Headlines for Sunday, November 24th

Fairfield firemen were called to a house at 506 West Summit Street around 6:15 Saturday morning.  The fire department said the house had extensive damage by the time firemen were able to bring the scene under control about two hours later.  No one was at home when the fire started, and no one was injured, although a cat and a dog did perish in the fire.  A cause of the fire is still under investigation.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Illinois State Police are reminding motorists to drive safely.  District 19 Interim Commander Lieutenant Lance Hinkle says the goal for the holiday weekend is to reduce the number of fatal traffic crashes on roadways, and encourage motorists to help by buckling up, following the speed limit, and not driving distracted or under the influence.  State police will utilize a combination of enforcement and education to reduce serious crashes and will have increased presence on interstates and heavily traveled state routes as part of their enforcement efforts.

The Illinois General Assembly’s Fall Veto Session is history, with one of the primary bills passed dealing with the consolidation of over 600 police and fire pensions.  Governor J.B. Prizker has indicated he will sign the bill, which is intended to improve the financial stability of the funds while easing pressure on local governments to raise taxes.  State Representative Darren Bailey said he has an issue with the idea of consolidation, and also said the governor needs to work on a fair mapping system for the state in advance of the 2020 census.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says thousands of pounds of salad products are being recalled due to a possible E. coli contamination.  The department says Missa Bay, LLC, a company from New Jersey, is recalling over 75,000 pounds of salad products that contain meat or poultry because the lettuce may be contaminated with a strain of E. coli.  The moves comes following a report late last week that consumers were being warned not to eat romain lettuce grown in Salinas, California, due to an investigation of a food poisoning outbreak.  It was reported Friday that at least one person in Illinois had become sickened due to that lettuce.

Area river stages as of this morning:  Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 6.91 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 6.57 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the river is at 5.32 feet, below the 27-foot flood stage.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 6.17 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel stands at 4.04 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.