LOCAL NEWS

Local News

December 31, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A strong cold front will track across Illinois by tomorrow – ahead of it is rain & storms with the warmer-than-normal air, but it all will change with colder air & temperatures dropping by some 30 degrees later tonight – it’s back to typical winter weather with cold conditions for the weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation designed to stabilize pensions for police officers & firefighters, but also raises the retirement age & limits new benefits – the new reforms start tomorrow & only apply to those hired after January 1st, 2011 – the Governor & supporting lawmakers say statewide firefighters & police officers must have quality pension benefits, affordable to municipalities.
 
(OLNEY)  Illinois is expected to finish its second consecutive year with fewer than 1,000 deaths on it’s statewide highways – last year in 2009, a total of 911 people lost their lives on Illinois roadways, which was near a 100-year low – so far this year, the number of state traffic fatalities is at 916 – therefore IDOT, the State Police, & local law enforcement agencies are conducting the "Click It or Ticket" and "You Drink & Drive - You Lose" crackdowns thru next week, looking for those driving impaired & those not buckled up.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Attorney General’s office is warning residents about a new wave of con artists who are going door-to-door offering quick & cheap driveway repairs – these scammers usually offer old & leftover asphalt to complete a job that most generally will not last – and in most all cases, the final bill is always much higher than quoted, plus in some cases the money is required before the work is even finished – state officials encourage folks to decline these offers and call your local police if these or other repairmen show up – it’s recommended to hire local & area contractors that provide local references of past work.

(OLNEY)  This is day two of the first part of the Late-Winter Antlerless-Only Firearm Deer Season in all area downstate counties – the deer hunting continues tomorrow and Sunday, then the final three days of the season is January 14th, 15th, and 16th later next month – hunters are allowed to harvest antlerless deer only, all in an effort to reduce the ever-growing population of deer throughout the State of Illinois.

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues into an early Thursday morning, single-vehicle, traffic crash in Jasper County – the State Police say 42 year old Russell Bromm of Hidalgo was driving his pickup truck westbound on a county road, when it ran off the road & eventually overturned – Bromm had only minor injuries and was ticketed for DUI, improper lane usage, & failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

(OLNEY)  Wayne County authorities have released more details of the fatal crash that occurred this past Monday night south of Flora, on the Blue Mound Road, that killed 56 year old Jackie Fulk of Flora – Fulk’s northbound truck was hit by a southbound Jeep, driven by 16 year old Cody Houston of Flora, which was skidding out-of-control on the icy roadway – Fulk’s truck went down an embankment, striking several trees, forcing a 4-wheeler in the bed of the truck to enter the passenger area, striking Fulk from behind.

(NEWTON)  As we noted yesterday, almost 200 new laws go into effect tomorrow – one affects the state’s primary election, which returns to its normal third Tuesday in March after being bumped up to February, back in 2008 – other new laws increase the fine for not properly strapping children into car seats, requires mandatory prison time for those with no FOID card, while possessing a loaded & uncased firearm, increase penalties for kids under the age of 18 who send lewd photos on their phones or computers – to look over the new laws, go to our “community” page, online at www.1035theeagle.com or www.freedom929.com.

REMINDERS
    The next immunization clinic at the Jasper County Health Department is next Tuesday, January 4th, from 10:00 until 6:30 – to signup or for details, call the department offices in Newton at 783-4436
    There are two area blood drives set for this Sunday morning : from 7:30 til 11:30 at the St Joseph Parish Hall in Stringtown : from 8:00 til 12 noon at the Holy Cross Parish Hall in Wendelin : all types needed
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host an Ambraw Country Music New Year’s Eve Dance tonight from 5:00 til 12 midnight – all are invited this Friday night 
    Only three more nights to get out and view the Christmas Lights Display in the Olney City Park – that’s tonight & tomorrow night from dusk until 10:00 - the final night Sunday from dusk until 9:00
    A note from Republic Services – the area trash collection will go on as normal on this Friday, New Year’s Eve – the trash pickup will also be normal next week, Monday thru Friday, in the new year

December 30, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  Cloudy & windy conditions will continue across the Midwest today thru tomorrow, plus warmer-than-normal air will hang around thru New Year’s Eve night – as the rain ends tomorrow night, colder air will then move back in for New Year’s Day & the rest of the weekend – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – Illinois oldest resident has died – Evelyn Margaret Ralston passed away yesterday at her Evanston home at the age of 111 – according to the Gerontology Research Group, Ralston was the 52nd oldest person on earth and the oldest person that resided within the boundaries of Illinois.

(OLNEY)  U.S. Representative John Shimkus has not been selected to chair the Energy & Commerce Committee in Washington, D.C., but the new chairman has put the Collinsville Republican in a subcommittee leadership role – Fred Upton of Michigan has assigned Shimkus to head up the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment & Economy, also appointed to the Subcommittee on Energy & Power.

(NEWTON)  As 2010 ends tomorrow night, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, & hundreds of local law enforcement agencies are gearing up to "Traffic Safety Countdown to 2011", a coordinated statewide effort to boost enforcement over New Year's weekend – the combined mobilization will further improve traffic safety in Illinois as the state continues on track to experience its second straight year with fewer than 1,000 highway fatalities – last year in Illinois, 911 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, which was a near 100-year low, marking the first year since early in the 20th century that fewer than 1,000 people died on statewide highways – the "Click It or Ticket" and "You Drink & Drive - You Lose" crackdowns continue now thru the weekend ahead with extra roadside safety checks, safety belt enforcement zones, & saturation patrols looking for those driving impaired or not buckled up.
 
(OLNEY)  Almost 200 new laws are scheduled to go into effect this Saturday, January 1st, 2011 – included are pension reforms for most new public employees, limits on campaign contributions, requiring Governor and Lieutenant Governor candidates to run as a team in primaries, and changes to laws regarding the use of red-light cameras – also new laws requiring mandatory imprisonment for aggravated weapons convictions, a number of new measures increase penalties for sex offenders, and another that targets "sexting" – other new laws raise the DUI violation fee, raise the penalty for driving at speeds 30 miles-per-hour or more over the posted speed limit, & develops specialty license plates for "Soil & Water Conservation Districts" and for the "State 4-H Program" – to view the complete list of new laws that take effect this Saturday, check our websites at www.freedom929.com or www.1035theeagle.com and click on our "community" tab.

(NEWTON)  Time is running out for Medicare-eligible persons in Illinois to choose the best plan for their specific needs – the State Department of Insurance says volunteers are available to help enrollees make an educated decision – anyone eligible for medicare benefits, who needs assistance in choosing a plan, can call SHIP volunteers toll-free, at 1-800-548-9034 – the signup deadline is tomorrow, December 31st.

(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 next immunization clinic at the Jasper County Health Department is next Tuesday, January 4th, from 10:00 until 6:30 – to signup or for details, call the department offices in Newton at 783-4436
    Another area blood drive will be this Sunday morning from 8:00 until 12 noon at the Holy Cross Parish Hall in Wendelin – food & refreshments will be available to all donors, plus while they last, donors will get a free “rock & roll” t-shirt – all types of blood are needed – all eligible donors are encouraged to turn out
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host an Ambraw Country Music New Year’s Eve Dance tomorrow night from 5:00 til 12 midnight – all are invited Friday night 
    Only four 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 family and check it out tonight

December 29, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  The high pressure that’s kept us dry since Sunday shifts off to the east today as the southerly wind flow brings in warmer air – while fog could be a problem now thru Friday, a low pressure system will bring us rain today thru Friday night – then colder air returns Saturday – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – time is running out for Medicare-eligible persons in Illinois to choose the best plan for their specific needs – the State Department of Insurance says volunteers are available to help enrollees make an educated decision – anyone eligible for medicare benefits, who needs assistance in choosing a plan, can contact SHIP volunteers toll-free, at 1-800-548-9034 – deadline is December 31st.

(OLNEY)  Governor Pat Quinn is considering a plan to borrow more money to pay the state’s overdue bills – lawmakers may be approached next week about taking out a $15 billion loan, mostly because the state has a backlog of payments due to hospitals, schools, human service agencies, & others – Quinn, in turn, will likely ask for an income tax increase to repay the loan – look for more debate in Springfield.

(NEWTON)  Speaking of the State Capital, Frank Edwards is the new Mayor of Springfield, chosen last night by his fellow Aldermen – he says his first priority is to build a workable budget – his term will be a short one, just four months – that’s until the April 5th, 2011, election when a permanent mayor is elected.

(OLNEY)  Area farmers are reminded that producers who want to obtain a Market Assistance Loan before the end of the year should contact their local Farm Service Agency office as soon as possible – with time needed to process the loan & it’s paperwork, only a couple of days remain – the MAL’s are available for the crops of wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, & much more – call or stop by your FSA office today.

(NEWTON)  At it’s regular monthly meeting last week, the Jasper County School Board : noted that the Jasper County School District has been recognized as “Educator of the Year” as awarded by the ARC Community Support Systems : noted that Jasper County teacher, Deb Einhorn, has been recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for her teaching efforts : accepted an anonymous $1,000 donation for school program snacks at the Newton Elementary School : accepted a $100 donation from the Peoples State Bank for the NCHS Student of the Month breakfast : & accepted a donation of 200 headsets with microphones from Theresa Schackmann & Tenant Services, Agrecel : next meeting is January 18th.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges District is one of 20 higher education institutions in the U.S. that have been selected by the Higher Learning Commission to participate in the development of a new accreditation process called “open pathways” – with a goal to complete by the year 2014, the IECC is the only community college district to take part in the pilot program including two stages, the second of which involves a self-improvement “pathway” at each college – while this will guarantee the IECC to be reaccredited, being invited into the nationwide project is an honor which will also lead to improving the student learning process at the IECC campuses in Olney, Robinson, Mt. Carmel, and Fairfield.

(NEWTON)  Illinois hunters can still donate deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, part of Illinois’ “Target Hunger Now” initiative to feed statewide familes – hunters can donate whole deer for processing into venison that’s provided to food banks & food pantries – tax-deductible $50 contributions also help with the cost of processing – only two area meat processors take part in the program : Mike’s Market in Louisville and Blair’s Slaughtering & Processing, west of Louisville, both in Clay County.

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 shows next spring
    The next immunization clinic at the Jasper County Health Department in Newton will be January 4th, coming up next Tuesday, from 10:00 until 6:30 – to signup or for details, call the offices at 783-4436
    The next area blood drive will be this Sunday morning from 7:30 til 11:30 at the St Joseph Community Club in Stringtown – all types of blood are very much needed – all eligible donors are asked to turn out
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host an Ambraw Country Music New Year’s Eve Dance this Friday night from 5:00 til 12 midnight – all are invited Friday night 
    Only four 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 family and check it out tonight
    The Olney Recycling Collection is today for the Wednesday & Thursday routes – the Friday Recycling Collection will run normal on Friday – the Olney Recycling Collection returns to normal next week
    The Good Samaritan Food Pantry in Olney is open this morning from 9:00 until 11:00

December 28, 2010 Local and Area News

(OLNEY)  As an approaching storm system pumps in some warmer air, combined with the area snow cover, it appears fog will become a problem over the next few days & nights – plus it’s rain expected by tomorrow afternoon, continuing thru Friday night – then colder for the weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Area residents should be aware of flooding possibilities by the weekend ahead – with the expected warmup by Friday, the area snow cover will melt off, and with rain chances in the forecast for the rest of the work week, area creeks & rivers are expected to fill up quickly – residents should take the needed precautions, especially with colder air back over the weekend causing some ice problems as well.

(OLNEY)  The Springfield City Council meets tonight in special session, likely to select a new mayor to carry the State Capital thru the next few months – one of the city’s Aldermen is likely to be appointed by the Council tonight – the city’s next mayoral election will be next April 5th, 2011 – former Mayor Tim Davlin was found dead in his home over two week’s ago with no leader in place since that time.

(NEWTON)  Anyone looking to purchase a pet after January 1st will have new rights – a new law will take effect this Saturday making it mandatory for pet stores, animal shelters, & animal controls to disclose certain information on the animal’s cage before selling it or adopting it out – that includes the animal’s health & vaccination history, along with breed, age, date of birth, color of animal, retail price, & more.

(OLNEY)  A Flora man is dead after a two-vehicle crash last night in rural Wayne County – authorities say 56 year old Jackie Fulk was northbound on the Blue Mound Road, south of Flora, when his vehicle collided with a southbound vehicle at shortly after 5:30 – Fulk was taken to Clay County Hospital was he was pronounced dead – no other injuries have been reported as the State Police investigation continues.

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues into the traffic accident that claimed the lives of an Edgewood couple over the weekend due to bad road conditions – the State Police say 79 year old Alan White and 65 year old Sandra White were both pronounced dead at the scene after the vehicle they were in was struck by another vehicle traveling along Route 37 in Edgewood – the other driver was arrested for DUI, for no insurance, & for driving too fast for conditions – four others were taken to the hospital with injuries.

(OLNEY)  A $500 reward is available for details leading to the arrest & conviction of those responsible for a November 14th burglary that occurred at the south edge of Olney – the JPS Construction site break-in at the intersection of Whittle Avenue & Route 130 resulted in several items stolen – those with details will remain anonymous and are asked to call the Richland County Sheriff’s Department at 395-7481.

(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 this coming Friday, with farmers in 96 Illinois counties eligible, including Jasper, Richland, & all others surrounding Newton - for details, or to apply, go online at www.growcommunities.com.

REMINDERS
    The next area blood drive will be this Sunday morning from 7:30 til 11:30 at the St Joseph Community Club in Stringtown – all types of blood are very much needed – all eligible donors are asked to turn out
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host an Ambraw Country Music New Year’s Eve Dance this Friday night from 5:00 til 12 midnight – all are invited Friday night 
    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 today 
    Only five 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 family and check it out tonight

December 27, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  High pressure will build across the region today, bringing in a light wind & a partly sunny sky – plus we’ll see a slight warmup each day thru the end of this work week with rain likely by the weekend – we’re expected to wrapup the year 2010 with abnormally warm & wet conditions – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  All travelers are reminded to buckle up and observe all “rules of the road” while out over the next several days & nights – it’s another “Click It or Ticket – You Drink & Drive – You Lose” campaign, sponsored by the Illinois State Police, along with local law enforcement agencies – they’re all out in extra force now thru the new year of 2011, looking for those not buckled up and those driving impaired.

(OLNEY)  Illinois Republicans say last week’s U.S. Census results could be an indication of what will happen in 2012 – with five states gaining Republican seats in last month’s election, past history shows that the party will likely regain control of the U.S. Senate & possibly the Presidency in November of 2012.

(NEWTON)  Illinois is on target to become the first state in the nation with a high-speed rail passenger system – last week’s agreement between the federal & state governments, plus Union Pacific Railroad & Amtrak, will continue development on a corridor that will run from St. Louis to Chicago – while the project will cut travel time by nearly an hour, it will create about 5,000 jobs & be ready for use in the year 2014.

(OLNEY)  A $500 reward is available for details leading to the arrest & conviction of a November 14th burglary that occurred at the south edge of Olney last month – the break in at the JPS Construction site, at the intersection of Whittle Avenue & Route 130 resulted in several items stolen – anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 395-7481 – those with pertinent information will remain anonymous.

(NEWTON)  Ameren Illinois is still warning downstate consumers about a telephone scam continuing to circulate – someone is apparently calling electric customers, claiming the residents are past due on their electric or gas accounts, then the caller goes on to threaten to cut off electric service unless the customer provides the caller with credit card or personal checking account information – Ameren reminds all of its electric & gas customers that it never calls, asking residents for personal information – all customers are reminded to never give out credit card or personal checking information to anyone over the phone.

REMINDERS
    The RMH Auxiliary has a fundraising Pampered Chef “sale” coming up a week from today, January 3rd, from 7:30 til 4:00, in the hospital’s private dining rooms – for details, call Richland Memorial Hospital
    The next area blood drive will be this Sunday morning from 7:30 til 11:30 at the St Joseph Community Club in Stringtown – all types of blood are very much needed – all eligible donors are asked to turn out
    The Jasper County Health Department will be hosting the Mobile Mammography Van tomorrow – call toll-free to signup at 800-639-5329 or call the Health Department 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 tomorrow, the 28th 
    Only six 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 family and check it out tonight
    A note from Republic Services – the area trash collection will be normal all of this week – the trash pickup was not affected by this past Christmas holiday weekend, so it’s back to normal today
    Also, the City of Olney recycling pickup scheduled for today will be delayed until tomorrow – then tomorrrow’s recycling will remain the same – plus then back to normal for the rest of this week as well