Female Track Phenom McClain Signs with Ill. State

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley senior Amanda McClain signed her letter of intent to become an Illinos State track athlete on December 5. Pictured, left to right: mother Michelle, SOV girls’ track coach Kali Taylor, Amanda McClain, and father Rod.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley senior Amanda McClain signed her letter of intent to become an Illinos State track athlete on December 5. Pictured, left to right: mother Michelle, SOV girls’ track coach Kali Taylor, Amanda McClain, and father Rod.

December 17, 2014

SOV athlete will be Redbird beginning next fall

by Keith Stewart

keith@newsprogress.com

Amanda McClain has already left her mark on girls’ high school track.

She has 11 high school state medals over just three years, including three first place medals. Two of those are from the 4×2 relay that took the top spot both this past spring and in 2012–the year in which SOV also set a state record. Earlier this year, McClain also nabbed the 400m dash, a race she came up seconds short of for first the two prior. She also took third place in the long jump, marking the second consecutive year the SOV program athlete has earned four medals at the state meet.

And she still has her senior year to go.

But McClain recently made another mark–her signature to continue her track career at Illinois State beginning next year after officially singing her letter of intent before classmates December 5 at Okaw Valley high school.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said SOV girls’ head coach Kali Taylor. “It’s been a very rewarding experience for me as a coach to be a part of the success she has had and that she’s brought to the program. She’s definitely leaving a legacy, not only for our track program, but for her competitors, for the state of Illinois, for her teammates, and definitely for her coaches.” Read More

Semi-trucks Reminded of Restrictions on Parking in Village Limits

December 17, 2014

Ordinance says vehicles over 3/4 ton unable to park in village limits for more than 30 minutes

by Florence Hallford
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The topic of semi-truck parking has been an on-going discussion since a resident asked permission to park his truck over a sidewalk several months ago.

The board members have been looking into solutions since, unable to find a suitable one. During his research, village president Jim Minor located an ordinance that prevents owners of vehicles in excess of ¾ ton from parking in most of the village limits for more than half an hour.

While the board members identified with residents on the issue, there is not much they can do about it, noting that the resident needs to find suitable parking. However, trustee Roger Walker became concerned, stating that many residents drive regular trucks that weigh close to, if aren’t at the weight limit of the truck size the ordinance includes that need special parking. Read More

ALAH Schools Go Ahead with Levy Increase

December 17, 2014

With over $10,000 increase in property value, levy up nearly 8 percent

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

After holding a truth and taxation hearing, Arthur-Lovington/Atwood Hammond school board members approved the tax levy for the tax year 2014 payable 2015.

This year’s EAV was estimated at $193, 490,228 while last year’s total was $183,286,949. An increase of 7.98 percent was passed by the board. So far, the district has not received its incentive money from the state, and Schwengel noted that it is possible that they may receive only three out of four payments. The present total of all funds in the district’s accounts is $6,965,024.74. A resolution abating the tax levied for the year 2014 to pay debt service on General Obligation School Bonds (an alternative revenue source) was also passed. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Prison Not for Everyone

NowlanDecember 17, 2014

by Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

In the 1990s, I once co-taught a college course in history at the Henry Hill prison in Galesburg. I vividly recall that after class the first evening, a young, slender blonde fellow came up to me with a desperate look in his eyes.

“Are you a lawyer? (No) Well, anyway, please help me get out of here!” the young man pleaded. There was nothing I could do.

At the time, Illinois prisons were basically run by the gangs. That is no longer the case, I am told, but if you squeeze 49,000 Illinois inmates into space for 32,000, as the state does, there is a lot more opportunity for the bad guys to teach the new guys the wrong ways to live life.

Not much good goes on in prison, and education programs have been cut way back because of state budget problems. Read More

Local Tennis Association and Member Honored

Submitted The Okaw Valley Tennis Association was recently named organization of the year by the United States Tennis Association, which also named one of the group’s members Joan Dickens of Sullivan, volunteer of the year. Pictured are OVTA participants and volunteers, including Dickens (back row, second from the right).

Submitted
The Okaw Valley Tennis Association was recently named organization of the year by the United States Tennis Association, which also named one of the group’s members Joan Dickens of Sullivan, volunteer of the year. Pictured are OVTA participants and volunteers, including Dickens (back row, second from the right).

December 17, 2014

USTA names organization and volunteer of the year to OVTA, and Dickens

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

If local business owner Chris Dobosz had his way every kid 14 and under in Moultrie and surrounding counties would be all smiles and that as a direct result of learning and playing tennis.

And it is this mindset that, at least in part, no doubt made the difference in the Okaw Valley Tennis Association receiving the ‘Organization of the Year’ award from the USTA over all other associations in the Mid-South Illinois District, one of 13 districts spread throughout five midwestern states.

“I just want smiles,” said Dobosz. “As long as they’re smiling, then I think we can progress. As long as they’re having fun, everything else will fall into place.” Read More

Farm Bureau Update: Awards Aplenty

HarveyDecember 17, 2014

By Tyler Harvey
Mo-Do Farm Bureau Manager

In the last month farmers have still been tirelessly working in the fields and trying to accomplish as much fall field work they can get done before the weather changes. In the past month numerous tractors, chisels, tool bars, and anhydrous ammonia tanks have been rolling around the area. With this I ask all of you to be cautious when coming up on the machinery. Even with a good amount of this machinery being smaller than planters and combines, caution needs to always be used. With the end of harvest and winter fast approaching, many farmers are working on cleaning and preparing their equipment for winter. With winter also comes informational meetings that farmers may take advantage of to learn about new seed, equipment, and other inputs that they use on a yearly basis. Winter time is also a time for farmers to start planning for the new year- even though machinery may not be running in the fields, farmers stay very busy with other aspects of farming. Read More

Man Found Dead Sunday in Sullivan

Photo by RR Best Sullivan fire and police personnel are seen at 412. N. Seymour in Sullivan Sunday, where 58-year-old James Helms was found deceased after an apparent house fire.

Photo by RR Best
Sullivan fire and police personnel are seen at 412. N. Seymour in Sullivan Sunday, where 58-year-old James Helms was found deceased after an apparent house fire.

December 17, 2014

Apparent house fire to blame, but still under investigation

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Sullivan man was found dead inside his residence Sunday afternoon after a neighbor came by to check on him.

According to Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed, James E. Helms, 58, of Sullivan was pronounced dead in his residence located at 412. N. Seymour at 4:20 p.m. Sunday. An autopsy was performed Monday, and a full report on the cause of death including toxicology results is not expected for two to three weeks. Reed did say that, while preliminarily there does not appear to be anything suspicious surrounding Helms’ death, it is still under investigation.

Helms was found by Sullivan fire personnel Sunday after they received a 911 call at 4:02 p.m. that alerted them of a house fire with a trapped individual. However, when Sullivan fire fighters arrived four minutes later, there was no fire.

“The fire was out and had been for some time,” said Sullivan fire chief Mike Piper. “There was no heat smoke and no fire. It appeared that the fire had occurred several hours before, probably when he succumbed to it.” Read More

Bulldogs Hand Knights First Loss of the Season, 43-33

Photo by Keith Stewart The Knights’ Colton Yeakley pauses before going back up for the bucket Tuesday evening. Yeakley left the game with over three minutes left in the first quarter after he was struck above the left eye.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Knights’ Colton Yeakley pauses before going back up for the bucket Tuesday evening. Yeakley left the game with over three minutes left in the first quarter after he was struck above the left eye.

December 17, 2014

Worst night of shooting so far spells ALAH demise

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Knights may have suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday night, but it wasn’t all that bad of a thing.

In fact, for head coach Dale Schuring, it was almost nice.

“Obviously there are a lot of things we didn’t do well– a lot of things we can learn from the game, but the bright spot of it is, we lost by 10, and we couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean,” said the Knights’ head coach. “I mean, if we’re going to shoot like that, we’re not going to beat anybody. I don’t care who it is. They had a very good defense and game plan, but if we make half the shots we normally make, I think we probably come out on top, and that’s not a slight to them, but it’s just who we are and what we do, and tonight we were just awful other than Jeremy [Plank], who I won’t say was consistent but streaky tonight.”

After managing to keep a meager 7-6 lead over St. Teresa after one quarter of play, the Knights succumbed to a 5-0 run in the second, which would be just enough breathing room for the Bulldogs to eventually take and run with it.

While neither team shot well in the opening period, including the Knights’ knocking down just one field goal in addition to their five free throws, the Bulldogs recovered in the second, while Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond continued to miss. Read More

Secretary of State Offices to Close for Christmas Holiday

December 17, 2014

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that all offices and driver services facilities will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday.

All driver services facilities will reopen for regular business Friday, December 26.

Individuals may visit the Secretary of State’s website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com, to locate the nearest driver services facility and the hours of operation. In addition, drivers may use the website to change an address, register to become an organ and tissue donor or renew license plate stickers.

Sullivan Employees See Bonus Increase

December 17, 2014

Extra $25 added on

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

A discussion was held at this month’s first city council meeting whether or not to increase the Christmas bonus for city of Sullivan employees.

Since about 1999, employees have been given $75. Health and safety commissioner Bill Hagen motioned that it be increased to $100, explaining that $75 doesn’t go quite as far today as it did in the 90’s. Public property manager Mike Kirk seconded the motion, and the council agreed to raise the Christmas bonus to $100.

A TIFF participation loan of $680,000 (including full project fees) was also approved for the Red Apple.

About $250,000 will be financed by First Mid Illinois Bank in an eight year balloon payment. Sullivan has received $700,000 in TIFF funds, but they must be used for TIFF purposes only. All funds must be used by 2022, or they will be returned to their original source. Read More