LOCAL NEWS

Local News

January 17, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  As a weak high pressure ridge that’s kept us dry and warmer-than-normal for the past few days now moves off to the east, a low pressure system will move thru the Upper Midwest by late tonight, that will bring us some cooler, but still dry, air – so while we cool down a bit tomorrow thru most all of next week, we will stay dry thru that same time period as well – stay tuned to WVLN-WSEI-WIKK for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news today – the Illinois Department of Public Health has launched an updated website that’s interactive, more user friendly, & offers more services – it’s all part of the Department’s Five Year Strategy Plan to maximize its effectiveness, influence, & value to promote wellness, health, and safety – check out the updated site online at www.dph.illinois.gov and see what’s available for you & your family.

 

(OLNEY)  County Fair Board members from Richland, Jasper, and most all surrounding counties are in Springfield for the 105th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, which started Thursday and continues thru Monday morning up in Springfield – also, 74 County Fair Queens are taking part in this year’s State Fair Queen Pageant with a new Queen to be crowned tomorrow night – the list of fair queen candidates includes our local queens, Miss Richland County Fair Queen Sadie Gassmann of Olney, Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Andrea Cartright of Newton, plus 11 other area county fair queens.

 

(OLNEY)  The 84th Annual Ruritan National Convention is continuing out in Greensboro, North Carolina – a Foundation silent auction, meal, and live auction was held last night to raise scholarship funds and with various workshops, committee meetings, and more, the Ruritan National Convention will continue thru tomorrow – representing the Dundas Ruritan Club at the event are Grover and Leota Burkett of Olney.

 

(OLNEY)  The State DNR’s Second Late Winter Firearm Deer Hunting Season continues today before ending tomorrow – that’s from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset each day, but only in a limited amount of counties, including Crawford, Clark, Coles, Effingham, Clay, Marion, Wayne, Edwards, and White – hunting is closed for the counties of Richland, Jasper, and Cumberland – the permits are for antlerless deer only – the final day of hunting tomorrow will end all deer hunting in Illinois for this winter.

 

(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  :  tomorrow morning at the St. Joseph Community Club in Stringtown from 7:30 to 11:30  :  then next Monday at the Red Brush Christian Church north of Louisville from 1:30 to 6:30  :  also next Monday at the Robinson VFW from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for an appointment, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS  :
    Mark your calendars – the Richland County Relay For Life “kickoff” event will be held Thursday night, January 29th, at The Holiday in Olney – starting at 6:00, all are invited out to attend later this month


    The Jasper County Health Department will host an immunization clinic next Tuesday, January 20th, at its offices in Newton from 10:00 to 6:30 – to sign up, or for more details, call the Department at 618-783-4436


    It’s another fundraiser at Monical’s Pizza in Olney next Monday for the East Orchard Christian Academy in Olney – when ordering at Monical’s next Monday afternoon thru Monday night, fill out a fundraising form, and a portion of your receipt will be donated to the EOCA for needed equipment & programs


    It’s Bingo coming up tomorrow afternoon at the Holy Cross Parish Center in Wendelin – play four games for only $1, from 12 noon to 3:00 – doors open at 11:00 – sandwiches, desserts, & drinks for a donation


    The Olney FFA Alumni has its fundraising pancake & sausage breakfast this morning in the ERHS Cafeteria, with serving from now to 12 noon – also a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction – all the money raised will go towards FFA scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions

 

 

 

January 16, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  A weak high pressure ridge will keep us dry and mild for the weekend ahead – although a weak low pressure system tracking thru the Upper Midwest will keep most of its light snow to our north, we’ll mostly stay dry with above normal temps – when the southern tip of that system moves thru tomorrow night, we’ll get some cooler air and some clouds, but we’ll stay dry well into next week – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  From now on, anyone who gets a job based on clout in Illinois will have their name published online – Governor Bruce Rauner says it’s the best way for politicians to stay accountable and avoid back room deals – the order comes in response to questionable hiring practices at IDOT over the past several years – a state ethics investigation found hundreds of people were hired because of who they knew and not necessarily because they were qualified for a particular position – the new hiring practices are now in effect.

 

(OLNEY)  Lawmakers are reviving plans to put five new casinos in Illinois, saying a new gambling bill in the few weeks will be introduced in the State Capitol – it’s believed the state’s gambling industry could create thousands of jobs and bring in much needed cash to help pad the state’s budget hole – it’s also noted that the proposed bill will also call for slot machines at race tracks with proceeds dedicated to education.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois is one of the state’s leading the way in cracking down on drunk drivers – the latest Mothers Against Drunk Driving report gave Illinois a five star rating – that goes to states that have adopted all of the countermeasures that MADD encourages, such as sobriety checkpoints, revoking driver’s licenses, and ignition interlocks – the report says Illinois has seed a reduction in drunk driving deaths since 2009.

 

(OLNEY)  The East Richland School Board met in regular session last night – the Board  :  approved the $229,296 bid to purchase three new buses  :  approved updated job descriptions for the Elementary School Principals, Librarian, Counselor, Special Needs Coordinator, and Special Needs Secretary  :  approved the first reading of twenty policies  :  reviewed the Superintendent’s annual report for the District  :  approved two letters of intent to retire from ERES Teacher Darlene Miller & WRES Teacher Debbie Kuenstler, both effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year  :  approved the resignation of ERES Paraprofessional April Bunting  :  approved the employment of ERES Part-Time Paraprofessional Michelle Rennecker & Bus Driver Ralph “Bob” Page  :  and approved a list of 14 volunteer coaches for seven ERHS sports  :  the East Richland School Board will have its next regular monthly meeting on Thursday, February 19th.

 

(NEWTON)  The 84th Annual Ruritan National Convention is underway out in Greensboro, North Carolina – a flag ceremony and Vesper service were held last night and after a Veterans breakfast this morning, a noon luncheon today will be held with presentations to national firemen and first responders – a Foundation silent auction, meal, and live auction will be tonight to raise scholarship funds – with various workshops, committee meetings, and more, the Ruritan National Convention will continue now thru Sunday – both Grover and Leota Burkett are attending the annual event, representing the Dundas Ruritan Club.

 

(OLNEY)  Congressman John Shimkus has a few area stops planned for today in the 15th Congressional District, mostly to talk about his votes in the U.S. House of Representatives this week out in Washington, D.C. – the former military Veteran and teacher voted earlier this week to defund President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration – the Congressman will be at his Effingham office on North Fourth Street this morning at 10:30, at the office of State Representative David Reis in Olney along East Main Street at 11:50 late this morning, and in the conference room at City Hall in Mt. Carmel this afternoon at 1:30 – the Congressman welcomes the public at any of the three sites or logon for more at www.shimkus.house.gov.

 

(NEWTON)  The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has spent the last two weeks surveying more than 40,000 cattle operations nationwide to get an up-to-date measure of the nation’s inventories of cattle – last summer’s numbers showed 95 million head of cattle in America as of July 1st, the nation’s lowest inventory since 1973 – the new numbers will be tallied and released to the public two weeks from today on January 30th – also on that Friday, the USDA NASS will release numbers from December’s survey on sheep and goat inventories, plus the production numbers for wool and mohair nationwide.

 

(OLNEY)  Today’s the final day to get your tickets for the 70th annual meeting of the Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District, coming up next Thursday, January 22nd, at The Holiday in Olney – the $10 meal tickets are available until the close of office hours this afternoon at the SWCD office in Olney or from any SWCD Director – there will be no tickets at the door that night – the doors will open with registration at 5:30, followed by a buffet meal at 6:00, the business meeting, the election of Directors, the Conservationist of the Year Award presentation, the guest speaker, & door prizes – today’s the final day to get your tickets.

 

(NEWTON)  County Fair Board members from Jasper, Richland, and most all surrounding counties are in Springfield for the 105th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, which continues today thru next Monday morning in Springfield – also, 74 County Fair Queens are taking part in this year’s State Fair Queen Pageant with a new Queen to be crowned on Sunday night – the list of fair queen candidates includes our local queens, Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Andrea Cartright of Newton, Miss Richland County Fair Queen Sadie Gassmann of Olney, plus 11 other regional county fair queens.

 

(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 Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Sunday morning at the St. Joseph Community Club in Stringtown from 7:30 to 11:30  :  then next Monday at the Red Brush Christian Church north of Louisville from 1:30 to 6:30  :  also next Monday at the Robinson VFW from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more details about giving blood or to schedule an appointment online, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Jasper County Health Department will host an immunization clinic next Tuesday, January 20th, at its offices in Newton from 10:00 to 6:30 – to sign up, or for more details, call the Department at 618-783-4436


    It’s another fundraiser at Monical’s Pizza in Olney next Monday for the East Orchard Christian Academy in Olney – when ordering at Monical’s next Monday afternoon thru Monday night, fill out a fundraising form, and a portion of your receipt will be donated to the EOCA for needed equipment & programs


    It’s Bingo coming up this Sunday afternoon from 12 noon to 3:00 at the Holy Cross Parish Center in Wendelin – play four games for only $1 – there will be sandwiches, desserts, & drinks for a free-will donation - doors open at 11:00


    The Olney FFA Alumni has its fundraising pancake & sausage breakfast tomorrow morning in the ERHS Cafeteria, with serving from 6:30 to 12 noon – also a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction – all the money raised will go towards FFA scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions


    The Stringtown Community Club has a fundraising “fish fry” this Friday night with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KofC Hall in Olney – pay at the door with carry-outs available – all ages are invited tonight

 

 

 

January 15, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  Quiet weather conditions and warmer temperatures will be the rule across the Midwest for the next several days & nights – the warm up today thru Saturday will be followed by an approaching weak cold front on that could give us some light snow Saturday night and back to near normal temperatures for Sunday thru mid-week, next week, although the period will mostly be dry – listen for weather updates.

 

(NEWTON)  A pair of high profile state department heads have lost their jobs before the new Bruce Rauner administration starts working in Springfield – Illinois State Fair manager Amy Bliefnick and State DNR director Marc Miller have been dismissed – appointed in 2005 by Governor Rod Blagojevich, Bliefnick will continue her $90,000-plus salary thru January 31st – Miller was appointed by Governor Quinn in 2009.

 

(OLNEY)  Lawmakers have a lot on their plates as they head into the new legislative session year – they’ll be looking for ways to cut down debt and bring in more money, however some say there are a few other things that should take priority, such as revamping the state’s education funding formula, getting a new Capitol construction plan on the books, and giving immigrant students the right to go to law school and become attorneys in Illinois – plus, some say the minimum wage increase is still possible for debate as well.

 

(NEWTON)  Fewer people are dying on Illinois roadways – preliminary data from IDOT shows 924 people were killed in crashes last year – that’s down from 991 the year before, in 2013 – several new driving laws that have gone into effect in recent years could explain the drop, including the hands-free-cell phone law.

 

(OLNEY)  Before family and friends, State Representative David Reis took the oath of office yesterday, to represent the 109th House District in the new 99th General Assembly – all 118 House members were sworn in at 12 noon Wednesday, with all members to serve thru January 2017 – Representative Reis said that “representing his neighbors from Southern Illinois is an honor and a serious responsibility” – “he’s looking forward to two more years of fighting for our families’ and communities’ needs in Springfield” – also sworn in, serving area counties, were State Representative John Cavaletto and State Senator Dale Righter.

 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Republicans are getting ready for their annual Lincoln Day Supper, set for Saturday, February 7th, to be held at the Sunrise Youth Center and Community Building in Newton – the social hour begins at 6:00 with the catered meal served at 6:30 – the $15 tickets are currently available from any Republican Committee member, or call Judy at 618-783-3185 – call now for your February 7th tickets.

 

(OLNEY)  Congressman John Shimkus has announced his 14 nominations to the military service academies – as a West Point graduate, the Congressman says he’s proud of those on the list from downstate Illinois – the 14 nominees are now being considered by the four U.S. military academies for their final approval and acceptance – among the local nominees are : Tyler Stuck of Olney and Timothy Aldrich of Louisville, both for the U.S. Air Force Academy, among six others : plus eight for the U.S. Naval Academy and three for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point : the other nominees are from Highland, Danville, Champaign, St. Joseph, Aviston, Atwood, Henning, Okawville, Jamestown, and Collinsville – congratulations to one & all.

 

(NEWTON)  The State DNR’s Second Late Winter Firearm Deer Hunting Season begins tomorrow and runs thru Sunday, this weekend – that’s from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset each day, but only in a limited amount of counties, plus the permits are for antlerless deer only – the area counties open are Crawford, Clark, Coles, Shelby, Effingham, Clay, Marion, Wayne, Edwards, Hamilton, and White – the three days of hunting will end all deer hunting in Illinois for the fall and winter until next fall 2015.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Farm Bureau invites skiers of all ages & skill levels to join it on a Twilight Ski Trip to Paoli Peaks, Indiana, on Saturday, February 7th – the fee is $60 for Farm Bureau members and $10 more for non-members – the fee includes round-trip transportation, ski and/or snowboard rental, and a ski-lift ticket – the bus will leave the City of Olney parking lot, just east of the Olney Eagles Lodge, at 2:00 that Saturday afternoon – the skiing and snowboarding will run from 5:00 to 12 midnight – to reserve your spot or for more details, contact the Richland County Farm Bureau office in Olney – call 618-393-4116.

 

(NEWTON)  County Fair Board members from Jasper, Richland, and most all surrounding counties are in Springfield for the 105th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, which starts today and runs thru next Monday morning in Springfield – also, 74 County Fair Queens will register this morning for the annual State Fair Queen Pageant – the list includes Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Andrea Cartright, Miss Richland County Fair Queen Sadie Gassmann, plus 11 other regional county fair queens.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Central College Music Department has announced three audition dates have been set for next month for students interested in participating in OCC’s choral and instrumental ensembles – the audition dates are Monday, February 2nd, Wednesday, February 18th, and Saturday, February 28th – the auditions are required in order for students to be considered for a Music Department Tuition Waiver for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year – the Tuition Waivers are granted based on OCC needs as well as the students’ ability level and commitment – the Monday and Wednesday audition dates allow students to attend rehearsals of the choral & band ensembles, plus meet faculty members & tour the college – plus, all three audition dates provide instrumental students the chance to perform with the OCC Cavalier Pep Band at a home Blue Knights basketball game – for more, logon at www.occmusic.org/auditions or call OCC.

 

(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  :  tomorrow at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Sunday morning at the St. Joseph Parish Center in Stringtown from 7:30 to 11:30  :  next Monday at the Robinson VFW from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more details or to schedule an appointment online, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS  :
    Mark your calendars for the annual Sportsman Banquet coming to The Holiday in Olney on Saturday, January 24th, with a free chili dinner, door prizes, guest speaker, & more – all sponsored by the local Truth Hunters & Sportsmen Church – limited seating – for tickets, call Jeff at 843-8548 or Mike at 843-5057


    It’s Bingo coming up this Sunday at the Holy Cross Parish Center in Wendelin – play four games for only $1, from 12 noon to 3:00 – there will be sandwiches, desserts, & drinks for a free-will donation after 11:00


    The Olney FFA Alumni has its fundraising pancake & sausage breakfast this Saturday morning in the ERHS Cafeteria, with serving from 6:30 to 12 noon – also a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction – all the money raised will go towards FFA scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions


    The Stringtown Community Club has a fundraising “fish fry” this Friday night with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KofC Hall in Olney – pay at the door with carry-outs available – all ages are invited


    The East Richland School Board will have its monthly meeting for January tonight, starting at 7:00, in the Administration Office board room in Olney – as always, the meeting is open to the public


    The Richland County Farm Bureau will host another Farm Bill meeting this evening at 5:30 at The Holiday with guest speaker Doug Yoder – to RSVP, contact the Farm Bureau office in Olney

 

 

 

January 14, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  As the current high pressure over the Midwest moves off to the east, that upper level disturbance that gave us some snow flurries yesterday and overnight will still give us some clouds today – the flurries will end and a southerly wind flow will kick in tonight – that means a significant warming trend tomorrow thru the weekend with above normal warmth – plus dry now thru next Tuesday – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Governor Rauner has signed an Executive Order, cracking down on corrupt practices within state government – the order bans state workers from becoming lobbyists or working with a lobbying group for a least a year after leaving their state job – plus, all state workers will be required to let their bosses know if they have any other positions in non-governmental agencies, whether it’s a paid position or not – Rauner says the changes will help ensure the highest standards of honesty and integrity in state government.

 

(OLNEY)  State officials are still trying to convince judges that the pension law does not violate Illinois’ State Constitution – State Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed an opening brief with the State Supreme Court this week, arguing lawmakers can make changes to pension benefits in an emergency situation – however, a Springfield judge disagrees, shooting down the pension law a few months ago, claiming the Constitution is clear & absolute when it says pension benefits cannot be diminished or impaired in any way.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois is getting high marks for keeping teens safe on the roads – a new study by WalletHub finds that Illinois is the third best state in the nation for teenage drivers – that’s a statistic that state officials are proud of – the numbers show that Illinois’ Graduated Driver’s License program is one of the best in the U.S., reducing teenage driving deaths by more than 50 percent since it was initiated a few years ago.

 

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met for nearly 90 minutes this past Monday night – the Board  :  approved a 7% wage increase for all Village employees – plus added 5 personal days per year, not to accumulate  :  approved the $19,607 bid from Luttrell Backhoe Service in Xenia to replace the sidewalk from South Noble Avenue, across the railroad tracks, to East South Avenue  :  adopted a Resolution Procurement Policy for the CDAP grant coming to Noble for the sewer lift station project on North Noble Avenue  :  noted that IDOT has agreed to clean the ditch in front of the former West Richland High School later this year, when possible  :  and noted that the Noble Village Hall will be closed next Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day  :  the Noble Village Board will have its next regular meeting January 26th.

 

(OLNEY)  The numbers are out and the USDA’s final statistics show farmers harvested a record amount of soybeans and corn in the 2014 crop year  :   this week’s report says farmers raised a record 14.2 billion bushels of corn, 3% more than 2013, which had set the previous record – the average yield last fall was 171 bushels per acre, much better than the 2013 mark of 158 bushels  :  the soybean numbers also reflected a new record with 3.97 billion bushels harvested, that’s up 18% from the year earlier – plus, farmers brought in a record 83.1 million acres of beans in 2014  :  and what’s more eye-opening is the fact that the record crops came while farmers planted 5% fewer acres than they did in 2013 – the USDA numbers also show record yields in 20 other states throughout the nation – an optimistic note as we move into the 2015 year.

 

(NEWTON)  County Fair Board members from Jasper, Richland, and most all surrounding counties are in Springfield preparing to attend the 105th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs – while the Association’s Carnival Amusement Safety Board meets tomorrow night, it’s just the start of several meetings for committees and more – a Trade Show and various seminars are scheduled for Friday thru Sunday, all to finish up with the IAAF Board of Directors’ meeting next Monday morning – also, 74 County Fair Queens will register tomorrow morning for the annual State Fair Queen Pageant which will wrap up with the crowning of a new queen Sunday night – that’s all in Springfield this weekend.

 

(OLNEY)  Mark your calendars for the 70th annual meeting of the Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District, coming up Thursday, January 22nd, one week from tomorrow night, at The Holiday in Olney – the doors open with registration at 5:30, followed by a buffet meal at 6:00, then the business meeting, the election of Directors, the Conservationist of the Year Award presentation, the guest speaker, and door prizes – the $10 meal tickets can be purchased from any SWCD Director or by calling or stopping by the SWCD Office in Olney – ticket sales end January 16th and no ticket sales at the door that night.

 

(NEWTON)  Congressman John Shimkus is again asking constituents to take part in his “Valentines for Heroes” program this year – the lawmaker’s district offices will collect valentines to distribute to regional Veterans, plus those currently serving in the military – the former teacher from Belleville is encouraging all school classes, churches, youth groups, families, and others to help brighten the day for a soldier or Veteran – the valentines should be signed, but not addressed to a specific person, do not use last names or addresses, and leave the envelopes unsealed – the valentines will be accepted at the Congressman’s offices in Effingham, Harrisburg, Danville, and Maryville until February 9th – logon at www.shimkus.house.gov.

 

(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 EIU in Charleston from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Sunday morning at the St. Joseph Parish Center in Stringtown from 7:30 to 11:30  :  next Monday at the Robinson VFW from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for an appointment, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(NEWTON)  Lincoln Trail College, northeast of Robinson, will welcome in middle school and high school students from throughout the region for its first ever Winter Band Festival this Saturday, January 17th – in fact, students from most all area counties have been invited – while the high school students will be under the direction of Dr. Gary Shaw from Millikin University, the middle school students will be led by Dr. J. Corey Francis from Eastern Illinois University – the students will perform a public concert Saturday night at the Zwermann Arts Center Theater on the LTC campus starting at 7:00 – admission is $5 per person.

 

REMINDERS  :
    It’s another fundraiser at Monical’s Pizza in Olney next Monday for the East Orchard Christian Academy in Olney – when ordering at Monical’s next Monday afternoon thru Monday night, fill out a fundraising form, and a portion of your receipt will be donated to the EOCA for needed equipment & programs


    It’s Bingo coming up this Sunday at the Holy Cross Parish Center in Wendelin – play four games for only $1, from 12 noon to 3:00 – there will be sandwiches, desserts, & drinks for a free-will donation after 11:00


    The Olney FFA Alumni has its fundraising pancake & sausage breakfast this Saturday morning in the ERHS Cafeteria, with serving from 6:30 to 12 noon – also a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction – all the money raised will go towards FFA scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions


    The Stringtown Community Club has a fundraising “fish fry” this Friday night with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KofC Hall in Olney – pay at the door with carry-outs available – all ages are invited


    The Richland County Farm Bureau will host another Farm Bill meeting tomorrow evening at 5:30 at The Holiday with guest speaker Doug Yoder – to RSVP, contact the Farm Bureau office in Olney

 

 

 

January 13, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  An arctic high pressure over the upper Midwest will keep us cold and dry for the next 48 hours as some colder air moves in – a weak upper level disturbance will bring us some clouds tomorrow thru tomorrow night, maybe some flurries to our north, but then a gradual warming trend as we move towards the weekend – back into the 40’s and so far, it appears to be dry now thru next Monday – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  New Governor Bruce Rauner is already tightening the reins on state spending – after being sworn in late yesterday morning, Rauner ordered all state agencies to sell off  their extra property and to put an end to all out of state travel for employees – they’ve also been ordered to stop awarding contracts and grants – Rauner says every unnecessary dollar spent is one taken away from those in need in Illinois.

 

(OLNEY)  Meanwhile, the critics were out as the Inaugural celebration ended last night with the Governor and the new First Lady dancing to a live serenade by country music star Toby Keith, who headlined the Inaugural concert in Springfield – the casual event replaced the normal suit & tie formal ball that’s usually held – while the new Governor wore a flannel shirt and jeans, the First Lady also was in jeans and shirt.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Department of Public Health has launched an updated website that is interactive, more user friendly, now mobile friendly, and offers more online services – it’s all part of the Department’s Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize its effectiveness, influence, & value to promote wellness, health, and safety – check out the updated site online at www.dph.illinois.gov and see what’s available for you.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met last night in Olney – the Council  :  followed the recommendation of its Plan Commission and approved on a 4-0 vote with one abstention, the proposed Re-Plat of lots 61-86 in the South Cove Subdivision  :  approved expenditures for Olney’s 175th Anniversary next year as set forth in the City budget  :  on a 4-0 vote with one abstention, approved the use of Olney’s gun range for a concealed carry training course  :  on a 4-0 vote with one abstention, approved a Mortgage Subordination agreement with First Financial Bank  :  approved the annexation of property at 101 East Brentwood Avenue  :  approved the sale of the city’s personal property to Scrap Daddy’s and/or online at www.GovDeals.com – this includes items from the Water Distribution Department, Mechanics Department, Fire Department, and Mayor’s Office  :  tabled a decision until checking with the State DNR on an East Fork Lake Bassmasters’ request for tournaments on East Fork Lake  :  and took no action after a closed session to discuss personnel, real property, and negotiations  :  the Council did set a special meeting for budget planning to be held on Thursday night, January 22nd, at the Olney Fire Department, starting at 6:30  :  the Olney City Council’s next regular bi-monthly meeting is scheduled for Monday night, January 26th, at 7:00, at Olney City Hall.

 

(OLNEY)  Three Richland County men have been arrested and charged with illegally taking deer at night – investigated by the State DNR Conservation Police, a total of  13 deer were illegally killed, 11 of which were antlered bucks – 18 year old Caleb Diel and 18 year old Dylan Mitchell, both of Olney, have been charged with felony resource theft, unlawful hunting by use of lights from a vehicle, and for unlawful hunting deer at night – Diel also is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm with no valid FOID card – a third person, an identified juvenile, was also arrested and charged with unlawful take of deer and related offenses – a pickup truck and rifle were seized during the arrest – court appearances are currently pending.

 

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues today into a fire yesterday that destroyed a garage and shop just north and east of Montrose – firefighters were called to the property of Reggie Flach at around 11:30 late Monday morning and found the building mostly engulfed in flames – while nearby animals and a tractor were saved by firefighters, a truck, an ATV, tools, and more were all lost, but there were no injuries – no one was at home at the time of the blaze, which is believed to have started due to an electrical issue – also responding were firefighters from Dieterich and Teutopolis – the State Fire Marshall Office is assisting.

 

(OLNEY)  The investigation continues into a rural Richland County traffic accident that occurred over the weekend involving two teenagers from Anna, Illinois – the State Police report 18 year old Kasandra Orilla Bunch was  westbound on a country road just east of Parkersburg shortly after 9:00 Saturday night when she lost control of the car, it ran off the road, hit a utility pole, and rolled over, landing upright in the ditch – Bunch was life-lighted from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, while the passenger, 17 year old Makayla Dewitt was flown from Richland Memorial Hospital to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis – Bunch was ticketed for illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor, for possession of alcohol by a minor, for improper lane usage, and for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident – the investigation continues.

 

(NEWTON)  Registrations are now being accepted for the upcoming Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunges to benefit Special Olympics Illinois – area individuals and teams can sign-up on the special online website, at www.plungeillinois.com – the annual Polar Plunge is one of the premier fundraising events, raising more than $2.1 million last year with over 7,300 plungers taking part statewide – now with twenty different locations throughout Illinois, everyone’s encouraged to get involved – ranging from February 20th thru March 22nd, the plunges are available statewide – three downstate plunges will be held Saturday, February 28th, at the Campus Lake in Carbondale, at Carlyle Lake, and at Lake Sara near Effingham – a week later on March 7th, plunges will be held at Rend Lake and at Lake Decatur as well – for more details, check the official website online at www.plungeillinois.com and help support Special Olympics Illinois.

 

(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 Riddle Elementary School in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at EIU in Charleston from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Sunday morning at the St. Joseph Parish Center in Stringtown from 7:30 to 11:30  :  next Monday at the Robinson VFW from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more or to schedule an appointment, go online at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS  :
   Mark your calendars – the Richland County Relay For Life “kickoff” event will be held Thursday night, January 29th, at The Holiday in Olney – starting at 6:00, all are invited out to attend later this month


    It’s Bingo coming up this Sunday at the Holy Cross Parish Center in Wendelin – play four games for only $1, from 12 noon to 3:00 – there will be sandwiches, desserts, & drinks for a free-will donation after 11:00


    The Olney FFA Alumni has its fundraising pancake & sausage breakfast this Saturday morning in the ERHS Cafeteria, with serving from 6:30 to 12 noon – also a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction – all the money raised will go towards FFA scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions


    The Stringtown Community Club has a fundraising “fish fry” this Friday night with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KofC Hall in Olney – pay at the door with carry-outs available – all ages are invited


    The Richland County Farm Bureau will host another Farm Bill meeting this Thursday evening at 5:30 at The Holiday with guest speaker Doug Yoder – to RSVP, contact the Farm Bureau office in Olney


    The initial meeting for the OCC Community  Band is tonight in Room 216 starting at 6:00 – rehearsals will be Tuesday nights from 6:00 to 7:30 – all are invited to the Band’s first meeting tonight at OCC