LOCAL NEWS

Local News

March 31, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge over the Midwest will keep us dry and mild today thru tomorrow with plenty of sunshine and seasonably warm air – however, a cold front will slowly track across the Midwest with rain, and maybe thunderstorm activity, Thursday into Friday morning – then dry & cool for Saturday before gets a little warmer on Easter Sunday – maybe more rain next Monday – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Illinois Representative Aaron Shock will officially be stepping down today – the embattled Republican resigned this month following an investigation that he allegedly used taxpayer and campaign money for extravagant spending habits – meanwhile, state lawmaker Darrin LaHood of Peoria has tossed his hat into the race to replace Shock – at this time, LaHood is the front runner for the 18th District seat.

 

(OLNEY)  Governor Bruce Rauner believes the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency would be best suited to move to a site near Scott Air Force Base in Southwestern Illinois – the NGA announced last year it would move its headquarters from downtown St. Louis over the next two years – Governor Rauner said in O’Fallon yesterday that the Metro East should be considered a prime spot with a military base nearby.

 

(NEWTON)  A bill in Springfield under consideration could give municipalities in Illinois facing threats to a loss of state money the option to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy – with the Governor wanting to cut in half the share of state income tax that local governments receive, some statewide cities want the option to file for bankruptcy to help deal with pension debt and other financial issues – opponents of the plan however, say there are less drastic, intermediate steps that can be taken to deal with the possible loss of municipal funds.

 

(OLNEY)  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has again extended the ARC and PLC signup deadlines, but this time for an additional week – farmers have until the end of the day Tuesday, April 7th, a week from today, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, the safety-net programs set by the 2014 Farm Bill – next Tuesday, April 7th, is also the final day for farmers to update yield history or reallocate base acres as well – producers should contact the Farm Service Agency office in their county.

 

(NEWTON)  Meanwhile, the 2015 spring planting season is quickly approaching – in yesterday’s USDA Crop Report, the statewide precipitation for the month of March averaged 2.41 inches, just over a half inch (0.53) below normal – the average temperature for March was 37.3 degrees, just over 3 degrees below normal – as of Sunday, the state’s winter wheat crop is rated 52% good to excellent, 36% fair, and 12% poor to very poor – and at this point both topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are running over 90% adequate to surplus  :  locally farmers say most of the area’s winter wheat crop is looking good to this point as they prepare equipment for the spring planting season – let’s remember “safety first” as that farm work begins.

 

(OLNEY)  Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election continues in County Clerk’s offices around the state with various options available  :  Absentee Voting is underway thru April 6th  :  Early Voting is also available with no appointment needed and the final day to do so is Saturday, April 4th  :  Grace Period Voting is underway for qualified voters, now thru April 4th  :  for more details on how to vote, call or stop by the Richland County Clerk’s office in the Courthouse in Olney, open each weekday from 8:00 to 4:00, Monday thru Friday – due to the Clerk’s office in Olney being closed this Friday, for Good Friday, it will be open with additional hours from 4:00 to 6:00 each evening today, tomorrow, and Thursday, plus Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – again, call or stop by the Clerk’s office for more information.

 

(OLNEY)  Officials at Clay County Hospital in Flora have announced the loss of one of their physicians, 59 year old Dr. Keith Jenkins, who passed away at his home yesterday morning – Dr. Jenkins was a key part of the Hospital’s success and a leader in the medical field – Dr. Jenkins was Medical Director of Clay County Medical Clinics and served in other healthcare facilities in the area as well – the funeral arrangements for Dr. Keith Jenkins of Flora are currently pending at the Kohn Funeral Home in Flora.

 

(NEWTON)  Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election continues in County Clerk’s offices around the state with various options available  :  Absentee Voting is underway thru April 6th  :  Early Voting is also available with no appointment needed and the final day to do so is Saturday, April 4th  :  Grace Period Voting is underway for qualified voters, now thru April 4th  :  for more details on how to vote, call or stop by the Jasper County Clerk’s office in the County Office Building in Newton, open each weekday, from 8:00 to 4:00, Monday thru Friday – and a reminder, that the Clerk’s office in Newton will conduct Early Voting with additional hours this Saturday morning, April 4th, from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – due to the Good Friday holiday, the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton will be closed all day this coming Friday.

 

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Farm Bureau has a chartered bus trip planned for Saturday, May 2nd, to see Kellie Pickler at the Effingham Performance Center – leaving Olney at 6:15 that evening, the trip fee includes concert ticket, the transportation, snacks, and soda or water – the cost is $65 for Farm Bureau members and $75 for non-members – to reserve your seat, call or stop by the Farm Bureau office in Olney.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially with all blood types & blood platelets in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the American Legion Hall in Edgewood from 10:00 to 2:00  :  also today at the Altamont Elementary School from 2:30 to 6:30  :  tomorrow at the Beecher City High School from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Wal-Mart Store in Salem from 1:00 to 5:00  :  for more, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(OLNEY)  Frontier Community College in Fairfield will host its rescheduled Job Fair that was cancelled earlier this year due to bad weather, coming up tomorrow, from 10:00 to 2:00, in the College’s Workforce Development Center – with at least fifty regional employers expected, the Job Fair is designed to give those attending a chance to meet face-to-face with possible employers and learn about potential job openings – the Job Fair in Fairfield tomorrow is open to the public and no admission to attend – all are welcome.

 

(OLNEY)  Here’s some reminders  :  most all City & Village Halls will be closed this Friday in observance of Good Friday, including those in Olney, Noble, and Newton – after this Thursday, they’ll reopen next Monday  :  the Olney Brush Dump will be closed Friday, however will be open on Saturday with regular hours from 10:00 to 4:00  :  and Olney’s trash and curbside recycling will not be affected with no delays.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Olney Elks will host an Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday in the Olney City Park, starting at 11:00 – its for area children ages 10 and under with various prizes available – also hot dogs available after the Hunt


    The Steber Family Farm Relay For Life team will have a fundraising “cookout and bake sale” this Saturday at the Olney IGA from 9:00 until 1:00 – all proceeds go to the local fight against cancer


    The Olney Knights of Columbus will have its final Friday night “fish fry” this weekend with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KC Hall along Whittle Avenue – pay at the door – carry-outs will be available


    The RMH Auxiliary will begin taking Geranium orders tomorrow, on Wednesday, April 1st, and continue taking orders until April 15th – three colors available, either white, red, or pink – priced at $5.50 each – the pickup date is April 23rd – place your Geranium order at 618-395-7340, extension 4009

 

 

 

March 30, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge shifting east from the Plains will give us some quiet and mild weather today thru Wednesday across the Midwest – our next rain-maker will move thru on Thursday, ending with scattered showers on Friday – then a dry weekend coming up with mild conditions – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Comptroller’s office says money is coming to child care providers who haven’t received state funding for the past several weeks – lawmakers approved and Governor Rauner signed off on a plan last week to fill a big hole in the state budget – a plan to restore state funding of child care services – the Comptroller’s office says it will expedite all payments so that services can be continued and not halted.

 

(OLNEY)  Illinois lawmakers are proposing a new bill to reform the process the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to declare disasters – FEMA’s formula is population-based, meaning Illinois may not get the same aid neighboring states get when a disaster occurs – several Illinois towns that have been recently affected by tornadoes have not gotten any FEMA assistance – previous versions of the Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act have failed, but officials believe this particular proposal will pass.

 

(NEWTON)  “Polka Celebration” is just a box-step and a twirl away from becoming the state’s official polka – an Illinois House Committee has given the thumbs-up to the 1986 Grammy Award-Winning tune composed and recorded by a Chicago native – those in favor of the plan say the designation would honor the contributions of Polish-Americans over the generations to the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

 

(OLNEY)  The investigation continues into the death of a rural Edwards County man this past Saturday evening when the Ultra-Light Aircraft he was flying for the first time crashed in a field near his home – authorities say 36 year old Kris Case of Bone Gap was pronounced dead at the scene, shortly after 7:00 Saturday evening – witnesses indicate Case had taken off from his home and made about two circles around the area before the aircraft went into a dive and crashed in the remote region located east of Bone Gap.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Police are investigating an incident that’s resulted in the death of a Flora woman – the Clay County Sheriff’s Department was called out at shortly before 1:00 Friday afternoon to investigate a report of a woman jumping from a moving vehicle on Bucktown Lane, one mile east of the Clay City / Dieterich Blacktop, which is just a mile east / northeast of Sailor Springs – upon arrival, the Deputies found 34 year old Amber Mahon lying on the edge of the roadway – Mahon was life-lighted from the scene by helicopter to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana where she died from her series injuries on Saturday – no other information about the vehicle involved or the incident is available at this point in time.

 

(OLNEY)  Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election continues in County Clerk’s offices around the state with various options available  :  Absentee Voting is underway thru April 6th  :  Early Voting is also available with no appointment needed and the final day to do so is Saturday, April 4th  :  Grace Period Voting is underway for qualified voters, now thru April 4th  :  for more details on how to vote, call or stop by the Richland County Clerk’s office in the Courthouse in Olney, open each weekday from 8:00 to 4:00, Monday thru Friday – due to the Clerk’s office in Olney being closed this Friday, for Good Friday, it will be open with additional hours from 4:00 to 6:00 each evening tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday, plus on Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – again, call or stop by the Clerk’s office for more information.

 

(NEWTON)  The EJ Water Cooperative held its 26th annual membership meeting earlier this month in Dieterich – while reports were given on the Cooperative’s strategic plan, finances, & construction progress, the attending members re-elected Board members Mike Hall, Chris Hartke, and Garry Morrison to new three year terms – the Cooperative’s capital expansion program continues to make significant progress as water is now available to over 8,500 members – the Cooperative recognized the continued strong support of the Jasper County Board which sponsored grants from the Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery Program to make it possible to construct a new 500,000 gallon per day water well field and the new 1.5 million per day Gila Water Treatment Plant in rural Jasper County – the EJ Water Cooperative was established in 1989 and currently has over 2,400 miles of water distribution mains, serving some 8,600 retail water meters and providing wholesale water to numerous municipalities in the service region in several surrounding counties.

 

(NEWTON)  Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election continues in County Clerk’s offices around the state with various options available  :  Absentee Voting is underway thru April 6th  :  Early Voting is also available with no appointment needed and the final day to do so is Saturday, April 4th  :  Grace Period Voting is underway for qualified voters, now thru April 4th  :  for more details on how to vote, call or stop by the Jasper County Clerk’s office in the County Office Building in Newton, open each weekday, from 8:00 to 4:00, Monday thru Friday – and a reminder, that the Clerk’s office in Newton will conduct Early Voting with additional hours this Saturday morning, April 4th, from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – due to the Good Friday holiday, the Jasper County Clerk’s office in Newton will be closed all day this coming Friday.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially with all blood types & blood platelets in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Buck Grove Church near Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the American Legion Hall in Edgewood from 10:00 to 2:00  :  also tomorrow at the Altamont Elementary School from 2:30 to 6:30  :  Wednesday at the Beecher City High School from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at the Wal-Mart Store in Salem from 1:00 to 5:00  :  for more information on giving blood, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(OLNEY)  The National Wild Turkey Federation Lawrence County Longbeards Chapter will host the 17th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet this coming Saturday at the Lawrence County 4-H Building, along Route 50, between Sumner and Bridgeport – the doors open with a social hour at 5:30, with a sit-down meal to follow and a live auction for sporting art, hunting guns, and more – for tickets info, call 812-568-6753.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Runyon Family Circus Under the Big Top “carnival for a cure” Easter Cookout is this Saturday at CVS in Olney, from 10:00 to 2:00 – come on out to meet the Easter Bunny – they’ll have pork burgers, brats, chicken sandwiches, baked goodies, & more – all to benefit this year’s Relay For Life – all invited


    The Olney Knights of Columbus will have its final Friday night “fish fry” this weekend with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KC Hall along Whittle Avenue – pay at the door – carry-outs will be available


    The RMH Auxiliary will begin taking Geranium orders this Wednesday, April 1st, and continue taking orders for two weeks, until April 15th – three colors available, either white, red, or pink – priced at $5.50 each – the pickup date is April 23rd – place your Geranium order at 618-395-7340, extension 4009

 

 

 

March 28, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge over the Upper Midwest will keep us dry & rather cold again today, but an approaching frontal boundary will bring us a quick shot of rain by late tomorrow afternoon before ending Sunday night – then dry & warmer for the first half of next week – rain again Thursday – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  During this Severe Weather Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging folks to develop a “family communications plan” that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept – it’s after an emergency that critical 911 calls or calls to family members can be blocked due to overloaded and/or disconnected telephone lines – therefore, short & simple text messages are the way to go – for more on developing a family communications plan, logon at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  There’s still some flooding issues in our downstate area, although most all regional rivers and their tributaries will continue to fall by the first of next week – motorists and those traveling are reminded to stay off of those rural roads covered by backwaters – use common sense in these areas of flood roadways.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially with all blood types & blood platelets in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  tomorrow at the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Salem from 8:00 to 1:00  :  next Monday at the Buck Grove Church near Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more information on giving blood or for an appointment, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(OLNEY)  A reminder to area voters that Absentee Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election is now being conducted in County Clerk offices around the state (at the Richland County Courthouse in Olney and the Jasper County Office Building in Newton) – the early voting process is also now underway as well – call or stop by your County Clerk’s office for details – they’re open Monday thru Friday, from 8:00 to 4:00.

 

REMINDERS  :
    It’s the final two performances of the OCC production of “Mary Poppins” this weekend at Olney Central College – tonight at 7:30 and tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 – remaining tickets an hour before show time

  
    The Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt is today at the Grove Township Community Center, starting at 1:00 – pork burgers, hotdogs, chips, and drinks served at 12 noon – it’s open to all children age 8 and under


   A Richland County  Easter Egg Hunt is this afternoon at Helia Healthcare in Olney, starting at 1:00 – there will be four age groups and special prizes, plus refreshments – everyone is welcome


    The St. Thomas Parish Center in Newton will host a “Spring Bazaar” today from 9:00 to 3:00 – over 20 different vendors on hand, plus food provided by Oak Street Smoked Meats & Catering


    It’s the Suntone Beach Survivors’ fundraising “Brunch with the Girls” this morning at the St. Joseph Multi Purpose Room from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – various vendors on hand with proceeds to fight cancer


    The 13th annual Sumner Masonic Lodge #334 Scholarship Breakfast & Benefit Fundraiser is this morning from 7:00 to 10:00 – free will donations accepted at the door with a regular breakfast menu on tap

 

 

 

March 27, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  High pressure will drift across the Upper Midwest thru the first half of the weekend, keeping us dry here in downstate Illinois – however, with colder air in place today and tomorrow, we’ll start a warm up Sunday, although a weak warm front could give us some rain Sunday afternoon thru that night – then a dry sky & warmer air moves in for the first half of next week – rain again Wednesday – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  A new measure designed to temporarily fill a large hole in the state’s budget is now official – the State Senate approved a bill yesterday that would rearrange money in the current budget to plug a $1.6 billion gap – Governor Bruce Rauner later signed it into law – it will transfer nearly $1.3 billion and cut the entire budget by just over 2% – the funds will help pay prison guards, court reporters, & childcare workers.

 

(OLNEY)  With the approval of the budget bill in Springfield, what about the cuts and state funds losing money – a good chunk of the money will come out of the state’s road construction funds, which will likely reduce any highway or bridge improvement work around the state – also, statewide colleges & universities will lose money – the University of  Illinois for instance, will have to cut $15 million from its own budget – not much is being said about where else the funds will be cut from or what services will suffer as a result.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering first time homebuyers several options for financial aid – it’s called the “At Home Illinois” program, where low-income qualifiers can get a $5,000 grant that’s forgiven after a ten year period – they can also be eligible for a mortgage credit certificate – this will allow them to take part of their interest each year as a direct tax credit on their federal income taxes.

 

(OLNEY)  At its regular monthly meeting last week, the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees  :  agreed to renew a contract extension with the District’s software provider, Ellucian  :  approved five affiliation agreements with area health care institutions for the Pharmacy Tech Program and the Basic Nurse Assistant Program  :  approved a $25 fee for three new automotive service technology courses  :  approved a change to the Textbook Rental Fees at Frontier Community College, the only IECC college that uses such a program  :  approved changes to the District’s tuition waiver policy with revisions lowering the tuition cap from the current 19 credit hours to 16 credit hours – tuition will be waived for any credit hours taken that exceed 16 in a given semester  :  the IECC Board of Trustees will have its next regular meeting at a different day and time than usual – it will be Monday, April 20th, at 5:30, at Wabash Valley College.

 

(NEWTON)  At its regular monthly meeting last week, the Jasper County School Board  :  approved a few donations – $900 to the NCHS Scholastic Bowl Team from the Illinois Masonic Charities Fund for hosting the annual tournament – $100 from the Newton Junior Women’s Club for the District’s Our Community Reads Program – and almost $31 to the NCHS General Activity Fund from Target’s “Take Charge of Education” promotion  :  discussed the possibility of school bus leasing, plus borrowing options for the 2015-2016 school year, but no action was taken  :  and noted the School District’s enrollment projections, which shows enrollment in grades K thru 6 will likely drop by 40 students by the year 2020  :  while the Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be Monday, April 20th, at 6:30, the Board will conduct its organizational meeting a week later, on Monday, April 27th, at 6:30 – a representative from the ISBE will be there that night to conduct a board member training – this will follow the April 7th school board election.

 

(OLNEY)  A Wabash County investigation continues into the drowning of a Keensburg man – authorities say 22 year old Aaron Salter went missing a week ago today & after an extensive search, Salter’s body was found this past Wednesday in the Wabash River – his ATV was found submerged in river backwaters.

 

(OLNEY)  A Marion County woman has been charged with two counts of First Degree Murder after the death of her 3 month old child earlier this week – authorities report 23 year old Christina Thompson of Salem is currently being held on a $1 million bond – the downstate Child Death Review Task Force says Thompson apparently covered her infant daughter with several blankets when the baby would not stop crying – another 2 year old daughter was taken into protective custody – another sibling survives elsewhere.

 

(OLNEY)  Wayne County authorities are investigating the death of a rural Cisne man who was found earlier this week at his home – 24 year old Jerome Bugielski was unresponsive when found and evidence at the scene indicates he died from an overdose of heroin – an autopsy is scheduled to verify the cause of death.

 

(NEWTON)  Times running out for farmers to sign up for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill – it was nearly four weeks ago that the USDA extended the deadline until March 31st for farmers to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres and to sign up for the ARC (Agriculture Risk Coverage) and PLC (Price Loss Coverage) programs – farmers should contact their FSA County office.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially with all blood types & blood platelets in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Community Center in Kinmundy from 2:30 to 5:30  :  tomorrow at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  on Sunday at the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Salem from 8:00 to 1:00  :  next Monday at the Buck Grove Church near Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more information on giving blood or to go online and schedule an appointment to donate, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(OLNEY)  A reminder to area voters that Absentee Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election is now being conducted in County Clerk offices around the state (at the Richland County Courthouse in Olney and the Jasper County Office Building in Newton) – the early voting process is also now underway as well – call or stop by your County Clerk’s office for details – they’re open Monday thru Friday, from 8:00 to 4:00.

 

(NEWTON)  The Fife Opera House auditorium will host HighRoad in concert tonight at 7:00 as the award winning Appalachian gospel trio from Nashville, Tennessee will perform their favorites – tickets available at the door with the proceeds going to the FOH and other Palestine Preservation Projects – all are invited.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt is tomorrow at the Grove Township Community Center, starting at 1:00 – beginning at 12 noon, there will be pork burgers, hotdogs, chips, and drinks served – the Egg Hunt is open to all children age 8 and under – the Grand Prize is $50 in Jasper County Chamber Bucks – all invited


    The St. Thomas Parish Center in Newton will host a “Spring Bazaar” tomorrow from 9:00 to 3:00 – over 20 different vendors will be available, plus food provided by Oak Street Smoked Meats & Catering


    The Suntone Beach Survivors will host a fundraising “Brunch with the Girls” tomorrow morning at the St. Joseph Multi Purpose Room from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – various vendors will be on hand with proceeds to benefit the Richland County Relay For Life and our local fight against cancer – check it out


    The 13th annual Sumner Masonic Lodge #334 Scholarship Breakfast & Benefit Fundraiser is tomorrow morning from 7:00 to 10:00 – free will donations accepted at the door with a regular breakfast menu on tap


    The Olney Knights of Columbus have another Friday night “fish fry” this evening with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KC Hall along Whittle Avenue in Olney – pay at the door – carry-outs available


    The Jasper County Law Enforcement “Shop With A Cop” program has a fundraising “fish fry” tonight at the Newton VFW – with serving from 4:30 to 8:00, carry-outs will be available


    The Newton Community High School Chorus presents the musical “Mary Poppins” tonight thru Sunday afternoon in the NCHS Auditorium – tickets on sale in the NCHS office – all ages are invited


    It’s the final three performances of the OCC production of “Mary Poppins” this weekend at Olney Central College – tickets on sale today from 10:00 to 2:00 – the next performance is at 7:30 tonight

   
    The ERES Kindergarten classes will perform their music program “Reach For the Stars” today in the Elementary School dining room – students of Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Hendrickson, & Mrs. Harmon perform at 10:00am – students of Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Grundon, & Mrs. Pampe perform at 2:15pm – all are invited

 

 

 

March 26, 2015

 

(OLNEY)  As the strong low pressure system moves thru the Midwest into the Ohio River Valley today, our rain chances end and some cooler air moves in for tomorrow and Saturday – as a high pressure ridge builds into the Midwest by Friday night, we’ll warm up for Sunday & the first part of next week – a quick moving disturbance could give us some rain Sunday night, otherwise dry for the next few days – listen for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  During this Severe Weather Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging folks to develop a “family communications plan” that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept – it’s after an emergency that critical 911 calls or calls to family members can be blocked due to overloaded and/or disconnected telephone lines – therefore, short & simple text messages are the way to go – for more on developing a family communications plan, logon at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs has released $353,100 in grants from Veterans’ Cash scratch-off lottery ticket sales to help 18 non-profits & local governmental entities deliver specialized programs and services to help statewide Veterans – while most all funds go to upstate groups, some of the recipients include the Veterans Assistance Commission, the National Vietnam Veterans, Midwest Shelter for Homeless, the American Legion Department of Illinois, and the Health & Disability Advocates – since it began in 2006, the Veterans’ Cash program has provided over $12.5 million in grants to over 220 groups.

 

(NEWTON)  A small earthquake was felt in a limited area of Northern Illinois last evening – the epi-center of the 2.9 magnitude earthquake was two miles west of the town, Lake in the Hills, which is just north of Chicago – those within a 20 to 30 miles radius of the town felt the quake which occurred at 6:08 last night – officials report no damage at this point, plus no injuries as well – the earthquake lasted less than 10 seconds.

 

(OLNEY)  Voting for the April 7th Consolidated Election is now being conducted in County Clerk’s offices around the state with various options available  :  Absentee Voting is underway thru April 6th – the last day to mail a ballot is next Monday, March 30th  :  Early Voting is now available with no appointment needed and the final day to do so is Saturday, April 4th  :  Grace Period Voting is underway for qualified voters who failed to register or change their address previous to the close of registration – voters can register to vote in person at their County Clerk’s office and then vote at that time – the final day for Grace Period Voting is Saturday, April 4th  :  for more information or for details on how to vote, call or stop by the Richland County Clerk’s office in the Courthouse in Olney or the Jasper County Clerk’s office in the County Office Building in Newton – they’re open each weekday from 8:00 to 4:00, Monday thru Friday.

 

(NEWTON)  Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded nearly $1.4 million in Fiscal Year 2015 School District Library Grant Program awards to 669 public school districts throughout Illinois – in fact, nearly 1.7 million statewide students served by school library media programs will benefit from the grant funds – the grants are based on a formula of  75 cents per student with a minimum award of $750 – while the Jasper County School District will receive $950, the East Richland School District will get $1,460 – all other surrounding school districts will receive anywhere from $750 up to $1,500 as well.

 

(OLNEY)  Times running out for farmers to sign up for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill – it was nearly four weeks ago that the USDA extended the deadline until March 31st for farmers to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres and to sign up for the ARC (Agriculture Risk Coverage) and PLC (Price Loss Coverage) programs – farmers should contact their FSA County office.

 

(NEWTON)  A couple reminders from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources  :  over the counter sales of county permits for the Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season continues – the Southern Zone Season for the counties of Crawford, Jasper, Effingham, Fayette, Richland, & all others south is this weekend, Saturday & Sunday, March 28th and 29th – the Northern Zone Season for the counties of Clark, Cumberland, Shelby, Coles and all others north is next Saturday & Sunday, April 4th & 5th  :  plus the 2015 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois begins Saturday morning, April 4th, at various sites – unless exempt, anglers must have a valid state fishing license & an inland trout stamp  :  for all things outdoors, logon at www.dnr.illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  The National Wild Turkey Federation Lawrence County Longbeards Chapter will host the 17th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet on Saturday, April 4th, at the Lawrence County 4-H Fairgrounds, along U.S. Route 50 between Sumner and Bridgeport – the doors open with a social hour at 5:30 with a sit-down meal and live auction for sporting art, hunting guns, knives, outdoor equipment, animal calls, and more – for ticket information or to reserve your tickets, call now at 812-568-6753 – all are invited to attend.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially with all blood types & blood platelets in special need – here’s the upcoming blood drives  :  today at the American Legion in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Community Center in Kinmundy from 2:30 to 5:30  :  on Saturday at the Flat Rock Fire Department from 9:00 to 1:00  :  on Sunday at the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Salem from 8:00 to 1:00  :  next Monday at the Buck Grove Church near Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for more on giving blood, logon at www.redcrossblood.org – by the way, the Richland County Farm Bureau thanks all donors who gave blood at yesterday’s drive in Olney.

 

REMINDERS  :
    The St. Thomas Parish Center in Newton will host a “Spring Bazaar” this Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 – with food provided by Oak Street Smoked Meats & Catering, all are invited out to the special event


    The Suntone Beach Survivors will host a fundraising “Brunch with the Girls” this Saturday morning at the St. Joseph Multi Purpose Room from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – various vendors will be on hand with proceeds to benefit the Richland County Relay For Life and our local fight against cancer – check it out


    The Olney Knights of Columbus have another Friday night “fish fry” tomorrow evening with serving from 5:00 to 7:00 at the KC Hall along Whittle Avenue in Olney – pay at the door – carry-outs available


    The Jasper County Law Enforcement “Shop With A Cop” program has a fundraising “fish fry” this Friday night at the Newton VFW – with serving from 4:30 to 8:00, carry-outs will be available – priced at $9 for all-you-can-eat, $12 for an all-fish plate, all proceeds to benefit the youngsters of Jasper County


    The ERES Kindergarten classes will perform their music program “Reach For the Stars” tomorrow in the Elementary School dining room – students of Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Hendrickson, & Mrs. Harmon perform at 10:00am – students of Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Grundon, & Mrs. Pampe perform at 2:15pm – all are invited


    The Newton Community High School Chorus presents the musical “Mary Poppins” tonight thru Sunday afternoon in the NCHS Auditorium – tickets on sale in the NCHS office – all ages are invited


    It’s the final four performances of the OCC production of “Mary Poppins” this weekend at Olney Central College – tickets on sale today from 10:00 to 2:00 – the next performance is at 7:30 tonight


    Hospice of Southeastern Illinois will host a “Vendor Bingo” this evening in the Olney City Park Community Building from 6:00 to 8:00 – some great prizes available – all proceeds to benefit Hospice


    The City of Olney’s Tree Board will have its next meeting tonight at 7:00 in the Olney City Hall Council Chambers – the agenda includes discussion about Musgrove Park and more – anyone can attend


    The Olney Public Library will host a special program this evening on “antique lanterns” featuring Russ Jausel and a portion of his collection – starting at 6:30, all are invited to the free event Thursday night