LOCAL NEWS

Local News

February 22, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a low pressure system pushes across the upper midwest, giving us some cloud cover thru tonight, an approaching high pressure will build into the Midwest by tomorrow, with some sunshine and warmer air – then another fast-moving front will bring us rain chances by Friday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The Chicago Mayor’s race is officially in the hands of the voters – it’s the first time in more than 60 years that a sitting Mayor is not on the ballot, and the first time in over two decades that a Daley is not up for election – former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has the early lead so far, followed by former Chicago City College Chairman Gary Chico and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

(OLNEY)  The lawyers of Rod Blagojevich have changed pace in their court motions prior to the retrial in April – this time, defense attorney’s want to throw out hundreds of wiretap recordings that they claim are “unfair” because only parts of the conservations were recorded – Illinois’ former Governor faces retrial on 23 charges of corruption, including accusations he tried to sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat.

(NEWTON)  With springtime now a month away, next week will be recognized as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois – in fact, a statewide "tornado drill" will be held a week from today, on Tuesday morning, March 1st, at 10:00, which will coincide with the monthly siren tests that many communities do on the first Tuesday of the month – while the National Weather Service will be issuing "Test" Tornado Warnings to the media & thru NOAA Weather Radio for dissemination to the public, local businesses, schools, & homes are encouraged to take time to practice their tornado safety plan during the statewide drill or later in the day or evening next week – for more on being prepared for possible severe weather conditions, go online at www.weather.gov/Lincoln or at www.ready.illinois.gov.

(OLNEY)  It was recently announced that the Olney Police Department has purchased some "Safety DVD's" for the local school districts – created by TV producers John Walsh & Julie Clark, "The Safe Side" movies give children various tips on how to stay safe by using humor & are easy to understand – copies of the DVD's have been given to the East Richland Elementary School, the St. Joseph School, the West Richland Elementary School, & the Olney Public Library, all thru a purchase grant from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center – all to improve the safety awareness of our local & area children in Richland County.
 
(NEWTON)  At last week's meeting, the Newton City Council heard a few of committee reports : the Police Committee met to discuss hiring another full-time officer, then eliminating all part-time officers to better control overtime hours – the Police Committee also talked about buying a new squad car with funds provided by fees for inspections of rental properties : the Cooperative Economic Development Committee met twice recently – once with representatives from the various entities & organizations in Newton & Jasper County, where an annual report was given, detailing grants, projects, & more – the Committee met again to tour Newton's new assisted living facility, Villas of Holly Brook – the Committee also noted information concerning GSI, where CDAP funding may assist the company with road & drainage improvements : and the Dues & Donations Committee met to discuss the allocation of funds as in the past – it recommended that the City Council allocate the same amount that's been distributed since 2007 – applications will be accepted until March 18th : the next Newton City Council regular meeting is set for March 1st.
 
(OLNEY)  A newly formed Olney Farmers Market Committee is proposing to open & operate a Saturdays-only "Farmers Market" to be operated in downtown Olney – this would be seperate from the current Farmer's Market which is open twice a week in the Olney City Park – the new "Farmers Market" would be open to vendors from outside, as well as within Richland County, but within Illinois – items to be sold would be strictly home grown or produced, however no discounted truck load or third party bulk purchases will be allowed – those interested in taking part should contact the Wabash Valley Farmers Market Committee by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by faxing at 779-456-7084, or by mailing to WVFM Committee, c/o Mason Prairie Enterprises, Inc., at 94 North Illinois Route 130, Parkersburg, Illinois, 62452 – those interested should include what folks are planing to sell, what facilities or services may be required, how often folks can participate, or any other questions or comments – contact them for other details as well.

(NEWTON)  This is National FFA Week, which gives FFA members across the nation a chance to educate the public about agriculture – join us as we salute all area FFA Chapters this week for their hard work and dedication to our communities, schools, & families – various activities continue all this week in the region.
 
REMINDERS
    The 2011 Job Fair at Lake Land College is set for Wednesday, March 23rd, four weeks from tomorrow – space is still available for additional companies or businesses to take part – call Lake Land’s offices today
    The 19th annual Crawford County “trivia night” will be held a week from tonight on March 1st at the Grade School in Oblong, starting at 6:30 – all are invited to take part – to signup, call Dave at 592-4235
    The West Richland PTO “School of Rock” Kids Carnival will be this Saturday evening at the Elementary School Gym in Noble, running from 4:00 til 6:00 – plenty of games, concessions, & fun for all ages
    The Dieterich Fire Protection District has its annual fundraising “texas hold ‘em” tournament & barbeque dinner this Saturday – it’s all at the Dieterich Civic Center starting at 11:00 – tickets at the door, plus more
    The next meeting for the Wabash Valley RC&D Council is this Thursday night at the Allendale Ruritan Building, at 6:00 – its serves the counties of Richland, Lawrence, Crawford, Edwards, Wabash, & Wayne
    The next area blood drives are this coming Thursday : from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong : from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are much needed
   

 

February 21, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  The main low pressure storm system will ride northeast along a cold front today with rain and falling temperatures by evening – then dry and colder tonight into tomorrow – but a steady warmup thru the end of the work week & another chance of rain by Thursday & Friday – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  Borrowing $8.75 billion is likely to be the focus of the upcoming budget debate in Springfield – and in reality, some say the state is already borrowing money by not paying its bills – the main question is whether Illinois will continue to borrow from service providers or from professional lenders – more details on the budget will come as lawmakers work to approve or disapprove of the Governor’s proposals & plans.

(OLNEY)  Ameren Illinois is asking for a $111 million rate hike – the Illinois Commerce Commission request is to increase the delivery rate by $60 million in cost recovery for its electric delivery service and $51 million for natural gas – this works out to an estimated increase of up to $3.78 per month for Ameren electric customers – the review process usually takes about 11 months with no increases until 2012.

(NEWTON)  This is President’s Day 2011 – it’s a federal holiday honoring George Washington that was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in the District of Columbia & expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices – as the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22nd – in 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the 3rd Monday in Feburary – all schools, post offices, & federal offices are closed today.

(OLNEY)  This is National FFA Week, which gives FFA members across the nation a chance to educate the public about agriculture – in fact, FFA Chapters this week will host petting zoo’s, teacher appreciation breakfasts, public programs, local contests, & more – it’s during this week that we here at WVLN – WSEI – WIKK in Olney & Newton salute all area FFA Chapters, including all their members, both past & present.

(FLORA)  Clay County & State authorities continue to investigate the death of a Flora woman last Thursday evening – 33 year old Carey Deem was pronounced dead at the scene of a single vehicle crash that occurred about four miles north of Flora, along North State Road – funeral services are set for tonight in Flora. 

(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 this week, starting tomorrow and running thru Friday – 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 should call the district offices for more information.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Central College Music Department has it’s final “OCC Music Day” coming up this weekend, on Saturday, the 26th, when area high school students are encouraged to attend the annual Winter Concert at 7:30 that night in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center at OCC – students interested should contact their high school band or choral director, or call the OCC Music Department at 395-7777.
 
REMINDERS
    The Noble Lions Club has its annual “all-you-can-eat” fundraising breakfast this Saturday, with serving from 6:00 until 1:00 – tickets on sale at the door – includes pancakes, whole hog sausage, biscuits, & gravy
    The United Methodist Village in Lawrenceville will host a fundraising Food Pantry “baked potato bar” this Friday, with serving from 10:30 til 12:30, priced at only $4 per tater – carryouts available
    The next area blood drives are this coming Thursday : from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong : from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are much needed
    The Founders Day Dinner is tonight at the Edwards County Senior Center in Albion with the meal at 6:00, then music & guest speaker to follow – call the Chamber Office in Albion for tickets or for details
    It’s a “walk & roll” fundraiser today thru tonight at Monical’s Pizza – fill out a flyer while ordering & a percentage of sales will go to the Weber Medical Clinic team to help fight the local fight against cancer
   

February 19, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  Quiet weather conditions will remain in place across our area today – a departing high pressure & an incoming low pressure system will give us plenty of cloud cover this weekend – we should stay dry until Monday or Tuesday, when our rain chances increase & we’ll cool down a bit – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – State Senator John O. Jones says it’s the same ole song & dance in our State Capital – in his “Week In Review” report, the Mt. Vernon lawmaker says as expected, Governor Quinn’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal relies on the borrowing of near $9 billion in order to increase spending in Illinois by $1.7 billion – the proposed $35.4 billion budget would bring state spending to an all-time high – the Governor also proposed several cuts in spending – there’s a lot of debate likely in the weeks ahead.

(FLORA)  Clay County authorities continue to investigate the Thursday afternoon death of a Flora woman – it was at 5:08 that a passerby notified authorities of a pickup truck that had wrecked in a cornfield along North State Road, about four miles north of Flora – upon arrival, emergency personnel found 33 year old Carey Deem and pronounced her dead at the scene – Deem was apparently traveling northbound and lost control of her S-10 pickup truck as it ran of the road & overturned several times, ejecting Deem from her vehicle – the Illinois State Police & Clay County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out twice yesterday :
*  Friday morning at 10:53 to a grass fire at 1003 East Elm Street which had already spread to three other properties by the time firemen arrived : there was burnt grass & cedar shrub damage at 310 South Jefferson : there was burnt grass & damage to a garage at 303 South Grant : there was burnt grass at 311 South Grant : there were no injuries at any of the properties – the firemen were on the scene for a half hour
*  Friday afternoon at 4:10 to mutual aid request from the Noble Fire Department for a brush fire near the railroad crossing along North Glenwood Road, near Dovetail Lane – the Olney firemen were then told to disregard & they returned to the fire house before leaving town – there were no injuries

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Republicans will hold their annual Lincoln Day Dinner this evening at the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton – it all starts with social hour at 6:00, then followed by dinner to be served at 6:30 – those interested in attending should contact their local Jasper County precinct committeemen for tickets, or call 618-783-3722 – that’s anytime at 618-783-3722.

(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 starting next Tuesday, running thru next Friday – 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 should call the district offices for more information.
 
(OLNEY)  The State Department of Agriculture has announced federal disaster assistance is available to help regional farmers who suffered crop losses caused by last year’s droughty conditions – the 16 counties include Edwards, Wayne, White, Saline, Gallatin, Hamilton, Franklin, Johnson, Jackson, Massac, Pulaski, Pope, Union, Alexander, Williamson, and Hardin – the assistance is also available to farmers in the seven contiguous counties of Richland, Clay, Jefferson, Wabash, Marion, Perry, and Randoph – on average, areas of Illinois received 2 to 5 inches of rain below normal last August thru November – farmers should contact their local FSA Office for details or information – the loan application deadline is September 26th.

REMINDERS
    It’s the first of two weekends for the “Bowl For Kids Sake” fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County – it’s only fundraiser of the year – to see how you can help out, call the office at 392-3863
    The St Joseph School will host a fundraising “spaghetti dinner” tomorrow at the Olney VFW with serving from 11:00 til 1:30 – tickets at the door – proceeds to the 7th & 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C.
    The Claremont-BonPas Fire Department has a fundraising breakfast set for this morning at the Claremont Community Club, with serving from 6:30 until 12 noon – tickets at the door – all are invited

February 18, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a weak cold front pushed thru the state overnight, somewhat cooler air returned on northwesterly winds – a ridge of high pressure will build into the midwest for a dry first part of the weekend tomorrow, then a storm system will bring rain chances Saturday night thru Sunday – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  Wednesday’s state budget proposal continues to ripple out with information of more cuts – in fact, over 300,000 Illinois senior citizens are set to lose prescription benefits if the Governor’s proposal to cut the Circuit Breaker Program goes thru – while estimated to save the state some $24 million in the next year, the cuts will force many senior citizens to decide between buying medicine or paying other bills.

(OLNEY)  Lawmakers say the laws concerning executive appointees need to be tightened – a current plan on the Governor’s desk will ease the confirmation process by limiting temporary appointments – the plan also requires the State Senate to act quickly on expired terms – the Governor’s office says he is undecided on the issue – over 900 executive appointees are still unconfirmed thru the new General Assembly.

(NEWTON)  And a proposal to force parents of homeschooled children to register with the state is dead – the measure was pulled from the Senate floor yesterday before a vote was taken – the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ed Maloney of Chicago, says he needs more time to clarify areas of concern, especially truancy & neglect.

(OLNEY)  The East Richland School Board met last night – the Board : recognized & congratulated the 11 Illinois State Scholars at East Richland High School : recognized & congratulated Suzanne Hahn for receiving the Illinois Principals Association’s Elementary Principal of the Year Award : approved the Skyward School Management System : accepted low fuel bids from Wabash Valley Service Company : approved the district’s summer maintenance plan : accepted three retirement resignations from Ken Fisher, Linda VanDuyn, & Lee Laughlin, effective this school year : also approved various volunteer coaches.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out at 12:43 yesterday afternoon, on Thursday, to a “grass” fire, located at 1207 East Hall Street – the fire did cause some minor damage next door, at 1209 East Hall Street, but there were no injuries – the firemen were on the scene for a half hour.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees met earlier this week – the Board : agreed to reinstate all paid holidays for full-time employees for fiscal years 2011 & 2012 – previous action was taken due to a shortfall in money received from the state : approved a new 24-month contract with Ameren Energy Marketing – the previous 2-year contract with Ameren saved the District more than $104,000 : agreed to re-employ full-time faculty members for the 2011-2012 academic year, including 68 for continuation of tenure, 1 for initial tenure, and 3 for non-tenure : agreed to re-employ non-bargaining unit faculty for the 2011-2012 academic year, including 7 for continuation of tenure, 1 for initial tenure, and 3 for non-tenure : & gave notice of intent to renew contracts of CEO/COO Terry Bruce & the four College Presidents, including Timothy Taylor of Frontier, Mitch Hannahs of Lincoln Trail, Rodney Ranes of Olney Central, & Matt Fowler of Wabash Valley : the Board's next regular meeting will be March 15th in Fairfield.
 
(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Republicans will hold their annual Lincoln Day Dinner tomorrow evening at the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton – it all starts with social hour at 6:00, then followed by dinner to be served at 6:30 – those interested in attending should contact their local Jasper County precinct committeemen for tickets, or call 618-783-3722 – that’s anytime at 618-783-3722.
 
(OLNEY)  It was earlier this week that retired State Policeman Kelly Henby of Olney was arrested on a warrant for unlicensed practice as a private detective – however, according to his attorney, Henby has worked for the last three years for a Springfield private investigations firm and that Henby’s Permanent Employee Registration Card has met requirements for registration under the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 2004” – the 53 year old Henby served the Illinois State Police for nearly 28 years – the misdemeanor charge is the equivalent of a common traffic ticket.

(NEWTON)  Eleven men from Effingham County have pled guilty to an out-of-state turkey poaching case – the joint investigation between conservation authorities in Illinois & Kansas has led to the arrest of these 11 men for violating multiple Kansas State game laws – while the hunters has been traveling to Kansas for many years, it’s been determined the group has been taking over the limit of turkeys – the list of eleven men from the Effingham area includes Scott Huelsing, Ronald Esker, Shawn Lewis, James Dust, Vincent Huelsing, Jason Dust, Paul Althoff, Frank Lee, Tom Edwards, Justin Dust, & Dennis Heuerman.

REMINDERS
    It’s the first of two weekends for the “Bowl For Kids Sake” fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County – it’s only fundraiser of the year – to see how you can help out, call the office at 392-3863
    The Claremont-BonPas Fire Department has a fundraising breakfast set for tomorrow morning at the Claremont Community Club, with serving from 6:30 until 12 noon – tickets at the door – all are invited
    The Olney Knights of Columbus have another Friday night “fish fry” this evening along South Whittle Avenue, with serving from 5:00 til 7:30 – tickets on sale at the door – carryouts are available
    The NCHS Art Club will host a “talent show” tonight at Newton Community High School – all are invited to check it out – the “talent show” gets started at 7:00 – for more details, call 783-2303
    The St Joseph Church in Olney has its annual “salad bar luncheon” today from 11:00 til 1:30 in the cafeteria, plus homemade items for sale – $5 tickets at area banks, the parish office, & some at the door

February 17, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  Strong southerly winds will continue to blow today across Illinois, keeping us warmer than normal – however, an approaching cold front will move thru tonight with some rain chances & a little cooler air – then a mixed weekend with a dry Saturday, maybe rain on Sunday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn says the state is bouncing back from the devastating effects of financial mismanagement & more cuts are needed – in his “budget address” in Springfield yesterday, Quinn noted several needed cuts : education cuts would eliminate salaries for Regional Superintendents & make schools pay for their own bussing : cuts would close or cause huge layoffs at Soil & Water Conservation Districts across the state : & cuts to State Medicaid rates would affect hospitals & nursing homes all over Illinois : the Governor also wants to borrow $8.75 billion  as well : look for a lot of debate in the coming weeks.

(OLNEY)  State Senator John O. Jones says the Governor picked up the wrong address when he left his office yesterday morning, noting that there were less than 100 words that dealt with the state’s actual budget – the Mt Vernon lawmakers says that expenditures, combined with irresponsible program expansions will force the Illinois budget to a belt-busting $35.4 billion, which creates a $1.5 billion hole for this year alone.

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met this past Tuesday night – the Council : approved two pay estimates - $107,465 to Kieffer Brothers Construction for work on the new water plant project and $70,657 to Henkels & McCoy for electrical distribution system upgrade : approved a contract with Jasper Services for mowing city property in 2011 : approved two housing rehabilitation bids – $43,368 to Schackmann Construction for the home at 803 Fairground Street and $38,103 to R & A Construction for the home at 805 Fairground Street : approved housing rehabilitation work at 700 Lincoln Street and 703 Fairground Street : agreed to seek bids for a new squad car for the Newton Police Department : on a pair of 5 to 1 votes, authorized two reimbursements for dumpster rental at demolition sites – $2,425 at 305 Liberty Street and $1,455 at 605 West Morgan Street : approved an ordinance that clarifies the city’s policy about benefits when an employee is injured, including a police officer : & took no other action after a 25 minute closed session to discuss litigation and personnel : the Council's next regular meeting will be March 1st.
 
(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met this past Monday night – the Board : discussed recent complaints about dogs running loose thru the Village – noted that the dog's owners could be subject to a fine, plus complaints can be filed officially at Village Hall : agreed to spend $208 to purchase Christmas lights for the Village : heard from a resident on Elm Street asking permission to put gravel where a semi-truck is parked – the resident is willing to split the cost if it's hauled by the Village – item tabled til next month : talked about abandoned vehicles within the Village Limits, but no action taken : noted that the Noble Village Hall will be closed next Monday, the 21st, for President's Day : the Board's next regular meeting will be February 28th.

(NEWTON)  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.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland Elementary School is again collecting Campbell’s “Labels for Education” each Friday in February with all proceeds to go towards the purchase of library audio-visual equipment to benefit the students in the Noble area – the labels are collected every Friday morning, plus the classroom that’s collects the most will be rewarded – to help out, contact the Elementary School Office in Noble.

REMINDERS
        The Claremont-BonPas Fire Department has a fundraising breakfast set for this coming Saturday at the Claremont Community Club, with serving from 6:30 until 12 noon – tickets at the door – all are invited
    The Newton VFW will host another Friday night “fish fry” tomorrow night with serving from 4:00 until 7:00 – tickets on sale at the door and carryouts will be available – all ages are invited
    The NCHS Art Club will host a “talent show” tomorrow night at Newton Community High School – all are invited to check it out – the “talent show” gets started at 7:00 – for more details, call 783-2303
    The St Joseph Church in Olney has its annual “salad bar luncheon” tomorrow from 11:00 til 1:30 in the cafeteria, plus homemade items for sale – $5 tickets at area banks, the parish office, & some at the door
    The next NCHS “post prom” meeting will be tonight at 6:00 in the Newton Community High School Library – all junior parents and other volunteers are encouraged to attend this evening’s meeting
    The ERES 3rd graders will perform their music program today in the ERES dining hall : students in the classes of Mrs. Erwin, Mrs. Hearn, & Mr. Taylor at 10:00 in the morning : students in the classes of Mrs. Gardener, Mrs. McVicker, & Mrs. Stafford at 2:15 in the afternoon : all are invited