Headlines for Monday, February 15th

The USDA has announced an extension for the Conservation Reserve Program General Signup Period, which had been set to end last Friday. The incoming Biden Administration says incentives were reduced under the previous administration, resulting in an enrollment shortfall of over four million acres. It says the extension will give time to evaluate ways to get enrollment back on track.

28-year-old Cody R. McKinney was arrested yesterday morning on a charge of burglary after allegedly attempting to find and take catalytic converters. Residents near Merriam reportedly caught and apprehended him when county deputies arrived, and McKinney was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond.

20-year-old Craig S. Stein was cited after a traffic stop last night on Highway 45. County deputies say he was clocked at 110 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone. Stein was not taken into custody due to COVID-19, but he was given a notice to appear in court.

No injuries were reported in a two-vehicle accident about two miles south of Fairfield Friday morning. 29-year-old Bobby L. Powell reportedly rear-ended 22-year-old Dominique R. Peterson on Highway 45 as she slowed to turn. No tow truck was called, and Powell was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau Foundation plans to offer eight $750 scholarships to county students who plan on majoring in an ag-related field of study for the upcoming semester. The Young Leader Committee will also offer one $1,000 scholarship with the same qualifications. The scholarship can be found at waynecfb.com/scholarship, and the deadline is March 1st.

Republican Paul Schimpf has announced a plan to run for the Republican candidacy for Illinois Governor. The marine corps veteran and former state senator has also planned a statewide tour for the campaign. Scheduled to begin in Algonquin this morning, it is planned to stop at Veterans Memorial Park in Mt. Vernon tomorrow at 1:30.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital has announced Horizon Healthcare Clinics in Carmi, Cisne, and Grayville will be closed today. The FMH Albion Lab Draw Station will also be closed, but Fairfield offices will be open. The FMH RISC Tent is closed today, as well, but Urgent Care remains open. Edwards County Senior Centers in Albion, Grayville, West Salem, and Fairfield are also closed today. A full list of closings and cancellations can be found on wfiwradio.com.

Southern Illinois remains under a winter storm warning until 6 tomorrow morning, with total accumulation of six to 12 inches of snow possible. Another storm is taking aim on the area later Wednesday through Thursday, and impacts on travel and businesses may last through the end of the work week. People who must travel should keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in their vehicles in case of an emergency.

55-year-old James Schlindwein was taken to a hospital after a crash yesterday morning. State police say he was eastbound on a Central Street in Wayne County when he lost control of his vehicle on icy roads and struck a telephone cable enclosure, utility pole, carport, and parked car. He was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

The Wayne County Health Department announced three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two days, bringing its total to 1,489; 56 cases were active, including three hospitalizations. No new cases were reported in Edwards County on coronavirus.illinios.gov. Wayne County’s positivity rate from February 1st through the 11th was 4.8 percent, per dph.illinois.gov, and Edwards County’s was 9.8 percent. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,631 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 35 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,162,154 cases and 19,961 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of three percent on the 11th, down from 3.3 percent on the 10th. Its rolling seven-day average for ICU bed availability was at 22 percent on the 13th, and it had seen COVID patient admissions decrease or remain stable in nine of the last 10 days. 2-13-2021-and-2-14-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release-1

The Edwards County Board of Education is scheduled to meet tonight at 7 in the West Salem Grade School Science Room. The public may join by calling 1-978-990-5000 and entering access code 843221# when prompted. The board is scheduled to discuss graduation dates and to approve two purchases over $5,000, as well as to approve the 2021-2022 calendar.

The Illinois State Police’s Move Over Task Force has made recommendations to protect officers and first responders. The task force was formed after a rash of Move Over Law violations, which left two troopers dead in 2019. One change simply requires drivers to not only change lanes if they see flashing lights on the side of the road but also slow down. Others include stiffer penalties for distracted drivers violating the law and making it a national safety priority.

Those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine have received a card stating they have done so. It also includes information about when to get the second shot other personal information. The Better Business Bureau says it is seeing people posting selfies with the cards on social media, but that can put people at risk of identity theft. Another scam overseas has people manufacturing fake vaccine cards and selling them online via Ebay and TikTok. More tips and alerts on COVID-19 scams can be found at bbb.org/coronavirus.

The Illinois Republican Party’s new chairman is a Springfield attorney and businessman. Top Republicans chose Don Tracy to lead the party in a weighted vote over the weekend. He is the former chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board and a co-owner of a family business based in Mount Sterling. Tracy aimed for the Republican Chairman spot in 2014, too, but failed in his bid, and he is the first state GOP chairman not from the Chicago area in more than 30 years.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 14.12 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 7.58 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.56 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 15.44 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 6.04 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $52.50, up $1.25 from Friday. The March crude oil price is $60.44, up $3.00 from Friday morning.