Headlines for Friday, February 19th

The Wayne County Health Department will hold a drive-through COVID vaccination clinic tomorrow. It is for all Phase 1B individuals, and the fairgrounds will again be used as a staging area. Officials will then direct them to the department at the appropriate time. The clinic is scheduled to run from 8:30 to 11 a.m., and it will again be a first-come, first-serve event with no reservations to be made. WCHD-COVID-Advisory-vaccination-clinic-for-1b-02-20-21

The Fairfield City Fire Department responded to a phone-in fire alarm at the old Airtex Shipping Building last night. The alarm was for moving water, and, once on scene, firemen discovered busted piped. They were on scene for 30 to 45 minutes and shut the water off before turning the situation over to the key holder.

Illinois State Police District 19 Commander Captain Nathan Douglas has announced the ISP will conduct Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in Wayne, Edwards, and Wabash counties in March. The patrols allow state police to focus on safety belt and child safety seat laws; Illinois law requires all vehicle passengers, front and back, to buckle up.

Applications are now available for scholarships through the Illinois Farm Bureau Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program. 15 $4,000 scholarships will be granted this year to Illinois residents who are Registered Nurses accepted or enrolled in an accredited Nurse Practitioner Program. Applications are due May 1st.

A legislative commission has upheld new “culturally responsible” teaching standards. Pushed by the State Board of Education, the standards aim to better prepare teachers for a diverse classroom and to look at how their own biases may affect their instruction. The new standards will take effect in fall 2025.

FCHS, Fairfield 112, Geff, Jasper, New Hope, and North Wayne schools are remote learning today and don’t have in-person instruction. Wayne City Unit 100 has a remote planning day today for staff only, so no school for students. Edwards County schools have a traditional snow day, and all Clay County schools are closed.

Teresa Robinson is today’s guest on the Community Connection Candidate Series. Running against Mike Dreith and Nate McGaha for Fairfield Mayor, Robinson says she has worked for the city for 24 years and knows what does and doesn’t work. She sees flooding as a major problem, and she also says Fairfield should nurture its existing businesses instead of focus only on bringing in new stores.

Reduced-rate lab testing with Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Laboratory Department will take place March 1st through the 20th by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled at the Horizon Healthcare Clinics in Fairfield, Carmi, Grayville, or Cisne; the FMH Lab; or the FMH Albion Lab Draw Station by calling 847-8256. Tests available at all locations include: Hemoglobin A1c (Diabetic Monitor) $20 | Lipid Panel (Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and VLDL) $20 | PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) $20 | Thyroid Function Panel (T4, Free T3, Free T4, TSH) $40 | General Health Profile (Includes CBC, Lipid Screen, and a 12 test chemistry profile) $40 | Vitamin D Test $40

The Wayne County Health Department announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two days, bringing its total to 1,496; 20 cases were active and in isolation. Edwards County announced eight cases from the 11th through Wednesday and sat at 530. It also announced an additional COVID-related death, the county’s 10th. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,966 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 72 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,168,683 cases and 20,129 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 2.4 percent on February 15th, down from 2.7 percent on the 14th. 2-17-2021-and-2-18-2021-WCHD-New-COVID-19-and-Probable-Case-Press-Release

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced yesterday he will resign his seat in the house; he first indicated his time would end at the end of the month, but he later said the resignation would be effective immediately. He held a seat in the 22nd district for 50 years and was the longest-serving leader in state or federal government before he was replaced as Speaker last month by Representative Chris Welch. Madigan said it was an honor to serve the people of Illinois, and Welch praised his sincere and meaningful contributions and strong, sustained Democratic leadership in Springfield.

Illinois Republicans say Governor J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal will slow job growth and hurt businesses, in part because of the closing of what he called “tax loopholes” for businesses. GOP members say those loopholes are tax incentives that Illinois desperately needs to attract business, and they also say the budget relies too much on federal relief funding. The governor has called on Republicans to propose their own list of budget cuts to help the state make ends meet.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 8.81 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.44 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 7.03 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.65 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 7.33 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 5.02 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $53.50, down $0.75 from yesterday. The March crude oil price is $59.31, down $2.22 from yesterday morning.