Headlines for Wednesday, March 31st

27-year-old Tyler E. Hutcheson was sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of criminal damage to property after being arrested in June for damaging oil tank batteries around the county. Four counts were Class 3 felonies, for which he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison; five counts were Class 4 felonies, for which he was given three years in prison. The sentences will be served concurrently. Hutcheson was also ordered to pay $104,597.39 in restitution.

22-year-old Maycee R. Randolph-Bailey and 20-year-old Tanner J.R. Buckman were also sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. Randolph-Bailey pleaded guilty to a count of delivery of less than five grams of meth last year and was given 24 month probation, time served, and 40 hours of public service work. Buckman pleaded guilty to a count of burglary and was given two years probation and time served.

28-year-old Fairfield resident Lacey D. Johnson was booked in the Wayne County Jail yesterday on a Wayne County warrant for felony criminal damage to property. Johnson was released after posting $770 bond.

FNB has announced it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of its new building at 113 South Court Street in Grayville. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on April 7th at the building site, and it will be followed by a community lunch at the current Grayville facility at 119 South Middle Street.

Much of the area is under a freeze watch until 9 Friday morning, including Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, White, and Hamilton counties. Some places could see temperatures in the upper 20s tomorrow and Friday morning, and vegetation sensitive to freezing temperatures may be killed or damaged.

State Senator Darren Bailey has filed legislation aimed at offering financial help for people with long-term care expenses. Senate Bill 1812 would create a state income tax credit equal to the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by an individual for their own long-term medical care, or that of a family member. In the case of family members, the credit would go to the family member responsible for paying for the case, be it a spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild of the patient.

Cisne and Edwards County FFA members had a successful Section 23 FFA Public Speaking event last night at ECHS. Cisne’s Noah Atwood finished in second place in Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, Kevin Hyder first place in JV Extemporaneous Speaking, Isabella Cline fourth place in Varsity Prepared Speaking, and Alex Miller eighth place in Creed Speaking. Edwards County’s McKayla Reynolds placed fourth in Creed Speaking. The Cisne FFA Varsity Quiz Bowl finished in 1st place at a contest last night in Albion, as well.

Frontier Community College recently announced the recipients of several scholarships. Emily Whitt and Jessica Rinebold, two students on track to complete their Associate Degrees in Nursing this May, received the Clemence Elizabeth Cox Scholarship, and Rinebold also received the Mary L. “Sandy” Crawford scholarship. Kayla Owen and Jaelyn Lieb were awarded the Vicky Lemons Memorial Scholarship. Each scholarship is valued at $500.

From left: Julie Bullard, Emily Whitt, Jessica Rinebold, and Jerry Cox

From left: Beth Karen, Gina Lemond, Gina Lemond, Jessica Rinebold, Wanda Douglas, Juliana Fleming and Julie Bullard

Kayla Owen and Jaelyn Lieb are pictured with the FCC Nursing Staff

Fairfield Community High School reminds people of its ticketing procedure for home football games this spring, including this Saturday. Players, cheerleaders, and band members will have a set number of tickets to distribute, and other students will also be able to get a ticket this week. Any remaining tickets will go on sale at a designated time on game day. The west ticket window will be used for tickets purchased on game day, and the east window will be for those with a ticket prior to sale.

The Wabash County Health Department says it will hold a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow at the Albion House of Prayer. The department will hold a Johnson & Johnson clinic on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at its office in Mt. Carmel, and people can call 263-3873 to schedule an appointment. The vaccinations are open to anyone 18 and older who lives or works in Illinois. The Jefferson County Health Department says it has Johnson & Johnson appointments available this week for anyone 18 and over living or working in Jefferson County. People can call 244-7134 to schedule an appointment.

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Edwards, Wabash, or Hamilton counties yesterday; Wayne County added one case to reach 1,701, and the state report indicated a male in his 70s in the County passed away due to COVID. White County also added one case and sat at 1,748. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,404 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 17 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,241,993 cases and 21,273 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 1.4 percent on March 27th, up from 1.3 percent on the 26th.

Kincaid’s in Fairfield will hold a bake sale event on Saturday for Julie McGill. Kincaid’s says McGill works in its Home Décor department and is undergoing treatment for colon cancer. In addition to baked goods, Jim Garret will provide music next Saturday, Janet Kent will have art for sale, people will be able to purchase Jules-Aid bracelets, and there will be a $5 raffle for a chainsaw.

Brad Beaver, with the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Environmental Programs, says it’s time for pesticide applicators and operators to renew their licenses. He says the department is offering small capacity in-person testing sessions, and people can go to the department’s website to find the nearest location. Online testing is also available.

Illinois Republican leaders are pushing for an independent commission to draw the state’s legislative districts. The GOP wants the state Supreme Court to appoint members to a commission to come up with new political boundaries instead of lawmakers drawing maps potentially benefitting one party over another. Under the bill, 16 commission members would be selected, representing the racial, gender, and ethnic demographics of the state.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has launched a new website, cicada-idnr.org, to help the public with conservation efforts. It includes information about things like preserving wildlife space, soil erosion, dealing with endangered species, and creating a pollinator habitat and is meant for everyone from private landowners to construction companies.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 23.64 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.63 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 14.11 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 3.46 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 28.98 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 16.69 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $53.50, down $1.00 from yesterday. The May crude oil price is $60.81, down $0.67 from yesterday morning.