May 18, 2017


(OLNEY)  Temorarily clear skies over much of central Illinois today., however there are chances of a stray shower entering the area today with the warm and humid airmass as a cold front pushes into the region later this evening.  A marginal risk of severe storms later this afternoon with that cold front passing through.  The frontal boundary will be south of the area Friday brings with it rain chances and possibly storms into the weekend– listen for weather updates.


(NEWTON)  In state news – Illinois Senate will return to work today after Democrats continue with votes on the “grand bargain” budget compromise.  Republicans were not ready for votes yesterday, but with the May 31st adjournment date closing in, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said he was tired of waiting. Pieces pushed through include an overhaul to the way schools are funded an a fix for beleaguered state pension systems.  Democrats approved a $36.5 million dollar budget, but a measure to authorize implementation failed.  Even after progress toward a resolution of the two year old budget stalemate, overdue bills for the state topped $14 billion. 


(OLNEY)  Illinois poets are being given a chance to show their stuff in a statewide competition – Secretary of State Jesse White says that entry forms are now available for the annual Emerging Writers Competition Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award – the competition is open to any Illinois resident at least 18 years of age and the winner will receive $500 in cash, with second and third place also receiving cash – the winning poems will be submitted for publication in various journals – entries must be postmarked by June 30th.


(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Police report that a fatal traffic crash occurred yesterday evening.  A 2003 Honda Accord, driven by a 16-year old from Robinson, traveling eastbound on CR 900 North at an excessive speed when it struck gravel and the driver lost control causing the vehicle to skid off the roadway to the north striking a ditch causing the vehicle to overturn and strike a tree.  The driver died due to injuries.  All other occupants were transported to Crawford Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.


(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees met in regular session this week – the board:  Approved with all 16 district high schools dual credit agreements outlining requirements for juniors and seniors to receive both high school and college credit for certain courses  :  approved a change in testing fees from a set fee to the actual cost for programs in Health Information management, Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician  :  approved a meal plan program to be utilized at the college’s food service facilities  :  approved policy revisions to the Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources Policy to reflect current practices  :  approved ten affiliation agreements with area health care institutions dealing with the Pharmacy Technician,  Electronic Medical Records, and Certified Medical Assistant Program at Lincoln Trail College  : employed Megan Bunnage as Nursing Instructor at Wabash Valley College, effective August 10th  :  employed Beth Wilson as Nursing Instructor at Frontier Community College effective August 10th  :  Tyler Browning was changed from Director of Academic Advising & Recruitment at LTC to Sports Management Instructor at LTC effective August 10th  :  Tina Evans was changed from Custodian at OCC to Lead Custodian at OCC effective May 22nd  :  approved a resignation from Chad Noble as Information System Technician at Frontier effective May 29th  :  the next regular meeting for the Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, June 20th.

 (NEWTON)  The Rides Mass Transit District will hold a “Listening Session” this morning, May 18th, at the Newton Public Library meeting room, starting at 11:00 – since RMTD provides transportation services in Jasper County, the “Listening Session” will allow interested persons or agencies in Jasper County a chance to comment about the current service, possible improvements of service, and the current routes – for those that cannot attend in person, oral comments can be called into the RMTD office at 618-253-8761, extension 500312, or written comments can be mailed to : Rides Mass Transit District, 30 Veterans Drive, Harrisburg, Illinois, 62946 – all are invited to share their views about the RMTD services.


(OLNEY) The Embarras River Basin Agency is accepting applications the Skills Training Employment Program (STEP) to assist individuals with training for employment opportunities.  ERBA will be assisting income eligible individuals who want to obtain a CDL license, CNA certificate, Basic Welding Certificate, or CNC Operator Certificate.  The assistance is made possible through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding throught the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  For more information, contact your local ERBA office in Clark, Coles, Crawford, CUmberland, Douglas, Edgar, Jasper, Lawrence and Richland Counties.


(OLNEY)  The City of Olney has announced it is now soliciting Requests for Proposal for a mural to be placed on the south wall of the Olney City Hall, at 300 South Whittle Avenue – proposal and project specifications can be picked up at City Hall between the hours of 8:00 and 4:00, Monday thru Friday, or may be emailed by sending a request to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  – the deadline for proposal submission is June 30th, 2017, with a project completion date set for September 30th, 2017 – call if any questions.


(OLNEY)  The Richland County Farm Bureau will host a “pallet sign painting party” this coming Saturday afternoon at The Holiday, starting at 2:00 – in conjunction with Sweet Hazel K, who is well known for creating crafty décor, all proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Richland County’s Ag in the Classroom program – while signs, stencils, paint, and instruction to help complete the project will be provided and participants will take home their very own work, the cost is $30 for a regular sign or $37 for a custom sign – sign up today online, at www.sweethazelk.com, scroll down to “Richland County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Fundraiser” and choose from any of the four, farm-themed designs, and pay online – or call the Farm Bureau office in Olney at  618-393-4116  to sign up and pay – all are invited to take part & have fun.


(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Retired Teachers’ Association is offering a $1,000 scholarship to any Newton Community High School graduate who will be a college junior or senior majoring in education for the fall semester of 2017 – applications must be received by Wednesday, May 31st, two weeks today – those interested can email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call Jane Hart at  618-783-2867.


(OLNEY)  The Olney Public Library has announced it is making final plans for its 2017 summer reading program, this year entitled “Reading By Design” – the associated activities this summer will focus on area toddlers all the way thru adults – registration for the children’s reading challenge begins on May 22nd – call or stop by for more details or visit its website at  www.olneypubliclibrary.org.


(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross is asking all eligible and first-time donors to get out & give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives are  :  Friday, also at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 7:00 to 2:00  :  all blood types & platelets are very much needed.


(OLNEY)  The Richland County School will meet for its regular monthly session tonight at 6:00 at the board room – the meeting is open to the public



    The Bikers With a Heart Motorcycle Show and Car Cruise In for Team Dale is this Saturday in the Olney City Park, from 11:00 to 9:00 – includes a tattoo contest, gun raffle, 50/50 raffle, corn hole tournament, food vendors, a guitar raffle, & more – to benefit 11 year old Dale Howser who’s awaiting a heart transplant

    The Flora Public Library will host the 2017 Local Authors Book Fair this Saturday from 10:00 to 2:00 – fourteen area authors will have their work on display – also light refreshments and a door prize drawing

    The Wynoose Mother’s Day Salad Banquet will be held this Friday night, starting at 6:30 in the Wynoose Community Center – those attending are asked to bring their favorite salad to share – all are invited

    The Newton Firefighter Association will host a fundraising “pork burger sale” this Friday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton with serving from 11:00 to 1:00 – drive-thru pick up available or delivery – for pre-orders, call  618-783-2165  – all proceeds go towards the purchase of needed rescue equipment

   Wabash Valley College is offereing concealed carry courses today through May 20th.  For more information or to sign up call 866-982-4322

   The City of Newton Cleanup day with Republic Services will be held May 19th and inlcude heavy items and electornics

   Gently used items and baked goods are needed for an adoption fundraiers for Andrea and Conan Tully.  The garage sale and bake sale will be held on May 20th, in Bridgeport.