Local Pair Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives
Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Civic Center changes over time

•August 19, 2015•

By Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

It is no small feat for a couple to live in harmony through a 50 year union; for it to remain a joyful partnership; to be a benefit to friends and to the community surrounding them.

On the 19th of this month, the Sullivan Civic Center celebrates 50 years of service to the community.

On the 18th of September the Sullivan Blue Dolphins swim team will also celebrate their 50th year.

As one mother put it “you can’t have a swim team without a pool!” And it was for this very reason, teaching kids to swim, that the Civic Center was first envisioned.

In the spring of 1961, the Sullivan Business and Professional Women’s Club collected names asking the city to set aside $150,000 for construction which the community approved by April 1962.

A Federal grant under the Housing and Home Finance Agency provided $250,000 for the project and construction began a year later.  Sullivan Civic Center hosted 525 swimmers on opening day, August 16, 1965 and and more than 1000 people attended the dedication.

When Charles Smith, 24, was hired as director an agreement was reached with the school district to allow the students to receive swimming lessons. The first competitive swim team was formed with Doug Shimp as coach of about 20 swimmers.

By March the next year the center hosted seven teams from surrounding counties. Included in the 200 swimmers, was a 1964 Olympic swimmer Lynn Alsup of Bloomington.

From the beginning Sullivan demonstrated its support; giving the team a free pass for practice and competitions.

When the doors reopened in 1974, after roof repairs,  director Steve Ludwig reorganized the swim team as the Blue Dolphins.  Read More

Time is Precious When a Child Goes Missing

•August 19, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
Reporting in Sullivan

With a law-enforcement career spanning more than 30 years, Sullivan police chief John Love has handled several missing person cases. He indicated time is something that can be either the biggest help or hinderance in such a case, depending on how it is handled.

“Please, please call us immediately,” Chief Love urged. “Don’t take the chance.”

The chief stressed the need to recognize how precious time is when a child, for example, goes missing.

“We’ve had numerous incidents where we are called, and the first thing I do when I get there is say ‘Well, how long has the child been gone?’” he said. “I have had situations where children come home with stuff, almost like gifts...and when asked where they got it, they say a person gave it to them, but they didn’t know who the person was...My fear is that...someone [could] abduct a child and have an hour-and-a-half long start on us...I don’t want to scare anybody, but...It could happen here.”

Chief Love knows the fear of being too late to secure a loved one’s location. He shared a story of how an ordinary day shopping with his daughter became one he won’t forget.
Read More

Lovington Civic Center Owner Seeks Guidelines

•August 19, 2015•

By Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Guest John Gordon approached the board about a zoning matter at 502 West Emery Street. An old church building, used until its sale, was purchased by Gordon, who hopes to use it as a civic center for the community to rent out for events. Mike Castelli, zoning board president, was present.

Gordon originally wanted to open a tavern, but the zoning board voted against it. Citing his Scottish heritage, Gordon asked the zoning board and the Lovington Village Board what, if any, rules would apply to having alcohol served on the premises.

The zoning and village board agreed that alcohol could be served but not sold with the same rule applying to food.

Gordon also stated that his reasoning behind charging for use of the building was simply to cover expenses. In this case, a special use permit with a variance would be needed.

The village board agreed to do more research in order to set parameters on the possible permit and the discussion was tabled until such information was gathered.
Read More

C.E.F.S. Seeking V.I.T.A. Volunteers

•August 19, 2015•

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation is currently seeking volunteers within their seven county service area to become trained to provide free income tax preparation to low-to-moderate income households ($54,000 or below). C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation has Outreach Offices in Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Shelby, Christian, Moultrie and Montgomery counties and has provided Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for more than 30 years. C.E.F.S. partners with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide the free tax preparation services through the VITA program.

Volunteers are a vital part of the VITA program, and C.E.F.S. needs to expand their volunteer base in order to be able to assist more low to moderate income taxpayers.

No experience is needed and the training is free! Volunteers will complete training and then be certified by the IRS and protected by the IRS in case of any errors. Training is offered both online and in the classroom. Volunteers are needed as greeter/screeners, tax preparers and quality reviewers.  Read More

First Day

RR by Best photo First Day  Sienna Casteel grabs her bag and races to class to join Sullivan elementary school students on the first day. Sullivan went a full day on Aug 18. Elementary schedule is 8am to 3:05pm, Middle school is 8:14am to 3:15pm and High School is 8:14am to 3:15 daily.

RR by Best photo
First Day
Sienna Casteel grabs her bag and races to class to join Sullivan elementary school students on the first day. Sullivan went a full day on Aug 18. Elementary schedule is 8am to 3:05pm, Middle school is 8:14am to 3:15pm and High School is 8:14am to 3:15 daily.

County Board Approves Courthouse Repairs

Photo by RR Best Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

•August 19, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Moultrie County is sprucing up the courthouse.

On Thursday, August 20 the Moultrie County Board proceeded with the restoration of the exterior of the courthouse with a unanimous vote, based on the recommendation of Building and Grounds Committee chair Gary Smith.

Low bid of $203,755 was awarded Masons Masonry Restoration of Brownstown, Ill.

At the bid opening earlier in the week Tim Raibley from Architercture & Design Group Ltd of Mt. Carmel explained the basic bid was for 200 feet of crack repair and 50 large stone patches needed for the building. Raibley noted that Masons had just completed a similar project on the Richland County courthouse in Olney.

Board chair Dave McCabe explained the county intends to pay for the project from surplus funds.

“We’ve been building reserves,” McCabe said, noting an extra $100,000 loan payment on the jail will be deferred to the tuck pointing project this year.

Potential funding from the city of Sullivan is also being sought.

The serious failure of the tuckpointing is allowing moisture into the building.

A moisture situation on the third floor is among interior issues the board hopes the restoration project will address. McCabe said loose stones and tuckpointing issues on the courthouse came to the board’s attention about a year ago.

Moultrie County Courthouse was built in 1904 and has been well-maintained over the years.  Read More

Health Screenings

•August 19, 2015•

SBL Lincolnland Home Care and Lincolnland Hospice will conduct a free blood pressure clinic 8:30-9 a.m. Thursday, September 17 at the Senior Center in Sullivan. For more information, call Lincolnland Home Care at 1-800-879-3212.  Read More

SBL Calendar of Events for September

•August 19, 2015•

The following is a list of Sarah Bush Lincoln programs and support groups for September. The locations of all programs are posted daily in the main lobby of Sarah Bush Lincoln.

Pathways Through Grief

7 p.m. Wednesday, September 2, in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education at Sarah Bush Lincoln. Open to anyone who has lost a loved one. For more information, contact Lincolnland Hospice at 1-800-454-4055.

Parent 2 Parent Support Group for Expectant and New Parents

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 8, in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education at Sarah Bush Lincoln. A free service offering information, discussion and support about becoming a parent. For location of meetings contact Pam Hood at 217-258-2229.

Cancer Support Group

10 a.m. Monday, September 14, in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education at Sarah Bush Lincoln. This group is open to anyone dealing with cancer, as well as family members. For more information, contact Bob Clapp at 217-232-2537.

Ostomy Support Group

Evening meetings four times a year in Mattoon and Effingham. For dates, times and locations, call Ramona Tomshack, R.N. at 217-258-4112 or Christa Schulte at 217-238-4804. Read More