Headlines for Thursday, December 12th

Fairfield police arrested 40-year-old Andy L. Grove yesterday on a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. He was also wanted on a Wayne County warrant for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to government supported property. Grove was lodged in the Wayne County Jail, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

Wayne County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who entered a storage building belonging to Bill Taylor recently and stole $1,600 worth of items. Anyone with information on the incident should call or text Crime Stoppers at 842-9777.

State officials have approved two more cultivation centers to grow cannabis ahead of the start of legal recreational sales next year, including Ataraxia in Albion. Along with a site in Shelbyville, the new locations bring the total number of cultivation centers to 16. Legal recreational cannabis sales start January 1st.

Wabash General Hospital has received the 2020 Joint Replacement Excellence Award, recognizing it as among the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for patients receiving joint replacement services. The honor comes from Healthgrades, which evaluates nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide each year.

FCHS After Prom’s 12 Days of Christmas winner for today is Jala Taylor, who will receive a $150 prize.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation to open doors to new workers rebuilding Illinois’ infrastructure. He said the Illinois Works Jobs Program will ensure that taxpayers statewide not only benefit from projects but are able to get into construction and building trades careers. The law sets aside $25 million to help community organizations recruit apprentices.

According to preliminary numbers from the IDNR, Illinois hunters took a total of 25,176 deer in the second firearm hunting season earlier this month, bringing the total for both seasons to 75,349. Wayne and Edwards counties took 1,415 and 365 deer in total, down from 1,485 and 425 last year. Totals for each county may be found at https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=20927

The Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees met Tuesday night and approved bids for the design and construction of a new exterior electronic sign at Frontier Community College. It also approved the resignation of Trustee James Lane, whose term was set to expire in 2021.

The Wayne County Board will meet tonight at 7. Board members are scheduled to hear from Noel Madding regarding recreational cannabis, and they are expected to approve the county’s 2020 budget and tax levy. The board is then scheduled to vote to reduce its size from 14 to seven members.

The Fairfield Park Board will meet tonight at 6. It is scheduled to hear from Louise Morlan, Ralph Barbre, and Jimmy Joe McCleary regarding a Harry Morlan Memorial Shelter. It is also expected to discuss a wage increase for park district employees to comply with the state’s minimum wage law.

2019 marked the first year of the State Historic Tax Credit. Landmarks Illinois’ Frank Butterfield says the credit tries to provide an inventive to put historic buildings back into use. He also says that various studies show the program adds money to the government budget by stimulating economies, and surrounding states have leveraged that ability. More information on the program can be found at landmarks.org.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says it is well prepared for winter and highway snow removal. IDOT estimates it will have about 1,900 temporary workers available to help drive snowplows this year, along with 1,700 full-time employees. It is also storing up on sale, as it used more than 600 thousand tons last year to help clear roads.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 22.91 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.66 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 8.07 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.81 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 26.43 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $51.75, down $0.50 from yesterday. The January crude oil price is $59.01, up $0.02 from yesterday morning.