LOCAL NEWS

Local News

January 19, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure storm system will move over Illinois with snow expected by tonight, then continuing thru the day tomorrow before ending by late Thursday night – it will be followed by a blast of arctic air for the day & night on Friday, remaining cold for the weekend ahead – listen for updates.
 
(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has a “winter weather advisory” in effect for midnight tonight thru tomorrow night – not only can Jasper, Richland, and surrounding counties expect anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of snow by tomorrow night, but it will be followed by bitterly cold air moving in with wind chill readings well below zero for Friday & Friday night – at this time, it appears the heavier amount of snow is anticipated along the I-70 corridor – those planning to travel should take the needed precautions.
 
(OLNEY)  Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will likely act on their “number one priority” today in our nation’s capital – that’s repealing the Affordable Care Act – Congressman John Shimkus of our 19th Congressional District, says the healthcare system puts too much power in the government’s hands.
 
(NEWTON)  In an effort to overcome childhood obesity, the USDA is looking to revamp school lunches – new guidelines would call for lower fat meals with larger servings of fruit, vegetables, & whole grains – the proposed change is expected by this summer after the USDA receives feedback from school districts & parents – while the more nutritional foods will mean higher food costs, the USDA will subsidize the costs.
 
(OLNEY) The USDA's annual fall crop summary is out : the production of corn in Illinois totaled 1.95 billion bushels in 2010, 5% less than 2009 – the final average yield was a disappointing 157 bushels per acre, 17 bushels below the year earlier : the final yield for 2010 soybeans was a record 51.5 bushels per acre, 5.5 bushels above the 2009 yield & breaking the previous record yield of 50 bushels per acre set in 2004 – the final bean production in 2010 was 8% more than 2009 : the state's final 2010 yield for grain sorghum was 96 bushels per acre, 14 bushels above 2009 with production 7% higher than 2009 : and production of all hay in 2010 was 1.92 million tons, 4% less than in 2009 – alfalfa hay production was down 3% : last fall’s winter wheat seedings are a 124% increase from the fall seeding in 2009.

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met last night – the Council : approved pay estimate #6 to Kieffer Brothers Construction in the amount of $171,450 for work on the city’s new water treatment plant – the project is at least two-thirds complete at this time : approved pay estimate #9, in the amount of $73,422 to Henkels & McCoy for recent work on the city’s Electric Distribution System Upgrade project : on a 5 to 2 vote, passed a motion to approve the Wholesale Electric Distribution Services Agreement with Ameren : approved the grant application for disaster recovery funds with the original amount increased by $15,000 : approved a $3,280 purchase order to clean the city’s south water tower : took no other action after a 17 minute closed session to discuss litigation, personnel, & real estate : next regular meeting is February 1st.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met in regular session last night – the Board : heard a timeline update of events dealing with the District’s short & long term in the reorganization of schools : on a 5 to 1 vote, approved fuel bids for the 2011-2012 school year with Wabash Valley Service Company : took no action on construction or architectural contracts until further review : accepted letters of retirement from Roma Conour effective at the end of this school year, from Deb Meinhart & Jeannie Nix both effective at the end of the 2014-2015 school year : took no other action after an over four hour closed session to talk about personnel, collective negotiations, & property : the Board’s next regular meeting is February 22nd.

(EFFINGHAM)  A Troy, Illinois man has been charged with two counts of first degree murder, with two counts of attempted first degree murder, and two counts of aggravated battery – 46 year old Gary Schmitt, formerly of Effingham, was originally arrested for the stabbing of 43 year old Kimberly "Jodi" Bourland at her Edgewood home this past Sunday, plus the stabbing of the women's 15 year old unidentified daughter – it was then during a police interview that Schmitt admitted to the killing of his father, 72 year old Jack Schmitt, at his home in Effingham, in June of last year – the mother & daughter are recovering from their wounds at Carle Hospital in Urbana while Schmitt remains in the Effingham County Jail pending his next court hearing this Friday morning – Schmitt met up with Bourland over an internet “facebook” page.
 
(OLNEY)  Cellular One of East Central Illinois is celebrating its 20th year in 2011 – the company's stores in Olney, Newton, & elsewhere will host a celebration tomorrow from 11:00 until 6:00, inviting one & all to join in the festivities, featuring refreshments, door prizes, special offers, & more – the company turned on its first cellular towers in mid-January of 1991 and opened its doors for business shortly thereafter – the 61 cell towers and 106 employees serve 11 different counties, ranging from Danville to Olney & all between – stop by the stores in Olney, Newton, or any of the other ten locations to help Cell One celebrate tomorrow.

REMINDERS
    Entries are needed for the “Rotary Trivia Marathon” set for Sunday, February 13th, at The Holiday – teams of four compete for fun & prizes as local businesses, churches, & friends are urged to challenge one another in the fundraising effort – cost at $10 per person – it’s free to spectators – call today at 393-2153
    The next area blood drive is this coming Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Parish Center in Ste. Marie, from 8:00 til 12 noon – with all types of blood needed, all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to donate
    The Christy Fire Protection District has a fundraising “ham & bean” day this Saturday, with serving from 10:00 til 2:00, at the Community Club Building in Chauncey – donations accepted at the door
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has a fundraising “country breakfast & bake sale” this Saturday from 8:00 til 10:00 at the Old Ruritan Building – carryouts available - $5 tickets on sale at the door
    There are two meetings tomorrow night : the East Richland School Board has its regular monthly meeting Thursday night at 7:00 in the Administrative Office board room : the Richland County Board has a special meeting Thursday night at 5:30 in the County Jail meeting room to discuss the “joint dispatch” issue alone
    It’s not too late to RSVP for tomorrow’s “Lunch with Labor” seminar at The Holiday in Olney – from 10:00 until 2:00, Department of Labor reps will touch on several topics – the $15 fee will include lunch – call or stop by the Olney & Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce Office now

January 18, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure storm system, followed by a cold front, will roll thru the upper Midwest today with mostly rain on tap – then falling temperatures this afternoon with rain possibly mixed with snow before ending – after a dry Wednesday, maybe some significant snow on Thursday – stay tuned for updates.

(OLNEY)  Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation yesterday that offers statewide businesses a $2,500 tax credit if they provide full time employment for those who worked in the state’s “Put Illinois To Work” program – more than 26,000 people were employed in the temporary program which ended last week.
 
(NEWTON)  Former State Representative Careen Gordon’s new job will be on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board – she says it’s a coincidence that the appointment was made right after she ended her legislative career last week as a member of the “lame duck” session – Gordon says she asked Governor Quinn about the possible appointment after she lost her re-election bid in November – she did vote for the tax increase.
 
(OLNEY)  The acting Director of the Illinois State Police could be out of a job – appointed by Governor Quinn over 22 months ago, Jonathon Monken has never been confirmed by the State Senate, and since the nomination is no longer valid, Monken is no longer required to receive a state salary – however, there are 37 other state office holders that have not received Senate confirmation over the past year & a half as well.
 
(NEWTON)  CARF International has announced ARC Community Support Systems has been accredited for a period of three years for its Community Housing, Integration, & Supported Living programs, plus its other Community Employment programs as well – this latest accreditation is the 12th consecutive Three Year Accreditation awarded to ARC-CSS – established in 1962 and based in Teutopolis, ARC-CSS is a not-for-profit organization providing services to those with developmental disabilities in our area.
 
(OLNEY)  Richland County Sheriff Andy Hires will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a local student who plans to pursue higher education during the 2011-2012 academic year – applications are available at the Sheriff’s office or online at www.il.sheriff.org – all paperwork must be turned in to the Sheriff’s office in the student’s permanent county of residence by March 11th – call the Sheriff’s office or the local high school guidance office – the Illinois Sheriff’s Association will award over $53,000 in scholarships this next year.

(NEWTON)  Mark your calendars as the 2011 Taste of Jasper County is quickly approaching, coming up three weeks from this Friday, set for February 11th – sponsored by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, the event is an opportunity to help bring attention to all the great products & services available in Jasper County – space is limited for area businesses, and it’s available on a first come, first serve, basis – the Taste of Jasper County, February 11th, from 5:00 til 7:00 that evening, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton – for further information or details, call or stop by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Department of Labor will host an informational seminar “Lunch with Labor” at The Holiday in Olney, this Thursday, from 10:00 until 2:00 – representatives from the State and U.S. Labor Departments will be on hand to discuss the Illinois State Plan & the new OSHA standards, plus safety & health requirements, the Victims’ Economic Security & Safety Act, and more – the $15 fee includes lunch – call the Olney & Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce Office now – there’s still time to RSVP.

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council meets tonight in regular session, starting at 6:00 – with several items under Old Business, the Council will consider one New Business item and review a report from the city’s Finance Committee – as always, tonight’s meeting at the Newton City Hall is open to the public.

REMINDERS
    Entries are needed for the “Rotary Trivia Marathon” set for Sunday, February 13th, at The Holiday – teams of four compete for fun & prizes as local businesses, churches, & friends are urged to challenge one another in the fundraising effort – cost at $10 per person – it’s free to spectators – call today at 393-2153
    The Olney American Legion has another “fish fry” set for this Friday night, with serving from 5:30 until 7:00 – tickets on sale at the door and carryouts are available – all ages are invited
    The Jasper County “Relay For Life” Committee team meeting will be held this evening at the Central Christian Church in Newton, starting at 5:30 – those supporting this year’s event are urged to attend
    The Jasper County Health Department will have its next immunization clinic today, from 10:00 this morning until 6:30 this evening – for details or to signup, call the Newton Offices at 618-783-4436
    The Olney & Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce has its monthly luncheon today at Ty’s Buffet from 12 noon until 1:00 – guest speakers are the Citizens For A Greener Olney

January 17, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system across the upper Midwest & an approaching cold front from the west will roll thru Illinois by midweek – it will be mostly a rain event for areas south of I-70. although some areas of freezing rain or sleet are possible – then colder air and maybe some snow Thursday – listen for updates.

(OLNEY)  The National Weather Service now is calling for possible slick roadways as an approaching storm system could bring a mixture of snow, sleet, & freezing rain to our area, but with a slight warmup this afternoon & evening, the precip will mostly change over to all rain as the temperatures hold steady well above freezing in the overnight hours – then some snow as the front moves thru with colder air tomorrow or tomorrow night – all motorists should be alert to possible slick conditions thru early this afternoon.

(NEWTON)  In his "week in review" report, State Senator John O. Jones says it's politics as usual in Springfield as the “lame duck” 96th General Assembly approved a massive 67% tax hike last Tuesday before the new 97th General Assembly was sworn into office last Wednesday – the new law, signed by the Governor last Thursday, raises Illinois' personal income tax rate from 3% to 5% & the corporate tax rate from 4.8% to 7% – the personal tax will drop from the 5% to 4% in 2015 – some say the "spending caps" in the new law are too generous and that within 5 years time, another budget deficit will plague the state.

(OLNEY)  Ameren Illinois says customers can save money by becoming more energy efficient – by joining “The Act on Energy : Take the Pledge” campaign, customers pledge to take action to reduce energy usage – the grand-prize winner will win an Energy Star appliance valued up to $2,000 while second place wins a $300 gift card and third place gets a $100 gift card – go online for details, at www.ActOnEnergy.com.
 
(OLNEY)  The investigation continues today into a Richland County crash that occurred shortly before 8:00 Saturday morning in Olney – State Police say 19 year old Lauren Gillum of Clay City was southbound on Route 130 near Mack Avenue when he apparently fell asleep, causing his vehicle to leave the roadway, hit a ditch enbankment, & became airborne before overturning twice & landing in a ditch – Gillum was ejected from the vehicle – he was taken to Richland Memorial Hospital, then airlifted to an Evansville hospital.
 
(NEWTON)  The USDA Farm Service Agency is reminding qualified livestock owners with 2010 losses that they must file an application for payment no later than January 31st, two weeks from today – the Livestock Indemnity Program provides assistance to eligible livestock owners & contract growers for eligible livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality, due to adverse weather such as flooding, blizzards, disease, extreme heat, or extreme cold – call or stop by your respective FSA Office for details.
 
(OLNEY)  Champion Laboratories, Incorporated, has announced the appointment of Wolfgang Winzer to the position of President, a role where Winzer is now responsible for worldwide growth of leading filtration products from Champion Laboratories, including well-known brand names such as Champ, PetroClear, Kleener, & Luber-finer – Champ operates assembly line & warehouse facilities in Albion & West Salem.
 
(NEWTON)  Illinois’ new Miss County Fair Queen is from Henry County as Jackie Driscoll was crowned last night in Springfield – the first runner up is Miss Warren County, Marcela Gillen, and the second runner up is Miss Williamson County, Emily Travis – Miss Richland County, Chelsey Baker represented the area very well, as did the other area queens : Lawrence County’s Jayla Perrot : Clay County’s Brittany Arbuckle : Crawford County’s Lauren Midgett : Effingham County’s Christen Hartke : Clark County’s Kaysi Hilbert : White County’s Tailor Frymire : Marion County’s Darcy Phillips : Fayette County’s Amy Pippin : & Coles County’s Sadie Baird : the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs annual convention ended this morning.
 
(OLNEY)  It's on this third Monday of January that all area schools, banks, post offices, & federal offices, are closed across America to celebrate the birth, the life, and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – it's a time for the nation to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought – a time to remember his fight for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all races and peoples – and a time to remember the message of change thru nonviolence - join us at WVLN-WSEI-WIKK as we help keep alive Dr. King's "I have a dream" in 2011.

REMINDERS
    The East Richland High School JROTC has a fundraising “pancake breakfast” this Saturday morning at the Olney VFW, with serving from 6:30 til 10:30 – tickets will be on sale at the door
    It’s the first 2011 Friday night “fish fry” at the Olney Knights of Columbus is this Friday night, with serving from 5:00 til 7:30 – that’s each Friday night thru April 22nd – tickets at the door, plus carryouts
    The Jasper County “Relay For Life” Committee team meeting will be held tomorrow at the Central Christian Church in Newton, starting at 5:30 – those supporting this year’s event are urged to attend
    The Olney & Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce has its monthly luncheon tomorrow at Ty’s Buffet from 12 noon til 1:00 – guest speakers are the Citizens For A Greener Olney
    The Jasper County Health Department will have its next immunization clinic tomorrow, from 10:00 until 6:30 – for details or to signup, call the Newton Offices at 618-783-4436 on Monday

January 15, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system will push across the upper Midwest today, dragging a cold front along with it – that means a chance of snow flurries for us today thru late tonight, then some colder air in place tomorrow thru the first of next week – plus more wintry precip by next midweek – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  In state news – Governor Pat Quinn is preparing to convene his first meeting of the Midwest Governor’s Association next month in Washington, D.C. where he is certain to run into those neighboring Governors who’ve been throwing out comments about Illinois’ recent income tax hike – Governors from Wisconsin & Indiana have praised Illinois’ move as a catalyst for businesses to start looking at their states.

(NEWTON)  The Illinois Attorney General’s office is warning residents about a new wave of con artists who are going door-to-door offering quick & cheap driveway repairs – these scammers usually offer old & leftover asphalt to complete a job that most generally will not last – and in most all cases, the final bill is always much higher than quoted, plus in some cases the money is required before the work is even finished – state officials encourage folks to decline these offers and call your local police if these or other repairmen show up – it’s recommended to hire local & area contractors that provide local references of past work.

(OLNEY)  The Illinois Oil & Gas Association is making plans for its 65th annual Convention & Trade Show, set for next March 3rd & 4th at the Evansville, Indiana Convention Center – the IOGA office is now accepting nominations for the various awards which are presented annually as part of the Wildcatter Luncheon – those include the Service Person of the Year, Petroleum Professional of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Petroleum Professional Woman of the Year, & Wildcatter of the Year – plus a workshop in conjunction with the annual meeting will be held March 2nd with information presented on enhanced oil recovery in the Illinois basin – for more details or information, go online at www.ioga.com.

(OLNEY)  Statewide hunters are back at this weekend as it’s the final days of the late-winter antlerless-only firearm deer hunting season – that’s both today & tomorrow – the long-running bowhunting season for deer also will end tomorrow throughout Illinois – for more details, go online to the State DNR website.

(NOBLE)  A note to the residents of Noble who are customers of Republic Services – the trash pickup was delayed yesterday, due to sickness – Republic planned to finish the normal Friday trash collection in Noble yesterday, however if not, the trash collection will be finished this morning throughout the village.

REMINDERS
    The Jasper County “Relay For Life” Committee team meeting will be held next Tuesday at the Central Christian Church in Newton, starting at 5:30 – those supporting this year’s event are urged to attend
    The Jasper County Health Department will have its next immunization clinic next Tuesday, from 10:00 until 6:30 – for details or to signup, call the Newton Offices at 618-783-4436 on Monday
    The Claremont Community Center has a fundraising “fish fry” this evening, with serving from 5:30 until 7:00, or until sold out – tickets on sale at the door – adults & children are all invited
    The Olney FFA Alumni are serving up breakfast this morning from now until 12 noon in the Cafeteria at East Richland High School – tickets at the door – also a 50/50 drawing – proceeds to support the FFA
    And as always – make sure you buckle up and observe all the “rules of the road” as you travel throughout Southeastern and South Central Illinois

January 14, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As an area of high pressure moves off to the east, a slight warmup will move our weekend temperatures to near normal for January – an approaching low pressure system moving over the upper Midwest will bring us some snow or maybe light rain by tomorrow night – then colder and dry again for Sunday into the first of next week – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  Statewide workers will see the impact of the new income tax increase as soon as they get their next paycheck – a family of four earning $50,000 a year will pay an additional $840 a year – those making $100,000 a year will see an increase of $1,840 – some believe the tax hike will have the greatest impact on those who make $30,000 or less – Governor Quinn signed the newly approved tax hike into law yesterday.

(OLNEY)  Illinois’ Teacher of the Year is now a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year Award – Annice Brave, an English & Journalism teacher at the Alton High School for over 20 years, will complete against educators from Florida, Maryland, & Montana for the national honor to be announced in May.

(NEWTON)  Scott Air Force Base will be in the television spotlight tonight – the base, located near the Metro East Area, will be featured on “Modern Marvels,” a show that airs on the History Channel – starting at 8:00 tonight, the show will highlight how workers at the base ship military goods worldwide.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Board met last night – the Board : heard from several residents concerned about the county’s Animal Control program – the Board recently agreed to possibly renegotiate it’s current contract with the City of Olney in dealing with Animal Control : agreed to opt-out of the State’s E-Citation program since no real benefit would return to Richland County : approved the IDOT resolution to free up MFT funds for county road maintenance : discussed the “joint dispatch” & likely will set a special meeting for further discussion next week : noted that Sheriff Hires will pursue the use of part-time personnel since two Deputies are currently serving in our Armed Forces overseas : next regular meeting is February 10th.

(OLNEY)  The Olney man responsible for stabbing two people at Mark’s Sunset Manor in Olney this past Tuesday morning remains in jail – 45 year old Ralph Holle, Jr. has been charged with aggravated battery & is considered innocent until proven guilty – while names are still being withheld, officials say it was the facility’s Director of Nursing and a Maintenance worker that were stabbed, but both were discharged from the hospital as of last night – the investigation continues by the Olney Police & the State’s Attorney.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Board met last night – the Board : on a 7 to 5 vote, accepted the Health Insurance proposal from Aetna, which has partnered with the company PHCS, to provide services to county employees : recognized six former employees for their previous years of work as they retired last year in 2010 : approved a resolution to support an E.J. Water grant proposal for a water field & more : also approved a resolution to place a county highway materials tax question on the April 5th ballot : agreed to raise fees thru the Solid Waste Committee for the dumping of private loads : noted a positive meeting of the Economic Development Committee held recently : the Board’s next regular meeting will be February 10th.

(OLNEY)  County Fair Queens are in Springfield this weekend for the State Fair Queen Pageant, part of the 101st Annual Convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs – starting last night, the annual convention will feature various seminars & committee meetings today thru Sunday before ending Monday morning – current State Fair Queen Haley Freeman of Menard County will crown the new queen Sunday night – among those competing is Richland County Fair Queen Chelsea Baker & other area fair queens.

(NOBLE)  A note to the residents of Noble who are customers of Republic Services – the trash pickup is delayed today due to sickness – Republic hopes to get all the normal Friday trash collection completed by this afternoon in Noble – if not completed today, the collection will be finished tomorrow morning.

REMINDERS
    Tickets are on sale thru this afternoon at the Richland County Soil & Water Conservation District Office for it’s annual meeting, coming up next Thursday night at The Holiday in Olney – it’s registration at 5:30, the meal at 6:00, then the business meeting & more to follow – there will be no tickets sold at the door
    The Jasper County “Relay For Life” Committee team meeting will be held next Tuesday, January 18th, at the Central Christian Church, starting at 5:30 – those supporting this year’s event are urged to attend
    The Jasper County Health Department will have its next immunization clinic next Tuesday, the 18th, from 10:00 until 6:30 – for details or to signup, call the Newton Offices at 618-783-4436
    The Claremont Community Center has a fundraising “fish fry” set for tomorrow evening, with serving from 5:30 until 7:00, or until sold out – tickets on sale at the door – adults & children are all invited
    There are two “fish frys” coming up tonight in Jasper County : serving from 4:00 until 7:00 at the Newton VFW and serving from 5:00 until 8:00 at the Newton Eagles Club : tickets on sale at the door
    The Olney VFW Ladies Auxiliary will host a fundraising “taco feed” tonight, with serving from 5:30 until 7:00 – that’s good food for a good cause at the Olney VFW – proceeds to local & area projects