whitetail deer – down sharply from the same time period last year. Hunters in Wayne County took 1,037 deer during the first season – a drop of 151 from last year.
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 55,708 whitetail deer during the opening weekend of the firearm deer season last weekend. The harvest numbers are down sharply from the same time period last year when 72,111 deer were taken. Poor weather conditions contributed to lower hunter success last weekend. Hunters in Wayne County killed a total of 1,037 deer, down from last year’s total of 1,188.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department is investigating who might be responsible for shooting several cows in a pasture owned by David Meador near the Foxville and Kell Roads. Three cows were found shot to death on Sunday. Several others had been shot and had to be put down. The loss is expected to top $6,000.
Three Indiana residents have been nabbed for allegedly stealing scrap metal at the Quinn Hunley property north of West Salem. The suspects have been identified as Jason Willemsen, 24 and Sean Detty, 27 of Evansville and Kaitlyn Murray, 26 of Newburgh, IN. Edwards County authorities made the arrests a little after 6 Wednesday morning.
Jessica L. Smith, 27 of Carmi has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to a class-2 felony charge of theft. She will also have to pay court costs and restitution to the victims in White County.
The Fairfield City Band will perform a holiday program this Sunday, Dec. 1 at the First Christian Church in Fairfield. The concert is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will be under the direction of David Kosmatka. The concert is free and open to the public.