Road across Lake Shelbyville dam closed to all traffic

Lake Shelbyville – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close the road across the main dam at Lake Shelbyville to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This closure is necessary to provide safety for workers and members of the general public while routine maintenance is performed on the dam. For additional information, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Shelbyville Project Office at (217) 774-3951.

Agri-Fab Moves Toward Healthier Workforce

Photo by Mike Brothers
Moultrie County Counseling Executive Director Dave Cole, AgriFab Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman, and IPS Employment Specialist Jeremy Nolen.

•February 22, 2017•

Agri-Fab’s ability to employ 60% of its workforce locally and implement an employee friendly environment is the result of efforts to change the work environment over the past two years.

Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman told the Individual Placement & Support (IPS) of Moultrie County Counseling Center’s quarterly meeting about some changes that are helping retain employees at the 42 year old lawn equipment manufacturer in Sullivan.

“The six families who saved the company did so because they wanted to live here and keep jobs in the community,” Foreman said of Agri-Fab’s commitment to the area, noting the president of the company started out as a welder on the factory floor.

Besides making strides within the factory walls by reducing turnover with comprehensive benefits and better hiring practices, Agri-Fab is making strides with retaining employees by helping them stay healthier.

As part of the newly implemented health and wellness program the company provided a Fitbit for every employee and their spouse, Foreman said, noting the impact has been tremendous since being introduced during the summer.  Read More

Understanding Illinois: We Need A New Major Political Party

•February 22, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

Talking politics over coffee with a former student this past week, the two of us came up with the same thought: We need a new major political party.

Dauntingly difficult, but not impossible.

The Democratic Party is adrift, at best. Its base of African-Americans, government unions and a thin sliver of intellectual liberals doesn’t add up to enough to win national elections.

On the other side, there hasn’t been a place in the GOP for old Eisenhower Republicans like me, who believe in public works, public education and public universities, for many years.

The free-trading, budget-balancing Establishment GOPers have been thrown over by small government Tea Partiers, and all is now confounded by the big spending, big debt populism of President Trump. Who knows where lies the heart of the party, or if it has a heart? Read More

How Our Railroad System has Changed: Folklore-Mostly Steam Engine Era


•February 22, 2017•

By Jerry L. Ginther
NP Columnist

Volumes have been written on this topic, not to mention hundreds of ballads. To appreciate the latter, one only needs to remember a few of the old songs praising the brave engineers of steam engine days. Who hasn’t heard the words to “Casey Jones”, “The Wreck of Old 97” and “The Wabash Cannonball” just to mention a few. The engine man was the hero of the rails, and train wrecks were the subjects of much folklore.

The sentiments of crackling caldrons and hobos around a fire in a train yard tugs at our hearts. Some nights the sound of a lonesome train whistle in the distance brings on such heartbreaking loneliness to a fellow pining for a lost love that he wonders if he will survive until the dawn. Oh, if railroad engineers only knew the role they have played in the lives of lonely, hearbroken lovers. The fireman shoveled the coal, the engineer kept his hand on the throttle, his eye on the rail and America moved forward to the age of diesel locomotives.

The rest of the story – Operations - Men who Worked On The Train. Read More

Timberwolves Advance in Regional Action

Photo by RR Best
Austin Hill passes the ball during Okaw Valley senior night Friday.

•February 22, 2017•

By Jason Brown
NP Sports Editor

The Okaw Valley boys’ basketball team won on senior night Friday then advanced in the first round of the IHSA Class 1A regional at Okaw Valley High School in Findlay Feb. 20.

The host Timberwolves defeated Edinburg in the first round of the regional.

Okaw Valley did not blow out Edinburg but did increase its lead by three points each quarter for a 12-point win, 51-39.

Taylor Coleman scored a game-high 20 points, and Connor Cloyd hit double digits with 12 points.

Garrett Fritts added six points, and Jared Bunfill had five.

Austin Hill and Austin Harshman each scored three points. Read More

SBL Offers Health Screenings

•February 22, 2017•

SBL Lincolnland Home Care and Lincolnland Hospice will conduct a free blood pressure clinic 8:30-9 a.m. on Thursday, March 16 in the Senior Center in Sullivan. For more information, call Lincolnland Home Care at 1-800-879-3212.

SBL Lincolnland Home Care, Lincolnland Hospice and Lincolnland Home Medical will sponsor bingo 9-10 a.m. following the blood pressure clinic.

Harlem Wizards at SHS

Photo by Cole Denton
Harlem Wizards at SHS
When the Sullivan High School boys’ basketball team hosted the Harlem Wizards for an exhibition fundraising event putting Sullivan teachers and coaches against the nationally known “Clowns of the Court” Wednesday, Feb. 15 Cassie Becker had no idea she would get a chance to dunk the ball in front of hundreds of fans.

Sullivan FFA Hosts Petting Zoo

•February 22, 2017•

In celebration of National FFA Week, the Sullivan FFA will host the annual FFA Petting Zoo/Open House 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, February 23 in the Sullivan High School ag classroom and shop.

Scovill Zoo will be on hand from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. to exhibit some of their traveling zoo animals. The public is welcome.

Redskins End Season at Pana Regionals

Photo by Jason Brown
Bryce Farris rebounds the ball at the Pana Class 2A regional Monday night.

•February 22, 2017•

By Jason Brown
NP Sports Editor

The Sullivan boys’ basketball team dropped its last two Central Illinois Conference games to Clinton and Warrensburg-Latham and then lost in the Class 2A regional to host Pana to end Redskins’ season.

Against Pana Monday, Bryce Farris’s game-high 19 points and nine rebounds were not enough for the Bulldogs to overcome the Panthers.

Farris kept his team in the game in the first quarter, scoring eight points to cut the Panther lead to 11-10.

Sullivan stayed close in the second quarter but trailed 18-13 at half. Read More

Mo. Co. Spelling Bee Held at The Little Theatre

•February 22, 2017•

The 2017 Moultrie County Spelling Bee was held on at 4 p.m. Wednesday, February 15 at the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan. Six students from Lovington and six students from Sullivan advanced from their school district spelling bees to participate in the county bee.

The Moultrie County Spelling Bee champion is Aastha Patel of Sullivan. The alternate is Emma Edwards of Lovington.

Sullivan participants were Aarya Patel (fourth), Aastha Patel (seventh) , Reagen Crouse (eighth), Paul Bates (sixth) Nicole Lofland (fifth).

Lovington participants were Marilyn-Jean Hill (fifth), Emma Edwards (sixth), Josie Hale (sixth), Wyatt Hilligoss (sixth), Elizabeth Tighe (seventh) and Colton Middleton (eighth).

Judges for the county spelling bee were Kim Downs  and Jenny Rau, both of Lovington, and Nichole Hendry of Sullivan.

Jane McKown of Lovington served as the pronouncer.

The Regional Spelling Bee is scheduled for Saturday, March18 in Eisenhower High School in Decatur.