08:08am CDT, 03/27/15

Local News

Farm Bureau members learn more on Dakota Pipelin project

03/27/15 05:52 AM

Attorneys from the St. Louis-based law firm Byron, Carlson, Petri and Kalb shared information on the Dakota Access Pipeline project with a large group landowners Wednesday night at the Fayette County Farm Bureau.

The attorneys encouraged landowners in the proposed path of the pipeline not to sign the first easement offer sent by the pipeline company. Attorney Chris Petri urged the crowd

St. Elmo Makes Personnel Moves At Special Meeting

03/27/15 05:51 AM

The St. Elmo School Board made a handful of personnel moves at their special board meeting on Tuesday night. After a closed session, the board accepted a letter of retirement from full-time librarian and teacher Marilyn Henson that will be effective at the end of the current school year. The board also approved to reclassify Megan Burrus from a full-time teacher to ¾ time teacher for

Senate approves budget hole fix

03/27/15 05:47 AM
The Illinois Senate is joining the House in passing legislation to close up the more than one billion dollar gap in the current state budget. The budget fix uses money sitting in special state funds to shore up most of the hole, and then makes 2.25 percent cuts to several areas of state government thru the end of the fiscal year. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno says it helps the state

Sen McCarter on budget hole fix

03/27/15 05:46 AM
Meanwhile, State Senator Kyle McCarter says he applauds Governor Rauner for working to come up with the bipartisan fix.


The budget shortfall has threatened corrections jobs and funding for court reporters and child-care programs.

Bill Would Ban State Funds For Commencement Speakers

03/27/15 05:45 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  One state lawmaker wants to bar public universities from using taxpayer funds to pay fees to commencement speakers.  Republican Reggie Phillips of Charleston got his bill through a House committee, but its ultimate passage is not certain.  Phillips says the fees of as much as 50-thousand dollars should come from private sources, but critics say the bill

New IDHA Program Provides Homebuyer Assistance

03/27/15 05:44 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A state housing agency is offering first time homebuyers several options for financial aid.  The Illinois Housing Development Authority program is called "At Home Illinois."   Low-income qualifiers can get a five-thousand-dollar grant that's forgiven after ten years.  They can also be eligible for a mortgage credit

Schock Farewell Includes Promise Of 'New Chapter'

03/27/15 05:43 AM
(Washington, DC)  --  In his farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Peoria congressman Aaron Schock says he leaves with sadness and humility.  Schock resigned after wading through a rising tide of questions about his public and private finances. A federal investigation has begun into his spending and accounting practices, but Schock said today he'd

Cancellations for 3-26-15

03/26/15 09:02 AM
Vandals baseball, scheduled to be at home today versus Greenville, has been cancelled for today

Brownstown/St. Elmo High School track meet today at Mt. Olive has been cancelled

St. Elmo/Brownstown High School softball game today at home versus Odin, has been postponed

St. Elmo/Brownstown High School softball game on Friday at Clay City has been postponed

Colder weather to stay with us for the next few days

03/26/15 05:57 AM
Now that most of the rain and storms have moved thru, we are in for some cooler temperatures over the next few days with some downright cold nights. We will still see some showers around this morning, then gradually clearing skies after that with a high today just reaching the upper 40s. We will see partly cloudy skies tonight with a low of 30 and mostly sunny skies on Friday with a high just in

Not much contested locally in April 7th election, early voting is going on

03/26/15 05:56 AM
Consolidated Election Day is set for Tuesday, April 7th---but there is very little contested on the ballot. One contested race is for Ward One Vandalia Alderman, where Neil Clark is running for re-election and he is challenged by Kenneth Hubler. All the other Aldermen are running uncontested. One other contested race is for Village of Ramsey trustee. Five individuals—Chris Wall, Jennifer

Some VES students have some fun with silly string after reaching goal

03/26/15 05:55 AM
Vandalia Elementary School students got to celebrate a fundraising victory this week, and their Principal helped them celebrate. The VES Book Fair, Hosted by the VES PTO, raised over $5600 to meet their goal.  Several students, selected from a coloring contest and random drawings, got to spray silly string at Principal Stacy Mesnard.  Half of the money raised from the book fair is

Illinois Senate Expected To Vote On Temporary Budget Fix

03/26/15 05:53 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A vote is expected to take place today in the state Senate to approve a temporary fix designed to fill a large hole in the state's budget. The Illinois House approved a bill earlier this week that would rearrange money in the current budget to plug a one-point-six-billion-dollar gap.  The plan would transfer money from state funded programs and cut the

State unemployment down

03/26/15 05:52 AM
Economic recovery continues in Illinois, with a slight drop in the unemployment rate last month. State Department of Employment Security labor market analyst Ron Payne says the jobless rate fell just a bit in February to 6 percent, and nearly 14,000 jobs were added.


Declines were seen in government, education and health service and manufacturing.

More state symbols probably coming

03/26/15 05:51 AM
The list of state symbols may be growing. We already have a state snack in popcorn, the state dance is the square dance, and the Easter Painted Turtle is the state reptile. Lawmakers, like bill sponsor State Representative Rob Martwick, are considering making “Polka Celebration” by Eddie Blazonczyk the state polka song.


There's also a bill proposed by school children

AG Madigan Reports Billion-Dollar Year

03/26/15 05:50 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office collected more than one-point-three-billion-dollars on behalf of the state last year.  The money comes from a variety of legal actions taken by the office to recover money for damage to state property, unpaid fines, and other penalties.  Consumer class actions against banks, insurance companies and

Showers and T-Storms likely tonight, possibly some isolated severe storms

03/25/15 06:01 AM
Showers and Thunderstorms are on the way to the area tonight. And, that may include our first round of severe weather for this spring. Today we are looking at mostly cloudy skies with a high in the lower 60s. Showers and Thunderstorms are likely for tonight with a low tonight into the lower 40s. The National Weather Service in St. Louis says thunderstorms are expected to overspread the area

OKAW welding students have strong showing in MTI competition

03/25/15 06:00 AM
Welding students from the OKAW Area Vocational Center had a strong showing at a competition this past Friday. The students competed in the MTI Welding competition, which is equivalent to any state competition and they were competing against over 80 high school students from Missouri and Illinois. And, out of eight students from OKAW competing, four finished in the top 10 and one student took the

Fayette County Farm Bureau holding information meeting this evening

03/25/15 05:57 AM
The Fayette County Farm Bureau will host an informational meeting this evening. Chris Byron, who is an attorney from Edwardsville, will on hand this evening to speak on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Syngenta lawsuit. The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm this evening at the Farm Bureau office in Vandalia.

Illinois House approves plan to shore up budget holes in current fiscal year bud

03/25/15 05:56 AM
Lawmakers in the Illinois House approved a plan to shore up a big hold in the current state budget. Governor Bruce Rauner says the state budget is short by about 1.6 billion dollars. This proposal helps make sure there is enough money to get the state through the end of the fiscal year, and to pay for things like prison guards, court reporters, and the child care assistance program. House Speaker

Rep Cavaletto on House approving budget fix

03/25/15 05:55 AM
Meanwhile, State Representative John Cavaletto says the budget fix approved by the House was something that had to happen.


Some layoff notices had already been issued for court reporters before this approval. But, all of that should now be squared away----if the measure is approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Rauner.

Bill Passes Committee Outlawing Drivers From Smoking With Minors

03/25/15 05:53 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A new bill that will ban drivers from smoking in a car with a minor inside has passed in an Illinois committee.  The Senate Public Health Committee passed the legislation Tuesday by a five-to-two vote.  Violators would have to pay a fine of less than 100-dollars.  The next stop for the measure is the Senate floor.



Three Guards Hurt In Inmate Attack At Pontiac

03/25/15 05:52 AM
(Pontiac, IL)  --  Illinois Department of Corrections officials say an inmate may face new charges after attacking and injuring three prison officers at the  Pontiac Correctional Center.  A DOC spokeswoman claims the staff got word  Monday morning that an inmate had a weapon in his cell.  During a search the prisoner refused to be cuffed and hid under his bed.

Nurses Show Support For Legislation During Springfield Rally

03/25/15 05:51 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Nurses statewide are trying to get the attention of Illinois lawmakers.  Close to 12-hundred marched to the statehouse in Springfield Tuesday afternoon from the Convention Center.  The nurses were there to lobby over health and human services issues.  It was the 16th year they have held this rally.



Lady Vandals softbal today is cancelled

03/24/15 02:47 PM
Lady Vandals softball at home today is cancelled

Stormy weather, maybe some isolated severe storms, moving thru the area

03/24/15 06:00 AM
Stormy weather could be on the way for the area. Showers and thunderstorms are likely for both today, tonight and Wednesday for the area---with a high of 52 today, a low of 46 tonight and a high of 68 on Wednesday. The National Weather Service says that isolated severe storms are possible, especially for this afternoon and tonight, over parts of their coverage area with large hail and damaging

Tornado season is here

03/24/15 05:59 AM
It's officially tornado season in Illinois, and the State's Climatologist says based on the last couple of years you should be ready for anything. Historically, about two-thirds of tornadoes in Illinois occur during March thru June. But, State Climatologist Jim Angel says that hasn't been the case recently.


Also notable is that most recent tornadoes recorded in Illinois

St. Elmo woman sentenced to time in DOC

03/24/15 05:58 AM
A 24 year old St. Elmo woman will serve time in the Department of Corrections. 24 year old Adrian Mitchell pleaded guilty on Monday to revoking her probation on the underlying charge of theft, which is a Class 2 Felony. Mitchell was sentenced by Judge Don Sheafor to 40 months in prison.

More People Applying For Medical Marijuana Cards

03/24/15 05:57 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  More than a thousand people in Illinois may be getting the opportunity to use medical marijuana. "The Belleville News Democrat" reports around 25-hundred residents have applied for medical marijuana cards while 16-hundred have been approved.  Some people are reportedly holding back from applying over concerns about the future of the program.

Workers Join Rauner Battle Against 'Fair Share' Fees

03/24/15 05:56 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Three state workers are joining the legal fight against so-called "fair share" union fees that Governor Rauner wants the court to declare unconstitutional.  The three workers claim the forced collection of union fees from them not only does them financial harm, but also is a violation of their First Amendment right not to have to join a union.

"Orange Crush" Prison Unit Targeted In Abuse Lawsuit

03/24/15 05:55 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A new class action lawsuit is targeting hundreds of Illinois corrections officers accused of abusing inmates.  The defendants are a specialized unit, known as the Orange Crush Unit.  The suit claims the officers strip searched prisoners, sometimes in front of female officers.  Inmates were also ordered to stand for hours.  The allegations of

Trooper Out Of Hospital After Crash Involving Governor's Motorcade

03/24/15 05:54 AM
(Countryside, IL)  --  An Illinois trooper is out of the hospital following a crash just outside of Chicago involving governor Rauner's motorcade.  State police say the motorcade was driving on Interstate 55 Monday morning in Countryside when a trooper's vehicle lost control and hit a semi-truck.  Road conditions were slippery because of snow fall in the area.

Cancellations for 3-23-15

03/23/15 01:56 PM
Cancellations for 3-23-15

Brownstown-St. Elmo baseball vs. Patoka baseball for today is cancelled

Possibility of severe storms, mainly Tuesday afternoon

03/23/15 06:24 AM



Vandalia Idol winners

03/23/15 06:09 AM
The Vandalia Idol winners were decided on Saturday evening. Ramsey 7th grade student Amber Pease was the winner in the Youth Division with Rachel Zimmerman finishing as the runner up. In the Adult Division, Donna Mcelvany was the winner-she is the mother of four and a Respiratory Therapist at Pana hospital. The runner up was Jaedyn Worker. The Vandalia Idol event was celebrating its fifth year

Vandalia Supt of Schools on first year of PARCC test

03/23/15 06:08 AM
The first year of the PARCC tests went well. The PARCC tests replaced the I-SATS and Prairie State Achievement test as the state tests this year. And, Vandalia Superintendent of Schools Rich Well says, for the most part, it went pretty well running it this first year.


Well says it is going thru a transition with the change as PARCC works with common core standards.

Possible ban on drones for hunting

03/23/15 06:07 AM
The State Senate is considering a ban on the use of drones while hunting in Illinois. The measure is sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison, who says it's about preserving the integrity of the sport.


A drone could still be used to find an animal that may have been wounded, or to scout out a sight at least 24 hours before you hunt. The bill cleared a Senate Committee and now

Proposal in Senate to make sweet corn the state veggie

03/23/15 06:06 AM
Students from central Illinois are urging lawmakers to make sweet corn the official state vegetable. Fourth graders from Chatham Elementary School were learning about state symbols and wondered why there isn't a designated state vegetable. They proposed sweet corn have that title. Senator Sam McCann is sponsoring a bill to do just that and applauds the kids' interest.



Illinois A.G. Blasts "Right to Work" Zones

03/23/15 06:04 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued an official opinion on Governor Bruce Rauner's plan to create local "right to work" zones.  Madigan says the National Labor Relations Act prevents  counties and municipalities from adopting ordinances that regulate the use of union security agreements.  Madigan also said in her opinion

Lawsuit Alleges Abuse In Four Southern Illinois Prisons

03/23/15 06:03 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A federal lawsuit alleges sexual and physical abuse of inmates in four different Illinois prisons by a special guard unit.  The "Southern Illinoisan" reports the incidents allegedly occurred at Menard, Big Muddy, Lawrence and Illinois River Correctional Centers.  Prisoners claim in the suit they were beaten, humiliated and needlessly abused by

Senate Confirms Rauner Appointments

03/23/15 06:01 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  The Illinois Senate has confirmed several appointments made by Governor Rauner.  Senate members approved Philip Nelson as Agriculture Department director, Erica Jeffries as Department of Veterans' Affairs director and Hugo Chaviano as Department of Labor director.  Jeff Mays has also been approved as director of the Illinois Department of Employment

Reward For Information On Eagle Found Shot

03/23/15 06:01 AM
(Decatur, IL)  --  There's a thousand-dollar reward for anyone with more information on the fatal shooting of a bald eagle.  The bird was found barely alive in McLean County and taken to a raptor center in Decatur, where it reportedly died.  It's believed the eagle was a nesting female.  If you have more information, call the McLean County

Nice weekend, maybe wet and stormy next week

03/21/15 06:12 AM
The first weekend of spring will be a nice one.  For Saturday we are looking at partly sunny skies with a high of 65 and a low Saturday night down to 40.  Sunday will see mostly sunny skies with a high of 61.  As for the start of the work week on Monday we have a chance of rain with a high of just 49 on Monday.  Showers and thunderstorms are then likely on Tuesday and

Enbridge Pipeline update

03/20/15 05:49 AM
Enbridge Pipeline is set to get underway soon and bring a lot of folks to the area.

Enbridge Public Affairs Consultant and Construction Liason Ron Gillett says Mainline construction is scheduled to begin on June 1, and workers -- between 800-900 -- will likely arrive to the area in May. The workers will likely be looking for apartments and homes to rent.

As for information on rental

Budget work kind of on hold for area schools

03/20/15 05:48 AM
School finances and future budget work is a little bit at a standstill at this time. With the Governor's budget proposal up in the air, and maybe funding for the end of this fiscal year there as well, Vandalia Superintendent of Schools Rich Well says that kind of slows things up. But, he says the district is still doing their work to find cost savings for the future.



Wisconsin Judge Won't Block Right-To-Work Law

03/20/15 05:47 AM
(Madison, WI)  --  A judge in Wisconsin today refused to block that state's right-to-work law from taking effect while a legal challenge plays out in court.  Three unions that are suing to overturn the law said they would suffer financial damage if it were allowed to take effect during the court fight.  The law makes it illegal for any company to sign a union contract that

Governor Rauner Approval Rating Falls

03/20/15 05:46 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A new poll shows that Governor Rauner's approval rating is not improving.  The report by Odgen and Fry shows that the new Illinois leader's support from the people of Illinois has dropped three percentage points to 40-percent.  Political expert Kent Redfield told WICS-TV that it could take some time for Governor Rauner's numbers to

Rauner Orders 'Fair Share' Fees Diverted

03/20/15 05:45 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Not waiting for the court's approval, Governor Bruce Rauner is telling state agencies to stop sending fees from non-union members to the unions.  Rauner has ordered an end to the practice of collecting "fair share" fees from workers who don't belong to the unions that negotiate the wages and working conditions for those jobs.  He's

Senate Approves Meeks To Head State Board Of Ed

03/20/15 05:45 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  The Illinois State Board of Education has a new leader.  The state Senate voted Thursday to move former Senator James Meeks into the post.  The appointee took on some criticism because he supports charter schools and has lashed out at the Chicago Teachers Union.  Meeks appointment also gained the attention of gay-rights groups because of his

Lottery Director Cashing Out

03/20/15 05:43 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones is heading for the beach and he's not coming back.  Jones told employees in a memo that he's resigning effective Friday and that his only plan is to take a "surfing vacation."  Jones and former Governor Pat Quinn faced criticism for their deal to end the contract with the Lottery's private

Vandalia School Board approves construction bids

03/19/15 05:56 AM
The Vandalia School Board approved bids on multiple projects at their meeting on Tuesday night. The work to be performed is interior renovations for Vandalia Junior High and the Elementary School and also a new maintenance building. And, Vandalia Superintendent of Schools Rich Well says it will allow the school to meet another goal.


And, Well says this work goes along with being able