Headlines for Wednesday, July 21st

The USDA says the signup deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program current general signup is this Friday. The USDA set a goal of enrolling up to four million new CRP acres by raising payment rates and expanding incentives offered under the program. CRP is capped at 25 million acres for FY21; 20.7 million acres were enrolled in mid-July, and the cap will increase to 27 million acres by FY23.

Wayne County deputies arrested 19-year-old Bonnie resident Norman W. Overturf last night on a Wayne County warrant for criminal sexual abuse. Overturf was taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the posting of $1,520 bond. Deputies also arrested 32-year-old Fairfield resident Amber M. Webb last night on a Wayne County warrant for failure to appear in court on charges of failure to yield and operating an uninsured vehicle. She was held, pending the posting of $345 bond.

The Edwards County 4-H Dog Show was held last night, and Adelynn McCaleb was named Dog Care Champion. Kaylie Vallette was Reserve Dog Care Champion. In the Obedience portion, Kwade Sawyer was named Beginning Novice I Champion. In Beginning Novice II, Vallette won the Champion trophy and was named Novice Champion.

Evaluations for the Upward Soccer Season are set for Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The season is open to boys and girls entering pre-K through 8th grade this fall, but they must be four years old by October 1st. Fees are $50, and shorts may be purchased for an additional $15.  Registration forms can be completed before the mandatory evaluations at registration.upward.org/upw80370.  The season will kick off with practices the week of August 29th, the first game day will be September 11th, and the season will end October 16th.

Well-known Southern-Gospel singers Jeff and Sheri Easter will be in concert at the Cisne Reunion at the Cisne Park at 7 p.m. on August 11th. The concert is a free public event, and attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at the Blue Point Church.

The Easters

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education approved a Back to School plan for the upcoming year at its meeting Monday night. District 112 will be fully open for in-person learning for all student attendance days, and remote instruction will only be made available for non-vaccinated or vaccine-ineligible students under quarantine. Indoor masking will be recommended, but not required, for unvaccinated people. School will be in session from 8:10 to 3 at North Side and from 8:10 to 3:10 at Center Street.

Registration for Fairfield Community High School students will be held Tuesday and Wednesday next week, and it can also be completed on fchsmules.com. Tuesday’s times will be 1 to 6, and Wednesday’s will be 10 to 2 in the Study Hall. “Meet the Mules” is tentatively planned for August 20th, and the first day of school for students will be a full day on August 16th.

The Albion Area Chamber of Commerce and West Salem Development Association are inviting professional Plein Air and amateur artists to the 2021 Edwards County Paint-Out. The event is set for September 25th at COUNTRY Financial Hall at the Fairgrounds. Any artist planning to participate should complete a registration form by September 10th. Forms can be found on the Paint-Out Facebook page, or they can be obtained by contacting Averi Goodman at 445-7833.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 745 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and six additional deaths. Jefferson County added nine cases. Statewide totals sat at 1,403,508 cases and 23,383 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 7.2 percent on July 17th, up from 7.1 percent on the 16th. Its seven-day average for ICU bed availability was 18 percent.

Above average rainfall dominated last week, according to the latest statewide crop report. We received the most rain in southern Illinois, but the statewide average was nearly two-and-a-half inches. Corn was silking on 77 percent of acres, well ahead of the five-year average, and 66 percent of soybeans were blooming. The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 87 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture sat at one percent very short, seven percent short, 69 percent adequate, and 23 percent surplus.

Governor J.B. Pritzker spoke with President Joe Biden last week about gun violence in Illinois. While in D.C., the governor said the state is fully engaged and working with federal authorities to fight gun trafficking and illegal sales in Chicago and other parts of the state. Illinois House Republicans held their own press conference, and they said laws targeting law enforcement and prioritizing defendants over victims are reducing public safety.

Crews are putting the final touches on Southern Illinois University’s new dental clinic. The $11.5 million project was announced in 2019, and work began in 2020 with the demolition of an unused building in Alton. The Alton Telegraph says officials expect the School of Dental Medicine’s new Advance Care Clinic to open to students next month.

SIU Carbondale also plans to hold an in-person open house for prospective students this Friday, its first since November 2019. The free, day-long event is for students who will be college freshmen in fall 2022 or later, as well as their families. About 200 students and 200 guests are expected, and people wanting more information can go to myfuture.siu.edu.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 25.12 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 9.11 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 18.58 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 5.91 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 26.49 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 18.45 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $60.50, up $1.00 from yesterday. The August crude oil price is $67.42, up $0.75 from yesterday morning.