Headlines for Friday, November 20th

63-year-old Larry M. Vaughn was Air Evaced to a regional hospital after a single-vehicle accident on I-64 at 2:16 this morning. State police say Vaughn overturned his semi and blocked both eastbound lanes near mile marker 115 after leaving the roadway and overcorrecting. Eastbound lanes were shut down for roughly six hours for cleanup and recovery.

The Fairfield Park Board met last night and approved the sale of a fairway mower to Hamilton County High School for $6,000. It will put out bids for the purchase of a replacement, and it expects the cost to be around $65,000. The board also approved a 4.9 percent tax levy increase, but it expected the city’s assessed valuation to see a three-to-five percent reduction.

The Fairfield Elks Lodge #1631 will postpone its yearly Memorial Service, traditionally held on the first Sunday in December. More information will be provided in the future regarding the date the postponed Memorial Service will be held.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and House Republicans are calling on House Speaker Michael Madigan to answer questions about the ComEd bribery scandal. Madigan has denied any wrongdoing, but the governor says, if he won’t answer questions about the scandal in front of the public, he shouldn’t be leading the House.

The Wayne County Health Department announced 22 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, as well as the county’s 30th COVID-related death. Wayne County had 713 total cases, and 127 were active. Hamilton County added six cases and sat at 340. 58 cases were active, including six hospitalizations. The state Department of Public Health announced 14,612 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 164 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 621,383 cases and 11,178 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 13.4 percent on the 16th, up from 13.3 percent on the 15th. 11-19-2020-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

The Fairfield Rural Fire Protection District responded to a field fire in far southeastern Wayne County yesterday afternoon. An individual using a cutting torch on tank batteries started a fire in a ditch, and the high winds took hold and spread the fire over an area roughly 300 acres. No injuries or damages were reported, but firemen remind people not to burn anything when conditions are dry and windy, as they are expected to be today. Firefighters were called to several small ditch and field fires yesterday, as well. While Fairfield Rural was in southeastern Wayne County, the Wayne Fire Protection District provided mutual aid for a small brush fire north of Sims. Fairfield rural was then called to two small brush fires between 7 and 8 last night between Fairfield and Geff and north of Merriam. Firemen were on-scene for less than 30 minutes for the three small fires, and no damages or injuries were reported.

The IHSA Board of Directors held a special meeting yesterday and affirmed its decision earlier this week to pause all winter sports and activities. The board will revisit the status of winter sports at an update discussion on December 2nd and again at its normal meeting on December 14th, but it said setting arbitrary start dates right now could be counterproductive.

State Representative Darren Bailey says his case against the governor still stands and has not been vacated, despite a request by the state. He has also filed another suit charging the governor with contempt for his continued issuance of executive orders, and Bailey says another court date has been set for December for that charge.

Firearm deer season kicks off today. Hunters heading out need to wear blaze orange or pink and make sure their tree stands are secure, according to IDNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. CWD check stations will be closed this year due to COVID-19, but Torbert reminds hunters they still need to report their harvest each day by 10 p.m. The second firearm hunting weekend runs December 3rd through the 6th.

Most of Illinois can expect some rain this weekend, according to DTN Chief Ag Meteorologist Dan Hicks. He says models have steadily increased in their precipitation predictions for northern and central Illinois, but southern Illinois is expected to see a bit less. As for next week, he says temperatures should be season for most areas, with daytime highs in the mid-40s to mid-50s.

COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in Illinois- heart disease and cancer are the first and second leading causes. More than 11,000 people have lost their battle with the virus, and the daily average of deaths has climbed to over 80. Governor J.B. Pritzker said, in August, the average was 14 deaths per day.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 10.33 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.43 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 6.62 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.51 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 9.34 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 4.08 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $34.75, unchanged from yesterday. The December crude oil price is $41.88, up $0.49 from yesterday morning.