Headlines for Tuesday, January 12th

The Cisne Village Board met last night and said it is still looking for a new city utility employee but has not yet received an application for the position. It also heard reports on several grants that have been received for expenses for the city water filtration and sewer systems, and it said four oak trees and two maple trees would soon be placed in the town square.

The Grayville City Council met last night and heard more information will be gathered regarding an ordinance dealing with parking recreational vehicles on city streets. The council also heard that a deal on a grocery store that had been in place has fallen through, so it will not come to Grayville as had been planned. Work will continue on finding a store for the city.

52-year-old Fairfield resident Roger D. Smith was arrested by Fairfield police last night on a charge of possession of methamphetamine. Smith was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

A 79-year-old Kinmundy man was found dead in a creek near his home yesterday afternoon after a multi-department search in Marion County. His neighbors became concerned Sunday night after not being able to contact him by phone or at his home. The man’s name was not released yesterday, and Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon pronounced him deceased at the scene.

25-year-old Brodey I. Murbarger had a pre-trial conference yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court. His attorney Christian J. Baril again demanded a speedy jury trial, but the court reiterated it is not scheduling jury trials at this time. Another conference was scheduled for the 25th to discuss two motions from Baril- one related to bond, and another requesting Murbarger have access to a computer or tablet.

The Wayne County Health Department announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing its total to 1,312; 95 cases were active, including three hospitalizations. Edwards County added one case on coronavirus.illinois.gov and sat at 446, and Hamilton County added 31 cases in the past four days and two deaths, bringing its totals to 671 cases and 15 deaths. The state Department of Public Health announced 4,776 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 53 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,033,526 cases and 17,627 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 9.9 percent on January 8th, up from 9.6 percent on the 7th. 1-11-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

Some areas of the state will soon move to Phase 1B of vaccination distribution. The governor says he expects to make a formal announcement later this week as to when the whole state will move forward, but, until then, local officials who have finished Phase 1A with leftover doses can move ahead. No indication was given in Wayne County of a move to Phase 1B.

Geff Grade School held its Spelling Bee recently, and 7th grader Jedd Wellen finished in first place. He is the son of Darin and Jenalyn Wellen. 5th grader Bailey Heifner, daughter of Bill and Charity Heifner, was the bee’s runner-up.

Wellen and Heifner

State Representative Darren Bailey and his wife Cindy were awaiting release from Memorial Medical Center in Springfield last night. Bailey said all tests came back clear, and he thanked God and everyone who reached out to his family with words of encouragement and kindness. Bailey fainted Sunday afternoon in the General Assembly lame duck session and was admitted to Memorial that night.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a massive reform bill designed to address racism and inequities in the state’s education system. It aims to attract more minority teachers, make sure preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and eventually requires high schoolers to take two years of foreign language and lab sciences to help them get into college.

A new proposal in Springfield would make the ballot drop-off boxes used in the November election permanent. Supporters of the bill say it provides a safe way for voters to cast a ballot and should be extended, with local election authorities in charge of keeping the box secure. The bill would also allow for curbside voting.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has suspended his campaign for the retention of the position. The 78-year-old issued a statement yesterday saying the move “wasn’t a withdrawal,” but he did direct House Democrats to work toward finding a replacement. Madigan has seen his support wane in the House since he was implicated in a federal bribery scheme last year involving ComEd. He has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 9.92 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.47 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 7.09 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.22 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 10.06 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 8.51 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $45.25, unchanged from yesterday. The February crude oil price is $52.72, up $0.67 from yesterday morning.