Moultrie County Praised for Local Habitat Projects

•September 21, 2016•

Habitat for Humanity in Moultrie County is an operation that is respected all over the country.

That’s what the Moultrie County Board discovered when National Habitat Care-A-Vanner Robert Gillespie and his wife Betty,visited their regular meeting September 15.

Gillespie and Habitat volunteers living in campers and motor homes travel the country building some 300 homes all over the United States each year.

“This is our seventh house in Moultrie County, and as soon as the date for this build was posted volunteers filled the sign up list,” Gillespie said.

He pointed out a few things that make Moultrie County desirable for the retired habitat volunteers who have come to town to build a house in six weeks.

One big factor is Pastor Paul McGhghy, Gillespie said, explaining the Faith Lutheran Church offers the Care-A-Vanners a premium campground experience during the six week build.  Read More

ALAH School District Approves Budget, Course Changes

•September 21, 2016•

by Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

In August, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board reviewed a tentative budget for 2017 in August. The estimated beginning balance for July 1, 2016 was $1,675,641 and the end balance for June 2017 is estimated at $1,995, 394. After being on display to the public for 30 days, the board had a budget hearing September 14 at their regular scheduled meeting. The budget for the 2017 school year was unanimously passed.

Other matters that were discussed or voted upon:

- Changes were made in the history courses regarding the new state civics requirement that will effect this year’s sophomores. The constitution has been removed from the US I curriculum and added to the civics curriculum which this year’s sophomores will take their senior year.

Also, the “Rights and Responsibilities of an 18 year old in the state of Illinois” will be removed from the US II curriculum and added to civics.

Homecoming king and queen candidates and attendants were recognized.  Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve Budget, Welcome New Member

•September 21, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan District 300 school board welcomed new member Ann Wheeler and approved the 2016-2017 budget at the Sept. 12 meeting.

Supt. Brad Tuttle noted during the budget hearing that the educational fund is in better shape than previous years.

The budget indicates education starts the fiscal year with a $3,340,592 balance. Anticipated revenue from local, state and federal sources totals $7,477,292 with an estimated $7,346,258 in expenses for a $131,034 balance.

On the negative item balances Tuttle explained the transition to new HVAC systems in the schools should significantly decrease operations and maintenance expenses over time.

Operations and maintenance beginning balance is $891,722. Local funding sources generate $805,899 with expenses including $30,000 contingency, are $929,005, leaving $123,106 in the red. Read More

Sullivan Schools Honor Patriots Day

Photo by Mike Brothers Patriots Day reflections were depicted in a video watched by the assembly at Sullivan High School. Above Sullivan Mayor Ann Short, Sheriff Chris Sims, Chief of Sullivan Police John Love and guest speaker Nathan Becker watched somber memories from 9-11-01.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Patriots Day reflections were depicted in a video watched by the assembly at Sullivan High School. Above Sullivan Mayor Ann Short, Sheriff Chris Sims, Chief of Sullivan Police John Love and guest speaker Nathan Becker watched somber memories from 9-11-01.

•September 14, 2016•

The Sullivan High School Career English class Patriots Day assembly honored area first responders and military Sept. 8 in the high school gymnasium.

Before a gathering of students, first responders, military personnel and guests Rebecca Lawson’s class guided the school assembly through the events with presentation of the American flag by the National Guard, special musical arrangements and recollections of what Sept. 11, 2001 means today.

For SHS science teacher Nathan Becker, a sophomore at Sullivan High School in 2001, it was a day he can never forget.

“Like you students,” Becker began telling the assembled crowd, he was sitting in the commons with friends before school. “On the television in the corner we could see the fire from the first World Trade Center strike.”

Shortly before the bell for class, Becker said they watched the second tower get hit, and the silence over everyone in the halls indicated something was very wrong. Read More

County Salary Improvement Plan Proposed to Board

•September 14, 2016•

A plan to improve courthouse employee starting salaries was presented to the Moultrie County Board personnel committee September 6.

Committee chair Roger Glazebrook greeted representatives from the courthouse clerical staff as well as attending office holders to the afternoon session.

Courthouse staff spokesperson Krista Helmuth presented committee members with information on comparative  salaries in surrounding counties, revealing Moultrie County’s starting clerical salary of $18,000 is lower than all.

“The circuit clerk’s office recently lost two longtime employees to the city of Sullivan,” Helmuth said, noting a pattern of new employees training for various tasks in a county office only to leave after receiving a better offer outside is putting a strain on existing employees and service.

Cindy Braden noted the last opening she posted had four applicants. “When faced with turnover issues with corrections in the past, the county improved starting salaries in an effort to keep employees,” Braden said of county board practice in a similar situation. Read More

Two of the Oldest Banks in Moultrie County to form a New Bank

•September 14, 2016•

Ray Duncan, Chairman of the board of First National Bank of Sullivan and chairman and CEO  of Hardware State Bank of Lovington, announced last week that the two banks will merge to form a new state bank named First Community Bank of Moultrie County.

Hardware  State Bank has been serving the county since 1885, and the First National has been in business since 1905.

Both banks provide a wide array of banking services meeting the needs of their communities.

First National Bank Sullivan received a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating of “Outstanding” on its March 2, 2015 examination. For the last 15 years, Hardware State Bank has maintained a 5-Star Superior rating from Bauer Financial. Read More

Supervisor of Assessments Was The Ultimate Public Servant

•September 14, 2016•

Cindy Kidwell passed away in her sleep Sunday. She was 67 years old and just announced her retirement after serving 15 years as Moultrie County Supervisor of Assessments.

Services are at Reed Funeral Home in Sullivan at 7 p.m. Friday.

In a departing email sent out last week Kidwell noted that after 15 years of service “my body feels like it has been like a hundred so I want to get out while I can hopefully do all the things on my list before my legs give out.”

It was a list left incomplete.

For those past 15 years Cindy soothed taxpayers upset about property taxes while meticulously taking care of the myriad of legal requirements for the chief county assessment office. Last year was a quadrennial tax assessment year when all properties are evaluated.  Read More

First Color Run Fundraiser Planned for Titus Manor

•September 14, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

Titus Manor located at 513 N. Worth St. has been a part of Sullivan for a little over 150 years. In its quiet part of town, Titus Manor was built by Joseph B. Titus who came to Sullivan in 1862 with his family.

The Titus Manor is hosting its first ever Color Run Saturday, September 24 in Wyman Park. (Rain date is October 1). Sign-in begins at 8 a.m., and the walk/run starts at 9 a.m. Registration deadline is Sept. 23.

This year Titus Manor decided to try something different- a Color Run. “Because of the popularity of Color Runs, we decided to try one in hopes we could raise enough funds that we could just have one event this year, along with our fall bazaar, instead of having several smaller fund-raisers throughout the year,” said Lisa Smothers, office manager. There have been several businesses who have come together to support the Color Run. “The response from the community has been amazing, and we could’ve never pulled it off without them,” stated Smothers. Read More

LHS Alumni Honor Three Graduates

•September 7, 2016•

The Lovington High School Alumni Association will honor three Lovington graduates at its banquet September 10 at Yoder’s Country Kitchen in Arthur.

Dan Bolsen, Class of 2009, will receive the Outstanding Athletic Hall of Fame award.

Bolsen made the LOVC All Conference and All Area teams in basketball and football his sophomore, junior and senior years at LHS. He made the AP All State team in basketball and the Illinois Press Association’s All State Journalism team his senior year. Bolsen also played basketball and then football at Eureka College, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois. Read More

Moultrie County Awarded Federal Funds For Food Pantry

•September 7, 2016•

$2,800 for Food and Shelter

By Stu Baker
For the News Progress

Moultrie County has been chosen to receive $2,800.00 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A Local Board is made up of representatives from local government, Salvation Army, United Way, Catholic Charities and a former homeless person who will determine how the funds awarded to Moultrie County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area.  Read More