Headlines for Friday, November 13th

The USDA says it has mailed ballots for FSA County Committee elections to eligible farmers across the country. The Wayne/Edwards County Committee is comprised of Tom Marks, Jacque O’Daniel, and David Reed, and Marks’ three-year term will be up this year. Ballots must be returned to FSA offices or postmarked by December 7th in order to be counted.

No injuries were reported in a two-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon just north of Fairfield. Police say 23-year-old Lucas A. Faber became distracted and struck the rear of a combine driven by 65-year-old Roger S. Dozier. A tow truck was called, the vehicles sustained over $1,500, and Faber was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The Operation Christmas Child National Collection week begins Monday. Wayne County’s lone collection location is North Side Baptist Church in Fairfield, and church volunteers will collect items from the 16th through the 23rd in the church parking lot via a drive-through venue. Collection hours will be 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, and 8 to 10 a.m. on the 23rd. Last year, 368 boxes were collected at North Side Baptist Church.

The Geff Ruritan breakfast that had been scheduled for tomorrow (November 14) has been cancelled.

The Village of Wayne City has announced Republic Trash Service will be on a one-day delay for the week of the Thanksgiving holiday. Residents should have their trash set out that week by 6 a.m. on Saturday the 28th.

The Orchardville Fire Protection District will hold a benefit dinner tomorrow at the Orchardville School. Serving for the pork chop dinner will start at 4 p.m., and service will be drive-through only, with a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase new equipment for the district.

The Wayne County Board met last night and passed the 2021 budget. The total is $4,655,651 with a revenue shortfall of $423,000 that will be covered by reserves. The loss is a result of sales tax and court fee decreases due to the pandemic. Chairman Steve Ehrhart is stepping down from his position, and he was honored for his 26 years of service on the board. In other action, the board unanimously approved a 105 percent tax levy, so no truth-in-taxation hearing will be required.

Wayne County Board Chairman Steve Ehrhart and members present at last night’s meeting

The Wayne County Health Department announced its 26th COVID-related death and 25 new cases of the virus yesterday. Wayne County had 661 total cases; 96 were active, including four hospitalizations. Edwards County announced its second COVID-related death yesterday and six new cases, bringing its total to 155. Hamilton County announced 32 cases in the past two days. It had 270 total cases; 73 cases were active, including two hospitalizations. The state Department of Public Health announced 12,702 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 43 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 536,542 cases and 10,477 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 12.5 percent on the 9th, up from 12.2 percent on the 8th. Governor J.B. Pritzker said, while the IDPH has recommended people stay home when possible, a statewide stay-at-home order may again be needed if the virus spread isn’t curtailed. 11-12-2020-WCHD-New-COVID-19-Case-Press-Release

Fairfield Memorial Hospital says it has cancelled all support groups for the time being because of Tier 2 mitigations in the region. This includes the Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Diabetes, and Dementia Caregivers support groups; the Better Breathers Club; and the Coffee Club. FMH says it hopes to offer them again in the near future, but can’t until numbers and mitigations change.

The boil order that had been in effect for portions of the Village of West Salem has been lifted. People no longer need to boil water to be used for human consumption.

Fairfield Public School District 112 Superintendent Dr. Scott England says the district is going to get creative for its Christmas Program. No official announcement on what the program will look like has been made, but he does say the district has invested in equipment to record and live stream or archive a performance for later viewing.

Illinois lawmakers are calling for hearings on the state’s response to COVID-19. In a bipartisan virtual press conference, Senator Sue Rezin said there should be more transparency about why decisions are being made, and that lawmakers need to have a voice. Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago has joined her in asking leaders to set up the meetings, citing many concerns over extra restrictions on bars and restaurants and other items.

With harvest wrapping up for many Illinois farmers, Illinois Corn Growers Association Executive Director Rodney Weinzierl says the yield numbers look to be pretty good but not record-breaking. The USDA projects Illinois corn to average 195 bushels per acre and soybeans to average 58. Weinzierl said this was probably the nicest fall in the past few years, even with a later start due to a cooler July.

Illinois saw more than $100 million in marijuana sales in October. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says there was a record $75 million in recreational cannabis sales, and sales in the first 10 months of the year have totaled more than $500 million. Officials say the figures don’t rise to the market’s potential.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 4.88 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.02 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 4.43 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.13 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 3.65 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 4.05 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $34.25, down $0.25 from yesterday. The December crude oil price is $40.58, down $0.83 from yesterday morning.