Bethany Alumni Celebrate Oldest Living Graduate

Photo by Keith Stewart Dora Dean Hudson (center) was surprised last Thursday with a visit by (from left to right) fellow Bethany high school alumni, including alumni association secretary Sandra McReynolds, class of ‘57; vice-president John McLaughlin, class of ‘62; Linda Korte, class of ‘64; and president Jim McLaughlin, class of ‘63.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Dora Dean Hudson (center) was surprised last Thursday with a visit by (from left to right) fellow Bethany high school alumni, including alumni association secretary Sandra McReynolds, class of ‘57; vice-president John McLaughlin, class of ‘62; Linda Korte, class of ‘64; and president Jim McLaughlin, class of ‘63.

September 17, 2014

Hudson, class of ‘29 receives surprise visit
by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

As the Bethany High School Alumni Association glanced down their list of graduates recently, one in particular stood out.
Dora Dean Hudson, class of 1929.
“One of the things we’re trying to do with the alumni association is to get all the records of everybody that graduated from high school, which we were able to get,” said John McLaughlin, vice-president of the alumni association. “We noticed that she was still on the list, the 1929 graduating list, as still alive. That started the look. Of course, when we heard the name Dora Dean, my brother and I knew who that was. We couldn’t believe it. So we made some calls and got hold of her grandson in Decatur and got permission to come down and have this get-together.”
John and his brother Jim, who was also in attendance and is the alumni association president, grew up across from Hudson up until 1949 when they moved to their family farm. Read More

Gospel Folk Band Coming to Sullivan Next Month

September 17, 2014

Rain for Roots to headline rural church Oct. 4

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For pastor Vanessa Patient, the opportunity to share music she loves is a passion. So when she was given the chance to solicit one of her favorite musical groups, Rain for Roots, to come to Sullivan and play live, Patient was just the opposite: she was thrilled.
“I think with any music that you love or book that you love or movie, you’re so excited to get it in the hands of other people and see their reactions and hopefully they’re excited,” said the pastor. “When I first heard them I thought this is not just music for children but music for anyone. There is a complexity to the music yet a simplicity to the words that is so appealing. And their voices are beautiful. Their music is something that is very close to my heart.” Read More

Seeing a Cut, Above

Photo by JC Fitzgerald of Bethany Pictured is Buxton’s Garden Farm’s latest corn maze, which depicts the American Cancer Society’s Ribbon of Hope. The maze was unveiled to the public last Thursday, and the admission fees were in turn doanted to the Moultrie County Relay for Life. The maze is set to open later this month.

Photo by JC Fitzgerald of Bethany
Pictured is Buxton’s Garden Farm’s latest corn maze, which depicts the American Cancer Society’s Ribbon of Hope. The maze was unveiled to the public last Thursday, and the admission fees were in turn doanted to the Moultrie County Relay for Life. The maze is set to open later this month.

September 3, 2014

Unique fundraiser brings in money for Moultrie Relay for Life

Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Have you ever thought it might be fun to journey through a corn maze? Well on Thursday evening August 28 some 60 people did just that at Buxton’s Garden Farm west of Sullivan.
But this wasn’t just any maze nor was it a search for any exit. Particpants gathered for the public unveiling of the maze, which was cut to depict the American Cancer Society’s Ribbon of Hope, with proceeds going to the Moultrie County Relay for Life. Read More

Reminiscing, Showcasing Antique Tractor Equipment at Inaugural Plow Day

September 3, 2014

Dozens come to watch old plow technique

by Ariana Cherry
Reporting in Sullivan

Every now and then, some need a reminder of what it used to be like when days moved at a slower pace. Technology often makes one forget the feeling of satisfaction from hard labored work and a job well done. When Steven Buxton created “Plow Day” for farmers and agricultural enthusiasts, he had this in mind.
So on Saturday, August 23, antique tractor operators moldboard plowed 50 acres of wheat stubble that was located at Moultrie County Road, 1350 North. Buxton explained that moldboard plowing was a type of plowing that was used in the mid 80’s. It not only cut furrows, but it also turned the soil. Farmers used this technique until about 1986. Read More

Despite Sudden Heat, Back to School Bash Quite the Treat

Photo by RR Best Donning a backpack, Lilly Ayer inspects one of several games featured at this past weekend’s Back to School Bash in Lovington.

Photo by RR Best
Donning a backpack, Lilly Ayer inspects one of several games featured at this past weekend’s Back to School Bash in Lovington.

August 27, 2014

Lovington Library plans for another event next year

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

The Lovington Library hosted a Back to School bash Friday with the help of area churches to give local children the opportunity to play games and enter a raffle to win a pizza while they listened to music presented by A-Sharp DJ Service.

While the unexpected heat wave kept attendance to the bash lower than expected, the 80 children and adults who attended enjoyed the festivities and entered the raffle by bringing school supplies to donate to Lovington Grade School.

Local churches provided snacks, hot dogs, and drinks as well as the games, such as bowling and a bag toss.

Candi Fultz, a rural resident, came into town to attend the bash.

“We don’t come out often,” she said. “We live in the country, but it’s fun for him.”  Read More

Hundred-Days Men Left Checkered Civil War Legacy

August 20, 2014

Left a Darker Side to the War 150 Years Ago This Summer

by Tom Emery

There are many inspiring stories of Civil War soldiers from Illinois. But 150 years ago this summer, the “hundred days” men left behind a checkered legacy that reflects a darker side of the war.

The “hundred-days” movement arose from a need for more manpower in early 1864. Thousands of men were tied up in the campaigns on Richmond and Atlanta, and the recruiting pool was drying up after several calls by the President for more troops. Read More

Local Scouts Complete Eagle Scout Projects

Submitted Pictured is former Troop 39 scoutmaster Gerry Wood (left), recently promoted Eagle Scout Benjamin Berner (middle), and current scoutmaster Jeff White at the formal unveiling of Berner’s Eagle Scout project, a list of more than 2,000 Moultrie County veterans and current armed forces and a podium upon which the list will sit.

Submitted
Pictured is former Troop 39 scoutmaster Gerry Wood (left), recently promoted Eagle Scout Benjamin Berner (middle), and current scoutmaster Jeff White at the formal unveiling of Berner’s Eagle Scout project, a list of more than 2,000 Moultrie County veterans and current armed forces and a podium upon which the list will sit.

August 13, 2014

High honor now within grasp

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

“Congratulations, Eagle Scout.”

Three simple words that so many Boy Scouts hope to one day hear, they perhaps don’t completely encompass the years of merit badges attained nor the hours and hours of work on their Eagle Scout project.

But for two local scouts, Benjamin Berner and Sean Johnson, hearing these words recently were well worth the time, money, and work.

“The Eagle Scout project is the last major requirement before a boy becomes an Eagle Scout,” explained Troop 39 Scoutmaster Jeff White. “He must earn 21 merit badges, 13 of them are required (first aid, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, communication, cooking, personal fitness, emergency preparedness (or lifesaving), environmental science, personal management, swimming, camping and family life), but the remaining eight merit badges are chosen by each scout according to his interests (there are over 100 in all).”

For the 16-year-old Berner, his project involved the collection of service records both for current and past Moultrie County citizens enlisted in the armed forces. Read More

A Trip Worth Taking

Submitted by Troy Rogers Jazmyn Jane feeds a giraffe during a visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., which was just one of several science related experiences Sullivan students encountered on their trip this past June.

Submitted by Troy Rogers
Jazmyn Jane feeds a giraffe during a visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., which was just one of several science related experiences Sullivan students encountered on their trip this past June.

August 6, 2014

Sullivan students embark on biennial science trip to Florida

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

From snorkeling with manatees and feeding giraffes, to dissecting sharks and kayaking on barrier reefs, there’s a trip Sullivan students have taken every other year for the last five years that completely immerses them in a world of science and marine biology over just three days.

Near the beginning of June, 16 Sullivan students from both the eighth and ninth grade classes travelled to Tampa, Fla. and experienced nonstop hands-on science, first beginning with a trip north of Tampa to the Crystal Springs Preserve. There the students swam with manatees and even interacted with a mother and its calf, before then traveling to the Rainbow River, where students enjoyed more snorkeling in the fresh water spring fed river.

“There was a mile and a half stretch we snorkeled in,” explained SHS science instructor and trip leader Troy Rogers. “We saw shoals of tilapia, and there are bubbling springs, so there is bubbling water that is coming up to the surface. Then there are also caverns 20 feet down. It’s just a really neat experience and really my favorite one, but each time it’s different.” Read More

Sparrows to Celebrate 20 Years Sat.

August 6, 2014

Lovington-based outreach group to host public extravaganza

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Sparrows Unlimited, a non-profit organization, will be celebrating 20 years of service to the Lovington community this Saturday, August 9 in downtown Lovington. The celebration will begin at noon and feature a car and bike show, inflatables for the kids, a DJ, hamburgers and hot dogs and a bags tournament with signups starting at 12:30 at Jerry’s East End. Read More

Final Show Delivers Pretty Performance With a Hint of Pink

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Sarah Ledtke as Elle Woods (left) and Anna Blair as the good-hearted salon owner Paulette (right) in the Little Theatre’s latest and last production of the 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is Sarah Ledtke as Elle Woods (left) and Anna Blair as the good-hearted salon owner Paulette (right) in the Little Theatre’s latest and last production of the 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

July 30, 2014

“Legally Blonde” to close out 2014 summer season

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

Willowy and witty, pretty and poised, Sarah Ledtke never makes a false step as the star of the Little Theatre’s final show of its 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

As Elle Woods, Malibu boy-chaser turned Harvard Law ace, she brings the same qualities of likability, whimsy and stage presence to the role as Reese Witherspoon did in the original hit film, although not at all in the same way. 

Ledtke’s confident gestures easily arrest the audience’s attention. With empathy, without preaching, Ledtke sells the show’s ever-relevant message — that you don’t have to be limited by other people’s low estimation of your worth. It’s a pleasure to watch a professional performer who has such command of her craft. 

Director Therese Kincade did an equally professional job of casting this musical, and all her principals find a comfortable fit in their roles. She’s got Mike Danovich, the season’s most reliably solid player, as Warner, the preppy boyfriend who thinks he’s too good for Elle. She has energetic Tiffany Sparks as Brooke Wyndham, the exercise queen on trial for murdering her elderly hubby. Anna Blair is the gaudy but good-hearted salon owner Paulette, balancing show-stopping clown against endearing underdog.

Andy LeBon, who was so good as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” brings his ringing note of authority to bear on the John Houseman-like role of the arrogant and brilliant Harvard criminal law professor Callahan.  Read More