Headlines for Wednesday, September 9th

37-year-old Dahlgren resident William Brian Wilton was arrested last week in Hamilton County. He was charged with two Class X felonies of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a child and two Class 2 felonies of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a minor. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow and faces a maximum of 74 years in prison.

Illinois State Police District 19 has announced the results of an Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrol held in Wayne County last month. Troopers issued 19 citations, 16 of which were safety belt violations. State police say lives can be saved if people simply buckle up, and the patrol reinforced that message by focusing on those who ignore the law.

61-year-old Brian Burns was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday in Saline County Circuit Court. Judge Walden Morris called him a “danger to society” after his conviction for killing his estranged wife and burning her body. Burns’ sentence will run consecutively with a five year sentence for concealment of a homicidal death.

An informal group will meet tonight at 7 in the Fellowship Hall at the Fairfield First United Methodist Church to discuss options for the development of a Senior Citizens Center. Fairfield’s center had been the Kon-Tiki, but seniors have met at the Fairfield Elks for lunch since a fire in 2018. Officials say they are in need of a permanent facility.

The southern parts of Illinois will be in or near the 90s for the next few days, while its northern reaches will sit in the upper 50s and low 60s. Freese-Notis Meteorologist Dan Hicks says the northern areas could also get a nice dose of rain, but southern Illinois is expected to see only spotty rainfall for the next few days.

The Fairfield City Council met last night and unanimously voted to purchase a four-acre tract of land in Farrington Farms to allow TIF I and TIF II to be physically connected. The purchase price was $15,000. The council also approved a resolution of support for the Veterans Day Parade in November, and an application for a parade permit will now be made to the state.

The Wayne County Health Department announced eight new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 149; 41 cases were active, including four hospitalizations. Edwards County reported three new cases in the past week to bring its total to 52, and Hamilton County added one case yesterday to reach 50. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,392 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and seven additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 252.353 cases and 8,186 deaths. The preliminary statewide positivity rate for September 1st through the 7th was four percent, and the Southern Region’s was 6.7 percent on the 5th.

The Albion City Council met last night and set the times for Trick or Treat and Trunk or Treat on October 31st. Trick or Treat will run from 5 to 7 p.m., and the Trunk or Treat on the square will run from 4 to 7. The council took no action on a proposal from HLR Engineering to replace smaller water lines on the outskirts of the city.

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Census Bureau to stop in its plan to finish the 2020 Census at the end of September. The bureau had been set to end counting on October 31st, but it changed the final date last month. A temporary restraining order has been issued until a hearing on September 17th, and the bureau said it is obligated to comply.

The Quail and Upland Game Alliance drew Brad Williams as the winner of its Gun Raffle yesterday. The alliance says he will have his choice of three guns, unlike last year when it drew three winners for the guns. Don Sutton says the group is struggling this year with its fundraisers as so many area events have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Corn continues to progress at a faster pace than usual, according to the latest statewide weekly crop report. 86 percent of the crop had reached the dent stage or beyond, compared to 78 percent normally, and 23 percent was mature. 13 percent of soybean acres were turning color, compared to 33 percent normally, and two percent were dropping leaves. 70 percent of the corn crop and 68 percent of the bean crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to 13 percent very short, 44 percent short, and 43 percent adequate.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.62 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.01 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 4.34 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 0.70 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.49 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 3.06 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $29.75, down $3.00 from yesterday. The October crude oil price is $37.52, down $1.19 from yesterday morning.