Len Wells, News Director
The Fairfield FFA Chapter had a very successful day at the Illinois State FFA Proficiency Recordbook Judging at the University of Illinois on Saturday. Katie Liston was named the State FFA Winner in Food Science and Leah Carter was named the State FFA Winner in Agriscience Animal Systems. Liston and Carter had previously won at the Section and District competition to advance to the final 5 in the State of Illinois. Katie is the daughter of Steve and Kim Liston. Leah is the daughter of Harry and Kim Carter.
The Cisne FFA also picked up awards at Saturday’s State Proficiences at the University of Illinois. Meg Sitzes was named the state Small Animal Production and Care winner. Her Supervised Agriculture Experience Program includes producing, marketing, and showing Dutch, Champagne and Lionhead rabbits. Additional chapter representatives included Brandae Gill in Fruit Production and Kirsten Workman in Nursery Operations. Sitzes will be recognized on stage with a slideshow highlighting her project at the Illinois State FFA Convention in June.
Moderate flooding is now occurring on all area rivers as a result of last week’s rainfall, with more rain in the forecast for late tonight and Monday. The Skillet Fork River at Wayne City should fall below its 15-foot flood stage by tonight. The Little Wabash River at Clay City is slowly falling, and at Carmi a crest of 34.9 feet is expected Wednesday evening. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is forecast to rise to around 27.4 feet by this Saturday, and at New Harmony, the river is expected to go to 20.2 feet by next Sunday.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Main items on the agenda include approval of a street closing request for the Fairfield Community High School Prom, and recommendation of a replacement to fill the Alderman term of the late Harry Morlan.
The Wayne County Board meets this Thursday night at 7 in regular session. On the official agenda is the approval of two purchases, a stop sign at the intersection of county road CH1 and the route 161 extension, and a Hurricane Ditcher for just under $29,000. Also listed is updates on grants for the Greater Wabash Regional Planning Commission, and an appearance by David Herrick with Strata-X concerning drilling.
Frontier Community College’s Job Fair is this Tuesday from 1 to 6 p.m. in the college’s Workforce Development Building. Nearly 50 employers and organizations are scheduled to participate, giving Frontier students, alumni and the public a chance to meet with potential employers in a large setting and learn about possible job openings. More information is available by calling 842-3711. There is no fee for the event.
Illinois State Police District 19 officers, in conjunction with the Illinois Liquor Commission, conducted Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement surveillance at various establishments in Wayne, Edwards, White and Wabash counties Thursday night, arresting a total of three people for selling to minors. Those arrested include 23-year-old Aaron G. Wallace of Fairfield, 30-year-old Brandi M. Lee of Grayville and 19-year-old Shane A. Durham of Mt. Carmel, IL. Wallace was arrested for selling alcohol to minors at Midway Package in Fairfield. Lee was arrested for selling to minors at the Liquor Barn in Grayville, and Durham was arrested for selling to minors at Shopko in Mt. Carmel, IL. All three face a Class A misdemeanor charge of unlawful delivery of alcohol to a minor.
Area rivers are now above flood stage following Thursday’s heavy rainfall. The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is expected to crest at just over 20 feet today. The Little Wabash River at Clay City is forecast to fall slowly, and at Carmi a crest of 34.3 feet is expected Thursday morning. The Wabash River at New Harmony is expected to rise to 20.1 feet by April 13th.
Over 95 percent of seniors at Fairfield Community High School achieved the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate as a result of scoring in each core area on the PSAE WorkKeys assessments given in April of last year. Senior Cody Simpson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Simpson, was the only student to achieve the Platinum Level. 20 FCHS seniors achieved the Gold Level, 45 achieved the Silver Level and 17 the Bronze Level. Students will be recognized for their accomplishment during the annual Award Day event on Friday, May 9th beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night beginning at 6 p.m. Main items on the agenda include a street closing request for the FCHS Prom, and a recommendation for a replacement to fill the term of Alderman Harry Morlan.
Fairield Memorial Hospital has announced the completion of the new office suites for the Business Office and Health Information. The office moves are set to occur Thursday, with both offices resuming normal business office hours of 8 a.m. til 4:30 p.m. on Friday morning, April 11th. A Business Office staff member will remain available at the old Business Office Window during the move for those needing assistance during the transition.
TRAFFIC NOTE – County Road 1800 in Jasper Township has been closed due to a culvert being washed out. repairs won’t be m hereade until sometime Saturday. Also, eastbound traffic on I-64 at the 107-mile marker in Wayne County will be shut down for at least an hour this afternoon (until around 3 p.m.) due to a tree across the roadway.
Recent heavy rains are pushing area rivers out of their banks. The Little Wabash at Carmi is forecast to crest more than six feet above flood stage by next Wednesday. The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is expected to hit 19.2 ft. by Saturday – more than four feet above flood stage.
59-year-old Rhanda G. Waldrop of Fairfield was arrested Thursday evening on a charge of theft. Waldrop is accused of taking a bank envelope containing $720 that a local man inadvertently left on the counter at the Clark Service Station. Police reviewed surveillance video of the incident and identified Waldrop as their suspect.
One of the soldiers killed in a mass shooting at Fort Hood Texas is from Effingham. Army Sgt. Timothy Owens was one of four people, including the gunman, killed during Wednesday’s attack at Fort Hood.
Fairfield City Police, in cooperation with the Wayne County Health Department conducted a series of tobacco compliance checks in Fairfield Thursday. Chief Brad Winter reports that none of the ten retail businesses checked sold tobacco products to minors.
Thursday night, area students competed in a county/district speech contest sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America. The first-place winner was Macie Clark, a 7th grade student from New Hope School. Her parents are Wes and Rhonda Clark. Macie wins a $50 cash award and a trophy. Second-place winner was Riley Gill, a 7th grader at Cisne and son of Nathan and Leslie Gill. Third place went to Chesnie Johnston, an 8th grader at Geff and daughter of Shawn and Teri Johnston. Gill and Johnston also received trophies. Pictured above left to right: Cindy Ellis, Jasper Assistant Principal; Riley Gill, Macie Clark, and Chesnie Johnston.
Fairfield Memorial Hospital is moving its Business and Health Information Office to the Mattie B. Rinard facility next Thursday. The new office suites will be located across the hall from the Fairfield Memorial Hospital Administrative Suite.
Flooding is forecast on area rivers. The Little Wabash at Clay City was at 18.64 this morning and is forecast to crest at 21.8 ft. by Saturday. Flood stage is 18 ft. The Little Wabash at Carmi was at 5.82 ft. this morning and is forecast to rise to 33.4 ft. by next Wednesday, April 9. Flood stage at Carmi is 27 ft. The Wabash at Mount Carmel was at 11.27 ft. this morning and is forecast to rise to 24.9 ft. by April 12. Flood Stage is 19 ft.
35-year-old Eric E. Bone of Fairfield was jailed this morning on a charge of aggravated domestic battery. Bone is accused of battering his wife, 33-year-old Cherrie L. Bone during an altercation around 1:15 this morning at the couple’s home on W. Delaware. The victim alleges her husband choked her and slammed her against a wall.
21-year-old David L. Buchanan of Fairfield was jailed Wednesday on a Wayne County warrant charging him with criminal damage to government supported property. Buchanan walked into the Fairfield City Police Department and asked if he was wanted. He has been lodged in the county jail under $15,000 bond.
31-year-old Bradley K. Rogers of McLeansboro has been jailed on charges related to the manufacture of meth. A McLeansboro police officer smelled a peculiar odor coming from trash bags in front or Rogers’ house Wednesday, obtained a search warrant and returned to the suspect’s home. Rogers faces charges of participation in meth manufacturing, possession of meth making materials and unlawful disposal of meth waste.
22-year-old Kaleb G. Withrow of Fairfield has been arrested on a charge of theft. Withrow is accused of stealing a 4-wheeler belonging to Travis Howard of Geff. Police found the stolen Honda 400 EX 4-wheeler at Withrow’s home. It had been repainted yellow.
Wayne County Golf Course is offering free golf including cart and lunch on Saturday, April 12 during its membership drive open house. Guests and potential new members who play golf at the open house will be entered into a drawing for a free individual or family membership. Grilled pork chops and pork burgers will be served for lunch. Carts will be available on a first come first serve basis from 8 until closing time.
66-year-old Vic Hawkins of Grayville died Tuesday evening in a construction accident at the industrial park in Grayville. Mr. Hawkins was working to repair a skid steer loader when it malfunctioned, pinning him between the boom and bucket. A passerby spotted the accident and called for help shortly after 5 p.m. Coroner Chris Marsh said Hawkins was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the cause of death.
Fairfield Elks Lodge # 1631 recently conducted their annual Americanism Essay Contest with the title being “What Does America Mean to Me”. Prizes and certificates were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in two divisions, 5-6th grade and 7-8th grade. 1st Place in the 7-8th grade of $100 went to Cheyanne Fenton of Wayne City, 2nd Place of $50 in the 7-8th grade division was given to Gracie Musgrave of Wayne City and 3rd Place of $25 in the 7-8th grade division was awarded to Katelyn Harrison of Jasper School. 1st Place in the 5-6th grade of $100 went to Delainey Bailey of Wayne City, 2nd Place of $50 in the 5-6th grade division was given to Jaden Boyd of Wayne City and 3rd Place of $25 in the 5-6th grade division was awarded to Jaxson Youngblood of Wayne City. Pictured above fromWayne City L-R: Wayne City School Principal Mr. Mitchell, Cheyanne Fenton, Delainey Bailey, Jaden Boyd, Gracie Musgrave, Jaxson Youngblood and Americanism Chairperson Bob Osmond. Insert picture is from Jasper School. L-R: Mr. Matt Shreve, Katelyn Harrison and Americanism Chairperson Bob Osmond.
Students from Center Street School recently took part in a speech contest sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America. This year’s topic was “The importance of healthy living”. This year’s winners were 7th grader Jasmine Phelps, first place; 6th grader Jason Wright, second place; and 7th grader Cassi Hayes, third place. Each of them will receive a trophy and gold award pins. Gold award pins were also given to the other participants. The 1st and 2nd place winners will compete in the county contest at Jasper school, Thursday night at 6 pm.
A Pontiac Grand Prix stolen from Meadowood Nursing Home in Grayville Sunday has been recovered. Brittany Russell’s car was found burned out on a road south of Grayville. A suspect, 25-year-old John T. Kissee of Grayville has been arrested in connection with the heist.
A recent poll of Illinois residents reveals that nine out of ten respondents believe their state is corrupt. Currently, there are two state representatives facing federal investigation and a third resigned last week after police raided his office looking for child porn. Four of the last nine governors have served time in prison, including Rod Blagojevich who is currently serving a 14 year sentence for corruption.
A Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy on routine patrol smelled anhydrous ammonia coming from a rural Fairfield, Ill. home Tuesday morning, stopped to investigate and found a suspected meth lab. The investigation led to the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of numerous items commonly used in the manufacture of meth. The suspects have been identified as Charles E. Murphy, Sr. 50 of Mill Shoals, Charles E. Murphy, Jr., 26 of Fairfield and Elizabeth M. Shelton, 29 of Carmi. Police made the arrests around 4:30 Tuesday morning at the Sue Robertson residence on Mount Vernon Road, west of the Fairfield municipal airport. Police reported an elderly woman was living in the house as meth was allegedly being cooked. The home was also equipped with surveillance cameras, police said. Charles E. Murphy, Jr. faces preliminary charges of aggravated participation in meth manufacturing, possession of meth manufacturing materials, possession of anhydrous ammonia, possession of anhydrous ammonia in an unauthorized container and possession of drug paraphernalia. The aggravating factor in the drug-related charges relates to the presence of an elderly woman in the household, as well as a pregnant woman – Elizabeth Shelton. Pictured left to right – Murphy, Jr.; Murphy, Sr. and Elizabeth Shelton
Forecasters are keeping their eye on the potential for severe thunderstorm development Thursday and Thursday night. Heavy rainfall is also a possibility Wednesday night through Thursday night. Widespread severe weather is a possibility.
Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House approved the measure on a vote of 91-20. The measure now goes to the Senate. The bobcat is the mascot of Frontier Community College.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has imposed new rules that prohibit bringing feral hogs into Illinois to be hunted. DNR officials are currently working with federal officials to eliminate a population of feral swine in Clay, Effingham, Fayette and Marion counties.
The annual Wayne-White Electric Cooperative meeting is this Friday at the Fairfield Community High School. Three seats on the cooperative board will be up for election. Entertainment this year will be provided by Jon Henninger’s band from Mount Vernon.
UPDATED. . . . .
56-year-old Chalen K. Carter of Fairfield has been jailed on a felony charge of intimidation. The charge stems from his arrest Sunday for DUI. During the DUI investigation, Wayne County Sheriff’s police report finding detailed notes in Carter’s vehicle listing vehicle descriptions and license numbers of a specific Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy. Also included, were descriptions and license numbers of parents who drop their kids off at the home of the deputy’s mother for child care. Police later went to Carter’s home as part of their intimidation investigation and seized – as evidence -0 a .32 caliber handgun, a .22 revolver, a derringer, a muzzleloader gun, a suspected pot pipe; a prescription bottle containing 16 lorazepam pills with no label and ammunition. While Carter had posted bond on the DUI case, he has been jailed on the intimidation charge which carries a $100,000 bond.
Fairfield City Alderman and former mayor Harry Morlan has died. Mr. Morlan had been active in city government for decades, serving most recently as city alderman. He also served multiple terms as the city’s mayor. Services for Harry Morlan are pending.
An analysis shows two Southern Illinois counties have the highest per-capita number of concealed carry applications. White and Hardin Counties topped the state for the most permit requests. So far, 184 applications have come from White County – 54 from Hardin County. Statewide, officials expect 300,000 concealed carry applications to be filed this year.
Illinois lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills recently to tweak the state’s new concealed carry law. Some bills propose to make the law stricter, while others propose to make the law more lenient. The first concealed carry permits were mailed out to Illinois residents about a month ago.
The Career Development Center has placed a textile collection container in Albion. The container has been placed at TCB Detailing and Repair at 35 North First Street in Albion. Donated items will provide work opportunities for area residents with disabilities.
The Community Art Show at Frontier Community College is this Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. Frontier will roll out the new Bobcat mascot design during the show. The show will include a high school and adult division in several categories. There is no entry fee for the show. More information is available by calling the college.
Edwards County officials continue to investigate an apparent suicide in West Salem. The body of 38-year-old Charlie Stuessel was found around 7:30 Friday night in the garage of his home. Invetigators said Stuessel and his estranged wife had been arguing much of the day Friday, and at some point, Mr. Steussel apparently went to the garage of his home and shot himself with a shotgun. Edwards County Coroner Mark Curts, the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police Crime Scene officials are investigating the death. Foul play is not suspected.
Wayne and Edwards counties had slightly lower unemployment rates for February compared to a year ago, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Wayne County’s rate was 9.8 percent, while Edwards County’s rate was 10.5 percent. The IDES said most southern Illinois counties had lower unemployment for February compared to a year ago. The winter weather affected construction work and payrolls, as well as employment in the Retail Trade and Lesiure-Hospitality sectors. Area unemployment rates for February ranged from 13.3 percent in Franklin county to 7.5 percent in Washington and Moultrie counties.
Frontier Community College in Fairfield is hosting a Job Fair on Tuesday, April 8th from 1 to 6 p.m. in the college’s Workforce Development Building. The event is designed to give students, alumni and the general public a chance to meet with potential employers in a large setting and learn about possible job openings. More information is available by contacting Mark Elliott at the college at 842-3711.
The application deadline for the Wabash Valley Association Scholarship has been extended to Monday, April 7th for students planning to attend Frontier Community College this fall. To qualify for the $1000 cash scholarship, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, reside in the IECC district and be enrolled or accepted for fall enrollment in a degree-seeking program at Frontier. Students must also submit a one-page essay regarding their concerns and thoughts for conservation in the Wabash Valley area. More information is available by calling the college at 842-3711.
Congressman John Shimkus is co-sponsoring legislation that would expand the prohibition on inaccurate caller identification. The practice is known as “spoofing” and attempts to trick call recipients. The law currently bans the practice of spoofing on calls originating in the United States. The proposed legislation would expand the ban to include calls originating outside the U.S. if the recipient is within the U.S. The legislation is pending in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Center Street won this year’s Wayne County Scholastic Bowl, held at Frontier Community College in Fairfield. Center Street defeated Cisne 235 to 155 to win the event. Cisne defeated Wayne City, lost to Center Street and defeated New Hope in the semi-final round to reach the championship, while Center Street defeated Geff and New Hope earlier in the day to reach the championship. Six teams competed in this year’s event. They were Center Street, Cisne, Geff, Jasper, New Hope and Wayne City. The competition was held in the West Classroom Building at Frontier Community College.
Edwards County officials are investigating an apparent suicide in West Salem. The body of 38-year-old Charlie Stuessel was found around 7:30 Friday night in the garage of his home. According to investigators, Stuesseel and his estranged wife had been arguing much of the day Friday, and at some point, Mr. Steussel apparently went into the garage of his home and shot himself with a shotgun. Edwards County Coroner Mark Curtis, the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police Crime Scene officials are investigating the death. No foul play is suspected, however an autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon (Saturday).
Two teens were injured and taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital Friday night following an accident in rural Wayne County. State police said a 16-year-old female juvenile from Fairfield was southbound on county road 1800E just north of county road 200N when a deer entered the roadway. The driver swerved to the right, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway and hit a ditch before overturning. The driver and a female juvenile passenger were taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital following the 9:45 p.m. accident. Police did not identify those involved due to their ages. No tickets were issued.
Work is progressing on an upgrade and addition to Times Square Mall in Mt. Vernon, IL. The west wing of the mall will soon be home to three new businesses, Hobby Lobby, Ross Dress for Less and Big Lots. The $11 million project is employing around 60 workers, which includes major upgrades to the interior and exterior of the mall. Construction began last August but has been hampered by winter weather. The project is expected to be completed by early June.
Wayne County’s unemployment rate for February was 9.8 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 10.2 percent a year ago. Edwards County reported a February rate of 10.5 percent, down slightly from 10.6 percent a year ago. Franklin County had the highest February unemployment rate in southern Illinois at 13.3 percent, while Washington and Moultrie counties had the lowest at 7.5 percent. The IDES said winter weather caused declines in construction work and payrolls, and also affected employment in the Retail Trade and Leisure-Hospitality sectors.
19-year-old Alice G. Fine of Chicago, IL and 20-year-old Daniel A. Groering of Evanston, IL were arrested early Friday morning after allegedly blocking a roadway in Harrisburg and refusing to move. Officers were called to a report of several people and vehicles blocking Rocky Branch Road around 5:50 Friday morning. Both face preliminary charges of obstructing traffic peddling, obstructing or delaying, and obstructing or resisting a peace officer. Both are being held in the Saline County Detention Center.
Illinois State Police have launched a statewide enforcement operation targeting commercial motor vehicles. Operation Sauter is a special enforcement operation dedicated to fallen Trooper James Sauter who was killed in the line of duty March 28 of last year when his patrol car was hit by a semi on I-294. All Illinois State Police sworn personnel have been assigned to the special 24 hour detail.
An annual report finds that Woodford County in Central Illinois is the healthiest county in the state, with Alexander County in the far southern tip of the state ranking last. Wayne County ranks 47th with White County ranking 74th.
An $11 million construction project is underway at Times Square Mall in Mt. Vernon. Work continues on the construction of three new businesses – Hobby Lobby, Big Lots and Ross Dress for Less. The shops should be finished by early June.
Illinois e-book readers are set to receive payments this week from a court settlement with five major publishers. The publishers conspired with Apple, Inc. to drive up the price of e-books by $3.
A proposal to impose a 3% surcharge on incomes of $1 million or more has been sent to the Illinois House floor for debate. The proposal passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee by a vote of 6 -4. If enacted, the tax would bring in about $1 billion a year for elementary and secondary education.
The 26th annual Wayne Co. Scholastic Bowl is today at Frontier Community College. The championship matches begin at 6:30 and will be aired on WFIW FM – 104.9.