Headlines for Tuesday, January 11th

26-year-old Brodey I. Murbarger was scheduled to appear in Wayne County Circuit Court this morning for a pre-trial hearing, but the hearing was continued to a later date. Defense Attorney Christian J. Baril filed the motion to continue due to illness. The Circuit Clerk’s Office said this morning no make-up date had been set in stone. The final pre-trial conference in the case was previously set for April 26th at 9:30, and a jury trial is scheduled to begin on May 2nd.

Two Missouri residents were involved in a two-vehicle crash near milepost 107 on Interstate 64 in Wayne County yesterday afternoon. Per Illinois State Police, 58-year-old Beaufort resident Raymond Davis was westbound in the driving lane in a 2013 Volvo semi, and he was followed by 23-year-old St. Louis resident Brandon Kleine in a 2007 Honda Civic. Police say Kleine fell asleep and rear-ended Davis. Kleine was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured vehicle. Davis reported no injuries on-scene.

48-year-old Louisville resident Steven L. Ricketts faces a Class X felony count of armed violence in Shelby County Circuit Court; he is accused of possessing a knife with a blade at least three inches long. Ricketts is also charged with a Class 2 felony count of possession of between five and 15 grams of methamphetamine. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 31st for a preliminary hearing.

The Illinois State Horticulture Society recently sponsored the 32nd Illinois and National Sweet Cider Contests and the 19th National Hard Cider Contest during the Illinois Specialty Crops Conference in Springfield. Justin Wiles and Wiles Family Orchard in Fairfield took third place in the Illinois and national sweet cider contests and first place in hard cider.

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is touting expanding availability for rural broadband to help Illinois farmers. She wants to further expand rural broadband as part of the next Farm Bill in 2023, even though she will leave Congress before it is finalized. She announced in 2021 this would be her final term in office.

The Biden Administration recently appointed Scott Halpin as new State Executive Director for the USDA Illinois Farm Service Agency, and he joined the FSA team last week. Halpin is Kendall-Grundy County Farm Bureau President and led the counties through the process of merging memberships. As SED, Halpin will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of FSA programs to ag producers in Illinois.

The Fairfield City Council will meet tonight at 6 at City Hall. Two ordinances are listed as new business items, with one pertaining to the regulation of video gaming, per Mayor Mike Dreith. He says it could up the charge of operating a video gaming terminal from $25 per year to $250. The second ordinance is a continuation of the transfer of billing being split between the City and Wayne-White Electric for utilities.

22-year-old Cape Fair, Missouri, resident Cierra C. Wood was injured in a two-vehicle accident yesterday morning near milepost 99 on Interstate 64 in Wayne County. According to Illinois State Police, at approximately 10:47, 61-year-old Grayville resident David L. Hall was westbound in the passing lane in a 2007 Dodge pulling a trailer. Police say he had slowed and attempted a turn onto the paved cross-over with a posted “Authorized Vehicles Only” sign. Wood was behind Hall in a 2013 GMC and failed to reduce her speed, causing her to strike the back of Hall’s trailer. Hall was cited for disobeying a traffic control device, and Wood was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The Wayne County Farm Bureau is inviting farmers to the 2022, in-person Farm Finance Forum. The forum will be held on January 21st at the Fairfield First Christian Church, located at 100 West Center Street. Registration and refreshments will begin at 8:30, and the program is set to begin at 9. The forum is free and open to the public, but people are asked to RSVP by January 14th by calling 842-3342 or by going to waynecfb.com/forum.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital says its Horizon Healthcare Medical Clinic in Cisne is closed through Thursday due to COVID-19. Normal hours are anticipated to resume on Friday at 9 a.m. FMH thanks the public for their cooperation and understanding as it takes measures for the benefit of patients, residents, staff, and the community.

The Wayne County Health Department announced 86 new cases of COVID-19 from Friday through Sunday and one additional COVID-related death; county totals sat at 3,848 cases and 68 deaths. 303 people were in isolation. White County reported 70 new cases in the same time period, and Jefferson County reported 215 since Saturday. The state Department of Public Health announced 77,833 new cases since Friday afternoon and 207 additional deaths. Statewide totals sat at 2,460,270 cases and 28,568 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 14.7 percent on the 7th, up from 14.3 percent on the 6th. Its seven-day average availability for ICU beds was at three percent.

Ag groups continue to digest the Biden-Harris meat-supply-chain action plan announced last week. Tasha Bunting is the Illinois Farm Bureau Associate Director of Commodities and Livestock Programs, and she says, while details are lacking for some programs, the announcement has been made for possibilities. Potential changes include strengthening rules to protect farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

A new bill aims to increase the use of personal video footage to solve crimes. The measure is sponsored by Representative Mike Zalewski, who patterned it after a successful program in suburban Elmwood Park, where residents receive payment for submitting security or doorbell camera video that helps police solve crimes. Under the proposal, if the footage helps in prosecution, the person providing the video would receive $100.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 22.21 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.39 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 8.03 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 9.75 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 23.97 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 15.78 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $71.25, down $0.75 from yesterday. The February crude oil price is $79.23, down $0.06 from yesterday morning.