Headlines for Thursday, April 1st

The City of Fairfield will conduct a city-wide clean-up next Saturday, April 10th from 8 to 11 a.m. The service is for city residents only, and a utility bill stub or driver’s license will be required to dispose of waste; commercial contractors will not be allowed. People should line up on East King Street toward the Street & Bridge Department. Dumpsters will be on hand for general waste, metal and appliances, and tires. Light truck tires can be disposed of for three dollars each, passenger car tires two dollars each, and ATV tires one dollar each. Electronics, construction and remodeling debris, yard waste, liquid paint, batteries, concrete, bricks, asbestos items, and items considered hazardous waste will not be accepted.

The Wayne and Edwards County courthouses will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday. The Wayne County Courthouse won’t reopen until Monday, where it will have special hours of 8 to 7, making today and Monday the final days for early voting. In Edwards County, the courthouse will have special hours on Saturday from 8:30 to 11. People cannot vote at the courthouses on Election Day. Wayne County Clerk Liz Ann Woodrow said, as of this morning, 209 people had voted early in the courthouse, and 130 mail-in ballots had been requested, with most already returned. Clerk Mary Beth Smith said 54 people had voted early in Edwards County, with six mail-in ballots returned.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education will meet Wednesday (April 7) at 6 in the Center Street Board Room. The board will enter closed session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, performance, discipline, or dismissal of specific employees, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body. Following that closed session, the board is scheduled to adjourn for the night.

State Representative Adam Niemerg says his first piece of legislation in his first term in office has passed unanimously out of the Elementary and Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing, and Charter Schools Committee. House Bill 217 would allow school districts to decide if they would like to put the words “In God We Trust” back on public school buildings in the state. It does not mandate the phrase to be displayed, and every community would be able to use its own standards and decision-making process.

Businessman Gary Rabine announced he will seek the Republican nomination for Illinois Governor in 2022 earlier this week. Rabine joins former state Senator Paul Schimpf and current state Senator Darren Bailey as the officially declared candidates for the primary.

Last month, the Fairfield Community High School Board of Education approved Baysinger to advertise for bids for work on installing air conditioning in the Mule Barn. FCHS Assistant Principal Bobby Wells says, hopefully, work will begin this summer. He says, by the time people arrive in the gym for volleyball next fall, the climate control will be fully operational.

Frontier Community College’s Adult Education Program is taking registration for the second eight weeks of the spring semester and the summer semester. Angel Maguire says there are about 11,000 individuals 16 and older in the IECC service area without a high school diploma, so the program is working to provide much needed GED, adult-basic, and adult-secondary education.

Fairfield FFA Member Sara McGehee placed third in Prepared Speaking recently in a Section 23 FFA Public Speaking competition in Albion. Lainie Clark finished third in Extemporaneous Speaking, Mattie Koontz fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking, Reaghan Wells fourth in Prepared Speaking, and Chase Cline ninth in Creed Speaking.

The Annual Wayne City FFA Banquet, hosted by the Wayne City FFA Alumni, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, in the Wayne City High School gym. There will not be an auction this year. All attendees will be required to have a ticket to enter, and people should have a mask upon entry. Tickets cost $10, and they may be purchased from Greg Dickey at 838-6773, David Reed at 839-0842, Isaac Loker at 895-6444, or Jennifer Ehrhart at 214-8294. Tickets can also be purchased at Bean Capital Banking Center in Wayne City.

The Edwards County Health Office reported four new cases of COVID-19 from March 25th through yesterday, bringing its total to 552. Three people were in isolation. Wabash County added one case yesterday and sat at 1,287; 12 people were in isolation. Hamilton County added three to reach 785, and Wayne County did not release an update. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,592 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 28 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,244,585 cases and 21,301 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 1.5 percent on March 28th, up from 1.4 percent on the 27th.

Illinois has reached a key metric to reducing COVID-19 restrictions. 70 percent of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but, as long as hospital admissions continue to rise in some portions of the state, Illinois will not advance to the Bridge Phase. The number of COVID-19 cases has also been going up statewide, and officials continue to urge people to wear a mask, socially distance, and avoid crowds as much as possible.

As April begins, Freese-Notis Meteorologist Dan Hicks says the state should stay dry. He says March was warmer and wetter than normal, especially in southern Illinois, which slowed fieldwork, but the next week should favor more dry days, with a cool start to the month and a rapid warmup over the weekend.

The state is offering a detailed guide to help schools decide how to spend seven billion dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money to help struggling students in the pandemic. The 180-page Learning Renewal Resource Guide has input from multiple education experts, who will in turn seek input from schools about how the ideas are working. Ways to use money may include tutoring, counseling, boosting enrollment in preschool, and after school apprentice programs.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 23.10 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.23 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 10.92 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.85 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 28.21 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 16.74 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $52.25, down $1.25 from yesterday. The May crude oil price is $60.35, down $0.46 from yesterday morning.