LOCAL NEWS

Local News

December 24, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  An upper level disturbance dropping southeast across the Midwest will bring an accumulating snow thru tonight before ending & falling off to scattered flurries tomorrow thru Sunday – some colder air will then move in with colder wind chill readings for the holiday weekend – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has a “winter weather advisory” in effect thru Christmas Day morning for Jasper, Richland, & all surrounding counties in Southeastern & South Central Illinois – today’s snow is expected to continue overnight before tapering off to scattered flurries on Saturday & Sunday – a total amount of 2 to 4 inches is possible, maybe a little more, maybe less – take those needed precautions.

(OLNEY)  The holiday travel today thru tonight will likely become hazardous as our area highways and country roads become snow covered and slippery – and these conditions will continue thru Christmas Day tomorrow – motorists should allow extra time to travel, keep those fuel tanks full, and use that common sense with emergency car kits in your vehicle – for road condition reports, call toll-free 800-452-4368 or go online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com – some say don’t travel this weekend unless necessary.

(NEWTON)  All travelers are reminded to buckle up and observe all “rules of the road” while out over the next several days & nights – the Illinois State Police, along with local law enforcement agencies, are out in extra force now thru the new year of 2011 – while authorities will be looking for those not using their seat belts, the main focus will be on those driving impaired by either alcohol and/or illicit drugs.

(OLNEY)  A reminder that the City of Olney will initiate it’s city-wide “snow emergency” if two or more inches of snow falls today thru tomorrow – that means that city crews & snow plows will be spending major efforts in keeping the city’s “snow emergency” streets clear at all times – these snow routes are clearly marked by “snow emergency” signs and the citizens of Olney are encouraged to keep these “snow route” streets clear of any vehicles so that snowplows can keep the snow cleared away for possible emergencies – that means “no parking” today along the city’s “snow emergency” streets & likely thru the weekend as well.

(NEWTON)  Cellular One is still sponsoring its annual holiday “You Decide – We Donate” program, but less than one day remains for folks to stop by any of the twelve Cellular One stores and vote – it’s all to determine which local not-for-profit organization will receive a $500 donation from each Cellular One store – ballots are available now thru this Friday at Cellular One stores in Newton, Olney, Flora, Robinson, Paris, Lawrenceville, Charleston, Mattoon, Hoopeston, Casey, & Danville – one vote is allowed per person per day & those voting must be at least 18 years old – the final day to vote is today, this Christmas Eve.

REMINDERS
    The Jasper County Health Department will be hosting the Mobile Mammography Van next Tuesday, December 28th – call toll-free to signup at 800-639-5329 or call the JCHD offices in Newton for details
    Eagle Country Water Works is still selling its 2011 Cash Calendars for St. Thomas School – stop by Heartland Classics in Newton or see any 5th thru 8th grader at St. Thomas School by next Tuesday, the 28th
    Only nine more nights to get out and view the Christmas Lights Display in the Olney City Park – it’s lit up each evening from dusk until 10:00 – load up the kids, grandma & grandpa, and check it out
    Time is running out to support this year’s “Tree of Lights” campaign to benefit the Salvation Army – collection kettles are available thru today at the Olney IGA and the Wal-Mart Supercenter
    A note to area communities & businesses – that the area trash collection by Republic Services will be normal today & the first of next week – the trash pickup will not affected by the holiday weekend
    Meanwhile, the City of Olney recycling pickup scheduled for next Monday will be delayed until next Tuesday, the 28th, plus Tuesday’s recycling will remain the same – plus normal for the rest of next week
    A note that most all City & Village Halls are closed today & next Monday – there’ll reopen on Tuesday

December 23, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  While a departing high pressure moving off to the east will still control our weather today with cold & dry conditions, an approaching upper level disturbance will bring snow to the Midwest late tonight thru the day tomorrow, followed by scattered flurries for both Saturday & Sunday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has issued a “special weather statement” for Jasper, Richland, & surrounding counties tonight thru tomorrow, calling for a snow accumulation of between 1 and 3 inches before the snow stops falling – while the snowfall totals are not expected to be especially heavy, the fact that it will be falling on one of the busiest travel days of the year may result in additional travel hazards & delays – all motorists are urged to take those needed precautions for traveling – keep those fuel tanks near full and for road condition reports, go online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com or call 1-800-452-4368.

(OLNEY)  Speaking of driving, state officials remind everyone that the holiday season is an especially dangerous time for motorists, not only due to the weather & road conditions, but because of drivers influenced by illicit drugs & alcohol – while the trend of those driving under the influence in Illinois has decreased from 16.1% to 14.7%, there were still more than 300 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities on statewide roads in 2009 – all of us are urged to be responsible once we get behind the steering wheel.

(NEWTON)  The filings are complete and the candidates officially have been identified for those who’ll be running for our local School Board & Community College Board seats up for election next spring – with four seats up for election on the Jasper County School Board, a total of seven candidates have filed for the four-year terms – that list includes three incumbents, one of which, Fred Huddlestun, is seeking his fifth term, as he was first elected to the Board in 1995 – other incumbents include Melinda Barthelme, seeking her third term & Anthony Richards, seeking his second term – the other four candidates include Jerry “Jed” Earnest, Mindy Street, Erik Spiker, and Andrew “Andy” Pullen – the remaining incumbent, Gregg Weber, chose not to seek re-election – again, the election will be held Tuesday, April 5th, 2011, next spring.

(OLNEY)  The filings are complete and the candidates officially have been identified for those who’ll be running for our local School Board & Community College Board seats up for election on April 5th, 2011 : with four seats to fill on the East Richland School Board, only the four incumbents will be on the ballot – they include Dr. Gerald Mastio, Jervaise McDaniel, Jeff Wilson, and Jan Ridgely – while Wilson & Ridgely will be seeking their second four-year term, McDaniel & Mastio have been on the Board for 12 years each, seeking their fourth four-year term on the Board – they both were originally elected to the Board in 1999.

(NOBLE)  It’s pretty much the same story in the West Richland School District where the only ones that have filed for the election are incumbents – that includes Carolyne Brooks, Aaron Wease, & Steve Kinkade – while Brooks is a 14-year veteran on the Board, first elected in 1997, seeking her fifth term, Wease is seeking his second term – Kinkade will be in his first election since he was appointed two years ago to fill an unexpired term of a previous Board member who was elected in 2007 – the election is April 5th, 2011.

(OLNEY)  The filings are complete and the candidates are on the books for the April 5th, 2011 election for the IECC Board of Trustees – among the four candidates running for two 6-year term seats are incumbents Brenda Culver of Noble & Walter Koertge of Olney – two challengers include Gary Carter of Fairfield & Bill Sandiford of Robinson – while Culver is seeking her third term, Koertge for more than one term.

(NEWTON)  Cellular One is still sponsoring its annual holiday “You Decide – We Donate” program, but only two more days remain for folks to stop by any of the twelve Cellular One stores and vote – it’s all to determine which local not-for-profit organization will receive a $500 donation from each Cellular One store – ballots are available now thru this Friday at Cellular One stores in Newton, Olney, Flora, Robinson, Paris, Lawrenceville, Charleston, Mattoon, Hoopeston, Casey, & Danville – one vote is allowed per person per day & those voting must be at least 18 years old – the final day to vote is this Friday, Christmas Eve.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a recent burglary at the location of JPS Construction, at the intersection of Whittle Avenue & South Route 130 – the November 14th incident involved several items stolen and as of yesterday, JPS Construction is offering a $500 reward for details leading to the arrest & conviction of who may be involved – if anyone has information, they can contact the Sheriff’s Department by calling 395-7481 – those with pertinent information will remain anonymous.

(OLNEY)  The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney is getting ready for another Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal, coming up tomorrow – area folks are invited to stop by & help out, with over 800 meals to be served, many of which will be delivered, people can help with cooking, dipping, bringing cakes, & delivering, plus everything is usually finished by early Christmas Eve afternoon – call the church office at 395-8618 to see how you, your family, your church, or your business can help out – that’s 395-8618.

REMINDERS
    The Jasper County Health Department will be hosting the Mobile Mammography Van next Tuesday, December 28th – call toll-free to signup at 800-639-5329 or call the JCHD offices in Newton for details
    Eagle Country Water Works is still selling its 2011 Cash Calendars for St. Thomas School – stop by Heartland Classics in Newton or see any 5th thru 8th grader at St. Thomas School by next Tuesday, the 28th
    Only ten more nights to get out and view the Christmas Lights Display in the Olney City Park – it’s lit up each evening from dusk until 10:00 – load up the kids, grandma & grandpa, and check it out
    Time is also limited to get out and support this year’s “Tree of Lights” campaign thru the Salvation Army – collection kettles are available at the Olney IGA and the Wal-Mart Supercenter, but today thru tomorrow night – all collections to support those in need, especially the less fortunate children of Richland County
    A note from Republic that the trash collection in the Village of Noble will be tomorrow morning, on the early morning of Christmas Eve – have that trash curbside by early Friday morning in Noble

December 22, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge builds over the Midwest today, providing us with cold, but dry conditions thru tomorrow – then an approaching storm system rolls thru with rain, then sleet, & eventually snow by late Thursday night thru the day on Friday with possible accumulations – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has issued a “weather alert” calling for possible hazardous driving conditions late Thursday night thru Christmas Eve – after some early rain, then sleet or freezing rain, there remains significant uncertainty regarding the amount of snowfall that will occur – at this time, it appears the larger amounts of snow will be in Western & Central Illinois, anywhere from 4 to 6 inches – for our region between I-70 and I-64, anywhere from 1 to 3 inches are possible – stay tuned for those updates.

(OLNEY)  All travelers are urged to take those needed precautions before heading out for this holiday weekend – make sure family & friends know the route of travel that’s planned and the anticipated time of arrival – all vehicles should have those emergency car kits, including extra clothes, blankets, nonperishable food, water, an extra cell phone, first aid kit, flares or reflectors, an ice scraper, jumper cables, and more – plus make sure those fuel tanks stay over two-thirds full – check the IEMA website for more – for road conditions, check the IDOT website at www.gettingaroundillinois.com or call toll-free at 800-452-4368.

(NEWTON)  In state news – the family of former Illinois Governor George Ryan is lashing out at a federal judge for not letting him out of jail to be with his ailing wife – Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer’s decision will be appealed – Ryan has served less than half of his prison term with over three years remaining behind bars.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a recent burglary at the location of JPS Construction, at the intersection of Whittle Avenue & South Route 130 – the November 14th incident involved several items stolen and as of yesterday, JPS Construction is offering a $500 reward for details leading to the arrest & conviction of who may be involved – if anyone has information, they can contact the Sheriff’s Department by calling 395-7481 – those with pertinent information will remain anonymous.

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met for just over an hour last night – the Council : approved an ordinance to officially transfer property from the city to BN National Trail Biodiesel LLC : approved an agreement with Connor & Connor Engineers to apply for federal grant funding to improve flood control management in Newton : accepted the high bid of $6,001 for the sale of tractor with loader formerly used by the City’s Park Department : approved a pay estimate of $728,073 to Kieffer Brothers Construction for the new water plant project : approved the tax levy ordinance for fiscal year 2011 : agreed to purchase an electrical ground grid system for the City’s Decatur Street Substation in the amount of $33,890 : & took no other action after a 25-minute closed session to discuss personnel & litigation : next meeting January 4th.

(OLNEY)  The 5th annual Richland County “Shop With A Cop” was another huge success with a total of 80 children taking part this month – an average of $125 was spent per child, 28 children at Olney’s Rural King & the remaining 52 at Olney’s Wal-Mart Supercenter, mostly for much-needed clothing & more – it’s all to support Richland County children who are less fortunate than others – the Sheriff’s Department also teamed up with the Olney Center Shriner’s to deliver $2,000 worth of gifts to the children at Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis – a big “thank you” to all individuals, businesses, & others who donated to support the program.

(NEWTON)  Cellular One is still sponsoring its annual holiday “You Decide – We Donate” program, but only three more days remain for folks to stop by any of the twelve Cellular One stores and vote – it’s all to determine which local not-for-profit organization will receive a $500 donation from each Cellular One store – ballots are available now thru this Friday at Cellular One stores in Newton, Olney, Flora, Robinson, Paris, Lawrenceville, Charleston, Mattoon, Hoopeston, Casey, & Danville – one vote is allowed per person per day & those voting must be at least 18 years old – the final day to vote is this Friday, Christmas Eve.

REMINDERS
    The Jasper County Health Department will be hosting the Mobile Mammography Van next Tuesday, December 28th – call toll-free to signup at 800-639-5329 or call the JCHD offices in Newton for details
    Eagle Country Water Works is still selling its 2011 Cash Calendars for St. Thomas School – stop by Heartland Classics in Newton or see any 5th thru 8th grader at St. Thomas School by next Tuesday, the 28th
    The Olney FFA has some fresh fruit remaining from its annual fundraising sale – various types available, some on a limited basis – contact Jamie Van Dyke at East Richland High School if interested
    The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney needs volunteers for its Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal this Friday – over 800 meals served, many delivered – to help out, call the church at 395-8618
    In area blood drives : today from 1:00 until 4:00 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Effingham : the next Richland County blood drive is a week from Sunday on January 2nd in Stringtown : all blood is needed

December 21, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system moving over the upper midwest will keep the rain & snow well to our north – then a dry sky tonight for a couple of days before the next storm system brings us another wintry mix Thursday night thru Christmas Eve – likely cold & snowy for Christmas Day – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The application deadline for the Illinois Care Rx Program is December 31st – seniors over the age of 65 and those with disabilities could qualify for the program, which fills in the gaps of Medicare Part D – those currently enrolled also need to re-apply – for details, go online at www.illinoiscaresrx.com.

(OLNEY)  Illinois tops the list of states that retirees might want to avoid – along with the Land of Lincoln, California & New York round out the top three worst states to retire in – although factors vary, the rankings are primarily based on fiscal health, taxation, & climate – logon at www.topretirements.com for details.

(NEWTON)  One of Springfield’s alderman could be selected to fill the rest of Mayor Tim Davlin’s term at tonight’s City Council meeting – the person chosen will only serve until next April, when a new Mayor will be elected – the State Capital’s been without a leader for a week now since Mayor Davlin was found dead.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland School Board met last night – the Board : officially approved last month’s tentative 2-year agreement with the West Richland Education Association, running thru August of 2012 : approved the 3-year contract with Jr/Sr High School Principal Kevin Westall, running thru July of 2014 : approved the tax levy for fiscal year 2011 with an increase of 14.73% : agreed to purchase a handicapped accessible bus at $49,892 : agreed to lower the non-certified substitute pay rate from $11 to $10 an hour, starting next month : noted the district will receive a $10,000 Johnsie Fildes grant to be used for district-wide student technology : accepted the resignation of Larissa Goodman as WRHS assistant softball coach : approved a $7,000 stipend for Jennifer Tedford as District Speech, Language, & Patholigist Supervisor : hired Betty Lamb & Linda Middleton as substitute bus drivers, pending all requirements are met : hired Jim Middleton as full-time bus driver : the Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be January 24th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night – the Board : unanimously agreed to the following reorganization of buildings – the closure of the Willow Hill Elementary School & the closure of the Grove Elementary School – reorganizing the Ste. Marie Elementary School as a Kindergarten School, also housing all Pre-K students – reorganizing the Newton Elementary / Jasper County Junior High School as an elementary attendance center, housing grades 1 thru 6 – reorganizing the Newton Community High School into a Junior/Senior High School, housing grades 7 thru 12 : agreed to retain Poettker Construction as project manager for building renovations at the Elementary & High Schools in Newton : adopted the tax levy for fiscal year 2011 as presented with no public comments : agreed to allow two NCHS seniors to graduate early here in December after meeting all requirements : agreed to add a Sports Entertainment Marketing course to the NCHS business ed curriculum next school year : next meeting is January 18th.

(NEWTON)  Illinois farmers still have the chance to plant $240,000 to grow their local communities – whether to support a local ag youth group, be it either FFA or 4-H, or to buy new equipment for a school, farmers have the opportunity to win a $2,500 grant for their community – it's possible thru the America's Farmers Grow Communities program, with money provided thru the Monsanto Fund – the application deadline is December 31st with farmers in 96 Illinois counties eligible, including, Jasper, Richland, & all others surrounding Newton - for details, or to apply, logon at www.growcommunities.com.

(OLNEY)  Winter is officially ushered in later this evening at 5:38 – the start of winter begins with the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year, when the Sun is at its most southern point in the sky – starting tomorrow, the days begin to get longer until the summer solstice, exactly six months from today, on June 21, 2011 – the seasons on Earth are determined by changing sunlight, not heat – it’s all dependent by how the Earth orbits the Sun and the tilt of the Earth’s axis, that’s the distance from one to the other.

REMINDERS
    Auditions for the next OCC Theatre production are set for January 9th & 10th with parts available for high school & college students, plus adults – “Beauty & the Beast” will have seven performances next spring
    The Olney FFA has some fresh fruit remaining from its annual fundraising sale – various types available, some on a limited basis – contact Jamie Van Dyke at East Richland High School if interested
    The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney needs volunteers for its Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal this Friday – over 800 meals served, many delivered – to help out, call the church at 395-8618
    In area blood drives : today from 3:00 until 7:00 at the Altamont Christian Church : then tomorrow from 1:00 until 4:00 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Effingham : all types of blood are very much needed
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will a night of Ambraw Country Music coming up tonight, starting at 7:00 – all are invited for a night of down-home country music

December 20, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system will move across the upper midwest by tomorrow, bringing rain & snow to Illinois, but ending by mid-week – our next real winter weather storm is expected to roll thru by Friday, later this week, which could be another mixed bag of wintry precip – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  While we watch the forecast maps for the upcoming Christmas weekend, those just to our north are watching the weather conditions over the next 36 hours – the National Weather Service is alerting those north of I-70, mostly along the I-74 corridor, to watch out for freezing drizzle, sleet, and/or snow – here in the south, we’ll mostly see rain or light drizzle, maybe some light flurries overnight.

(OLNEY)  A salmonella outbreak has left nearly 50 Northern Illinois people in nine counties feeling a little qweezy – the State Department of Public Health says it was “alfalfa sprouts” from several Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shops that caused the problem – other than diarrhea & vomiting for a few hours, all those affected have recovered.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn is heading to Germany today to visit with U.S. Troops – in fact, it’s the sixth time he’s traveling to Germany since becoming Governor – he’ll visit soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus have several lunches with Illinois soldiers & pass out Christmas cards made by children from all over the Land of Lincoln – the Governor will return to the State Capital the day after Christmas.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out at 1:30 this past Saturday afternoon to a pickup truck fire in the 400 block of South Elliott Street – there was smoke, heat, and fire damage to the truck’s interior – there were no injuries – the firemen were on the scene for less than one hour.

(NEWTON)  Today’s the final day for school & college board candidate to file petitions for the April 5th, 2011 election – that’s from now until 5:00 today at all district offices on this Monday – to be filled are four seats on the Jasper County School Board, four seats on the East Richland School Board, three seats on the West Richland School Board, and two seats on the IECC Board – again, that’s until 5:00 this afternoon.
 
(NEWTON)  Cellular One is still sponsoring its annual holiday “You Decide – We Donate” program, but only five more days remain for folks to stop by any of the twelve Cellular One stores and vote – it’s all to determine which local not-for-profit organization will receive a $500 donation from each Cellular One store – ballots are available now thru this Friday at Cellular One stores in Newton, Olney, Flora, Robinson, Paris, Lawrenceville, Charleston, Mattoon, Hoopeston, Casey, & Danville – one vote is allowed per person per day & those voting must be at least 18 years old – the final day to vote is this Friday, Christmas Eve.

(OLNEY)  The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney is getting ready for another Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal, coming up this Friday – in fact, area folks are invited to stop by & help out, with over 800 meals to be served, many of which will be delivered – people can help with cooking, dipping, bringing cakes, & delivering – and everything is usually finished by 1:00 on Christmas Eve – call the church office at 395-8618 to order a meal or to see how you & your family can help out – that’s 395-8618.
 
(NEWTON)  While winter will officially begin at 5:38 tomorrow evening, the moon will be the center of attention overnight, with a three-hour show early tomorrow morning – at 1:41 (CST) Tuesday morning, the moon will slowly disappear, turn red, and then reappear later at 2:53 – the red part of the event, is a full eclipse, as the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow, expected to last some 70 minutes – officials say the shadow will start to creep across the moon at 12:32 and then disappear at 4:01 – our only problem here in the Midwest will be cloud cover, which will mostly ruin the actually viewing of the lunar eclipse – NASA says the last lunar eclipse that happened on the winter solstice was on December 21st, 1638 – the next such eclipse will occur December 21st, 2094 – for more check out the official NASA website or others online.

(NEWTON)  Authorities continue to investigate a single vehicle wreak that occurred at around 6:00 early last Friday morning that claimed the life of a Robinson man – the Sheriff’s Department says 47 year old David Buck was traveling on a Crawford County road when his vehicle left the roadway due to the icy conditions, hit a ditch, and overturned – Buck was pronounced dead while a passenger was unharmed.

(OLNEY)  The body of a Woodlawn man was found this past Saturday morning just a short distance from where he was last seen alive nearly a month ago – authorities say 57 year old Ricky Housley was reported missing the night of November 22nd after leaving his girlfriend’s home near Centralia – Housley’s body was found within the first 15 minutes of the search – the cause of death is unknown with an autopsy pending.
 
REMINDERS
    In area blood drives : tomorrow from 3:00 until 7:00 at the Altamont Christian Church : then Wednesday from 1:00 until 4:00 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Effingham : all types of blood are very much needed
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will a night of Ambraw Country Music coming up tomorrow night, starting at 7:00 – all are invited for a night of down-home country music
    There’s a couple of area school board meetings tonight : the Jasper County School Board will meet tonight at 7:00 in Newton : the West Richland School Board meets tonight at 7:00 in Noble
    Today’s the last day to get farm equipment listed on the sale bill of next month’s Farm Machinery Consignment Sale, sponsored by the the Mt. Erie Ruritan Club – call today at 618-838-8398
    Today has been designated as East Richland High School Cross Country Day within the City of Olney – all to recognize the runners, their parents, & coaches for their accomplishments this fall, finishing 2nd at the State Cross Country Meet – we express our congratulations & appreciation during this day in Olney