Passion for Pets Breeds New Grooming Business

DogGroomingby Jake Dilley
Reporting near Dunn

Moultrie County now has a new pet grooming business, Lucky Dog Pet Grooming, opened by owner Carrie Simmons.

Simmons, who is a native of Blue Mound, graduated from Eastern Illinois University and was an auditor with ADM for several years. But after having children and being a stay-at-home mom for a short time, Simmons decided to follow her passion for animals and attend the Hair at the Dog pet grooming school in Monticello. There she completed the hands-on training necessary to graduate including learning how to use clippers, what blades work and how they are used, thinning shears, trimming nails, cleaning out ears, how different breeds should be bathed, teeth brushing, and also working with the customer to assure that they receive the quality service they want for their pet. Read More

A Local Inspiration Helps in Foundation of New Sullivan Business

Photo by Keith Stewart Tyler Mosier, Timmy Valentine, and John Stephens (L-R) recently opened the Astoria Company Store, which features homemade soy candles, lotions, soaps, and more. Astoria is located on the first floor of the Harrison Street Inn, in Sullivan.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Tyler Mosier, Timmy Valentine, and John Stephens (L-R) recently opened the Astoria Company Store, which features homemade soy candles, lotions, soaps, and more. Astoria is located on the first floor of the Harrison Street Inn, in Sullivan.

Local soy leads to candle business

by Christina Whitford
Sullivan Reporter

It’s hard not to notice the aroma in the air when traveling through the Decatur area. But who would imagine that the source of that scent could produce such a beautifully fragrant soy candle. One Sullivan resident saw the potential and ran with it.

After his mother gave him a soy candle as a gift, John Stephens became impressed at the difference between the soy and regular candles. He found that the soy candles did not have the black smoke billowing out, they were much more fragrant, and they lasted longer. It was then that Stephens started putting together items from his own kitchen to create his own soy candle line.  Read More

Helping Others Make Healthy Strides

Photo by Keith Stewart Physician’s Choice Wellness is comprised of six individuals, including (from left to right): Geoff Owens, exercise specialist, Martina Gadberry, clinical assistant, Becky Clayton-Anderson, executive director, Jackie Clayton, DNP,  Ashley Bradshaw, registered dietician, and Dr. Glen Dust.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Physician’s Choice Wellness is comprised of six individuals, including (from left to right): Geoff Owens, exercise specialist, Martina Gadberry, clinical assistant, Becky Clayton-Anderson, executive director, Jackie Clayton, DNP, Ashley Bradshaw, registered dietician, and Dr. Glen Dust.

Anderson’s award winning clinic in sync with her life’s mission to better health

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Recent statistics show proof that obesity and diabetes are on the rise in the United States. According to the Food Research and Action Center, two-thirds of Americans were obese or overweight in 2012. The American Diabetes reported that in 2011, 25.8 million children and adults had diabetes. With these alarming statistics, it is more important than ever for people to start taking control of their health.

Becky Clayton-Anderson is trying to help people do just that. Read More

Two Dreams Come Together to Form Hair Salon

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur-Lovington Reporter

Playing dress up, working with models on the runway, and consulting with pageant queens helped two women realize their dreams, which led to their opening up a beauty salon in Lovington this past July. Together, Val Brumfield and Julie Kinert make up more than 25 years of experience in their shop, Majestic Cuts Salon and ValSalon.

“I have always had a love for beauty,” Kinert said. “I have been with Mary Kay Cosmetics for 18 years. I have also worked with pageants for over 13 years.”

“There were five of us in our family, and having sisters, we were always messing with hair and makeup. We loved to play dress up,” said Brumfield.

While their love for beauty stems from the heart, they added to their knowledge with a valuable education in cosmetology and fashion-runway experience.

“I felt the only thing that was always missing was my degree in cosmetology,” said Kinert who did end up completing the cosmetology program at Lake Land College. “They have the best program out there by far! You get the best well-rounded education there. They not only teach you the techniques you need, but they also teach you anatomy, advanced first aid/CPR and business, so you are fully prepared to run or start your own business,” she stated.

Brumfield attended St. John’s School of Cosmetology in both Decatur and Champaign. She was also able to travel and be an educator for seven years with The Matrix, a popular professional hair salon. As an educator Brumfield travelled to different beauty supply houses and taught classes on hair color and style.

“I went to a job career fair one day, and The Matrix was there doing demonstrations. I just fell in love with what they did,” said Brumfield. “While I was there, I spoke with one of their educators…With my extensive knowledge, I was also asked to be an educator. I learned new trends and went to all of the big hairdressing shows. It was very intimidating being right out of beauty school. I did fashion runways with Alteri from Las Vegas and with Vivian McKinder from London. I got to experience all of their knowledge and learn the tricks of the trade. Some hairdressers never get to experience that. I got a chance to expand outside the box.”

The ladies also gained experience by working in other salons.

Kinert worked a year and a half at a shop in Arthur and at the Cutting Edge in Atwood for three and a half years.

“I got the best on-the-job training working with a mother/daughter team that had 40-plus years of experience between them,” she said.

Brumfield, meanwhile, had her own salon and day spa in Monticello for almost 10 years.

Kinert’s inspiration for working in the beauty industry radiates from her love and passion for bringing one’s inner beauty to the surface. While she may tease men about their ear hair, she does enjoy helping her customers feel good about themselves.

As for Brumfield, having a love for the hair industry is in the genes.

“I had a great-grandfather who was a barber, my great aunt was a hairdresser, and both of my mom’s sisters are also hairdressers.”

It was just a little over a year ago that the two hairdressers first met.

After a divorce, Brumfield moved to Lovington and opened up her shop in April of 2012. Shortly after opening, Kinert arrived, asking whether there was room for another hairdresser. At the time, Brumfield had a second job so she thought it would be possible. A year went by before Kinert approached Brumfield again. After she said yes, the two sat down for some “shop talk” regarding their new business. Since they both would be working separate hours, it was decided that the hairdressers would keep their personal business names: Majestic Cuts Salon and ValSalon.

The shop offers all hair services, waxing, manicures, pedicures, Shellac Nails, professional makeup, pageant consulting, and tanning.

To make an appointment, you may call 217-519-0224 or visit the shop in downtown Lovington at 102 East State Street. A grand opening is currently in the making. Majestic Cuts Salon may also be found on Facebook.

New Firearms Training Service Hopes to Educate Community

by Emily Scott
Reporting in Allenville

A new small arms training service has emerged in the area in hopes of educating and training people of all skill and knowledge levels under the Illinois concealed carry act.

The Okaw Valley ASAT, LLC, Advanced Small Arms Training was recently established as an educational service to the community to provide professional and state-certified firearms training to carry concealed firearms in the state of Illinois. Read More

Jackson’s New Showrooms and Renovations Ready for Duty

Photo by Keith Stewart The Jackson Family of Dealerships recently completed renovations to the Sullivan location, including the addition of a new showroom. Pictured from left to right are owner Mark Jackson,  Jeff Parkison, Zack Bryan, and Drew Danalewich.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Jackson Family of Dealerships recently completed renovations to the Sullivan location, including the addition of a new showroom. Pictured from left to right are owner Mark Jackson, Jeff Parkison, Zack Bryan, and Drew Danalewich.

After nearly two years, dealership’s new look and features complete

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Jackson Family of Dealerships of Sullivan offering Chrysler and General Motors brands of cars has completed a new facility on the west side of Sullivan.

After purchasing the former HPR dealership in 2010, the Jackson Family of Dealerships moved from 107 E Jackson Street in Sullivan to 1320 W Jackson Street.

Then approximately two years ago, the dealership decided a face-lift, among other things, was in order. Read More

Bethany Hears New Howl with Music Studio

New record studio grand opening during block party

Photo by Keith Stewart Local band Slant Six is seen here, with members Stan Smart (left), Mike Harmison (center), and Julie Maloney (right). After first organizing in 2008 and then dissolving, the band reformed in 2011 and will perform live during the block party in Bethany October 12.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Local band Slant Six is seen here, with members Stan Smart (left), Mike Harmison (center), and Julie Maloney (right). After first organizing in 2008 and then dissolving, the band reformed in 2011 and will perform live during the block party in Bethany October 12.

by Emily Scott
Bethany Reporter

Mike Harmison of Sullivan has loved music ever since he learned to play the guitar at the age of five years old. In his teenage years he went on to play both the guitar and drums.

“That’s how I identify myself,” he said. “I’m a musician.”

Harmison has been recording local bands on his own since 1979 with his own recording equipment. While he admits the recording processes he once used were not the most high-tech, he enjoyed helping bands record and considers the time recording on his own successful. “Everyone ended up with a tape by the end,” he said.  Read More

Courtyard Celebrates Five Years, Staff and Residents Alike

Photo by Keith Stewart Courtyard Estates’ resident Eloise Heidbreeder (left) dances with her daughter Carol while the Melvin Reynolds Jr. band performs Saturday during the five year celebration of the facility.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Courtyard Estates’ resident Eloise Heidbreeder (left) dances with her daughter Carol while the Melvin Reynolds Jr. band performs Saturday during the five year celebration of the facility.

Area bands, family and friends make for special day

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Five years ago this October, Mary Jane Harshbarger made the transition into assisted living, a move that can often times be difficult to make given many older individuals’ long-held love of independence. But it was upon her niece’s kind coercion and in light of Harshbarger’s difficulty taking medication on time, that Mary Jane became the first resident of Courtyard Estates in Sullivan.

On Saturday, she along with her fellow residents, family members, and friends celebrated five years of assisted living at the Sullivan facility. Read More

Former Education Director Returns To LTOTS

After a year away, Weber comes back to instruct once again

Weber

Weber

By Mallory Murphy
Sullivan Reporter

The Little Theatre On The Square is excited to announce the return of Education Director and Actor, Heather Doré Johnson Weber of Urbana.

Weber, who got her start at The Little Theatre in 2003 performing in their first two seasons of the STAR Education Outreach tour, served as full-time dance director from 2008 through 2012. During this time, she earned several other titles and responsibilities including director of the annual Education Outreach musicals.

“It was sort of meant to be, me and this job,” said Weber regarding her return. “It’s defined me and changed my life in very good ways. I adore the kids. I love dancing and teaching, I love directing, I love performing, I love my colleagues, I love snow, and I love cornfields.” Read More

Taste of the Prairie Gives Lift to Area Businesses

Big turnout makes set up, tear down worthwhile

by Kirk Whitaker
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Photo by Keith Stewart Local artist Benjamin Cohan puts the finishing touches on a scene outside of the Green Mill Village Best Western in Arcola Saturday during the Taste of the Prairie event.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Local artist Benjamin Cohan puts the finishing touches on a scene outside of the Green Mill Village Best Western in Arcola Saturday during the Taste of the Prairie event.

From 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, area artisans, painters, and entrepreneurs gathered in Arcola for the inaugural Taste of the Prareie Business Expo at Arcola’s Green Mill Village.

Of the 46 vendors at the expo, eight were from Moultrie County, including The Flower Pot/Hamilton Street Candle Co, Art by M. Benjamin Cohan of Sullivan, The Kitchen of Doris Yoder, KettleCorn, Lemon Shake Ups by the Walker Family of Lovington, The Pumpkin Patch/The Homestead Bakery of Arthur, Richard Herschberger’s Gallery, Sherry E. Harris’ Watercolors and Swarm Tree Honey Farm.

“Unlike many expos, we had many businesses who were participating in their first expos ever,” said Cassie Yoder, who handles the marketing of Green Mill Village. “We found a lot of participants wanting to break into the storefront who showed off talent from products to food and were allowed to showcase things they had for other areas as well. We had some hidden gems from the area all in one room, and that’s not just something that happens every day.”  Read More