Headlines for Tuesday, June 14th

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service has issued its June Crop Production report. Harvested area for winter wheat is forecast at 660,000 acres, up eight percent from 2021. Winter wheat yield is forecast at 78 bushels per acre, down one bushel from 2021, and total production is forecast at 51.5 million bushels, up seven percent from last year.

Wayne County deputies arrested 36-year-old Louisville resident Jody R. Beccue, 37-year-old Rinard resident Cody L. Cook, and 41-year-old Flora resident Dale E. Dugan last night after a traffic stop on methamphetamine-related charges. According to police reports, deputies initiated a traffic stop for failure to signal. The driver, Dugan, was also charged with driving revoked and was wanted on a Clay County failure to appear warrant for driving revoked. Deputies found a total of 8.5 grams of suspected meth in three baggies, along with four glass smoking pipes. All were charged with possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were taken to the Wayne County Jail and held, pending the setting and posting of bond.

36-year-old Jessica N. Smith and 26-year-old Matthew Woods, both of Centralia, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud and identity theft in connection with stolen mail. The indictment says Woods took mail, including personal checks, from the mailbox of a home in Marion County. It also alleges Woods and Smith used those items to defraud two area banks between July 2021 and January 2022.

A recent poll by Public Policy Polling, sponsored by the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ Radio, showed State Senator Darren Bailey with a lead in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois. The poll last week had 677 likely Republican voters and showed 32 percent of respondents favored Bailey for the nomination. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has been frontrunner for much of the race but was shown at 17 percent. Venture Capitalist Jesse Sullivan also had double-digit points at 11 percent.

Tonight will be Acting Mayor Gary Moore’s first Fairfield City Council meeting in his position this year, though he did serve in a similar capacity after the resignation of Mayor Brent Maguire. He said he wants to continue working on some of the projects the late Mayor Mike Dreith had on the burner, and he encourages anyone with a problem or issue to reach out.

The Fairfield City Council will meet tonight at 6 at City Hall. Aldermen are scheduled to discuss accepting credit and debit card usage as a matter of new business. Acting Mayor Gary Moore says, several years ago, the City began accepting credit and debit card payments for utilities, but action tonight could extend that to other departments. He also says the council will discuss adding a transaction fee for the City to cover any credit or debit card fees.

Local Relay for Life teams and community members gathered at the Wayne and Hamilton County Relay for Life event on June 4th at the Hamilton County Courthouse. The event raised nearly $42,700 to support the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives from cancer, surpassing the goal of $35,000. Funds help the society provide free information and support for people facing cancer, as well as help fund cancer research for future generations.

The Wayne County Retired Teachers’ Association will award one $500 scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year. Applications are due tomorrow to Michael Simpson at 304 Whiteside Lane in Fairfield, or they can be emailed to mandmsimp46@gmail.com. Applications are available from Simpson at his address.

The IDPH reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 in Wayne County since Friday afternoon. Marion County added 23 cases, Jefferson County added 22, Richland County added nine, Clay County added six, Wabash and White counties added five, and Hamilton and Lawrence counties added four. Edwards County held steady on the state website. As a state, Illinois announced 8,663 new cases and seven additional deaths.

National gas prices topped five dollars per gallon earlier this month, and sat at $5.01 cent yesterday. Illinois’ average price was $5.56, per AAA. U.S. Representative Rodney Davis says high prices should be a surprise to no one, and the Illinois Congressman was critical of the response to the issue in Washington. Some people have predicted brownouts for Illinois and other parts of the country at points this summer due to a shortage of energy.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a new state law giving workers time off after a miscarriage or other loss. The Family Bereavement Leave Act provides up to 10 days of unpaid leave for employees who have had a child, step-child, parent, sibling, or grandparent pas away. The leave also applies to failed adoptions and unsuccessfully terminated fertility treatments.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 5.98 feet, below the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 5.07 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 5.26 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 1.65 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 4.05 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 7.61 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $114.00, up $0.25 from yesterday. The July crude oil price is $121.88, up $3.70 from yesterday morning.

Community Connection – Acting Mayor Gary Moore