Headlines for Friday, May 3rd

Longtime Illinois Eastern Community College leader Terry Bruce announced his retirement, effective June 30th of this year, in a media release this (Friday) afternoon. Bruce had been the Chief Executive Officer of the four college district since 1996 and had a contract through the year 2021 but said he felt it was time for him to “make a change.” No word on the process which will be used to replace Bruce by the Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees. Two area men, Gary Carter of Fairfield and Jan Ridgely of Edwards County have seats on the seven-member board.

Sara McGehee was announced as a State Fair Winner last night at the Wayne County 4-H Public Presentation contest. McGehee will advance to a competition in Decatur in June for her formal speech “Challenges Youth Face.” Alternates for that competition are Lucy Britt, Reaghan Wells, and Katelyn McCleary.

From left: Reaghan Wells, Sara McGehee, Lucy Britt, and Katelyn McCleary

Mt. Carmel Police were reportedly involved in a vehicle pursuit yesterday afternoon that ended in Indiana. A 17-year-old student at Mt. Carmel High School reportedly hit an officer with his vehicle, then drove to Indiana, where he was arrested near Owensville. The injured officer is expected to make a full recovery.

Wayne County Crime Stoppers has announced it is paying $200 on the arrest of Donald E. Brinkley. Brinkley was arrested by Fairfield Police Tuesday afternoon after a Crime Stoppers tip. He was wanted on Edwards County warrants for violation of probation, aggravated assault, and domestic battery.

Wayne City School will host a cancer benefit tonight at 6 for custodian Billy Reynolds. The night will feature a porkchop dinner and silent auction, with proceeds going to Reynolds for travel and treatment expenses.

Grayville will hold a citywide yard sale tomorrow morning; it will begin at 7, and no end time has been announced. Also, Wayne City Matters is sponsoring a Scavenger Hunt for college and high school students tomorrow in Wayne City. The event will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and it will include pizza, music, and prizes.

A full TIF report from attorney Dan Schuering is expected to arrive today, and the joint review board is expected to meet in the near future. Dr. Scott England, Superintendent of the Fairfield Public School District 112, said he doesn’t see the report indicating the taxing bodies will receive what they have in the past.

Dr. England also spoke about the state’s teacher shortage. He said Illinois has actually made it more difficult to become licensed thanks to a change in “banding,” which essentially requires teachers to decide in college what grades they will teach. If a position opens outside of their “band,” they cannot take it.

Frontier Community College will hold its 40th annual commencement next Friday, May 10th. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in Fairfield Community High School’s east gym. FCC President Dr. Jay Edgren will present the President’s Award to one outstanding graduate, and over 160 degrees and certificates will be conferred.

The unemployment rate in Illinois dropped from 4.7 to 4.5 percent in March, according to recent statistics from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Wayne County’s March rate was at 6.2 percent, which was unchanged from February. Edwards County increased slightly to 5.4 percent.

Flooding season up and down the Mississippi River will not go away, and it’s creating stress on levees, according to Tom Heinold, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District. As for the Lock and Dam system, crews have been keeping a close eye on equipment, but rising waters continue to present challenges.

Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert’s name has been added to a memorial wall at police headquarters in Springfield. He died in January when he was hit be a vehicle while directing traffic during a snow storm near Northbrook. Governor J.B. Pritzker and Acting ISP Director Brendan Kelly joined Lambert’s family for a ceremony Wednesday at ISP Memorial Park.

River stages as of this morning:  Little Wabash, east of Fairfield stands at 23.43 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 9.36 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 15.25 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.).