Headlines for Friday, October 9th

The first installment Wayne County Property Taxes is due October 30th, and the second installment is due November 30th. People are asked to choose no-contact options if possible for making payments, including U.S. mail, the drop box on the west side of the courthouse, or online payments at govtechtaxpro.com. Payments may be made in person, though safety protocols will be enforced.

45-year-old Ronnie R. Starr was booked in the Wayne County Jail last night. He was wanted on a Wayne County warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of possession of methamphetamine. Starr was held in the jail, pending the posting of $595 bond.

Frontier Community College Athletics says it will give away free porkburgers and hot dogs tomorrow at 11 a.m. in front of the Wayne County Courthouse. There will be a limit of one porkburger or hot dog per person. FCC says the giveaway is a small token of thanks for the support it received as various teams dealt with COVID-19.

University of Illinois Extension will hold a six-part online series for youth 13 and older called Your Thoughts Matter to promote mental health. It will be led by Susan Sloop, 4-H Youth Development Educator for Clark, Crawford, and Edgar counties. 4-H membership is not required, and registration must be completed by October 23rd at go.illinois.edu/YourThoughtsMatter.

Today’s winning Fall Fun Fest Button numbers are 12, 458, 383, and 186. Winners will receive $25 in Chamber Bucks, sponsored by FNB, and people can take their buttons to McDowell, Kenshalo & Jesop to claim their prize. Two numbers will be drawn tomorrow, with each winning $100 in Chamber Bucks.

The Wayne County Board met last night and again discussed the possibility of moving at least a portion of the county government to the old Peoples National Bank building. An estimated cost for multiple repairs at the courthouse was $720,000, and a committee will meet to lay out options and cost estimates for all scenarios. Next year’s county budget shows a $423,557 deficit, largely due to decreased court feeds and sales tax revenues from the pandemic. It is hoped both numbers will improve during the year, and the levy will remain at five percent.

The Fairfield Park Board met last night and said it plans to secure a slide at Lakeside Park as it looks to repair or upgrade multiple playground systems. The board also accepted an $8,649 bid from Sydenstricker/Nobbe for a John Deere mower and tabled action on bids for pool deck resurfacing, as the two bids it received differed in cost by nearly $50,000.

Interim Fairfield Mayor Gary Moore says he understands many people don’t like the idea of putting a new city water tower at Maple Hill Cemetery. He says the plan calling for that action was put together for the sake of expediency, and he acknowledged another location may be preferable. The city is still awaiting final word on grant applications for a water tower project.

Village of West Salem officials say the boil order that was in effect for all residents on North Union Street north of School Street, including those north of the Lancaster blacktop; all residents on Hillcrest Drive; and all residents on the Lancaster blacktop east of North Broadway Street, has been LIFTED. Customers in those areas no longer have to boil water to be used for human consumption, as water samples taken have passed inspection.

The Wayne County Health Department announced four new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 336; 62 cases were active, including five hospitalizations. Edwards County reported one new case on coronavirus.illinios.gov and sat at 78 cases, and White County added five to reach 199. The state Department of Public Health announced 3,059 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 32 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 310,700 cases and 8,910 deaths. The positivity rate for the Southern Region of the state sat at 6.9 percent on October 5th, up from 6.5 percent on the 4th.

The Illinois Department of Labor continues to stress the importance of grain bin safety this time of year; officials say dangers come from the bins been so tall, as well as from the threat of being encased and drowning in grain. So far this year, 11 grain entrapment cases have been reported in Illinois and have resulted in four deaths.

The Illinois Policy Institute, a group aligned with the Republican Party, has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court challenging the language of the proposed graduated income tax amendment for the Illinois Constitution. The group says the explanation is misleading and needs court-ordered clarification; the Vote Yes for Fairness group, which backs the amendment, called the lawsuit “frivolous.”

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.06 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 4.83 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 3.91 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 0.65 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.21 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 2.47 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $34.25, up $1.25 from yesterday. The November crude oil price is $41.20, up $0.77 from yesterday morning.