Free Tomato Plants- Who Can Resist?

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Time to pick up free tomato plants before it’s too late.

•May 17, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

A neatly drawn sign in the Senior Center in Sullivan offers Peter Spencer’s tomato plants for free. Any tomato-loving person could not resist such a generous offer.

Spencer was in his wheelchair on his front lawn next to an amazing array of tomato plants - red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red and yellow beefsteaks and others.

A couple arrived to select tomatoes as Spencer told his story.

“A few years ago I suffered a stroke, and everyone was so kind and helpful so this is one way I can repay the community for all that help,” he began.

“I like planting and potting the tomatoes and only ask those who take the plants return the containers so I can continue next year.” Read More

Sullivan Man Shares Passion for Mission Work

Photo furnished
Pictured are Mike and Nancy Craig.

•May 10, 2017•

Mike Craig has a heart for helping others, but what he loves most is connecting people with life-changing mission opportunities.

After leading kids on mission trips throughout the United States for years as former youth leaders at the Methodist Church in Sullivan, Craig and his wife Nancy decided to expand internationally. However, the couple was determined do more than organize short-term mission trips that often provide band-aid solutions to poverty stricken areas. “We really wanted to establish an ongoing relationship in an area of great need so we could make a greater impact,” he said.

After extensive research, the couple decided to adopt the impoverished village of La Ceibita, located in a remote area in Honduras, and they gathered a core group of volunteers to form “Hearts and Hands for Honduras.” The group partners with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UNVIM), which helps facilitate the work in the village. Read More

Times are Changing for Joyce Edmonds

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Joyce Edmonds is pictured.

•May 3, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

The lobby of the First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust was filled with well-wishers bidding farewell to Joyce Edmonds as she begins her retirement after nearly 33 years of service.

It was Friday, April 28, her last day, and the credenza in her Sullivan office was covered with cards, floral bouquet and gift baskets. I overheard her say to one friend, “Now, no more tears; I’ve cried enough today.”

Edmonds is a hometown girl, born in Sullivan and attended Sullivan High School. She then enrolled in Lake Land College and began working at the bank July 9, 1984. Throughout all the years, she has taken numerous training courses to keep up with the rapid changes in the banking world, and it’s time to move on.

“This will be time with family and friends plus the opportunity to travel,” she began. “I have two daughters and two granddogs , kitties and some guinea pigs we call “furballs” to look after. Then there are nearly 40 years of housework that needs to be done.” Read More

Kiki’s Boutique is for the Fashion Lover

Photo by Ellen Fererra
Kiki’s Boutique owner Nikki Jacobazzi is pictured.

•April 19, 2017•

By Ellen Fererra

The exquisite Venetian chandelier catches your eye as you enter the very stylish new Kiki’s Boutique and the owner, Nikki Jacobazzi says, “ Yes, I had to have it, and it was the first item installed - everything was built around it. We had to wrap it in plastic for over a month while we remodeled.”

And what a charming space it is with racks of really beautiful and colorful blouses, dresses, jeans, t-shirts, shoes and must-have jewelry. So much temptation in such a small space but all artfully arranged. The sizes here run from small to 3x, and I was surprised to find almost all of the gorgeous blouses priced at $26 as they look much more expensive.

“We wanted a place to shop in Sullivan with high fashion and reasonable prices as so many shops like Penney’s and Kohl’s are closing.  Plus, you don’t have to drive to shop - we are right here,” she said.

Jacobazzi, who has the gamin looks of an Audrey Hepburn, grew up in Sullivan, went off to the big city and returned about five years ago. That’s when she began going to vendor fairs and selling online where she has shipped her line all over the U.S. and to a growing market in Europe.  Read More

Two Officers Complete Sullivan Police Force

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sullivan Police Chief Jim Waggoner (middle) is pictured with two new police officers, Vincent Trapani (far left) and Tom LeHew (far right).

•April 12, 2017•

Sullivan police department is up to full force with the addition of two new officers.

Chief of Police Jim Waggoner said the new patrolman fill vacancies created with the retirement of John Love and one officer who accepted a position in state law enforcement.

“We are glad to attract good talented young officers,” Waggoner said, explaining Vincent Trapani and Tom LeHew’s prior police experience will benefit the force and the city.

Trapani is originally from Decatur, graduating from Argenta-Oreana High School.

He joined the National Guard with his parents permission at 17 and is based with the National Guard military police in Springfield. Read More

Sullivan: A League of Their Own

Photo Furnished
It all changed in 1948 when Earl Walker of Walker Road Oilers decided to sponsor a women’s softball team and, for the first time, they had uniforms and a name - “The Walkerettes”! and lost only one game that year to Charleston.

•April 5, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Were you in Wyman Park during the hot summers of the 40s, 50s, 60s munching on popcorn, washing back hot dogs with some cold brewskies and watching Sullivan’s Walkerettes knock a few out of the ball park?

For over 30 years Genny Sutton, who just turned 100 this year, coached, managed and coddled women, their children and even their grandchildren in Sullivan’s only women’s softball league. Sutton founded the league around 1940 and was helped by her husband, son, grandson and countless others to provide summer entertainment to thousands as more than 75 women played on her teams over the years. Read More

Area Fishermen Help Build Lake Shelbyville Habitat

Photo by Mike Brothers
Assembly line action from volunteers such as Mike Fallert made quick work of the habitat construction process at Chip’s Marine south of Sullivan Saturday, March 4.

Volunteers Make Difference

•March 8, 2017•

By Wally Bass
for the News Progress

Fishing habitat is serious business so it was no surprise to Chip Christensen when so many fishermen showed up for a habitat build March 4.

Chip’s Marine service bays south of Sullivan were converted into an assembly line for building some 50 fish habitats for Lake Shelbyville.

In this joint venture with the Illinois Department of Conservation and Army Corp of Engineers volunteers from a variety of clubs joined individual sport fishermen to build and place the artificial habitats in the lake. Read More

FFA Petting Zoo Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

Photo by Don Lockwood
Dippin Dot Treats
A liquid nitrogen and like magic Maddie Atchison and Irie Dulin created Dippin’ Dots for eager taste testers at the Sullivan FFA Week open house.

•March 1, 2017•

Last week was National Future Farmers of America FFA, and the Sullivan FFA chapter petting zoo and open house was visited by more than 900 people.

All three Sullivan school attendance centers plus Sullivan preschool and folks from the public were treated to local chapter exhibits as well as Scovill Zoo which contributed more exotic animals to impress those coming to pet an alligator or python for the first time.

During the afternoon visitors were treated to a Dippin Dots treat following a liquid nitrogen demonstration.

It was hatching day for the local chicks as candling the eggs produced fresh hatches for the young students.

Expanding into the outer garage a giant schnauzer, horses, goats, pigs and a variety of animals were provided by FFA Chapter members for petting.  Read More

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