Headlines for Sunday, November 17th

Salem City Councilman Craig Morton has reportedly announced he is circulating petitions to run as a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress.  Morton is the owner of the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Salem, IL and said his decision followed that of incumbent John Shimkus’ decision not to run.  He also says the choice stemmed from what he sees as a lack of moderate candidates in either party.  Morton said the initial response to his candidacy was good since he started circulating petitions recently.  He is in his sixth year as a member of the Salem City Council.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an armed car-jacking in rural West Frankfort Friday afternoon.  Reports said the incident occurred shortly before 2 p.m. when the victim’s car was spotted in Zeigler by police and the driver sped away.  The driver was identified as 25-year-old Robert L. Plumlee II of Benton, IL who was taken into custody by an off-duty officer and a state trooper.  Plumlee II faces charges of aggravated vehicular hijacking, possession of a stolen vehicle and aggravated battery, the report said.

Area rivers remain well below flood stage this morning.  The Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 5.95 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the river stands at 5.62 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the river is at 4.44 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 5.37 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash at Mt. Carmel is at 4.15 feet. below its 19-foot flood stage.  Rain is possible in the region late Monday night, and more likely by the middle of the week.

Frontier Communications may be forced to declare bankruptcy early next year after years of customer losses and debt totaling $17.5 billion.  A report says the company is considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing as early as the first quarter of 2020 as part of a sweeping reorganization of the company that would also include replacing members of its top management.  Frontier executives are blaming the situation on ongoing disconnection of traditional landline service, with 71,000 customers disconnecting their service in the third quarter of this year.

Ameren Illinois is experimenting with an environmentally-friendly way to remove invasive vegetation in difficult-to-reach areas across its service territory by using 50 goats along a steep and rocky plot of land located in Hillview.  Dave Schenck with Ameren said tree trimmers and chainsaws could be called in to clear the area, but the steep terrain makes walking difficult at times, and the goats can remove about an acre’s worth of vegetation in a week.