Headlines for Saturday, July 17th

Currently the State of Illinois is reporting 1,399,946 total cases of COVID-19 in the state. Currently the Positivity 7-Day Rolling Average Case Positivity is 1.9%, with Test Positivity 2.3%, with Total Tests Performed  standing at 26,292,979. To date there have been Confirmed Deaths 23,357, 10,519 Variant Cases and 2,463 Probable Deaths. Illinois has administered 12,917,362 vaccines.

Fairfield National Bank has announced a sponsorship of the Wayne County Quilts of Valor chapter, part of a nationwide organization creating quilts for, and donating them to veterans. FNB President Joey Hungerford says the program is a way to honor those in the community who have served and defended the country, and the community is invited to attend the World War II Veterans presentation ceremony at 2 p.m. on July 18th at the Fairfield First United Methodist Church. We’ll have a video stream of the ceremony on wfiwradio.com and on the WFIW Radio Facebook page.

The Fairfield Park Board met Thursday night and approved its appropriation ordinance, with no public comments provided, as its only action item. Board members did hear an update on swimming pool attendance for this year compared to 2019, its last year in operation. In June 2019, total pool admission was roughly 2,250, and total admission this June was about 1,900. While the numbers were down slightly, the board said the lack of the Kids In Motion program this year were the primary factors in the change. Taking that into account, the pool has fared well, with an increase in party rentals compared to 2019 and an increase in swim passes. Swimming lesson totals are about even.

Beginning this week, Saturday Wayne County Farmer’s Markets will be held on the First United Methodist Church parking lot across from Huck’s. The market had been held at the courthouse, but it has been moved until construction at the courthouse is completed. Wednesday markets will continue to be held from 7 to noon inside the front entrance of the fairgrounds. Sellers must be from Wayne or an adjoining county, and any produce or product must be home-grown, home- baked, or home-made. Sellers will face no charge, but they must clean up after a market. Anyone with question can call the Extension Office at 842-3702

The Wayne County Saddle Club is the recipient of a $1,000 grant from the Wayne County Farm Bureau as part of the organization’s 2021 Community Impact Grant program. The grant funds were used for groundwork improvements in the club’s riding arena including the addition of 108 tons of sand to finish the arena after dirt work and leveling. The Wayne County Saddle Club has over 100 members from Wayne and surrounding counties. The club is focused on organized, equestrian events that are open to the public. The club holds weekly youth ride nights throughout the spring and summer. The goal of the Wayne County Farm Bureau Community Impact Grant Program is to partner with local groups and individuals on projects that will have a long-term impact in our community. This is the eighth year of the project. Almost $41,000 in grant funds have been awarded since 2014 through the Community Impact Grant program. The Wayne County Saddle Club is located at 1582 County Road 1050, north of Fairfield, just west of State Route 45. More information on the Saddle Club can be found on their Facebook page… @saddleclubwaynecounty.  To become a member of the Wayne County Farm Bureau, go to waynecfb.com/membership or call 618-842-3342.

Local internet service provider, Sparklight, has recently been ranked Top Business Choice Internet Provider by PC Magazine. The leader for rigorous, labs-based comparative reviews of internet products, PC Magazine asked businesses to rate their internet service provider based on a variety of criteria, including overall satisfaction, cost, reliability, support and whether they would recommend their provider. Sparklight Business ranked fifth in the nation out of 23 business internet providers, scoring top marks from its customers in all categories. Sparklight is investing across its footprint, laying the groundwork to increase the company’s current broadband speeds of up to 5 gigabits for business customers to speeds as fast as 10 gigabits (10G) and beyond. Delivering speed 10 times faster than today’s networks, 10G will transform the customer experience, creating new possibilities for smart cities, connected homes, virtual and augmented reality and business. PC Magazine also ranked Sparklight third in the nation on the magazine’s list of the top 10 Fastest Internet Service Providers for 2021.  For this recognition, PC Magazine tested internet service providers via PCMag Speedtest from April 1, 2020 through June 7, 2021 – a time period that saw unprecedented broadband usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Illinois football star Bobby Roundtree has died at the age of 23. Roundtree was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury he suffered in a swimming accident two years ago in his native Florida. Roundtree played two seasons for the Illini, starting as a freshman and becoming one of the top pass rushers in the Big Ten as a sophomore in 2018. He had 11.5 sacks in his two seasons. The Illini says he died in the Tampa area, where he was living. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says that the Lincoln Service, Carl Sandburg/Illinois Zephyr and Illini/Saluki state-supported Amtrak trains will resume full service effective July 19.  Service levels had been reduced by half due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the resumption of a full schedule, there will be five daily roundtrips between Chicago and St. Louis including the Amtrak national Texas Eagle, two daily roundtrips between Chicago and Quincy, and three daily roundtrips between Chicago and Carbondale including the Amtrak national City of New Orleans. Tickets for Amtrak trains can be purchased at amtrak.com/midwest for travel beginning July 19.

A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and have fallen months behind on their rent. As of June 7, roughly 3.2 million people in the U.S. said they would face eviction within the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks through online responses from a representative sample of U.S. households.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 22.89 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 13.00 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 20.26 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 17.66 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 22.31 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 13.42 feet.