Headlines for Thursday, July 23rd

The Fairfield Police Department says it has been made aware of a new fraud scheme in the state. People who have not applied for unemployment may receive mail that appears to be from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and possibly a debit card. Those who do receive the items should not activate the debit card and could be the victims of identity theft.

The West Salem PTO plans to hold an Outdoor Education Fundraiser and Auction on August 22nd at the COUNTRY Financial Hall at the fairgrounds in Albion. Serving for a porkburgers and porkchops will run from 4:30 to 6:30, and the cost will be a free-will donation. An auction will begin at 6:45, and proceeds will go toward an outdoor education site for West Salem Grade School

According to a Facebook post, the Mule Day Association has decided to cancel the Enfield Mule Day festivities this year. Mule Day shirts will be offered for sale at multiple locations in the coming weeks, with t-shirts costing $15 and sweatshirts and hoodies will cost $25 each. Mule Days is the latest area event to be cancelled, joining most county fairs and the Fairfield Fall Fun Fest.

Reverent Michael G. McGovern was installed as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville yesterday. The 56-year-old replaces Bishop Edward K. Braxton, who had been in the post since 2015. The Belleville diocese serves more than 100 parishes in 28 counties in southern Illinois, including Wayne, White, and Hamilton.

The Hamilton County Board met Tuesday and voted to transfer $50,000 to the county’s new ambulance service. A special one percent sales tax was passed in the primary election, and the money from the tax will help fund the new service for the county. The ambulance service is awaiting state licensing, and its target launch date is January 1st.

The Greater Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce will hold several events in the coming weeks. The End of Summer Sales Event for chamber members will be held next week, and the Chamber also plans to offer a Taste of Fairfield event with local restaurants and food trucks from October 7th through the 11th.

The IECC Board of Trustees met Tuesday and approved the appointment of Holden August as Coordinator of Public Information and Marketing at Frontier Community College. Jodi Robinson was also employed as Administrative Assistant at FCC, and Amy Hohlbaugh was employed as FCC Office Assistant, effective August 17th.

The Wayne County Health Department says Cisne’s self-response rate for the 2020 Census increased the most from July 9th through Tuesday, but it was still the lowest in the county at 49.7 percent. Fairfield’s rate was 67 percent, and Wayne City’s was 57.1 percent. As a whole, Wayne County’s rate was 62.8 percent.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,598 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday afternoon and 23 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 165,301 cases and 7,347 deaths. Lawrence and Saline counties again reported new cases, but no new cases were announced in Wayne or Edwards counties.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced a $21 billion plan to improve roads and bridges in Illinois. It’s estimated that over the next six years more than 3,300 miles of road and eight million square feet of bridge deck will be reconstructed. The work is being funded by the governor’s “Rebuild Illinois” initiative.

Illinois House Republicans are calling for a special session on ethics reform in light of the recent allegations regarding bribes from ComEd and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. The governor says he is waiting on more information before calling for Madigan to step down, but he is willing to push for ethics reform.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.39 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 7.13 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 20.40 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 7.49 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 15.33 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 9.60 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $35.00, unchanged from yesterday. The September crude oil price is $42.28, up $0.75 from yesterday morning.