Headlines for Tuesday, January 7th

The Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees is inviting letters of interest for the board vacancy created by the resignation of Trustee Jim Lane. Letters of interest should be sent to Dr. G. Andrew Fischer, Board Chairman, at 233 East Chestnut Street in Olney by Monday, January 13th.

Two people were sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. 29-year-old Steven R. Robertson had admitted to violating his probation on a count possession of meth, and 32-year-old Amanda R. Moore pleaded guilty to retail theft. They were sentenced to 24 months probation and conditional discharge, respectively.

The monthly meeting of NARFE, or National Active and Retired Federal Employees, will be held next Tuesday, January 14, at 11:30 a.m. at DiMaggio’s in Fairfield. All members and prospective members are encouraged to attend. Anyone seeking more information should call 847-2321.

Several Illinois recreational cannabis dispensaries were closed Monday, citing a shortage in supplies or staff exhaustion. Some dispensaries don’t expect to resume until Friday, though the stores are still open for medical patients. Customers spent more than $10 million over five days of recreational sales.

Taxes have changed on the sale of most used vehicles in 2020, as the entire value (over $10,000) of a trade will no longer save people from paying sales tax on the purchase of a new vehicle. People trading for a pick-up trucks or cargo vans, however, could still be exempt from the new law. SUV’s are not exempt, even if they are being driven with B Truck license plates.

The Wayne City Village Board met last night and voted to ban recreational cannabis sales. It also passed a new golf cart ordinance for the village. In other business, the board asked village workers to prepare information for pricing to map the utilities in Wayne City, which would be presented at the next board meeting.

The Albion City Council met last night and voted to apply for a sewer line improvement grant. Engineering fees are estimated at $50,000 for the work, and some of the city’s lines are 100 years old. Albion is also continuing its search for a new City Attorney after the resignation of Les Smith last month. The council voted to approve the new water ordinance, raising water deposits from $250 from $75, and it also voted to give a $300 clothing allowance to city workers and a $200 allowance for office employees.

The Edwards County Board of Education will hold a special meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the K-12 Room 172. The night will begin with an opportunity for public participation, and the board will then move to an item of old business regarding curriculum items. Action on the matter is possible.

According to Kevin Leonard, with the Fairfield Water Department, a boil order has been issued for residents of Cumberland Drive and Whiteside Lane. Affected customers should be certain to boil water to be used for human consumption until further notice.

Wayne County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who burglarized Taco Tierra recently. An unspecified amount of money was taken during the heist. Anyone with information should call or text Crime Stoppers at 842-9777.

Small businesses in Illinois are being urged to apply for a new minimum wage tax credit, which is available to businesses and nonprofits with no more than 50 full-time employees. State Department of Revenue officials say it is designed to help offset the cost of the minimum wage increase, and the maximum credit allowed is 25 percent of the difference between the new minimum wage and each worker’s previous wage. It will end in 2026 for most small businesses.

Jeff Cox, Bureau Chief for Medicinal Plants at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, says there is quite a bit for the department to keep track of in the new year. One thing he focuses on is the difference between industrial hemp and recreational cannabis, which became legal last week in Illinois. Cox says the main difference is THC content, or the chemical that causes the “high” in recreational cannabis. He says industrial hemp has very low THC levels, as mandated by state and federal law.

Madison County police are investigating the death of 47-year-old Randy Gori, a prominent lawyer in Edwardsville, after he was found dead in his home around 9 p.m. on Saturday. Police say they have detained a suspect in connection with Gori’s death, and they also recovered a black Rolls-Royce SUV that was taken from Gori’s home.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.81 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.78 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 8.48 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 3.25 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 18.85 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 14.83 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $56.25, up $0.25 from yesterday. The February crude oil price is $63.07, down $0.84 from yesterday morning.