Headlines for Tuesday, June 1st

25-year-old Brodey I. Murbarger appeared in a status hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court this morning. His attorney and the prosecution agreed to meet in private to discuss the scheduling of a jury trial, as the county is once again able to schedule them because of declining COVID numbers. They will advise the court of their progress in a later meeting, and another pre-trial conference was scheduled for June 29th at 9 a.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse.

Several people were booked in the Wayne County Jail over the holiday weekend. 41-year-old Christopher W. Melton was arrested early this morning on a charge of domestic battery, and he was held, pending an appearance before a judge to set bond. 43-year-old Desiree E. Van Heule was arrested on a charge of DUI alcohol, given a notice to appear, and released.

The Edwards County Ministerial Alliance is sponsoring a series of free lunches at the pagoda on the Edwards County Courthouse square this summer. The lunches are mainly for children, but anyone is welcome. Lunch will be served from 11:30 to 12:30, and the menu will be determined by the church serving the meal on that particular day. Monday meals will be handled by the Free Methodist Church, today’s meal- and future Tuesdays- by the Christian Church, Wednesdays by the First Methodist Church, Thursdays by the House of Prayer, and Fridays by the Baptist Church.

Wayne City High School and Frontier Community College graduate Jayla Scott recently received a $1,000 scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution Old Goshen Trail Chapter in Mt. Vernon. She says she plans to continue her education at Southern Illinois University. Mt. Vernon Township High School graduate Lauren Berry also received a scholarship.

Illinois lawmakers have voted in favor of several changes to state election law, including moving the March Primary to June. The later date would only be in effect for next year, and the primary would go from March 15th to June 28th. The bill would also make General Election Day in November a state and school holiday.

41-year-old Vandalia resident Timothy M. Funk died Friday afternoon in a work-related fall in the Metro-East area. Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says Funk was working on a hotel sign in Pontoon Beach when he fell from a bucket lift, which had broken from its support arm. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. Authorities are investigating what happened to the bucket lift.

FCHS Assistant Principal Bobby Wells says the school is planning to move away from the block schedule used for classes this past year, going back to a normal 8-3 format. He also says the school hopes to be completely maskless next year, but it is waiting to see where the CDC, IDPH, and state Board of Education guide them in the coming months.

A good crowd was on hand for Memorial Day services yesterday in the Veterans Section of Maple Hill Cemetery. Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith was the speaker for the event, and American Legion Post 176 Commander Tom Seaman and VFW Post 4535 Commander Ron Van Buskirk laid the wreath on the Monument of the Unknown Soldier

Edwards County Mobile Home tax bills were mailed last month, and the due date is July 30th. A late fee of $25 will be assessed August 1st, with additional $25 fees every month the tax is delinquent. Payment may be made in person, by mail, or placed in the drop box on the northeast corner of the Edwards County Courthouse.

State lawmakers approved a more than $42 billion budget for the new fiscal year last night. It passed the House and Senate along party lines, with Democrats touting increased money for education, paying down the state debt, and using $2.5 billion in federal money for economic recovery programs and infrastructure. Republicans criticized the budget for including a pay raise for state lawmakers and $1 billion in member initiative money to hand out in their districts.

The state Department of Public Health announced 521 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 33 additional deaths. No new cases were reported in Wayne County. Clay County added two cases from last Sunday to yesterday and sat at 1,488. Statewide totals sat at 1,382,186 cases and 22,827 deaths. The preliminary statewide case positivity rate for May 24th through the 30th was 1.6 percent. The Southern Region had a rate of 1.4 percent on the 28th, down from 1.5 on the 27th.

Voters will be asked in the November 2022 election if Illinois workers should have a fundamental right to unionize. Lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment last week that would also prohibit municipalities from passing local right-to-work laws. Supporters say it’s time to prioritize worker’s rights, but opponents say it would drive businesses out of the state.

Illinois lawmakers also approved a bill that would allow bars to offer a free shot, beer, or glass of wine to those who can show proof of COVID vaccination. If signed into law by the governor, the promotion would run June 10th through July 10th. It would also extend the current “cocktails-to-go” law until 2024.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 15.89 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.51 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 8.40 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.05 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 11.14 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 6.78 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $59.50, unchanged from yesterday. The July crude oil price is $68.25, up $1.12 from yesterday morning.