LOCAL NEWS

Local News

May 18, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system will continue to spin over the Ohio River Valley today, which could give us a spotty shower thru tonight – a high pressure ridge will give us a dry day tomorrow, but an approaching system will bring in warmer air & more rain chances for the upcoming weekend – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  More than 25 mayors, village presidents, and county board officials from around Illinois will converge on the State Capitol today – their goal is to prevent lawmakers from cutting state-collected local government revenues, which may force higher taxes & deeper local cuts – this is in response to proposals in Springfield of the state collecting and keeping more than its share of revenue from local entities in Illinois.

(OLNEY)  Soldiers and their immediate family members may soon have greater flexibility in renewing their expired driver’s licenses – a bill unanimously cleared in both the State House & Senate yesterday and now heads to the Governor’s desk – if signed into law, they’ll have an additional 30 days to renew – however, the soldier’s or family member’s license would have to of expired during the soldier’s overseas deployment.

(NEWTON)  State Senator John O. Jones held a media conference call yesterday to discuss the latest issues facing the General Assembly – the Mt Vernon lawmaker expects the legislative remap to be unveiled later today, leading to speculation that the majorities in the Legislature have completed the Congressional and legislative boundary drawing process – also workers' compensation is an issue that has long plagued job growth in Illinois and it appears that the General Assembly could be on the cusp of passing some relief there – Jones finished the call by noting the budget discussions include two seperate total numbers approved in the different chambers last week with negotiations underway in hopes of meeting the May 31st deadline.

(OLNEY)  The Joint Emergency Dispatch System Board met this past Monday morning – as head of the lead agency in charge of the joint dispatch system, Sheriff Andy Hires submitted his recommendation to serve as the Board's Director of the Dispatch Center who would oversee the center’s daily operations – however, a 3 to 2 vote turned down the recommendation & no other appointment was suggested – the Board did discuss other issues, including the JEDS’ budget, policies & procedures, and other operation notes, but no other action was taken – the JEDS Board plans to meet again next Monday morning, May 23rd.

(NEWTON)  The Newton City Council met last night – the Council  :  approved a $166,578 payment to Kieffer Brothers Construction for work on the new water treatment plant – it was noted that the plant’s startup date is scheduled by the first of June  :  on a 7 to nothing vote, with one abstention, the Council hired Donna Watkins to fill a position in the City Treasurer’s office  :  on a 7 to 1 vote, accepted various bids on several surplus items  :  agreed to extend to Ameren to authorization to operate & maintain it’s gas utility system within the City of Newton  :  noted that the city swimming pool is being filled with opening day set for May 28th  :  noted the work continues in Newton of replacing various utility poles  :  noted that a special ceremony at NCHS was held to dedicate West Washington Street to Miss Carolyn Domineck (Miss “D”)  :  & after a 25 minute closed session, took no other action  :  the Council’s next regular meeting is June 7th.

(OLNEY)  Illinois hunters harvested a preliminary statewide total of 15,121 wild turkeys during the 2011 Spring Turkey Season – this compares to last spring's total of 16,565 but still short of the record harvest numbers from 2006 – despite the 93% increase in average rainfall statewide during the spring seasons, the turkey harvest was down only 5% from the previous five-year average – the flood conditions & weather during the next several weeks will be important in affecting the success of 2011 turkey nesting  :  Richland County hunters took 108 birds, seven more than a year ago  :  Jasper County hunters took 146 birds, twenty-one more than last year  :  all but two of the ten area counties had higher harvest numbers than a year ago.
 
(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Pageant Committee still has applications available for young ladies who are interested in the 2011 Jasper County Fair Queen Pageant – it’s for girls between 16 years of age and those who will not turn 22 years old by January 1st, 2012 – applications are available at the High School, at Joe’s Italian Foods, or at the Press Mentor office – it’s a great opportunity to represent Jasper County in a very special way – the application deadline is this Friday, May 20th – for details, call Lisa at 618-843-6379.

(OLNEY)  As part of this year's summer reading program, "A Midsummer Knight's Read", the Olney Public Library invites the community to take part in a "Castle Build-Off Competition" – folks can create their most mystical castle to be displayed at the library throughout the summer program – entries may be submitted by individuals, families, or groups, and need to be delivered to the library by May 27th, a week from this Friday – for more information or details, stop by or call the Olney Public Library, at 618-392-3711.

REMINDERS
    Richland County HomeFront has a fundraising cookout this Saturday from 10:00 til 2:00 at the Olney Dollar General Store – a ribeye sandwich, chips, & drink for only $5 – proceeds go for care packages
    The City of Newton's yard waste facility will be open this Saturday morning, from 8:00 until 12 noon - the facility will accept any type of yard waste, such as grass clippings, small brush, and weeds
    The Murvin & Meier Oil Company team has a “walk n’ roll” fundraiser this Friday night at Chilly Willys in downtown Olney, from 4:00 til 10:00 – 20% of all receipts go to support the local fight against cancer
    The next area blood drive will be this Friday afternoon at the Cumberland County Health Department Offices in Toledo, from 2:00 until 6:00 – all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to give blood
    Energy-saving tips will be presented by a weatherization expert tomorrow night in the OCC Banquet Room, starting at 6:30 – it’s free for those who pre-register by calling OCC at 618-395-7777
    The East Richland School Board will have its regular monthly meeting for May tomorrow night in the Unit Office Board Room, beginning at 7:30 – as always, the meeting is open to the public

May 17, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  Conditions will remain dry across much of Illinois today although an upper level disturbance is curling around from neighboring Indiana, which will give us some cloud cover thru tonight & tomorrow – while most of the scattered rain stays to our south & east, we could see a stray shower – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The state’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today on a $31 billion capital spending program – a plan that’s been in jeopardy since a lower court declared it unconstitutional earlier this year – all because it provides funding from a variety of sources instead of only one, which appears to be a violation of the “single subject rule” – several construction projects are already underway thru the spending plan.

(OLNEY)  Lawmakers have held many meetings across the state giving voters a chance to give input on new legislative maps, but time is ticking away – with two weeks remaining until the May 31st deadline to pass a new map, Republican lawmakers have yet to see a draft of the proposed map, plus Democrats say the public will have time to weigh-in on the proposal – of course, changes are unlikely in less than two weeks.

(NEWTON)  State workers are required to take unpaid furlough days and now lawmakers may have to do the same – a Senate Committee voted eleven to one yesterday in favor of the measure – the Senate sponsor says the move will save the state some $1.2 million – the bill now moves to the Senate floor for a full vote.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland School Board met last night in Noble – the Board  :  approved a three year contract with the District's new Superintendent, Gary R. Miller – the current K-8 Principal in Dallas City, Illinois will assume his new duties on July 1st, replacing outgoing Superintendent Anthony Galindo, who's resigning as of June 30th  :  approved the amended fiscal year 2011 budget with a less than $10,000 difference from the budget presented last fall  :  noted that the recent Junior High / High School roof repair is complete with the cost covered by warranty  :  noted the Elementary School roof damaged in last month's stormy winds will start being repaired later this week  :  approved the installation of a new fire alarm system at the Junior High / High School  :  approved the $10,000 rental of classroom space to SESE for Special Education use next year  :  approved an electronic transfer of state funds straight to the District, bypassing the ROE #12 office  :  approved changes to vacation & personal day times for all non-certified 12-month employees  :  the West Richland School Board's next regular monthly meeting will be June 20th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night – the Board  :  placed the amended budget as presented on a 30-day layover for public inspection – the amended budget reflects the revenue of $2 million in Capital Projects bonds & $100,000 in Health Life Safety bonds  :  noted that the State owes the District $725,298 of the $2.7 million of mandated categorical payments for fiscal year 2011  :  renewed District’s student insurance for 2011-2012 with Jasper County Insurance  :  approved the Interschool Cooperative Agreement with St. Thomas School for junior high girls softball  :  noted that District buses will practice a dismissal trial run utilizing new procedures, including police observation, on May 25th  :  accepted the high bid of $6,500 for the sale of a District-owned lot in the James Hill Addition  :  and after a two-hour long closed session, the Board dealt with personnel – approved retirements from Karen Buettemeyer at the end of the 2014-2015 school year & from Randy Loy and Dave Staley both on December 31st, 2011 – approved resignations from NCHS Custodian Mike Cisney & from Assistant Principal Dave Parker – approved the transfer of Amy Tarr to Newton Elementary Asst. Principal – approved Kim Kessler as a District Special Needs Administrator  :  the Jasper County School Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be June 20th.

(OLNEY)  The American Cancer Society’s “Walk N Roll of Richland County” is coming up this Saturday in the Olney City Park from noon til midnight – the Opening Ceremony at 12 noon will be followed by all types of entertainment & activities at the Band Shell from 12:30 until 6:00 – then the Survivor Dedication Ceremony will be followed by inspirational music at 7:00 and the Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 – everyone is encouraged to come on out & support this year’s “Walk N Roll of Richland County” on Saturday.

(NEWTON)  Teams can still signup for this year’s Jasper County “Relay For Life” to be held June 10th and 11th on The Square, in downtown Newton – the yearly “life changing event” gives everyone in communities across the world a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones lost, and to fight back against the disease – the night includes a Survivor’s Lap, a Luminaria Ceremony, a Fight Back Ceremony, & more – all donations are welcome – go online at www.relayforlifejasper.com.

(OLNEY)  Scholarship funds are available to East Richland High School graduates thru the Jim & Janet Williams Green Scholarship, with a mission to provide higher educational opportunities for ERHS grads with desire & financial need – eligibility information is available on the applications, which can be found on the East Richland Foundation for Academic Excellence website at www.erfae.com – deadline is June 17th.

REMINDERS
    OCC’s Massage Therapy Program is now accepting appointments for its summer clinicals – two days are available in each of June’s four weeks – price at $25 for a one-hour session – call now at 618-392-2430
    Mark the calendar for June 4th, two weeks from this Saturday – the 3rd annual “Memory Miles” 5K Run & Walk at the Middle School in Olney with signup at 7:00am & start time at 8:00 – the $10 registration fee is a donation to Hospice of Southeastern Illinois – the first 50 participants get a t-shirt – call 618-392-2745
    The Village of Noble will have its “village-wide garage sale” this Saturday, throughout the day
    The next area blood drive will be this Friday afternoon at the Cumberland County Health Department Offices in Toledo, from 2:00 until 6:00 – all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to give blood
    Energy-saving tips will be presented by ERBA Weatherization Director Dennis Stevens this Thursday night in the OCC Banquet Room, starting at 6:30 – it’s free for those that pre-register by calling OCC
    The Newton City Council will meet tonight at 6:00 at the Newton City Hall – a full agenda will be considered, including both old & new business, plus committee reports & more – it is open to the public

May 16, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  An extended period of dry weather is expected most all of this upcoming work week as a nearly stationary ridge of high pressure sets up across the upper midwest – after a cool start tonight, we’ll warm up thru this week with a southerly wind flow kicking in by midweek – stay tuned for continued updates.

(NEWTON)  While some are saying the price of gasoline is dropping, someone forgot to tell those who set the price – this morning’s average statewide price is at $4.28 per gallon, that’s holding even with the price of low grade gas from a week ago – plus it’s still 34 cents higher than the current national average price – the state’s highest reported price is at $4.79 in Chicago with the lowest price at $3.82 in Champaign.

(OLNEY)  Illinois residents now have access to free prescription assistance – the Illinois R-X Card program is designed to help uninsured & underinsured people get the medications they need – officials say anyone is eligible for the card with no age or income restrictions – for more, logon at www.illinoisrxcard.com.

(NEWTON)  Illinois’s taking part in a federal multi-state natural disaster drill this week – today thru Friday, eight states are participating in the first-ever National Level Exercise, simulating a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone – it also involves Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, & Tennessee – officials say it will provide valuable practice for state departments, agencies, & individuals.

(OLNEY)  The State House and Senate will begin hashing out a $1 billion difference on the state budget this week – both chambers passed their own version of the state’s spending plan on Friday – it’s expected that a final budget will be sent to Governor Quinn before the May 31st deadline, two weeks from tomorrow.

(OLNEY)  Congratulations to the recipients of approximately 480 degrees and certificates presented at last Friday night’s commencement exercise at Olney Central College – it was the 47th annual graduation event in the OCC Gymnasium – plus, the 2011 Alumnus Award was presented to Jasper County native Ron Keller, who now serves as Assistant Professor of History & Political Science at Lincoln College – the 1989 OCC graduate also serves as Director-Curator of the nationally recognized Lincoln Heritage Museum in Lincoln – congrats also to all IECC graduates at the other campuses in Robinson, Mt Carmel, and Fairfield as well.

(NEWTON)  A Newton man was injured in a two vehicle traffic accident last Friday afternoon at just before 5:00 in Jasper County – the Illinois State Police report that 75 year old Robert Massey was riding an ATV on a gravel road about 4 miles northwest of Newton when he pulled into the path of a car driven by 32 year old Lori Zumbahlen of Newton, causing the collision – Mr. Massey was life-lighted to an Evansville hospital with serious injuries – he was ticketed for illegal operation of an ATV on the roadway.

(NEWTON)  Application forms are still available for those who have jobs for the 2011 Jasper County “Honey Do Work Week” – the forms are at all area banks, most area churches, the Jasper County Health Department offices, the Senior Citizens Center, & the ERBA office in Newton – all paperwork must be returned by June 1st – the “Work Week” will be July 18th thru 22nd – for more details, call 783-8534.

(FLORA)  Clay County authorities continue to investigate a Friday afternoon traffic accident that occurred at the Route 50 / Iola Road intersection at Xenia – 33 year old Shannon Winkler of Salem pulled his farm sprayer unit into the path of a car driven by 51 year old Neil Barcroft of Iuka – it took rescuers over 3 hours to extricate Barcroft from his car, although he was pronounced dead on impact – Winkler was not injured & was ticketed for failure to yield at a stop intersection – Route 50 was closed for several hours until cleanup.

(OLNEY)  Marion County authorities are continuing to search for a suspect who stole a semi-truck from the Vandalia area & eventually fled on foot after a Deputy pulled the truck over just south of Salem, along I-57 – a later report indicated the man possibly entered a convenience store near the Centralia exit, along Route 161 – authorities hope the store’s surveillance tapes will help them in their search – there were no injuries.

REMINDERS
    The Ainad Shrine Riders “Charity Motorcycle Run” is this Saturday with a 10:00 signup at the Olney VFW – then leaving at 11:00, the 147 mile trip includes stops in Grayville, Nisbet, Indiana, Mt Carmel, Lawrenceville, & Robinson – it’s open to the public, all to benefit Shriners’ Hospitals for Children
    Energy-saving tips will be presented by ERBA Weatherization Director Dennis Stevens this Thursday night in the OCC Banquet Room, starting at 6:30 – it’s free for those that pre-register by calling OCC
    In upcoming meetings : the Newton City Council will meet tomorrow night at 6:00 : the Jasper County School Board has its regular monthly meeting tonight in Newton at 8:00 : both are open to the public
    The RMH Auxiliary has its fundraising “2-2-1 Sale with Discovery Toys & Avon” today from now until 4:00 in the RMH private dining rooms – that’s today at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney
    The next area blood drive is this afternoon at the First Christian Church in Noble from 2:00 until 6:00 – all types of blood are needed – “thanks” to those who gave blood recently in Newton, Olney, & Montrose

May 14, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A large and slow-moving upper level low pressure system will continue to spin thru the midwest today & tomorrow, giving us on-and-of rain showers – maybe even an occasional thunderstorm, plus cooler air as well – then we’ll dry out by midweek of next week, plus a slight warmup – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  Letter carriers across the nation are ready to help stock community food banks, pantries, and shelters for the summer months ahead by taking part in today’s 19th annual National Food Drive as mail carriers will be collecting nonperishable food items during their normal mail routes – residents can leave a box or sack of nonperishable food near their mailbox prior to their normal mail drop-off time – the food will then be delivered to local food banks & pantries that serve the area where the food is – we hope you’ll join all of our regional letter carriers by taking part in this year’s National Food Drive going on today.

(OLNEY)  Richland County State's Attorney David Hyde is warning county residents and others in the downstate area to beware of another scam making its rounds – the schemers call people and get them to believe that they’ve won a large sum of money – but there’s a catch : the winner has to pay a tax before cashing in on the jackpot – and in some cases, the scammer offers a bogus check in advance, which when given to a bank is worthless due to insufficient funds – folks are reminded that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – plus don't give out personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or other details – contact your local law enforcement agency if contacted by this type of scam.

(NEWTON)  Teams can still signup for this year’s Jasper County “Relay For Life” to be held June 10th and 11th on The Square, in downtown Newton – the yearly “life changing event” gives everyone in communities across the world a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones lost, and to fight back against the disease – the night includes a Survivor’s Lap, a Luminaria Ceremony, a Fight Back Ceremony, & more – all donations are welcome – go online at www.relayforlifejasper.com.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Treasurer’s office has mailed out the last of the real estate & mobile home tax bills and landowners are reminded the first installment is due on June 1st with the second installment due on September 1st – the mobile home taxes are due on July 31st – if property owners have not received their tax bill, duplicates are available – call or stop by the Treasurer’s office, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 til 4:00.

(NEWTON)  It’s a special day today with a chance to help out a local family with huge medical expenses – the event begins at 9:00 this morning with a 5K Run/Walk at Sam Parr State Park – then a Kid’s Carnival will run from noon until 7:00 at the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building in Newton – there will be games, prizes, face painting, & more, plus a catered meal will feature pulled pork barbeque, hot dogs, potatoe salad, & more – raffle drawings will end the event with 80-plus prizes as tickets are still on sale at the Peoples State Bank in Newton – it’s all to benefit the Hill family of Jasper County. 

REMINDERS
    Weather permitting, the City of Olney’s Utility Department will be flushing hydrants this Sunday night, starting at 9:00, continuing overnight, thru Monday morning – could be some discoloration & low pressure
    It’s another fundraising “fried chicken dinner” tomorrow at the Olney Senior Center, with serving from 10:30 til 1:30 – tickets at the door – all proceeds to benefit the County’s ERBA Senior Citizens’ program
    The next area blood drive is tomorrow morning at the St Joseph Catholic Church in Olney, from 8:00 until 12 noon – all types of blood are needed – all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to give blood
    The East Richland High School Music Department will have its “awards picnic” this afternoon in the Olney City Park Community Building, starting at 12:30 – all ERHS music students & parents invited
    It’s a “Poker Run for Our Troops” today with signup at 10:00 & leaving the Olney VFW at 12 noon with stops in Flora, Effingham, Montrose, & Ste Marie – then back to Olney for food & fun tonight
    The Suntone Beach Survivors’ “walk & roll” team has a fundraising breakfast at the Farmer’s Market this morning, with serving from 7:00 til 11:00 – egg burritos, sausage on a stick, muffins, & more
    The Olney Shriners now have their famous “vidalia onions” on sale – it’s a ten pound bag for a ten dollar bill – contact any Shriner or stop by at Rural King in Olney – that’s “vidalia onions” now on sale

May 13, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure system will slowly drift towards the Midwest today with our chance of showers & thunderstorms increasing thru tonight & continuing thru Saturday into Sunday – however, the front will bring with it some cooler air by late tonight – it should dry out by next Tuesday – stay tuned for updates. 

(NEWTON)  Education reform is headed to the Governor’s desk as State Representatives passed a measure despite concerns from teachers & their unions about strike provisions – some lawmakers say a different bill may be drafted – the unions say this plan strips statewide teachers of their right to collective bargaining.

(OLNEY)  Businesses and banks may soon have to turn over unclaimed property to the State Treasurer’s office in one year rather than five years – the decreased amount of time is aimed at helping Illinois residents find out about the property sooner – while the plan has passed thru the Senate, it now heads to the House.

(NEWTON)  Hundreds of firefighters and others from across the state gathered in Springfield yesterday to honor those who either gave their lives in service to others or those who went above and beyond normal services to help those in need – the 18th annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial & Firefighting Medal of Honor Ceremony remembered nine firefighters who died in, or as a result of, the performance of duty, plus thirty-six other firefighters were honored for their outstanding bravery and service to their communities – to look over the list of awardees, check the State Fire Marshall’s website online at www.state.il.us/osfm.

(OLNEY)  The Richland County Board met last night – the Board : agreed to pay a quarter of the cost involved with getting the Ludlow Street storm siren up and running with a new building, generator, & other needed equipment : approved the Airport Road, from Route 250 to the Olney/Noble Airport, as an official 9-1-1 Road, with no real change other than the designation : accepted the low bid for road oil, the same price as a year ago : approved the bid of $14,875 to replace a culvert along Mt. Gilead Lane : heard an update from the Highway Department, noting that only 40% of the yearly budget has been used so far : noted a $5,000 worker's compensation refund, the result of a safe workplace environment in Richland County : took no action to establish a fee for civil union licenses within the county : and heard an update on emergency preparedness in Richland County : the Board's next regular monthly meeting will be June 9th.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County Board met last night – the Board : on a 7 “yes”, 3 “no”, 2 “abstention” vote – passed a resolution to set the “civil union” license fee at $30 – includes sending a letter to Springfield expressing the Board’s disagreement with the “civil union” law : approved the bid of $138,601 to order a new 2011 ambulance with delivery in December : approved the Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Newton for economic development : approved an agreement with the City of Newton for the EMA tower usage : agreed to put the Sheriff Department’s old generator & fuel tank for sale – sealed bids are due in by May 25th : approved the nearly 4 mile-long soil cement road improvement project for Hatchery Road in the amount of $463,609 : and took no other action after a 45 minute closed session to discuss litigation and personnel : the Jasper County Board’s next regular monthly meeting will be held June 9th in Newton.

(OLNEY)  As part of this year's summer reading program, "A Midsummer Knight's Read", the Olney Public Library is inviting the community to take part in a "Castle Build-Off Competition" – folks can create their most mystical castle to be put on display at the library throughout the summer program – entries may be submitted by individuals, families, or groups, and need to be delivered to the library by Friday, May 27th, two weeks from today – for more information, stop by or call the Olney Public Library, at 618-392-3711.
 
(NEWTON)  The USDA Farm Service Agency in Illinois wants to remind producers of the approaching FSA program deadlines : May 27th, two weeks from today, is the deadline for project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program : May 31st, two weeks from next Tuesday, is the final date to request a marketing assistance loan or loan deficiency payment for 2010-crop feed grains, soybeans, & minor oilseeds : also May 31st, the final date to report small grain acreages : and June 1st, two weeks from next Wednesday, is the final date to enroll in the 2011 Average Crop Revenue Election Program and the Direct & Counter-Cyclical Program : farmers should contact their respective FSA Office for more information.
 
(OLNEY)  Letter carriers across the nation are ready to help stock community food banks, pantries, and shelters for the summer months ahead by taking part in tomorrow’s 19th annual National Food Drive as mail carriers will be collecting nonperishable food items during their normal mail routes tomorrow – residents  can leave a box or sack of nonperishable food near their mailbox prior to their normal mail drop-off time – the food will then be delivered to local food banks & pantries that serve the area where the food is – we hope you’ll join all of our regional letter carriers by taking part in this year’s National Food Drive.

(NEWTON)  It’s a special day tomorrow with a chance to help out a local family with huge medical expenses – the event begins with a morning 5K Run/Walk at Sam Parr State Park at 9:00 – then a Kid’s Carnival will run from noon until 7:00 at the Sunrise Youth Center & Community Building – there will be games, prizes, face painting, & more, plus a catered meal will feature pulled pork barbeque, hot dogs, potatoe salad, & more – raffle drawings will end the event with 80-plus prizes as tickets are still on sale at the Peoples State Bank in Newton – it’s all to benefit the Hill family of Jasper County. 

(OLNEY)  It’s graduation time for area community colleges tonight : the 47th annual commencement exercises in the Olney Central College Gymnasium, starting at 7:00 : elsewhere, it’s the annual ceremonies for Frontier Community College at the First Christian Church in Fairfield, in the Lincoln Trail College Gym in Robinson, & at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, all starting at 7:00 – congratulations to one & all.

(OLNEY)  Today’s the final day to help out with the local “Alabama Tornado Relief Drive” as all donated items & money will be taken tomorrow to the Christian Service Missions in Birmingham, Alabama, for distribution to those in need – the local drop-off site is at the old RV building, east of Olney, along Route 50, by the flea market – items most needed includes bottled water, packaged food, baby food & formula, diapers & wipes, blankets, & new socks, underwear, & children’s shoes – to help out, call 618-843-2865.

REMINDERS
    Weather permitting, the City of Olney’s Utility Department will be flushing hydrants this Sunday night, starting at 9:00, continuing overnight, thru Monday morning – could be some discoloration & low pressure
    It’s another fundraising “fried chicken dinner” this Sunday at the Olney Senior Center, with serving from 10:30 til 1:30 – tickets at the door – all proceeds to benefit the County’s ERBA Senior Citizens’ program
    The East Richland High School Music Department will have its “awards picnic” tomorrow afternoon in the Olney City Park Community Building, starting at 12:30 – all ERHS music students & parents invited
    It’s a “Poker Run for Our Troops” tomorrow with signup at 10:00 & leaving the Olney VFW at 12 noon with stops in Flora, Effingham, Montrose, & Ste Marie – then back to Olney for food & fun tomorrow night
    The Suntone Beach Survivors’ “walk & roll” team has a fundraising breakfast at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow morning, with serving from 7:00 til 11:00 – egg burritos, sausage on a stick, muffins, & more
    The Newton Junior Women’s Club has a fundraising “purse auction” tonight at Parklanes in Newton, starting at 6:30 – new & gently used purses & bags with a hidden surprise – admission is free, plus door prizes and free refreshments – money raised to buy emergency equipment for the Boys & Girls Park
    The Olney Shriners now have their famous “vidalia onions” on sale – it’s a ten pound bag for a ten dollar bill – contact any Shriner or stop by at Rural King in Olney – that’s “vidalia onions” now on sale
    The next area blood drive is today at the Newton Community High School, from 8:30 until 1:30 - all types of blood are in need – all eligible and/or first-time donors are urged to get out & give blood