Headlines for Wednesday, January 6th

55-year-old Jesse O. Hedden and 39-year-old Brandon S. Cook were sentenced to prison yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court. Hedden pleaded guilty in October to a count of failure to register as a sex offender, and Cook admitted yesterday to violating probation from a sentence in October 2019. Both were given three years in prison and one year mandatory supervision upon release.

The remains of 46-year-old Marion resident Laura Wolfe were identified last month after being found in October in northern Indiana. Wolfe was reported missing in July. 39-year-old Tennessee resident Lynn Ware, Jr., was identified as a person of interest in the case and was arrested on December 31st in O’Fallon on a warrant for murder. Authorities say Ware will be taken to La Porte County, Indiana, and the case remains open.

McLeansboro police say 2021 UTV and Golf Cart permits are available at the police department. Permits are now yellow, and blue, orange, pink, or green stickers are no longer valid. People simply renewing permits do not need to undergo a vehicle inspection again, though they should bring a new copy of their insurance cards.

Illinois State Police District 19 has announced the results of a Nighttime Enforcement Patrol conducted in Wayne County last month. Troopers issued one citation and 37 written warnings, including six for registration offenses. The patrol was designed to let ISP focus on preventing, detecting, and taking enforcement action in response to impaired driving and occupant restraint violations, especially between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Highland Ventures, LTD. has announced it is closing all Family Video locations. It says the impact of COVID-19 on store foot traffic and movie released pushed it to the end of an era. Family Video in Fairfield closed in October, along with 100 other locations, including in Mt. Carmel and Princeton. When that announcement was made, Fairfield employees echoed the most recent corporate statement, saying they were told financial pressure from the pandemic and already slowing business caused the shutdowns.

The Wayne County Health Department says it has started reaching out to Phase 1A individuals and organizations with clinic dates to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Long-term care and assisted living residents and staff will be vaccinated by CVS and Walgreens in an ongoing program. Anyone in Phase 1A who hasn’t heard from the department should call 842-5166. The IDPH guidelines for vaccine phases and distribution can be found at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan

Edwards County reported eight new cases of COVID-19 yesterday on coronavirus.illinios.gov and sat at 419; it also reported one additional COVID-related death on the state site, bringing that total to six. Wabash County reported 18 new cases and sat at 1,067, and White County added 15 and sat at 1,284. Wayne County announced nine new confirmed cases, bringing its total to 1,263, and it reported its 45th COVID-related death. The state Department of Public Health announced 6,839 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 125 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 991,719 cases and 16,959 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 11.5 percent on January 2nd, up from 11.4 percent on the 1st. 1-5-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

Wayne City Community Unit School District 100 has been awarded a grant to install wireless Internet access points covering the school’s front and back parking lots. Students must use their school-issued Chromebooks to gain access to the parking lot WiFi. Funding for the grant was provided by the Illinois State Library under the provisions of the CARES Act.

Last month was drier and cooler than one year ago. We received almost two-and-a-half inches of rainfall at the station, compared to nearly three-and-a-third in December 2019. The average high for last month was 44.9 degrees, with a high of 68 on the 10th. The average high for December 2019 was 51.9, with a high of 70 on the 26th.

Illinois House Republicans say they have an open mind about proposed legislation that would allow them to meet remotely in case of emergency. Supporters of the bill say the pandemic has highlighted the need for change, as last year’s spring session was cut short by COVID, and the fall veto session was cancelled outright. The bill would apply to pandemics and similar emergencies.

After hitting a low in April, the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer ended the year on the rise. Purdue University Ag Economist Jim Mintert says commodity prices helped lead the charge. The barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. ag producers responding to a phone survey.

Newly sworn-in 15th District Representative Mary Miller says she will join supporters of President Trump in a rally today in Washington objecting to the Electoral College results in certain states. She issued a statement yesterday saying many Americans have lost confidence in the fairness of the system; the Constitution give states authority over how their elections are carried out, but she says many swing states took matters into their own hands by changing how they would conduct their elections in November.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.89 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.21 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 11.05 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 4.68 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 20.51 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 11.91 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $43.00, up $2.50 from yesterday. The February crude oil price is $49.88, up $2.19 from yesterday morning.