Headlines for Thursday, March 19th

FNB has dedicated $50,000 for local small business grants to help cope with the impact of COVID-19. Effective tomorrow, small businesses in Wayne, Edwards, and White counties can apply for up to $2,000 in the form of a grant from FNB. Application forms may be requested by calling 842-2107 or emailing kbook@fnbcommunitybank.com

Wayne County EMS responded to a single-car accident Tuesday night near Lebanon North CP Church. Police reports indicate 26-year-old Kyle L. Wells entered a ditch by the church parking lot and his vehicle overturned and slid for roughly 20 yards. A tow truck was called, and Wells was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

56-year-old Ronald W. Dunlap pleaded guilty Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court to a count of resisting arrest. He was sentenced to one year conditional discharge, plus time served, and other counts and another case against him were dismissed per his plea. He was also ordered to pay fines and court costs.

The FCHS Board of Education will meet tonight in the school’s study hall. Superintendent Jill Fulkerson is scheduled to give an update on the school closure. The board is also expected to enter closed session to discuss the re-employment or dismissal of non-tenured certified employees. Action is expected upon their return to open session.

Area churches continue to cancel in-person services in light of the coronavirus, including Browns United Methodist Church, the First United Methodist Church of Grayville, Elm River CP Church at Mt. Erie, Fairfield First United Methodist Church, Oak Valley Free Will Baptist Church at Geff, and Sims Missionary Baptist Church.

The Wayne/Edwards Farm Service Agency also reminds producers they will be conducting business by appointments only. People may contact the Wayne/Edwards FSA at 842-7602 to make an appointment. There will be an FSA/NRCS/SWCD drop box available Monday-Friday from 7:00a.m.-4:30p.m. in the foyer to drop off any documents.

Wayne County Farm Bureau Manager Doug Anderson says last weekend’s Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano concerts were a success, as 350 people attended the two-night event. People requested songs by offering a tip with their requests, and 100 percent of the tips will support the bureau’s Young Leader Committee and its Foundation.

The City of Fairfield has taken several precautions regarding the spread of COVID-19. Beginning today, all city-owned buildings are closed to the public until further notice. The public will be prohibited from attending next week’s City Council meetings, and the Fairfield Public Library will conduct curb-side pickup only. First responders will remain fully operational.

The Edwards County Courthouse is also closed to the public until further notice, though court will remain open for emergency purposes only. All Edwards County Courthouse offices will remain open during normal hours to take phone calls or, when necessary, to make an appointment for people to come in to the offices. The Wayne County Courthouse will undergo the same measures, effective tomorrow. Beginning today, only defendants, plaintiffs, and their attorneys will be allowed in the building for court appearances.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education met Monday night and approved the re-employment of tenured and non-tenured certified personnel. No reduction-in-force action was taken. The board also approved a door renovation project for all original wing doors at North Side and tuck-pointing at Center Street.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says the state is offering help to workers affected economically by the coronavirus pandemic, and it has also applied for a statewide economic injury declaration. The governor has also filed to expand Medicaid coverage and to ease eligibility requirements for food stamps.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital has launched Operation Encouragement, a program to help provide emotional support to its Skilled Care Unit residents in light of visitor restrictions. Group activities and communal dining have also been suspended. People may send cards or well-wishes to 303 Northwest 11th Street to be delivered to SCU residents.

As of yesterday afternoon, the state had confirmed 288 coronavirus cases in 17 of its counties, and State Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says people that start to feel ill should call their physician instead of showing up at their office or the ER. She also reminds people to isolate themselves until they feel better if their symptoms are mild, and she encourages people to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people if possible.

Illinois has launched coronavirus.illinois.gov as a one-stop shop for statewide information about the pandemic, and it includes a list of resources on COVID-19 and a list of counties with confirmed cases. Governor Pritzker also signed an emergency declaration yesterday that enables haulers to get free IDOT Overweight Trucking Permits for the movement of emergency relief supplies.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.88 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 7.74 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 14.66 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 11.57 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 22.29 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 15.99 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $13.25, down $6.75 from yesterday. The April crude oil price is $23.08, down $3.00 from yesterday morning.