Headlines for Thursday, April 29th

White County Circuit Judge T. Scott Webb has again ruled Illinois’ FOID card is unconstitutional, setting the stage for the state Supreme Court to again examine the matter. In 2017, Vivian Brown was charged with violating the FOID card law by owning a rifle without a card; White County sided with her then, but, after an appeal to the Supreme Court, it opted not to make a decision last year.

The USDA has released Illinois county estimates for the 2020 hay harvest. Wayne County was estimated to have harvested 5,550 acres of non-alfalfa hay totaling 9,900 tons. Yield per acre was 1.8 tons. Edwards County harvested 2,300 acres for 5,700 tons, an average of 2.5 tons per acre. White County had 1,570 acres harvested for 3,030 tons. Statewide, Illinois farmers harvested 270,000 acres of non-alfalfa hay for 621,000 tons. Average statewide yield per acre was 2.3 tons.

Illinois State Police District 19 Commander Captain Nathan Douglas has announced several items of emphasis for troopers in Wayne County in May. State Police will conduct a Roadside Safety Check and Special Traffic Enforcement Patrol, with an emphasis on the fatal four violations of DUI, speeding, failure to wear a seatbelt, and distracted driving. They will also conduct a Distracted Driving Enforcement Program.

42-year-old Valerie Struthers and 38-year-old Wesley Huffman, both of Carbondale, were arrested after a Friday night incident involving Carbondale football coach Bryan Lee. Struthers and Huffman are accused of striking Lee after a Friday night loss, and he was treated and released from a hospital. Struthers and Huffman each face two counts of aggravated battery in a public place and aggravated battery of a school employee.

Wayne County’s Gary Carter was nominated and elected as Chairman of the Illinois Eastern Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday night. Barb Shimer, Jan Ridgely, and Brady Waldrop were seated as trustees after the Consolidated Election, and Shimer was nominated as Secretary Pro Tem. Trustee Brenda Culver was elected Vice Chairman. In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, IECC trustees approved an affiliation agreement between St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and Frontier Community College’s Medical Lab Technician Program. It also approved a contract for FCC President Dr. Jay Edgren, and it approved the resignation ratification for FCC Assistant Professor Mary Morris, effective May 15th.

Wayne City High School says its Senior of the Year will be announced on May 7th at its Senior Awards assembly. The winner will be selected from its Seniors of the Month. Hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars will be awarded to graduating seniors at the 9 a.m. assembly, as well. Each senior will be allowed six guests, and the program will be streamed on YouTube at the following link https://youtube.com/channel/UCUUNDBqj8__yBqnUBe3SI7w

WCHS Seniors of the Month. Front, from left: Sydnee Greenwalt, Jakara Greenwalt, Kalyn Meritt, and Jaden Boyd. Back: Nathan Maxey, Adam Loker, Austin Schuster, Jaxson Youngblood

The Hamilton County Health Department announced one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing its total to 802; one person was in isolation. No new cases were announced in Edwards, Wabash, or White counties. Wayne County did not release an update. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,728 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 33 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,328,454 cases and 21,891 deaths. The Southern Region had a positivity rate of 1.7 percent on April 25th, up from 1.6 percent on the 24th.

State Climatologist Trent Ford says more seasonable temperatures should be on the way for Illinois after a warm-up earlier in the week. Temperatures may be cooler today, but they should be near average for the weekend. April has seen a wide variety of temperatures, with a freeze warning last week and highs in the upper 70s and low 80s this week.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state’s bill backlog is almost under control. The once $16+ billion pile of bills has been reduced to $3.5 billion, putting the state on a more reasonable 30-day payment cycle. Mendoza says that should help the state’s credit rating, but she also says lawmakers must pass a balanced budget this spring that doesn’t rely on federal relief money.

The Honor Flight Network has announced all passengers on its flights in 2021 will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and any of the three currently available vaccines are sufficient. For those who receive the Moderna of Pfizer vaccines, the second dose must have been at least 14 days prior to a flight. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it must have been at least 28 days before flying. The requirement applies to all veterans, guardians, and staff, and no exceptions will be made.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 12.17 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.50 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 7.19 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 10.10 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 5.79 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 6.53 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $56.75, up $0.75 from yesterday. The June crude oil price is $64.23, up $1.43 from yesterday morning.