Local News for Friday, November 23


Published on November 23 2012 6:05 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Unemployment rates in most area counties were lower in October than one year earlier.

The Effingham County unemployment rate for October was at 6.7%, compared to 7.1% in October 2011.  Other area counties and their rates: Cumberland County--9.2%, down from 10.4%...Shelby County--8.4%, down from 9.6%...and Fayette County--9.5%, down from 10%.  The exception was Jasper County, where the jobless rate for October was 8.6%, up from 8.3% one year earlier.

Labor Market Economist Dennis Hoffman of the Illinois Department of Employment Security said workforce conditions remained stable throughout South Central Illinois during the fall months.  Retailers and restaurants began hiring temporary and part-time workers for the busy holiday season in October.  Over-the-year employment gains were reported in transportation, wholesale trade, and professional and business services.  Medical facility expansions throughout the area continue to have a favorable impact on the workforce.  Substantial construction projects continued on schools and roads.  Some of the major medical and school projects were completed in early fall.


You still have the opportunity to assist with this year's FISH/Catholic Charities Christmas Store. 

If you would like to make a toy, food or other donation, drop off boxes are located in Effingham at Crossroads Bank on South Banker, Curves, Dollar General both next to K-Mart and at Village Square Mall, Effingham Family Dental on Keller Drive, the Ron Diehl Center at Hendelmeyer Park, Family Video, Fifth/Third Bank, Heartland Dental, Joe Sipper's Cafe, K-Mart, the Lake Land Kluthe Center, Martin's IGA+, Niemerg's Steak House, Rural King, Save-A-Lot, the Effingham County Senior Center, Sylvan Learning, Sherwin Williams, the Village Square Mall office, Walmart and Walgreen's.  In Altamont, items may be left at Altamont Home Store, Peoples Bank and Trust and the home of Bill and Margaret Fritcher.  In Teutopolis, leave items are National Trail Banking Center or Scissor Wizard.  In Dieterich, leave items at Wright's Furniture.

A special community drop off will take place from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, December 1 at the site of this year's Christmas Store, the old Rural King space at Village Square Mall.

Wiedman Cleaners and Guffey's Quality Cleaners are both receiving good used coats, cleaning them and delivering them to the Christmas Store.


Neoga school board members have granted a maternity leave for Nicole Doehring under the Family and Medical Leave Act and have approved the tentative fiscal year tax levy.  A hearing on the levy was scheduled for December 13.

The Board discussed invoices from Trane and decided not to pay the invoices until a meeting can be arranged to discuss their payment.  Board members also voted not to rent or loan district vehicles to groups or individuals.


A reminder of Saturday's Chamber Coffee Stop, an opportunity to save some money when shopping at participating Chamber member businesses.  The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce is giving away 200 $25 American Express gift cards to celebrate Small Business Saturday.  Stop by the Chamber office at 903 North Keller Drive between 8 and 10am Saturday to pick up your gift card and a cup of hot coffee before hitting the shopping trail.  A number of Chamber businesses have a variety of other special promotions.


Norris Electric Cooperative journeyman lineman Bill Fields recently spent three weeks in Caracol, Haiti where he helped put up electric poles and lines in an area that had previously never had electricity available.

Fields said he was humbled by how very little the people have.  He said, "The kids had nothing but were still happy and had a smile on their faces.  The poorest person you know would be rich down there.  They are a very proud people and have a very clean image.  They came to work with freshly washed clothes every day, even though they had to wash them by hand."

Fields and other linemen trained Haitian workers to do electrical line work.  He said it was the hardes work he's ever done and he's been in the Marine Corps.  Conditions were hard with a 107 degree heat index each day, but he said it was rewarding, and hopes anyone who can will take advantage of every opportunity to go and help.


Nine students at St. Anthony High School have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams.

One student qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.  The student recognized is Mitchell Wortman, son of Rob and Teri Wortman who attends the University of Illinois.

Five students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.  The students are Michael Kabbes, son of Craig and Tessie Kabbes who attends the University of Illinois, Noah Prince, son of Dr. Robert and Christine Prince and Dr. Lynda Prince who attends the University of Illinois, Lauryn Ragland, daughter of Ryan Ragland and Jodi Jansen who attends the University of Illinois, Jennifer Schmidt, daughter of Kent and Liz Schmidt who attends the University of Notre Dame, and Elizabeth Wortman, the daughter of Dan and Julie Wortman who attends the University of Illinois.

Three students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.  The AP Scholars are Michael Goldstein, son of Larry and Susan Goldstein who is a senior at St. Anthony High School, Lena Grunloh, daughter of Ted and Jean Anne Grunloh who attends Indiana State University, and Jaclyn Wortman, daughter of John and Lisa Wortman who attends the University of Illinois.