Headlines for Monday, November 16th

Alexis Truran, Austin Dunn, and Callie Vaughan were selected to advance to VFW District 13 competition in the Wayne County Memorial VFW Post 4535 annual Voice of Democracy audio essay. The three are seniors at FCHS, and they will also receive $1,000.

The Fairfield Police Department says it is seeing a rise in scams regarding the receipt of unwarranted unemployment benefits. Police say people shouldn’t activate a debit card that was wrongfully mailed to them, and they should report any such receipt to the Illinois Department of Employment Security at (800)814-0513.

32-year-old Joshua D. Downen was arrested early Sunday morning on a charge of domestic battery after a fight at JW Saloon in Fairfield. He was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital after the incident, but staff members say he refused treatment. He was then taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

35-year-old Zachary D. Powell was arrested Saturday night on a charge of possession of meth. Wayne County deputies conducted a traffic stop and found a white case with suspected meth and a set of digital scales in his vehicle. Powell was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the setting of bond.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education will meet tonight at 6 in the Center Street Boardroom. The board has three action items on its agenda, including approval of a tentative tax levy, insurance renewal, and a resolution of intent to issue working cash fund bonds. The board is also scheduled to enter closed session to discuss personnel.

Secretary of State Jesse White has announced Driver’s Services facilities will be closed for in-person transactions tomorrow through December 6th. In addition, he said expiration dates for driver’s licenses and ID cards will be extended until June 1st, but CDL holders are excluded. CDL facilities will be open by appointment only by calling 217-785-3013.

Fairfield’s Festival of Lights will officially open on December 3rd, and the pandemic has forced some changes to the event schedule. Santa will be at his house on December 5th, 19th, and 23rd, though people will only be able to drive past instead of visit in person. His house has been converted to a post office, and kids who submit letters by the 15th will receive a reply.

The Wayne County Health Department announced four new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 680. 121 cases were active, including three hospitalizations. Edwards County announced four cases on coronavirus.illinois.gov and sat at 159 total. Wayne County’s positivity rate for November was 10 percent, per dph.illinois.gov, and Edwards County’s was 17 percent. The state Department of Public Health announced 10,631 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 72 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 573,616 cases and 10,742 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 14 percent on the 12th, up from 13.8 percent on the 11th.

The FCHS Board of Education will meet tonight at 6 in the school study hall. It is scheduled to hear a winter sports update and discuss the schedule for the second semester as matters of new business. Board members are also scheduled to hear a tax levy presentation for 2020 for taxes payable in 2021, but no vote will be taken until December.

The Edwards County Board of Education will meet tonight at 7 at West Salem Grade School. The meeting will also be held via phone, and the public may join by calling 1-978-990-5000 and entering access code 843221#. The board is scheduled to hold a discussion on the IHSA basketball seasons, with action possible, and it is also scheduled to approve the tentative 2020 tax levy and 2020 school report cards.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he is disappointed the fall legislative veto session has been cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19. Lawmakers didn’t have any actual vetoes to consider, but the governor would have liked for them to meet. They are next scheduled to be back at the Capitol in January for a short lame-duck session before a new General Assembly is sworn in.

Illinois is joining a multi-state effort to lower veteran suicide rates. The state will dedicate $2 million towards the national “Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide” initiative. Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Marisa Kollias says the money will be used for support and prevention services. In 2019, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death for Illinoisans overall and the third leading cause for those age one to 24.

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 $33.25, down $1.00 from Friday. The December crude oil price is $40.84, up $0.26 from Friday morning.