Headlines for Thursday, June 25th

The Finance Committee of the Fairfield City Council met last night and laid the groundwork for a change to the rate structure for water and sewer utilities. The plan would implement flat rates and incremental increases over the next five years. The committee is expected to meet again next week before making a recommendation to the full council.

The state has awarded $50 million in grants to kick off its $400 million Connect Illinois initiative. Wabash Telephone in Clay County was awarded $1.591 million for middle- and last-mile deployment to provide broadband access to 659 underserved homes, businesses, farms, and other institutions. The Connect Illinois effort aims to bring Internet access to every part of the state by 2024.

The Fairfield Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship Foundation has awarded scholarships to Melanie Jordan, Rebecca Smith, Vanessa Schumm, Lydia Griffith, and Hallie Anderson. The scholarships were for $2,000, and they were provided by the Elizabeth Frances Trust for the upcoming school year.

No injuries were reported in a two-vehicle crash in Keenes yesterday morning. Police say 19-year-old Thomas V. Combs collided with the rear of 42-year-old Jeremy D. Lewis as he slowed to turn off Highway 15 in to a private drive. No tow truck was called to the scene, and the vehicles sustained over $1,500 damage.

The Wayne County Health Department says a male in his 50s tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 12. Three people are in isolation at home, and eight have recovered. No new cases were announced in Edwards County. Jefferson County announced one new case to reach 108, Marion County announced two new cases to reach 66, and Lawrence County announced one to reach six. The state announced 715 new cases and 64 additional deaths, bringing statewide totals to 138,540 cases and 6,770 deaths.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has released guidelines for Phase Four Recovery, which should take effect tomorrow. Indoor dining will be allowed with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced six feet apart in seated areas. Businesses that opened in Phase Three will continue to operate at reduced capacities, and face coverings remain a requirement. Youth and recreational sports venues can operate at 50 percent facility capacity, 20 percent seating capacity for spectators, and group sizes of up to 50 people, with multiple groups allowed if there is space to socially distance.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education met Monday and voted to keep registration fees the same for next year, including a $40 book fee and $20 technology fee for 4th through 8th graders. The board also voted to increase daily substitute pay for certified and non-certified subs, as well as increase bus driver pay. Jamey Hodges was hired as assistant boys baseball and basketball coach, and Amelia Lingafelter was hired as head boys track coach.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Urgent Care will resume normal hours and location in the Medical Arts Complex on Monday. The FMH RISC tent will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and patients arriving after hours who have signs of a respiratory illness should report to the Emergency Department. The FMH Café will reopen to the public on July 6th. Those using the café will have to go through the screening station at the hospital’s main entrance and be cleared. Masks will be required when not actively eating or drinking.

While it is not a bad idea to be suspicious of an unexpected credit or debit card showing up in the mail, it appears one may be legitimate. For those who did not receive their Economic Impact Payment via direct deposit, a debit card will arrive in a plain white envelope with the return address of “Money Network Cardholder.” Scammers may still try to text, call, or email people to give up their card number or personal information. Economic Impact Payment funds may be tracked with the Get My Payment tracking tool at irs.gov.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is urging the public to sign up to receive license plate sticker renewal reminders by email. Instead of getting one postcard, people would be reminded three times that their sticker is due for renewal, and it would be easy to renew stickers online directly from the email. People can visit cyberdriveillinois.com for more information.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.89 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.03 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 5.84 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.02 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.71 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 5.07 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $31.00, down $2.25 from yesterday. The August crude oil price is $37.79, down $2.08 from yesterday morning.