LOCAL NEWS

Local News

August 15, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  The dry & cool conditions will continue today thru the Midwest as a high pressure ridge hangs over Illinois – a weak weather disturbance will move thru tomorrow night, but likely will be dry, with no rain for our area – our next significant chance of rain will by on Thursday & Friday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Illinois drivers are getting somewhat of a break at the pump – as of this morning, Illinois’ average price for a gallon of low-grade gas is at $3.85, which is 8 cents higher than yesterday, 5 cents cheaper than a month ago, but still over a dollar more than a year ago – the state’s lowest quote of $3.47 is in Bloomington with the highest price in Chicago at $4.49 – our area prices range from $3.55 to $3.70.

(OLNEY)  Illinois colleges & universities are being put to the test as a new law allows the state to fund higher education institutions based on their student performance – the Governor says the idea is to increase accountability & improve student outcomes – the new law creates a commission that will develop a new performance system that focuses on course completion, maintaining the quality of current degree offerings, & rewarding institutions that advance the success of students who are at-risk academically or financially.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield – today is Senior Citizens Day / Scout Day with more livestock shows, tractor & truck pulls, & the Illinois Symphony in concert – tomorrow will be Agriculture Day with the grand champion junior livestock to be auctioned off at the Governor’s Sale of Champions, plus more harness racing, ITPA truck & tractor pulls, & in concert tomorrow night is Luke Bryan & Craig Campbell – Wednesday is Governor’s Day with more harness racing, tractor & truck pulls, & in concert that night, the Oak Ridge Boys with Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Band – not to mention all the carnival rides, fair concessions, Conservation World, livestock displays, commodity displays & more – admission is at $5 per person for those 13 & older – for more, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.

(OLNEY)  Congratulations to a Richland County man who last Friday was named as the 2011 “County Fair Person of the Year” – it was at the Illinois State Fair that Bill Jennings of Olney was recognized with the award presented by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs – Jennings was noted for his 40 years of involvement with the Richland County Fair and over 35 years of working with the IAAF – Jennings has been the President of the Richland County Farm & Fair Association for the past 36 years, since 1975.

(NEWTON)  Jasper County landowners are reminded that the 2010 payable 2011 real estate taxes first of two installments is due today – property owners have several options to make their payments by the close of office hours this afternoon : in person at the County Office Building either inside the offices or by using the drive-up window, all during regular office hours : by mail, to the Treasurer’s Office, with a self-addressed, stamped, envelope for the returned receipt : by using the drop box, located on the west side of the County Office Building, near the drive-up window, available 24 hours a day : or by making payments at the various area banks in Newton & Ste. Marie : if any questions, call or stop by the County Treasurer’s Office.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Police are investigating a Saturday morning traffic accident that occurred in Jasper County – 38 year old Ronald Collins of Noble reportedly fell asleep while approaching the Main Street / Mound Street intersection in Ste. Marie and his vehicle ran into the vehicle of 31 year old Amanda Kuhl of Ste. Marie, who was stopped at a stop sign – the State Police ticketed Collins for improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and for operating an uninsured vehicle – both drivers were transported to Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney for treatment of their respective injuries.

(XENIA)  Clay County authorities are investigating the death of a Xenia man – 81 year old Clinton “Junior” Nash was reportedly helping clean-out a grain bin on his farm this past Saturday morning when he fell inside the bin, striking the concrete floor – emergency personnel transported Nash to Clay County Hospital where he was life-lighted to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, where he died later that evening – funeral services are planned for tomorrow morning, with the visitation set for this evening in Flora.

(OLNEY)  The Olney City Council has a special meeting tonight at Olney City Hall, starting at 7:00, mostly to hear input about the recently proposed Sports Complex Development in Olney’s Musgrove Park – the Council will also discuss the Joint Dispatch issue, plus have a closed session to talk about personnel, the appointment & compensation of specific employees – most of the meeting tonight will be in open session.

REMINDERS 
    The Richland County SWCD will host a “pond demonstration” a week from tomorrow, on Tuesday, the 23rd, northwest of Olney – a IDNR fisheries biologist will take part – all are invited to mark your calendar
    Ralph Carter’s 18th annual benefit “poker run” is this coming Saturday with signup at 10:00 at the Olney American Legion – bikes out at 12 noon – then food, auction, & live band to follow – proceeds to benefit the of 4 year old Julia White who is battling Lukemia – all vehicles are welcome to come & help out
    A fundraising “porkburger cookout” is set for this Saturday from 10:30 til 1:30 at the KC Hall in Newton – plus a benefit raffle drawing at 2:00 with over 50 items available – tickets on sale at the Newton IGA or the Red Rooster Truck Stop in Olney – proceeds to both Gail & Gary Wilson with their medical expenses
    The Jasper County Health Department will host an immunization clinic tomorrow from 10:00 til 6:30 at in Newton – records required if previous shots received elsewhere – call for an appointment at 783-4436
    It’s a “Back to School Cookout” on the Lawrenceville City Square tonight from 5:30 until 7:30 with free hot dogs & drinks – sponsored by Cra-Wa-La ViP, Inc – all Lawrence County citizens are invited
    The next area blood drive is today at the Olney Fire Department from 2:00 until 7:00 with all types of blood very much needed – other drives this week : Wednesday in Robinson : Thursday in Oblong : Friday again in Olney : and this coming Sunday in both Wendelin & Ste Marie : all are urged to get out & give
    The RMH Auxiliary has a fundraising “book fair” today from 9:00 until 3:30 – all are invited to stop by Richland Memorial Hospital and see what’s available – all proceeds to the Auxiliary & it’s project work

August 13, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  An upper level disturbance will slide southeast today reaching the Ohio River Valley by later tonight – this could bring us our chance of scattered showers & storms, but ending by late tonight – then it’s cooler air in place for Sunday & Monday – maybe more rain chances next Tuesday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield – today is Local Officials Day with various livestock shows, a fiddle & banjo contest, the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes harness race, the ISOBA Fair races, & on stage tonight is 3 Doors Down with Safety Suit – tomorrow will be Veterans Day, when all Veterans & their families are admitted to the fairgrounds for free – there are more livestock judging, plus it’s Jason Aldean, Chris Young, & Thompson Square all in concert tomorrow night – then Monday is being noted as Senior Citizens Day / Scout Day with more livestock shows, tractor & truck pulls, & the Illinois Symphony in concert – not to mention all the carnival rides, fair concessions, Conservation World, & more – admission is at $5 per person for those 13 & older – for more, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.

(OLNEY)  Congratulations to a Richland County man who yesterday was named as the 2011 “County Fair Person of the Year” – it was at the Illinois State Fair that Bill Jennings of Olney was recognized with the award presented by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs – Jennings was noted for his 40 years of involvement with the Richland County Fair and over 35 years of working with the IAAF – Jennings has been the President of the Richland County Farm & Fair Association for the past 36 years, since 1975.

(NEWTON)  Jasper County landowners are reminded that the 2010 payable 2011 real estate taxes first of two installments is due this coming Monday, August 15th – property owners have several options to make their payments : in person, either in the County Office Building or by using the drive-up window, all during regular office hours : by mail, to the Treasurer’s Office, with a self-addressed, stamped, envelope for the returned receipt : by using the drop box, located on the west side of the County Office Building, near the drive-up window, available 24 hours a day : & by making payments at the various area banks in Newton & Ste. Marie : for additional information or if any questions, call or stop by the County Treasurer’s Office.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Highway Department yesterday applied the final coat of heavy oil to three stretches of County Highway #10, west of Olney – these portions of Seven Hills Lane, North Timber Trail Road, & Pleasant Ridge Lane will be barricaded all this weekend to allow the heavy oil treatment to soak into the roadway – crews will cover it on the first of next week – motorists should use alternate routes.

REMINDERS 
    The next area blood drive is this coming Monday at the Olney Fire Department from 2:00 until 7:00 with all types of blood very much needed – other drives will be held next week in Robinson, Oblong, & Olney
    The annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show continues on the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Oblong – it’s a farm toy show & parade of power both today & tomorrow, plus a Sunday car show & concessions
    The Effingham County Fair is wrapping up in Altamont – it’s the special car soccer this afternoon at 2:00 and the popular demolition derby tonight at 6:30 – carnival rides, concessions, & more all thru tonight
    The White Squirrel Cruisers’ have their fourth of five “Drag Olney Main Street Cruises” this evening with registration in the TrustBank parking lot at 5:45 – the cruise begins at 6:30 – all are invited
    The Richland County Sheriff’s Posse has a fundraising cookout today at the Olney IGA, with serving from 10:00 until 2:00 – that’s porkburgers, brats, & drinks – proceeds towards club projects
    The annual Noble Chowder is today in the Village Park in Noble – chowder will be served from 11:00 until it’s all gone – also fried chicken, porkburgers, desserts, & live entertainment for all  :  the Noble Boy Scouts have a fundraising “car wash” today in front of the Firehouse in Noble, from 9:00 til 1:00
    The “M.S. Join the Movement” Mud Bog Run is this morning at the corner of Meridian Road & Radio Tower Lane, near Olney – signup for off-road trucks & ATV’s at 9:00 – plenty of concessions
    The Main Street Farmer’s Market is this morning from now until 11:00 in downtown Olney, just north of the Main Street / Whittle Avenue intersection – fresh produce & more available to the public
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has a fundraising “country breakfast” this morning from 8:00 til 10:00 at the Old Ruritan Building – the $5 tickets at the door – carryouts will be available
    And while out and about this weekend – make sure you “buckle up” and observe all those “rules of the road” while traveling throughout South Central and Southeastern Illinois

August 12, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A large area of high pressure will again dominate much of the midwest today, but a low pressure system across the plains will spread showers & storms across our area late tonight thru tomorrow night – then look for a dry & pleasant Sunday with the next chance of rain next Tuesday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign just over $538,000 thru a research grant, aimed at developing cutting-edge nuclear energy technologies & training, all to educate the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry – it’s part of up to $39 million in total grants awarded to support 51 different projects at colleges & universities around America.
 
(OLNEY)  Governor Quinn has signed legislation to help the trucking industry operate more efficiently in Illinois – the new law requires local governments to provide the most up-to-date truck route information for the Illinois Department of Transportation to post online, making it easier for truck drivers to pick routes that comply with local ordinances & provide the most efficient way to transport goods – takes effect in 2012.
 
(NEWTON)  A bill introduced by State Representative David Reis has been signed into law, expanding the list of mandated child abuse reporters to include medical employees at abortion clinics – under the new law, volunteers to medical professionals working in an abortion clinic or office will be informed of child abuse reporting laws & know what steps to take if child neglect is suspected – it’s in response to a sting operation conducted in New Jersey last year, where such information was not reported to the proper authorities.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Board met in regular session last night – the Board  :  approved a one year contract offer from the Laborer’s Union, representing the courthouse employees – the agreement, which expires at the end of November, includes an undisclosed lump sum bonus settlement  :  appointed Mark Lambird & Jessica Buckels as county reps on the Greater Wabash Regional Planning Commission  :  approved a recommendation from the County’s insurance carrier to increase the yearly premium by $109 for terrorism coverage  :  noted that the County Highway Department will look into hiring a part-time worker to replace a recent retiree  :  noted the Animal Control Shelter is looking to hire part-time help, plus noted the Shelter’s roof is in dire need of repair  :  heard an update on the new Joint Dispatch Center, which was fired up for the first time this past Tuesday night  :  and also discussed the Olney-Noble Airport & it’s local funding thru taxes – more details next month  :  the Board’s next regular meeting is September 8th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Board met last night – the Board  :  after an 83-minute closed session, voted 9 to 3, to pay recent county retirees for 11 days of vacation time, 7 days of which were already paid at retirement  :  on an 11 to 1 vote, approved a $5,000 one-year contract with Bruce Harris & Associates for consulting services in the county’s GIS mapping process  :  approved a contract with Olney Central College to provide the county with an intern worker  :  took no action on discussion about a possible dispatch center & courthouse security improvements  :  noted that roof repair materials have arrived for the courthouse  :  set up a Procurement Committee to review requests for engineering & legal services for the county  :  noted the soil cement work on Hatchery Road begins next week  :  noted the concrete is being poured at the Blue Northern Biodiesel Plant in Newton with production next spring  :  next meeting will be September 8th.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Highway Department is today applying a final coating of heavy oil to three stretches of County Highway #10, west of Olney – these portions of Seven Hills Lane, North Timber Trail Road, & Pleasant Ridge Lane will be barricaded all weekend long to allow the heavy oil treatment to soak into the roadway, then crews will cover it on the first of next week – motorists should use alternate routes.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair is officially underway in Springfield – today is County Fair & Horse Racing Day as more than 70 county fair queens and 105 fairs & expositions from across the state will be represented during this opening day – tomorrow will be Local Officials Day and Sunday is Veterans Day – admission is at $5 per person for those 13 & older – for more, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.

(OLNEY) The White Squirrel Cruisers’ have their fourth of five “Drag Olney Main Street Cruises” coming up this Saturday, August 13th, with a goal to have at least 50 to 100 cars, trucks, & motorcycles taking part – participants can register at the downtown TrustBank parking lot starting at 5:45, with the cruise to begin at 6:30 with least six full rounds of dragging main – all are invited this Saturday night in downtown Olney.

(EFFINGHAM)  The Effingham County Fair continues in Altamont – it’s country music star Craig Morgan in concert tonight, followed by car soccer tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 and the popular demolition derby tomorrow night at 6:30 – carnival rides, concessions, & much more all continuing thru tomorrow night.

REMINDERS 
    The annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show starts tonight with an antique tractor pull – then a farm toy show & parade of power both tomorrow & Sunday, plus a Sunday car show & concessions – all in Oblong
    The Richland County Sheriff’s Posse has a fundraising cookout tomorrow at the Olney IGA, with serving from 10:00 until 2:00 – that’s porkburgers, bratswurst, & drinks – proceeds towards club projects
    The annual Noble Chowder is tomorrow in the Village Park in Noble – chowder will be served from 11:00 until it’s all gone – also fried chicken, porkburgers, desserts, & live entertainment for all  :  the Noble Boy Scouts have a fundraising “car wash” tomorrow in front of the Firehouse in Noble, from 9:00 til 1:00
    The “M.S. Join the Movement” Mud Bog Run is tomorrow morning at the corner of Meridian Road & Radio Tower Lane, near Olney – signup for off-road trucks & ATV’s at 9:00 – plenty of concessions
    The Main Street Farmer’s Market is tomorrow morning from 7:00 til 11:00 in downtown Olney, just north of the Main Street / Whittle Avenue intersection – fresh produce & more available to the public
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has a fundraising “country breakfast” tomorrow morning from 8:00 til 10:00 at the Old Ruritan Building – the $5 tickets at the door – carryouts will be available
    The Richland County Farmer’s Market is today in the Olney City Park, under the pole barns, from 12 noon until 5:00 – it’s farm fresh produce, baked items, & more available to the public this afternoon
    The next regular meeting of the Joint Emergency Dispatch Service Board is this morning at the County Jail meeting room, starting at 9:00 – the regular agenda is in place for the JEDS meeting this morning

August 11, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  The high pressure ridge set up over the Midwest will slide eastward across Illinois today as our dry & cool conditions continue thru tomorrow – an approaching low pressure system will move thru with our next chance of rain Friday night thru Saturday night – then dry & pleasant Sunday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The Governor was busy yesterday : he signed a new law that deals with recycling electronics – with the idea to keep toxic materials out of landfills, the law requires manufacturers to recycle electronic products, adding computer items to the list : the Governor’s also pushing to end the controversial legislative scholarship program, which for years, many say, benefits campaign donors and not those that need it.

(OLNEY)  With the Illinois State Fair set to kickoff with it’s Twilight Parade tonight in Springfield, the Fair’s “Butter Cow”, or at least the portion of it that’s done, will be unveiled by sculptor Sharon BuMann this afternoon in the Fairground’s Dairy Building – unlike past years when the sculpture is completed when the fair starts, this year the sculptor will work thru next week, giving fairgoers a chance to watch – the State Fair starts tomorrow & runs thru August 21st – for more on the fair, go online at www.illinoisstatefair.info.

(NEWTON)  Former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is the new chairman of the Illinois Community College Board – he’ll oversee more than 300 community colleges throughout the state – Giannoulias says he’ll shift focus now from student enrollment to keeping students in school, better preparing them for work.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Police Department is announcing new procedures in dealing with business phone calls & walk-in visitors at the OPD office – it was Tuesday that the Department’s telecommunicators & dispatch equipment made the move to the new Dispatch Center at the County Detention Center – therefore, the old Police Department emergency phone lines, 393-2921 and 393-2922, are still working and are being re-routed to the new Dispatch Center – meanwhile, the public is still encouraged to dial 9-1-1 for any type of emergency – on the other hand, the Police Department’s business phone lines, 395-8481 and 395-8482, will ring in the OPD’s office, but no longer answered around the clock – the same is true for the Police Chief’s phone line, 393-2923 – to serve the walk-in traffic, a phone in the front lobby will ring into the new Dispatch Center, with instructions to be relayed back to the OPD office – the Olney Police Department wants to thank the public in advance for its patience during this time of change in Olney & at the OPD.

(NEWTON)  A reminder to area men & women in the outdoors – next Monday, the 15th, is the deadline to apply for the second lottery drawing for 2011 Illinois firearm & muzzleloader deer permits – plus various wingshooting clinics are being held this month & next for first time shooters or those wanting to improve – deer permit details & a schedule of wingshooting clinics are on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.il.us.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois State Police report a Lawrence County traffic accident seriously injured a Knox County, Indiana Sheriff’s Deputy – 53 year old Dwight Keyes of Vincennes had his squad car hit by a car driven by 82 year old Marion Selby – Keyes was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital – Selby was ticketed for failure to yield while turning – the wreck occurred yesterday morning at the intersection of Routes 33 & 50.

(OLNEY)  Area authorities are also releasing information about DNA testing and it’s link to a Lawrence County man currently in prison – 31 year old Terry Pinkstaff of Lawrenceville stole a Mt. Erie area tractor and abandoned it later near Sumner in his escape after stabbing a woman last year – the DNA testing from a t-shirt left behind led police to Pinkstaff, who’s now serving a 14 year prison term for attempted murder.

(NEWTON)  The registration for students in the Jasper County School District finishes today at the Newton Community High School, from 11:30 this morning until 7:00 tonight – while the high school students will signup in the Business Department, the elementary & junior high students will signup in the NCHS cafeteria – that’s registration thru this evening for all Jasper County students at Newton Community High School.

(EFFINGHAM)  The Effingham County Fair continues in Altamont – it’s the fair’s rodeo tonight at 7:30, with country music star, Craig Morgan, in concert tomorrow night – and to wrap things up, it’s car soccer at 2:00 Saturday afternoon, followed by the popular demolition derby Saturday night at 6:30 – that’s all at the 2011 Effingham County Fair, with carnival rides, concessions, & much more all thru this coming weekend.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Board has its regular monthly meeting tonight at 7:30 in the County Office Building in Newton – the agenda includes the monthly committee reports, along with a long list of “new business” items & other discussion – there’s no “old business” items – a closed session is on the agenda.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Board has its regular monthly meeting tonight at 7:00 in the County Jail meeting room – the agenda includes the regular reports & updates as provided by county office-holders, plus other “old & new business” items – the Board’s Finance Committee will have its monthly meeting prior to the regular full Board meeting, starting at 5:30, also in the County Jail meeting room as well.

REMINDERS 
    The next area blood drive will be next Monday, the 15th, at the Olney Fire Department, from 2:00 til 7:00 that afternoon & evening – other blood drives next week in Robinson, Oblong, & again back in Olney
    The 25th annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show starts tomorrow night with an antique tractor pull – then a farm toy show & parade of power both Saturday & Sunday, plus threshing, baling, a Sunday car show, & concessions – that’s all this weekend on the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Oblong
    It’s the 133rd year of the Old Settlers Reunion, just south of Iola – starting at 11:00 this Saturday, the many activities include a flea market, antique farm equipment, cars, & trucks, plus bingo, music, & food
    The Richland County Sheriff’s Posse has a fundraising cookout this Saturday at the Olney IGA, with serving from 10:00 until 2:00 – that’s porkburgers, bratswurst, & drinks – proceeds towards club projects
    The Noble Boy Scouts will have a fundraising “car wash” this coming Saturday in front of the Firehouse in Noble, right along Route 250 – stop by from 9:00 until 1:00, have your vehicle washed for a good cause
    The local Farmer’s Market in Noble is today, from 3:00 until 7:00, in the Village Park – that’s farm fresh produce & many other items available to the public – later today in the Village Park in Noble

August 10, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  While that second cold front moved thru the region overnight & a high pressure ridge hovers over the upper Midwest, an upper level disturbance will move thru by tomorrow morning, giving us a slight chance of a scattered shower thru tonight – then dry until maybe Saturday – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  The State Treasurer is hoping he has money that belongs to you as Dan Rutherford is setting up shop at the State Fair, where people can come find out if the state owes them money thru the Treasurer’s “Cash Dash” program – the state wants to return the more than $1.5 billion in assets to the rightful owners – at a recent “Cash Dash” event, about 10% of the people there found they had money coming to them.

(OLNEY)  Daily trading limits on corn futures & options are going up 10 cents per bushel – the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved the increase, which was proposed by the CME Group last month – the current trade value is 30 cents per bushel with the new increase to take effect on August 22nd, a week from next Monday – some grain handlers around the state were against the move for various reasons.

(NEWTON)  The Mayor of Champaign is getting some national recognition – Mayor Don Gerard is on MTV’s list of top five musicians who have political credentials – Gerard spent nearly 20 years as a rock & roll artist, sharing the stage with the likes of Sheryl Crow & others – the late U.S. Congressman Sonny Bono has also been recognized by MTV for his musical & political contributions to the United States.

(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met earlier this week – the Board  :  approved the bid of $3,072 to replace the village’s master water meter  :  approved the bid of $900 to repair a water line leak along South Noble Avenue – includes boring & the replacing the galvanized pipe with plastic  :  approved the bid from TAR Excavating of $2,755 to remove a tree stump & replace 109 feet of sidewalk along U.S. Route 250, in front of the Summers-Kistler Funeral Home – TAR will also provide estimates for other sidewalk work in the village as well  :  agreed to sell 4.5 acres of village property located on Ida Street  :  took no action on discussion to develop an ordinance against 4-wheelers within the village limits  :  also took no action on the possible Sunday sales of alcohol within the village  :  talked about selling and/or trading various equipment items  :  noted the Noble Chowder this Saturday  :  the Board’s next regular meeting is August 22nd at 7:00.

(NEWTON)  The investigation continues in Newton at the Evapco Plant on the east side of town as the Monday night fire did some major damage to the Plant’s warehouse facility – authorities say no one was inside the building when a small explosion turned into a fire – the Wade Community Fire Protection District issued a call for mutual aid & were assisted in battling the blaze by firemen from Noble-Wakefield, Olney, Montrose, Robinson, Oblong, Dieterich, Yale, Crooked Creek, Teutopolis, Effingham, & others – the cause of the evening fire is currently under investigation, headed up by the State Fire Marshall’s Office.

(OLNEY)  Olney Central College and the other IECC schools are still registering students for the fall semester classes – OCC is again offering free GED classes and Constitution classes, on both Tuesday & Thursday evenings, with the books all free as well – various other courses are also available, including massage therapy, collision repair, & others – call or stop by the OCC Student Services Office or go online at www.iecc.edu for further information or details – the fall semester classes begin on August 22nd.

(NEWTON)  Once again, hot & dry weather conditions remained prevalent across the state as the USDA released its weekly Crop Report yesterday – statewide precipitation averaged less than a half inch (0.44), less than half the normal rainfall of nearly an inch – the state’s average temperature last week was 80.3 degrees, almost 7 degrees above normal – the state’s corn & soybean crops continue to develop, despite some much needed rain  :  area farmers report nearly all the corn crop is silking, with over two-thirds in the dough stage & now 20% starting to dent – over 90% of the local soybeans are blooming, with half the beans now setting pods – area soil moisture levels are mostly adequate, with over half now short to very short.

(NEWTON)  The registration for students in the Jasper County School District is today & tomorrow at Newton Community High School – it’s from 9:00 to 5:00 today or from 11:30 to 7:00 tomorrow – while the high school students will signup in the Business Department, the elementary & junior high students will signup in the NCHS cafeteria – that’s registration today & tomorrow at Newton Community High School.

(EFFINGHAM)  The Effingham County Fair continues in Altamont – it’s more tractor, truck, antique tractor, & semi-truck pulling tonight at 6:00, followed by the fair’s rodeo tomorrow night at 7:30 – then it’s country music star, Craig Morgan, in concert Friday night – by the way, congratulations to the new Miss Effingham County Fair Queen, Melissa Mellendorf, crowned last night by retiring queen Christin Hartke – that’s the Effingham County Fair, with 4-H shows, carnival rides, food, & more all the rest of this week.

REMINDERS 
    The 25th annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show is this Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, on the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Oblong – it starts with the Friday night antique tractor pull, then the farm toy show & parade of power both Saturday & Sunday, plus threshing, baling, a Sunday car show, & concessions
    The annual Noble Chowder is this coming Saturday in the Village Park in Noble – chowder will be served from 11:00 until it’s all gone – also fried chicken, porkburgers, desserts, & live entertainment for all
    The “M.S. Join the Movement” Mud Bog Run is this Saturday morning at the corner of Meridian Road & Radio Tower Lane, near Olney – signup for off-road trucks & ATV’s at 9:00 – plenty of concessions
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has a fundraising “country breakfast” this Saturday morning from 8:00 til 10:00 at the Old Ruritan Building – the $5 tickets at the door – carryouts will be available
    Two meetings are tomorrow night : the Richland County Board meets at 7:00 in the County Jail meeting room in Olney : the Jasper County Board meets at 7:30 in the County Office Building in Newton
    The Jasper County Health Department is still offering school physicals for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 6th & 9th graders, only for $10 – call the Department’s Offices today for an appointment this evening, at 783-4436