Headlines for Wednesday, November 18th

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education met Monday night and approved a tentative tax levy increase of 4.77 percent. The board also approved a resolution of intent to issue $2.5 million in working cash fund bonds. Superintendent Dr. Scott England said the main concern with the bonds would be to prevent a major budget issue.

45-year-old Ryan R. Mattingly was arrested late last night after the execution of a search warrant at 403 Southwest Third Street, Apartment B, in Fairfield by law enforcement personnel. Numerous items were seized, including meth and digital scales, and he was charged with possession of meth. Mattingly was held in the Wayne County Jail, pending the setting of bond.

Two others were booked in the Wayne County Jail recently. 24-year-old Quila M. Hart was arrested yesterday on a charge of domestic battery, and 52-year-old Russell E. Draper early this morning on a charge of possession of meth. The two were held in the Jail, pending the posting of their respective bonds.

Fairfield’s First United Methodist Church has decided against having in-person worship this Sunday. Worship on the 22nd will be offered at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live without in-person congregation. In-person worship for the next week will be based on recommendations from the United Methodist bishop, church council, and state authorities.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and the IDPH announced yesterday that additional COVID-19 mitigations will take effect statewide on Friday. The mitigations preserve the option for in-person learning. The governor said hospitals are beginning to experience real strain, and he hopes the mitigations will help avoid a stay-at-home order like the one in the spring.  22356-Tier_3_Resurgence_Migitations

The Wayne County Health Department announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 688, and it also announced the county’s 28th COVID-related death. Hamilton County announced 18 new cases to reach 328 and its fourth death. Edwards County added six cases on coronavirus.illinois.gov and sat at 172. The state Department of Public Health announced 12,601 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 96 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 597,849 cases and 10,875 deaths. The Southern Region of the state had a positivity rate of 13.9 percent on the 14th, unchanged from the 13th.

At a Joint Review Board meeting of the Fairfield TIF Fund yesterday, Interim Mayor Gary Moore said he had discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in the life of the fund on properties outside the TIF district. He said the TIF Committee of the City Council had made the necessary corrections and appreciated the way the taxing bodies took the news.

The Finance Committee of the Fairfield City Council has forwarded a proposed 4.96 percent tax levy increase for the next year to the full council. The additional money would be used exclusively to pay down the unfunded portion of the firefighter and police pension funds, which are currently 48 percent and 45 percent funded.

Two blood drives are scheduled in Fairfield in the coming days. The Community of Christ Church will host its final blood drive of the year today at its Family Life Center, and Fairfield Memorial Hospital will hold a drive on December 3rd at its Educational Annex Building. Both drives will run from 11:30 to 5:30.

Corn and soybean harvesting are all but complete, according to the latest statewide weekly crop report. Temperatures were more than six degrees above normal last week, and most farmers were able to finish up harvesting. Most of the winter wheat crop had been planted, as well, and 92 percent had emerged. Average statewide topsoil moisture sat at 10 percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and three percent surplus.

Governor J.B. Pritzker said Monday afternoon he wasn’t ready to move all Illinois schools back to remote learning just yet. He did say the state is always thinking about school children, staff, and parents, but he says safe parameters have been set for schools. The governor said the remote learning situation isn’t ideal, but districts are doing the best they can.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 15.91 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.28 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 9.40 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.08 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 11.98 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 4.09 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $34.50, up $0.25 from yesterday. The December crude oil price is $41.73, up $0.50 from yesterday morning.