September 8, 2017


(OLNEY)  It’s another nice day ahead for our downstate area on this Friday as we’ll experience more sunshine, a light wind, and more mild temperatures – a Canadian high pressure will build into the Upper Midwest this weekend, giving us even more cool & dry conditions now thru mid-week of next week – it’s still not clear how the remnants of Hurricane Irma will affect our weather next week – listen for updates.


(NEWTON)  In state news today – Illinois’ scores for the ACT college entrance exam have increased for 2017 as the number of statewide students taking the test has dropped – the 21.4 score across all four subjects on the exam again topped the national average of  21 and was the highest score in Illinois since 2012 – the state also exceeded national averages on percentage of students considered college-ready.


(OLNEY)  Owners of a one-time silica mine in downstate Illinois are donating the property to a group that works to help the endangered Indiana bat – the Southern Illinoisan reports that a deal that was decades in the making came to a close last week as the Michigan-based company Unimin gave ownership of the Magazine Mine near Elco to the Organization for Bat Conservation – it’s estimated that the mine will be the protected home of more than 45,000 endangered bats – some reconstruction work will begin next spring.


(OLNEY)  Illinois State Representative Brandon Phelps has stepped down – the Harrisburg Democrat’s resignation from the seat that he’s held in the downstate 118th District since 2003 was effective a week ago today – in a released statement, Phelps says he resigned in “the interest of his personal health” – Phelps injured one of his eyes in a hunting accident years ago and problems with that eye have caused him to miss time in the General Assembly in recent years – during his 14 years in Springfield, Phelps was a proponent of hunting & farming – he was a strong force in helping push thru the state’s Concealed Carry Act in 2013.


(NEWTON)  The Illinois State Police District 12 has announced the results of recent Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols (OREP) in Effingham & Cumberland Counties – the patrols provided extra coverage for the State Police so Troopers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up – there were 45 total citations issued, with 31 safety belt citations and with 11 total written warnings – however, there were no child restraint citations issued – these patrols reinforce the occupant protection message by focusing on those who ignore the law – the project is funded thru the IDOT.


(OLNEY)  Congratulations to a couple of administrators in the Richland County School District  :  it was this past Tuesday at its annual fall meeting, that the Wabash Valley Region of the Illinois Principals Association awarded Richland County School District Superintendent Larry Bussard with the Stan Struckmeyer Award, a presentation in honor of the long-time Principal of Edwards County High School in Albion whose career was shortened due to his battle with Multiple Sclerosis – the criteria for this year’s award is “consistent achievement” as displayed by Mr. Bussard who began his career in education with the East Richland School District in 1989 as a Junior High Math and High School Physical Education Teacher – Mr. Bussard then advanced thru the ranks, serving over the years as High School Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and now Superintendent, being the first in the Richland County School District to achieve this process – congratulations to Larry Bussard for his 27-plus years of service to the East Richland / Richland County School District  :  also congratulations to Richland County Middle School Assistant Principal Darrell Houchin, who also on Tuesday night, was named the Wabash Valley IPA Assistant Principal of the Year  :  two awards well deserved here in Olney.


(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met in regular session earlier this week – here’s a review of that meeting’s unofficial minutes – the Council  :  accepted the $112,546 bid from B & T Drainage for the South Van Buren Street water system replacement project  :  agreed to appoint Vita Kistner to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals  :  agreed to send Newton Police officers to a Taser Training Course  :  agreed to send the City Clerk to the MCI Academy training  :  approved the Illinois Commerce Commission agreement for the Indiana Railroad repair of the Liberty Street crossing  :  approved a Special Event Permit application for a 5K Run/Walk to be held November 4th  :  and took no other action after an 18 minute closed session to discuss litigation and real estate  :  the Newton City Council has its next regular meeting September 19th.


(OLNEY)  It’s been announced that the Olney Central College Automotive Service Technology Program has a new piece of instruction equipment – this fall the program’s students have access to a new automobile lift which was purchased with funding provided from the Olney Central College Foundation – officials say the acquisition of the program’s third lift will enable students to undertake more projects in the hands-on program at OCC – with the need for skilled automotive technicians continuing to increase, now’s a great time for both high school graduates and other individuals looking for a second career to consider entering the Automotive Service Technology Program – for details, call Olney Central College, at  618-395-7777.


(NEWTON)  A new partnership between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Pork Producers Association will plant tree buffers and foster stewardship on swine farms across the state – the goal is to help farmers plant buffers specifically designed for their hog farm facilities to serve as windbreaks and provide other environmental benefits to their operations – the cost-share program is offered on a first-come, first-served basis for assistance with design and purchase of trees and shrubs – applications are available online, at  www.ilpork.com/producers/tree-buffer-program  or contact any local County Farm Bureau office for more.


(OLNEY/NEWTON)  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 Hutsonville High School from 2:00 to 6:00  :  tomorrow at the Effingham Blood Donation Center from 7:45 to 2:45  :  next Monday at the Olney VFW from 12:00 to 5:00  :  all blood types and platelets are needed to help replenish low regional supplies.


    The annual Dundas School Reunion is this Sunday at the former Dundas Grade School, running from 12:00 noon until it’s over – attendees should bring a covered dish – drinks and table ware will be provided

    It’s a Tailgate Sunday this weekend in the Olney City Park – the family event begins at 9:00 this Sunday morning with Illusionist John Louis, then family worship at 10:00, and a family meal served at 11:00 – all are invited to dress in their game day gear (or casual), plus bring those lawn chairs – all are invited out

    The Jasper County Fall Festival is this weekend in Newton, beginning with breakfast at the Grace United Methodist Church from 6:00 to 10:00 tomorrow morning – the Classic Car Show registration starts at 9:00 with judging at 12:00, the popular parade at 10:00, a beer garden from 12 noon to midnight, and plenty of games and live entertainment on stage all day and night Saturday and Sunday morning – check it out

    The Pink Warriors Support Group in Olney will have a fundraising “Happy Days Again” event tomorrow evening, starting at 5:00, at Hovey’s Restaurant, in downtown Olney – they’ll be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, drinks, & desserts for $5 per person – with the 1950’s and 60’s style theme, everyone’s urged to dress accordingly with prizes awarded, plus bring your vintage cars and park in the downtown TrustBank parking lot – also live entertainment – all proceeds to help with the local fight against cancer

    A spaghetti dinner benefit and silent auction is tomorrow evening at the First Assembly Church in Olney, all to help an Olney boy – it’s serving from 4:00 to 7:00 with the cost by donation & carry-out orders available – all proceeds go to help provide a service dog to a local boy diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech & Autism – for more information and details, go to Service Dog For Tuk on Facebook

    A cancer benefit fundraiser for Sandy Finn is tomorrow evening at the KC Hall in Newton – the barbeque pork meal will be served at 4:00, by a free will donation – also a 50/50 drawing, a silent auction, & raffles

    The annual Wynoose Chowder is Saturday evening with serving at 4:00 – also barbeque pork, fried chicken, desserts, ice cream, & drinks – all at the Wynoose Community Building – all are invited to attend

    A fundraiser for Mark Geier is tomorrow with the Road Rally registration at 11:00 at Vic’s in Wendelin as all street-legal vehicles will leave at 12 noon – then back to Vic’s for a pulled pork meal at 5:00, plus a raffle drawing and auction – for more go to Road Rally for Bulldog on Facebook

    The Clay City Fall Festival is tomorrow starting with the Firemen’s breakfast at 6:00 in the morning, then Tractor Show registration at 8:00, the Lip Sync Contest at 9:00, vendor booths/inflatables/a petting zoo/& food at 10:00, Frog Jumping Contest at 12:00 noon, annual Parade at 2:00, evening meal from 4:30 to 6:30, the Cake Walk at 5:00, the Live Auction, a Beer Garden at 6:30, and music by Salt Rock Jones at 7:00

    The annual Dundas Ruritan Bulk Chowder is tomorrow with serving at 11:00 – it’s chowder by the gallon or half gallon, priced at $15 per gallon, plus homemade pies and other baked goods – all invited to Dundas

    The Olney VFW Auxiliary has another “taco night” fundraiser tonight with serving from 5:30 to 7:30, or until sold out – includes tacos, nachos, taco salad, & more – carry-outs available – all are invited

    The Jasper County Republicans have a pork burger and bratswurst cookout today at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newton, with serving from 11:00 to 1:00 – all sandwiches priced at $3 each