Headlines for Tuesday, February 23rd

The Edwards County School District will conduct a pre-school round-up next month for children up to five years old who will not be eligible for kindergarten next year. For students in the Albion attendance area, the screening will be held on March 8th from 8:30 to 2:30 at the First Christian Church. West Salem students will be screened on the 9th from 8:30 to 2:30 at the Moravian Church. Appointments are required for the free program; Albion area residents can call 445-2325, and West Salem area residents should call 456-8881.

The Grayville City Council met last night and set a public hearing for Municipal Ordinance Violations and Collection of Fines for March 22nd. It also tabled action on the proposed amendment to the Golf Cart Ordinance and decided to end Temporary Executive Powers and Declarations, with the understanding a reinstatement could be necessary if COVID numbers start to rise.

The Grayville Lions Club will hold a blood drive, in conjunction with the American Red Cross, tomorrow from 1 to 6 at the Grayville First Christian Church. Anyone seeking more information on the drive, or who would like to make an appointment to donate, can call 375-2311. People may also sign up online at redcrossblood.org.

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has resigned as state party chairman. Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough will be appointed as interim leader of state Democrats. The race to be named his permanent successor as chairperson has already begun, with 2nd District Congresswoman Robin Kelly announcing plans to seek the post.

The FCHS Board of Education met last night and accepted the resignation of Nathaniel Lackey. It also named Curt Robbins as Varsity Football Assistant and Wyatt Borah as JV/Freshman Assistant. Superintendent Jill Fulkerson said, in light of the winter weather this month, the final day of school for students is now set for May 27th, and the final day for teachers is May 28th. Graduation will be on May 16th.

The Edwards County Board of Education met last night, as well, and held a discussion on graduation. A proposal was brought forth for having all graduations on May 22nd, with West Salem at 10 a.m., Albion Grade School at 1 p.m., and Edwards County High School at 4 p.m. The board also talked about having Homecoming at ECHS in March and also Prom, with the hope of IDPH restrictions easing by spring.

Fairfield FFA Members Hunter Biggs, Lucas Halbert, Parker Richardson, Chase Hallam, Sophia Wolfe, Konnor Dagg, Chris Henry, Logan Kreiter, Camden Robbins, and Braxton Major were recommended to State FFA Degrees at Section 23 interviews last night. Cisne members Jaclyn Billington, Connor Brach, Collin Draper, Kevin Hyder, Lexi Locke, Grace Milligan, and Connor Smith were nominated for degrees, as well. Additionally, Grace Milligan was named the Section 23 Star Farmer, and Connor Brach was recognized as Section 23 Star in Agribusiness. Wayne City FFA member Colt Henson was named Section 23 Star in Agricultural Placement. They will advance to District V Star Virtual Interview Competition on March 8th.

Fairfield State Degree FFA Members- front, from left: Hunter Biggs, Lucas Halbert, Parker Richardson, Chase Hallam and Sophia Wolfe. Back: Konnor Dagg, Chris Henry, Logan Krieter, Camden Robbins, and Braxton Major.

State Senator Darren Bailey announced his intent to run for Illinois Governor last night in Effingham. He was elected to the Illinois House in 2018 and then to the Senate last year. His website, BaileyforIllinois.com, says his platform consists of lowering income and property taxes, reopening Illinois’ economy and creating jobs, protecting the second amendment, and fighting for the unborn.

Because of repairs needed to a water line east of Fairfield yesterday, beginning at 1995 Highway 15 East, the city Water Department says a boil order will be in effect for several residents until further notice.

The Wayne County Health Department has announced it will combine confirmed and probable cases in its reporting from now on in an effort to reduce duplicated work with state COVID sites. As such, it announced two new cases yesterday to bring the county’s total to 1,660. It also said last week’s weather delayed vaccine shipments, and anyone due a second dose will be contacted with a clinic date and time. With no doses in inventory yesterday, it said it would announce the next first-dose clinic as soon as possible. Vaccine appointments are being offered in Carbondale for anyone in Phase 1A or 1B, however, and more information can be found at https://www.jchdonline.org/index.php/all-topics/73-programs-and-services/480-covid-19-vaccination-appointments-available. The state Department of Public Health announced 1,246 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 34 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,175,655 cases and 20,303 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 2.7 percent on February 19th, up from 2.4 percent on the 18th.

Governor Pritzker has signed the sweeping criminal justice reform package into law. The changes include an eventual end on cash bail in many cases, the setting of statewide standards on police use of force, requiring police to wear body cameras, and diverting low-level drug offenders to treatment programs. Opponents, many in law enforcement, say the law ties the hands of police officers and will make communities less safe.

Temperatures this week are far warmer than the last two weeks, and Chris Miller, with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, says melting snow could result in widespread flooding.  He also says it could be good for soil conditions. Temperatures in northern Illinois are forecast to climb above 40, and they could rise above 50 in southern Illinois.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 17.60 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 10.46 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 14.45 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 10.97 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 17.80 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 6.08 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $54.50, up $2.25 from yesterday. The March crude oil price is $62.39, up $2.69 from yesterday morning.