Headlines for Wednesday, February 12th

Wabash Area Development, Inc. has announced the availability of seven scholarships for the area, each totaling $1,150. One scholarship will be available in Wayne, Edwards, Hamilton, Wabash, White, Saline, and Gallatin counties. Completed applications should be returned to any WADI office by 5 p.m. on April 16th.

The Fairfield First United Methodist Church will host its semi-annual Homecoming and Prom Dress Giveaway on February 29th from 9 a.m. to noon. Organizers say hundreds of dresses, shoes, and accessories will be given away free of charge, and donations in advance of the event would be appreciated.

42-year-old Dennis L. Galbraith was arrested yesterday morning by Wayne County deputies on charges of assault and resisting or obstructing a peace officer. Galbraith was transported to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the posting of $220 bond.

The application period for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Wabash Valley College is now open. Applications are available in the Student Services office and must be returned by February 26th. Students must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA and be enrolled full-time in a degree program to be eligible.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas will retire from his seat on the bench, effective February 29th. He was first elected to the high court in 2000 and was voted chief five years later. Thomas is the third Supreme Court Justice to retire in the last two years, following Charles Freeman and Lloyd Karmeier.

The Fairfield City Council met last night. After a public hearing, aldermen voted to annex and rezone property at 1939 West Delaware Street, west of O’Reilly Auto Parts. A new Dollar Tree will be placed at the property. The council voted last month to pay half the cost of a sewer line extension for the new business.

The Council also unanimously approved spending $200,000 in TIF funds for the installation of air conditioning at the FCHS eat gymnasium and $19,500 in TIF funds for the replacement of a transformer at Aperion Care. Both projects had previously been recommended for approval by the city’s TIF Committee. Aldermen also voted to spend $10,000 for Independence Day fireworks; that money will come from the City Recreation Fund, though donations will again be accepted.

Fairfield FFA members Ryan Lewis, Beth Belangee, Andrew Smith, Jacob Britt, Callie Vaughan, Cadie Devous and Jaylynn Tucker have been recommended to receive State FFA Degrees. Following approval from the Illinois FFA, the degrees will be presented at the State FFA Convention this summer.

Front, from left: Beth Belangee, Jacob Britt, and Cadie Devous. Back: Ryan Lewis, Andrew Smith, and Callie Vaughan. Not pictured: Jaylynn Tucker.

Ticket sales for the annual Edwards County High School Dinner Theater will be held this Friday from 12:15 to 5 p.m. in the ECHS gym lobby. Tickets will cost $15, and meal nights are March 20th, 21st, 27th, and 28th. Seating will start at approximately 5:45, music will begin at 6, and the meal will begin at 6:30.

Temperatures are running about four to eight degrees above normal for Illinois so far this month, and Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks says much of the central and eastern United States has experienced a mostly mild winter. Hicks says there have only been brief periods of cold air in Illinois and a small number of significant snow events. Most of the state will get shot of cold air in the coming days, but temperatures are expected to climb back above normal during the weekend.

February is Earthquake Preparedness Month, and the state Emergency Management Agency reminds people that the possibility is very real in Illinois. Reports indicate the state has experienced some of the largest earthquakes ever measured in North America, and it is home to the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. IEMA officials say, if they feel an earthquake, people should remember to drop, take cover under a sturdy table or desk, and hold on to that furniture.

Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope, the official in charge of uncovering misconduct in the Illinois General Assembly, says her job should allow confidentiality and be free of interference from legislators. She says the job is hindered because an eight-member commission of lawmakers must approve investigations and decide whether to publish reports where misdeeds are found. Former inspector Julie Porter also testified, saying the commission has failed to publish reports where she proved wrongdoing.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.42 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 9.67 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 20.06 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 10.73 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 22.81 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 17.49 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $43.00, up $0.50 from yesterday. The March crude oil price is $50.66, up $0.15 from yesterday morning.