LOCAL NEWS

Local News

December 20, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  An upper level disturbance will continue to move over the Upper Midwest, producing more cloud cover for the downstate area – however, a slight warm up today and tomorrow is the result of a high pressure ridge which will give way to a low pressure system, bringing us rain for the first of the week on Monday and Tuesday – cold air on the back side could give us some light snow Wednesday before ending that night – the Christmas Day outlook calls for a dry sky and a high around 40 – listen for weather updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Governor Quinn is appointing his budget director to serve as the next State Comptroller – it will be Jerry Stermer to serve out the remainder of the late Judy Baar Topinka’s term, which lasts only a few more weeks – the Governor wants lawmakers back in Springfield on January 8th to set up a special election for Comptroller in 2016 – the debate is heating up as many believe the task of appointing someone or taking further action should be left up to Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner when he takes office January 12.

 

(OLNEY)  With the Mt. Erie Ruritan Club’s annual Farm Machinery Consignment Sale coming up on January 19th, folks have until today, December 20th, to submit consignment items so they’ll be listed on the sale bill – call Steve Bass at 618-838-8398 or Victor Frohning at 618-854-2223 at the Mt. Erie feed mill – the sale will include tractors, combines, field & livestock equipment, ATV’s, trucks, and much, much more.

 

(OLNEY)  A reminder to the citizens of Olney that the contractor for the City’s curbside recycling program will be on two week holiday break starting next Monday, December 22nd, continuing thru Sunday, January 4th – so after the normal recycling pickup yesterday, the program will not resume until Monday, January 5th, with the recycling program on hold during the period – the public’s cooperation is much appreciated.

 

(OLNEY)  The Clay County Sheriff’s Department has announced it will be conducting an “Intruder Alert” Drill at the Clay City Schools next Monday, December 22nd – the training is only for local law enforcement personnel and school staff and will be held next Monday when no students are in attendance – the training will consist of emergency operation plans that the School District & local law enforcement have developed to further enhance safety policies and procedures – so for those in Clay City, if you observe numerous squad cars and other emergency vehicles at the schools or in town, do not be alarmed – it is only a scheduled drill.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  on Sunday at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Effingham from 8:30 to 12:30  :  next Monday at TitleMax in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also next Monday at the Effingham Elks Club from 2:30 to 6:30  :  next Tuesday at the Grace United Methodist Church in Neoga from 1:00 to 6:00  :  for more, go online at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
   The Radio-TV Broadcasting Department at Wabash Valley College will broadcast a special program on the local cable Channel 15 this Sunday afternoon at 3:00 and again next Monday night at 7:00 – it’s “The Musical Spirit of Christmas” Concert that was performed earlier this month in Mt. Carmel – don’t miss it


    The Scott Avenue Christian Church in Newton will celebrate Christmas with one service this Sunday morning – it will include the handbell choir, other special music, and a Christmas message from the new minister, Kevin Colclasure – there will be no Sunday School classes, but a nursery will be provided


    The Olney Christmas Lights Display is lit up for a few more nights in the Olney City Park – tonight from 5:00 to 10:00 and tomorrow night from 5:00 to 9:00 – Santa & Mrs. Claus will be available for their final visit and pictures in the Community Building tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 – all in the Olney City Park


    Santa Claus will visit the Clay City Fire Department this afternoon with all children welcome to stop by and visit, starting at 1:00 – each child will receive a treat bag, plus pictures will be available

 

 

 

December 19, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  Cold air and dry conditions will be in place over our region today thru tonight & into tomorrow as a surface high pressure centers itself over the Midwest – an upper level disturbance to our south will give folks there some rain & snow tonight thru tomorrow, but we’ll stay dry – in fact, a dry weekend, until our next chance of rain moves in with some warmer air next Monday and Tuesday – the early Christmas Day forecast for next Thursday is calling for a partly sunny & dry sky with a high around 41 – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Governor Quinn is calling lawmakers back to Springfield on January 8th, 2015, for a Special Session to consider legislative action to allow voters to fill the elected position of State Comptroller – the special election would give voters the chance to choose their Comptroller on November 8th, 2016, with a primary election to be held March 15th, 2016 – Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner says he’s concerned that a statute mandating a special election would violate the State Constitution and result in costly litigation.

 

(OLNEY)  Illinois employers added some 2,300 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 6.4% despite more people looking for work, that’s according to preliminary data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security – while the state rate was much higher a year ago in November, at 9%, the last time the unemployment rate was lower was in June 2008 when it was 6.3% – we’ll have county rates next week.

 

(NEWTON)  A final, end-of-the-year push began yesterday to lead Illinois to far fewer motor vehicle fatalities than last year and the lowest annual fatality totals since 2009 – the Illinois State Police, IDOT, and more than 230 law enforcement agencies across the state are taking part in the effort to save lives on Illinois roads at a time of year that can be one of the most deadly – the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and the “Click It or Ticket” programs will involve extra patrols, roadside safety checks, and more, looking for those driving impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, speeding, not buckled up, and using cell phones while driving.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  With two more days left to file petitions for the April 7, 2015, Election, here’s a look at the various filings that have been made as of 5:00 last night (Thursday 12/18/14) at the various locations :
*  there are four seats up for election on the Jasper County School Board
   *  terms are expiring for Fred Huddlestun, Melinda Barthelme, Mindy Street, and Anthony Richards
   *  those filing so far include Anthony Richards, Melissa Stanley, Jon Fulton, and Larry Goss
*  there are four seats up for election on the East Richland School Board in Richland County
   *  those with terms expiring are Jeff Wilson, Jan Ridgely, Alex Cline, and Pete Seals
   *  those filing so far include Dennis Anderson, Alex Cline, Carolyne Brooks, and Jan Ridgely
*  there are three seats up for election on the Newton City Council
   *  those with terms expiring are Larry Brooks, David Brown, and Eric Blake
   *  those filing so far include Larry Brooks and David Brown
*  there are five seats up for election on the Newton Zoning Board
   *  terms are expiring for Shawn McCrillis, Tom Clark, Anthony Richards, Tim Farley, and Ed Webb
   *  those filing so far include Gina Fox, Shawn McCrillis, Tom Clark, and Ed Webb
*  there are four seats up for election on the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees
   *  terms are expiring for G. Andrew Fischer, Marilyn Wolfe, Michael Correll, and Alan “Al” Henager
   *  those filing so far are George Andrew Fischer, Marilyn Wolfe, Michael Correll, and Alan “Al” Henager
*  there are two seats up for election on the Lake Land College Board of Trustees
   *  those with terms expiring are Gary Cadwell and Carl Hart
   *  those filing so far include Gary Cadwell and Gregory Young
*  the ballots are already set for the Olney City Council and Noble Village Board candidates
the filing period continues today and  until 5:00 next Monday afternoon at the respective sites
*  Newton City Council and Newton Zoning Board candidates are filing at the Newton City Hall
*  School Board candidates are filing at County Clerk’s Offices in each respective county in Illinois
*  Community College Trustee candidates are filing at their respective College District Offices

 

(OLNEY)  The East Richland School Board met last night in Olney – the Board  :  approved a large list of updated job descriptions, including those for Principals, Assistant Principals, Office Managers, Athletic Directors, Secretaries, specific Instructors, Directors, and others  :  awarded the fuel bids to Wabash Valley Service Company for diesel and no-lead gasoline at a fixed rate  :  approved bus specifications to purchase busses for next school year  :  heard an update on the District’s financial status  :  noted the District has been awarded a Community Learning Centers Grant  :  heard information about the Vision 20/20 Education plan  :  recognized those involved in the recent ERHS musical, plus the accomplishments of ERHS FFA members  :  in personnel matters – accepted resignations from ERHS Assistant Girls Soccer Coach Chelsea Kermicle, ERHS Custodian Nathan Delks, ERES Paraprofessional Dawn Hemrich, and ERHS Special Ed Teacher Roberta McCleave with intent to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year – re-hired the respective spring coaches at ERHS – also hired Special Ed Bus Driver Vicki Griesemer, ERHS Assistant Scholar Bowl Coach Gary Harris, and ERES Paraprofessionals Rodney Cast and Logan Ferguson  :  the East Richland School Board will have its next regular monthly meeting on January 15th, 2015, at 7:00pm.

 

(OLNEY)  While traffic is back to normal on Interstate 64, the investigation continues into the semi-truck wreck early yesterday morning that closed a good portion of Interstate 64 for over 12 hours – State Police report the semi-truck, driven by 61 year old Lewis Daugherty of House Springs, Missouri, was transporting hazardous materials westbound when for unknown reasons it ran off the highway to the north & overturned shortly after midnight Thursday about 4 miles west of Grayville – the driver and two White County EMT’s that responded to the scene were injured, but not seriously – several area fire departments and rescue squads responded to the scene, plus several Haz-Mat crews as the containment & cleanup effort took several hours.

 

(OLNEY)  With the Mt. Erie Ruritan Club’s annual Farm Machinery Consignment Sale coming up on January 19th, folks have until tomorrow, December 20th, to submit consignment items so they’ll be listed on the sale bill – call Steve Bass at 618-838-8398 or Victor Frohning at 618-854-2223 at the Mt. Erie feed mill – the sale will include tractors, combines, field & livestock equipment, ATV’s, trucks, and more.

 

(NEWTON)  The 2014 Holly Jolly Jasper County Christmas will end tonight with the final Friday night on the Square in downtown Newton – held in front of Rauch’s Jewelry Store, Santa Claus, the Holly Jolly characters including Rosco the Reindeer, and others will be on hand from 5:00 to 7:00 – there will be a children’s bounce house, plus the Gigantic Holly Jolly Giveaway with registration on the Square or in local businesses and folks must be present to win – along with the great downtown shopping opportunities in Newton tonight, the Honey Do Cookie Walk at the Grace United Methodist Church will run today from 3:00 to 6:30 and tomorrow morning from 8:30 to 12 noon with a huge selection of holiday cookies and more – for more details, call the Jasper County Chamber Office, or logon at www.NewtonIllinois.com.

 

(OLNEY)  A reminder to the citizens of Olney that the contractor for the City’s curbside recycling program will be on two week holiday break starting next Monday, December 22nd, continuing thru Sunday, January 4th – so after the normal recycling pickup tomorrow, the program will not resume until Monday, January 5th, with the recycling program on hold during the period – the public’s cooperation is much appreciated.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Olney Fire Department on North Walnut Street from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also today at the Altamont Christian Church from 3:00 to 7:00  :  tomorrow at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  on Sunday at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Effingham from 8:30 to 12:30  :  next Monday at TitleMax in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also next Monday at the Effingham Elks Club from 2:30 to 6:30  :  next Tuesday at the Grace United Methodist Church in Neoga from 1:00 to 6:00  :  for more details on how to give blood or to schedule an appointment, go online at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
   The Radio-TV Broadcasting Department at Wabash Valley College will broadcast a special program on the local cable Channel 15 this Sunday afternoon at 3:00 and again next Monday night at 7:00 – it’s “The Musical Spirit of Christmas” Concert that was performed earlier this month in Mt. Carmel – don’t miss it


    The Olney Christmas Lights Display is lit up for a few more nights in the Olney City Park – tonight and tomorrow night from 5:00 to 10:00 and Sunday thru Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00 – Santa & Mrs. Claus are available for visits and pictures in the Community Building tonight & tomorrow night from 6:00 to 8:00


    The Scott Avenue Christian Church in Newton will celebrate Christmas with one service this Sunday morning – it will include the handbell choir, other special music, and a Christmas message from the new minister, Kevin Colclasure – there will be no Sunday School classes, but a nursery will be provided


    Santa Claus will visit the Clay City Fire Department tomorrow afternoon with all children welcome to stop by and visit, starting at 1:00 – each child will receive a treat bag, plus pictures will be available


    It’s another “fish fry” tonight at the Olney American Legion Post #30 with serving from 5:30 until sold out – all families are welcome – tickets for adults at the door – a DJ and Karaoke will follow the meal

 

 

 

December 18, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  An upper level weather disturbance approaching the Upper Midwest will bring us a little snow to Southeastern Illinois, but not as much as areas to our west and southwest – less than an inch for us, if that – and after a dry Friday tomorrow, the next weather-maker will likely stay to our south, giving us a mostly dry sky for the weekend ahead – but maybe some rain with a slight warm up Monday – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Hundreds of people filled a union hall in suburban Chicago yesterday to pay respects to Judy Baar Topinka, who died last week after suffering complications from a stroke – the late State Comptroller, who won a 2nd term last month, was remembered as a tough, honest leader with a signature sense of humor – Topinka also served Illinois as a lawmaker, the  State GOP Chairperson, and as State Treasurer as well.

 

(OLNEY)  Businesses throughout Illinois are reminded to adjust the way they calculate income taxes for their employees beginning two weeks from today, on January 1st, 2015 – a notice has been posted on the State Department of Revenue website with details – with the state’s temporary income tax rate of 5% rolling back to 3.75%, state revenue officials say workers will notice the additional money back in their paychecks.

 

(OLNEY)  A traffic note this morning – all lanes of Interstate 64, between U.S. Route 45 south of Fairfield and Illinois Route 1 south of Grayville, are closed until further notice today – authorities report a semi truck overturned shortly after midnight, causing a hazardous materials spill – while crews are on the scene, traffic will likely be diverted at least until 9:00 this morning, maybe later – motorists should use alternate routes.

 

(OLNEY)  Local and area County Fair Queens are a month away from taking part in the 2015 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant in Springfield, all a part of the 2015 Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, which is January 15th thru 19th – reigning Queen, Miss Montgomery County Summer Robbins of Coffeen will oversee the event, which this year will include 74 contestants – among the list are Miss Richland County Sadie Gassmann and Miss Jasper County Andrea Cartright – others from the region are Miss Lawrence County Katlyn Baker, Miss Crawford County Kaleigh Weger, Miss Edwards County Sadie Marks, Miss White County Dayna Burnett, Miss Clay County Tia Rinehart, Miss Effingham County Melissa Davis, Miss Clark County Meghan Mattingly, Miss Coles County Lacey Soloman, Miss Marion County Morgan Belcher, Miss Cumberland County Bailey Banning, & Miss Fayette County Sierah Ruffner.

 

(NEWTON)  The 2014 Holly Jolly Jasper County Christmas will end tomorrow night with the final Friday night on the Square in downtown Newton – held in front of Rauch’s Jewelry Store tomorrow night, Santa Claus, the Holly Jolly characters including Rosco the Reindeer, and others will be on hand from 5:00 to 7:00 – there will be a children’s bounce house, plus the Gigantic Holly Jolly Giveaway with registration on the Square or in local businesses and folks must be present to win – along with the great downtown shopping opportunities in Newton Friday night, the Honey Do Cookie Walk at the Grace United Methodist Church will run tomorrow from 3:00 to 6:30 and Saturday morning from 8:30 to 12 noon with a huge selection of holiday cookies and more – for more information, logon at www.NewtonIllinois.com.

 

(OLNEY)  Don’t forget to visit the Olney Christmas Lights Display in the Olney City Park this season – the display is lit up from 5:00 to 9:00 each Sunday thru Thursday, and from 5:00 to 10:00 each Friday and Saturday, now thru December 28th – a huge “thank you” to those who help with the Bucket Brigade at the end of the Lights Display, where donations are accepted to help with the Display’s expenses – also, don’t forget that Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for visits and pictures tomorrow night and Saturday night from 6:00 to 8:00 each evening in the Community Building – check it out in the Olney City Park this week.

 

(NEWTON)  The Potter’s House Ministry in Newton will be serving a Christmas dinner, free of charge, on Christmas Day, December 25th, from 11:00am to 1:30pm – those from the Newton area are welcome to visit them at the church for lunch on Christmas Day, at #1 Kennedy Drive in Newton, or for the free Christmas meals to be delivered upon request, call Ron Mulvey at 618-783-3496 with a name, address, phone number, and the number of meals needed – that’s at the Potter’s House Ministry in Newton.

 

(OLNEY)  Authorities have found the body of a missing Golden Gate man – it’s believed that after 55 year old Thomas Sharp left a home last Thursday night that his ATV stalled out in area backwaters and as he was walking thru the backwaters, he fell into a deep drainage ditch & drowned – no foul play is suspected as an autopsy will be performed today – the five day search ended when firemen located Sharp’s body last night.

 

(OLNEY)  The Clay County Sheriff’s Department has announced it will be conducting an “Intruder Alert” Drill at the Clay City Schools next Monday, December 22nd – the training is only for local law enforcement personnel and school staff and will be held next Monday when no students are in attendance – the training will consist of emergency operation plans that the School District & local law enforcement have developed to further enhance safety policies and procedures – so for those in Clay City, if you observe numerous squad cars and other emergency vehicles at the schools or in town, do not be alarmed – it is only a scheduled drill.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges will be closed for Winter Break beginning this weekend and continuing thru the first weekend in the new year of 2015 – this includes the campuses of Olney Central College, Lincoln Trail College, Wabash Valley College, and Frontier Community College – in fact, after this week, there will be no classes and most all offices will be closed until January 5th, 2015, when all four colleges and their offices will reopen – the IECC’s Spring Semester will begin a week later, on January 12th – for more details or information, check the IECC website online at www.iecc.edu.com.

 

(OLNEY)  Petition papers for the April 7th School Board or Community College Board elections can still be filed all this week until the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – while area School Board candidates can file their paperwork at area County Clerk’s offices, the area Community College Board candidates are doing so at their respective College District offices – all for the April 7th Election.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Hall is the filing place for candidates there as the filing period continues today and tomorrow, then ends at the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – there are three Aldermen seats on the Newton City Council,  plus five Zoning Board positions to be chosen next April 7th.

 

(OLNEY)  A reminder to the citizens of Olney that the contractor for the City’s curbside recycling program will be on two week holiday break starting next Monday, December 22nd, continuing thru Sunday, January 4th – so after the normal recycling pickup tomorrow, the program will not resume until Monday, January 5th, with the recycling program on hold during the period – the public’s cooperation is much appreciated.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Flora Church of the Nazarene from 1:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Olney Fire Department from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also tomorrow at the Altamont Christian Church from 3:00 to 7:00  :  and Saturday at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  for more, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
   The Radio-TV Broadcasting Department at Wabash Valley College will broadcast a special program on the local cable Channel 15 this Sunday afternoon at 3:00 and again next Monday night at 7:00 – it’s “The Musical Spirit of Christmas” Concert that was performed earlier this month in Mt. Carmel – don’t miss it


    The Scott Avenue Christian Church in Newton will celebrate Christmas with one service this Sunday morning – it will include the handbell choir, other special music, and a Christmas message from the new minister, Kevin Colclasure – there will be no Sunday School classes, but a nursery will be provided


    The Rides Mass Transit District will have its final Saturday trip for Richland County Seniors to Terre Haute this weekend – for a ride or more information, call the RMTD Olney office at 618-395-1272


    Santa Claus will visit the Clay City Fire Department this Saturday afternoon with all children welcome to stop by and visit, starting at 1:00 – each child will receive a treat bag, plus pictures will be available


    It’s another Friday night “fish fry” this weekend at the Olney American Legion Post #30 with serving from 5:30 until sold out – all families are welcome – $8 tickets for adults at the door – half price for kids 3 to 6 years old – children under 3 eat free – a DJ and Karaoke will follow the meal – all are invited

 

 

 

December 17, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  With a high low pressure system in the Upper Great Lakes region, it will be quiet weather for us with some lingering clouds mixed up with some sunshine although cold and dry – however, an approaching low pressure from the southwest will bring us some light snow chances tomorrow – then after a dry Friday, maybe more snow chances Saturday morning, although nothing significant expected – after a dry Sunday, some slightly warmer air will bring us a chance of rain the first of next week – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Some Illinois state agencies are pressing Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner for more money as they will fall short by some $760 million – that’s because they kept spending at high levels this year, even though their budgets were cut short – the new Governor-to-be won’t say if he’ll support a deal that would cover the shortfall, but he says if the money is approved, it’d add to the state’s already high bill backlog.

 

(OLNEY)  Another pension battle is brewing in the Illinois court system – four unions have filed suit against the City of Chicago’s pension law as leaders say the law reduces annual increases for retirees who participate in the Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund – plus the law also requires current workers to pay more into the system – union officials say that’s a clear violation of the State Constitution.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair Mega Pass is now on sale and officials say it would be a great stocking stuffer for those who plan on attending the yearly event in Springfield next summer – currently priced at $55, the Mega Pass covers unlimited rides on all the Fair’s Carnival Midway and Adventure Village attractions for the entire 11-day duration of the Fair – the Mega Pass price jumps up to $70 on January 1st.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Rotary Club wants to thank everyone that helped out last Saturday morning during its annual Radio Auction on Freedom 92.9 WSEI – thru the purchases made during the three hour event, with donations, the total amount of money raised came in at $6,000, which is about $800 more than the previous two years – the funds raised will be split between the Good Samaritan of Richland County, the Fall Kids Mall of Richland County, and the local Rotary Scholarship Fund – thanks again to everyone that helped out.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met last night in regular session – the Council  :  approved the payment of bills and accounts payable, worth $145,667  :  approved an agreement with B & T Drainage, Inc. for the Brookside / Xander Addition water & sewer improvement work and the Newton City Square water main replacement project estimated at $510,079  :  authorized B & T Drainage to do storm water work south of East Washington Street worth $24,540  :  approved the $72,300 payment to Hanfland Painting contractors for work on the City’s south water tower  :  on a 6 to 2 vote, accepted the $946,667 bid from Grunloh Building, Inc. for the City’s new electric building  :  on a 7 to 1 vote, adopted the 2014 fiscal year Tax Levy as presented  :  on a 7 to 1 vote, accepted the $6,350 or less quote from R.L. Sparks Backhoe & Trencher Service to scrape the property at 405 North Maple Street  :  agreed to abate the taxes for the City’s Aquatic Center for the 2014 Tax Levy  :  agreed to purchase $54,275 worth of pole-mount electric transformers and a Circuit A pad-mount for the City’s Electric Department  :  the Council took no other action after an 11-minute closed session to discuss litigation  :  Council’s next meeting is January 6, 2015.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Central College Foundation has received a $98,295 endowment from the estate of a retired OCC instructor who passed away in April 2013 at the age of 80 – Dr. Gloria Bousley joined the staff of Olney Central College in May 1971 and taught business courses thru the 1990’s – serving as a Division Chair, she oversaw the business classes OCC offered off campus, plus spent many extra hours making sure OCC students had opportunities to succeed – coming to Olney Central College after teaching at the Red Hill High School in Bridgeport, Dr. Bousley was also very active in state educational organizations and served as President of the Illinois Business Education Association – the endowment has been earmarked for the OCC Business Department and the income generated from the gift will be used for equipment purchases – we recognize the service of Dr. Gloria Bousley and now her gift to help the future of students at OCC.

 

(NEWTON)  The state has awarded a $5.9 million federal investment to create Illinois Safe Routes to School to split among 50 different projects – designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school by creating a safe environment with new sidewalks between neighborhoods and schools, the program will distribute funds to five regional projects – an average of $155,000 will go for sidewalk construction in the towns of Neoga, Shelbyville, and Mt. Vernon – an additional $64,000 for sidewalks will go to the City of Lawrenceville – and nearly $11,000 to the City of Mattoon for a speed feedback sign for school zones.

 

(OLNEY)  A Fairfield woman reported missing 18 years ago has been found alive in Texas and now has been brought back to Wayne County on a failure to appear warrant from a 1995 forgery case – authorities say the search for now 53 year old Shavonna Welty has involved several up’s and down’s, including at one point, a homicide investigation – but eventually, it was a series of Facebook posts that lead the Illinois State Police to locate Welty in Crystal Beach, Texas, and an attempt to bring her to justice – after a court appearance yesterday, Welty is now free pending a January 29th, 2015 court appearance in Wayne County.

 

(NEWTON)  Authorities have announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has captured that escaped prisoner that drove away from the Federal Prison Camp in Terre Haute this past Sunday morning – 61 year old Michael Ward was found in Champaign County and apprehended without incident this past Monday night – originally serving a 10 year term for fraud, Ward now faces additional escape charges.

 

(OLNEY)  Petition papers for the April 7th School Board or Community College Board elections can still be filed all this week until the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – while area School Board candidates can file their paperwork at area County Clerk’s offices, the area Community College Board candidates are doing so at their respective College District offices – all for the April 7th Election.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Hall is the filing place for candidates in Newton as the filing period runs today thru Friday, then ends at the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – there are three Aldermen seats on the Newton City Council,  plus five Zoning Board positions to be chosen next April 7th.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the YMCA in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Flora Church of the Nazarene from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Olney Fire Department from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also Friday at the Altamont Christian Church from 3:00 to 7:00  :  and Saturday at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  for more details on giving blood or to make an appointment, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Rides Mass Transit District will have its final Saturday trip for Richland County Seniors to Terre Haute this weekend – for a ride or more information, call the RMTD Olney office at 618-395-1272


    Santa Claus will visit the Clay City Fire Department this Saturday afternoon with all children welcome to stop by and visit, starting at 1:00 – each child will receive a treat bag, plus pictures will be available


    It’s another Friday night “fish fry” this weekend at the Olney American Legion Post #30 with serving from 5:30 until sold out – all families are welcome – $8 tickets for adults at the door – half price for kids 3 to 6 years old – children under 3 eat free – a DJ and Karaoke will follow the meal – all are invited


    The East Richland High School Library will be open additional evening hours tonight and tomorrow night, from 6:00 to 8:30 each night – this is to allow extra evening hours for studying in preparation of the finals coming up this Thursday and Friday at ERHS – all students are welcome to the ERHS Library

 

 

 

December 16, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  As the low pressure system over the Upper Midwest pushes off to the east, a trailing cold front will move across downstate Illinois today, bringing in colder air for tonight and the rest of the work week ahead, although we’ll stay dry tomorrow thru Friday – another weather system will move thru with maybe some rain and/or snow Friday night thru Saturday, although it could miss us altogether – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is thanking everyone that helped find two young sisters who were taken by their stepfather yesterday – authorities say they received several calls from people who spotted the Dodge van that was described to statewide radio listeners during the Amber Alert message that aired in the 12 noon hour – 37 year old Damon Jones was taken into custody without incident and will likely be charged with kidnapping – the 9 and 7 year old girls were returned to their Mother uninjured.

 

(OLNEY)  Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants voters to decide who’ll replace the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, saying the State Constitution gives Governor Pat Quinn the right to appoint someone to the post, but only to serve until January 12th – Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner will then appoint someone after that date – Madigan believes voters should pick Topinka’s replacement in a special 2016 election.

 

(NEWTON)  Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner will not be having the traditional festive ball on the night of his inauguration – instead, he’s planning a big concert at Springfield’s Prairie Capital Convention Center – the tickets will be $125 each, but so far no word on who’ll be on stage to perform – Rauner’s two day inaugural celebration will include free admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on January 11th and a free “Open House” with elected officials at the Old State Capitol throughout the day on Monday, the 12th.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met for only a few minutes during a special meeting last night at the Olney City Hall – the Council  :  approved the 2014 Tax Levy as discussed in the past – the combined levy for the City of Olney and the Olney Public Library included a 3.52% increase, which is on levied amounts, not a direct tax increase – most of the increased levy is based on the proposed EAV, that is the Equalized Assessed Valuation of property within the City of Olney  :  accepted the $3,625 low bid from Doll’s Inc. to demolish the property at 631 West Butler Street  :  and agreed to cancel the Council’s next regular meeting scheduled for next Monday, December 22nd  :  the Council’s next regular meeting will be January 12, 2015.

 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met for its regular monthly meeting last night in Newton – the Board  :  agreed to place a question to district-wide residents on the April 7th Consolidated Election ballot next spring, asking for authorization to issue bonds worth $2.2 million for the purpose of paying claims against the School District  :  approved the 2014 Tax Levy as presented with a 4.56% increase in the levied amount, not a raise in taxes to the public  :  took no action, but did discuss budget projections with the District facing a $1.2 million loss in revenue – this includes a reduction in expenditures and/or a rise in revenue  :  approved a contract with GRP Mechanical, Inc. to complete health life safety projects at NCHS, specifically a secure entrance or science lab  :  and after a closed session, approved a student suspension with the student expelled for the rest of the school year, however to attend Safe School under Principal’s Probation, plus bus expulsion for the rest of the year  :  in personnel matters – recognized the retirement of Bus Driver Deania Trimble – employed Darla Mahaffey as NCHS Special Needs Paraprofessional – hired Kimberlin Wallace as NE Paraprofessional – hired Alex Frohning as JCJH Boys Track Coach  :  the Jasper County School Board will have its next regular monthly meeting for the new year on January 19th at 6:30.

 

(OLNEY)  Congratulations to East Richland High School in Olney and to all of Richland County for its support as ERHS was one of the 90 winning high school nationwide to receive a $25,000 grant thru the Celebrate My Drive teen safety awareness program, powered by State Farm Insurance – only 100 of the 3,283 registered schools received grants, as students, parents, and the entire community rallied in support of teen drivers, making online safe driving commitments, helping East Richland High School reach its goal – while 10% of the grant money must be invested in the school’s teen driver safety program for students, the remaining funds will be used to purchase an additional driving simulator for the ERHS Driver’s Ed Program – among the other 90 nationwide schools receiving grant funds were five others in Illinois, including those in Mt. Carmel, Herrin, Spring Valley, Washington, and Naperville – thanks again for the local support.

 

(OLNEY)  Petition papers for the April 7th School Board or Community College Board elections can still be filed all this week until the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – while area School Board candidates can file their paperwork at area County Clerk’s offices, the area Community College Board candidates are doing so at their respective College District offices – all for the April 7th Election.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Hall is the filing place for candidates in Newton as the filing period runs today thru Friday, then ends at the close of office hours next Monday, December 22nd – there are three Aldermen seats on the Newton City Council,  plus five Zoning Board positions to be chosen next April 7th.

 

(OLNEY)  In regional news – Wayne County authorities are still searching the Golden Gate area looking for 55 year old Thomas Sharp, who drove his ATV into area flood waters last Thursday night – Sharp’s ATV was found in the backwaters of the Little Wabash River, east of Fairfield, and its believed that he left the 4-wheeler after it quit running in the water – the ground and aerial search has also included boats and rescue divers although all efforts to this point have been fruitless – authorities continue that search today.

 

(OLNEY)  The investigation also continues today into a traffic crash that claimed the life of the Woodlawn Grade School Cheerleading Coach this past Sunday afternoon at around 3:00 along Illinois Route 15 west of Mt. Vernon – State Police report 22 year old Krista Storment was a passenger in a car returning from a cheerleading event when the head-on crash occurred – Storment was pronounced dead at the scene while four other adults were injured, two of which were airlifted from the crash location – few other details are being released at this time – no students were involved – Route 15 was closed for several hours for cleanup.

 

(NEWTON)  The public’s invited to the Newton Elementary School tonight, as it will host Dr. Steven Layne, for a special presentation later tonight in the Elementary School Gym, starting at 7:00 – the current Professor of Literacy Education at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, Dr. Layne has authored 21 books and is a frequent keynote speaker at conventions worldwide and also serves as a literacy consultant and visiting author in Pre K thru 12 schools – admission is free, plus there will be book giveaways, books for sale, and refreshments – that’s tonight at the Newton Elementary School Gym, beginning at 7:00.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Rides Mass Transit District will have its final Saturday trip for Richland County Seniors to Terre Haute this weekend – for a ride or more information, call the RMTD Olney office at 618-395-1272


    The East Richland High School Library will be open additional evening hours tonight thru Thursday night, from 6:00 to 8:30 each night – all due to semester and final exams later this week at ERHS – this is to allow extra evening hours for studying in preparation of the finals coming up this Thursday and Friday


    The Olney Central College Music Department will host its annual Holiday Concert tonight at 7:30 in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center, featuring the OCC Community Choir – free admission


    The Elm Street Christian Church will host a Grief Share tonight, entitled “Surviving the Holidays” – from 6:30 to 8:30, the free program is for anyone who has lost a loved one – all are invited to attend tonight