LOCAL NEWS

Local News

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

February 16, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  Southerly winds will pump unseasonably warm and moist air into the Midwest today thru the end of this work week, producing a lot of clouds & a few weak upper level disturbances that could drop some light rain, although most of us will stay dry – then a little cooler for the weekend – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn is set to scale back a $13 billion budget deficit when he gives his budget address later today in Springfield – he’s expected to talk about borrowing & bonds, job creation, protecting the state’s most vulnerable people, & budget cuts – it’s Quinn’s first budget address since elected Governor.

(OLNEY)  The 2010 Census data reveals more than 12.8 million people call Illinois home, that’s up 3.3% from the last Census in 2000 – the northern third of the state is the most populated, while Springfield is the largest in the downstate area – the data shows an increase in the number of minorities in the state as well.

(NEWTON)  Hundreds of homeschool advocates crowded the state capitol yesterday, expressing anger over a measure that may force parents to register their children as students with the state – lawmakers say mandatory registration will help gauge student performance & allow the state to assist students that are struggling – there’s currently no way to show student progress for homeschooled children in Illinois.

(OLNEY)  Sheriff Andy Hires has released his department’s activity report for the month of January – a total of 428 complaints were called in – Deputies responded to 11 domestic disputes, 12 burglaries or thefts, and 22 traffic accidents – there were 56 arrests, with 33 warnings issued and 81 warrants processed – the jail processed 61 prisoners with the fine revenue coming in at $11,262 – the Richland Memorial Ambulance Service made 124 runs in January – the Sheriff’s Department received a total of 196 emergency 9-1-1 calls.

(NEWTON)  Sheriff Ed Francis has announced his office will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a student in Jasper County who plans to pursue higher education this academic year – applications are now available at the Sheriff’s Office in Newton, online at www.ilsheriff.org, or at the NCHS financial aid office – all the required paperwork must be turned in by March 11th, three weeks from this Friday – the Illinois Sheriff’s Association will be awarding over $53,000 in college scholarships throughout the state this year.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Highway Department has placed several of its county-maintained roads under the 10 ton weight limit until further notice – these roads are posted with the “10 ton” weight limit signs – for township road information, contact the respective Road Commissioner : at this time all Olney Township roads are under a 5 ton weight limit & all Preston Township roads are under a 10 ton weight limit, both until further notice : all roads with restricted weight limits are posted with weight limit signs.

REMINDERS
    The St Joseph School will host a fundraising “spaghetti dinner” this Sunday 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 DC
    The Effingham County EMA will host a “free” weather spotter class tomorrow in Effingham – the class will take less than three hours to complete – call the EMA offices in Effingham for details
    The ERES 3rd graders will perform their music program tomorrow 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
    The next area blood drive is today at the Community Center in Robinson, from 1:00 until 6:00 – all types of blood are very much in need, plus all donors get a “rock & roll” t-shirt this month

February 15, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge has moved east of the nation’s mid-section and will allow a southerly wind flow, which will bring in warmer air to our region – then a weak upper level disturbance will move thru the area with some patchy drizzle or light rain tomorrow thru Thursday night – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  Illinois State Police Director Jonathan Monken has received a new appointment as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency – therefore Interim Director of IEMA, Joseph Klinger, will step back into his old role as Assistant Director – and moving in as Interim Director of the State Police is Patrick Keen – a new State Police Director could be named as early as next month, pending confirmation.

(OLNEY)  Saving the state $12 million a year may seem small in comparison to the massive backlog, but State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is proposing his office merge with the State Comptroller’s office to form the “Comptroller of the Treasury Office” – because it would change the state constitution, the plan would need three-fifths approval from the General Assembly, plus approval from statewide voters in 2012.

(NEWTON)  A lot of questions remain in our State’s Capital as Governor Pat Quinn prepares to deliver his 2011 budget proposals to the General Assembly – with the recently approved tax hikes approved by the Lame Duck Legislature, many expect another round of various cuts from Departments throughout Illinois.

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council met last night – the Council : agreed to increase the number of full-time firefighter positions from 3 to 4 : also agreed to hire two full-time firefighters, one as a replacement due to retirement & another as a new position : agreed to raise the Olney Fire Chief’s salary effective March 1st : approved a resolution on the Angel of Hope Children’s Garden agreement : accepted the bid of $10,800 from Schrey Systems for the Olney City Hall window replacement project : approved a request from the Olney FFA & the FFA Alumni to construct a new “Welcome to Olney” sign to be placed on Consolidated Grain & Barge property along South Route 130 : the Council’s 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 one week 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 can still call and make an appointment.

(OLNEY)  A meeting of the Joint Review Board will be this afternoon at 4:30 in the Olney City Council Chambers, at Olney City Hall – the purpose of the meeting is to review the State Route 130 Corridor Redevelopment Plan & Project, and to make a recommendation to the Olney City Council – all are invited.

(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.

(OLNEY)  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.

REMINDERS
    The St Joseph Church in Olney will host its annual “salad bar luncheon” this Friday from 11:00 til 1:30 in the St Joe Cafeteria – also homemade items for sale – $5 tickets at area banks and the parish office
    The next NCHS “post prom” meeting will be this Thursday night at 6:00 in the Newton Community High School Library – all junior parents and other volunteers are encouraged to attend this meeting
    The next area blood drive will be tomorrow at the Community Center in Robinson, from 1:00 until 6:00 – all types of blood are very much in need, plus all donors get a “rock & roll” t-shirt this month
    A Jasper County Relay For Life committee / team meeting will be held this evening at the Central Christian Church in Newton, starting at 5:30 – all team leaders & committee members are asked to attend
    The Newton Public Library will start another “weight loss competition” today, on this February 15th – to get more information or to signup a 5-person team, call the Library now at 783-8141 – that’s 783-8141
    In Richland County : a 10 ton weight limit is in effect until further notice for all Preston Township roads : a 5 ton weight limit is in effect until further notice for all Olney Township roads : for the other townships in Richland County, contact the respective Road Commissioner – watch for weight limit signs on all roads