Headlines for Monday, March 23rd

Second-year Frontier Community College students Rebecca Smith and Kourtney York have been named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Illinois Academic Team. The recognition honors students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance, campus leadership, and responsible community involvement.

Kourtney York

Rebecca Smith

39-year-old Kevin K. Yokel was sentenced to prison Friday in Edwards County Circuit Court. He was given seven years in the IDOC for a count of aggravated driving under the influence, and he was given four years for a count of driving with a revoked license. The sentences will run concurrently, and he was ordered to pay fines and court costs.

According to a Facebook post last week by Courtney Cox, the Republican race to fill the vacancy of Judge David Overstreet on the Second Judicial Circuit could be undecided until the end of the month. As of last week, Matthew Hartrich was leading Cox by 106 votes in the race, pending the return of mail-in ballots.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital has postponed its Reduced Rate Lab Event and will reschedule for a later date. FMH says it will continue to remain open for all healthcare needs, and it is developing a process for providers to utilize telemedicine for patients who can be served without a face-to-face visit.

Secretary of State Jesse White has announced all of his statewide offices, including Driver Services facilities, will remain closed to the public through April 7th. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, and vehicle registrations will be extended for the duration of the disaster proclaimed by the governor, plus 30 days after it ends.

The Hope Center in Albion will be open on Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m. for people to get emergency food. The facility will let one family in at a time.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 296 new cases of COVID-19 in the state yesterday, including an infant. Three more deaths due to the virus were also announced. Per coronavirus.illinois.gov, Clinton, Washington, Williamson, Jackson, and Cumberland counties had a total of seven cases. Wayne and Edwards counties had no confirmed cases.

Local financial adviser Chris Conard says he is monitoring the stock market’s volatility. He says, if people can hold on, he would advise them to ride the storm out. He also said he was encouraged by the news last week that the IRS had pushed back the tax filing deadline by three months.

The Fairfield City Council will conduct business tomorrow night at 6 in a teleconference meeting. Those wishing to join should call (844)854-2222 and enter 767116. We will carry the meeting on 104.9 WFIW. The night’s agenda calls for an agreement with a TIF Attorney and discussion on the city’s response to COVID-19.

Jasper Grade School is accepting applicants for its Superintendent’s job, as Dr. Jon Julius will leave in July for the same role at Casey-Westfield. Dr. Julius took over at Jasper in mid-2019 after serving as Dean of Students in Edwards County. The deadline to apply for the Jasper position is April 10th. Applicants should write to Derek Demaret, Board of Education President and Search Committee Chairman, at 2030 CR 1020 North in Fairfield.

Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen in Fairfield will remain closed this week for the protection of its volunteers and patrons. Feed My Sheep has posted a number people needing food can call, as well as a list of all local food pantries, so they may receive emergency food. Feed My Sheep says it will reevaluate the situation this Saturday (3/28) to make a decision regarding reopening next week.

As the coronavirus spreads across the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health says medical supplies are being used up rapidly. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the outbreak has led to a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, like gloves, gowns, and masks for doctors and nurses. Dr. Ezike says the IDPH encourages surgery centers, veterinarians, and others to donate these supplies if they are not immediately needed.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says his office is looking into extending the tax filing deadline in Illinois. State taxes are currently due on April 15th, but the coronavirus situation could push that to a later date. Governor Pritzker says moving the date could present revenue challenges for the state, and he wants to see if there will be any federal borrowing or assistance available should the state extend its deadline.

The search for a Chancellor at SIU will continue despite the coronavirus outbreak. Reports indicate President Dan Mahony said a search committee has settled on finalists for the position after reviewing application materials and screening candidates for the past two months. However, he says the pandemic will limit large face-to-face participation in campus interviews with the finalists.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 26.57 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 10.57 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 20.21 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 17.65 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 30.25 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 22.82 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $15.50, down $2.75 from Friday. The April crude oil price is $22.54, down $4.73 from Friday morning.