Valentine’s Day Changes Over Time

•February 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Ah, be still my heart, Valentine’s Day approacheth, and hope springs eternal for all aspiring lovers.

The world’s population will spend close to $20 billion on cards, candy, fragrances, flowers and other objets d’amour in this timeless ritual of love and courtship this year.

Its origins are ancient, but the concept of sending decorated cards spread from England to the United States about 1850. Hallmark Cards in Kansas began mass producing Valentine cards in 1913, and now 25% of all cards mailed each year are Valentines.

So, it is not surprising that 100 years ago in 1917 there is absolutely no mention in the local Sullivan papers of anything relating to Valentine’s Day - no ads, parties, etc. The country was preparing for WWI and Hallmark had only been producing Valentines for four years. It was not a time to celebrate love or anything else. Read More

Sullivan and Moultrie Traced to Deeper Historic Origins

Name Rooted in 17th Century

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

If you have looked at the city of Sullivan web page you know that Sullivan was named for Sullivan Island and Moultrie County was named for Ft. Moultrie, both in Charleston, S.C.

But the names have a deeper history than you realize.

Fort Moultrie was originally named Fort Sullivan as the first fort built on Sullivan Island. It was an incomplete log fort built of Palmetto wood. When it was attacked by British forces in 1776,  the soft Palmetto wood absorbed the cannonballs, and the British were forced to retreat. Charleston was saved, and the fort was renamed for its commander, Colonel William Moultrie.

After the war, the fort was neglected and by 1791 little remained. A second Fort Moultrie was completed in 1798, but it was also neglected and eventually destroyed by hurricane in 1804. A third and better reinforced fort was built in 1809 and was further modernized in 1885. It was one of 19 forts along the Atlantic coast.  Read More

New Veterinarian Joins Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital

Photo by Madison Uhlrich
Pictured is Heather Green.

•January 18, 2017•

by Kennedy Nolen
for the News Progress

Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital welcomed new associate veterinarian Heather Green in 2016.

The Mattoon native said she knew she wanted to become a veterinarian by the time she was five or six years old.

Green said she has always loved animals and had an interest in science and zoology. She said she did well in science classes in school and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Green attended Millikin University in Decatur for four years and received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry.

She attended the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine in Champaign-Urbana.  Read More

A Sweet Morning That Starts in the Middle of the Night

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
You may not know Peggy Booker, but you know those sweet creations.

•January 11, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for there News Progress

We’ve all been to the local IGA to shop. We enter, turn right and amble toward the deli section and then, in the corner of our eye, there it is. That hulking white case with the slanted shelves filled with THEM.

Some are round and glazed or with sprinkles, some are square or twisted and sugar coated. You salivate at the sight of those that ooze of vanilla pudding that mingles with haunting dark chocolate in every bite, and Lord have mercy!

Some are even drenched in maple glaze and bacon. Yes, it’s the doughnut case. On a full stomach I’m probably safe from their siren call but on an empty one I am doomed.

And who is responsible for these delectable, delicious pastry treats? She is a tiny lady with the merriest blue eyes and someone you should know if you don’t already.

Peggy Booker is in her eighties and arrives at IGA at 1 a.m. every morning Monday through Saturday. Yes, while you are snuggled down dreaming of doughnuts, she is wrangling some 20 dozen donuts into the wonderful creations that make your dreams come true. Read More

Year End Review

•January 4, 2017•

Photo by Mike Brothers
Bethany Fire District Leads Procession
Sullivan, Lovington, Mt. Zion and area first responders joined family and friends to honor the passing of Jerry L. Clark, Chief Engineer of the Bethany Fire District. Following the 11 a.m. January 12 services at McMullin-Young Funeral Home in Sullivan the Bethany Fire District led Clark’s procession to Marrowbone Cemetery in Bethany where Sullivan and Mt Zion Fire District ladder trucks displayed the American Flag at the entry. Bethany American Legion Post #507 performed military rites. Serving the fire district for more than two decades, Clark was also a member of the Okaw Fire Association and Bethany American Legion Post.

January 6, 2016

Moultrie County Sheriff’s Dept. responds to a 6 a.m. call New Year’s Eve to a car submerged in water off Joe Pound Road, east of Sullivan. The Sullivan Fire Department and Moultrie County Dive Team assisted in car removal; no injuries were received.

Sullivan Blue Dolphins locked up the new year competing in the Seth Dunscomb Opener in Decatur. Out of 14 teams the Dolphins brought home first with 1093 points.

ALAH Knights beat the Tri-County Titans 46-42 in a tournament hosted in Kansas.

January 13, 2016

Okaw Valley Timberwolves girls’ basketball team holds off the Windsor-Stew Stras Hatchets at home.

Georgia Patterson celebrated her 100th birthday with a reception at Sullivan VFW.

Moultrie County law enforcement began issuing eCitations, ending the days of courthouse personnel trying to decipher police officer’s handwritten tickets.

Sullivan police issued a warning that residents had been contacted in a telephone scam where the callers claimed to represent the IRS. Read More

A Festive Christmas Celebration at the Senior Center

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Above are winners of the ugly sweater contest. Pictured left to right are Peggy Booker (most creative), Shirley Devore (most flammable), and Pam Mann (overall ugliest).

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Above are winners of the ugly sweater contest. Pictured left to right are Peggy Booker (most creative), Shirley Devore (most flammable), and Pam Mann (overall ugliest).

•December 28, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Nearly 50 senior citizens filed into the Senior Center Thursday, Dec. 23 for the 14th annual Christmas party.

First stop was the treat table which was laden with delicious, decorated Christmas cookies, fudge, snack mix, cheese balls and crackers, fruit tray and other temptations. No sugar plums, however!

Games were next in order, and a Christmas word scramble was completed in about three minutes. The next game required one person with a pair of dice to try and throw doubles while another person put on heavy oven mitts and tried to open a large package which was actually a lot of packages down to a small gift card. As soon as the person rolls doubles, the person unwrapping stops, the person throwing dice puts on the mitts and another person comes up to roll the dice. Normally this would go through several shifts, but Kathy couldn’t roll doubles to save her life, and Janet ripped through all that wrapping like Grant through Richmond to claim her gift card, and the game was over almost as soon as it started, but everyone had a good laugh watching the antics. Read More

Parade Floats A Labor Of Love

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

•December 7, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Were you along the Sullivan parade route Saturday, Dec. 3 catching candy, listening to the bands and waving to people on the floats?

Now for me, the word “float” usually follows the words root beer so how did it come to be applied to these mobile creations?

They were so named because the first “floats” were decorated barges floating on the Thames for the Lord Mayor’s show.

Floats were first introduced in the Middle Ages when churches used pageant wagons as movable scenery for passion plays. The wagons were pulled through towns, mostly during Corpus Christi when up to 48 wagons were used, one for each play in the Corpus Christi cycle. Read More

Following the Chamber Elves Around Sullivan Businesses

Tyler Mosier at Astoria

Tyler Mosier at Astoria

•November 30, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Christmas is coming and never mind about that fat goose. It is time for the annual trek to find unique and original gifts and stocking stuffers - but where?

Enter the Find the Elf contest sponsored by the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development agency.

I visited seven participating stores and was amazed at what beautiful and whimsical gifts may be found right here in Sullivan and at very reasonable prices, thanks to remarkable entrepreneurs.

First stop - Astoria (204 W. Harrison) housed in an old mansion where I once stayed when it was a B&B. A brightly painted red door bids you enter the two-room shop choc-a-block with aromatic soaps, lotions and hand creams.

My favorite find was a soap called May Bailey’s Soap for Loose Women - perfect for the guest bathroom!  Read More

Walk on the Wild Side at Wildlife Adventure Park

Photo furnished Whether it involves a walk through experience in July or a leisurely drive through Aikman Wildlife Adventure has brought a new perspective on zoos for visitors as they experience up close encounters with some 150 animals.

Photo furnished
Whether it involves a walk through experience in July or a leisurely drive through Aikman Wildlife Adventure has brought a new perspective on zoos for visitors as they experience up close encounters with some 150 animals.

•November 16, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

If you’ve ever wanted to escape to the “wild” or see animals and nature up close, you don’t have to travel too far. In fact, you can “walk on the wild side” all year long at Aikman Wild Life Adventure.

It has more than 150 animals that are a part of 60 different species and native to six continents. Located west of Arcola the park opened its drive-through experience March 11 with the walk-through following 4th of July weekend.

Since opening, the park has already had more than 30,000 visitors becoming a popular attraction in the area.

The entire concept of the park actually appeared as a dream to owner James Aikman. Back on October 22, 2013, he dreamed that he and his wife Kelsey were running a wildlife park.

When Aikman had this dream, they already had plenty on their plate with Kelsey  within two weeks of delivering their son. While Aikman agreed with his wife, he had the same exact dream the next evening.
Read More

Good Times at Senior Center Halloween Party

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Senior Center staff Alicia Moyer(l),Vonnie Lee, Kathi Shackles and Mary Flint preside over a groaning treat table!

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Senior Center staff Alicia Moyer(l),Vonnie Lee, Kathi Shackles and Mary Flint preside over a groaning treat table!

•November 9, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
For the News Progress

The Sullivan Senior Center was the place to be Monday afternoon as nearly 50 seniors attended the 12th annual Halloween party. “It’s the most anticipated party of the year. They love the food but really enjoy the games we create for them,” said executive director, Kathi Shackles.

The staff prepared a buffet of holiday treats, but the fun began with the games which included guessing the number of m&m’s in a jar, a word scramble, a stack the cups contest and the ever popular wrap the mummy contest which involved two teams of three racing against time and shredding TP to wrap a fellow senior. Golden witch trophies were awarded for three best costumes.
Read More