Headlines for Monday, January 4th

FNB recently presented a donation of $150,000 to the Fairfield Memorial Hospital Foundation to support the ongoing FMH Expansion Project. FNB promised to match the first $150,000 in community contributions through a matching campaign, and it says individuals donated over $29,000 through that campaign. FNB chose to donate the full amount it set aside even though donations didn’t hit $150,000 because of the importance of FMH to the area and the need for expansion.

FNB-FMH Match Donation

29-year-old Jacob C. Rinard and 42-year-old Robert W. Allison were arrested over the weekend on drug-related charges. Rinard was charged for possession and delivery of a controlled substance and possession and delivery of methamphetamine Saturday night, and Allison was charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver Saturday morning. Both were held in jail, pending the setting of bond.

21-year-old Cisne resident Alex W. Robinson was arrested early yesterday morning by Wayne County deputies on a charge of domestic battery. He was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the setting and posting of bond.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 249 in Carmi says its Cops and Kids Christmas and Huck’s Karing for Kids programs were very successful last year, despite the challenges 2020 posed. The lodge was able to deliver clothing and gifts to the doorsteps of 70 kids on Christmas Eve, and they also received Huck’s bags with free coupons, toys, and food.

Illinois’ Senior Senator Dick Durbin was sworn in to office for a fifth time yesterday in Washington D.C. by Vice President Mike Pence. The ceremony was a quick one with little of the usual pomp and circumstance, as everyone on the senate floor was wearing a mask and socially distancing.

The Wayne County Health Department announced 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 1,248; 108 cases were active, including four hospitalizations. Edwards County reported one new case on coronavirus.illinois.gov and sat at 409. Wayne County’s positivity rate from December 25th through the 31st was 11.2 percent, per dph.illinois.gov, and Edwards County’s was 25.2 percent. The state Department of Public Health announced 4,469 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 81 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 979,821 cases and 16,755 deaths. As of last night, more than 3,817 people were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19; of those 798 were in the ICU, and 462 were on ventilators. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 12.1 percent on December 31st, down from 12.3 percent on the 30th. 1-3-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

The Albion Liquor Commission and City Council will meet tonight at the Edwards County Senior Citizens Center. The Commission is expected to vote on a change in convenience store licensing and a restaurant license at 6, and the Council will meet at 7. It is scheduled to discuss a Route 15 lift station renovation and an estimate on cemetery fencing work.

Even as many schools were forced to move to remote learning to close the first semester due to the pandemic, some are starting their second semesters today with in-person instruction. Edwards County is not in school today, but Superintendent David Cowger said over the weekend that all Edwards County schools will resume with in-person instruction tomorrow. Should conditions change and force a change in plans, the district will send out a message to parents, students, and staff as quickly as possible.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau is sponsoring the 2021 4-H Project Grant Program for county 4-Hers. Members age eight through 14 may apply, and applications must be completed by the 4-H member and signed by a parent or guardian and the 4-H club leader. Applications are due by March 1st, and they may be downloaded on waynecfb.com.

While the state continues to wait on “return to play” guidelines for high school sports, Monticello football Coach Cully Welter says even a five-to-seven-game football schedule may not be feasible at this point, though he hopes to have a chance at a season. The IHSA had hoped to meet with officials from the IDPH and Governor’s Office before the New Year, but that did not happen. The next scheduled IHSA Board meeting is January 13th.

A new state law aims to further protect victims of stalking and sexual assault. As of Friday, survivors of stalking and sexual assault can take advantage of the state Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program, letting them obtain an alternate address to make it harder for their abusers to find them. Domestic violence survivors could already sign up for the program at illiniosattorneygeneral.gov.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois State Police announced the forgiveness and expungements of more than half a million criminal cannabis cases last week. The actions were mandated by the state law that legalized the licensed sale of marijuana last year. It required 47,000 cannabis-related records created between 2013 and 2019 to be expunged by Friday; with the announced moves, state police say they are four years ahead of the January 2025 statutory deadline for completing automatic expungements at the state level.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.72 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 8.05 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 10.67 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 21.98 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 12.13 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $41.50, unchanged from Friday. The February crude oil price is $49.61, up $1.19 from Friday morning.