Headlines for Monday, December 9th

Wayne County deputies responded to a three-car accident Saturday evening near the Fairfield airport. A Cisne juvenile reportedly rear-ended one vehicle, which was then pushed into another on Highway 45. A passenger in the Cisne teenager’s vehicle was later taken to FMH by family members.

County deputies also responded to a crash yesterday afternoon north of Wayne City. Police reports indicate 67-year-old David W. McKenzie was backing up on a county highway when the brakes went out on his truck, causing him to strike a vehicle behind him. No tow truck was called to the scene, and no injuries were reported.

47-year-old Thomas W. Cramer was arrested by Fairfield police Friday morning on a charge of domestic battery. Cramer was transported to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

32-year-old Nickolas A. Ewing was arrested Saturday morning by Illinois State Police on charges of driving with a suspended license and possession of less than five grams of meth. Ewing was also wanted on a Wayne County warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving with a suspended license, and he was cited for not wearing a seatbelt and driving with an expired license.

The Fairfield Merchants have chosen to extend their Passport to the Holidays promotion to December 19th. The winner will be announced on December 20th and will receive $300 in Chamber Bucks.  Passports may be purchased at participating merchants, and proceeds will benefit the Festival of Lights.

The Secret Santa Committee, based out of the Fairfield Cumberland Presbyterian Church, says its deadline for Secret Santa Tree gifts is tomorrow. The tree is located in the Fairfield Kincaid’s, and interested shoppers should pick a tag from it, shop for the child, and return the gift to the tree.

Fairfield Public School District 112 Superintendent Dr. Scott England says he has been looking into grants to extend the district’s 1:1 technology initiative. If the district is approved for the grants, first and second grades could receive Google Chromebook classroom sets to expand learning opportunities.

The Fairfield Kiwanis Club Christmas Parade was held Saturday evening, and the Fairfield Banking Company won the Best Use of Lights Award. The parade’s Grand Marshal was Phyllis Hilliard Wilks, and Grand Marshal’s Choice went to the Wayne County 4-H. Over 60 floats entered the parade this year.

The Fairfield City Council will meet tomorrow at City Hall. The council is expected to discuss, and possibly approve, a tax levy ordinance; aldermen are also expected to discuss ordinances regarding cannabis regulations in the city. The agenda does allow for a vote on allowing cannabis businesses or not.

The Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow at Lincoln Trail College. It is expected to hear a report on the design and construction of a new exterior electronic sign at Frontier Community College. It will also hear reports on equipment contracts at Wabash Valley.

IHSA member schools are voting this month on a proposal to stop district scheduling for high school football. The system was approved last December, and it would go into effect in 2021. El Paso High School Principal Bill Lapp says it wouldn’t be practical for the IHSA to set up districts and establish regular-season scheduling, as that is traditionally established by individual schools. Voting will continue on the by-law amendment through next Monday.

Officials say Southern Illinois University Carbondale has received an increase in freshman applications for the next academic year. The school received 27 percent more freshmen applications than this time last year, and over 2,600 students have been admitted already- a 21 percent increase. School officials say it is unclear whether the increase applications will lead to a bigger freshman class overall.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says more than 32,000 people are participating in the state’s “Secure Choice” Retirement Savings Program. He says it is designed for workers that don’t have access to a retirement program, and nearly 4,700 employers with 25 workers or more are offering the program, as required by law. The default investment for employees is five percent of their paycheck, but that can be raised, lowered, or opted out of entirely.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 25.14 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.73 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 9.12 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.76 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 28.24 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $52.25, up $0.75 from Friday. The January crude oil price is $58.80, up $0.43 from Friday morning.