LOCAL NEWS

Local News

February 24, 2016

 

(OLNEY)  A major winter storm will impact downstate Illinois today – the overnight rain is expected to change over to snow by midday with 6 to 9 inches of snow possible along the I-57 and I-70 corridors – the snow will come to an end by midnight, then we dry out with a slow warming trend tomorrow thru Sunday, when we’re back in the 60’s – another light rain chance Sunday night – stay tuned for weather updates.

 

(NEWTON)  While the National Weather Service has a Winter Weather Advisory for the area counties of  Jasper, Richland, Clay, Lawrence, Crawford, & Clark, it was issued Winter Storm Warning for the counties of Marion, Fayette, and others to the north – a rare Blizzard Warning is in effect for the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Effingham, Shelby, Christian, Edgar, Champaign others north – regional snowfall totals are expected between 2 and 9 inches, and while it’s expected to be a wet snow, the strong northerly wind flow will cause problems as well – dangerous driving conditions are expected by late this afternoon, especially for the Eastern & Southeastern part of the state, not only on regional highways, but mostly on all rural / country roads throughout the area – travel is discouraged at this time, although all of the weather advisories will expire by later tonight as it all quiets down – listen to your NOAA weather alert radio for updates.

 

(OLNEY)  With the winter weather in this last week of  February, the Illinois Department of Transportation reminds all travelers to bookmark their road condition website on all computers and smartphones for quick access to the latest winter road reports – the website, at  www.gettingaroundillinois.com  is updated around the clock during winter weather, providing motorists with the latest information on road conditions & more.

 

(NEWTON)  Meanwhile, several school district along the I-70 corridor have cancelled classes today – all schools are closed in the counties of  Crawford, Clark, Coles, and Edgar, plus a few in Effingham County – classes have been cancelled for today at all Lake Land College locations, plus classes are cancelled today at the EIU campus in Charleston, although the University is not closed – stay tuned for updated cancellations.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news – Illinois will no longer send paper renewal notices and paper licenses to professionals – it’s a move to improve efficiency and reduce overall costs – the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation estimates the move will save nearly $3 million in postage, paper, & printing costs over the next five years – professionals are encouraged to renew their licenses electronically as they can visit the department’s online address change website to provide a current email address.

 

(OLNEY)  A new law book used by Abraham Lincoln has been reunited with a partner edition at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum – officials say the book is the second of a three-volume set entitled “A Treatise on the Law of Evidence” by Simon Greenleaf – while the library & museum owns the first volume, the whereabouts of the third is a mystery – donated by the Montana Historical Society, the priceless book is signed “Lincoln & Herndon” in the hand of Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon.

 

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met this past Monday night – the Board  :  approved the low bid for the Village’s planned sewer improvement project – the $109,263 bid was submitted by and awarded to S&S Excavating – work may begin in April, depending on the weather and ground conditions  :  noted that the Village of  Noble garbage rate will increase by 2% beginning this coming April – that’s from $9.50 to $9.69 per customer  :  agreed to donate $25 to the Boy Scouts if they sponsor the annual Easter Egg Hunt in Noble  :  noted that no response has been received as of yet from Pittsburgh Tank & Tower concerning further discussion about updates needed for the Village’s water tower  :  noted that the Village’s Zoning Board is now down to only three members  :  and discussed possible summertime projects, although no action was taken – the list includes sidewalk & culvert work on East Elm Street by Cornerstone Church, water line work on South First and Locust Streets, and putting pumps in the sewer lift station on East South Avenue  :  the Noble Village Board’s next regular bi-monthly meeting will be Monday night, March 14th, at 7:00.

 

(NEWTON)  Newton Community High School will host a “Pre-Registration Open House” for all incoming freshmen and their parents or guardians on Saturday, March 12th, from 8:00 to 4:00, in the NCHS Cafeteria – those attending are encouraged to read over the Freshman Course Catalog prior to the March 12th event – the Catalog can be found on the school website, under the Resources tab – students will also be allowed to  pre-register for their 2016-2017 classes and have the chance to ask any questions during the Open House – if any questions or for more information, contact Newton Community High School by calling  783-2303.

 

(OLNEY)  During this National FFA Week, we continue to salute the Olney FFA Chapter at Richland County High School – today we’re recognizing the Chapter’s Greenhand Officers for 2015-2016 – that list includes President Evan Walker – Vice President Madison Michels – Reporter Jalyna Reynolds – Secretary Autumn Leaf – Treasurer Stormie Hartsey – Sentinel Dawson Hawkins – Historian Ethan Steber – Points Chair Seth Kocher – and Student Council Representative Austin Atwood – plus Advisors Mark Steber, Jamie Van Dyke, and Rylan Rusk – with a week full of different activities, today is “Official Dress Day” and the FFA Member Cookout during lunch at RCHS – tomorrow is “Favorite Team / University Dress Day” and Petting Zoo Day – Friday is “Western Dress Day” and a Barnyard Dance that night – the Olney FFA members will wrap-up the week by taking part in the Bowl For Kid’s Sake on Saturday – we want you to join us as we salute all area FFA members, especially those in the Olney FFA Chapter at RCHS in Olney.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Area County Clerk’s offices remind us to make plans to vote in the upcoming March 15th Primary Election – the offices can mail out Vote by Mail ballots, can conduct Early Voting, and more – for details next Monday, voters can contact the Richland County Clerk’s office in Olney or the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton – the offices are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.

 

(NEWTON)  All eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood when possible as our local and area blood supplies are at very low levels – here’s the upcoming blood drives in our region  :  tomorrow at the Richland County High School in Olney from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  Friday at the Altamont High School from 8:00 to 1:00  :  and on Saturday in neighboring Clay County at the Flora Wal-Mart from 11:00 to 3:00  :  all blood types and blood platelets are very much in need throughout our region.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Olney Public Library has announced it will be offering an 8-week weight loss team competition starting next month in March – teams of four people are needed with a $10 per person signup fee – cash prizes will be awarded – the signup & initial weigh-in will be March 3rd, a week from tomorrow, during regular business hours – for more information or details, or to signup, call the Library at  618-392-3711


    The Jasper County Republican Committee has its annual Lincoln Day event this Saturday at the K.C. Hall in Newton – beginning at 6:00 with a social time, the catered meal will be served at 6:30 – the $15 tickets can be purchase from any committee member or at the door Saturday night – for more, call  618-783-3185


    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has another fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning from 8:00 to 10:00 in the Foundation Building – carry-outs available – $6 tickets at the door – all are invited


    The Noble Lion’s Club will have its annual “Pancake Day” breakfast this Saturday morning with serving from 7:00 until 12:00 noon – pay at the door, it’s Saturday morning at the Lion’s Club Building in Noble


    The rescheduled “Bingo Night” is this coming Friday night from 6:00 to 8:00 at the St. Mary’s Parish Center in Ste. Marie – sponsored by the St. Mary’s Family Life Committee, all are invited to attend


    Tickets for the OCC Theatre production of “South Pacific” are on sale each weekday from 10:00 to 2:00 in the ticket booth at OCC – performances will be the second and third weekends next month in March

 

    And remember for the list of cancellations that we’ve been made aware of, check out our list – click the “weather” tab or the snowflake in the upper right hand corner of your screen and scroll down past the weather – that’s at  www.freedom929.com, at  www.1035theeagle.com, or at  www.wvlnam.com

 

 

 

February 23, 2016

 

(OLNEY)  It’s a quiet weather day as high pressure slowly departs from our area – however, a developing storm system is our primary forecast concern for tonight thru tomorrow night – we’ll see widespread rain tonight thru Wednesday morning, then some colder air with snow tomorrow afternoon before ending – it will be cloudy, but dry Thursday before we’re back to some sunshine on Friday – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has a Winter Storm Watch in effect for Wednesday thru Wednesday night for the area to our north, including the Illinois counties of Coles, Vermilion, Champaign, and others further north – at this point, the National Weather Service believes the heaviest snowfall axis will be along a Danville to Mattoon to Effingham line with 3 to 5 inches of snow possible – maybe as much as 6 to 8 inches of snow from Champaign to Danville – areas along I-70 can expect 3 to 5 inches, including portions of  Jasper, Effingham, Crawford, Cumberland, and Clark Counties – anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow are possible for areas along the U.S. Route 50 corridor – ultimately, it all depends on the storm track on where the heaviest amounts fall – stay tuned to your NOAA weather alert radio for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news – the Illinois Supreme Court has deemed a four-year pilot program allowing media coverage at certain trials a success and is now making the policy permanent – nine of the state’s 24 judicial districts in Illinois that have not applied for the cameras-in-court program will not be forced to do so – plus, strict criteria will remain for when and under what conditions cameras and audio are allowed.

 

(OLNEY)  Federal officials have taken over a Southern Illinois County’s public housing authority, citing years of mismanagement as the reason – HUD’s recent review of the Alexander County Housing Authority and its units found mold, roaches, electrical & plumbing issues, and non-working appliances – two new federal administrators have immediately been put in charge relieving the former managers of their duties.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Department of Human Services will move some of its operations into a four building complex on Springfield’s southeast side – state officials say as many as 450 workers will report to work at Iles Park Place after a $7.2 million upgrade planned this spring – the Illinois State Police vacated the complex nearly 8 years ago when it moved downtown – renovation work is expected to start in March.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met last night – the Council  :   accepted the quote from Concrete Evolutions in Louisville to clean & install new flooring at the Olney City Park Community Building – the cost will not exceed $27,789 and cost no less than $20,140  :  approved a one day / one night Liquor License for Bobalou’s, along South Whittle Avenue, for the City’s 175th Anniversary Celebration in July  :  agreed to amend the City of Olney’s Municipal Code to change the reference for taxi service, setting a $5 minimum charge and a $10 maximum charge  :  then approved a Taxicab License in the City of Olney for Charles Robertson  :  amended the water rates for water service to the Watergate Subdivision – includes a flat fee per 100 gallons of use  :  agreed to vacate the East / West Alley between South Grant Street and the unimproved portion of South Lincoln Street  :  amended the City of Olney’s Municipal Code for license restrictions dealing with raffles – increased the maximum ticket price from $50 up to $100  :  then approved a raffle license for the Olney Firefighters Association  :  amended the City of Olney’s Municipal Code to increase the Daily Boating License fee from $3 to $5 as a service charge – however the change does not take effect until next year, in 2017  :  noted the City of Olney has received a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant for housing rehabilitation  :  noted that the Good Energy bid opening is tomorrow in Charleston  :  and heard an update that the City of Olney Community Building renovation work should be completed by the end of March  :  the next meeting for the Olney City Council is March 14th.

 

(NEWTON)  The Embarras River Basin Agency is currently taking applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – it’s for anyone who’s under the required income guidelines and for those responsible for paying their household’s home energy bills – LIHEAP is designed to assist income eligible households offset the rising cost of home energy – if those affected have not filed a new application since October 1st, 2015, they should contact the ERBA Offices in Newton or Olney for more information.

 

(OLNEY)  During this National FFA Week, we continue to salute the Olney FFA Chapter at Richland County High School – with nearly 200 members, here’s the leaders of the local group, the Olney FFA list of officers for the 2015-2016 school year – President Matthew Runyon – Vice President Tanner Scherer – Reporter Kenna Steber – Secretary Molly Walker – Treasurer Emily Shilling – Sentenil Seth Mitchell – Historian Allison Herman – Points Chair Faith Stallard – Student Council Representative Ryan Dowty – plus Advisors Mark Steber, Jamie Van Dyke, and Rylan Rusk – with a week full of different activities, today is “Twinning Tuesday” with an All School Assembly 5th Block, plus pizza and movie night tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 – tomorrow will be “Official Dress Day” and the FFA Member Cookout during lunch at RCHS – Thursday is “Favorite Team / University Dress Day” and Petting Zoo Day – Friday is “Western Dress Day” and a Barnyard Dance that night – the Olney FFA members will wrap-up the week by taking part in the Bowl For Kid’s Sake on Saturday – we want you to join us as we salute all area FFA members, past and present, especially those in the Olney FFA Chapter at Richland County High School in Olney.

 

(NEWTON)  With springtime weather just around the corner, next week will be recognized as Severe Weather Preparedness Week – a big part of the week’s observance is the annual statewide tornado drill, which is scheduled for Tuesday morning, March 1st, at 10:00, that’s one week from today – the annual exercise will include a “live” Tornado Warning broadcast by the National Weather Service on all statewide radio and TV stations – IEMA will also be promoting severe weather preparedness throughout the month of March – so take note, that’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week next week, starting this coming Sunday.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Middle School will host a free, hour-long Internet Safety presentation tonight in Olney – from 5:00 to 6:00, former police officer and current Criminal Justice instructor, Brent McGuire, will share the pro’s and con’s of social networking sites, show how to monitor a child’s online activity, share steps to take to protect a child online, and share insight into the challenges parents face when children go online – for questions or to RSVP, contact Sherry at  618-395-4372, extension 2111.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Area County Clerk’s offices remind us to make plans to vote in the upcoming March 15th Primary Election – the offices can mail out Vote by Mail ballots, can conduct Early Voting, and more – for details next Monday, voters can contact the Richland County Clerk’s office in Olney or the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton – the offices are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.

 

(NEWTON)  All eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood when possible as our local and area blood supplies are at very low levels – here’s the upcoming blood drives in our region  :  on Thursday at the Richland County High School in Olney from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  Friday at the Altamont High School from 8:00 to 1:00  :  and on Saturday in neighboring Clay County at the Flora Wal-Mart from 11:00 to 3:00  :  all blood types and blood platelets are very much in need throughout our region.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The March COPD Support Group meeting in Olney is next Tuesday, March 1st, a week from today, at 1:00, in the Richland Memorial Hospital Ambulance Garage classroom – all are invited to attend


    The Jasper County Republican Committee has its annual Lincoln Day event this Saturday at the K.C. Hall in Newton – beginning at 6:00 with a social time, the catered meal will be served at 6:30 – the $15 tickets can be purchase from any committee member or at the door Saturday night – for more, call  618-783-3185


    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has another fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning from 8:00 to 10:00 in the Foundation Building – carry-outs available – $6 tickets at the door – all are invited


    The rescheduled “Bingo Night” is this coming Friday night from 6:00 to 8:00 at the St. Mary’s Parish Center in Ste. Marie – sponsored by the St. Mary’s Family Life Committee, all are invited to attend


    The Pink Warrior Sisters Breast Cancer Support Group of Southeastern Illinois has a fundraiser today thru tonight at Monical’s Pizza in Olney – fill out a flyer before ordering and a portion of your receipt will assist in the local fight against cancer – the Pink Warrior Sisters have their monthly meeting tonight at 6:00


    Tickets for the OCC Theatre production of “South Pacific” are on sale each weekday from 10:00 to 2:00 in the ticket booth at OCC – performances will be the second and third weekends next month in March

 

 

 

February 22, 2016

 

(OLNEY)  As the center of a surface high pressure tracks north of the downstate area today, we’ll have a partly to mostly cloudy sky, although there will be times of clearing with some sunshine – but it will be dry thru tomorrow – then a low pressure brings us rain Tuesday night into Wednesday, possibly some snow into Wednesday night – however, heavy amounts stay north along I-70 – dry on Thursday – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news – while Illinois’ budget clock is running now a year behind schedule, the state is far from passing a budget for the current fiscal year as nothing has changed in Springfield – this despite the Governor’s attempt last week to move lawmakers in that direction – it’s usually at this time of the year that lawmakers are focused on passing a state budget for the next fiscal year – no new negotiations on the state budget impasse have been publicly scheduled – little is expected to happen before the March 15th primary.

 

(OLNEY)  Governor Bruce Rauner used his veto pen last Friday – as promised, the Governor said “no” to the plan to spend $397 million for the Monetary Award Program to fund grants to college students and $324 million for payments to statewide community colleges – Rauner said there’s no funding source for the plan – while the Democrats want a tax increase and spending cuts in other areas, the state Republicans will not support a tax increase without reforms and the power for the Governor to shift funds where they’re needed.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois will receive $114 million to help homeowners still struggling from the 2008 recession – it’s reported the money is on top of nearly $450 million the federal government has given the state since 2010 – while the Illinois Housing Development Authority must determine how to use the funds, the plan must be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department – it could be used to help fix underwater mortgages, to help repair homes, or to help first-time home-buyers – only four other states received more than Illinois.

 

(OLNEY)  During this National FFA Week, let’s take a glance at the current Olney FFA Chapter at Richland County High School – nearly 200 members comprise the local chapter, which was originally chartered on October 14th, 1929, making it one of the oldest chapters in the United States – the Chapter is currently led by award-winning advisors Mark Steber, Jamie Van Dyke, and Rylan Rusk – while the Olney Chapter started the week’s observance this past Friday with it’s Chapter Meeting and Dodgeball at Britton’s Bullpen in Olney, members attended FFA Church yesterday at the First Christian Church of Noble – today, on this Monday, it’s “Dress Up Day” as FFA members are urged to attend school in their favorite Holiday attire – plus the Olney FFA held its annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast this morning – tomorrow will be “Twinning Tuesday” with an All School Assembly 5th Block, plus pizza and movie night tomorrow night from 7:00 to 9:00 – Wednesday will be “Official Dress Day” and the FFA Member Cookout during lunch at RCHS – Thursday is “Favorite Team / University Dress Day” and Petting Zoo Day – Friday is “Western Dress Day” and a Barnyard Dance that night – the Olney FFA members will wrap-up the week by taking part in the Bowl For Kid’s Sake on Saturday – we want you to join us as we salute all area FFA members, past and present, especially those in the Olney FFA Chapter at Richland County High School in Olney.

 

(NEWTON)  An area teacher has made the final cut to possibly win $1 million – it’s Joe Fatheree, a media production teacher at Effingham High School, who recently made the shortlist of the final ten teachers vying for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, known as the “Nobel Prize for Teaching” – the list of ten teachers was whittled down from the original 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries around the world – the final ten list includes one other American teacher, Michael Soskil from Pennsylvania, plus the others from Pakistan, Kenya, Palestine, Japan, Finland, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom – Fatheree has taught for 25 years in Effingham, plus is a past Illinois “Teacher of the Year” – the Global winner will be announced later this spring as all ten teachers & guests will attend the prize award banquet in Dubai.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Middle School will host a free, hour-long Internet Safety presentation tomorrow night in Olney – from 5:00 to 6:00, former police officer and current Criminal Justice instructor, Brent McGuire, will share the pro’s and con’s of social networking sites, show how to monitor a child’s online activity, share steps to take to protect a child online, and share insight into the challenges parents face when children go online – for questions or to RSVP, contact Sherry at  618-395-4372, extension 2111.

 

(NEWTON)  Community members and others are invited to meet with area employers at the Lake Land College “Job Fair” coming up this Wednesday, from 10:00 and 12:30, in the Field House, on the campus, just south of Mattoon – nearly 25 local and area businesses are registered to attend the fair as attendees are encouraged to bring several copies of their resumes and to be prepared for on-site interviews – all are invited to the free event – for more information on Wednesday’s “Job Fair”, contact Lake Lake College.

 

(OLNEY)  A huge “thank you” to everyone that helped out with this past weekend’s first half of the local “Bowl For Kid’s Sake” to benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County – the second half of the event, the only major fundraiser for the local organization, is this coming Saturday & Sunday at the Olney Bowling Center – teams of five people can still signup – to help out, call the BBBS office  618-392-3863.

 

(NEWTON)  Area farmers have until February 26th, this coming Friday, to offer land into the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program under the current General Sign-Up period – the contract duration is for 10 or 15 years and it’s for eligible property to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve water quality, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat – plus landowners can also offer land into CRP under the USDA’s Continuous CRP Sign-Up, which includes popular practices such as waterways, filter strips, quail buffer strips, and pollinator habitat – for details, farmers should contact their local County FSA Office.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Area County Clerk’s offices remind us to make plans to vote in the upcoming March 15th Primary Election – the offices can mail out Vote by Mail ballots, can conduct Early Voting, and more – for details next Monday, voters can contact the Richland County Clerk’s office in Olney or the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton – the offices are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.

 

(NEWTON)  All eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood when possible as our local and area blood supplies are at very low levels – here’s the upcoming blood drives in our region  :  today at the Flora VFW from 11:00 to 3:00  :  also today at the Saint Peter Village Hall from 2:00 to 6:00  :  also at the Centralia Junior High School from 2:30 to 6:30  :  then on Thursday at the Richland County High School in Olney from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  on Friday at the Altamont High School from 8:00 to 1:00  :  on Saturday at the Flora Wal-Mart Store from 11:00 to 3:00  :  all blood types and blood platelets are needed.

 

(OLNEY)  In meetings coming up on this Monday night  :  the Olney City Council has a rather long agenda to consider at its second regular meeting in February tonight – the meeting starts at 7:00 in Council Chambers at the Olney City Hall  :  also meeting tonight is the Noble Village Board – tonight’s 7:00 meeting will be held at the Village Hall in Noble  :  both of tonight’s meetings are open to the public.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Jasper County Republican Committee has its annual Lincoln Day event this Saturday at the K.C. Hall in Newton – beginning at 6:00 with a social time, the catered meal will be served at 6:30 – the $15 tickets can be purchase from any committee member or at the door Saturday night – for more, call  618-783-3185


    The Crossroads Beekeepers will have an “Advanced Bee School” this Saturday at the U of  I Extension Center in Effingham from 9:00 to 4:00 – doors open at 8:00 – it’s $30 per person, $15 per additional person from the same family – several topics to be covered, plus a catered meal – today is the registration deadline – call Dave at  618-562-8503  or call Larry at  217-347-5937  or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
    The Noble Lion’s Club will have its annual “Pancake Day” breakfast this Saturday morning with serving from 7:00 until 12:00 noon – pay at the door, it’s Saturday morning at the Lion’s Club Building in Noble


    The rescheduled “Bingo Night” is this coming Friday night from 6:00 to 8:00 at the St. Mary’s Parish Center in Ste. Marie – sponsored by the St. Mary’s Family Life Committee, all are invited to attend


    The Pink Warrior Sisters Breast Cancer Support Group of Southeastern Illinois has a fundraiser tomorrow thru tomorrow night at Monical’s Pizza in Olney – fill out a flyer or announce your intentions before ordering carry-out and a portion of your receipt will assist in the local fight against cancer – the Pink Warrior Sisters have their monthly group meeting the last Tuesday of every month at Monical’s at 6:00


    The Elm Street Christian Church in Olney will begin its 13-week “DivorceCare” support group meeting tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 – then each Monday night thru May 23rd – call the church at  395-8411 

 

 

 

February 20, 2016

 

(OLNEY)  The weak cold front that stalled out yesterday over the Ohio River Valley will continue its movement today, giving us rain chances later tonight thru tomorrow morning – after our wind switches from south to west / northwest, the rain will end and we’ll dry out for Sunday afternoon – then we’re cooler, but dry for most all of next week, with slightly above normal temperatures – stay tuned for continued updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news – the Illinois Department of Revenue still doesn’t anticipate releasing Individual Income Tax refunds for the 2016 tax filing season until after March 1st, 2016 – the decision comes as fraud prevention efforts from last year’s tax season show the positive impact that additional delays had in battling tax return fraud and identity theft – taxpayers are reminded that filing tax returns electronically & requesting direct deposit into a checking or savings account is still the fastest way to receive a refund – electronic returns filed before March 1st should be issued 2 to 3 weeks later – for more, logon at www.tax.illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Police District 12 Troopers are conducting special patrols in specific areas for the rest of February  :  Roadside Safety Checks conducted in Richland County will be looking for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, for those driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, or for those driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs  :  meanwhile, Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols conducted in Jasper, Cumberland, and Clark Counties will include saturation patrols that focus on traffic violations and related compliance with safety belt and child safety seat laws – plus, safety belt enforcement zones will also be set up to ensure the driver & all passengers are buckled up.

 

(OLNEY)  A couple of reminders for those outdoors  :  applications for the 2016 Earth Day in the Parks events are now being accepted by the IDNR thru February 28th, one week from tomorrow – the events will be held in April & May, promoting natural resources stewardship by school children – teachers can find the application form & more details on the IDNR website  :  also the Illinois fishing, hunting, and sportsman’s combination licenses and stamps for 2016 are now available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, plus online thru the IDNR website – the 2016 license and stamps are required before hunting and/or fishing in Illinois by April 1st  :  for all things outdoors, check the IDNR website online, at  www.dnr.illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  Illinois FFA members, advisors, and supporters join others nationwide to celebrate 85 years of agriculture education and leadership during next week’s observance of National FFA Week – please join us as we salute all our local FFA members, both past and present, for their dedication to agriculture education – all local and area FFA Chapters will be busy next week as National FFA Week runs Monday thru Friday.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Area County Clerk’s offices remind us to make plans to vote in the upcoming March 15th Primary Election – the offices can mail out Vote by Mail ballots, can conduct Early Voting, and more – for details next Monday, voters can contact the Richland County Clerk’s office in Olney or the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton – the offices are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.

 

REMINDERS  :

    The Elm Street Christian Church in Olney will begin its 13-week “DivorceCare” support group meeting Monday night from 6:00 to 8:00 – then each Monday night thru May 23rd – call the church at  395-8411 

    The next area blood drive is tomorrow morning in Ste. Marie, at the St. Mary’s Parish Hall, from 8:00 until 12:00 noon – all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to give – all blood types are needed

    It’s another fundraising breakfast tomorrow morning at the St. Joseph Cafeteria from 8:00 to 11:30 – great food & drinks with tickets at the door – proceeds go to the next educational trip to Washington, D.C.

    The White Squirrel Saddle Club has a fundraising steak dinner at 6:30 tonight & the Hot Rod Lincoln Band in concert from 8:00 until 12 midnight – tickets at $25 the meal & dance or $10 for the dance only

    The Dieterich Fire Department has a fundraising Texas Hold’Em Tournament today at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich – registration at 11:00 with play starting at 12 noon – food available for purchase

    The OCC Music Department has its second & final Winter Concert tonight at 7:30 in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center – the concert will feature the OCC Concert Band, Concert Choir, & Jazz Ensemble – admission is $5 with tickets at the door – for more, logon at  www.occmusic.org
   

 

February 19, 2016

 

(OLNEY)  With strong southerly winds warming us up on the back side of the high pressure that’s moved off  to the east, a weak cold front is moving towards the Midwest – as we warm up today & tomorrow, that front will stall out over the Ohio River Valley, and while the winds will lay, there’s a good chance of some rain tomorrow night into Sunday morning – then dry & cooler for the first of next week – listen for updates.

 

(OLNEY)  The National Weather Service has a Wind Advisory if effect today thru tonight for Richland & most all surrounding counties – the southwest wind could gust to as high as 50 miles-per-hour this Friday, therefore causing some travel difficulties for high profile vehicles – plus,any outdoor burning is not recommended today as well – the strong winds are expected to lay somewhat after dark and overnight.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news – Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to streamline education & issues regarding young people across Illinois – yesterday’s executive order creates the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth – the nearly 20 members will include the chiefs of state agencies, among others, all to come together to make sure the state entities that deal with children use their resources to help those who need it most.

 

(OLNEY)  New U of  I Athletic Director Josh Whitman believes the school’s teams have lost some of their identity over the past year of problems – in his introductory news conference yesterday, the 37 year old former Illini and NFL player says he plans on rebuilding that identity – Whitman replaces Mike Thomas who was fired last November on the accusation of coach misconduct & several lawsuits by former players.

 

(NEWTON)  Although Governor Bruce Rauner has already said he will not sign it into law, bill to fund the state’s Community Colleges, Adult Education programs, & a college student grant program is now sitting on his desk – passed nearly two weeks ago by both the State House & Senate, the bill would give assistance to 125,000 college students, not to mention pay up money that’s been withheld from statewide Community Colleges since July of last year – the Governor says there is no source of funding the $721 million pricetag.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County School Board met last night in Olney – the Board  :  approved the amended 2015-2016 school calendar  :  noted that the state now owes the District at least $935,000  :  approved the Performance Rankings File for all certified employees  :  approved the District’s non-certified employee seniority list  :  approved the Temporary Facility Report for the portable classroom building installed at the Richland County Elementary School  :  noted the District has received a Fine Arts & Foreign Language Implementation Assistance Grant worth $61,516  :  approved the official transfer of the property of the former West Richland High School in Noble to the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges District  :  noted the District’s cultural exchange program with the Gars Gymnasium School in Gars, Germany, is continuing now for the sixth consecutive year as 24 students from Germany will be visiting Richland County & Olney for a two week period, beginning late next month  :  recognized the parents and 17 RCHS seniors who have been named Illinois State Scholars  :  and after a 29-minute closed session, made various personnel moves – approved the retirement resignation from RCES Paraprofessional Chris Mullens at the end of this school year – approved the retirement resignation from Bus Driver Bobbie Jarvis – approved the retirement resignation from RCES Food Service employee Kim Miller effective June 2nd – approved the retirement resignation from RCES First Grade Teacher Sherri Baker effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year – approved the resignations from RCMS Language Arts Teacher Cara Kniss and from RCES part-time Special Education Teacher Erin Whistler – and agreed to hire Jana Roark as a RCHS Guidance Counselor  :  the next regular meeting of the Richland County School Board is set for March 17th.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois FFA members, advisors, and supporters join others nationwide to celebrate 85 years of agriculture education and leadership during next week’s observance of National FFA Week – it’s noted that students across the state are preparing for more than 300 careers in agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources industries – last year, Illinois agriculture education students earned more than $11.6 million in their work-based projects, referred to as Supervised Agricultural Experiences – plus it’s noted that ag education continues to attract nonfarm students – last year, in 2015, 89% of Illinois students did not live on farms – so join us as we salute all FFA members, advisors, and alumni during FFA week all of next week.

 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night in Newton – the Board  :  approved the school calendar for 2016-2017 as presented  :  noted the fourteen District teachers participating in the National Board Certification Training  :  took no action on property & school ground mowing quotes that have been submitted  :  was informed of a request to name the NCHS Gym floor with more details in the future  :  also heard the various reports from each of the District’s schools from their respective administrators  :  and after a two-hour-plus closed session, approved various personnel moves – accepted the retirement resignations of Beth Mammoser, Cheryl Walker, and Gina Fox, all effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year – approved the resignations of  Kayla Kusterman effective last week & from Alex Frohning, Christina Wise, and Michael Jones, all effective at the end of this school year – approved volunteer coaches Tara Wirth for NCHS Track and Michelle Schafer for 5th/6th Grade Volleyball – and agreed to recall reduction in force secretary(s) as appropriate  :  the Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be March 17th  :  the Board also set a special meeting to discuss personnel for Thursday, March 3rd, with the time to be announced.

 

(OLNEY)  With warmer-than-normal weather conditions this weekend, possibly near record warmth, here’s a few weather notes looking back at a year ago at this time – from February 12th thru February 28th, 2015, it was one of the coldest 17 consecutive mornings in Olney & Richland County history – here’s the numbers  :  during the 17 mornings, the average daily low temperature was 5 degrees  :  there was only one daily low that was in the 20’s  :  there were five days with lows in the 11 to 13 degree range  :  there were six days with the daily low in single digits, ranging from 3 to 7 degrees  :  and there were five days with the daily lows below zero, ranging from 4 to 12 below zero  :  one record low temperature was tied – 3 degrees tied the record low for February 23rd in 1910  :  two record lows were recorded during the 17 day period – 4 below zero broke the previous record of  2 above zero set in 1914 – and one of the coldest lows in local history was 12 below zero, breaking the previous record low of zero set in 1936  :  precipitation wise during the 17 days & nights, we received just over 6 inches of snow and on the warmest day, we had just over a half inch of rain  :  all the numbers are courtesy of our WVLN-WSEI Weather Station here at the south edge of Olney – a National Weather Service reporter, which has records dating back thru the 1890’s.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Area County Clerk’s offices remind us to make plans to vote in the upcoming March 15th Primary Election – the offices can mail out Vote by Mail ballots, can conduct Early Voting, and more – for additional information, voters can contact the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton or the Richland County Clerk’s office in Olney – the offices are open weekdays, Monday thru Friday, from 8:00 to 4:00.

 

(OLNEY)  Whitetails Unlimited is sponsoring the River Bottom Stump Sitters Banquet on Saturday, February 27th, at The Holiday in Olney – the event will feature a two-meat buffet and an auction with prizes including a wide array of products, such as firearms, outfitter packages, hunting and outdoor-related equipment, artwork & collectibles, and more only available at a WTU event – the social hour starts at 5:00 with dinner at 7:00 – the ticket order deadline is tomorrow, February 20th – no tickets will be sold at the door – call Tim at  618-335-9631 or check out the WTU website online, at  www.whitetailsunlimited.com.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors are urged to get out and give the “gift of life” at their next opportunity, especially now with very low blood supplies on hand – here’s some area blood drives coming up  :  today at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney from 12:00 to 4:00  :  Sunday morning at the St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Ste. Marie from 8:00 to 12:00 noon  :  all blood types and platelets are very much in need in our area.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The annual Bowl For Kid’s Sake, the only major fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County, is the next two weekends, starting tomorrow & Sunday – teams of five people are urged to signup, raise funds, and then bowl at the Olney Bowling Center – to help out, call the BBBS office  618-392-3863


    It’s another fundraising breakfast this Sunday morning at the St. Joseph Cafeteria from 8:00 to 11:30 – great food & drinks with tickets at the door – proceeds go to the next educational trip to Washington, D.C.


    The White Squirrel Saddle Club has a fundraiser tomorrow night at the Olney VFW – it’s a steak dinner at 6:30 & the Hot Rod Lincoln Band from 8:00 until 12 midnight – tickets at $25 or $10 for the dance only – proceeds to the Club’s Gateway To Motion fund – for more, logon at  www.whitesquirrelsaddleclub.com

 
    The Dieterich Fire Department has a fundraising Texas Hold’Em Tournament tomorrow at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich – registration at 11:00 with play starting at high noon – the Ladies Auxiliary will provide food – proceeds to help purchase a firefighting side-by-side – all are invited to take part


    The OCC Music Department has its Winter Concerts tonight & tomorrow night, at 7:30 each night, in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center – the concert features the OCC Concert Band, Concert Choir, & Jazz Ensemble – admission is $5 with tickets at the door – for more, logon at  www.occmusic.org


    The Olney American Legion Post #30 has another Friday night “fish fry” this evening with serving from 5:30 until sold out – all families welcome – it’s $6 per plate with tickets at the door


    The Olney Knights of Columbus will have their first Friday night “fish fry” tonight at the Richland Country Club, with serving to start at 5:00 – all are invited – tickets available at the door tonight


    The Richland County Elementary School 1st Grade classes will perform their music program “Just For Fun” day – four classes will perform at 10:00 this morning, with the three remaining classes to perform at 2:15 this afternoon – everyone is encouraged to attend one or both of the performances today at RCES