Headlines for Tuesday, October 5th

27-year-old Centralia resident Christopher Gallatin and 30-year-old Edgewood resident Walter West have been formally charged with two counts of murder in connection with the death of 80-year-old Edgewood resident Roger Courson. They also face one count of residential burglary, and one of the murder counts was based on the murder being committed during another forcible felony. Bond was set at $2.5 million each.

New Hope will take on Jonesboro in SIJHSAA Class S Semifinal softball action this afternoon in Coulterville. We’ll have coverage of the game on 104.9 WFIW, beginning around 3. Derek Dunn will have the call.

44-year-old Fairfield resident Roy D. Finley was sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to a count of criminal damage to property, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 12 months supervision. Finley was also ordered to pay $933 in fines, court costs, and restitution.

Wayne County deputies arrested 23-year-old Flora resident Tristen E. Wilson last night on a Hardin County warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of speeding. He was held in the Wayne County Jail, pending the posting of $445 bond.

Wayne County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who attempted to cut a catalytic converter off a truck belonging to Integrity Tree Service, causing over $1,000 damage. Anyone with information should call or text Crime Stoppers at 842-9777.

The Edwards County Health Office and Edwards County Farm Bureau will offer a drive-through flu shot clinic on October 21st from 11 to 4 at the Edwards County Fairgrounds. The clinic is for private pay, private insurance, and Medicare customers only; Medicaid customers must call the health office for an appointment for a shot. The cost for private pay shots is $30 for low dose and $65 for high dose for those over 65 years old.

This is National Fire Prevention Week, and State Fire Marshal Spokesman JC Fultz says the focus this year is on the “Sounds of Safety.” He says a single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced. A continuous set of three loud beeps means there is smoke or a fire, so people should leave immediately and call 911.

The Greater Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce held its 100th Annual Dinner Meeting last night at the Elks Dining Hall. Brad Jesop received the Outstanding Community Service Award, and Don, Nick, and Anthony Zurliene accepted the Business of the Year Award for Zurliene Enterprises. Additionally, Mayor Mike Dreith handed out the first annual SMILE Award to Kristi Hornung. The award stands for Shines, Motivates, Inspires, Leads, and Excels; winners will be announced quarterly in the future, with one chosen for the new annual award.

The Albion City Council met last night. It set Trick or Treating hours from 4 to 7 p.m. on the 30th, and it also heard a request from Knapp Mart to allow the store to sell alcohol so it can install a gaming operation. The council scheduled a Liquor Commission meeting for next Tuesday at 7 to discuss the matter. In other business, the final vote on redistricting wards will take place after city ordinances have been recodified.

Fairfield Community High School plans to hold Parent/Teacher Conferences October 26th and 28th from 4 to 7 p.m. On the 28th, seniors and their parents and guardians are invited to attend a FAFSA workshop to get help in completing the required financial aid form. Anyone with questions, or who wants to set up a date and time for a conference, should call the FCHS Guidance Department at 847-9405.

The Hamilton County Community Unit School District will partner with the State of Illinois to hold a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic later this week. The clinic will run from 7:30 to 11:30 this Thursday and Friday at the Unit Office at 804 Golf Course Road in McLeansboro, and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized and recommended for persons 12 and older.

The Egyptian Health Department announced nine new cases of COVID-19 in White County since Saturday, bringing its total to 2,996. Hamilton County reported five cases since Friday and sat at 1,289; one person was hospitalized, and seven were in isolation. Jefferson County added 44 cases since Saturday, including 11 yesterday. The state Department of Public Health announced 7,139 new cases since Friday afternoon and 59 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 1,638,003 cases and 25,076 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 4.7 percent on October 1st, down from 4.9 percent on September 30th. Its seven-day average availability for ICU beds was up to seven percent.

Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards continues to talk ag funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation, even as budget and infrastructure talks continue in Washington D.C. He says the CCC has about $30 billion, and $3 billion in new money is being brought forward in the new fiscal year to address several matters, including climate initiatives.

The Illinois Department of Revenue has launched a new website. Spokesperson Maura Kownacki says the new site is more user-friendly, featuring intuitive drop-down menus, a virtual assistant to help answer questions, and Google Translate in seven different languages. People can file taxes, check on the status of their refunds, and find additional tax information at tax.illinois.gov.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 6.14 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 6.33 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.48 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 4.53 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 4.37 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $70.50, up $1.50 from yesterday. The November crude oil price is $77.87, up $1.97 from yesterday morning.