LOCAL NEWS

Local News

January 20, 2017

 

(OLNEY)  As the upper level disturbance that brought us last night’s rain moves northeast of us, we’ll stay dry and warmer-than-normal both today & tomorrow – as a warm front pushes north of Illinois on Saturday, an approaching low pressure system will give us more rain chances Sunday thru Sunday night before we dry out with mild conditions still in place for the first half of next week – listen for continued weather updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news today – former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will not get out of prison early, at least for now – in President Obama’s final acts of clemency yesterday, his list did not include the former Governor who appealed to the President for early release – a presidential commutation was one of Blagojevich’s last chances to get out of prison early – the former Governor is in the 4th year of a 14-year prison term after being convicted of trying to sell Obama’s Illinois Senate seat after he became President.

 

(OLNEY)  Governor Bruce Rauner has announced that Illinois has made significant progress in bringing high-speed internet to more schools & students statewide thru the Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative this past year – the 2016 “State of the States” annual report on K-12 broadband connectivity showed 83% of  Illinois school districts now meet the minimum goal per student, which is a significant jump from 71% at this time last year – for more information, go online at  www.stateofthestates.educationsuperhighway.org.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s efforts to preserve and promote the state’s heritage paid off in 2016 with 25 properties being added to the National Register of Historic Places – among the 8 downstate sites to be added to the distinctive list is only one in our region – it’s the 181-foot bridge at 13th Street in St. Francisville, in Lawrence County – the wooden timber bridge, originally built in 1909 by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railway Company, features its distinctive wooden trestle bents and was constructed to allow safe travel over the then Big Four Railroad, which tracks have since been removed – renovated in 1950 by adding a steel beam to the main span, the bridge is open to traffic and is now categorized as a “hybrid” with identifying characteristics of a “timber stringer” bridge, one of only a few left in Illinois – all other properties on the National Register of Historic places are in upstate Illinois.

 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night in Newton – the Board  :  heard concerns from the public  :  accepted the 2017 fuel bid from Wabash Valley Service Company  :  approved the District’s Dual Credit Agreement  :  discussed, but took no action on the District’s buildings and Health/Life/Safety issues  :  approved the District’s Summer Food Service program waiver  :  reviewed the Superintendent’s monthly report, which is also available online, at  www.jaspercountyschools.net  :  agreed to advertise for a full time Vocational Teacher for the 2017-2018 school year  :  and accepted the resignation of District Bus Driver Austin Ferguson  :  the Jasper County School Board’s next regular meeting will be February 16th.

 

(OLNEY)  The  Richland County School Board met last night in Olney – the Board  :  heard the annual State of the District Report, which is available to the public on the District’s website, at  www.rccu1.net  :  in the financial report, noted the state has issued vouchers to the District that exceeds $2.8 million  :  accepted the $244,296 bid from Central States Bus Sales for the purchase of three new Blue Bird buses  :  with the meeting held in Sliva Auditorium, several RCHS programs were highlighted including the new CEO class, the RCHS Library, JROTC, student art exhibits, the RCHS Jazz Band & Choir, FFA, and the recognition of the RCHS State Scholars  :  in personnel moves – accepted resignation from Recording Secretary of the Board and District Secretary Alda Ingram, RCHS English Teacher Diane Muhs, and RCES Paraprofessional Rae Rose – hired Heather Ferguson & Donna Balding as Special Ed Paraprofessionals at RCES for the rest of this school year – and approved Brad Ameter and Chuck Snyder as volunteer track coaches for this spring  :  the Richland County School Board’s next regular meeting will be February 16th.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District held its annual meeting last night in Olney with an estimated 125 people in attendance at The Holiday – with a buffet dinner and entertainment from country music guitarist & singer Andy Rueter from Effingham, the night also included the District’s annual business meeting – long time serving Director and current Secretary of the District Board, Elaine Snider, was recognized with a plaque for her 24 years of service to the Richland County SWCD – those elected last night as Directors were incumbent Craig Runyon and newcomer Pam Runyon, who’ll replace Elaine Snider – the other Directors include Chairman Fred Ochs, Vice-Chairman Tony Kuenstler, & Heath Clodfelter – a huge “thank you” goes out to the SWCD staff, including Loleta Yonaka, for all they do.

 

(OLNEY)  The Ruritan National Convention began yesterday in Kingsport, Tennessee with a Flag Ceremony representing each state with a Ruritan Club, plus a Memorial Service to recognize the loss of over 300 Ruritan members in 2016 – this morning’s Veteran’s Breakfast will be followed by a business session, the introduction of national candidates, an awards luncheon, afternoon workshops, and tonight’s Fellowship Dinner – more of the same tomorrow with the newly elected national officers to be installed that night – a Sunday morning Worship Service will wrap things up – local members from the Lincolnland District are attending the annual event, including those from the District’s largest Club based in Dundas.

 

(NEWTON)  The 107th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs continues in Springfield with various seminars, workshops, and committee meetings being held now thru Sunday for statewide fair board members to learn more about operating a successful county fair – the annual Trade Show runs this afternoon and thru tomorrow with the State’s Junior and Senior Talent competitions coming up tomorrow – it all wraps up with the Queen Pageant Sunday night and a Directors meeting on Monday.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Meanwhile, rehearsals for the 2017 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant are underway and continuing today thru tomorrow and Sunday morning – Pageant will be Sunday evening with the finals set for Sunday night – there are 72 young ladies vying for this year’s crown, currently worn by Abby Foster of Danville, in Vermilion County –– among those taking part are Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Keirsten Brewer & Miss Richland County Fair Queen Madison Hahn, among others from our region.

 

(NEWTON)  Online registration is continuing for one of the coolest events of the winter – the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge, all to benefit Special Olympics Illinois – it was last year that more than $1.9 million was raised by some 6,480 statewide Plungers – in fact, in 18 years since the event began, at least $16.5 million has been raised by over 60,000 Plungers – among the 22 total Polar Plunge locations and dates, here’s those in the downstate area – February 25th at Carlyle Lake, March 4th at Lake Sara near Effingham, and also March 4th at Rend Lake near Ina – individuals and teams can get more details and/or register for the 2017 Plunge on the Special Olympics Illinois website – logon at  www.plungeillinois.com.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross has an emergency appeal in place, asking all eligible and/or first-time donors to get out and give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives include   :  today at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  also today at the Clay City Banking Company from 2:00 to 6:00  :  then next Monday at Lincoln Trail College northeast of Robinson from 10:00 to 2:00  :  also next Monday at the Effingham Elks Club from 2:00 to 6:00  :  next Tuesday at the Palestine High School from 12:30 to 5:30  :  also next Tuesday at the South Central Middle School in Kinmundy from 2:30 to 6:30  :  and later next week in Flora, Effingham, and Robinson  :  all blood types and platelets are much needed.

 

REMINDERS  :
    Area motorists are reminded that various load limits have been posted on regional roads – before hauling, be sure to check with city, township, and county officials – pay attention to those load limit signs posted on regional roads


    A fundraising “chili lunch” will be served at the high school cafeteria in Newton this Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 with a 50/50 raffle and a large selection of raffle baskets and tickets to win them on sale – plus a Trivia competition starts at 2:00 in the NCHS Gym – for $100, teams can sign up to take part that day – all proceeds to help purchase new Newton Junior High Band uniforms – for details, call  217-683-2369


    A fundraising “fish fry” is tomorrow evening at the Claremont Community Center from 5:00 to 7:00 with proceeds to help defray costs for RCHS student Colleen Inyart in an upcoming educational trip to Peru – the $8 tickets for adults and $5 tickets for children age 6 and under will be on sale at the door – carry-outs will be available and bake sale items will also be for sale – all are invited to help out


    The Olney FFA Alumni pancake & sausage breakfast is tomorrow morning at the Richland County High School cafeteria with serving from 6:30 to 12:00 noon – also a 50/50 drawing – tickets available at the door – proceeds for college scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions for FFA members

 

 

 

January 19, 2017

 

(OLNEY)  An upper level low over the Central Plains will be our primary weather-maker for the next 24 hours, bringing us rain chances today thru tomorrow morning – although a few showers may linger Friday, it will be mostly a dry and mild day – then warmer air moves for a dry Saturday, followed by more rain chances Sunday & Monday – the warmer-than-normal air hangs around into next week – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news today – two proposals on raising Illinois’ minimum wage will be tackled by the new General Assembly in Springfield – Senate members have proposed raising the current wage at $8.25 an hour by 50 cents each year until reaching $11.00 in 2021 – a proposed bill in the State House would raise the wage to $15.00 an hour by October – the last increase in the state’s minimum wage was in July 2010.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will begin accepting 2016 state individual income tax returns next Monday, January 23rd, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins accepting federal returns – IDOR officials remind taxpayers that filing returns electronically & requesting direct deposit into a checking or savings account is still the fastest & most secure way to receive a refund – as fraud prevention measures continue in the weeks ahead, the IDOR anticipates direct deposit refunds will be issued four weeks from the time of filing for electronic returns submitted error-free – for the latest up to date information, forms, schedules, and instructions, go online to  www.tax.illinois.gov  or  www.irs.gov.

 

(NEWTON)  The USDA Farm Service Agency has announced it will accept over 300,000 acres in 43 states that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands enrollment, with the emphasis placed on small-scale livestock operations – in fact, the USDA says two-thirds of the acreage accepted, approximately 200,000 acres, were from small-scale operations.

 

(OLNEY)  The investigation continues into a two vehicle traffic crash that occurred in Clay County on the Dieterich Blacktop nearly 2 miles south of Sailor Springs at shortly after 3:00 yesterday (Wednesday) – the State Police report 28 year old Jacob A. Sharp of Ingraham was southbound when his SUV crossed the center line and side-swiped a northbound utility truck driven by 52 year old Andrew G. Herman of Olney – Sharp, ticketed for improper lane usage, was taken to Clay County Hospital in Flora, then air-lifted to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville – Herman was also taken to Clay County Hospital in Flora for treatment.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met earlier this week on Tuesday night – the Council  :  approved the pre-paid bills and accounts payable worth $289,532  :  also approved the payment of other bills and accounts payable worth $105,236  :  heard reports from the City’s Street Committee and Police Committee  :  also noted information from the Emergency Management Agency Committee which recently met as well  :  and the Council took no action after a 27 minute closed session to discuss litigation, real estate, and closed session minutes  :  the Newton City Council’s next regular meeting will be held February 7th at 6:00.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees also met this past Tuesday night in Fairfield – the Board  :  approved a resolution of intent for the issuance of Funding Bonds for the purpose of paying claims against the District  :  also approved the $118,142 bid from Lear Construction in Albion to build a concession stand at Frontier Community College, with funding assistance from the Frontier College Foundation  :  approved revisions for District policies on sexual harassment and preventing sexual violence to meet new Title IX guidelines  :  accepted the Employee Satisfaction Survey results, showing employees are largely satisfied with District operations  :  approved the retirement resignation of Bo Cook, Advanced Manufacturing Instructor at Wabash Valley College  :  and hired Karen Marks as a Nursing Instructor at Frontier Community College  :  the IECC Board of Trustees’ next regular meeting will be February 21st.

 

(OLNEY)  The City of Olney Parks & Recreation Board met last night – the Board  :  discussed, but took no action on the Monarch Pledge, a program to promote the Monarch butterfly population growth by planting milkweed  :  talked about developing a cost analysis for a campground to be built across from the boat ramp, but no action taken  :  heard a request to erect a stop sign near the Fair Board office in the City Park – also to possibly create an 8 spot RV Parking area just west of the old swimming pool in the City Park – no action taken  :  and discussed future leadership  :  all recommendations go to the City Council.

 

(OLNEY)  The 107th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs begins today with registration, followed by various seminars, workshops, and committee meetings to be held with fair board members from all over the state taking part, including those from our downstate region – the annual Trade Show runs tomorrow afternoon and thru Saturday, plus the State’s Junior and Senior Talent competitions are Saturday – it all wraps up with the Queen Pageant Sunday night and a Directors meeting on Monday.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Registration begins today for the 2017 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant with 72 young ladies vying for this year’s crown, currently worn by Abby Foster of Danville, from Vermilion County – with rehearsals beginning later today and running thru tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday morning, the Pageant will be Sunday evening and the finals on Sunday night – among those taking part are Miss Richland County Fair Queen Madison Hahn and Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Keirsten Brewer.

 

(OLNEY)  The Whitetails Unlimited River Bottom Stump Sitters Chapter will have its Annual Banquet on Saturday, February 25th, at The Holiday, in Olney – the special event will feature a buffet meal, an auction, & prizes with a wide array of products such as firearms, hunting & outdoor-related equipment, outfitter packages, artwork, collectibles, & more – with the social hour at 5:00, followed by dinner at 7:00, tickets are now available at $35 per person, $15 for a spouse, or $10 for a child 15 and under – no tickets will be sold at the door and the ticket order deadline is February 18th, four weeks from this coming Saturday – for tickets locally, call Tim at  618-335-9631  or go online for more details at  www.whitetailunlimited.com.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Central College Music Department is pleased to announce that tuition waivers for Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Jazz Ensemble members are available for the upcoming 2017-2018 season – students who participate in one or more of these ensembles are eligible for 8-hour or 16-hour tuition waivers – students do not need to major in music to receive this award – any student who plays a band instrument or sings is eligible for consideration – three auditions dates have been set for next month in February, on the 4th, 18th, and 22nd – any student planning to OCC full time next fall and who would like to perform in any of these ensembles may be eligible – to qualify, students need to schedule an audition with the OCC Music Department – contact Suzanne Fassett by calling OCC at  618-395-5000, ext. 2251.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross has an emergency appeal in place, asking all eligible and/or first-time donors to get out and give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives include   :  today at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  also tomorrow at the Clay City Banking Company from 2:00 to 6:00  :  all blood types are needed.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  In meetings coming up tonight  :  the Jasper County School Board will have its regular monthly meeting in Newton, starting at 6:30  :  the Richland County School Board will have its regular monthly meeting in Olney, beginning at 7:00  :  the meetings are open to the public tonight.

 

REMINDERS  :
    Area motorists are reminded that various load limits have been posted on regional roads – before hauling, be sure to check with city, township, and county officials – pay attention to those load limit signs posted


    A fundraising “chili lunch” will be served at the high school cafeteria in Newton this Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 with a 50/50 raffle and a large selection of raffle baskets and tickets to win them on sale – plus a Trivia competition starts at 2:00 in the NCHS Gym – for $100, teams can sign up to take part that day – all proceeds to help purchase new Newton Junior High Band uniforms – for details, call  217-683-2369


    A fundraising “fish fry” is this Saturday evening at the Claremont Community Center from 5:00 to 7:00 with proceeds to help defray costs for RCHS student Colleen Inyart in an upcoming educational trip to Peru – the $8 tickets for adults and $5 tickets for children age 6 and under will be on sale at the door – carry-outs will be available and bake sale items will also be for sale – all are invited to help out


    The Olney FFA Alumni pancake & sausage breakfast is this Saturday morning at the Richland County High School cafeteria with serving from 6:30 to 12:00 noon – also a 50/50 drawing – tickets available at the door – proceeds for college scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions for FFA members

 

 

 

January 18, 2017

 

(OLNEY)  With low clouds expected to cover our dry sky today, we’ll start to see a slight warm up as we move into tomorrow and the weekend ahead – although an upper level low will bring us our next chance of rain towards sunrise Thursday morning, that rain chance then continues thru tomorrow night – and after a dry sky on Friday and Saturday, more rain is expected Sunday thru Monday – listen for weather updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news today – a survey of Illinois public school districts finds administrators are scrambling to find substitute teachers for as many as 600 classrooms a day – administrators believe stricter requirements are to blame, plus the $200 fee needed to become a registered sub, although a bill was signed into law last week that will cut that cost by $50 – the review of the 400 districts surveyed by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents shows teachers call in absences more than 16,000 times per week.

 

(OLNEY)  Governor Bruce Rauner joined IDOT and other officials yesterday to announce the completion of the final 7.25 miles of the Illinois Route 29 expansion project – the work was the culmination of more than a decade of construction to widen and extend the highway connecting Taylorville and Springfield – the original work on the total 23 mile section of four lane highway there in Central Illinois began back in 2002.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois judges will undergo training to be able to present school programs that offer a positive image of the judiciary system – the Illinois Judges Association will conduct the training on January 26th in Chicago – one program for middle school students will raise awareness about cyber-bullying & harassment, plus “sexting” and pornography – another program for middle school & high school students will address the dangers of underage drinking, drug use, and sex – and another program for juniors & seniors will allow them to attend a “courtroom in the classroom” session that uses media, skits, & conservation for discussion.

 

(NEWTON)  State Representative David Reis was appointed yesterday to serve as an Assistant Minority Leader for the 100th General Assembly – beginning his 7th term representing the 109th District in the State House of Representatives, the Jasper County native says “it’s a real honor for House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to ask me to join his leadership team, his confidence in me, and in my ability to represent the needs of downstate Illinois” – Representative Reis will also continue his work on legislation dealing with energy exploration, agriculture and transportation needs, and other issues dealing with small communities around the state – the 109th District covers portions of nine area counties, including Jasper, Richland, Effingham, Lawrence, Clay, Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, and White – congratulations to Representative David Reis.

 

(OLNEY)  The 107th Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs is this weekend in Springfield – starting tomorrow with registration, the event will feature various seminars, workshops, and committee meetings to be held with fair board members from all over the state taking part – IAAF Director Bill Jennings, long time member of the Richland County Farm & Fair Association, will present a special program Friday afternoon – the annual Trade Show begins Friday afternoon and continues thru Saturday, plus the State’s Junior Talent competition is at 12:15 Saturday afternoon and the Senior Talent competition is later that evening at 5:45 – the IAAF Annual Business Meeting is Sunday with everything wrapping up with the Directors Meeting Monday morning – the Convention’s theme this year is “Dreams & Memories”.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  Also in Springfield tomorrow, the registration begins for the 2017 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant with 72 young ladies vying for this year’s crown – with rehearsals beginning tomorrow and running thru Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, the Pageant will be Sunday evening and the finals on Sunday night – among those taking part are Miss Richland County Fair Queen Madison Hahn and Miss Jasper County Fair Queen Keirsten Brewer – other area contestants include Miss Clay County Kortney Stanfield, Miss Effingham County Ashley Jamerson, Miss Lawrence County Allisen Rhinehart, Miss Edwards County Grace Fieber, Miss Crawford County Carley Travis, Miss Cumberland County Megan Grissom, Miss Clark County Whitley Brandenburg, Miss Fayette County Brandy Protz, Miss Marion County Julie Boeker, and Miss White County Whitley Verble – the reigning Miss Illinois County Fair Queen is Abby Foster, a Ball State University student from Danville, representing Vermilion County.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Highway Department has implemented a 10 ton weight limit on portions of nine county roads maintained by the Highway Department – it’s all in order to protect these roads from damage – the 10 ton weight limit will remain in effect until the roads firm up or until there’s a substantial freeze in the road base – all such roads are marked by respective 10 ton weight limit signs– so effective now until further notice, the following portions of county highways are under a 10 ton weight limit  :
* Prairieton Road, between Parkersburg Lane and the Wabash County line
* Seminary Road, between Illinois Route 130 and Shipley Road
* Bennington Road, between Seminary Road and the Edwards County line
* Wynoose Road, between Elbow Lane and the Wayne County line
* Higgin Switch Road, between U.S. Route 50 and Elbow Lane
* Seven Hills Lane, between Fox Road and Timber Trail Road
* Pleasant Ridge Lane, between Timber Trail Road and Passport Road
* Timber Trail Road, between Seven Hills Lane and Pleasant Ridge Lane
* Mt.Gilead Lane, between Illinois Route 130 and Wakefield Road
* Prairieton Road, between U.S. Route 50 and the Crawford County line
for more information & details, contact the Richland County Highway Department  :  to view this list, go to our website online, click on the “Agriculture News” tab, at  www.freedom929.com  :  also be aware of weight limits posted by the individual Townships in Richland County with their weight limit signs up as well.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross has an emergency appeal in place, asking all eligible and/or first-time donors to get out and give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives include   :  today at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 11:30 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Friday at the Clay City Banking Company from 2:00 to 6:00  :  all blood types and platelets are needed to replenish low supplies.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  In meetings coming up tomorrow night  :  the Jasper County School Board will have its regular monthly meeting in Newton, starting at 6:30  :  the Richland County School Board will have its regular monthly meeting in Olney, beginning at 7:00  :  the meetings are open to the public tomorrow night.

 

REMINDERS  :
    A fundraising “chili lunch” will be served at the high school cafeteria in Newton this Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 with a 50/50 raffle and a large selection of raffle baskets and tickets to win them on sale – plus a Trivia competition starts at 2:00 in the NCHS Gym – for $100, teams can sign up to take part that day – all proceeds to help purchase new Newton Junior High Band uniforms – for details, call  217-683-2369


    A fundraising “fish fry” is this Saturday evening at the Claremont Community Center from 5:00 to 7:00 with proceeds to help defray costs for RCHS student Colleen Inyart in an upcoming educational trip to Peru – the $8 tickets for adults and $5 tickets for children age 6 and under will be on sale at the door – carry-outs will be available and bake sale items will also be for sale – all are invited to help out


    The Olney FFA Alumni pancake & sausage breakfast is this Saturday morning at the Richland County High School cafeteria with serving from 6:30 to 12:00 noon – also a 50/50 drawing – tickets available at the door – proceeds for college scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions for FFA members

 

 

 

January 17, 2017

 

(OLNEY)  As a cold front moves thru our downstate region and eventually off to our east, we’ll have a little cooler sky than yesterday, but a dry sky with plenty of clouds – with some sunshine tomorrow, we’ll see yet another chance of rain on Thursday, but ending early on Friday – the mild weather will hang around thru the weekend, although we’ll have another chance of rain Sunday thru next Monday – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  In state news today – Illinois elementary schools & day care centers will have to test drinking water sources for lead under legislation signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner – proponents of the new law say it’s a “life-saving move and a step in protecting our children from the devastating effects of lead exposure” – schools constructed before 1987 must complete testing by the end of this year while those built after 1987 have until the end of 2018 – parents and guardians must be notified if elevated levels are found.

 

(OLNEY)  While nothing came out of last week’s legislative session of Illinois’ 99th General Assembly, State Senate leaders of the newly sworn-in Legislature are hoping to move swiftly on their pledge to move a state budget compromise by the end of this month – 13 pieces of legislation aimed at breaking the two year budget deadlock have been assigned for committee hearings – the proposals include an income tax increase, a minimum wage hike, a form of a property tax freeze, and restrictions on worker’s compensation awards.

 

(NEWTON)  Governor Bruce Rauner is encouraging Kindergarten thru 12th grade classrooms to submit videos showcasing what they’re learning and how – entries should be no longer than 5 minutes in length and submitted now thru February 10th – while three finalists will be selected, the Governor plans to do a Learning Tour and visit the top selected schools in Illinois to highlight the hard work and creativity of teachers and students – for details and more, visit the Governor’s Facebook page at  #GovClassroomVisit.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Water Survey has released its Water and Climate Summary for month of December 2016  :  the statewide average temperature was 28.7 degrees which was just over 1 (1.2) degree below the long term average – the Southeast Crop Reporting District had the state’s highest average at 33.9 degrees  :  the statewide precipitation averaged 1.41 inches, just over an inch and a quarter (1.28) below the long term average – the East-Southeast Crop Reporting District recorded the highest average for the month at 2.55 inches  :  the state’s water surface levels at the end of December were below the full pool / seasonal target level at 10 of the 26 reporting reservoirs in Illinois – most all of the downstate lakes were above their target levels, including Newton Lake, East Fork Lake, Rend Lake, Carlyle Lake, and Lake Shelbyville.

 

(NEWTON)  The USDA has released it’s 2016 Illinois Crop Production Summary  :  the planted area for corn came in at 11.6 million acres, down 1% from the year earlier in 2015 – corn for grain was harvested on 11.5 million acres in Illinois, down less than 1% from 2015 – the corn yield is estimated at 197 bushels per acre, up 22 bushels from 2015 – Illinois’ overall corn production is estimated at 2.26 billion bushels, up 12% from 2015 – that’s the second highest corn yield and third highest production on record in Illinois  :  the planted area for soybeans came in at 10.1 million acres, up 3% from 2015 – the harvested area for beans in Illinois, at 10.05 million acres, is also up 3% from the previous year – the soybean yield is estimated at 59 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from 2015 and a new record high yield in Illinois – the state’s soybean production is estimated at a record high 593 million bushels, up 9% from the previous year in 2015.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County HEA 2017 Cultural Arts Show will be held this Saturday from 10:00 to 2:00 at the Extension Office Building along South Fair Street in Olney – the public, as well as County HEA members, are encouraged to stop by and vote for the items to be sent to the State Conference, which will be held in Peoria, in March – this county show was reinstated three years ago to give local talented members an opportunity to send their beautiful art work forward to the state level for further recognition – in the past two years, Richland County has had four local HEA members win their categories at the state level – again everyone, including the general public, is welcome to come & enjoy the great craftsmanship this Saturday.

 

(NEWTON)  Crawford County authorities continue to investigate the Friday afternoon mobile home fire in Palestine that claimed the life of a 41 year old woman – firefighters responded to the blaze to find it already extinguished due to broken water pipes inside the mobile home – authorities say that while her two sons were able to escape, the Mother, Amy Moore, died in the fire – the unidentified sons were taken to Crawford Memorial Hospital in Robinson and transferred to another medical facility for further treatment – while an autopsy is scheduled for the Mother, the cause of the fire last week has yet to be determined.

 

(OLNEY)  Clay County has a new Engineer as the County Board has announced the hiring of  Darin Koelm to replace Michael Quandt, who passed away unexpectedly back in October of last year – having worked on both the public & private side of engineering, including his work with IDOT, District 7, Koelm has family roots in Clay County, and plans to relocate to the Clay County area – along with his wife and three children, Koelm currently resides in Indiana and will begin his duties on February 6th – the Clay County Board said thanks to Gary Wenthe for serving as Acting County Highway Engineer for the past several months as well.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross has an emergency appeal in place, asking all eligible and/or first-time donors to get out and give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives include   :  today at the Vandalia Moose Lodge from 12:00 to 6:00  :  also today at the Cowden-Herrick High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  tomorrow at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 11:30 to 6:00  :  Thursday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Friday at the Clay City Banking Company from 2:00 to 6:00  :  all blood types and platelets are needed.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District’s Annual Meeting is this Thursday night at The Holiday in Olney – it’s registration at 5:30, with the buffet meal served at 6:00, & the business meeting to follow – tickets are on sale thru today from any SWCD Director, at the District office, or by calling the District office and reserving a ticket – there will be no ticket sales at the door on Thursday night.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council will have its second meeting in this new year of 2017 tonight at the Newton City Hall, starting at 6:00 – it’s a rather lean agenda tonight with no old or new business – a closed session will be held to discuss litigation and real estate – as always, tonight’s meeting is open to the public.

 

REMINDERS  :
    A fundraising “chili lunch” will be served at the high school cafeteria in Newton this Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 with a 50/50 raffle and a large selection of raffle baskets and tickets to win them on sale – plus a Trivia competition starts at 2:00 in the NCHS Gym – for $100, teams can sign up to take part that day – all proceeds to help purchase new Newton Junior High Band uniforms – for details, call  217-683-2369


    A fundraising “fish fry” is this Saturday evening at the Claremont Community Center from 5:00 to 7:00 with proceeds to help defray costs for RCHS student Colleen Inyart in an upcoming educational trip to Peru – the $8 tickets for adults and $5 tickets for children age 6 and under will be on sale at the door – carry-outs will be available and bake sale items will also be for sale – all are invited to help out


    The Olney FFA Alumni pancake & sausage breakfast is this Saturday morning at the Richland County High School cafeteria with serving from 6:30 to 12:00 noon – also a 50/50 drawing – tickets available at the door – proceeds for college scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions for FFA members

 

 

 

January 16, 2017

 

(OLNEY)  As a warm front lifts northward across Illinois, widespread rain is expected today thru tonight in our downstate region – that’s after some dense fog lifts by noon today – then a weak cold front moves thru late tonight with the rain chances ending and maybe a storm included – we’ll then stay warmer-than-normal for most all of this week ahead – maybe more rain Thursday night thru Friday morning – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  The Southeastern and South Central portion of Illinois was mostly fortunate when it came to the weekend weather conditions – although there was freezing rain and icing problems last Friday thru Saturday morning, the temperatures stayed just warm enough to keep most of the weekend precipitation in the form of rain, which amounted to a little over 1 inch in most of our downstate areas – most of the icing problems were reported to our west and northwest, pretty much along a line along I-57 and I-70, however with the warm up yesterday, the ice had melted and things are mostly back to normal on this Monday, other than some of the damage that occurred with downed power lines, utility poles, trees, and some buildings.

 

(OLNEY)  Today has been proclaimed by Governor Bruce Rauner as Martin Luther King Junior Day of Service in Illinois as people around the state are encouraged to take a part of this special day to volunteer in their community – available online throughout the year, the website at  www.serve.illinois.gov  has a list of more than 2,000 volunteer opportunities around Illinois – also, by the way, it’s also been announced that nominations are due to Serve Illinois by January 29th for the annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.

 

(NEWTON)  The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced last week the expansion of a unique service for farmers – the Bridges to Opportunity program provides a one-stop-shop that connects producers with resources, programs, and educational services offered, as well as from other USDA partner organizations – the program, which currently provides enhanced customer support to more than 150,000 farmers in 20 states, will now expand to serve those across the country before the end of January by using FY 2016 funds.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District is getting ready for its Annual Meeting, coming up this Thursday night, January 19th – hosted by The Holiday in Olney, the registration will start at 5:30 that evening, with the buffet meal served at 6:00, and the business meeting to follow – tickets are on sale thru tomorrow, the 17th, from any SWCD Director, at the District office, or by calling the District office and reserving a ticket – there will be no ticket sales at the door on Thursday night.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton Elementary / Jasper County Junior High Band-Aides will host a fundraising “chili lunch” followed by the 3rd Annual Trivia Fundraiser this coming Sunday in the Newton Community High School cafeteria – the chili lunch will be served from 11:00 to 1:00 with tickets at the door – plus there will be a 50/50 raffle and a large selection of raffle baskets with tickets also on sale that day – then the Trivia competition begins at 2:00 in the NCHS Gym – teams made up of between 6 and 10 people can register for the Trivia event on Sunday with the cost at $100 per team – all proceeds will help provide new uniforms for the Junior High Band, which are currently over 20 years old – for information or to obtain a Trivia registration form, call Cherilea Pitcher at  217-683-2369  or call the Newton Elementary School.

 

(OLNEY)  Although originally announced last November, the Olney Central College Foundation is proud to have awarded its new Ruth Henry Performing Arts Scholarship, which was created by Ruth’s family, friends, and others in the community to honor Ruth for her four decades of service to the college and the community – Jordan Morris of Olney was the inaugural scholarship recipient, who is now at McKendree University, majoring in elementary education – while at Olney Central College, Morris was a member of the OCC Concert Choir and a cast member of last year’s OCC Theater production of “South Pacific” – to support the Ruth Henry Performing Arts Scholarship, donations can be sent to the OCC Foundation.

 

(OLNEY)  The Mt. Erie Ruritan Club is set for its annual Farm Machinery Consignment Sale, coming up today, starting at 9:00 this morning, at the Ruritan Club building and grounds in Mt. Erie – the consignment sale will include all types of farm machinery and farm equipment, including combines, livestock equipment, trucks, trailers, ATV’s, and other miscellaneous items – concessions will be available for purchase today.

 

(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross has an emergency appeal in place, asking all eligible and/or first-time donors to get out and give blood at their next opportunity – with blood donations the past several months running much lower than needed, everyone’s help is desperately needed – upcoming blood drives include   :  today at the Red Brush Christian Church north of Louisville from 1:30 to 6:30  :  also today at the First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Vandalia Moose Lodge from 12:00 to 6:00  :  also tomorrow at the Cowden-Herrick High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Wednesday at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 11:30 to 6:00  :  Thursday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Hutsonville High School from 1:30 to 5:30  :  Friday at the Clay City Banking Company from 2:00 to 6:00  :  all blood types & platelets are needed to replenish regional blood supplies.

 

REMINDERS  :
    Tickets are on sale now for the Olney Chamber of Commerce’s “Ladies Night 2017” which is set for Tuesday, March 7th, at The Holiday – all area ladies are invited out to an evening with entertainment, door prizes, a style show, a great dinner, & more – the $15 tickets are on sale at area banks or the Chamber office


    A fundraising "fish fry" is this Saturday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 at the Claremont Community Center with all proceeds to help defray costs for RCHS student Colleen Inyart in an upcoming educational trip to Peru – the $8 tickets for adults and $5 tickets for children age 6 and under will be on sale at the door – carry-outs will be available and bake sale items will also be for sale – all are invited


    The Olney FFA Alumni pancake & sausage breakfast is this Saturday morning at the Richland County High School cafeteria with serving from 6:30 to 12:00 noon – also a 50/50 drawing – tickets available at the door – proceeds for college scholarships, leadership camps, conferences, and conventions for FFA members


    The Effingham Deanery Monthly Prayer Vigil for Life will be held this evening at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Sigel – praying the rosary begins at 6:00 with a 6:30 mass to follow – a 7:30 business meeting will follow in the Grade School – refreshments and pro-life literature and other items will be available


    The RMH Auxiliary will host a fundraising “uniform sale” today in the private dining rooms at Richland Memorial Hospital, from 8:00 until 3:00 – all proceeds will help the Auxiliary will projects at RMH