LOCAL NEWS

Local News

August 24, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a warm front moves over the upper Midwest, hot & humid conditions return to us today, but not for long – an approaching cold front will move thru by tonight with a threat of scattered thunderstorms – then high pressure returns with dry conditions tomorrow thru Sunday – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn put his veto pen to work yesterday as he amended Senate Bill 170, which establishes a locally owned account that provides needed loans to deaf and hard-of-hearing students who want to attend college – the Governor says he’ll approve the measure altogether if lawmakers ensure the money is used for its intended purpose, with any interest accrued to go right back into the specific account.

(OLNEY)  The Governor also vetoed Senate Bill 90 which removes the requirement that all Secretary of State driver facilities have deputy registrars and be permanent places for voter registration – within that, Governor Quinn suggests lawmakers establish a Veterans’ Advocate as an official of local government to coordinate veteran services & to serve as a liaison between units of local government and local Veterans.

(NEWTON)  Illinois’ unemployment rate in now higher than the national number – the state lost nearly 25,000 jobs in July, which some say is blamed partly on the state’s recent state income tax hike – The Illinois Policy Institute says the state policies currently in place, promoting higher taxes, more spending, and unreformed liabilities, are clearly not working for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
 
(NEWTON)  The State Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Office of Tourism recently released numbers that highlight the success the local & area tourism industry experienced last year in 2010 – visitors to Southeastern & South Central Illinois generated nearly $297 million in local economic impact, which reflected an increase in all 13 area counties – in Jasper County, the projected impact was at $6.9 million, an increase of 10.7% from the year before – the Richland County impact was at $13.3 million, an increase of 9.6% – all other area counties saw an increase as well, ranging from 4% to 11% – the list of area counties also includes Crawford, Cumberland, Clark, Lawrence, Effingham, Fayette, Marion, & Clay.

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met earlier this week – the Board  :  approved the Illini Builders’ bid of $13,559 to replace the Village Hall roof  :  approved the additional bid of $1,482 to replace the existing roof vent flashings & more  :  approved the Illini Builders’ bid of $5,400 for repairs at the Little League concession stand & storage building  :  noted that TAR Excavating will soon repair the sidewalk along old Route 250, just east of Village Hall  :  approved a $40 donation to the Noble Athletic Boosters  :  discussed the selling of old Village equipment with a list to be provided at the next meeting  :  & noted that the next village-wide cleanup day is this Friday morning  :  the Board’s next regular meeting is September 12th.

(NEWTON)  In regional news – a Fayette County teenager has been found guilty of first degree murder & home invasion – the jury deliberated for less than three hours yesterday before finding 16 year old Clifford Baker of Loogootee guilty of the shooting deaths of John Mahon & Debra Tish in their Fayette County home on August 4th of last year – Baker’s sentencing date has been set for September 30th in Vandalia – while the death penalty is not an option, state law suggests a life sentence for a double murder conviction.

(OLNEY)  The Clay County investigation continues into last week’s arrest of an Ingraham woman on drug charges – assisted by the Southeastern Illinois Drug Task Force, authorities have charged 37 year old Angela Hance with three counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance – bond was set at $50,000 – remember, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

(GREENUP)  The Cumberland County Fair continues today at the west edge of Greenup – it’s more harness racing this afternoon at 1:30, followed by the C-Bar Rodeo tonight at 7:00 – the antique tractor show in tomorrow morning with more harness racing at 1:30, followed by the Central Illinois Tractor Pullers tomorrow night at 7:00 – tickets are still available for the Darryl Worley & Daryle Singletary country music concert Friday night at 7:00 – that’s concessions, carnival rides & more all this week in Greenup – for concert tickets or general details, go online at www.thecumberlandcountyfair.com.

REMINDERS  
    The fall semester is underway at OCC and the other IECC campuses – students can still register for any daytime classes thru this Friday – register of evening classes until the second class meeting – call or stop by the respective Student Services Office, or go online for a list of classes at www.iecc.edu/occ
    The annual Claremont Community Center Chowder is this Saturday evening with serving from 4:00 until sold out – bulk chowder at $14 a gallon & bulk barbeque turkey at $5 per pound, plus more – all invited
    The next St Thomas Youth “paper drive” is this Saturday morning at the Schackmann Insulation Building in Newton, from 7:00 til 12 noon – newspapers, their inserts, & paper bags will be accepted – however, no magazine, no twine, no strings, & no cardboard – all proceeds to benefit the youth at St Thomas School
    The historic “Restoring Courage Rally for Israel” will be shown tonight at the Lincoln Trail College Theater in Robinson, starting at 7:00 – there is no cost, although donations will be taken at the door

August 23, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As the high pressure ridge moves off to our east, southerly winds will bring in some warmer air today, & with an upper level disturbance tracking across the Midwest by this evening, our next chance of rain will develop tonight, continuing thru tomorrow night with a cold front – then dry from Thursday into the upcoming weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The first human West Nile Virus cases in Illinois for 2011 have been reported – the Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed the first cases of an elderly Cook County man & a younger man in the downstate Franklin-Williamson Bi-County area – so far this year, 13 counties have reported mosquito batches, birds, or a person now testing positive for West Nile Virus : Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Franklin, Gallatin, Jackson, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Macon, St. Clair, Tazewell, and Will Counties – at this time last year, there were 30 Illinois counties with a positive West Nile report and nearly 60 human cases reported.

(OLNEY)  The State Attorney General’s office wasted no time putting a new law to work, filing a lawsuit yesterday against a downstate business – Rich’s Towing Company in Jackson County is accused of illegally dumping used tires, vehicles, old mobile homes, & construction debris on vacant land near Murphysboro – the state is seeking a $50,000 civil penalty for each violation, plus $10,000 each day the violations continue.

(NEWTON)  The State is also cracking down on healthcare workers who take advantage of their patients – a total of eleven workers, including a pair of doctors, had their licenses revoked yesterday, and according to a new state law, can no longer practice in Illinois – this comes with a new law requiring those convicted of sexual offenses or violent crimes against their patients be automatically revoked, without any questions.
 
(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met last night – the Council  :  agreed to set aside $300,000 for the basic plan to develop Musgrove Park into a Sports Complex – the unanimous decision does not include any sale of property, but will rely on $225,000 to be raised thru the public – dirt work is expected to begin soon  :  approved initial street improvement work in Eastgate Subdivision with material worth $15,000 thru MFT funds  :  approved a bid of $63,302 from Doll’s Inc, but then passed a change order to reduce the cost down to $27,044 to pave the portion of Van Street, from Main to Chestnut  :  rejected a $31,888 bid for a Ludlow Street communications building  :  took no action on a $6,000 bid to remodel the front lobby of the Olney Police Department  :  approved an annexation agreement & a tax abatement for property owned by Doll’s at the intersection of Whittle Avenue & Route 130  :  agreed to establish a City Cemetery Committee to make recommendations for upkeep & maintenance  :  noted a $294,000 grant coming to Olney for drainage work along the Boone Street area  :  & in personnel – appointed Peggy Eimer as Temporary Treasurer  :  the Council will have a special public meeting tomorrow night at 7:00 to get input on the newly approved plan to develop Musgrove Park into a Sports Complex – Council’s next regular meeting is September 12th.
 
(NOBLE)  The West Richland School Board met last night – the Board  :  adopted the District’s Title I plan as presented  :  accepted the low bid of $125,013 from D.E. Martin Company of Lebanon for the High School roof repair project  :  accepted the $5,000 bid from DMR AirCom for new communication radios for all District buses & certain in-school personnel  :  approved the bread bid from Noble Foods & the milk bid from Prairie Farms  :  appointed Board Member Carolyne D. Brooks to the SESE Governing Board  :  appointed Board Member Brian VanBlaricum as delegate for the Illinois Association of School Board’s annual convention  :  in personnel – noted that Pre-K Teacher Susan Walker is not returning to the District this school year – hired Lisa Fender as District Pre-K Teacher – hired Trisha Hires as One-on-One Special Ed Para-Professional – hired Jim Love as Industrial Arts Teacher – hired Dean Dittmar as Ag Teacher – rehired & granted tenure to Linette Thomas, Kerrie Weidner, & Sara White – rehired non-tenured Teachers Lindsey Ridgely, Josh Zurliene, & Theresa Marriott  :  the Board’s next regular meeting is September 19th.

(NEWTON)  All agricultural districts in Illinois had below average rainfall last week with the excessive dry conditions taking a toll on statewide crops – yesterday’s UDSA Crop Report shows last week’s average temperature was 74 degrees, right at normal, while the average precipitation was 0.29 inches, nearly a half inch below normal – both crop conditions & topsoil moisture levels weakened last week  :  farmers in our ten county area report over half of the local corn fields are denting, with nearly all the local soybean fields setting pods – some downstate fields are reaching maturity earlier than normal due to the dry conditions.

(NEWTON)  It’s less than two weeks away – the St. Mary’s Pre-Labor Day Picnic in Ste. Marie, set for Sunday, the 4th of September – it’s believed to be the 174th annual celebration – deep fried chicken dinners will be served from 11:00 to 5:00, plus other types of food – there will be plenty of bingo & other games, plus live entertainment, a basket stand, country store a quilt raffle, & more – and the “big ticket raffle” has over 130 prizes to win, including the top prize of $1,000 cash – all are invited to attend on September 4th.

(NEWTON)  An Effingham teenager was killed in a single vehicle traffic wreck last evening – county authorities say 16 year old Devon Loy was driving a minivan on U.S. Route 40 when he failed to navigate the “S” curves along the highway – the crash occurred at around 5:45 and Loy was pronounced dead over an hour later at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital – the Effingham County investigation continues today.
 
(GREENUP)  The Cumberland County Fair continues today at the west edge of Greenup with the first of four days of harness racing this afternoon at 1:30, followed by the ITPA Tractor Pull tonight at 7:00 – then more harness racing tomorrow afternoon & the C-Bar Rodeo tomorrow night – tickets are still available for the Darryl Worley & Daryle Singletary country music concert Friday night at 7:00 – that’s concessions, carnival rides & more all this week in Greenup – for more, go online at www.thecumberlandcountyfair.com.

REMINDERS 
    Mark your calendars – the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce has set the date for its annual banquet – it will be held on Tuesday night, October 18th, coming up eight weeks from tonight – more details to follow
    The next St Thomas Youth “paper drive” is this Saturday morning at the Schackmann Insulation Building in Newton, from 7:00 til 12 noon – newspapers, their inserts, & paper bags will be accepted – however, no magazine, no twine, no strings, & no cardboard – all proceeds to benefit the youth at St Thomas School
    The Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District will host an area “pond demonstration” this evening at 5:30, west of Olney, 4.5 miles on Route 50, then north a half mile on Higgins Switch Road – watch for signs – DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Hooe will give the presentation & answer questions – plus if your having problems with your pond, bring a sample – a light meal will follow and all are invited
    It’s the “homemade ice cream social” this evening at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church south of Olney – starting at 5:00, it features eight flavors of ice cream, plus sandwiches, other desserts, & drinks

August 22, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A broad area of high pressure will dominate our weather pattern over the Midwest today, but an approaching cold front will move thru with our next chance of scattered showers & thunderstorms tomorrow night thru Wednesday night – then dry & less humidity into the upcoming weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair is over, finishing up yesterday in Springfield, and officials say it was a very good year – Director Amy Bliefnick says the final attendance numbers are not in yet, but they appear to be up by about 10% – and higher attendance means higher revenues and profits – the past average taken at the State Fair is a little over $4 million, but this year, that number is expected to be exceeded.

(OLNEY)  Dumping trash illegally could cost Illinois residents a felony charge and a whopping $25,000 fine as the State has imposed stiffer penalties for those who are caught – in the past, first time dumpers were charged with a misdemeanor, regardless of how much garbage was illegally tossed – but new rules initiated by the Illinois EPA changes that, not only for individuals, but now for statewide businesses as well.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Department of Transportation & the Illinois State Police are teaming up with local law enforcement agencies across the state with an intensive, two-week crackdown, on impaired driving leading up to the Labor Day holiday weekend – now thru Labor Day, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” program will include over 200 roadside safety checks, plus impaired driving & safety belt saturation patrols.
 
(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council has a regular bi-monthly meeting tonight in Council Chambers of the Olney City Hall, starting at 7:30 – with several “new business” items, the agenda includes discussion on three past “old business” items as well, plus the various staff reports & a closed session to discuss personnel & real property – as always, tonight’s Olney City Council meeting is open to the public, there at City Hall.
 
(NOBLE)  There are two meetings in Noble tonight  :  the Noble Village Board has a regularly scheduled meeting at the Village Hall, beginning at 7:00 – an average agenda is on tap there  :  and the West Richland School Board has its regular monthly meeting set for tonight at 7:30 in the Unit Office Board Room, in the high school in Noble – it’s a full agenda of various items, including a closed session to discuss personnel, litigation, negotiations, & student discipline  :  both meetings are open to the public in Noble tonight.

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues into the death of a Dieterich man in Clay County – the Illinois State Police say 39 year old Dennis Harnden, Jr., was riding an ATV on a county road about one mile southeast of Clay City, at around 7:00 Saturday night, when he reportedly fell off the ATV and slid down the roadway – Harnden was taken to Clay County Hospital in Flora where he later was pronounced dead – no other details have been released as the Illinois State Police & Clay County authorities investigate.

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues into the death of Ronnie Crain, the owner & operator of the C-Bar Rodeo, which performs at several downstate county fairs & other events – it was a week ago this past Friday that Crain left his rural Fayette County farm in search of a loose bull and his horse returned to the farm alone – over 200 people assisted the state & local authorities in the search – Crain was located late that night & taken to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, then transferred to Carle Hospital in Urbana, where he died last Wednesday night – the extent of injuries have not been released by authorities.

(OLNEY)  Olney Central College and the other IECC schools are still registering students for the fall semester classes – OCC is again offering free GED classes and Constitution classes, on both Tuesday & Thursday evenings, with books all provided free – various other courses & classes are also available – call or stop by the Student Services Offices in either Olney, Mt. Carmel, Fairfield, or Robinson, or go online at www.iecc.edu for further information or details – the fall semester classes begin today thru all of this week.

(OLNEY)  A big “thank you” goes out to all those who supported the M.S. “Join the Movement” events over the past two weekends in Richland County – a total of $21,000 was raised, all for the awareness of and research of Multiple Sclerosis – thanks again to one & all for supporting the 2nd annual set of events.

(NEWTON)  The State Department of Transportation is getting input into the development of its upcoming Multi-Year 2013-2018 Road Program for Highway Improvement thru informational & feedback sessions to be held in communities throughout the state – based on current estimates of local, state, & federal funding, the 2012-2017 MYP totals about $11.5 billion and focuses on maintenance & improvement of the existing state road system – the local meeting for the IDOT District 7 area will be held later this afternoon & evening at the KC Hall in Effingham from 4:00 until 6:00 – all area residents and businesses are invited to attend with comments – IDOT’s District 7 includes Jasper, Richland, & most all surrounding counties.
 
(GREENUP)  The Cumberland County Fair began yesterday with the Junior Horse Show, followed by a special Church Service last night – along with various 4-H livestock shows, today’s main feature is Illinois Thoroughbred Racing with post time at 1:30 this afternoon, all followed by the Cumberland County Queen Pageant & Little Miss event, starting at 7:00 tonight – the Morning Farmer’s Breakfast Meeting is tomorrow with the first afternoon of Harness Racing at 1:30, followed by the ITPA Tractor Pull tomorrow night at 7:00 – there’s more Harness Racing Wednesday afternoon with the C-Bar Rodeo that night – the Antique Tractor Show is Thursday morning with more Harness Racing that afternoon & the Central Illinois Tractor Pullers featured Thursday night – more Harness Racing Friday afternoon will be followed by country music artists Darryl Worley & Daryle Singletary in concert that night at 7:00 – then the Antique Tractor Show is Saturday morning, followed by Thoroughbred Racing that afternoon & the popular Demolition Derby that night at 6:30 – that’s all this week in Greenup – for more, go online at www.thecumberlandcountyfair.com.

REMINDERS 
    The annual Claremont Community Center Chowder is coming up this Saturday evening with serving from 4:00 until sold out – bulk chowder at $14 a gallon, plus bulk barbeque turkey at $5 per pound – all invited
    The next St Thomas Youth “paper drive” is this Saturday morning at the Schackmann Insulation Building in Newton, from 7:00 til 12 noon – newspapers, their inserts, & paper bags will be accepted – however, no magazine, no twine, no strings, & no cardboard – all proceeds to benefit the youth at St Thomas School
    The historic “Restoring Courage” rally for Israel will be shown this Wednesday night at the Lincoln Trail College Theater in Robinson, starting at 7:00 – there is no cost, although donations will be taken at the door
    The Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District will host an area “pond demonstration” tomorrow evening at 5:30, at the Cliff Sessengood pond, west of Olney, 4.5 miles on Route 50, then north a half mile on Higgins Switch Road – watch for signs – DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Hooe will give the presentation & answer questions – plus if your having problems with your pond, bring a sample – a light meal of sub sandwiches, chips, & drinks will also be served – all are invited to attend tomorrow evening
    It’s the “homemade ice cream social” tomorrow evening at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church south of Olney – starting at 5:00, it features eight flavors of ice cream, plus sandwiches, other desserts, & drinks
    The next area blood drive is today at Crawford Memorial Hospital in Robinson, from 1:00 until 5:00 – then a drive will be held later this week on Friday at Olney Central College – all types of blood are needed

August 20, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A frontal boundary will team up with an upper level disturbance today to bring us our next chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon thru the day tomorrow – some severe conditions are possible – then a high pressure ridge will move into the midwest with a dry Monday, followed by another chance of showers or storms by midweek, next week – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – it’s been announced that Republicans are holding a straw poll to get a feel on who they want to support in the 2012 Presidential race – Illinois officials say the event will be held on the 5th of November – on the statewide level, it’s believed that the GOP can put a bigger dent in the Democratic majority in Springfield, or take over the legislature, altogether – it will have to be a grassroots effort.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield – today is Park District Conservation Day with the few remaining livestock shows, the USAC Silver Crown Series auto races, the ARCA Truck Series races, & the Fair’s Championship Demo Derby – then the final day of the Fair, tomorrow, is Family Day, with an admission fee of only $2 per person – there’s a chili cook-off, draft horse pull, ARCA Auto Racing & the Sportsman Nationals, plus Lady Antebellum with Stealing Angels in concert tomorrow night – not to mention the carnival rides, concessions, & more – for details, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.

(NEWTON)  Authorities in nearly all regional counties have received reports of another telephone scam moving thru the area – while the scams are conducted in many different ways, one of the most common is when local residents receive a call from a person claiming to be a family member, asking for money due to an accident or arrest in a different state or country – the caller then asks that the money be wired to them at their location – now don’t be fooled, these scam artists are very convincing & in many cases they use personal names & even “nicknames” that usually only family members would know – local residents are reminded to never give out personal information about bank account or credit card numbers over the phone & never send or wire money to anyone that can’t be identified – the elderly are mostly targeted, especially grandparents – if unsure, hang up and call other family members – there are many other telephone scams, too many to talk about or identify – if such a call occurs, contact your local law enforcement agencies.

(OLNEY)  Olney Central College and the other IECC schools are still registering students for the fall semester classes – OCC is again offering free GED classes and Constitution classes, on both Tuesday & Thursday evenings, with books all provided free – various other courses & classes are also available – call or stop by the Student Services Offices in either Olney, Mt. Carmel, Fairfield, or Robinson, or go online at www.iecc.edu for further information or details – the fall semester classes begin next Monday, August 22nd.
 
(NEWTON)  The First Baptist Church of Newton has a busy weekend coming up – its annual “Summer Fiesta” and “Back to School Bash” is today from 11:00 until 2:00 – there will be plenty of games & prizes, plus hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, soda, & more, and it’s all “free” – the church also has a Free Rummage Sale continuing from 8:00 until 2:00 today, featuring clothes, some household items, books, & more, all to give away – check it all out today at the First Baptist Church of Newton.

(OLNEY)  The 25th annual Cruise Night & Car Show is this weekend in the Olney City Park – it all kicks off with the Cruise Evening with registration today from 2:00 until 5:30, then the Cruise leaves the Park at 5:45 with various prizes to be awarded – tomorrow’s activities begin with an 11:00 church service at the Park’s Band-Shell, with registration for the Car Show from 9:00 until 12 noon tomorrow morning – there will be a 50/50 drawing, anniversary t-shirts for sale, plus more – all are invited to the Olney City Park this weekend for the anniversary event – for more, go online at www.whitesquirrelcruisers.com.

REMINDERS 
    Two area blood drives are tomorrow morning, each from 8:00 until 12 noon : at the St Mary’s Parish Center in Ste Marie : at the Holy Cross Parish Hall in Wendelin : remember, all types of blood are needed
    The 2nd annual MS “Join the Movement” barbeque pork meal will be served at 4:30 this evening at the Olney VFW – with donations at the door, the night also includes a fundraising auction, 50/50 drawing, & live entertainment – all for the awareness & research of Multiple Sclerosis – all are invited
    Ralph Carter’s 18th annual benefit “poker run” is today with signup at 10:00 this morning at the Olney American Legion – bikes leave at 12 noon – then food, auction, & live band to follow – all vehicles invited
    A fundraising “porkburger cookout” is today from 10:30 until 1:30 at the KC Hall in Newton – plus a benefit raffle drawing at 2:00 with over 50 items available – tickets on sale at the Newton IGA or the Red Rooster Truck Stop in Olney – proceeds to both Gail & Gary Wilson with their medical expenses
    The East Orchard Christian Academy will have a fundraising “porkburger & brats” cookout and “bake sale” today at the Olney IGA – that’s serving from 10:00 until 2:00 – all are invited to help out
    The 2nd annual MS “Join the Movement” poker run fundraiser is this morning with registration at 8:30 at the Olney VFW – it leaves at 10:00 with stops at Moonshine, Greenup, Farina, & Wendelin – then it’s back to the Olney VFW for a barbeque pork meal, music, & auction for anyone at 4:30 – all are invited
    The City of Newton’s yard waste facility will be open this morning, from 8:00 until 12 noon – the facility will accept any type of yard waste, such as grass clippings, small brush, and weeds
    A reminder that the Village of Noble will have its “city-wide garage sales” today from early this morning into, at least, the early afternoon – that’s garage sale day today in the Village of Noble
    And while everyone is out traveling this weekend, please make sure you’re “buckled up” and observing all the “rules of the road” – let’s keep it safe here in Southeastern and South Central Illinois

August 19, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  With two fronts moving towards the Midwest, some morning rain chances today will be followed by spotty chances of pop-up storms later today thru late tonight – then more rain chances tomorrow thru Sunday – more humidity also returns to our area this weekend – listen for updates.

(OLNEY)  Some pop-up thunderstorms yesterday stayed east of Illinois Route 130, causing some localized flooding with anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of rain in portions of Edwards, Wabash, Lawrence, & Richland Counties, plus some spots reported small hail as well – it appears the rains this morning are again drifting off to our south, as the much needed rain continues to avoid some sections of the surrounding region.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn is taking a stand against crime as he put his stamp of approval on two bills yesterday, aimed at winning the war on drugs & gang violence – one law ensures police departments are reimbursed for the money they spend during a drug investigation – the other law allows the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority to help local governments identify & win grants for gang violence prevention.

(OLNEY)  Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has honored the Central Illinois Honor Flight for its work to honor Veterans thru trips to the National War Memorials in Washington, D.C. – it was earlier this week at the Illinois State Fair, during “Veteran’s Day”, that Honor Flight leaders from throughout the state were saluted for their achievements and continuing dedication to serving Veterans – last year alone in 2010, the Honor Flight network transported more than 63,000 Veterans to & from our nation’s capital.

(NEWTON)  The investigation into last week’s fire at the Evapco Warehouse in Newton has led to a preliminary report stating that the cause or origin of the blaze is undetermined at this time – while the 10,000 square foot building contained empty drums to be recycled, the primary fire source was lumber which was to be used for skids for final projects – Evapco’s primary focus is now to repair and clean-up the adjacent property, and then to clean-up the warehouse building site itself – at this time, there are no plans to re-build – Evapco officials say “thanks” to the Wade Fire Protection District, the other assisting area fire departments, local emergency personnel, & local law enforcement agencies for their quick response.

(OLNEY)  The East Richland School Board met last night – the Board  :  noted early projected enrollment numbers of 2,205 students, the 9th consecutive increase since 2003  :  noted the State still owes the District $300,000 from fiscal year 2011  :  noted the District has received over $1 million in competitive grant funds since May  :  noted the final payment has been made on the ERES roof repair project  :  approved the Head Start agreement as presented  :  in personnel matters – accepted the resignation of ERES Teacher Sara Rose – hired Amy Hallam as ERES Special Education Teacher – hired Amy Rusk as ERHS Part-Time Read 180 Teacher / Teacher Assistant – hired cooks Becky Kocher at ERMS & Kimberly Billington at ERES – hired Shirley Campos as Bus Driver – transferred Kacie Rodgers to ERES Teacher, Debbie McClure to ERES Part-Time Pre-K Teacher / Teacher Assistant, Nancy DeMier as ERES Library Aide, and Monica Grove to ERES Teacher Assistant / ERMS Part-Time Teacher – called back Bus Drivers Susan Medler & Dan Totten – approved all volunteer coaches & helpers – approved the various salaries for Administrators & Support Staff for the fiscal year 2012  :  the Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be held September 15th.

(NEWTON)  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a favorable ruling for statewide farmers – officials with FMCSA say it will not propose any new safety requirements or changes to rules governing transportation of agriculture products, farm equipment, or farm supplies to and from a farm – the decision means farmers who have crop share leases will no longer be considered “for-hire carriers”, a designation that would otherwise have required them to get a commercial driver’s license – the federal officials credited the comments & information they received over the past few months, especially those from farmers, with helping them understand the issues and implications of new interpretations – in fact, some FMCSA staffers came to the Midwest last week for an agricultural tour throughout Central Illinois.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield – today is Futures for Kids Day with activities centered around children, plus mud bogs & in concert its Head East, .38 Special, Loverboy, & The Tubes – coming up tomorrow, it’s Park District Conservation Day with the few remaining livestock shows, the USAC Silver Crown Series auto races, the ARCA Truck Series races, & the Fair’s Championship Demo Derby – then the final day, Sunday, is Family Day, with an admission fee of only $2 per person – plus a chili cook-off, draft horse pull, ARCA Auto Racing & the Sportsman Nationals, plus Lady Antebellum with Stealing Angels in concert Sunday night – not to mention the carnival rides, concessions, Conservation World, & more – that’s today thru Sunday – for more, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.
 
(NEWTON)  The First Baptist Church of Newton has a busy weekend coming up – its annual “Summer Fiesta” and “Back to School Bash” is tomorrow from 11:00 until 2:00 – there will be plenty of games & prizes, plus hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, soda, & more, and it’s all “free” – the church also has a Free Rummage Sale today from 8:00 until 5:00 and tomorrow from 8:00 until 2:00, featuring clothes, some household items, books, & more, all to give away – check it all out at the First Baptist Church of Newton.

(NEWTON)  It’s a free night of swimming for all Newton Community High School students, coming up tonight at the Newton Aquatic Center, courtesy of the Newton Consolidated Community Medical Center – that’s tonight from 9:00 until 11:00 as all students will be checked at the Aquatic Center doors to verify school status – a time of fun swimming for NCHS students after “Media Night” tonight in Newton.

REMINDERS 
    The 2nd annual MS “Join the Movement” barbeque pork meal will be served at 4:30 tomorrow evening at the Olney VFW – with donations at the door, the night also includes a fundraising auction, 50/50 drawing, & live entertainment – all for the awareness & research of Multiple Sclerosis – all are invited
    Ralph Carter’s 18th annual benefit “poker run” is tomorrow with signup at 10:00 at the Olney American Legion – bikes leave at 12 noon – then food, auction, & live band to follow – all vehicles invited
    A fundraising “porkburger cookout” is set for tomorrow from 10:30 til 1:30 at the KC Hall in Newton – plus a benefit raffle drawing at 2:00 with over 50 items available – tickets on sale at the Newton IGA or the Red Rooster Truck Stop in Olney – proceeds to both Gail & Gary Wilson with their medical expenses
    The East Orchard Christian Academy will have a fundraising “porkburger & brats” cookout and “bake sale” tomorrow at the Olney IGA – that’s serving from 10:00 until 2:00 – all are invited to help out
    The 2nd annual MS “Join the Movement” poker run fundraiser is tomorrow morning with registration at 8:30 at the Olney VFW – it leaves at 10:00 with stops at Moonshine, Greenup, Farina, & Wendelin – then back to the Olney VFW for a barbeque pork meal, music, & auction for anyone at 4:30 – all are invited
    The City of Newton’s yard waste facility will be open tomorrow morning, from 8:00 until 12 noon – the facility will accept any type of yard waste, such as grass clippings, small brush, and weeds
    A reminder that the Village of Noble will have its “city-wide garage sales” tomorrow from early in the morning into, at least, the early afternoon – that’s garage sale day tomorrow in the Village of Noble
    An area blood drive is today at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney from 12:00 noon until 4:00 – then two area drives Sunday morning  :  from 8:00 until 12 noon at the Holy Cross Parish Hall in Wendelin and from 8:00 until 12 noon at the St Mary’s Parish Center in Ste Marie  :  all types of blood are much needed
    The Richland County Farmer’s Market is under the pole barns in the Olney City Park – that’s today from 12 noon until 5:00 with farm fresh produce, baked items, & more available for the public