Headlines for Friday, March 20th


Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered all residents across the state to stay home, venturing outside only for essential jobs and some errands. He announced the “shelter-in-place” measure at a new conference today. Pritzker’s office said Friday that in case of a lockdown, essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open. The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Saturday. Here is the audio to Pritzker’s address this afternoon, followed by a recap from Derek and Mike.


State Representative Darren Bailey of the 109th District stopped by the WFIW Studios Friday afternoon before Governor J.B. Pritzker’s address to the State. Topics include Coronavirus concerns, economic impact and healthcare. Here is the audio of the broadcast:



Grayville Police confirm to WFIW News that they have just apprehended 45-year-old Sanjay Lewis, charged in an aggravated domestic battery. Lewis was reportedly seen at Road Ranger Truck Stop, looking through semis. A White County Sheriff’s Deputy captured Lewis a half-mile from the Indiana border on Interstate 64. He is currently being held on $100,000 bond. Before his capture, Lewis was wanted for stabbing two people earlier this week. One of the stabbing victims is still in critical condition at an Evansville hospital.

The Village of Wayne City has closed all village-owned buildings to the public until further notice. All village employees will report to work on their regular schedules, and utility bills may be paid via the hall’s drop box, at paymentservicenetwork.com, or by calling PSN at (877)885-7968. Those with questions may call 895-2241. The next regularly scheduled board meeting on April 6th will be a closed meeting, and the village has decided to suspend all meetings and gatherings of more than 10 people in the community building and park pavilion. The community building will be closed, and the April Easter Egg Hunt and town-wide garage sale have been cancelled.

The Hope Center in Albion will pass out food tomorrow, beginning shortly after 8 a.m. The Center says it will take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, so the procedures will be different than usual. Families will be asked to stay in their vehicles for the distribution, and the Center will serve one family at a time.

The North Wayne Board of Education met earlier this week and approved a 1.5 percent increase to the salaries of non-certified staff and administration. It also increased substitute teacher pay to $90 per day and hired Rhiannon Bridgeman as CMS Math teacher, McKenzie Harrison as Mt. Erie 4th Grade teacher, and Leslie Duffield as CHS Cook.

28-year-old Michael M. Gallegos was sentenced Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court. He pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer in November. Gallegos was sentenced to one year probation and time served, and he was also ordered to pay $907 in fines and court costs.

The FCHS Board of Education met last night and rehired Chris Fleener, Nathaniel Lackey, Melissa Kiefer, Breyaniah Hall, Josh Livesay, and Becky August for the upcoming academic year. Superintendent Jill Fulkerson also assured the board she is monitoring information coming from the state regarding the school closure.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital is urging the public to follow the advice of national health agencies and self-isolate in the event they have upper respiratory symptoms. People do not need to be tested for COVID-19 to self-isolate, and testing will be reserved for more severe symptoms that typically develop around day seven of symptoms. The hospital says everyone will have to play a role in keeping the impact of the virus on the area low, and the risk of exposure to the virus will be significantly reduced if people follow the advice of medical providers and health agencies.

The FMH Auxiliary has started sewing isolation masks and gowns to prevent the hospital from running out during this time. The Auxiliary has been working closely with FMH to ensure they meet the necessary standards for medical use and reach the required safety protocols during a time of shortages across the country. FMH CEO Katherine Bunting-Williams thanks the volunteers for their continued service and dedication.

FMH Auxiliary Volunteers Joy Coles and Pat Kenshalo

The City of Albion will lock the doors to its City Hall this Monday. Employees will still be in their offices to serve the public, and people may drop water bills and payment in the overnight drop box. Any excess change will be applied to the next water bill. People may also pay by mail or by calling with a valid credit or debit card.

Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative has discontinued lobby hours at its Fairfield and Enfield locations, effective today. Employees will still be on duty each weekday during normal business hours, and customers can call the cooperative at 842-2196. Additionally, the road to the back of the Fairfield building will be closed to visitors without prior authorization.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau has awarded grants to the Cisne Community Center, Wayne County 4-H, HOPE Rescue & Rehabilitation, and S.O.S. Community Group as part of its Community Impact Grant Program. Each organization was awarded $1,250 for their projects, for a total of $5,000 in awarded grants.

Jackson, Williamson, and Washington counties have been added to the growing list of counties across the state reporting at least one case of novel coronavirus. The state’s total count of confirmed cases sat at 422 yesterday afternoon, and Governor J.B. Pritzker says the count is going to grow exponentially as the state increases its testing capacity.

Governor Pritzker continues to outline initiatives to help those affected by COVID-19. The state is deferring sales tax payments for small and medium sized bars until May. The US Small Business Association is also offering loans, and eligible businesses may apply to borrow up to $2 million in low interest loans at disasterloan.sba.gov. The Governor also says he has expanded telemedicine opportunities.

Hamilton County voters passed a one-cent sales tax Tuesday night to increase pay to improve the county’s ambulance and other emergency services. 73 percent of voters were in favor of the tax. Voters in Marion County narrowly supported the addition of a one-cent tax. The measure passed 3,820 to 3,608. Money collected through the tax will reportedly be used exclusively for school facility purposes, school resource officers, and mental health professionals.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 24.35 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 17.54 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 20.48 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 18.37 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 26.80 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 19.10 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $18.25, up $5.00 from yesterday. The April crude oil price is $27.27, up $4.19 from yesterday morning.