Headlines for Tuesday, September 15th

Wabash Communications reportedly plans to expand its fiber network for broadband services to a portion of southwestern Wayne County. Construction is planned to begin next year, and people may check if they reside in the potential expansion area at https://awesomefiber.com/sw-wayne-co/.

The IECC Board of Trustees will meet tonight at 7 at Wabash Valley College. The night will begin with a public hearing on the issuance of funding bonds to pay claims against the district, and a budget hearing will immediately follow. Once regular business begins, trustees are scheduled to approve the IECC Return to Play Plan.

28-year-old Andrew B. Greenwood was arrested by Wayne County deputies last night on a Wayne County warrant for driving with a suspended license. Police reports indicate deputies on patrol saw him driving and knew of the warrant. After a traffic stop, Greenwood was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the posting of $520 bond.

46-year-old Kenneth E. Helton was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after an accident yesterday on Interstate 64 in White County. State Police say he veered off the roadway, then veered toward the median and overturned his 1999 semi. 24-year-old Bobby J. Green was uninjured after driving onto the median to avoid the semi as it passed in front of him.

The Enfield Village Board will meet tonight at 7; it is expected to discuss possible action related to three township roads coming into the village as possible shortcuts to the grain elevator. Mayor Tom Harbor says the streets are in rough shape, partly due to a lack of motor/fuel money for their upkeep. West Main and Church streets are not expected to be impacted.

Beginning today, the Illinois Department of Transportation says motorists will face lane reductions in Jefferson County on Interstate 57. Work is scheduled to take place on the northbound lanes from roughly two miles south of Dix to two miles north of Mt. Vernon. Traffic will be reduced to one lane as contractors complete patching, milling, and resurfacing operations. The work is expected to take approximately two months.

18-year-old Fairfield resident Donovan A. Lurz was arrested in Mt. Vernon Sunday on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon. He was taken to the Jefferson County Justice Center and held, pending the setting and posting of bond. A second individual with him was released, pending further investigation.

Fairfield Police Chief Keith Colclasure says his department will welcome a new officer from the academy in Champaign in the coming weeks. The recruit is set to graduate on October 1st and will undergo an eight-week program upon his return. He also says people should be wary of pocket dials, as county 911 has received several from people on golf carts or ATVs.

The Wayne County Health Department announced three new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 218. 88 of the cases were active, including five hospitalizations. Marion County reported 23 new cases from Saturday to yesterday to reach 435, and it also reported its first coronavirus-related death over the weekend. Wabash County reported four cases to bring its total to 143, and Hamilton County announced three to reach 57. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and five additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 262,744 cases and 8,314 deaths.

Wayne County Property Tax Bills will be mailed by September 25th. County Treasurer Donna Masterson says the first installment is due October 30th, and the second installment is due November 30th. In light of the pandemic, the county asks people to choose no-contact options if possible when paying real estate taxes. Such options include U.S. Mail, the drop box on the west side of the courthouse, and online bank checks or credit card payments at govtechtaxpro.com. Payment may be made in the courthouse, though people should be aware that safety protocols and restrictions will be enforced. Payment may also be made at the Fairfield First Financial Bank, Cisne Trust Bank, Mt. Erie Banking Center (now Citizens National Bank), and Peoples National Bank in Fairfield.

Dave Newcomb with the Illinois Fire Service Institute is reminding farmers about grain bin safety as harvest gets underway. He says one of the biggest things people can do is stop the practice of going into bins alone, any they should be sure to have someone outside who can call for help if needed. He says bin incidents are low-frequency and high-risk, and 60 percent of people who die in bins are trying to save somebody else.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced a $16 million investment in putting more Illinoisans back to work. He says the federal funding will be used to train and place nearly 1,300 people in a variety of jobs, including those related to the COVID-19 response effort. More information about the effort and local workforce training programs can be found at Illinois.gov/gethired.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 6.17 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 4.90 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 4.21 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 0.73 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 5.06 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 2.92 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $30.25, down $0.25 from yesterday. The October crude oil price is $37.17, down $0.07 from yesterday morning.