Headlines for Wednesday, June 8th

The Wayne City Village Board met this week and approved repairs on roads in the village, with the biggest project beginning immediately for a portion of Section Line Road. Several loads of rock will be put on the roadway and ground down, giving the road time to settle in before roads are oiled in August. Other streets, including Smith and Shasta, will be done in the same way but in shorter sections.

No injuries were reported in a single-vehicle crash Saturday morning in far northwestern Wayne County. According to county deputies, at approximately 1:46, 51-year-old Rinard resident Robert L. Koehler was northbound on a County Highway in a 2004 Chevrolet. He exited the roadway, crossed back over the roadway on the other side, and hit a ditch. Koehler was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. The vehicle sustained less than $500 damage.

Interstate 57 at the Dix interchange overpass was closed for seven hours yesterday following a four-semi collision, and it reopened at approximately 7:30. No official reports were available immediately following the collision, but the Jefferson Fire Protection District indicated three southbound semis had slowed for construction activity on the Dix-Irvington Road overpass, but a fourth could not and set off a chain-reaction crash. The drivers all appeared to avoid injury from the crash.

Wayne County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who recently entered a cabin belonging to Anna Johnston. A Rossi 410 shotgun, compound crossbow, and Dell laptop computer were reported stolen. Additionally, a residence in Johnsonville had several items taken, including pictures, top-load washing machine, clothes dryer, subs inside a wooden box, cooler, hand tools and tool box, a Derringer .22 pistol, and a Ruger 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Anyone with information should call or text Crime Stoppers at 842-9777.

Sims SOS & Friends will sponsor a benefit dinner and auction for Wayne and Tammy Thomason this Friday at 5 at the Wayne City Community Building. The Thomasons lost their home, belongings, and pets in late April when lightning struck their kitchen area and started a fire. A meal, consisting of chicken or pork chops, cheesy potatoes, green beans, roll, dessert, and drink, will be available by donation, and a silent auction will follow with a 50/50 drawing.

Many people are again calling for action on gun control in the wake of recent shootings in Texas, Oklahoma, and around the country, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. He spoke recently about weapons like assault rifles being in the hands of the general public and called on people to have their voices heard in the upcoming election.

The Fairfield City Council held a special meeting last night to elect an Acting Mayor in the wake of the passing of elected Mayor Mike Dreith. Alderman Gary Moore was nominated to serve as Acting Mayor and was approved by a 7-0 vote. Acting Mayor Moore was sworn into office by City Attorney Darrin Rice and declared he will vote as a mayor in council meetings, meaning he will only vote to break ties or when a supermajority is needed. In other action, the council authorized the signature of the acting mayor to bank accounts and designated him as an authorized agent for the IMRF. It also approved a new three-year FOP contract after failing to do so in the past two meetings. Some changes in the contract include an expansion of residency requirements to a 45-minute radius from the police department in an effort to attract a larger applicant pool. The next contract cannot include another residency expansion, and the current contract will also include a 12 percent pay increase in its three years. Aldermen Dewey Eckleberry and Eugene McGill voted no.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Board of Directors, Administration, Foundation, Volunteers, and staff have invited the public to attend an Open House for the new FMH Surgical Pavilion this Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m. Visitors will be able to tour a new Skilled Care Unit on the third floor; Surgical Specialty Offices on the second floor; and new Emergency Department, Urgent Care, and two new Surgical Suites on the first floor. Light refreshments will be served in the FMH Café, and each attendee will be given a commemorative bag. The Café will be closed for lunch and dinner Sunday to allow staff to prepare and serve refreshments during the Open House. Anyone with questions can call Administration at 847-8242 or 847-8243.

Edwards County Commissioners met Monday at the county courthouse. Commissioners discussed updates on the county solar ordinance, and the State’s Attorney will draft a revised ordinance for approval at their next meeting on July 1st. Setbacks will be changed from 500 feet to 200 feet from a property line containing a residence. Draft copies will be available prior to the meeting.

The IDPH reported four new cases of COVID-19 in Wayne, Wabash, Lawrence, and Jefferson counties yesterday. Marion County added nine cases, and Clay, Richland, and Hamilton counties added two. Edwards and White counties held steady on the state website. As a state, Illinois announced 4,861 new cases and 18 additional deaths.

Corn planting in Illinois is nearly complete, according to the latest weekly crop report. After nearly six days suitable for fieldwork in the past week, 95 percent of corn acres had been planted, and 89 percent had emerged, which is ahead of the five-year average. 81 percent of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition. 88 percent of soybeans had been planted, and 75 percent had emerged, with 82 percent of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture was rated one percent very short, nine percent short, 84 percent adequate, and six percent surplus.

Bill Bodine with the Illinois Farm Bureau says the organization is collaborating with the Township Officials of Illinois for a permit template for local governments. Specifically, the template is for utility installation projects like broadband; the IFB often sees conflicts when contractors sometimes fail to get an easement from landowners in some instances along roads, and the permit is an effort to streamline the process. Templates can be found at toi.org.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 6.36 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.09 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 5.39 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.86 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 5.31 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 8.06 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $112.50, up $1.00 from yesterday. The July crude oil price is $119.86, up $0.82 from yesterday morning.