Headlines for Saturday, May 23rd

The United States Department of Justice weighed in Friday on State Representative Darren Bailey’s lawsuit against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive orders.  The lawsuit was kicked from Clay County Circuit Court to East St. Louis Federal Court by Illinois’ Attorney General early this week.  In a “statement of interest” the DOJ sided with Bailey late yesterday afternoon.  The statement supports Bailey’s assertion that the case needs to stay in state court.  The next step will come next week and Bailey is hoping a Tuesday phone conference will result in a federal judge sending the case formally back to the circuit court in Louisville, IL.  The DOJ has become active in some of the states with the most restrictive laws and regulations during the pandemic.

After several hours of debate Thursday, State Representative Darren Bailey voted to oppose Senate Bill 1863, which mandates an expanded vote by mail program and unsecure curbside voting as well as expanding the use of 16 and 17 year olds as election judges and other plans for this November’s election.  Bailey stated, “I do not believe that many counties in Illinois can afford this new mandate.  The concern for voter fraud seems great and could potentially hit a new level.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday another 2758 cases of the coronavirus in the state along with 110 additional deaths.  None of the deaths were from southeastern Illinois.  The IDPH is reporting a total of 105,444 cases and 4715 deaths in all but two of Illinois’ counties.

An American Red Cross blood drive Wednesday at the Community of Christ Church in Fairfield resulted in the collection of 76 units of blood, one above the goal of 75 set for the drive.  Winners of $25 Jovalou gift cards were Glenna Michael of Fairfield and Pam Smith of Geff, and first-time donors were Annette Bliss, Cindy Hoffman, Mary Maxwell, Ginger Sisco, and Tena Young.  The next drive at the Community of Christ Church will be held on July 22nd.

Hall of Fame NBA coach and McLeansboro native Jerry Sloan died Friday after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.  He was 78 years old.  Sloan coached the Utah Jazz from 1988 to 2011 and was the Chicago Bulls head coach from 1979 to 1982.  He won 1000 games as head coach of the Jazz.  One of his sons, Brian, was an all-state center for McLeansboro High School and a member of its undefeated 1984 Class A IHSA basketball championship team.

Area river stages this morning:  the Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 21.81 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 16.83 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the stage is 20.01 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City stands at 6.34 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is at 19.33 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.  Rain chances are in the forecast the next several days, mainly in the afternoon hours each day with the heating of the day.