LOCAL NEWS

Local News

January 26, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  With high pressure in control of our weather conditions, much of the Midwest will remain dry & quiet over the next couple of days, although an upper level disturbance could bring us some scattered snow flurries tomorrow – it will remain cold with no real change for the weekend ahead – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Governor Quinn has signed the Medicaid Reform bill into law as Illinois aims to save up to $775 million over the next five years – the measure plans to reduce costs, allow the state to pay bills sooner, & target fraud, all the result of a bi-partisan commission – the new law also will increase civil penalties for those who abuse the system, plus expands coordinated care & improves the prescription drug program.

(OLNEY)  Meanwhile, it’s been noted that lawmakers have a lot of work to do when they return to the State Capital in February – a group of Democratic Senators are calling for workers’ compensation reforms and property tax relief, while others on the Republican side of the isle are looking to repeal the recent income tax hike, plus want to look at properly funding schools – the Governor’s budget address is February 16th.

(NEWTON)  In fact, State Representative David Reis is leading the charge to repeal the recent tax increase – the Jasper County native says “rebuilding our state’s fiscal house must be solved by first cutting state spending, changing the way government operates, & reforming the business climate” – Reis has introduced House Bill 175, calling for the roll-back of individual & corporate income taxes, plus rolling back the estate tax & requiring that local governments get their 10% set-aside restored – we’ll wait to see if the General Assembly leaders call the measure to the floor of the House for a vote or it lays idle with no attention.

(OLNEY)  In other state news – while the temptation to run to the nearest tax preparer as soon as your W-2 forms arrive, hoping to snap-up a quick tax refund may be great, but the Better Business Bureau advises all taxpayers to resist a tax-return anticipation loan because they are similar to payday loans that carry a very high interest rate, anywhere from 50% to 500% – also watch other for other tax return scams as well.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Farm Bureau will have its 75th Annual Meeting on Monday, February 7th, at the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton – registration will begin at 6:00 with the business meeting to start at 6:30 – members are encouraged to call the Farm Bureau Office in Newton with reservations by next Friday, February 4th – this Annual Meeting will be a reflection on the last 75 years.

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met earlier this week on Monday night – the Board : took no action on a Tethering Ordinance, noting that residents should use current Nuisance Ordinances if any complaints : took no action on a possible water rate increase – the Village’s Water Committee compared the numbers & recommended no rate increase at this time : unanimously adopted an Ordinance to amend the Municipal Code of Noble to modify general penalties & enforcement provisions for violations of various provisions : adopted an Ordinance to amend the Nuisance Abatement procedures in Noble : also discussed recent snow removal, the Village’s Intergovernmental Agreement with the County Board, street repairs, & more, but no other action was taken : the Noble Village Board will have it’s next regular meeting February 14th.

(NEWTON)  Beginning this month, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will contact farmers & ranchers across the nation to conduct the Agricultural Resource Management Survey, which will provide accurate, real-world data that’ll help shape the policies, programs, & issues that affect farmers all over the country – nearly 35,000 producers across America, including 1,745 in Illinois, will be contacted to share their data on operating expenditures, production costs, & household characteristics, with all details to remain confidential – the information will be available online and in print on August 2nd later this year.

(NOBLE)  In area court news : a Noble woman has been arrested on a Wayne County warrant – 42 year old Carol Wille is charged with unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste and for unlawful participation in methamphetamine manufacturing – Wille remains in the Wayne County Jail, pending her first appearance in Wayne County Court in Fairfield – she is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

(OLNEY)  Two Marion County men have been charged with an eight count indictment – 31 year old David Collinsworth and 35 year old Darryl McMullen, both of Centralia, face from 5 to 60 years in prison for the alleged distribution of heroin on several occasions last November – they’re innocent until proven guilty.
 
REMINDERS
    The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County has its only fundraiser of the year coming up the last two weekends of February at the Olney Bowling Center – teams of five are needed to get pledges & then bowl with a t-shirt, pizza, & drink provided – plus plenty of prizes – call the BBBS office at 392-3863
    Teams of four can signup now for the annual Rotary Trivia Marathon, coming up Sunday, February 13th, at The Holiday, at 2:00 – it’s $10 per person, but free to spectators – to signup or for details, call 393-2153
    The St Thomas Catholic Church 3rd annual “wine tasting” will be held this coming Saturday evening at the Newton KC Hall – it all starts at 6:30 and all are invited to stop by and check it out
    The Olney Knights of Columbus will have another Friday night “fish fry” this Friday night, with serving from 5:00 until 7:30 – tickets for all ages on sale at the door, plus carryouts will be available
    The Richland County Board has rescheduled it’s special meeting that was snowed-out last week – it’s tomorrow evening at 5:30 in the County Jail meeting room – the only agenda item is the joint dispatch issue

January 25, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A quieter weather pattern is now setting up for the rest of this work week with a large area of high pressure building into the Midwest – the main storm tracks will stay to our north & south now thru Friday – maybe even a dry weekend ahead, although some colder air may be in place – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Figures released by the Governor’s Office of Management & Budget show the state can dig its way out of the massive budget hole in less than two years time, although that prediction depends on some action that hasn’t occurred yet – specifically, a proposed $8.75 billion bond issue & a $1.01 tax increase on cigarettes, both of which have stalled out in Springfield – the Governor’s budget address February 16th.

(OLNEY)  The State Department of Agriculture has introduced a new, web-based tool, that aims to protect pesticide-sensitive crops by improving communications between growers & pesticide applicators – the new online program is called “Driftwatch”, originally developed in Indiana & initiated this year in Illinois and 3 other states – it’s free & can be located by visiting the Ag Department’s website, at www.agr.state.il.us.

(NEWTON)  A 100 turbine wind farm generating up to 200 mega-watts of power could be up & running in southern Mercer County, in Western Illinois, by late 2012 – BP Wind Energy is leading the project – while the permitting process is underway, BP has wind farms near Gibson City & Sibley in East Central Illinois.

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met last night – the Council : held a public hearing on applying for state grant funds for storm sewer work in Olney : approved a right-of-way agreement for Delta Communications to lay a fiber optic line thru the city : approved a request from the Richland County Recreation Council to hold a fundraising “triathlon” using Musgrove Park & the Musgrove Aquatic Center on July 30th : approved the Fair Board’s request to hold its fundraising “Spring Crash” demolition derby on April 16th : set a public hearing for the proposed Route 130 TIF District for March 28th : next regular meeting on February 14th.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland School Board met last night – the Board : accepted four resignations – from Superintendent Anthony Galindo, effective June 30th – from District Secretary/Bookeeper/Payroll Clerk Alex Garrett, effective January 12th – from Junior High Teacher Nancy Van Blaricum, effective May 27th – from Ag Teacher & FFA Advisor Rylan Rusk, effective August 1st : agreed to spend $4,500 to the Illinois Association of School Boards to begin a “superintendent search” for the District : approved the graduation, promotion, & baccalaureate dates for May : approved Indiana Insurance thru Blank’s Insurance of Olney for the District’s property & casualty coverage : heard an update on the District’s “feasibility study” with the East Richland School District, noting results should be available next month : noted a grant application for funds to upgrade the Grade School lighting has been submitted : next regular meeting is February 28th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School District will conduct its annual Preschool Screening for 3 to 5 year old children February 22nd thru 25th, that’s a Tuesday thru Friday, starting four weeks from today – times will vary each day as the free screenings will help identify children who may need assistance before they start school – the local Head Start program will also be on hand to accept applications, plus additional free screenings by the Birth-to-Three program will be available as well – the screenings will be conducted at the First Baptist Church in Newton – parents or guardians are urged to make appointments after February 1st.

(OLNEY)  The State Attorney General, the State DNR, & State EPA, have settled the natural resource damages case, resulting in restoration projects to help preserve waterways & enhance wildlife habitat on & near the former Indian Refinery site, south of Lawrenceville – Texaco, the refinery’s former owner, will pay more than $1.7 million for groundwater management assistance to the City of Lawrenceville, plus the restoration of at least 2,300 acres of land south of the former refinery for wildlife habitat improvements.

(NEWTON)  A 31 year old Tower Hill man has been found dead – authorities say James Mundy was last seen a week ago at a home in Vandalia, but the homeowner & her son said he was not there – however, Mundy’s body was discovered in the home of 42 year old Sally Cyrus over the weekend, plus a meth lab was found – the woman & her son have been arrested & murder has not been ruled out in Mundy’s death.
 
REMINDERS
    The new St Joseph Parish Center in Stringtown will host a fundraising “trivia challenge” this Sunday, starting at 1:30 – includes concessions & prizes, plus spectators are invited – call 754-3426 to register
    The St Thomas Catholic Church 3rd annual “wine tasting” will be held this coming Saturday evening at the Newton KC Hall – it all starts at 6:30 and all are invited to stop by and check it out
    The Olney VFW will host another fundraising “fish fry” this coming Friday night, with serving from 5:30 until 7:30 – tickets will be on sale at the door with carryouts available – all are invited
    The Richland County Board has rescheduled it’s special meeting that was snowed-out last week – it’s this Thursday evening at 5:30 in the County Jail meeting room – the only agenda item is the joint dispatch issue
    Today’s the final day to get tickets to the upcoming OCC Foundation “Valentine Benefit” on February 5th at The Holiday in Olney – includes food & entertainment – $30 tickets at all area banks & at OCC

January 24, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a weak low pressure system moves over the midwest any light precipitation with it will end by afternoon, but a mostly cloudy sky will prevail thru tomorrow – we’ll look for some sunshine thru the rest of the work week with dry conditions expected into the upcoming weekend – stay tuned for updates.

(OLNEY)  The National Weather Service has a “freezing rain advisory” in effect thru mid-morning for a few area counties – patchy areas received some freezing rain overnight that continued thru this morning, but those spots area widely scattered – the light precipitation is expected to end by this afternoon – the freezing drizzle made some early morning travel even more difficult on the already snow-packed country roads.

(NEWTON)  Unemployment continues to fall in Illinois with 9.3% of those around the state out of work in December – that’s down from 9.6% in November – the joblessness number has now fallen nine months in a row, plus the rate is the lowest it’s been in two years – and for the first time in the past five years, Illinois’ unemployment number has been below the national number now for the second month in a row.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced the 2011 consumption advisories for sport fish caught in state waters – among the new advisories this year is Lake Sara in Effingham County – for more on the advisories, check the Public Health’s website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/fish.

(NEWTON)  In his Senate Week in Review Report, State Senator John O. Jones says he continues to hear concerns about the recent income tax increase – while back in their home districts over the past week, state lawmakers are hearing from their constituents – in other notes, the state has confirmed an agreement for a new private manager of the State Lottery & the status of at least 37 gubernatorial appointees is up in the air.

(OLNEY)  There are three meetings on tap in Richland County tonight : the Olney City Council meets this evening in regular session – with several items on the agenda, the Council meeting at 7:30 will be proceded by a public hearing for input into a state funding application for a city storm sewer project, starting at 7:15 : also, the Noble Village Board will meet in regular session – that’s at 7:00, at the Village Hall in Noble : and the West Richland School Board will have its regular monthly meeting tonight in Noble at 7:00, as well.

(NEWTON)  Mark your calendars as the 2011 Taste of Jasper County is quickly approaching, now less than three weeks away, set for February 11th – sponsored by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, the event is an opportunity to help bring attention to all the great products & services available in Jasper County – space is limited for area businesses, and it’s available on a first come, first serve, basis – the Taste of Jasper County, February 11th, from 5:00 til 7:00 that evening, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton – for further information or details, call or stop by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce.

(OLNEY)  There’s less than two days left to get tickets for the upcoming Olney Central College Foundation “Valentine Benefit” which is set for Saturday, February 5th, at The Holiday, in Olney – the $30 per person price includes a cocktail hour, a special meal, & entertainment – the tickets are on sale today & tomorrow only at all area banks or at Olney Central College – proceeds to benefit the Single Parent Program.
 
REMINDERS
    The St Thomas Catholic Church 3rd annual “wine tasting” will be held this coming Saturday evening at the Newton KC Hall – it all starts at 6:30 and all are invited to stop by and check it out
    Interested Lake Land College agriculture alumni are invited to a reunion this coming Saturday, the 29th – social hour & check-in at 12 noon with meal to follow – a $15 cost – call 217-234-5566 to register
    The Olney Lions will host the 37th annual District 1-CN Governor’s visit this Saturday at Ty’s Family Buffet – all are invited to the informational meeting, plus fun, food, & fellowship – it’s dinner at $11 per person – those planning to attend should RSVP at 395-3637 by this Wednesday, the 26th
    The Olney & Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce will have a “ribbon cutting” ceremony this Thursday afternoon at Shades of White / 24 Karat Travel, at 105 West Main Street, in Calhoun
    The Jasper County Health Department will host the Mobile Mammography Van tomorrow at the Department Offices in Newton – for an appointment or more details, call toll-free at 1-800-639-5329

January 22, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a weak low pressure system moves over Illinois today we could see some light snow or flurries thru tonight – then another disturbance will drop across the Midwest tomorrow with another chance of light snow thru Sunday night – temperatures remain below normal this weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – the latest report from the State Auditor General shows that more Illinois families are saving for college – last year, the number of investors increased about 8% for the State’s Bright Start program, plus a 20% bump for the Bright Directions program – the total net assets also increased by $62.4 million – although more people joined the programs, total contributions to accounts are down by nearly $95 million from a year ago – officials insist the amount entering outweighs the amount going out.

(OLNEY)  Ameren Illinois says customers can save money by becoming more energy efficient – by joining “The Act on Energy : Take the Pledge” campaign, customers pledge to take action to reduce energy usage – the grand-prize winner will win an Energy Star appliance valued up to $2,000 while second place wins a $300 gift card and third place gets a $100 gift card – go online for details, at www.ActOnEnergy.com.

(NEWTON)  Mark your calendars as the 2011 Taste of Jasper County is quickly approaching, now less than three weeks away, set for February 11th – sponsored by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, the event is an opportunity to help bring attention to all the great products & services available in Jasper County – space is limited for area businesses, and it’s available on a first come, first serve, basis – the Taste of Jasper County, February 11th, from 5:00 til 7:00 that evening, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton – for further information or details, call or stop by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Oil & Gas Association is making plans for its 65th annual Convention & Trade Show, set for next March 3rd & 4th at the Evansville, Indiana Convention Center – the IOGA office is now accepting nominations for the various awards which are presented annually as part of the Wildcatter Luncheon – those include the Service Person of the Year, Petroleum Professional of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Petroleum Professional Woman of the Year, & Wildcatter of the Year – plus a workshop in conjunction with the annual meeting will be held March 2nd with information presented on enhanced oil recovery in the Illinois basin – for more details or information, go online at www.ioga.com.
 
REMINDERS
        The Jasper County Health Department will host the Mobile Mammography Van next Tuesday, the 25th, at the Department Offices in Newton – for an appointment or more details, call toll-free at 1-800-639-5329
    With at 15 blood drives cancelled this week because of snow, the Midwestern blood supply is at a very low level – therefore, all drives are now critical, including tomorrow morning’s blood drive in Ste. Marie, from 8:00 until 12 noon at the Parish Hall – there’s a special need this weekend for O-Negative blood
    The Christy Fire Department has it’s fundraising “ham & bean” day today with serving from 10:00 until 2:00 at the Community Building in Chauncey – donations at the door – proceeds for needed equipment
    The East Richland High School JROTC has a fundraising “pancake breakfast” this morning at the Olney VFW, with serving from now until 10:30 – tickets are on sale at the door
    For cancellations, click our “weather” tab at www.freedom929.com or www.1035theeagle.com

January 21, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a strong arctic high pressure settles across the midwest today, very cold conditions will be on tap thru tonight – a slight warmup includes a weak low pressure system with light snow falling tonight thru tomorrow – plus another disturbance could bring us snow again by Sunday night – listen for updates.

(OLNEY)  The National Weather Service reports various snowfall totals in downstate Illinois – while areas along U.S. Route 50 received an average of 6 inches of snow, more or less in some spots, the areas along I-70 to the north and I-64 to the south got an average of 3 inches of snow, more or less – most all area highways are clear, although all country & rural roads are snow-packed & slick – travel with precautions – for road condition reports, go online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com or call toll-free at 1-800-452-4368.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn has struck a deal with the Chinese where businesses in China will buy over a million bushels of soybeans from Illinois – Quinn says this will boost the economy & create jobs – farmers & companies with operations in Illinois, including ADM, Cargill, & others assisted in the plan.
 
(OLNEY)  Former Governor Jim Edgar believes the recent income tax hike is a step in the right direction, but says more work is needed to deal with the state’s $13 billion deficit – while he left office in 1999 after turning a $2 billion deficit into a $1.5 billion surplus, Edgar says unnecessary spending must be cut out.

(NEWTON)  In a move towards cleaning up state government, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon issued an executive order yesterday, vowing not to receive campaign contributions from other state employees and restricting those who work in her office from receiving free meals & gifts from lobbyists – in releasing her income statements, Simon hopes other state leaders will follow her example of improving transparency.

(OLNEY)  Sheriff Andy Hires has released the monthly activity report for the Richland County Sheriff's Department – the office received a total of 416 calls from the public during December – Deputies made 42 arrests, issued 20 warnings, responded to 11 domestic complaints, & investigated 9 thefts or burglaries – a total of 70 warrants were processed – just over $2,400 was spent in housing juveniles outside the county & 60 prisoners were processed – the fine revenue came in at $13,566 – the office received 209 emergency 9-1-1 calls during the 31 days – the Richland Memorial Ambulance Service made 104 runs in December.
 
(NEWTON)  The State FSA reminds area farmers that they have until January 31st to submit an application for payment under the 2010 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, & Farm-Raised Fish Program – ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers who have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions – stop by your FSA Office, or go online at www.fsa.usda.gov/nm.
 
(OLNEY)  Congressman John Shimkus is again sponsoring his "Valentines for Heroes" program where the lawmakers' downstate offices collect valentines to be delivered to veterans & those currently serving in the military – the valentines should not be addressed to a specific person, should not include identifying information about the sender, & should not be signed with a name, although general messages of support are appreciated – the valentines should be left open, not placed in an envelope – accepted now thru the first week of February, the valentines can be dropped off or mailed to the lawmaker’s Olney office, at 120 South Fair Street, open each Thursday, from 10:00 til 4:00 – or at offices in Harrisburg, Centralia, & Collinsville.
 
(NEWTON)  At Tuesday night's meeting the Newton City Council noted that several committee meetings are coming up later this month : a joint meeting of the City's Insurance Committee & Safety Committee will be held January 28th at 10:00 that morning : meanwhile, the Police Committee will meet January 31st at 5:00 that late afternoon - discussion will include the possibilities of eliminating two part-time police officers to hire another full-time officer : it was also noted that the City's Electric Department has been recently trimming some trees & helping the City's Street Department : noted a proposal from Jasper Services on a city mowing contract may be presented at the next meeting : also noted that the City's Electric Distribution System Upgrade project is now complete : the Council's next regular meeting is set for February 1st.
 
(FAIRFIELD)  The funeral services are pending for a Wayne County soldier who was killed in Iraq last Saturday – 23 year old Sergeant Michael Bartley of Barnhill was one of two U.S. soldiers killed by an Iraqi soldier who apparently smuggled real bullets into a training exercise and opened fire – military officials say the shooter was immediately shot and killed by other American soldiers who were running the morning drill – Bartley, a 2007 graduate of Fairfield Community High School, served in the U.S. Army Cavalry Unit.
 
(OLNEY)  The American Cancer Society “Walk & Roll” of Richland County will host a kickoff celebration for the 2011 Walk & Roll season next Thursday night, January 27th, at The Holiday in Olney, starting at 6:00 – all former Walk & Roll teams, Corporate Sponsors, or those wanting to learn more about forming a team or taking part should attend – however, reservations are required by today – call 618-562-5159.

REMINDERS
    Interested Lake Land College agriculture alumni are invited to a reunion a week from tomorrow, January 29th – social hour & check-in at 12 noon with meal to follow – a $15 cost – call 217-234-5566 to register
    The Jasper County Health Department will host the Mobile Mammography Van next Tuesday, the 25th, at the Department Offices in Newton – for an appointment or more details, call toll-free at 1-800-639-5329
    With yesterday’s winter storm canceling at least 15 blood drives, the Midwestern blood supply is at a very low level – therefore, all drives are now critical, including this Sunday morning’s blood drive to be held in Ste. Marie, from 8:00 until 12 noon – there’s a special need this weekend for O-Negative blood
    The Christy Fire Department has it’s fundraising “ham & bean” day tomorrow with serving from 10:00 til 2:00 at the Community Building in Chauncey – donations at the door – proceeds for needed equipment
    The East Richland High School JROTC has a fundraising “pancake breakfast” tomorrow morning at the Olney VFW, with serving from 6:30 til 10:30 – tickets will be on sale at the door
    It’s the first 2011 Friday night “fish fry” at the Olney Knights of Columbus coming up tonight, with serving from 5:00 til 7:30 – tickets at the door, plus carryouts will be available
    For cancellations, click the “weather tab” online, at www.freedom929.com or www.1035theeagle.com