Sullivan FFA Named National Finalists

Photo furnished
Sullivan FFA pictured with awards from left to right: Jon Gavin, 2016-2017 FFA Secretary, Blake Read; 2016-17 FFA Treasurer and 2017-18 FFA President, and Devin Warren, 2016-17 FFA President.

•May 24, 2017•

The FFA’s National Chapter Award program recognizes the top FFA chapters with innovative activities in each of the three divisions: growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

Recognition occurs at the local, state, and national levels. The FFA Chapter’s Program of Activities is evaluated and rated as Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Superior Chapters in each of three divisions and an overall rating is presented.

The Sullivan FFA was notified that the chapter had been designated a Gold Emblem Chapter in each of the three divisions and a Gold Emblem Chapter overall.

Furthermore, Sullivan FFA was named the Section Winner in all three divisions and was also named the winner of the Section Bankers Plaque for the Top Overall Program of Activities in the Section.  Read More

Timeline Set for Supt. Search

•May 24, 2017•

The Sullivan School District #300 board of education met in special session Thursday, May 19 to establish a timeline for the superintendent search.

Supt. Brad Tuttle accepted a position in Jerseyville, Ill. with his resignation effective June 30. Read More

Braden Chairs Illinois Court Clerk Education Committee

Circuit Clerk Cindy Braden

•May 24, 2017•

Moultrie County Circuit Clerk Cindy Braden was appointed chairperson of the Committee on Circuit Court Clerk Education by the Illinois Supreme Court last week in an announcement from Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier.

Braden’s appointment is effective July 1, 2017 when she presides over the 14 member Judicial College committee responsible for continuing eduction of the state’s circuit clerks. Circuit Judge Mark L. Levitt of Lake County is Braden’s vice-chair.

“I am thankful for the confidence and support from my colleagues in receiving the appointment,” Braden said, noting she had served with many on the committee during her past involvement in the Clerk’s Association.

“We have a good education infrastructure in place,” Braden said. “I look forward to working with everyone on the committee.” Read More

SCED Is Reaching Out

For Community Input

•May 17, 2017•

Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development is ready to help accelerate area growth by becoming an information hub for the community.

“We have always tried to gather information about what is going on, utilizing social media, the web page and print media to get the word out,” Executive Director Laurrie Minor explained.

In an effort to best utilize the resources of the Sullivan area and its potential for increasing tourism income, SCED is reaching out for ideas from the community including civic organizations, ministerial alliances and individuals who have information to share about themselves and ideas on how the community can grow. Read More

County Funds New Comprehensive Plan

•May 17, 2017•

Moultrie County board members approved $25,000 to have a new Comprehensive Plan prepared by Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission during the May 11 meeting.

County board chair Dave McCabe reported that he felt a new plan could be a useful tool to help promote economic growth for the county.

Planning commission executive director Kelly Lockhart explained that the Moultrie County plan would include an overview of the county and incorporated areas including economic factors, land use, housing and zoning information.

He went on to point out the planning commission had completed the Coles County Comprehensive Plan earlier which will be used as Moultrie County’s model. Lockhart explained the process would include information collected with advice and consent of a 12-18 member committee.  Read More

Sullivan Looks into New TIF District with Hopes for Growth

Interested Party Registry Opens

•May 17, 2017•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

The Sullivan TIF IV proposal went through a public hearing February 14 for people to ask questions.

There is an “Interested Parties Registry,” to receiving mailings, updates or hearing notices as the process moves forward. Presently, no one has signed up to be on that registry.

Some questions asked at the first public meeting and those who had residences near the proposed district automatically received mailings.

One common question that many residents in Sullivan have asked is whether a new TIF District will raise property taxes.

“Nobody’s taxes are increased by the adoption of TIF,” city administrator Dan Flannell said.  Read More

Moultrie County Sunshine Draws Solar Farm Interest

Local Farmers Contacted

•May 17, 2017•

By Mike Brothers

Solar farm interest in Moultrie County prompted the county planning and zoning committee to look into regulating the possible growth in this area.

Planning and zoning director Jan Haegen reported a single solar farm company had made about 400 contacts in 15 area counties.

Farm advisor Tyler Harvey noted that some 150 landowners had been contacted in Douglas and Moultrie counties and some of the contacts were about 40-60 acre parcels.

Director Haegen reported that, of those counties where contacts were made, none had active resolutions to regulate solar farming. He explained he was reviewing information concerning where the farms could be located, financial protection to cover possible removal of equipment and a number of issues relating to neighboring property owner concerns. Read More

Sullivan: When Broom Corn was King

Photo furnished
Pictured is Sullivan’s Broom Corn Palace in 1907. It was located in the northwest corner of the square next to the Titus Opera House.

•May 10, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Nearly 50 years before Arcola claimed the distinction, Sullivan’s own Broom Corn Palace welcomed visitors in 1907. Sullivan was staking its claim as the broom raising center of the country.

The “Palace” was a festival feature, which included a street carnival and other attractions. The structure was built from broom corn grown around Sullivan. It was located in the northwest corner of the square next to the Titus Opera House which was located above the  Burton Enslow Clothing store at street level.

The Bristow and Ellis broom corn barn was located at the corner of N. Market and W. Jackson and was in business in the early 1900s. Most broom corn is now grown around Arcola, but before WWI it was big business in Sullivan.  Read More

Agr-Fab Founders’ Faith Created a Successful Industry

Photo furnished
Agri-Fab Founders
Original founders of Agri-Fab left to right:  Milton Harshman, Stanley Van Hook, Kent Harris, Evan Dickens, Ron Harshman and Harold King.

•May 10, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

In February of this year Ron Harshman received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sullivan’s Chamber and Economic Development luncheon. He recently granted me an interview for this history of Agri-Fab.

The history of Agri-Fab is one based on faith - from the original faith-based Community Industries to the faith of the founders in the miracle industry they could create. Faith in the value of successful partnerships and, most importantly, faith in their employees to constantly rise to the challenges put before them in an ever-changing manufacturing industry. It is a story of doors closing and new windows of opportunity opening.

Agri-Fab’s first window of opportunity opened with the closing of Yard-Man in 1975. With 250 employees it was the largest employer in Sullivan and many families depended on Yard-Man and Brown Shoe both of which closed in 1975 - traumatic events for a small community like Sullivan. Read More

ALAH Board Uses Sales Tax Funds to Improve Elementary School

New Members Join Board

•May 3, 2017•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

Superintendent, Kenny Schwengel told Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond board membersat the last meeting that the negative balance in the transportation fund will require a transfer from the education fund.

The school district has not received any categorical payments, but the superintendent is hopeful a payment will arrive by June.

He explained the district should get the total owed by the state after July 1 (the beginning of the next fiscal year).

The total of all funds currently is $4,390,299.64. At the May meeting a tentative budget will be presented, and it will be posted for 30 days before it is presented.

Other issues  voted upon or discussed: Read More