Monsanto Grant Goes to Lovington Ambulance Service

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Photo by Barry Morgan
The Lovington Ambulance Service was recently the recipient of a $2,500 grant that local farmer John Stinson won through Monsanto. Stinson, in turn, chose the service as the nonprofit recipient.
Pictured, from left to right are: Lovington Ambulance board member Steve Fleming, AsGro-Dekalb district sales manager for Moultrie County Jason Pitcher, John Stinson, wife Karen, and fellow board member and volunteer EMT Darin Powell.

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Local farmer John Stinson has long supported the Lovington Ambulance Service. As a former board member, Stinson knows how much the ambulance service relies on donations to stay up and running. So when he had a chance to apply and win a $2,500 grant from Monsanto, he did.

That, in turn, led to an award ceremony March 24 where the grant check was given to the ambulance service.

The Monsanto fund is through America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program. Since its inception in 2010, more than $16 million has been donated to more than 6,500 non-profit organizations. To be eligible, entrants must farm a minimum of 250 acres of corn, soybeans or cotton, 40 acres of open field vegetables or at least 10 acres of tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers grown in protected culture. Stinson has been farming since 1969 and currently farms about 1300 acres of corn and soybeans. “I was brought up on a farm and always enjoyed farming,” he said.  Read More

Love–the Tie that Binds

Seniors come together for annual V- Day Luncheon

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Photo by Keith Stewart Lucille Fultz recites her first place poem “Courtyard Baby” Friday.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Lucille Fultz recites her first place poem “Courtyard Baby” Friday.

It is said that love is the tie that binds relationships. At the Sixth Annual Senior Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Poetry Contest Friday, area seniors and citizens reflected on spouses, either living or past, parents, and family in an afternoon full of food, desserts, and poetry.

“We talked about any problems that we had. So if there was a misunderstanding, we solved it right then and there. That’s what made it possible,” said Wilma Wilhelm of her 65-year marriage with Gilbert Ray. “He passed away at 93 five years ago. He was the best one that I ever had,” she gushed. While it was clear that Wilhelm missed her spouse deeply, she did get to share the special event with her son Roger. He attested to the facts of his mother’s story simply by smiling and nodding as he sat by her side.

Sometimes people get a second chance at love. Charles and June Hutchcraft’s 22-year marriage is proof to that. Charles had married once but had separated while June’s former spouse had passed away. The second chance came through local restaurant the Red Apple where Charles frequented and often saw June.

“I had known her husband and had been friends with him so I gave her a call. It’s all history from there!” he said.

Smiling, June replied, “The key to a lasting relationship is all about loving and caring for each other.” The couple has been attending the luncheon since it began six years ago and said they always look forward to seeing all of their friends.

Some marriages have lasted so long that it’s often forgotten how the romance started in the first place. While all in good fun, one couple who moved to Sullivan a year ago after living in Lovington in the same home for 50 years, Freeman and Lucille Wildman, could not agree whether or not they met on the school bus all of those years ago. But they did agree on one thing: that their first date was January 17, 1945.

“Having five kids and giving up 75 percent when there is a disagreement is what made it last,” joked Freeman. Then, he cautiously added, poking fun at Lucille, “The woman gives up 99.9%!”

“True love is what makes a marriage last,” she added.

While a few brave couples offered their advice to what makes a relationship work, there were also those who shared their personal stories by entering poems in the poetry contest.

Of the several poems, the judges admitted it was difficult to choose a winner.

“It’s hard when everyone is so talented,” commented judge Holly Alendorf.

As an opening to the contest, Walden Brown read poems written by Mush Shirey who passed in February 2011.

In “AP 51 and 35 Men,” Shirey wrote of the relationships and bonds shared with his former soldiers during the war. The poem then goes on to describe the importance of protecting and saving each other in the verse:  “32 men were lost….but they saved my life…”

Bonds may also form within the walls of an assisted living center as shared by first place winner Lucille Fultz’s poem, “Courtyard Baby.”

Fultz described the pending birth of a baby girl that one of the CNA’s at Courtyard Estates would soon deliver. She spoke of the excitement shared between the soon to be “adoptive grandmothers” and how they couldn’t wait to see and hold the Courtyard baby. While the ladies were not “blood relatives,” it was all about the love that would bond them and the baby together. “Love is the tie that binds,” a verse stated from Fultz’s poem. Coincidentally, the baby about which Fultz had written had been born earlier that morning at 12:07 a.m.

For some, the love of the game is what makes their heart tick. Second place Harry McCorkle’s poem,”The Golf Cart,” spoke about his love for golf and while he dearly enjoyed it, he did need a reminder every now and then that it indeed was only a game. One day after some frustrating rounds, he hopped back into his cart, only to find Jesus riding along side him offering him the simple reminder that there was much more to life.

While love may bring great joy, it can also deliver pain with heartfelt memories.

Third-place winner, Patti Peterson, wrote, “My Pops,” a tribute to her father-in-law who had passed away unexpectedly. With tears, she read her special tribute, declaring the love and special bond that they shared.

“It was great to see so many area seniors come out and share this special event with us,” said Courtyard Estates Director Erika Piper. “It is something we look forward to hosting with Deb Groendal and Mid-Illinois Senior Services every year.”

GRIZ-FM honors former Moultrie County Clerk

After a heart attack took his life Easter Sunday 2001, former Moultrie County Clerk and radio broadcaster Gerald “Griz” England is being honored by Cromwell Radio Group.

Before his time as county clerk, England worked for a couple of radio stations, finishing his broadcasting career at Cromwell Radio Station, WYDS when it was known as “D-93”. He married his wife of nearly 27 years, Georgia—who is currently Moultrie County Clerk—June 2, 1974.asdfasdfasdfadsfasdfasdfasdfBefore being elected clerk in 1998, England enjoyed a long radio career that began in Sullivan at WFWA-FM. He worked at several area radio stations and made a national name for himself as a country radio personality.

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Exhibition on Illinois Civil War Soldier Experiences at Elizabeth Titus

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War the Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library is presenting the exhibit Experiences of the Illinois Civil War Soldier: Reflections through Art and Artifacts. This traveling exhibition explores the journey of Illinois Civil War soldiers as presented through their art.

The exhibit, which will be on view March 7-28, was created by and is on loan from the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University. Read More

LLC Celebrates Agriculture Students at Annual Awards Banquet

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Uphoff of Findlay Receives Honored Alumnus

Submitted by Jennifer Forneris
LLC Media Specialist

Lake Land College recently honored students in its agricultural programs at the 43rd Annual Agriculture Banquet.

More than 650 people filled the Lake Land College Field House for the banquet which honored outstanding agriculture students and alumni.

“I am very proud of our faculty, staff, retired faculty and students because without their hard work and success, the agriculture programs at Lake Land College would not be what they are,” said Jon Althaus, agriculture division chair, as he welcomed families and friends of the agriculture students.

Throughout the evening, various groups were recognized for their outstanding efforts including the Agriculture Transfer Club, the Agriculture Business Club, the Horticulture Club, student leaders in the agriculture division, the Livestock Judging Team and members of the Post-Secondary Agriculture Students group. Read More

Schlieker Gets Second-Chance with Powerlifting Scholarship

Will be a part of inaugural McKendree team

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Sullivan high school senior Trey Schlieker missed his senior year of football. After breaking his right foot, the passionate lineman was told he would not be able to play his last year on the gridiron. After watching from the sidelines, Schlieker had only his spring track season for which to look forward. From there, he planned to go to Illinois State and have a fairly normal student career.

That was, until a month ago, when former football coach Charles Brown contacted Schlieker about a new powerlifting team at McKendree. Not much else had to be said to the Sullivan senior, whose reputation is putting up big numbers in the weight room. Read More

Village-wide Reading Program Celebrated as Success

Lovington residents reach 750 book goal

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

It was no trick that the community of Lovington managed to read 750 books last month, but on Saturday, that endeavor was in fact celebrated with a little bit of magic.

Area children gathered Saturday to celebrate reaching their goal of reading 750 books in February with magician Dan from Abra-Kid-Abra.

The children participating in the Community Reading Program kept track of their reading on bookmarks and presented them to library staff to receive a sticker for each book to keep count. Other patrons and adults participated as well and contributed to the final count that led the village to their goal.  Read More

Serving Up Smiles and Warm Greetings

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Photo by Keith Stewart
Trudy Fleshner (right) completes a transaction Monday after Coty Drake of Sullivan (left) placed a coffee order.

Sullivan McDonald’s employee chosen for regional award    

by Jake Dilley
Reporting in Sullivan

If you’ve gone to McDonald’s in Sullivan, especially the drive-thru in the morning, you’ve probably been greeted by Trudy Fleshner. Having worked at the Sullivan location for over 10 years, Fleshner has greeted quite a few faces. And now, it would seem, she’s greeted so many, that now it is her turn for a warm gesture. Read More

Staying Fit as a Family

Photo by Keith Stewart SHS student volunteer Cadisen Nuzzo helps Avery Florey balance on an exercise ball last Thursday during the third annual Family Fit Night.

Photo by Keith Stewart
SHS student volunteer Cadisen Nuzzo helps Avery Florey balance on an exercise ball last Thursday during the third annual Family Fit Night.

PTO organized event enjoys third year in promoting healthy living

by Christina Whitford
Sullivan Reporter

The obesity rate in children is an issue that is on the minds of many. In response, Sullivan Elementary School PTO found a way to promote both healthy living and families spending time together with a family event aimed at healthy activities.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to get out and burn off some cabin fever from the weather,” volunteer Jennifer Voegel said.

This was the third year for the Family Fit Night event at the school. A variety of organizations were on hand to teach students and their families about healthy activities they can enjoy.  Read More

Despite Several Snow Days, Students Collect for Souper Bowl

Photo by Micah Heddins Sullivan fifth grader Brett Johnson organizes canned goods at the Moultrie County food pantry Friday.

Photo by Micah Heddins
Sullivan fifth grader Brett Johnson organizes canned goods at the Moultrie County food pantry Friday.

Final push on last day collects over 800 items for food pantry

by Christina Whitford
Sullivan Reporter

For most people the Super bowl is a time to dawn your football jersey and root for your favorite team. For the students in Ms. Heddins’ fifth grade class it’s also an opportunity to give back to the community.

After attending Sullivan schools, Micah Heddins returned to the town she grew up in to join the staff of Sullivan elementary school. With her she brought a passion for teaching and giving back to the community. However, it was during her student teaching experience in Palmero that she and her cooperating teacher developed the idea to use the Super Bowl as an opportunity for the children in their class to give back to the community by collecting for the local pantry in what they dubbed the Souper Bowl. Read More