Headlines for Wednesday, September 8th

The Wayne County Highway Department has been notified by the Illinois Department of Transportation of an upcoming closure on Route 15. Starting Monday (September 13), the road will be closed from 2095 to 2150 East for culvert replacement under the highway. The closure will last approximately five days, and there will be no through traffic during that time. Local traffic should avoid the area and seek an alternate route.

Two people were sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. 40-year-old Vincennes, Indiana, resident Todd M.L. Jones pleaded guilty to an amended Class 3 felony count of possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine. Jones was sentenced to two years probation. 32-year-old Fairfield resident Todd W. Ray pleaded guilty in March to a Class 2 felony count of burglary. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and time served.

At the request of the O’Fallon Police Department, Illinois State Police have activated an endangered missing person advisory for 14-year-old Karah Barnett. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call 624-4545 or 911. A description and photo can be found in the following attachment: Karah-Barnett

The Fairfield Park Board will meet tonight at 6. In old business, the board is set to discuss the splash pad project at the swimming pool and playground equipment at Lakeside. The board will discuss pool-house improvements as one of its new business items, along with publishing for lawnmower bids and issuing a bond ordinance notice.

The Edwards County Sportsman’s Club, Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension office will sponsor an Illinois Hunter Safety Class this weekend at the sportsman’s club. The class will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and pre-registration is required by calling 445-2934.

The Illinois State Board of Education has offered new guidance on remote learning. ISBE says districts must consult their local health departments before suspending in-person learning because of high COVID-19 transmission. Districts will also be required to provide remote learning to students during any pause from in-person classes. Officials in most areas say they are trying to avoid having to go remote unless absolutely necessary.

25-year-old Brodey I. Murbarger appeared via Zoom for a brief pre-trial conference in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. A jury trial was scheduled for January 18th, 2022, at 9 a.m. in Wayne County. Attorneys will hold another pre-trial on October 26th at 2, with monthly hearings anticipated up until the trial; the final conference will be held at 9:30 on January 11th. Murbarger remains housed in the Wayne County Jail on $300,000 cash bond. He faces three counts of first-degree murder, one count of concealment of a homicidal death, and two counts of home invasion in connection to the death of Megan Nichols.

The Albion City Council met last night and heard the City had received a $130,000 payment from the American Rescue Plan. It also decided to take down the flashing red light at the corner of Fifth and Main streets, and it plans to obtain prices for a flashing stop sign. Employee vacation times saw a change, as well; vacation had been required to be taken in a minimum of four-hour increments, but it can now be taken in one-hour increments.

The Fairfield Public School District 112 Board of Education will hold a special meeting tonight at 6. The board will enter closed session to discuss personnel and collective bargaining before moving to action items, including the employment of a health aid, resignation of a paraprofessional, and collective bargaining agreement with the Fairfield Federation of Teachers.

Wayne County deputies were dispatched to the FNB Bean Capital Bank in Wayne City August 25th to investigate a lost bag of money, containing $120,000 cash, from a Brinks Security transport vehicle. They were able to develop a possible lead, which lead them to recover the cash, which was in turn given back to personnel with Brinks Security.

The Wayne County Health Department announced 57 new cases of COVID-19 from Friday to Monday, bringing its total to 2,478; 223 people were in isolation. Hamilton County added 54 since Friday to reach 1,148; one person was hospitalized, and 60 were in isolation. White County added 34 cases yesterday and sat at 2,579; it also announced its 28th death. The state Department of Public Health announced 12,051 new cases since Friday afternoon and 66 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,550,375 cases and 24,133 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 10.3 percent on September 4th, down from 10.4 percent on the 3rd. Its seven-day average for available ICU beds was at five percent.

Crop conditions declined slightly over the past week, according to the latest statewide weekly crop report. 22 percent of soybean acres were turning color, and nine percent of acres were dropping leaves. The soybean crop went from 71 percent in good-to-excellent condition to 65 percent. 83 percent of corn acres were in the dent stage, and 30 percent are mature. 67 percent of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down from 70 percent last week. Average statewide topsoil moisture was rated at eight percent very short, 17 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and eight percent surplus.

Farm income is up, but expenses have risen, too, per Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist Mike Doherty. He says the input costs in the last 12 months in almost all fertilizer categories for corn and soybeans have gone up somewhere between 50 to 80 percent. Doherty also says the cost for new farm buildings is also up because of high lumber and material pricing.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 6.28 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.10 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 6.07 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.25 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 4.55 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 3.86 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $61.25, down $1.00 from yesterday. The October crude oil price is $68.72, down $0.25 from yesterday morning.