Headlines for Wednesday, November 20th

Fairfield Memorial Hospital CEO Katherine Bunting Williams said the toughest part of the hospital’s upcoming expansion project, at least in terms of infrastructure and approval, is behind her. At this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony, she also said actual construction could start December 2nd.

Groundbreaking begins at FMH

The Wayne City School Board approved a tentative tax levy increase of 4.98 percent at its meeting last night. The percentage will be voted on for final approval at next month’s meeting. The board also tabled a vote regarding adding a trophy case in the school lobby, which would delay installation until summer.

Wayne City EMS responded to Highway 15 near Keenes Sunday night after a two-car accident. Police reports indicate 29-year-old John R. Wolf struck a car that rolled onto the highway from a blacktop. Wolf was reportedly treated at the scene, though no hospital transport was required.

The Finance Committee of the Fairfield City Council will meet tomorrow night at 6:30 at City Hall. The committee will hold a discussion regarding the city’s 2020 tax levy, and it is also expected to schedule future meetings before adjourning. The meeting is open to the general public.

Midwest Food Bank in Fairfield and the Clothes Line will hold the city’s Christmas Food Basket Giveaway on December 14th at the Food Bank. The entities are hoping to raise $3,000 to stock the baskets, and monetary donations can be sent to the Clothes Line. 275 baskets were given away last year.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education met Monday night and approved a tentative tax levy increase of 4.59 percent. The board will vote on final approval next month. The board also reviewed its Illinois School Report Cards, and both schools received Commendable ratings.

Volunteers for a Progressive Fairfield will hold its second annual Lighting of the Christmas Tree on the Wayne County Courthouse Lawn on December 7th. The event will be held at 4:30, just before the Kiwanis Christmas Parade. VPF’s Festival of Lights at Leo French Park will begin at 5 p.m. on December 5th.

25-year-old Randy J. Crews was sentenced to three years in prison, along with one year of mandatory supervision upon his release, yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court. He had earlier admitted to violating his probation for an original offense of possession of methamphetamine.

20-year-old Brynden K. Payton pleaded guilty to a count of battery yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 12 months probation, plus time served, along with 40 hours of public service work. Payton was also ordered to pay $1,201 in fines and court costs.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital will hold a groundbreaking ceremony this morning at 10 on the hospital’s front lawn. The ceremony will celebrate the hospital’s upcoming expansion project, and a reception will follow; refreshments will be provided by the FMH Nutritional Services Department, and the public is invited to attend.

Illinois farmers continue to inch toward the finish line, according to the latest statewide weekly crop report. 80 percent of corn and 92 percent of soybeans have been harvested, and 99 percent of winter wheat has been planted, with 85 percent emerged. Temperatures were nearly 15 degrees below normal this past week, and precipitation was also down despite early snowfall. Average statewide topsoil moisture stands at three percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 18 percent surplus.

Earlier this month, State Senate President John Cullerton announced he would retire from his office, effective in January. State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, a former state senator, says the maneuvering has already begun to find the next Senate President. Frerichs said he has heard at least 12 senators will seek to fill the seat, including current Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford.

Officials at the University of Illinois have named Susan Martinis as Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation. Martinis has served in the role on an interim basis since September 2017 and was named a permanent replacement earlier this month, pending approval by the university’s Board of Trustees.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 5.87 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.36 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 5.41 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.36 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 4.32 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $48.25, down $1.75 from yesterday. The January crude oil price is $55.04, down $1.39 from yesterday morning.