Headlines for Friday, June 26th

Frontier Community College will offer six full-tuition scholarships for the first year of its Certified Medical Assistant Program. Recipients will be selected from students enrolled in the program this fall, and winners will be announced on September 8th. Fall semester classes begin August 20th, and anyone interested in applying should call FCC.

47-year-old Cecil Parrish and 61-year-old Van R. Vanzandt were booked in the Wayne County Jail yesterday morning. Parrish was charged with domestic battery and held, pending the setting of bond. Vanzandt was wanted on a Wayne County failure to appear warrant for reckless conduct; he was held, pending the posting of $595 bond.

No injuries were reported in a two-vehicle crash near Sims yesterday afternoon. Police say 20-year-old Darren D. Derkson sideswiped 57-year-old Sammy R. Downen on a county roadway. A tow truck was called to the scene, and the vehicles sustained over $1,500 damage. Derkson was cited for improper lane usage.

Illinois State Police District 19 will conduct a Roadside Safety Check in Wayne County during July. Troopers working the detail will watch for drivers operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, DUI, and all other vehicle code and criminal violations. State Police say RSCs are designed to take dangerous DUI offenders off roadways.

The Salem Aquatic Center and Mt. Vernon Aquatic Zoo will reopen in the coming days. Salem’s facility will open tomorrow, and it will allow a max of 200 people per session, with open swim from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 7. Mt. Vernon’s will open Wednesday, with sessions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 8. It will allow a max of 250 per session.

Edwards County Superintendent David Cowger has issued a statement on the district’s work to plan for the upcoming school year. He says state guidelines provide some local flexibility, though there are still unanswered questions to work through; he anticipates releasing a plan after the Edwards County Board of Education meets in July.

FMH June Employee of the Month Gina Lemond

Effective July 6th, Fairfield Memorial Hospital will modify its visitor’s policy. Patients in the non-infections wing of the Med/Surg and ICU units, or not in isolation, may have one visitor at a time from 7 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. each day. Pediatric patients may have both parents with them instead of only one, as well. Changes are contingent upon the number of COVID-19 cases in the area staying low, and masks must be worn at all times. Anyone with questions can contact FMH Administration at 847-8243. FMH has also announced Gina Lemond is its June Employee of the Month. Lemond is a registered nurse on the FMH Skilled Care Unit and has been with the hospital since April 1992.

The unemployment rate in Wayne County dropped from 19.2 percent in April to 15.5 percent in May, according to recent statistics from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Edwards County saw its rate drop from 22.4 to 15.3 percent. Their May 2019 rates were 4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 894 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 41 additional deaths, bringing statewide totals to 139,434 cases and 6,810 deaths. Hamilton and White counties reported new cases yesterday, bringing their totals to three and four, respectively. No new cases were announced in Wayne or Edwards counties.

Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan begins today for all four regions of the state. Phase Four means indoor dining, youth sports, and gatherings of up to 50 people; museums, theatres, fitness centers, bowling alleys, and more can also open back up with limited capacity, but state officials say that does not mean people can stop wearing a mask and socially distancing when possible.

The remnants of one of the biggest dust storms to cross the Atlantic Ocean in decades could arrive in the Midwest this weekend. The National Weather Service says the system won’t mean much for Illinois, but it could produce some outstanding sunsets or dirty rainfall. The plume of dust began to emerge off western Africa last weekend.

A survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Midwestern states, including Illinois, suggests the economy remains weak in those areas as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The overall economic index for the states more than doubled in June to 37.9, but any score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.95 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.47 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 7.75 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 0.99 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.66 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 5.46 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $31.75, up $0.75 from yesterday. The August crude oil price is $38.97, up $1.18 from yesterday morning.