LOCAL NEWS

Local News

February 25, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A strong low pressure system will track along the Ohio River Valley today – as our precip ends, we’ll have some colder air in place today thru tonight – then a warmup tomorrow into Sunday, with another chance of rain by Sunday night, continuing into Monday & the first of next week – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  The National Weather Service has issued several weather statements : a Flood Warning for downstate rivers is in effect, specifically for the Little Wabash River from Clay City to Carmi – with 1 to 2 inches of rain since yesterday, flooding is a problem in all surrounding counties : some Winter Weather Advisories overnight effects counties from U.S. Route 50 north – some areas to our north have received anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow after the rain – check out those road conditions before traveling.

(OLNEY)  Governor Pat Quinn has re-evaluated his plan to cut $200 million from human services – first announced last weekend, the mandatory cuts quickly came under fire, especially from those who operate drug & treatment centers across the state – Quinn says are inevitable & will now amount to $100 million.

(NEWTON)  The Governor says he will act on the proposed “death penalty ban” relatively soon – in the meantime, Quinn has heard from people all over the world, speaking their opinion – Governor Quinn has until March 18th, three weeks from today, to either pass or veto the ban, or it becomes law on its own.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Fire Department was called out twice overnight :
*  at 11:27 last night to a house fire at 814 North East Street – the accidental fire originated in the home’s utility room – while there’s minor fire & smoke damage throughout the house, there was water damage due to a water heater valve – there were no injuries – the firemen were on the scene for well over an hour
*  at 2:41 early this morning to a false alarm at 1216 Willow Drive – the fire alarm was activated for an unknown reason – there was no actual fire – the firemen were on the scene for just over a half hour

(NEWTON)  The local and state investigation continues into a Wednesday afternoon house fire in Wheeler – firefighters based in Dieterich were called out at shortly after 5:00 to the home owned by Debra White, but occupied by Scott Emmerich – authorities say no one was home at the time of the fire, which was first spotted by a motorist along Route 33 – other firemen from Wade Township in Newton, plus others from Montrose, Teutopolis, Effingham, & elsewhere helped out – firefighters were on the scene for three hours.

(OLNEY)  Associate Judge Mark Shaner has denied a request from 60 year old Kenneth Lemke, who’s looking for a third trial for the November 3rd, 2001 shooting death of his stepson, Lance Albertson, of Claremont – officials say Lemke claims he had ineffective legal assistance of counsel during his second trial – however the judge disagreed – Lemke is serving a 22 year prison sentence for the Edwards County killing.

(NEWTON)  Meanwhile, authorities were busy this past Wednesday night looking for a traffic offense suspect who abandoned his vehicle – an Illinois State Trooper began the pursuit just south of Montrose on the Dieterich Blacktop, when the suspect left his vehicle on a county road near the Jasper County line – the search was eventually called due to the weather conditions – the police do have a suspect after searching the abandoned vehicle – area residents should be alert to other missing vehicles or anything else missing.

(OLNEY)  The investigation continues into a fatal traffic accident that occurred at just before 11:00 this past Wednesday morning in Crawford County, near Robinson – 78 year old Anton Ballas of Shelburn, Indiana struck the side of a semi-truck driven by 27 year old Lance McVeigh of West Salem – State Police say 78 year old Audra Ballas, one of the passengers, was pronounced dead at the scene – no tickets issued.

(NEWTON)  Authorities are continuing to warn area residents of an ongoing scam – local folks are getting phone calls from what appears to be a family member, most generally a grandson or granddaughter, who’s reportedly in an out-of-state or out-of-country jail – now while the name of the family member is never mentioned, they also refer to an attorney or other legal advocate – the caller makes a request for a wire transfer of up to $4,000 or $5,000 on average & says the money is needed immediately, leaving victims no time to confirm the information – this scam involves no family members and the money is most generally unrecoverable – spread the word that if such a call is received, ask for a return telephone number to call to verify the details or tell the caller to call a local attorney – these scammers rely on the family connection to get their money – if folks get such a call, contact your local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department.
 
(OLNEY)  National FFA Week comes to an end this weekend as area FFA Chapters will finish their local activities today : this Friday is Carhartt, Camo, & Hat Day at East Richland High School, plus the Olney FFA will host its annual “petting zoo” today : it’s Tractor Day today at the West Richland High School, plus the annual Friday “lunch cookout” today at WRHS in Noble : join us as we salute all area FFA Chapters for their hard work and dedication, not only this week, but every week throughout the year.

(NOBLE)  The West Richland Elementary School is again collecting Campbell’s “Labels for Education” each Friday in February with all proceeds to go towards the purchase of library audio-visual equipment to benefit the students in the Noble area – the labels are collected every Friday morning, plus the classroom that’s collects the most will be awarded – to help out, contact the Elementary School Office in Noble.

REMINDERS
    Ticket sales begin next week for the OCC Theatre production of “Beauty & the Beast” – that’s from 10:00 til 2:00 each weekday at the OCC ticket booth – seven performances coming up in March & April
    The West Richland PTO “School of Rock” Kids Carnival will be tomorrow evening at the Elementary School Gym in Noble, running from 4:00 til 6:00 – plenty of games, concessions, & fun for all ages
    The Dieterich Fire Protection District has its annual fundraising “texas hold ‘em” tournament & barbeque dinner tomorrow – it’s all at the Dieterich Civic Center starting at 11:00 – tickets at the door, plus more
    The Noble Lions Club has its annual “all-you-can-eat” fundraising breakfast tomorrow, with serving from 6:00 until 1:00 – tickets on sale at the door – includes pancakes, whole hog sausage, biscuits, & gravy
    There’s two Friday night “fish fries” this evening : at the Newton Eagles Club with serving from 5:00 til 8:00 : at the Olney Knights of Columbus with serving from 5:00 til 7:30 : tickets at the door with carryouts
    Area blood drives : today, from 12 noon til 4:00, at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney : then Sunday morning at the Holy Cross Parish Hall in Wendelin from 8:00 til 12 noon : all types of blood are needed

February 24, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A low pressure storm system will bring us rain chances today thru tonight with maybe a storm & some possibly heavy rainfall amounts – a cold front will follow with cooler air in place for the weekend – plus another chance of rain by Sunday evening & into the first of next week – listen for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  Governor Pat Quinn says a new law that he signed into effect yesterday will strengthen the state’s efforts to combat organized retail crime – estimated to save the state at least $80 million, the new law will help minimize the practice of stores in low-income communities that have been stocking stolen merchandise or items will expired use dates, such as over-the-counter medication and baby formula.

(OLNEY)  The State Department of Transportation will host five “open house” meetings this spring to seek public input regarding the St. Louis to Chicago high-speed rail project – the first meeting is set for March 1st, next Tuesday, in Joliet, with the other meetings to be held in Bloomington, Springfield, Carlinville, and Alton – anyone can attend the meetings – to get further information, go online at www.idothsr.gov.

(NEWTON)  Congressman John Shimkus is being honored by the National Farm Bureau – the Collinsville lawmaker will receive the “Golden Plow Award” during the Farm Bureau’s Government Affairs Conference in Springfield – it’s designed to honor lawmakers who demonstrate fiscal conservatism with a commitment to agriculture – Shimkus is just the 5th Illinoisan to receive the award since its inception in 1988.

(OLNEY)  The Richland Memorial Hospital Incorporated Board of Directors met this week – the Board : approved the purchase of a new “cryostat machine” for the RMH Laboratory : heard updates on state cuts dealing with healthcare & Medicare services for rural hospitals : noted an update from CEO Dave Allen on several information systems projects scheduled for this fiscal year : & noted a report on clinical outcomes and on quality assessment & improvement : the RMH Inc. Directors will meet again on March 29th.

(NEWTON)  Sheriff Ed Francis has announced his office will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a student in Jasper County who plans to pursue higher education this academic year – applications are now available at the Sheriff’s Office in Newton, online at www.ilsheriff.org, or at the NCHS financial aid office – all the required paperwork must be turned in by March 11th, three weeks from this Friday – the Illinois Sheriff’s Association will be awarding over $53,000 in college scholarships throughout the state this year.

(OLNEY)  Authorities in Clay County are continuing to investigate two deaths in Bible Grove – it was yesterday morning the Deputies found the bodies of 58 year old Thomas Holste and 53 year old Mary Holste in the couple’s home – each died of apparent gunshot wounds – a weapon was recovered – at this time it appears to be a homicide/suicide with no other foul play suspected – the State Police are assisting.

(NEWTON)  Authorities in Knox County, Indiana are still investigating the discovery of meth and meth making material in Vincennes early yesterday morning – a traffic stop shortly after midnight eventually led to a block-wide evacuation when what appeared to be a couple of pipe bombs were found, however no bombs were found – 33 year old Robert Getchell of Vincennes was arrested on various drug charges.
 
(OLNEY)  This is National FFA Week, with various activities at FFA Chapters all over the area : today is Case vs John Deere Day at ERHS, plus the Olney FFA members served up their Teacher’s Appreciation Breakfast this morning – tomorrow will be Carhartt, Camo, & Hat Day at ERHS, plus the annual Olney FFA “petting zoo” : today is Wear Your FFA T-Shirt Day at WRHS in Noble, plus the coloring contest judging is today – tomorrow will be “tractor day” and the annual “cookout lunch” there in Noble : join us as we salute all area FFA Chapters this week for their hard work and dedication to our communities & schools.

REMINDERS
    The Village of Noble will remove all grave decorations in the Noble Cemetery on March 14th – the citizens have until then, over two weeks, to remove & save them – the public’s cooperation is appreciated
    Lake Land College will host the 4th annual “Energy Innovation Conference” next Wednesday, March 2nd, from 9:00 til 4:00 – it’s free with various topics for businesses, contractors, farmers, & more
    The Dieterich Fire Protection District has its annual fundraising “texas hold ‘em” tournament & barbeque dinner this Saturday – it’s all at the Dieterich Civic Center starting at 11:00 – tickets at the door, plus more
    The Historic Sailor Springs Foundation has a fundraising “breakfast & bake sale” this Saturday morning from 8:00 til 10:00 at the Old Ruritan Building – $5 tickets at the door – carryouts available
    It’s another Friday night “fish fry” tomorrow night at the Olney Knights of Columbus, along Whittle Avenue – that’s serving from 5:00 til 7:30, with tickets on sale at the door, plus carryouts for all ages
     The United Methodist Village in Lawrenceville will host a fundraising Food Pantry “baked potato bar” tomorrow, with serving from 10:30 til 12:30, priced at only $4 per potato – carryouts available
    The next Richland County blood drive is tomorrow afternoon, from 12:00 til 4:00, at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney : there are two area blood drives today – from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong and from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are very much needed

February 23, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  A high pressure ridge will build into the midwest today with a dry sky thru tonight – then an approaching cold front will move thru with rain, possibly heavy at times, tomorrow thru Friday – maybe some snow & rain hanging around for Saturday as well – then dry on Sunday – stay tuned for updates.

(NEWTON)  Illinois is becoming a temporary refuge for lawmakers in both Wisconsin & now, Indiana – Democrats in the Indiana House were in the Champaign-Urbana area yesterday, trying to avoid a vote and block a bill to turn the Hoosier State into a “right-to-work” state – other escaping lawmakers say many more measures, including one to cut public school funding, are being pushed as well : meanwhile, the Indiana Senate passed a crackdown bill on illegal immigrants, much like the Immigrant Bill passed in Arizona.

(OLNEY)  A total of 38 municipalities across Illinois could be in danger of losing the right to impose stricter gun regulations on their citizens as firearm advocates want uniform laws concerning registration & transportation of guns – firearm supporters say the different rules cause confusion & unnecessary arrests – while the cities want to tighten gun laws to help control violence, gun owners point to the facts that show criminals will always have guns & that by arming the public, the fight against crime will grow stronger.

(NEWTON)  Rahm Emanuel is Chicago’s next Mayor – the former White House Chief of Staff won the mayoral race with well over the more than 50% needed to make sure there is no runoff in April – Emanuel becomes Chicago’s first non-Daley Mayor in 22 years – he also becomes the first Jewish mayor in Chicago.

(OLNEY)  As the 97th General Assembly begins its spring session in Springfield, State Representative David Reis has been assigned his committee appointments for the next two-year legislative cycle – Reis will once again serve as the Republican Spokesman for the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee, which considers budgetary requests that impacts many departments throughout state government – the 108th District Rep will also serve on the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, the Judiciary II Committee, the Elections & Campaign Reform Committee, and the Insurance Committee – for more details or information, check the Representative’s website, available online at www.davidreis.com.

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School Board met last night – the Board : recognized two of the schools within the District – the Ste. Marie Elementary School is one of 300 schools in Illinois noted as an Illinois Spotlight School – the Grove Elementary School is one of 459 schools in America earning an Academic Excellence Award for 2010 : on a 5 to 2 vote, approved the date of Monday, April 25th, to be utilized to make up school due to excessive days missed due to snow & ice : heard, but took no action, on a three-year district budget projection which will soon be available on the school website : agreed to hold an auction for items declared as surplus at NCHS : noted that initial floor plans for changes at the high school & grade school should be completed this week : accepted the resignation of secretary Diane Weddell effective at the end of this school year : & agreed to sell the Muddy West School : the next regular meeting is March 21st.
 
(NOBLE)  The West Richland Pre-School Screenings have been set for March 18th in Noble and required appointments can now be made – this is for children in the West Richland School District who wish to attend the District’s Pre-K Program next school year – “Birth-to-Three screenings will also be given at this time – parent’s should bring with them the child’s birth certificate, social security card, and immunization record – appointments are required – the screenings will be held that Friday from 8:00 until 3:30 at the Elementary School in Noble – appointments can be made now thru March 4th, by calling 723-2415.

(OLNEY)  This is National FFA Week, which gives FFA members across the nation a chance to educate the public about agriculture : today is Official Dress / Blue & Gold Day at ERHS in Olney, plus the FFA Week
”cookout” is today, with the FFA Week Volleyball Tournament later tonight – tomorrow is Case vs John Deere Day, plus the Teacher’s Appreciation Breakfast is tomorrow morning : the WRHS Chapter in Noble has its “petting zoo” today for the grade school children in Noble – tomorrow is Wear Your FFA T-Shirt Day, plus the coloring contest judging will take place as well : join us as we salute all area FFA Chapters this week for their hard work and dedication to our nation, state, communities, and schools.
 
REMINDERS
    Olney Central College will host a “financial aid” night on March 3rd, a week from tomorrow, in Room 208 at OCC – that’s from 4:30 til 6:30, open to anyone – call OCC at 395-7777 for more information
    Ticket sales begin next week for the OCC Theatre production of “Beauty & the Beast” – that’s from 10:00 til 2:00 each weekday at the OCC ticket booth – seven performances coming up in March & April
    It’s another Friday night “fish fry” coming up this Friday at the Newton Eagles Club – that’s serving from 5:00 until 8:00 with tickets on sale at the door and carryouts available – all ages are invited
    The next Richland County blood drive will be this Friday, from 12 noon til 4:00, at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney : there are two more area blood drives tomorrow – from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong & from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are needed

February 22, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  As a low pressure system pushes across the upper midwest, giving us some cloud cover thru tonight, an approaching high pressure will build into the Midwest by tomorrow, with some sunshine and warmer air – then another fast-moving front will bring us rain chances by Friday – listen for updates.

(NEWTON)  The Chicago Mayor’s race is officially in the hands of the voters – it’s the first time in more than 60 years that a sitting Mayor is not on the ballot, and the first time in over two decades that a Daley is not up for election – former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has the early lead so far, followed by former Chicago City College Chairman Gary Chico and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

(OLNEY)  The lawyers of Rod Blagojevich have changed pace in their court motions prior to the retrial in April – this time, defense attorney’s want to throw out hundreds of wiretap recordings that they claim are “unfair” because only parts of the conservations were recorded – Illinois’ former Governor faces retrial on 23 charges of corruption, including accusations he tried to sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat.

(NEWTON)  With springtime now a month away, next week will be recognized as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois – in fact, a statewide "tornado drill" will be held a week from today, on Tuesday morning, March 1st, at 10:00, which will coincide with the monthly siren tests that many communities do on the first Tuesday of the month – while the National Weather Service will be issuing "Test" Tornado Warnings to the media & thru NOAA Weather Radio for dissemination to the public, local businesses, schools, & homes are encouraged to take time to practice their tornado safety plan during the statewide drill or later in the day or evening next week – for more on being prepared for possible severe weather conditions, go online at www.weather.gov/Lincoln or at www.ready.illinois.gov.

(OLNEY)  It was recently announced that the Olney Police Department has purchased some "Safety DVD's" for the local school districts – created by TV producers John Walsh & Julie Clark, "The Safe Side" movies give children various tips on how to stay safe by using humor & are easy to understand – copies of the DVD's have been given to the East Richland Elementary School, the St. Joseph School, the West Richland Elementary School, & the Olney Public Library, all thru a purchase grant from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center – all to improve the safety awareness of our local & area children in Richland County.
 
(NEWTON)  At last week's meeting, the Newton City Council heard a few of committee reports : the Police Committee met to discuss hiring another full-time officer, then eliminating all part-time officers to better control overtime hours – the Police Committee also talked about buying a new squad car with funds provided by fees for inspections of rental properties : the Cooperative Economic Development Committee met twice recently – once with representatives from the various entities & organizations in Newton & Jasper County, where an annual report was given, detailing grants, projects, & more – the Committee met again to tour Newton's new assisted living facility, Villas of Holly Brook – the Committee also noted information concerning GSI, where CDAP funding may assist the company with road & drainage improvements : and the Dues & Donations Committee met to discuss the allocation of funds as in the past – it recommended that the City Council allocate the same amount that's been distributed since 2007 – applications will be accepted until March 18th : the next Newton City Council regular meeting is set for March 1st.
 
(OLNEY)  A newly formed Olney Farmers Market Committee is proposing to open & operate a Saturdays-only "Farmers Market" to be operated in downtown Olney – this would be seperate from the current Farmer's Market which is open twice a week in the Olney City Park – the new "Farmers Market" would be open to vendors from outside, as well as within Richland County, but within Illinois – items to be sold would be strictly home grown or produced, however no discounted truck load or third party bulk purchases will be allowed – those interested in taking part should contact the Wabash Valley Farmers Market Committee by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by faxing at 779-456-7084, or by mailing to WVFM Committee, c/o Mason Prairie Enterprises, Inc., at 94 North Illinois Route 130, Parkersburg, Illinois, 62452 – those interested should include what folks are planing to sell, what facilities or services may be required, how often folks can participate, or any other questions or comments – contact them for other details as well.

(NEWTON)  This is National FFA Week, which gives FFA members across the nation a chance to educate the public about agriculture – join us as we salute all area FFA Chapters this week for their hard work and dedication to our communities, schools, & families – various activities continue all this week in the region.
 
REMINDERS
    The 2011 Job Fair at Lake Land College is set for Wednesday, March 23rd, four weeks from tomorrow – space is still available for additional companies or businesses to take part – call Lake Land’s offices today
    The 19th annual Crawford County “trivia night” will be held a week from tonight on March 1st at the Grade School in Oblong, starting at 6:30 – all are invited to take part – to signup, call Dave at 592-4235
    The West Richland PTO “School of Rock” Kids Carnival will be this Saturday evening at the Elementary School Gym in Noble, running from 4:00 til 6:00 – plenty of games, concessions, & fun for all ages
    The Dieterich Fire Protection District has its annual fundraising “texas hold ‘em” tournament & barbeque dinner this Saturday – it’s all at the Dieterich Civic Center starting at 11:00 – tickets at the door, plus more
    The next meeting for the Wabash Valley RC&D Council is this Thursday night at the Allendale Ruritan Building, at 6:00 – its serves the counties of Richland, Lawrence, Crawford, Edwards, Wabash, & Wayne
    The next area blood drives are this coming Thursday : from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong : from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are much needed
   

 

February 21, 2011 Local & Area News

(OLNEY)  The main low pressure storm system will ride northeast along a cold front today with rain and falling temperatures by evening – then dry and colder tonight into tomorrow – but a steady warmup thru the end of the work week & another chance of rain by Thursday & Friday – stay tuned for weather updates.

(NEWTON)  Borrowing $8.75 billion is likely to be the focus of the upcoming budget debate in Springfield – and in reality, some say the state is already borrowing money by not paying its bills – the main question is whether Illinois will continue to borrow from service providers or from professional lenders – more details on the budget will come as lawmakers work to approve or disapprove of the Governor’s proposals & plans.

(OLNEY)  Ameren Illinois is asking for a $111 million rate hike – the Illinois Commerce Commission request is to increase the delivery rate by $60 million in cost recovery for its electric delivery service and $51 million for natural gas – this works out to an estimated increase of up to $3.78 per month for Ameren electric customers – the review process usually takes about 11 months with no increases until 2012.

(NEWTON)  This is President’s Day 2011 – it’s a federal holiday honoring George Washington that was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in the District of Columbia & expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices – as the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22nd – in 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the 3rd Monday in Feburary – all schools, post offices, & federal offices are closed today.

(OLNEY)  This is National FFA Week, which gives FFA members across the nation a chance to educate the public about agriculture – in fact, FFA Chapters this week will host petting zoo’s, teacher appreciation breakfasts, public programs, local contests, & more – it’s during this week that we here at WVLN – WSEI – WIKK in Olney & Newton salute all area FFA Chapters, including all their members, both past & present.

(FLORA)  Clay County & State authorities continue to investigate the death of a Flora woman last Thursday evening – 33 year old Carey Deem was pronounced dead at the scene of a single vehicle crash that occurred about four miles north of Flora, along North State Road – funeral services are set for tonight in Flora. 

(NEWTON)  The Jasper County School District will conduct its annual Preschool Screening for 3 to 5 year old children February 22nd thru 25th – that’s this week, starting tomorrow and running thru Friday – times will vary each day as the free screenings will help identify children who may need assistance before they start school – the local Head Start program will also be on hand to accept applications, plus additional free screenings by the Birth-to-Three program will be available as well – the screenings will be conducted at the First Baptist Church in Newton – parents or guardians should call the district offices for more information.

(OLNEY)  The Olney Central College Music Department has it’s final “OCC Music Day” coming up this weekend, on Saturday, the 26th, when area high school students are encouraged to attend the annual Winter Concert at 7:30 that night in the Dr. John D. Stull Performing Arts Center at OCC – students interested should contact their high school band or choral director, or call the OCC Music Department at 395-7777.
 
REMINDERS
    The Noble Lions Club has its annual “all-you-can-eat” fundraising breakfast this Saturday, with serving from 6:00 until 1:00 – tickets on sale at the door – includes pancakes, whole hog sausage, biscuits, & gravy
    The United Methodist Village in Lawrenceville will host a fundraising Food Pantry “baked potato bar” this Friday, with serving from 10:30 til 12:30, priced at only $4 per tater – carryouts available
    The next area blood drives are this coming Thursday : from 1:00 til 6:00 at the Municipal Building in Oblong : from 2:00 til 6:00 at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich : all types of blood are much needed
    The Founders Day Dinner is tonight at the Edwards County Senior Center in Albion with the meal at 6:00, then music & guest speaker to follow – call the Chamber Office in Albion for tickets or for details
    It’s a “walk & roll” fundraiser today thru tonight at Monical’s Pizza – fill out a flyer while ordering & a percentage of sales will go to the Weber Medical Clinic team to help fight the local fight against cancer