Headlines for Wednesday, February 17th

The Fairfield Post Office says carriers will deliver mail today, but customers are asked to clean the approach to their mailboxes, walkways, and/or porches to accommodate those deliveries. FMH Horizon Healthcare Clinics in Carmi, Cisne, and Grayville, along with Albion Lab Draw Station, are closed today, but the Fairfield Horizon Healthcare Office is open from 9 to 5. Albion and West Salem Senior Centers are open for minimum service, but Grayville remains closed; the Fairfield site will be open for in-town delivery only.

FCHS will be closed for the remainder of the week, and today is its last emergency day; tomorrow and Friday will be remote learning days. Jasper will be remote learning for the remainder of the week, and New Hope and Geff also plan to do so. North Wayne has a remote learning plan day today, so no assignments for students, and Wayne City and Edwards County will be remote learning.

The Wayne County Retired Teachers’ Association will award one $500 scholarship for the 2021-2022 school year. Applicants must be a graduate of a Wayne County high school, have accumulated at least 80 semester hours toward an education degree at an accredited college or university, and have at least a 2.8 college GPA. Applications are due June 15th to Michael Simpson at 304 Whiteside Lane in Fairfield, or they can be emailed to mandmsimp46@gmail.com.

The annual Illinois FFA Alumni Auction will be an online affair this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are currently 36 items in the auction, with items ranging from seed corn and tools to home décor and handmade quilts. The auction raises money for FFA Alumni programs and scholarships, and it will be held this Friday to next Saturday, in conjunction with National FFA Week. Anyone with questions can contact District V Directors Ted Hughes at 599-2776 or David White at 895-6231. Auction items can be found at https://orwigauctionandeventcenter.hibid.com/catalog/.244618/ffa-alumni-fundraiser/#

The office of Congresswoman Mary Miller has announced it will continue its tour of the 33 counties in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District with constituent casework service hours. New additions to the tour include a stop at Mt. Carmel City Hall this Friday from 10 to noon and a stop at Albion City Hall from 2 to 4 on Friday. Stops from noon to 2 at the Hamilton County Courthouse and from 3 to 5 at the White County Farm Bureau are planned for the 25th.

An Illinois State Police trooper was injured yesterday morning while providing assistance to a motorist who had slid into the I-57 median yesterday in Jefferson County. State Police say 54-year-old Georgia resident Chuong Nguyen crashed into the rear of the ISP squad car while the trooper was inside, and he was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Nguyen and a passenger were uninjured, and Nguyen was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has investigated numerous cases of cyber-predators going after kids, and it has seen an uptick in youth sharing explicit content online. He says it’s important for parents and teachers to talk with students about the potential vulnerabilities and consequences of sharing information, photos, and videos online, and he says parents should emphasize that predators can be anywhere.

The Village of Wayne City has asked its customers to take every effort to safely reduce their natural gas consumption for the rest of the month, as cold temperatures in the country have caused certain interstate gas pipes to limit flows into Illinois. People are asked, if possible to do so safely, to lower the thermostat in homes and also to lower them during unoccupied periods.

The Wayne County Health Department announced five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two days and one additional COVID-related death. It sat at 1,494 total cases, with 25 active and in isolation, and 51 deaths. No new cases were announced in Edwards County on coronavirus.illinois.gov, and Jefferson County added two and sat at 4,007. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,348 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 32 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,164,922 cases and 20,034 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 2.9 percent on February 13th, up from 2.7 percent on the 12th. 2-15-2021-and-2-16-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

State Senator Darren Bailey says he is coming out with a voter integrity bill in the near future, which would call for moves back to paper ballots and for voter identification. He also is working on a bill, which he says has bi-partisan support, to end Ed TPA licensure for teachers. He says, if a student has received a teaching degree from a university, it should show they are certified to teach without another hoop to jump through.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some tips to winterize homes and save energy; it says, in addition to turning down the thermostat, people can turn down water heaters by a couple of degrees, set ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, and avoid using large appliances like dishwashers, washers, and dryers as much as possible.

Rodney Weinzierl, Executive Director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says several of their priorities fit in with some goals of the Biden Administration. He says they expect discussion this spring about a new infrastructure package, mainly because it would help the economy. He also says an upgrade to the river system would mean moving a lot more grain by the river compared to trains and trucks.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 9.41 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.52 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 7.63 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.61 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 10.62 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 5.51 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $53.00, up $0.50 from yesterday. The March crude oil price is $60.50, up $0.90 from yesterday morning.