Headlines for Tuesday, November 17th

Harrisburg police arrested 34-year-old McLeansboro resident Travis Braden early Monday morning after he failed to stop for a traffic violation. He was charged with aggravated fleeing to elude a police officer. The investigation into the incident led officers to find a deceased male at a Harrisburg residence, and state police and Harrisburg police are conducting an investigation.

The Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees will meet tonight at 7 at Lincoln Trail College. It is scheduled to approve resolutions for the establishment of a tax levy hearing and for the 2020 estimated tax levy itself. The Bid Committee is also scheduled to report on a nursing simulator manikin for Frontier Community College.

The USDA reminds farmers the deadline to apply for the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is December 11th. Information on eligible commodities can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. As of last week, the FSA had paid more than $9.5 billion for more than 576,000 applications for CFAP 2, building upon the more than $10.3 billion paid through CFAP 1.

Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, has issued a statement calling on each district, the state Board of Education, and Governor J.B. Pritzker to close school buildings during the COVID-19 surge. He also called on the governor and IDPH to establish and enforce clear metrics for guidance for any future closures.

The FCHS Board of Education met last night and heard an update from Athletic Director Bobby Wells on the status of high school basketball. He said he hopes to have more guidance after the IHSA meets this Thursday, and the BDC should issue a statement on Monday. The board also set the tentative tax levy increase at 4.91 percent, and a vote on the levy will be taken in December.

The Edwards County Board of Education met last night and, in a 4-3 margin, voted against participating in the IHSA winter basketball season. The district will instead follow recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health, though the issue may be revisited should the IDPH issue new guidance. The district’s tentative tax levy increase sat at 4.5 percent.

The Wayne County Health Department announced six new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 686. 118 cases were active, including two hospitalizations. Edwards County added seven cases on coronavirus.illinois.gov to reach 166; the state report also indicated Edwards County had seen its third COVID-related death- a male in his 80s. Hamilton County announced 40 cases since Friday, bringing its total to 310. The state Department of Public Health announced 11,632 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 37 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 585,248 cases and 10,779 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 13.9 percent on the 13th, down from 14 percent on the 12th.

Last month was drier and cooler than one year ago. We received more than four-and-a-half inches of rain in October compared to five inches and six tenths in 2019. All of last month’s recorded rain came on or after the 15th. The average high for October was 67.1 degrees, with a high of 89 on the 7th. The average high for October 2019 was 70.7 degrees.

31 downstate transit providers are receiving $112 million in grants for transit needs. IDOT spokesperson Paul Wappel says they will share the funding, which can be used for vehicle purchases or to build bus shelters or maintenance facilities. He says transit service is vital in many areas to get people to work, school, and the grocery store.

The Illinois Supreme Court is expanding a program that recruits volunteer attorneys in an effort to shorten the backlog of criminal appeals. The six-month pilot program was launched in northern Illinois and Cook County in February, and Justice Anne M. Burke said 75 attorneys adopted 45 cases and file d18 briefs. The program is expected to be available statewide in December.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 16.36 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 7.24 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 10.74 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 3.02 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 11.04 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 4.16 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $34.25, up $1.00 from yesterday. The December crude oil price is $41.23, up $0.39 from yesterday morning.