Headlines for Wednesday, January 5th

Prosecutors in St. Charles County, Missouri, have filed charges against 40-year-old Hopkinsville, Kentucky, resident Ray Tate, who has been charged in Wayne County Circuit Court in Illinois in the death of Deputy Sean Riley. Tate faces 14 felonies in Missouri, including vehicle hijacking, robbery, armed criminal action, and kidnapping.

Edwards County High School and West Salem Grade School are proud to announce they raised just over $10,000 in the past two nights for the family of Deputy Riley. The schools held pie auctions at basketball games Monday and Tuesday night, and organizers said last night the proceeds would be donated to the Riley Benefit Fund at Trust Bank in Cisne.

Effingham police say 55-year-old Cisne resident Carrol Rodgers was injured in a two-vehicle crash last Wednesday. Police say Rodgers struck a vehicle driven by 39-year-old Effingham resident Michael Craigmiles and was taken to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital. Craigmiles refused medical treatment. Rodgers was cited for failure to yield, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and illegal transportation of alcohol.

SSM Health has announced a new visitor policy will take effect tomorrow at St. Mary’s in Centralia and Good Samaritan in Mt. Vernon due to rising COVID numbers. The change will allow one support person per day to visit. For the health and safety of patients and employees, rotating additional guests into patient rooms will not be allowed.

FOID and Concealed Carry License holders can now receive notices electronically. Instead of getting paper notices in the mail, people can sign up for email or text notifications. People can switch to electronic notifications at ispfsb.com by creating an account or, if they already have one, clicking on “My Profile.”

2021 ended as one of the deadliest years on record in Chicago in recent memory. According to statistics released by the city’s police department on Saturday, Chicago saw 797 homicides last year, compared to 772 in 2020 and 498 in 2019. The 2021 mark is the highest since 1996 and was higher than any other city in the United States for the year.

Law enforcement officers and county residents lined the gym floor at Fairfield Community High School yesterday for the funeral of Wayne County Deputy Sean Riley. Wayne County Sheriff Chris Otey spoke on Deputy Riley’s dedication and passion for the job, and he said his legacy will always be remembered in the county. However, he said his true love was for his family, and the department will forever be family to his wife and children.

39-year-old Carmi resident Brian W. Dartt was scheduled for a final pre-trial hearing Monday afternoon, and a jury trial related to the death of Clinton J. Richardson was set to begin January 18th. A short time after the hearing, while Richardson’s parents were present, Dartt pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI resulting in death. Dartt has been set for sentencing in front of Judge T. Scott Webb on March 3rd at 9 a.m. In pleading guilty, Dartt acknowledged he operated a motor vehicle on July 31st at a time when he had methamphetamine in his system, and that he caused an accident that was the proximate cause of Richardson’s death.

According to a Facebook post from Eldorado High School, a student, Austyn Hopkins, passed away yesterday morning at home. The initial release did not identify the student, and the school said it knew very few details other than the fact it had lost an individual for whom it and the community deeply cared.

The Egyptian Health Department reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in White County yesterday morning and one additional death; its totals sat at 3,447 cases and 35 deaths. Jefferson County reported 57 cases. The state Department of Public Health announced 24,423 new cases yesterday and 79 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 2,263,166 cases and 28,077 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 12 percent on January 1st, up from 11.8 percent on December 31st.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he has asked the Illinois Attorney General to investigate shady COVID-19 testing sites. There have been reports of pop-up testing locations that, in some instances, aren’t giving people their results. The governor says this is an enormous problem, but people can find a list of approved testing sites at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

According to a recent crop progress report from the USDA, the average statewide temperature for the month of December was 39.6 degrees, nearly 10 degrees above normal for the month. Average precipitation sat at about two-and-a-third inches, just above normal. For southeastern Illinois, temperatures averaged 45.9 degrees, nearly 11 degrees warmer than normal, and precipitation averaged four-inches-and-45-hundredths, 85 hundredths above average. Winter wheat condition was rated at three percent very poor, seven percent poor, 15 percent fair, 67 percent good, and eight percent excellent. Average statewide topsoil moisture was rated at two percent very short, 15 percent short, 53 percent adequate, and 30 percent surplus.

For most of last month, outlooks for January were showing above normal temperature trends, but that has been removed from the Climate Prediction Center. Ed Shimon, with the National Weather Service, says while January has changed to potential below normal temperature outlooks, the rest of the winter still shows above normal temperatures and precipitation.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 23.54 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.66 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 19.32 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 12.23 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 24.73 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 19.92 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $70.00, up $1.00 from yesterday. The February crude oil price is $76.76, up $0.42 from yesterday morning.