LOCAL NEWS

Local News

December 21, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system moving over the upper midwest will keep the rain & snow well to our north – then a dry sky tonight for a couple of days before the next storm system brings us another wintry mix Thursday night thru Christmas Eve – likely cold & snowy for Christmas Day – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The application deadline for the Illinois Care Rx Program is December 31st – seniors over the age of 65 and those with disabilities could qualify for the program, which fills in the gaps of Medicare Part D – those currently enrolled also need to re-apply – for details, go online at www.illinoiscaresrx.com.

(OLNEY)  Illinois tops the list of states that retirees might want to avoid – along with the Land of Lincoln, California & New York round out the top three worst states to retire in – although factors vary, the rankings are primarily based on fiscal health, taxation, & climate – logon at www.topretirements.com for details.

(NEWTON)  One of Springfield’s alderman could be selected to fill the rest of Mayor Tim Davlin’s term at tonight’s City Council meeting – the person chosen will only serve until next April, when a new Mayor will be elected – the State Capital’s been without a leader for a week now since Mayor Davlin was found dead.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland School Board met last night – the Board : officially approved last month’s tentative 2-year agreement with the West Richland Education Association, running thru August of 2012 : approved the 3-year contract with Jr/Sr High School Principal Kevin Westall, running thru July of 2014 : approved the tax levy for fiscal year 2011 with an increase of 14.73% : agreed to purchase a handicapped accessible bus at $49,892 : agreed to lower the non-certified substitute pay rate from $11 to $10 an hour, starting next month : noted the district will receive a $10,000 Johnsie Fildes grant to be used for district-wide student technology : accepted the resignation of Larissa Goodman as WRHS assistant softball coach : approved a $7,000 stipend for Jennifer Tedford as District Speech, Language, & Patholigist Supervisor : hired Betty Lamb & Linda Middleton as substitute bus drivers, pending all requirements are met : hired Jim Middleton as full-time bus driver : the Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be January 24th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night – the Board : unanimously agreed to the following reorganization of buildings – the closure of the Willow Hill Elementary School & the closure of the Grove Elementary School – reorganizing the Ste. Marie Elementary School as a Kindergarten School, also housing all Pre-K students – reorganizing the Newton Elementary / Jasper County Junior High School as an elementary attendance center, housing grades 1 thru 6 – reorganizing the Newton Community High School into a Junior/Senior High School, housing grades 7 thru 12 : agreed to retain Poettker Construction as project manager for building renovations at the Elementary & High Schools in Newton : adopted the tax levy for fiscal year 2011 as presented with no public comments : agreed to allow two NCHS seniors to graduate early here in December after meeting all requirements : agreed to add a Sports Entertainment Marketing course to the NCHS business ed curriculum next school year : next meeting is January 18th.

(NEWTON)  Illinois farmers still have the chance to plant $240,000 to grow their local communities – whether to support a local ag youth group, be it either FFA or 4-H, or to buy new equipment for a school, farmers have the opportunity to win a $2,500 grant for their community – it's possible thru the America's Farmers Grow Communities program, with money provided thru the Monsanto Fund – the application deadline is December 31st with farmers in 96 Illinois counties eligible, including, Jasper, Richland, & all others surrounding Newton - for details, or to apply, logon at www.growcommunities.com.

(OLNEY)  Winter is officially ushered in later this evening at 5:38 – the start of winter begins with the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year, when the Sun is at its most southern point in the sky – starting tomorrow, the days begin to get longer until the summer solstice, exactly six months from today, on June 21, 2011 – the seasons on Earth are determined by changing sunlight, not heat – it’s all dependent by how the Earth orbits the Sun and the tilt of the Earth’s axis, that’s the distance from one to the other.

REMINDERS
    Auditions for the next OCC Theatre production are set for January 9th & 10th with parts available for high school & college students, plus adults – “Beauty & the Beast” will have seven performances next spring
    The Olney FFA has some fresh fruit remaining from its annual fundraising sale – various types available, some on a limited basis – contact Jamie Van Dyke at East Richland High School if interested
    The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney needs volunteers for its Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal this Friday – over 800 meals served, many delivered – to help out, call the church at 395-8618
    In area blood drives : today from 3:00 until 7:00 at the Altamont Christian Church : then tomorrow from 1:00 until 4:00 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Effingham : all types of blood are very much needed
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will a night of Ambraw Country Music coming up tonight, starting at 7:00 – all are invited for a night of down-home country music

December 20, 2010 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system will move across the upper midwest by tomorrow, bringing rain & snow to Illinois, but ending by mid-week – our next real winter weather storm is expected to roll thru by Friday, later this week, which could be another mixed bag of wintry precip – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  While we watch the forecast maps for the upcoming Christmas weekend, those just to our north are watching the weather conditions over the next 36 hours – the National Weather Service is alerting those north of I-70, mostly along the I-74 corridor, to watch out for freezing drizzle, sleet, and/or snow – here in the south, we’ll mostly see rain or light drizzle, maybe some light flurries overnight.

(OLNEY)  A salmonella outbreak has left nearly 50 Northern Illinois people in nine counties feeling a little qweezy – the State Department of Public Health says it was “alfalfa sprouts” from several Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shops that caused the problem – other than diarrhea & vomiting for a few hours, all those affected have recovered.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn is heading to Germany today to visit with U.S. Troops – in fact, it’s the sixth time he’s traveling to Germany since becoming Governor – he’ll visit soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus have several lunches with Illinois soldiers & pass out Christmas cards made by children from all over the Land of Lincoln – the Governor will return to the State Capital the day after Christmas.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out at 1:30 this past Saturday afternoon to a pickup truck fire in the 400 block of South Elliott Street – there was smoke, heat, and fire damage to the truck’s interior – there were no injuries – the firemen were on the scene for less than one hour.

(NEWTON)  Today’s the final day for school & college board candidate to file petitions for the April 5th, 2011 election – that’s from now until 5:00 today at all district offices on this Monday – to be filled are four seats on the Jasper County School Board, four seats on the East Richland School Board, three seats on the West Richland School Board, and two seats on the IECC Board – again, that’s until 5:00 this afternoon.
 
(NEWTON)  Cellular One is still sponsoring its annual holiday “You Decide – We Donate” program, but only five more days remain for folks to stop by any of the twelve Cellular One stores and vote – it’s all to determine which local not-for-profit organization will receive a $500 donation from each Cellular One store – ballots are available now thru this Friday at Cellular One stores in Newton, Olney, Flora, Robinson, Paris, Lawrenceville, Charleston, Mattoon, Hoopeston, Casey, & Danville – one vote is allowed per person per day & those voting must be at least 18 years old – the final day to vote is this Friday, Christmas Eve.

(OLNEY)  The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney is getting ready for another Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal, coming up this Friday – in fact, area folks are invited to stop by & help out, with over 800 meals to be served, many of which will be delivered – people can help with cooking, dipping, bringing cakes, & delivering – and everything is usually finished by 1:00 on Christmas Eve – call the church office at 395-8618 to order a meal or to see how you & your family can help out – that’s 395-8618.
 
(NEWTON)  While winter will officially begin at 5:38 tomorrow evening, the moon will be the center of attention overnight, with a three-hour show early tomorrow morning – at 1:41 (CST) Tuesday morning, the moon will slowly disappear, turn red, and then reappear later at 2:53 – the red part of the event, is a full eclipse, as the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow, expected to last some 70 minutes – officials say the shadow will start to creep across the moon at 12:32 and then disappear at 4:01 – our only problem here in the Midwest will be cloud cover, which will mostly ruin the actually viewing of the lunar eclipse – NASA says the last lunar eclipse that happened on the winter solstice was on December 21st, 1638 – the next such eclipse will occur December 21st, 2094 – for more check out the official NASA website or others online.

(NEWTON)  Authorities continue to investigate a single vehicle wreak that occurred at around 6:00 early last Friday morning that claimed the life of a Robinson man – the Sheriff’s Department says 47 year old David Buck was traveling on a Crawford County road when his vehicle left the roadway due to the icy conditions, hit a ditch, and overturned – Buck was pronounced dead while a passenger was unharmed.

(OLNEY)  The body of a Woodlawn man was found this past Saturday morning just a short distance from where he was last seen alive nearly a month ago – authorities say 57 year old Ricky Housley was reported missing the night of November 22nd after leaving his girlfriend’s home near Centralia – Housley’s body was found within the first 15 minutes of the search – the cause of death is unknown with an autopsy pending.
 
REMINDERS
    In area blood drives : tomorrow from 3:00 until 7:00 at the Altamont Christian Church : then Wednesday from 1:00 until 4:00 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Effingham : all types of blood are very much needed
    The Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton will a night of Ambraw Country Music coming up tomorrow night, starting at 7:00 – all are invited for a night of down-home country music
    There’s a couple of area school board meetings tonight : the Jasper County School Board will meet tonight at 7:00 in Newton : the West Richland School Board meets tonight at 7:00 in Noble
    Today’s the last day to get farm equipment listed on the sale bill of next month’s Farm Machinery Consignment Sale, sponsored by the the Mt. Erie Ruritan Club – call today at 618-838-8398
    Today has been designated as East Richland High School Cross Country Day within the City of Olney – all to recognize the runners, their parents, & coaches for their accomplishments this fall, finishing 2nd at the State Cross Country Meet – we express our congratulations & appreciation during this day in Olney
 

December 16, 2010 Local News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system moving across the midwest has brought us precipitation, mostly in the form of freezing rain, which has now ended – all followed by dry and a little cooler air in place for the weekend ahead – maybe another round of wintry weather the first of next week – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has cancelled its Winter Weather Advisory – only a tenth of an inch of light rain fell overnight, but the result was a thin layer of ice that has crippled nearly all regional travel, especially on all rural roads & side-streets in our communities – most all area highways that have been treated with salt are clear, but do have some patches of black ice – travel is not advised unless necessary – check our list of updated cancellations available here on our website, under the “weather” tab.

(OLNEY)  In state news – an autopsy has confirmed that Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin took his own life – authorities say Davlin died from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the chest this past Tuesday morning – the 53 year old served two terms as Mayor & recently announced he would not seek a third term – with no current leader, the Springfield City Council has 60 days to decide which of the ten aldermen will serve as the temporary Mayor until a new one is elected – the next regular City Council meeting is next Tuesday.

(NEWTON)  Illinois’ share in a 38-state, $21 million settlement with the Dannon Company is $425,000 – the settlement is the result of unlawful claims about the health benefits of consuming Activia yogurts and DanActive dairy drinks – the States’ Attorney Generals say the supposed benefits were not supported by scientific data – the Dannon Company has not admitted any wrongdoing & disputes the court ruling.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees met earlier this week – the Board : approved participation in a new method for achieving continued recognition by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association – the IECC District has been selected as one of very few institutions across America to assist the Commission in testing & refining the model during its development over the next three to four years : approved the District's 2010 Strategic Plan Status Report with the purpose to prepare for the future, prioritize issues, & create strategies for the years ahead : approved a wage increase of 2.5% for all full-time employees not covered by the faculty collective bargaining agreement : approved a wage increase of 2.5% for the entry levels of all administration & non-faculty staff positions : also noted the District's population, including the number of high school graduates, continues to decline approximately one-half of one-percent per year : the Board's next regular monthly meeting will be January 18th.

(NEWTON)  At it's meeting held last week, the Newton City Council heard from a few of its respective committees : the Personnel Committee met to discuss unused vacation time & personal time : the Finance Committee met to discuss the city's insurance coverages & talked about levying a police protection tax : the Cooperative Economic Development Committee met and heard about a local fiber optic project, plus heard updates on several local projects : the Council also noted that the bid letting for the resurfacing of Route 130 North will be held next month in January : also noted the cost of a new backhoe for the Water & Waste Water Departments would likely run around $47,000 : also noted that four homes in Newton will qualify for the local housing rehabilitation project : the Council's next regular meeting will be December 21st.

(OLNEY)  Chief Rick Chaplin has released the monthly activity report for the Olney Police Department, where 503 calls were received from the public in November – Officers made 178 public assists, conducted 46 security checks, investigated 17 traffic accidents & 13 burglar alarms – Officers made 30 criminal arrests and 22 traffic arrests – 10 arrests were for criminal damage to property, 10 for theft from a motor vehicle, 9 arrests for theft, 5 for illegal tobacco use, and 4 arrests for alcohol violations – 182 emergency 9-1-1 calls.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Boys & Girls Park is currently taking orders for Christmas Pork Loins, which will be cooked & ready for pickup a week from today on the Thursday before Christmas Day, December 23rd – there are two options of pickup times with the first delivery to the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building at 11:00 that morning & the final delivery at 4:00 that afternoon – the four pound smoked pork loins are priced at $20 each with all the proceeds to support the Boys & Girls Park – orders should be placed before 8:00 this coming Sunday night – contact any Park Board member or call 783-2199.

REMINDERS
    The Clay City Ministerial Association invites all to the annual Community Christmas Service this Sunday evening – starting at 6:00, the service will be held at the Clay City Church of God, just off of Route 50
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation will have a “breakfast with Santa” & fundraising “bake sale” this Saturday morning from 8:00 til 10:00 at the old Ruritan Building – tickets at the door – carryouts available
    It’s the final Holly Jolly Jasper County Christmas event set for tomorrow night with various activities, including a visit from Santa & others – all are invited to downtown Newton tomorrow evening
    It’s another “cash bingo” fundraising event tomorrow evening at the St. Thomas Parish Center in Newton – doors open at 6:00 with bingo at 7:00 – must be 18 or older to play – there’s also barbeque sandwiches, hotdogs, popcorn, & drinks available for purchase – proceeds to the St. Thomas School
    The Citizens National Bank of Albion, Olney Branch, will host their “holiday open house” throughout the day tomorrow, on Friday, the 17th – that’s from 8:00 until 5:00 – all are invited to stop by
    There are two meetings tonight : the East Richland School Board has its regular monthly meeting at 7:00 in the Unit Office Board Room : the Richland County Board has a special meeting to discuss the joint dispatch issue & tax levies, starting at 6:00 in the County Jail Meeting Room : both open to the public

December 15, 2010 Local News

(OLNEY)  As the arctic high pressure that’s kept us dry since Monday moves off to the east our temperatures will moderate for the next couple of days, however an upper level disturbance will bring us a mixed bag of wintry precip today thru the day tomorrow – then a dry weekend ahead – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until tomorrow morning for Jasper, Richland, & all surrounding counties – a mixture of snow, sleet, & freezing rain will likely develop by this evening with less than a quarter of inch of ice by Thursday morning with any snow accumulation of an inch or less – unlike the previous storm system, the wind will not be a factor with this weather system – all residents should be alert to the changing weather conditions moving in by tonight.

(OLNEY)  Those planning to travel should take the needed precautions – all vehicles should have a winter survival kit prepared & ready if needed – plus all motorists should let family or co-workers know where they are heading, by which route they plan to take, & their planned time of arrival – those emergency kits should include snacks, fresh water, extra clothing, winter boots, a shovel, & more – plus all motorists need to keep those fuel tanks as near full as possible at all times – check the IEMA website online for more tips.

(NEWTON)  In Illinois news – the State Police are being very tight lipped about the details surrounding the death of Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin – early reports yesterday indicate the Mayor died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound, however nothing has been confirmed – at this point, there’s no word of any foul play.

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met earlier this week – the Board : accepted the low bid of $776 from Electron Electric for electrical & outlet work within Village Hall in Noble : approved to renew the costs of village signs at the baseball & softball fields at West Richland High School : noted the recent discussion by the Richland County Board concerning animal control : agreed to allow Crawford Solid Waste to place a recycling trailer within the village, at no expense : noted that the Village Caucus will be held January 10th, with the Citizens Party at 6:00 and the Peoples Party at 6:30 – there will be three Trustee seats up for election on April 5th : the Village Board’s next regular bi-monthly meeting will be January 10th, 2011.

(NEWTON)  The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week the sentencing of a Newton doctor – 54 year old Reginald Vernier received a 14 month prison term – this coming after an August guilty plea to illegal distribution of controlled substance drugs involving prescriptions written outside the usual course of a professional medical practice – a fine of $3,000 was also imposed – Vernier had already surrendered his DEA registration to dispense drugs & his license to practice medicine as a result of the FBI investigation.

(OLNEY)  The City of Olney has now started the new curbside recycling program – collections will take place during the weeks of the second & fourth Mondays each month, and the curbside recycling pickup will be on the same day as your regular trash collection day – residents are reminded that both the trash & curbside recycling items need to be set at the curb by 6:00 each morning – call City Hall if any questions.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Boys & Girls Park is currently taking orders for Christmas Pork Loins, which will be cooked & ready for pickup on the Thursday before Christmas Day, December 23rd – there are two options of pickup times with the first delivery to the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building at 11:00 that morning & the final delivery at 4:00 that afternoon – it’s a four pound smoked pork loin for only $20 each with all the proceeds to support all the activities at the Boys & Girls Park – orders should be placed before 8:00 this coming Sunday night – contact any Park Board member or call 783-2199.

(OLNEY)  The Immanuel United Methodist Church in Olney is getting ready for another Outreach Mission Christmas Eve Meal, coming up a week from Friday – in fact, area folks are invited to stop by & help out, with over 800 meals to be served, many of which will be delivered – people can help with cooking, dipping, bringing cakes, & delivering – and everything is usually finished by 1:00 on Christmas Eve – call the church office at 395-8618 to order a meal or to see how you & your family can help out – that’s 395-8618.

(NEWTON)  School & college board candidate’s petitions can now be filed in the local school or college district offices – that’s during regular office hours today thru this coming Friday, December 17th – the final day to file the nominating paperwork is next Monday, December 20th, from 8:00 until 5:00

REMINDERS
    The Mt. Erie Ruritan Club will have its annual Farm Machinery Consignment Sale on January 17th – to get your equipment on the sale bill, call 618-838-8398 by next Monday, the 20th – consignment rates vary
    It’s the final Holly Jolly Jasper County Christmas event set for this Friday night with various activities, including a visit from Santa & others – all are invited to downtown Newton this Friday evening
    It’s another “cash bingo” fundraising event this Friday evening at the St. Thomas Parish Center in Newton – doors open at 6:00 with bingo at 7:00 – must be 18 or older to play – there’s also barbeque sandwiches, hotdogs, popcorn, & drinks available for purchase – proceeds to the St. Thomas School
    There are two meetings tomorrow night : the East Richland School Board has its regular monthly meeting at 7:00 in the Unit Office Board Room : the Richland County Board has a special meeting to discuss the joint dispatch issue & tax levies, starting at 6:00 in the County Jail Meeting Room : both open to the public
    The ERES 2nd graders will perform their Christmas program this Thursday & Friday, each afternoon at 2:15, in the Elementary School dining hall – that’s different classrooms each day – all are invited