December 4, 2017


(OLNEY)  While the high pressure ridge that gave us some great weekend weather moves off towards the East Coast, we’ll have a strong wrap-around wind from the south today – and the warm weather will come to an end as an approaching cold front will move thru with rain chances tonight followed by dropping temps – a cold air mass then moves in for tomorrow and the rest of the week – stay tuned for continued updates.


(NEWTON)  In state news – Governor Bruce Rauner and leaders of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission officially kicked off the state’s yearlong 200th birthday celebration yesterday in Chicago – through the next 364 days, Illinois Bicentennial will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being Born, Built, and Grown in Illinois every day – a simultaneous Flag Raising will take place in communities and counties around the state at 12:00 noon today, with the special Bicentennial Flags to fly over the next year, noting Illinois’ 200th Birthday – to learn more, check the Bicentennial website online, at  www.Illinois200.com.


(OLNEY)  Growmark and its FS member cooperatives around the state recently renewed their commitment to Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom programs with a $60,000 donation – it was during the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this past weekend that a symbolic check was presented to represent the contribution – the funds will be used to support the grassroots effort in most all Illinois counties – it’s estimated that over 660,000 students and 40,000 teachers are involved in the statewide Ag in the Classroom program.


(NEWTON)  The investigation is continuing into a single vehicle crash that occurred at 2:22 early Sunday morning on a Jasper County road, two miles west of Hunt City – the State Police report that 36 year old Keri Wittgan of Willow Hill was traveling east on Road 1400 North when the pickup truck ran off the road, thru the ditch, and overturned several times before coming to rest upside down – Wittgan and a passenger, 20 year old Brieanna Jones of Olney, were transported to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana – another passenger, 30 year old Eugene Birch of Newton, was taken to Crawford Memorial Hospital in Robinson – the State Police ticketed Wittgan for driving under the influence, for no valid insurance, for failure to wear a seat belt, and for driving on the wrong side of the road – Birch was ticketed for failure to wear a seat belt – emergency personnel from Jasper County assisted the Illinois State Police at the accident scene.


(OLNEY)  The investigation is continuing into a single vehicle traffic crash early yesterday morning in Clay County that claimed the life of a Kinmundy man – the Illinois State Police report that 21 year old Clint Allen Huddlestun was westbound on Songer Township Lane, northeast of Xenia, at 12:27 Sunday morning, when his pickup truck went off the road, struck a culvert, began airborne, and overturned multiple times – Huddlestun was ejected from his pickup truck and was pronounced dead at the scene – emergency personnel from Clay County assisted the Illinois State Police at the accident scene.


(NEWTON)  An investigation is also continuing into a two vehicle crash that occurred at 10:28 this past Saturday night on Interstate 57 in Effingham County that resulted in two deaths – the State Police report 83 year old Shirley M. Klitzing of Brownstown was traveling south in the northbound lanes when her car crashed into a northbound semi-truck, causing it to overturn – both drivers had to be extricated by emergency personnel – the truck driver, 68 year old Richard P. Messerve of Mayer, Arizona, was pronounced dead at the scene – Klitzing was transported to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, then flown to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where she was pronounced dead, due to her injuries – the northbound lane of I-57 was closed for several hours thru the early Sunday morning – emergency personnel from Effingham and Effingham County assisted the State Police at the scene.


(OLNEY)  As we reported earlier in this newscast, with Illinois’ 200th birthday countdown now underway, most every county and community in Illinois is hosting a Bicentennial Flag Raising Ceremony on this Monday, December 4th – a special Bicentennial Flag will then be flown thru the next year until the 200th birthday, which is December 3rd, 2018, a year from yesterday – the Richland County Courthouse will host its Flag Raising Ceremony today 12:00 noon and the public is encouraged to attend the short, but important event – refreshments will be available afterwards – all are invited to attend today in downtown Olney.


(NEWTON)  Applications are still being accepted by the Embarras River Basin Agency for winter heating assistance thru the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – the signup is now open to all applicants, including senior citizens & people with disabilities, for disconnected households & families with children ages 5 or under, and all others that meet the signup requirements – potential applicants should contact their local ERBA office in Richland, Jasper, Lawrence, Crawford, Cumberland, Clark, Coles, Edgar, or Douglas Counties for an appointment & further details, or logon at  www.liheapIllinois.com.


(OLNEY)  The Richland County Firefighters will conduct their annual “door-to-door” Food Drive this Thursday evening to pick up non-perishable food items to help those in need this holiday season – those who’d like to help out are asked to place their food items in a bag and place those bags on their front porch with the porch light turned on – the food pick up in Calhoun, Parkersburg, and Dundas will begin at 6:00 Thursday evening – non-perishable food items can also be dropped off at several locations for those outside the collection areas or for those that will not be at home Thursday evening – those locations include the Olney Fire Department on North Walnut Street, the TNT Stop in Claremont, at Noble Foods, and at the Wakefield Mill – all food collected will be distributed to those in need in Richland County – it’s the hope of the Noble-Wakefield, Claremont-Bonpas, and Olney firefighters that no one goes hungry this Christmas.


(NEWTON)  The Jasper County 5th & 6th Grade Bands, along with the Jasper County Junior High Band, will be hosting their 1st Annual Tablescape Contest and the public is encouraged to stop by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce office in Newton to check out the beautiful tablescapes displayed from ten local businesses from throughout the community as each table will depict a special theme – the Tablescape Contest is this coming weekend with the public to decide what business deserves the “People’s Choice Award” – that’s this Friday night from 5:00 to 7:00, Saturday afternoon from 12:00 to 3:00, and Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 6:00 – tickets for admission will only be sold at the Chamber Office, priced at $5 each for Friday and Saturday with the $10 price per person on Sunday to include refreshments and an entry pass for a Christmas House Walk, which will be held from 3:00 to 6:00 this Sunday, December 10th, at four homes in Newton – that will be held after the Newton Community High School Chorus performs their Christmas Program at the St. Thomas Church at 2:00 this Sunday afternoon – all proceeds from the busy weekend coming up go to help the bands in Newton purchase instruments, new uniforms, and music.


 (NEWTON/OLNEY)  All area blood donors are encouraged to get out and give blood at their next chance – here’s the list of all upcoming regional blood drives  :  tomorrow at the American Legion Hall in Mattoon from 1:00 to 6:00  :  Wednesday at the Patoka High School from 1:00 to 5:00  :  also Wednesday at the Effingham Elks Club from 2:00 to 6:00  :  Thursday at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 12:15 to 6:45  ::  all blood types and platelets are needed to help replenish low area blood supplies.


(NEWTON)  The Farm Service Agency is reminding eligible farmers that today is the final day to cast their votes for the 2017 FSA County Committee elections – all ballots must be returned to the local FSA offices by the close of office hours today – terms of the newly elected members begin January 1st, 2018.


    The OCC Music Department and the Richland County High School Concert Choir will have a Holiday Concert this Saturday night in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center, beginning at 7:00 – admission is free and all ages are invited to attend – it’s entitled “The Many Moods of Christmas” – check it out

    The Olney VFW Auxiliary will host another “taco night” this coming Friday night at the Olney VFW with serving from 5:30 to 7:30, or until sold out – carry-outs available – the Richland County High School Dance Team will benefit from the 50/50 raffle and bake sale also Friday night – all are invited

    A reminder that this coming Thursday is the “one day only” pick up date for the pre-ordered poinsettias sold by the Carle Richland Memorial Hospital Auxiliary – that’s from 8:00 until 6:00 at the Hospital’s Ambulance Building – those picking up the plants can park in the lot just north of the Ambulance Building

    Don’t forget to check out the Christmas Lights Display, lit up each night thru December 31st, in the Olney City Park – from dusk to 9:30 each night – plus Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for visits this Friday night & Saturday night in the Olney City Park Community Building from 6:00 to 8:00 each night