Headlines for Friday, March 26th

22-year-old Fairfield resident Austin E. Lyon was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital after a single-vehicle accident northeast of Cisne yesterday afternoon. Wayne County deputies say he reportedly had a seizure and blacked out before running off a county roadway and striking a ditch and utility pole. North Wayne EMS responded to the scene, and the vehicle sustained over $1,500 damage.

51-year-old Michael Spitzner was airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 50 in Clay County Wednesday afternoon. State police say he ran into the rear of an SUV, driven by 65-year-old Cathy Stout, that was stopped while waiting to turn off the highway. Stout was uninjured, and Spitzner was also cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

35-year-old Clay City resident Kenneth C. French was sentenced yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court. He pleaded guilty to an amended count of reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one year probation and 50 hours of public service work. French was also ordered to pay $2,843 in fines and court costs.

55-year-old Bluford resident Robert A. Payne was arrested by Fairfield police yesterday morning on a charge of assault. He was also wanted on a Jackson County warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. Payne was held in the Wayne County Jail, pending the posting of $345 bond.

Fairfield National Bank is accepting applications for the David Kinney Memorial Scholarship.  It is available to any graduating senior from FCHS, Wayne City, or Cisne pursuing an ag-related major. A one-time payment of $1,000 will be awarded to up to five recipients, and additional information and applications can be found in school guidance offices. Applications must be returned to FNB no later than next Friday, April 2nd.

Frontier Community College’s Student Senate held a forum Monday night for candidates running for the IECC Board of Trustees. Jan Ridgely, Roger Browning, Brady Waldrop, Jeffrey Cutchin, and Barb Shimer are vying for three seats, and they all agreed declining enrollment would be a key issue in the coming years. The full forum can be viewed on the FCC Facebook page.

The Edwards County Council on Aging has approved the placement of a Senior Citizen Building on the campus of Frontier Community College. The Wayne County Senior Citizen Center Advisory Committee recommended an addition to Bob Boyles Hall to house the meal program last month, and the IECC Board adopted a resolution of support for the construction last week.

FCHS has announced its King and Queen Candidates for the 2021 Homecoming, to be held during halftime of the football game next Saturday. King candidates are Colin Massie, Noah McElravy, and Blake Pruitt, and Queen candidates are Leah Bowers, Macayle Snyder, and Kylie Stewart. There will be a dance for FCHS students next Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. on the teachers’ parking lot, weather permitting.

The Fairfield Rural Fire Protection District will hold its annual fish fry today at Station 1 on the east highway out of Fairfield. Drive-through-only service will run from 11 to 1 and 4:30 to 6:30. The menu will include fish, potato wedges, hush puppies, slaw, and water, and all proceeds will go toward the purchase of equipment. The cost is $10 per meal. People should enter from Southeast Seventh Street, line up in the old Garman lot on the west side of the station, and exit to the east.

The Wayne County Health Department says it will begin giving Moderna COVID vaccinations by appointment to any Illinois resident, beginning next week. People can call 842-5166 to make an appointment. The Wabash County Health Department says it currently has no restrictions on vaccinations for anyone over 18 living and working in Illinois. It will hold a Moderna clinic tomorrow at Parkview Christian Church in Mt. Carmel, and people can call 263-3873 to make an appointment. It will hold a Johnson & Johnson clinic at the church on Tuesday from noon to 7, and no appointments are needed for that clinic. Wayne County announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the past two days, bringing its total to 1,695. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,190 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 25 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,229,898 cases and 21,171 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 1.2 percent on March 22nd, unchanged from the 21st.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a package of four bills designed to increase economic equity and opportunities across the state. The bills prevent employers from disqualifying candidates with a criminal record unless it substantially relates to the job, cap interest on short-term loans at 36 percent, strengthens the Equal Pay Act, increase access to public housing, and boost diversity among business awarded state contracts.

Illinois has agreed to the early release of some low-to-medium-risk inmates as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit over the coronavirus. A lawyer involved in the case says about 1,000 inmates that had been set for release in the next nine months could be set free soon. Since the pandemic began, 87 inmates and one staff member have died of COVID-19.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 25.57 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.64 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 13.41 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 3.94 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 30.34 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 19.69 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $51.50, down $2.75 from yesterday. The May crude oil price is $59.97, down $0.44 from yesterday morning.