June 16, 2017


(OLNEY)  With a strong cold front slowly moving in our direction from the Plains, we’ll have another shot for scattered rain & storms today, with an increased chance overnight – the weekend’s main weather story is a potential round of severe conditions late Saturday night as that front moves closer – then after the front moves thru, more spotty storms could fire up on Sunday south of the I-70 line – but then dry and less humid conditions for at least the first half of next week – stay tuned for continued weather updates and details.


(NEWTON)  In state news today – an Appellate Court has ruled against social service providers suing Illinois over the lack of payment during the state’s budget impasse – the Pay Now Illinois Coalition sued last year to force the state to honor all contracts, however a Cook County judge dismissed the case, saying it belonged in a higher court – a similar lawsuit is currently pending in downstate St. Clair County.


(OLNEY)  Illinois Lottery officials say players in the state could see the end of the Powerball and Mega Millions games this month if Illinois does not end its current budget stalemate – the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the lack of a state budget is the cause – Illinois reported $99 million in Mega Million sales and $208 million in Powerball sales last year, about 40% of which comes back to Illinois in revenue.


(NEWTON)  Today is the first of four days recognized as Free Fishing Days in Illinois, held in conjunction with Father’s Day weekend – it’s at this time that all anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, a salmon stamp, or inland trout stamp – however, all are encouraged to seek permission first if fishing at a pond or lake on private property – it’s a great time to introduce children and others to the joy and fun of fishing – various activities are available around the state – for details, go online, at  www.ifishillinois.org.


(OLNEY)  The Richland County School Board met for its June regular monthly meeting last night in Olney – the Board  :  after a public hearing, approved the final Amended Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, which shows a positive net increase of  $1,419,187, pending the district receiving a final categorical payment from the state  :  noted a comparison of the projected & actual 2016 Richland County Tax Levy, showing an estimated tax rate of 4.4859 and an actual tax rate that was lower at 4.43468 – the actual extension was $9,592,492 as compared to the estimated $9,737,417  :  the district’s financial report showed the state still owes the district vouchers  in excess of  $2.3 million  :  approved the Prevailing Wage resolution  :  adopted eight new policies for the district  :  and after a 55 minute closed session, took action dealing with personnel – agreed to recall eight employees with no break in service from the Reduction in Force action earlier this year, including Teacher Kyle Shipman, Teacher Assistants Heather Dunn & Brittany Leaf, Paraprofessionals Anna McMorris & Donna Balding, Bus Driver Doug Wingert, and Bus Aides Brenda Patterson & Connie Branstetter – hired Heather Lee as RCHS Guidance Counselor, Nathan Wibbenmeyer as RCES Custodian, & Yvette Paddock as RCES Secretary – approved transfer of duties for Candi Harrison to RCES Secretary and Neilly Mays to RCES Secretary & Nurse Aide – and accepted resignations from RCHS Custodian / Food Service Staff Dakoda Hulett, RCES Paraprofessional Betty Stivers, & from RCES Teacher Assistant Sydney Root  :  the Richland County School Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be July 20 at 7:30.


(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met for its June regular monthly meeting last night in Newton – the Board  :  reviewed the district’s financial report, noting the state now owes the district in excess of  $704,942  :  approved the Prevailing Wage resolution  :  approved the district’s Technology Lease Purchase agreement  :  on a 4 to 1 vote, approved the district’s Insurance coverage renewals with Prairie State Insurance Cooperative / First Mid Insurance Group of Mattoon for Property, Casualty, and Liability coverage, with State National / Farley Insurance Agency in Newton for Worker’s Comp, and with North Wayne Insurance Agency of Cisne / Flora for the Treasurer’s Bond  :  approved the school handbook changes as presented  :  approved the district’s Driver’s Education Cars Agreement for another year with Louis Ochs Chevrolet Buick in Newton  :  declared two buses as surplus to be sold  :  agreed to increase cafeteria prices for the 2017-2018 school year by 10 cents – however, book fees and other fees will stay as they are  :  and after a 27 minute closed session – hired Aaron Turner as NES Night Custodian and Angie Homan as a Title I Aide at SMES – accepted resignations from NCHS/JCJH Lunch Room Supervisor Karen Bolander, JCJH Assistant Track Coach Jordan Michels, and Unit Maintenance Man Dave Rubsam – and hired various coaches & sponsors  :  the Jasper County School Board’s next meeting is July 20 at 6:30.


(OLNEY)  It was yesterday that Rides Mass Transit District, the largest rural public transportation provider in Illinois, celebrated National Dump the Pump Day, as the District continues to urge public transportation – while public transportation is a positive impact in all area communities served, studies suggest that for every $1 invested in public transit, at least $4 in returns can be seen in the local economies – local residents are able to use RMTD services to shop, travel to work, school, & medical appointments, as well as connect to other forms of travel – the Rides Mass Transit District buses travel nearly 3.7 million miles each year, transporting almost 686,000 residents annually, serving the area counties of Richland, Jasper, Cumberland, Crawford, Lawrence, Edwards, Clay, and ten others – for more details, logon at  www.ridesmtd.com.


(NEWTON)  The 2017 Jasper County Fair is underway with the 4-H General Project Shows at 4:00 this afternoon, followed by the 4-H Public Speaking Contest at 6:30 tnight, all on the Fairgrounds in Newton – the Floral Hall Exhibits will be accepted from 5:00 to 7:00 this evening & from 8:00 to 11:00 tomorrow morning, followed by judging – the 4-H Poultry & Rabbit Shows are Sunday afternoon – the 4-H Sheep & Goat Show is Monday afternoon, the 4-H Swine Show is next Tuesday morning, and the 4-H Beef Show is Tuesday afternoon – then 4-H Dairy Show is next Thursday morning with the 4-H Youth Auction at 5:00 next Thursday evening – the Queen & Little Miss Pageant is next Monday night at 7:30 – Tuesday night is Family Night with armbands available for the rides, plus the Karaoke Contest, the Pedal Tractor Pull, Talent Contest, and Flat Drags – the Rodeo is Wednesday night at 7:00, followed by the IPA Sanctioned Tractor / Truck Pull Thursday night at 7:00 – the Fair’s popular Antique Farm Machinery Show is next Friday from 10:00 to 2:00 with Harness Racing next Friday at 12 noon and the Non-Sanctioned Tractor / Truck Pull Friday night at 7:00 – the Fair’s first ever Lawn Court Clash Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament is next Saturday, call to register at 210-380-2780 – it’s the final Harness Racing Saturday at noon and the Demo Derby to wrap things up that Saturday night at 7:00 – the Carnival Rides will run each day and night next Tuesday thru Saturday – all at the annual Jasper County Fair, today thru all of next week, in Newton.


(OLNEY)  Construction to replace the Bonpas Township Bridge on Oak Tree Road at Simmons Creek is scheduled to begin next Monday, June 19th – the project is expected to take around six weeks to be completed – the section of Oak Tree Road will be closed during the time of the construction – if any questions, call the Richland County Engineer at the County Highway Office, at  618-392-3141  :  also, road construction work continues on Whittle Avenue and Kitchell Avenue in Olney as – alternate routes are needed in these areas until the road work is completed – the patience of all drivers is much appreciated.


    The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ste. Marie and the American Red Cross will host a blood drive this Sunday morning from 7:30 to 11:30 in the Parish Hall – all donors can enter their name for a drawing for two Holiday World tickets for this 2017 season – all blood types and platelets are very much needed

   Whittle Rock is tomorrow afternoon thru night, from 3:00 until midnight – live music from various local bands and individuals, plus food & craft vendors – it’s $5 for advanced tickets, $10 at the gate tomorrow

    The Noble Freedom Baptist Church will be hosting a Freedom VBS Sign-Up Party at the Noble Village Park tomorrow night from 5:00 to 8:00 – free hotdogs and drinks and inflatable games for the kids

    The American Legion Post #30 will be holding a Pork Burger Sale at the Olney IGA tomorrow from 11:00 until 2:00, or until sold out – all proceeds will help out with local and area events

   A “pork burger / bake sale” fundraiser is tomorrow at the Sunrise Seed Company, along Main Street, in downtown Clay City, with serving from 10:30 until sold out, all by open donation and for pickup only – bake sale donations will be accepted until 9:30 – large orders can be called in advance at  618-508-1623

   The next Jasper County paper drive is tomorrow morning from 7:00 to 12 noon at the Schackmann Insulation Building along South Van Buren Street in Newton – no glossy paper accepted

   The Richland County Farmers Market is today from 10:00 to 4:00 in the Olney City Park – various baked goods are featured, including Amish breads, plus jellies, different vegetables, and more – all are invited

   The Olney Fire Department will host a Blood Drive today from 2:00 until 6:00 at the meeting room on North Walnut Street – visit redcrossblood.org and enter OlneyFD to schedule an appointment

   The Annual Salad Luncheon at the Grace United Methodist Church is today from 11:00 to 1:00 in Newton – the menu includes a variety of salads, ham balls, hot rolls and a drink for a $7 donation