LOCAL NEWS

Local News

November 20, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  An unseasonably cold airmass will stay in place over the Midwest for a couple more days before a pronounced warming trend begins by the upcoming weekend – high pressure will keep us dry today and tomorrow, then an approaching weather disturbance will bring us some widespread rain for tomorrow night, continuing on Saturday and Sunday – but much warmer conditions will also return – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Democratic State Senator Mike Frerichs will be the next Treasurer for the State of Illinois – he pulled ahead of Republican Tom Cross yesterday as election officials wrapped up their statewide vote count – while Cross has already congratulated Frerichs on the win, the state’s new Treasurer has also talked with Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner about getting the state’s finances back in order by working together.

 

(OLNEY)  The University of Illinois system has a new President – Dr. Timothy Killeen was a unanimous pick for the job, which will pay close to $600,000 a year, with the possibility of bonuses – Killeen’s biggest challenge is getting funding from a cash-strapped Illinois government – if the state’s General Assembly fails to renew the current tax hike, the campus in Champaign-Urbana could lose close to $70 million per year.

 

(NEWTON)  Speaking of lawmakers, they continue to meet in Springfield for the Fall Veto session – the minimum wage legislation passed out of the State Senate Executive Committee yesterday and could be called to the floor for a vote as early as this afternoon – while more than two million people in Illinois voted at the polls on November 4th to raise the wage, statewide businesses say an increase will hurt the state’s economy instead of help it – Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner is asking to delay the issue until next spring.

 

(OLNEY)  Congressman John Shimkus joined over two dozen Members of Congress in a letter to President Obama expressing concern about the Administration’s plan to take executive action on immigration reform – the letter notes the strong need to work together in Washington, D.C. to pass legislation that improves America’s immigration system by increasing border security and discouraging undocumented immigrants from illegally entering the United States – while many believe any unilateral action taken would impede the efforts, the President is expected to announce that action tonight without regard to the citizens of America.

 

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community College District Board of Trustees met earlier this week at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel – the Board  :  approved a resolution declaring the intent of the IECC District to issue funding bonds in the amount of $3,175,000  :  approved the proposed schedule of holidays for IECC’s full-time staff for calendar year 2015, reflecting no change from previous years  :  approved Affiliation Agreements with the four area hospitals – Richland Memorial in Olney, Fairfield Memorial in Fairfield, Crawford Memorial in Robinson, and Wabash General in Mt. Carmel  :  in personnel matters – hired Sarah Perry as Transition / Data Technician at Frontier Community College – hired Kelly Wagner as Administrative Assistant at Wabash Valley College – accepted the resignation of Andrea Gere as Psychology Instructor at Wabash Valley College – and accepted the retirement of Vicki Stuckey as Coordinator of Financial Aid at Olney Central College  :  also recognized the service of Board Member William Hudson, who was elected Circuit Judge on November 4th, who will leave the Board next month after 7 years of dedicated service to the Board and the IECC District  :  the next meeting of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board will be December 9th at Frontier Community College in Fairfield.

 

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters to make safety their top priority as they head to the woods for the first segment of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season this weekend – the first portion of the season is tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday, each day from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset – as in the past, many hunters will help the less fortunate and donate their deer harvest to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, which donates venison to food banks and food pantries across the state – the second part of the firearm season will begin two weeks from today, December 4th, and continue December 5th, 6th, and 7th – while all hunters are required to wear their blaze orange clothing and hats, all residents should be aware of all area hunters out looking for deer this weekend.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out early yesterday morning to a house fire at 105 Wayne Street in Olney – when the firemen arrived at 4:00 Wednesday morning, they found flames visible from the home’s front picture window and quickly extinguished the fire – there was heavy fire damage to the home’s living room and severe heat damage throughout the house – there was no one injured and the fire remains under investigation – mutual aid was provided by firemen from the Noble-Wakefield, Newton, and Claremont-Bonpas Fire Departments – the Olney firemen were on the scene for two and a half hours.

 

(NEWTON)  Jasper County residents are reminded to pitch in and help others with Christmas time just around the corner – families in need of assistance to provide Christmas gifts for their children, ages 0 to 15, can pick up registration forms at the Newton offices of the County Extension, Health Department, and ERBA – the forms should be returned to the Extension office by Monday, December 1st – meanwhile, all donations of money and/or new toys for distribution will be accepted thru December 12th, that’s three weeks from tomorrow – also, contribution jars are at various businesses in the area to allow residents to easily donate to the program to brighten the Christmas season of those less fortunate than others – for more details on how to help out, call the Jasper County Extension office in Newton at 618-783-2521.

 

(NEWTON)  Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is encouraging families around Illinois to read together tonight, on this November 20th, for annual Family Reading Night – this year’s theme is “Reading Rocks” – it’s a night when parents and children are urged to turn off the televisions, computers, phones, video games, and other electronic devices to spend time reading together – after all, the facts show that reading together creates a positive learning environment and helps children develop language skills, comprehension, and a love for reading that can last a lifetime – to be a part of this 23rd annual Family Reading Night, or for more details, check the Secretary’s website online, at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially now when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the list of upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 1:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at Olney Central College from 8:00 to 1:00  :  also tomorrow at the Marshall Avenue Christian Church in Mattoon from 11:00 to 3:00  : on Saturday at the Family Video Store in Olney from 11:00 to 3:00  :  and next Monday at the Clay City Christian Church from 2:00 to 6:00  :  go online at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Lake Land College Community Choir will present a holiday concert this Sunday afternoon at 3:00 in the Land Land College Theater – admission is free and all ages are welcome to attend


    The Dieterich Women’s Club will host its annual Holiday Craft Fair this Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00 at the Dieterich High School – there will be over 70 booths of Christmas decorations, wreaths, centerpieces, wood crafts, candies, ornaments, handmade jewelry, and much more – all are invited to the non-profit event


    The Fox River Apartments in Olney will host a Holiday Open House this weekend – Saturday from 11:00 to 3:00 and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 – baked goods & candy for sale, plus door prizes and entertainment


    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host a Holiday Bazaar this Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 – twenty different vendors will have a large variety of items for sale, including books, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, wreaths, and more – plus food will be available – all are invited


    The Walnut Grove Church of the Brethern will have a benefit breakfast this Saturday morning, with serving from 6:30 to 11:00 – by donation only at the door – proceeds to be used for Christmas food baskets


    The American Legion Post #230 in Sailor Springs will host a “deer hunter” breakfast and lunch this Saturday from 5:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon – that’s just off the Clay City / Dieterich Blacktop – a gun raffle drawing at 1:00 – you need not be present to win and tickets are available


    The Olney Firefighter’s Association will host a fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning at the Olney Fire Station on North Walnut Street, with serving from 4:00 to 11:00, or until sold out – carry-outs available – all deer hunters welcomed – proceeds for future firefighter purchases and the OFA’s scholarship program


    The ERES 4th and 5th Grade Choir Concert is tonight in the Sliva Auditorium at East Richland High School, starting at 6:30 – all parents, guardians, and grandparents are invited out to attend


    The Olney Public Library will celebrate its annual Family Reading Night this evening from 5:00 to 7:00 – the event includes a book signing with area author Rick Kelsheimer, stories from Miss Wilma, a book fair, and the Library’s “Reading Rocks” band – all ages are welcome to attend tomorrow evening

 

 

 

November 19, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  A cold front will push across the Midwest today, ushering in another very cold airmass for the remainder of the work week – while most of the snow flurries stay to our north, we will see some clouds – after a dry Thursday and Friday, the next weather pattern brings us a substantial warm-up with some rain chances on both Saturday and Sunday – back to dry and cold conditions next week – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Lawmakers may only have 11 vetoes to consider at the Fall Veto session, but other issues will be considered – one of those topics is the proposed minimum wage increase, however a school funding bill will not be called for a vote – the vetoed bills to be considered are the issues of ridesharing and a speed limit increase, plus others on travel insurance, construction debris, water/sewer connections, capital building upgrades, voluminous requests, anatomic pathology, and condominium non-payments – with the heart of the Fall Veto session scheduled to start today, it’s expected to wrap up and end by Friday night, if not sooner.

 

(OLNEY)  Meanwhile, Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner is planning to be in Springfield tomorrow for the Fall Veto session – while he will not be lobbying in support of any bills, he says he will be meeting with various lawmakers, laying out a framework on how they can all work together in the future – officials say so far, the Governor-Elect has already spoken with more than 50 lawmakers since election day in the past two weeks.

 

(NEWTON)  With November being noted as Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, and local emergency management agencies are encouraging people to be prepared for winter weather – along with the American Red Cross, all of the agencies have combined to develop a new winter weather preparedness guide that covers winter weather terms and tips for staying safe wherever one goes – the guide’s available online at www.Ready,Illinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out early this morning to a house fire at 105 Wayne Street in Olney – when the firemen arrived at straight up 4:00 this morning, they found flames visible from the home’s front picture window and quickly extinguished the fire – there was heavy fire damage to the home’s living room and severe heat damage throughout the house – there was no one injured and the fire remains under investigation – mutual aid was provided by firemen from the Noble-Wakefield, Newton, and Claremont-Bonpas Fire Departments – the Olney firemen were on the scene for two and a half hours.

 

(OLNEY)  The East Richland School Board met last night in Olney for its regular monthly meeting for November – the Board  :  approved the Fiscal Year 2014 Tax Levy as presented – that was after a public hearing was held  :  approved the 2015-2016 Risk Management Plan for the school district as presented  :  approved the district’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance renewal  :  approved updated job descriptions for Teacher Assistants, Paraprofessionals, Food Service Staff, Transportation Staff, and District Office Staff  :  approved the sale of the ERHS Building Trades House for $175,000  :  heard reports on the 2014 School Report Cards and the 2014 State Evaluation  :  noted this week as American Education Week  :  accepted five resignations – from ERHS Art Teacher Gary Jones, ERMS Food Service worker Karen Phillips, ERES Food Service worker Chrystal Blain, ERES Paraprofessional Jennifer Kesl, and ERES Special Education Paraprofessional Pat Foust  :  approved the following employment moves – Chris Simpson as the new Assistant Superintendent for the 2015-2016 school year, April Cline as ERES Teacher Assistant, Marchele Dehner as ERES Food Service worker, Brandi Mitchell as ERES Two Hour Lunch Supervisor, & Brandon Michels as volunteer Assistant Boys Basketball Coach  :  also heard from the East Richland Teachers Association, stating its appreciation for the Board’s cooperation in upcoming negotiations, plus noting two concerns brought to the Board’s attention  :  the School Board’s next regular meeting is December 18th.

 

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met for nearly an hour last night – the Council  :  approved the payment of bills and accounts payable worth $82,031 – also approved the payment of pre-paid bills worth $161,734  :  approved a Christmas bonus of an extra day’s pay or a day off with pay (to be taken by April 30th, 2015) be given to full-time employees and to part-time employees who’ve worked at least 3 months and are currently working  :  tabled action on a Highway Authority Agreement for 702 South Van Buren Street along Wilson Street until further review  :  heard concerns about possible traffic flow problems on Maxwell Street with school busses parked at the school  :  noted that Indiana Railroad is working to repair a bridge on the south side of East Washington Street to help correct a drainage problem  :  took no action after a 13-minute closed session to discuss litigation  :  the Council’s next regular meeting is December 2nd.

 

(OLNEY)  The City of Olney continues to accept nomination petitions for the April 7th, 2015 Municipal Election, in which two City of Olney Councilmen seats will be filled – the four year terms of Councilman Brad Beard and Councilwoman Barb Thomas will expire next spring and so far, as of 4:00 yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, November 18th, 2014), three candidates have filed the necessary paperwork to be on the April 7th ballot – with all three candidates filing the first thing this past Monday morning, they include Belinda Henton, Byron Holdren, and William “Les” Harrison – other possible candidates have four more days in which to file at City Hall – that’s today, tomorrow, and Friday, each day from 8:00 to 4:00, and the final day, next Monday, from 8:00 to 5:00 – if needed, a Primary Election would be held February 24th.

 

(NEWTON)  Petition packets are still available for area School Board candidates at County Clerk’s offices around the state, with the petition filing period set for December 15th thru December 22nd at the respective offices – the candidates will be on the April 7th Consolidated Election ballot next spring – this is the first year that nominating petition papers and the filings are administered by County Clerk’s offices and not the local school district offices  :  also, nomination petitions of candidates for members of the Illinois Eastern Community College’s Board are available at the IECC District Office in Olney – the filing period is also December 15th thru December 22nd at the IECC District Office, with the election next April 7th, 2015 – three seats will be filled on the IECC Board  :  for more general details, logon at www.election.il.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  Nearly 10,000 public school leaders are expected to attend the 2014 Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials this weekend – recognized as one of the nation’s largest state education conferences, the event is open to local school board members, superintendents, secretaries, regional educators, school officials, guests, and others – the event will run tomorrow thru Sunday with portions to be held at three different hotels in downtown Chicago – the conference includes hundreds of panel sessions for school board members, plus professional development and a IASB delegates session – almost all of our local and downstate school boards and districts are represented at the annual conference.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially now when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the list of upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Flora VFW from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  tomorrow at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 1:00 to 6:00  :  on Friday at Olney Central College from 8:00 to 1:00  :  also Friday at the Marshall Avenue Christian Church in Mattoon from 11:00 to 3:00  : on Saturday at the Family Video Store in Olney from 11:00 to 3:00  :  and next Monday at the Clay City Christian Church from 2:00 to 6:00  :  for details or to schedule an appointment to donate, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

(NEWTON)  The City of Newton Water Department still has a boil water order in effect for a portion of Newton until further notice – the area includes all of the James Addition and all of Hutton Drive – also, the area north of Illinois Route 33, from the James Addition west to Newton Animal Health – the City of Newton thanks all water customers for their patience – the boil water order is in effect until further notice.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Lake Land College Community Choir will present a holiday concert this Sunday afternoon at 3:00 in the Land Land College Theater – admission is free and all ages are welcome to attend


    The Fox River Apartments in Olney will host a Holiday Open House this weekend – Saturday from 11:00 to 3:00 and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 – baked goods & candy for sale, plus door prizes and entertainment


    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will host a Holiday Bazaar this Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 – twenty different vendors will have a large variety of items for sale, including books, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, wreaths, and more – plus food will be available – all are invited


    The American Legion Post #230 in Sailor Springs will host a “deer hunter” breakfast and lunch this Saturday from 5:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon – that’s just off the Clay City / Dieterich Blacktop – a gun raffle drawing at 1:00 – you need not be present to win and tickets are available


    The Olney Firefighter’s Association will host a fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning at the Olney Fire Station on North Walnut Street, with serving from 4:00 to 11:00, or until sold out – carry-outs available – all deer hunters welcomed – proceeds for future firefighter purchases and the OFA’s scholarship program


    The ERES 4th and 5th Grade Choir Concert is tomorrow night in the East Richland High School Sliva Auditorium, starting at 6:30 – all parents, guardians, and grandparents are invited out to attend


    The Olney Public Library will celebrate its annual Family Reading Night tomorrow evening from 5:00 to 7:00 – the event includes a book signing with area author Rick Kelsheimer, stories from Miss Wilma, a book fair, and the Library’s “Reading Rocks” band – all ages are welcome to attend tomorrow evening


    The Vincennes University Music Department will host two events at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center in Vincennes – it’s Guitars in the Night tonight at 6:30 (Illinois time) and a Duo Piana / Cello Recital tomorrow night at 6:00 (Illinois time) – both are free and open to the public


    There’s two meetings on this Wednesday at the Olney City Hall  :  the City’s Police Pension Board meets this morning at 8:30  :  the City of Olney’s Parks & Recreation Board meets tonight at 6:00

 

 

 

November 18, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  The lower-than-normal temperatures for mid-November will continue across the Midwest for a couple more days as the Arctic air remains in place, but we will see some sunshine today – another weak upper level disturbance will give us some more clouds and more cold air tomorrow night – however, a slight warming trend kicks in for the weekend ahead with the chance of rain as well – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  Lawmakers are back in Springfield today as the Fall Veto session hits full gear tomorrow – a few items are on the docket for the next few days – a plan to revamp the state’s method for funding schools will be reviewed by a legislative committee this afternoon – two other bills may be voted on this week, one to raise the state’s minimum wage and the other to find ways to revive the state’s horse racing industry.

 

(OLNEY)  There’s still no winner in the State Treasurer’s race as the November 4th election is nearly two weeks old – the latest count has Republican Tom Cross over Democrat Mike Frerichs by less than 400 votes – the State Board of Elections hasn’t declared a winner yet because votes are still being counted – officials say they hope to be able to announce a winner in the race by the end of this week, hopefully by Friday.

 

(NEWTON)  The University of Illinois professor who was ousted before ever teaching a class wants a judge to step in – Steven Salaita had been offered a tenured position at the U of I, but was fired over the summer after making anti-Israel comments on Twitter – the University Board decided not to give him his job back – his attorneys are asking for emails and other documents relating to the case that the U of I won’t hand over.

 

***(NEWTON)***  The City of Newton Water Department has announced repairs are being made to the City’s water main and when water service is restored, a boil water order will be in effect until further notice – the areas affected in Newton includes all of the James Addition and all of Hutton Drive – also, the area north of Illinois Route 33, from the James Addition west to Newton Animal Health – the City of Newton thanks all water customers for their patience in this matter – again, the boil water order in effect until further notice. 

 

(OLNEY)  )  Illinois’ corn and soybean harvest neared completion last week with nearly six days suitable for fieldwork, according to yesterday’s USDA Crop Report – last week’s statewide precipitation averaged just over a tenth of an inch (0.13) which is almost six tenths of an inch (0.59) below normal – last week’s average temperature in Illinois was 31.1 degrees, that’s 10.4 degrees below normal – farmers here in the ten county area surrounding Olney / Newton report 92% of the local soybeans and nearly 90% of the local corn has been harvested with nearly all the intended acreage sown to wheat – many area producers say this year’s harvest was one for the record books, with above average yields and a better than average growing season leading up to the fall harvest – farmers in the nine Richland County towships report the average harvested total for crops as of Sunday was nearly 98% – farmers are reminded to be safe out there while working.

 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night in Newton for its regular monthly meeting – the Board  :  discussed the refund to Ameren as a result of the 2013 property tax appeal settlement – a Budget Advisory Committee will be formed to discuss feedback as to how to pay for programming and services  :  on a 4 to 1 vote, with one abstention, agreed to authorize real estate tax abatement with the new Enterprise Zone within Jasper County  :  approved the proposed 2014 tax levy as presented  :  approved the purchase of a 2014 Dodge Caravan from McClane Motors in Newton  :  noted that this week is American Education Week and that this past Saturday, November 15th, was School Board Member Appreciation Day  :  approved four students for early graduation  :  and in personnel matters – recognized the retirement of district cook Drucilla Smith – accepted the resignations of Josh Benefiel as Junior High Boys Track Coach and Gina Fox as Junior High Assistant Scholastic Bowl Coach – hired Peggy Mammoser and Janet Rubsam as Substitute Teacher’s Aides – approved Brian Kusnerick as NCHS Track Coach, Tony McMorris as NCHS Bass Fishing Coach, and Maura Cummins as volunteer NCHS Track Coach  :  and agreed to form a committee to review the language within the Junior High Athletic Handbook  :  the Jasper County School Board will have its next regular monthly meeting in Newton on Monday, December 15th, starting at 6:30.

 

(OLNEY)  The East Richland High School Co-op Club is continuing its effort, asking for the public’s help as they collect new and gently used toys for the annual Good Samaritan Toy Drive – for the next two and a half weeks, thru Friday, December 5th, area residents can bring the donated toys to the East Richland High School office during regular office hours, however no stuffed animals can be accepted – it’s the goal of the ERHS Co-op Club to collect as many toys as possible to help the many families in Richland County have a better Christmas time for their children – if any questions, call the ERHS office and ask for Mrs. Billington.

 

(NEWTON)  Lawyers representing the Southern Illinois Citizens Against Fracturing our Environment, the new downstate “anti-fracking” group, will be in court today seeking an injunction to stop or suspend the rules governing the practice of high pressure, high volume hydraulic fracturing in downstate oilfields – the group says the State Department of Natural Resources failed to consider several scientific studies when it approved the “fracking” rules earlier this month – the lawsuit was filed in Madison County Circuit Court.

 

(OLNEY)  In business news – it’s being announced that Halliburton Services is buying out its oilfield competitor, Baker Hughes, in a cash-and-stock deal worth an estimated $34.6 billion – the Boards of both Houston-based companies approved the deal unanimously, with plans to close the deal in the second half of 2015 as shareholders and regulators still must sign off on the deal – the final agreement comes shortly after buy-out negotiations had stalled and Halliburton was preparing to go hostile with its business takeover bid.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially now when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the list of upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Moose Lodge in Vandalia from 12:00 noon to 6:00  :  also today at the Toledo Christian Church from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Flora VFW from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  Thursday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at Olney Central College from 8:00 to 1:00  :  for details or to schedule an appointment to donate, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Olney VFW Men’s Auxiliary is having its fundraising “pork loin” sale with the loins available for pick up at 12:00 noon this Saturday, November 22nd – call the Olney VFW for more information ASAP


    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Buiulding in Newton will host a Holiday Bazaar this Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 – twenty different vendors will have a large variety of items for sale, including books, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, wreaths, and more – plus food will be available – all are invited


    The Walnut Grove Church of the Brethern will have a benefit breakfast this Saturday morning, with serving from 6:30 to 11:00 – by donation only at the door – proceeds to be used for Christmas food baskets


    The Olney Firefighter’s Association will host a fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning at the Olney Fire Station on North Walnut Street, with serving from 4:00 to 11:00, or until sold out – carry-outs available – all deer hunters welcomed – proceeds for future firefighter purchases and the OFA’s scholarship program


    The ERES 4th and 5th Grade Choir Concert will be held at the East Richland Elementary School this Thursday night, starting at 6:30 – all parents, guardians, and grandparents are invited out to attend


    The Vincennes University Music Department will present Guitars in the Night this Wednesday night at 6:30 (Illinois time) at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center – admission is free and all are invited


    The Clay City Ministerial Alliance will have its Annual Community Thanksgiving Service tomorrow night at the United Methodist Church in Clay City, starting at 6:00 – with each church providing a turkey, each family should bring a covered dish & table service – all are invited for good food and fellowship


    There are two meetings on tap tonight  :  the Newton City Council has its second meeting this month at 6:00 tonight at the Newton City Hall  :  the East Richland School Board has its regular monthly meeting for November tonight in the Unit Office Board Room, beginning at 7:00  :  both meetings are open to the public


    The Olney Public Library will host a special event tonight at 6:30 – local book lover, Terri Shafer, will give a brief book talk, and Sam Benson of Ivy’s Cottage will share holiday decorating tips

 

 

 

November 17, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  As a deep low pressure system spins north of the Great Lakes, the west wind will continue to pour in cold air for downstate Illinois along with some flurries thru today – then we’ll have a dry sky for the rest of the week, but the cold air stays in place, reinforced by another cold front moving thru on Wednesday – we’ll warm up into the 40’s, maybe 50’s for the weekend, with maybe some rain – stay tuned for updates.

 

(OLNEY)  The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Richland and most all surrounding counties, especially to the north and west – today’s west wind will keep the area wind chill readings in the single digits and then drop the readings to around zero tonight & tomorrow night – our area snowfall was measured at a half inch in Olney, a little more to the north – all area roads are mostly clear.

 

(NEWTON)  A state hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, just ahead of the annual Fall Veto session to be held later this week – the hearing will discuss a school funding formula proposal that would direct more state money to poorer rural districts at the expense of wealthier suburban districts – while lawmakers do agree that the dated school funding formula needs overhauled, they disagree on how it should be done.

 

(OLNEY)  Thousands of people across the state and nation recognized this past weekend as National Donor Sabbath, as faith communities came together in support of organ and tissue donation – nationally, more than 120,000 people are waiting for organs – in Illinois, approximately 5,000 people are on the waiting list, and sadly, about 300 people die each year because organs are not available – for more on organ/tissue donation or to register to become a donor, go online at www.LifeGoesOn.com, call the Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Program toll-free at 1-800-210-2106, or visit your local Driver Services facility.

 

(NEWTON)  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds farm owners and producers that the opportunity to choose between the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs begins today, on this November 17th and continues thru March 31st, 2015 – the new programs, including Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to help producers better manage risk – for more information or details, logon at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc or contact your local County Farm Service Agency office.

 

(OLNEY)  The City of Olney's Parks & Recreation Board met last Wednesday night, including an open forum for the public to share its ideas for the City’s Comprehensive Plan for parks and recreation – approximately ten people addressed the Board, while approximately 50 others submitted their ideas by survey and Facebook – here’s the list of ideas presented to the Parks and Recreation Board  :  indoor swimming pool, parking for the Babe Ruth baseball fields, additional lighting for Musgrove Park, an indoor recreation center, a dog park, confessions at the Musgrove Pool & Park, improvements to the batting cages, and a joint county parks committee  :  the City of Olney’s Parks & Recreation Board wants to thank everyone that took time to show up and submit their ideas that will be taken under consideration.

 

(NEWTON)  The Embarras River Basin Agency is still accepting all applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – that includes applications from the elderly and handicapped, families with children under the age of six, and now from all other applicants – those eligible should call their local ERBA Office to set up an appointment or for more information – for Jasper County, in Newton, call 618-783-3987 – for Richland County, in Olney, call 618-395-2714 – the other seven ERBA Offices are located in the towns of Lawrenceville, Robinson, Greenup, Martinsville, Paris, Charleston, and Tuscola.

 

(NEWTON)  The investigation into a fatal Coles County traffic crash continues – authorities say the single vehicle wreck occurred at around 8:30 this past Saturday night near the U.S. Route 45 interchange of  I-57, just south of Mattoon, when the pickup truck ran off the road, overturned, and came to rest at the bottom of an embankment – a passenger, 20 year old Samantha Middendorf, of Fayetteville, was partially ejected from the truck and was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital – the driver, 21 year old Jarad Jarmon of Shiloh, was totally ejected and transported to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana – both students at Eastern Illinois University – Jarmon was ticketed for driving too fast for conditions.

 

(OLNEY)  Another Illinois National Guard team has deployed to Afghanistan to help NATO forces – after a short ceremony, the five soldiers left Springfield late last week with a mission of helping Polish forces with personnel and equipment – the Polish troops are conducting training and removing military equipment out of Afghanistan, where foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw by the end of the year.

 

(OLNEY)  Olney FFA members are currently selling fundraiser pizza and fresh Florida fruit – the fruit list includes navel oranges, juice oranges, tangelos, red grapefruit, sweet potatoes, red & gold delicious apples, granny smith apples, and gift sampler boxes – all proceeds go to FFA members for scholarships, leadership camps & conferences, and various leadership activities throughout the year – the FFA says “thank you” in advance for your support – contact any FFA member or the ERHS Ag Department to place an order.

 

(NEWTON)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially now when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the list of upcoming blood drives  :  today at the Red Brush Christian Church north of Louisville from 1:30 to 6:30  :  also today at the First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Moose Lodge in Vandalia from 12:00 noon to 6:00  :  also tomorrow at the Toledo Christian Church from 2:00 to 6:00  :  Wednesday at the Flora VFW from 12:00 noon to 4:00  :  Thursday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Friday at Olney Central College from 8:00 to 1:00  :  logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
    The Fox River Apartments in Olney will host a Holiday Open House this weekend – Saturday from 11:00 to 3:00 and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 – baked goods & candy for sale, plus door prizes and entertainment


    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Center will host a Holiday Bazaar this Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 – twenty different vendors will have a large variety of items for sale, including books, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, wreaths, and more – plus food will be furnished by Oak Street Smoked Meats & Catering


    The Olney Firefighter’s Association will host a fundraising breakfast this Saturday morning at the Olney Fire Station on North Walnut Street, with serving from 4:00 to 11:00, or until sold out – carry-outs available – all deer hunters welcomed – proceeds for future firefighter purchases and the OFA’s scholarship program


    The Olney Public Library will celebrate its annual Family Reading Night this Thursday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 – the event includes a book signing with area author Rick Kelsheimer, stories from Miss Wilma, a book fair, and the Library’s “Reading Rocks” band – all ages are welcome to attend this Thursday


    The Vincennes University Music Department will present Guitars in the Night this Wednesday night at 6:30 (Illinois time) at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center – admission is free and all are invited


    The Olney Public Library will host a special event tomorrow night at 6:30 – local book lover, Terri Shafer, will give a brief book talk, and Sam Benson of Ivy’s Cottage will share holiday decorating tips

 

 

 

November 15, 2014

 

(OLNEY)  An upper level disturbance will shift east from the Plains today, giving us a chance of some light snow later this afternoon thru tonight – then a second disturbance will track into the Ohio Valley by Sunday night, giving us more light snow chances – then another strong Arctic cold front moves in to keep us cold for the first part of next week – an inch or less of snow is expected altogether – stay tuned for updates.

 

(NEWTON)  The open enrollment period for healthcare access under the Affordable Care Act gets started today – anyone who wants to change their plan must do so by December 15, otherwise they’ll automatically be re-enrolled into their current plan – those who do not have health insurance must get signed up by December 15 if they want their coverage to start on the first of the new year, on January 1st, 2015 – for more information on current and new coverage or to sign up, logon at www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov.

 

(OLNEY)  The U.S Department of Agriculture is urging area farmers to make their voices heard by voting in the FSA County Committee elections as ballots for the 2014 election were mailed out to eligible producers last week – the ballots must be returned to local FSA offices by the December 1st deadline to ensure that all votes are counted – the newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office January 1st, 2015 – the FSA County Committee members provide an important link between the local agricultural community and the USDA on the national level – if any questions, contact a local FSA office.

 

(OLNEY)  Olney FFA members are currently selling fundraiser pizza and fresh Florida fruit – the fruit list includes navel oranges, juice oranges, tangelos, red grapefruit, sweet potatoes, red & gold delicious apples, granny smith apples, and gift sampler boxes – all proceeds go to FFA members for scholarships, leadership camps & conferences, and various leadership activities throughout the year – the FFA says “thank you” in advance for your support – contact any FFA member or the ERHS Ag Department to place an order.

 

(OLNEY)  All area blood donors and/or first-time donors are urged to get out and give blood at their next opportunity, especially now when all blood types and blood platelets are in special need – here’s the list of upcoming blood drives  :  tomorrow morning at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Olney from 8:00 to 12:00 noon  :  next Monday at the Red Brush Christian Church north of Louisville from 1:30 to 6:30  :  also Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon from 2:00 to 6:00  :  blood drives also next week in Toledo, Mattoon, Vandalia, Flora, Centralia, and Olney  :  for more, logon at www.redcrossblood.org.

 

REMINDERS :
    Southern Illinois’ Homecoming Gospel Choir will perform tomorrow evening at 6:00 at the Effingham Performance Center, featuring over 80 downstate singers and musicians – admission is free – all are invited


    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County will have its annual Christmas Skating & Laser Tag party at C.J. Extremes tomorrow evening from 4:00 to 6:00 – it’s for all Bigs, Littles, and Big Brothers Big Sister families – there will also be refreshments and door prizes available


    The Sainte Marie Foundation and Ste. Marie American Legion will present a special program tomorrow afternoon at 1:00, entitled “The Music of War” – it’s all part of the current military exhibit at the Sainte Marie Foundation Museum – the Legion Auxiliary will provide refreshments at the free event tomorrow


    The Olney VFW Chowder is tomorrow with VFW members eating at 12:00 noon – the bulk sale to the public begins at 12:30 with the price at $14 per gallon – no glass containers will be filled


    The St. Joseph 7th & 8th Grade fundraising breakfast is tomorrow morning with serving from 8:30 to 11:30 – pay at the door – all proceeds go towards the next educational trip to Washington, D.C.


    The East Orchard Christian Academy has a fundraising breakfast this morning at the Immanuel United Methodist Church, with serving now underway – tickets at the door – PTO cookbooks also on sale