Headlines for Thursday, September 10th

22-year-old Cisne resident Jonathan E. Collins was arrested by county deputies Tuesday night on a charge of unlawful cannabis manufacturing. Police found Collins in a residence with, among other items, over 1,200 grams of cannabis and nearly 175 assorted THC cartridges. He was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

According to records in the Wayne County Clerk’s Office, Airtex Products and UCI International Holding, Inc. have sold two of their properties in Fairfield to Bleecker Group, LLC, from Cleveland, Ohio. The group reportedly bought property at Plant 2 and along West Delaware and Main streets for nearly $771,000.

The ACT test scheduled for September 19 and the SAT test scheduled for the 26th at FCHS have been cancelled. The school says the ACT and College Board should contact anyone scheduled to test on either day to inform them of another open testing site. Students may also check testing centers on their ACT and SAT accounts.

The Fairfield Park Board will meet tonight at 6 at Leo French Park, and the Wayne County Board will meet tonight at 7 in the upstairs courtroom of the Wayne County Courthouse. The Park Board has the only two items of listed business for either meeting, as it will discuss tennis court repairs and a bond ordinance notice.

Several area Pizza Huts, including sites in Salem and Centralia, have closed after a bankruptcy filing by NPC International in July. The company is the largest franchisee of Pizza Huts in the country. The Fairfield Pizza Hut said last month it is franchised by Tasty Huts, LLC, and it has not been impacted by the NPC bankruptcy.

Illinois State Police have arrested 33-year-old Tara Haws in connection with the Sunday morning shooting death of 19-year-old Kyle Johnson in Olney. Haws was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder by accountability. Police are still searching for 19-year-old Rick Meador in the case, and a photo of him may be found below.

Haws and Meador

The Wayne County Health Department announced 11 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 160. 50 cases were active, including seven hospitalizations. Hamilton County added three cases yesterday, Jefferson County five, and Marion County 14. No new cases were reported in Edwards, Wabash, or White counties. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,337 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 28 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 253,690 cases and 8,214 deaths. The positivity rate for the Southern Region of the state was 6.4 percent on September 6th, down from 6.7 percent on the 5th.

Roughly 50 people attended a meeting last night to explore the possibility of establishing of Senior Citizens/Community Center in Fairfield. Edwards County Council on Aging Director Phil Blair said he was of the opinion new construction would be preferred, and Interim Mayor Gary Moore said the City would work to examine possible locations.

The Wayne-White Electric Cooperative is organizing a golf scramble on October 9th as its main fundraiser for the Frontier Community College Electrical Distribution System Lineman’s Scholarship Program. The cost to enter a four-person team is $300, and the co-op is also seeking donations, hole sponsors, and prizes. Anyone who wants to enter a team or contribute with a donation should contact Christ Hopfinger at 842-2196.

Shawnee Community College has named Tim Taylor as its President. Taylor served in the same position at Frontier Community College from 2008 to 2014, and he was replaced by current president Dr. Jay Edgren. Taylor succeeds former SCC President Peggy Bradford and takes over for Interim President Kathleen Curphy.

The first case of human West Nile Virus infection has been confirmed in Illinois. The IDPH says a woman in her 40s from DuPage County became sick last month. Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says most people with West Nile don’t show any symptoms, but some may experience fever, nausea, headaches, or muscle aches and should call their doctor. She says the best way to protect against the mosquito-borne virus is to wear insect repellant and report any stagnant pools of water where they can breed.

The State of Illinois is working through a five billion dollar shortfall because of COVID-19, and Governor J.B. Pritzker says it needs help from the federal government to patch the hole blown in the budget. He says, after many rounds of federal bailouts to private corporations and businesses, it’s time for Washington lawmakers to send money to states and local governments.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.60 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 4.99 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 4.31 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 0.86 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.46 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 2.96 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $31.00, up $1.25 from yesterday. The October crude oil price is $37.45, down $0.07 from yesterday morning.