August 16, 2017


(OLNEY)  A developing storm system over the Plains this morning will strengthen and lift northeast today – that means more clouds for our downstate area today with the chance of scattered rain, possibly storms, this afternoon thru tonight – plus on-and-off chances of more rain tomorrow morning with lingering rain still possible Thursday afternoon – then we dry out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – stay tuned for updates.


(NEWTON)  In state news – the Illinois House will convene today in Springfield to take up the school funding issue – however, House leaders say they do not plan an attempt to override the Governor’s veto, but instead put the Governor’s rewrite into a new bill for a House vote – if this fails, the House deadline for an override is August 29th – the State Senate voted to override the veto this past Sunday – the Governor used an amendatory veto to delete a portion of the bill that would provide “bailout” money to Chicago schools.


(OLNEY)  The excitement continues to build for next Monday’s total solar eclipse that will be visible in a 70-mile-wide path in downstate Illinois – while crowd estimates vary, at least 145,000 people are expected to travel to the totality area in the 18 southernmost counties to experience the rare celestial event and take part in dozens of eclipse-related activities scheduled over a four-day period – as result, the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield will be activated August 18th thru 22nd, plus the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will establish a State Unified Area Command in Effingham, where representatives from the state departments of Transportation, Natural Resources, Public Health, Corrections, IEMA, State Police, Illinois National Guard, American Red Cross, and local fire, law enforcement, & emergency mutual aid organizations will also be staged this Friday thru next Tuesday – for links to get more information about eclipse safety and other related details, visit the state’s website online, at  www.Ready.Illinois.gov.


(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Fair continues in Springfield – it was yesterday during Agriculture Day that Governor Rauner named teacher Vic Worthington & his students at Rochelle Middle School as “Illinoisans of the Day” at the State Fair for helping an injured farmer by designing & creating a prosthetic hand : today is Governor’s Day on the fairgrounds – with several past Governors in attendance, it will be Alabama with Neal McCoy on stage tonight : tomorrow is Democrat Day on the fairgrounds with Jason Derulo on stage tomorrow night : for more on the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, logon at  www.IllinoisStateFair.info.


(OLNEY)  Illinois State Police District 12 Commander, Captain Cory Ristvedt, is reminding area motorists that with area schools beginning classes this week & next, that means an increase in pedestrian & vehicular traffic around schools – all motorists need to be watchful for children walking or riding their bike to & from school, possibly darting out from between parked cars – plus motorists also need to on the lookout for the slowing & stopped school buses, not only in area communities, but throughout the rural region as well – and remember to always stop when school bus warning lights are activated, regardless of which direction of travel – all are reminded that the speed limit in school zones is 20 miles-per-hour & is in effect from 7:00am to 4:00pm each school day when children are present and remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk – let’s make sure everyone stays safe as the downstate 2017-2018 school years gets started.


(NOBLE)  The Noble Village Board met this past Monday night in regular session – the Board  :  agreed to change the Village’s utility billing system to include a single standard sheet bill in a windowed letter size envelope instead of using the current & past postcard system – the additional $780 for a year cost will likely end the past mailing delays thru the Post Office  :  agreed to increase the rate of the Village of Noble water salesman up to $1.00 per 100 gallons, the same rate as the City of Olney  :  approved the recommended changes to the Village’s Codebook  :  agreed to inquire about possible historical items that may be located at the IECC West Richland Center, the former West Richland High School  :  discussed trees within the Village of Noble, noting that an oak tree on the south side of the Village Park is dead and probably should be removed – however noted that a specific tree near the corner of South First Street & West Locust Street is not dead and is on private property  :  noted that the Noble Villagewide Garage Sale Day is this coming Saturday, August 19th  :  and a big “thank you” goes out to all the local businesses and individuals that took time to help, plus those that donated & contributed to last Saturday’s Noble Chowder, making it possible & another success – it’s also noted that raffle winners from the chowder can stop by the Noble Village Hall during regular office hours to pick up their winnings  :  the Board’s next regular meeting is August 28th.


(NEWTON)  In this week’s USDA Crop Report – with the extended dry period around most of Illinois, there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork around the state last week – the statewide average precipitation was 0.40 inches, which was 0.43 inches below normal – the average statewide temperature last week was 69.2 degrees, 4.5 degrees below normal – despite the lack of rain in many areas of the state, both Illinois’ topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are still averaging about 60% adequate  :  here in our ten county area, farmers report over 80% of the local corn crop is in the dough stage with at least a quarter of the corn now denting – meanwhile, the local soybean crop is over 90% blooming with close to 80% now setting pods – while most areas are in need of rain, farmers are reminded to think “safety first” when working outdoors.


(OLNEY)  SIHF Healthcare in Olney, formerly Weber Medical Clinic, is celebrating National Health Center Week, now thru Saturday, with public health screenings across Southern Illinois and charity donation drives at its more than 30 health centers – in recognition of this special week, SIHF Healthcare in Olney is now accepting donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richland County, based in Olney – the health center, at 1200 North East Street, is also accepting school supply donations to be delivered for area students this coming Friday – for more information or to see how folks can help, call  618-395-5222.


(NEWTON)  Congressman John Shimkus has announced the Congressional App Challenge – officially launched by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, this nationwide effort allows students to compete against their peers by creating an application, or “app” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices – the contest is designed to promote innovation and engagement in coding and computer science and it is open to all students in the downstate 15th Congressional District – the winner’s “app” will be on display in the U.S. Capitol Building and featured nationwide online – for more, logon at  www.CongressionalAppChallenge.us.


(OLNEY)  Here's a few notes from the Richland County Farm Bureau  :  area farmers and landowners are invited to an upcoming National Legislative Meeting to be held next Tuesday evening, August 22nd, at the West Salem Community Building, beginning at 5:30  :  meanwhile, a State Legislative Meeting will be held two nights later, on Thursday night, August 24th, at The Holiday in Olney, starting at 7:00  :  also area folks can sign up now for the 2017 Farm Progress Show Bus Trip, which will be Wednesday, August 30th – the Bus Trip will leave from the Mt. Carmel Parkview Christian Church at 6:00 that morning, then depart from the Lawrenceville First Christian Church at 6:30, and leave from the Olney Rural King parking lot at 7:00 – the cost is $35 for active Farm Bureau members and $40 for non-members – the trip will include a stop at Niemerg’s Restaurant in Effingham on the trip home – to reserve a seat, call the respective Farm Bureau offices in Olney (618-393-4116), Lawrenceville (618-943-2610), and Mt. Carmel (618-262-5865).


(OLNEY)  The White Squirrel Cruisers Car Club will host its 30th Annual Car Show this Saturday in the Olney City Park with registration from 9:00 to 12:00 noon – over 100 awards to be passed out, plus plenty of concessions and more  : also being held is a Ms. Vintage Pin Up Contest, open to area women age 18 or older with an entry fee of $20 per contestant, however limited to the first 25 entries – while pre-registration is preferred, walk ups are welcome if spaces are available – the sign up is that morning from 10:30 to 12:00 noon in the Olney City Park Community Building – the lineup is at 1:00, with the contest from 1:30 to 2:30 – awards will be given and professional photographers will be on site – for details, call  618-723-2853.


(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  :  today at the Blood Donation Center in Effingham from 12:15 to 7:15  :  also today at the Robinson Community Center from 1:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Flora Church of the Nazarene from 1:00 to 6:00  :  also tomorrow at the Oblong Municipal Building from 1:00 to 6:00  :  all blood types and platelets are needed to help replenish the low regional blood supply.


    The next Jasper County blood drive is coming up this Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Parish Center in Ste. Marie from 7:30 to 11:30 – all blood types are needed – all donors and first donors are urged to turn out

    Ralph Carter’s 24th annual “Poker Run” to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children is set for this Saturday with sign up at the Olney VFW from 10:30 to 12:00 noon with a new shortened route to be announced – then food, an auction, gun raffle drawing, and entertainment to follow at the Olney VFW – all are invited

    The Richland County High School Marching Tiger Color Guard will have a fundraising “car wash” this Saturday at Wood’s Auto Body, along South Route 130, in Olney – that’s from 10:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon – the cost is a simple money donation – please stop by and help them out

    A “boil water order” remains in effect for the eastern portion of the Village of Clay City and some of the surrounding area southeast of Clay City – this “boil order” is in effect for this area until further notice

    It’s back to school today for the schools in Richland and Jasper Counties – the Richland County Schools in Olney, along with the St. Joseph School, will have early dismissals at 2:10 and 1:50, respectively – the Jasper County Schools in Newton and Ste. Marie, along with the St. Thomas School, are in session all day