May 16, 2017


(OLNEY)  A strong high pressure ridge will keep us dry with plenty of warm air and sunshine over the next two to three days – that’s when our next low pressure system will move thru with rain chances on Friday, maybe as early as Thursday night – the rain chances could hang around into Saturday and maybe even on Sunday as well – our high temperatures all this work week will be in the 80’s – listen for weather updates.


(NEWTON)  In state news – lawmakers are expected back in Springfield this week, both the State House and State Senate – both chambers have several proposed bills and measures to consider, not to mention the ever-looming discussion and debate on the ongoing state budget stalemate – the General Assembly has only a couple more weeks remaining in the State Capitol before the spring legislative session is scheduled to end.


(NEWTON)  Fair officials are expanding a statewide competition to find a singer who’ll be the opening act for both State Fairs in Springfield and Du Quoin – starting June 10th, there will be 12 karaoke competitions at local county fairs for soloists to compete – those taking part must be 18 years old and the registration on the Illinois State Fair website is already underway – one of the downstate sites is the Jasper County Fair in Newton – for contest rules and more, check the State Fair website online, at  www.illinois.gov/statefair.


(OLNEY/NEWTON)  The Illinois State Police report a traffic crash occurred at 9:00 am yesterday morning. Preliminary investigations report that a 2007 Freightliner truck and tractor driven by William L. Hill, age 61, of Oblong was traveling southbound on Crawford County Road 25 East when he attempted to overtake and pass a southbound 1994 Case IH farm tractor, driven by 64 year old Jack W. Snider of Oblong, when the truck and tractor left the roadway to the left and rolled over onto its driver side and came to a rest in the ditch.  Hill was transported to Crawford Memorial Hospital in Robinson for non-life threatening injuries.  Hill was cited for improper lane usage and failure to wear a seatbelt.  All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met in regular session last night – the board  :  approved the final 2016-2017 school calendar, with May 18 being the students last day and May 19th being a teacher’s institute  :  approved on a six to one vote to advertise for bids for a small economical car to e utilized for trips outside of the school district  :  approved to purchase seven busses from Bluebird at $79,820 each, and one wheelchair bus from Bluebird at $86,918  :  after an approximately 21 minute closed session, the board accepted the retirement of Darlene Walker at the end of the 2019-2020 school year  :  approved the resignation of Brock Tarr as NCHS assistant football coach at the end of this school year  :  approved the resignation of Josh Benefiel as JCJH head baseball coach at the end of the school year  :  approved the resignation of Yvonne Will as assistant musical director at NCHS effective the end of this school year  :  Approved the hiring of Jessie Smith as Social Worker at Newton Elementary, Amy Casey as JCJH Girls Basketball Coach, Brock Tarr as NCHS head cross country coach, Christina Murray, Darlene Coffin, and Jacque Holsapple to teach the Summer Bridge Program, Whitney Ritchhart and Stephanie Klingler for 3rd through 6th grade and Emily Myers as High School Summer School  :  approved to hire Jan Thompson as NCHS JV boys basketball coach, Katelyn Hardiek for the student summer technology position  :  approved to hire Kristen Hardiek and Donovan Cantrell for summer transportation building and grounds position  :  approved a 1.9% increase for all classified staff and administrators and Josh Benefiel will move from a 10 month contract to a 10.5 contract and serve as Principal at Ste. Marie Elementary and Assistant Principal at Newton Elementary  :  Approved to transfer Darla Mahaffey to Newton Elementary from St. Marie Elementary as Physical Education Teacher  :  Approved the collective bargaining agreement with the Jasper County Education Association for the 2017-2018 school year  :  The board’s next meeting will be held on June 15th.


(NEWTON)  The Rides Mass Transit District will hold a “Listening Session” this week, on Thursday morning, May 18th, at the Newton Public Library meeting room, starting at 11:00 – since RMTD provides transportation services in Jasper County, the “Listening Session” will allow interested persons or agencies in Jasper County a chance to comment about the current service, possible improvements of service, and the current routes – for those that cannot attend in person, oral comments can be called into the RMTD office at 618-253-8761, extension 500312, or written comments can be mailed to : Rides Mass Transit District, 30 Veterans Drive, Harrisburg, Illinois, 62946 – all are invited to share their views about the RMTD services.


(OLNEY)  The City of Olney has announced it is now soliciting Requests for Proposal for a mural to be placed on the south wall of the Olney City Hall, at 300 South Whittle Avenue – proposal and project specifications can be picked up at City Hall between the hours of 8:00 and 4:00, Monday thru Friday, or may be emailed by sending a request to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  – the deadline for proposal submission is June 30th, 2017, with a project completion date set for September 30th, 2017 – call if any questions.


(OLNEY)  The Richland County Farm Bureau will host a “pallet sign painting party” this coming Saturday afternoon at The Holiday, starting at 2:00 – in conjunction with Sweet Hazel K, who is well known for creating crafty décor, all proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Richland County’s Ag in the Classroom program – while signs, stencils, paint, and instruction to help complete the project will be provided and participants will take home their very own work, the cost is $30 for a regular sign or $37 for a custom sign – sign up today online, at www.sweethazelk.com, scroll down to “Richland County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Fundraiser” and choose from any of the four, farm-themed designs, and pay online – or call the Farm Bureau office in Olney at  618-393-4116  to sign up and pay – all are invited to take part & have fun.


(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Retired Teachers’ Association is offering a $1,000 scholarship to any Newton Community High School graduate who will be a college junior or senior majoring in education for the fall semester of 2017 – applications must be received by Wednesday, May 31st, two weeks from this coming Wednesday – those interested can email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call Jane Hart at  618-783-2867.


(OLNEY)  The Olney Public Library has announced it is making final plans for its 2017 summer reading program, this year entitled “Reading By Design” – the associated activities this summer will focus on area toddlers all the way thru adults – registration for the children’s reading challenge begins on May 22nd – call or stop by for more details or visit its website at  www.olneypubliclibrary.org.


(NEWTON/OLNEY)  The Red Cross is asking all eligible and first-time donors to get out & give blood at their next opportunity – upcoming blood drives are  :  Wednesday at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 11:30 to 6:00  :  Friday, also at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 7:00 to 2:00  :  all blood types & platelets are very much needed.


(OLNEY)  An update on a couple area meetings :  The Illinoi Eastern Community Colleges Board will meet tonight at Frontier Community College in Fairfield tonight at 7:00  :  The City of Olney has announced the Parks & Recreation board meeting scheduled for tomorrow, May 17th, has been cancelled.



    The Bikers With a Heart Motorcycle Show and Car Cruise In for Team Dale is this Saturday in the Olney City Park, from 11:00 to 9:00 – includes a tattoo contest, gun raffle, 50/50 raffle, corn hole tournament, food vendors, a guitar raffle, & more – to benefit 11 year old Dale Howser who’s awaiting a heart transplant

    The Flora Public Library will host the 2017 Local Authors Book Fair this Saturday from 10:00 to 2:00 – fourteen area authors will have their work on display – also light refreshments and a door prize drawing

    The Wynoose Mother’s Day Salad Banquet will be held this Friday night, starting at 6:30 in the Wynoose Community Center – those attending are asked to bring their favorite salad to share – all are invited

    The Newton Firefighter Association will host a fundraising “pork burger sale” this Friday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton with serving from 11:00 to 1:00 – drive-thru pick up available or delivery – for pre-orders, call  618-783-2165  – all proceeds go towards the purchase of needed rescue equipment

    The Ridgeway Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society will meet tonight at the First Prebyterian Church in Olney, starting at 7:00 – former Wildlife Specialist and outdoorsman Tom Micetich will discuss the status and population of Whitetail Deer in our region – the meeting is open to the public