Sullivan Council Approves New Culvert Policy

•August 26, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting in Sullivan

The need for a culvert policy prompted action by the Sullivan City Council at the August 17 session.

After some heavy rains and flooding, it became clear that some culverts and drainage ditches would need to be repaired and installed. During that discussion, the question of who was responsible for payment of the culverts was brought to the table -the homeowner or the city?

Commissioner Ken Johnson presented a new culvert policy that answered that question. In section one of the policy it states: “The cost of purchasing the initial driveway culvert will be the responsibility of the homeowner/taxpayer.”
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Moultrie Moment of the Week: Lovington Mule Skinners

Moultrie Moment of the Week                                                    Lovington Mule Skinners—Took care of the mules that were used to haul coal from the shaft mine in Lovington- The Lovington Coal Mine closed in 1924. this photo was donated by Roy Bolin. Partially identified: Top row from left Reenie Eckel, George Simpson, ?, (bottom) Ralph Morthland, Pearl Cantor, Mox Jurick, and Edra Morthland. Please submit photos to the News Progress for future consideration. Originals will be saved for return or forwarded to Moultrie County Historical Society. If you have any other information, please contact the Moultrie County Historical Society at 217-728- 4085.

Moultrie Moment of the Week
Lovington Mule Skinners—Took care of the mules that were used to haul coal from the shaft mine in Lovington- The Lovington Coal Mine closed in 1924. this photo was donated by Roy Bolin. Partially identified: Top row from left Reenie Eckel, George Simpson, ?, (bottom) Ralph Morthland, Pearl Cantor, Mox Jurick, and Edra Morthland. Please submit photos to the News Progress for future consideration. Originals will be saved for return or forwarded to Moultrie County Historical Society. If you have any other information, please contact the Moultrie County Historical Society at 217-728- 4085.

•August 26, 2015•

Coal mining was once a leading industry in Moultrie County, and Lovington was the hub of that industry.

The Lovington Coal Mine began operation in 1910 and closed in 1924 due to flooding issues. There were more than 300 employed by the mine at its closing.

With the discovery of a nine foot vein of coal some 900 feet below the land surface outside Lovington, the Lovington Coal Mining Company began by selling stock for $25 per share.

The company owned 114 acres of surface land and leased 5000 of coal rights.

Once the funds were raised shaft drilling began. To reach the needed 1050 foot depth men worked from a steel cage lowered based on their progress each day.

Working in the 10 x 15 foot steel cage dirt was hauled up from the shaft in buckets as the men descended the shaft. Read More

Remember When? 8-26-2015

25 years ago this week

Former University of Illinois basketball standout Kendall Gill signed autographs Saturday at The Depot in Sullivan. Chad Andrews of Decatur was one of the fans who stood in line for over an hour to see Gil. Andrews, the grandson of Mary Carnine and the great-grandson of Edith Shadow, both of Sullivan, brought a basketball program for the future NBA player to sign.

Amanda Bruce began the first step of her primary education Monday when she registered for kindergarten at Lovington Grade School with the assistance of her mother Cindy.

While most students spend the summer away from their studies, Sullivan High School junior Denise Elder furthered hers as a delegate to a national 4-H program in the nation’s capital. A member of the Moultrie County Clover Kids 4-H Group, Elder was among 88 state and 4,000 national 4-H’ers ages 15-19, who attended Citizenship Washington D.C. Focus July 14-21 to learn about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens.

The photograph of a Moultrie County youngster illustrates an article in the September issue of Good Housekeeping which went on newsstands this week. Bailey Elliott, daughter of David and Patty Kay Elliott of Lovington, was captured on film by her mother as she smelled a bouquet of flowers. The photo was entered in a contest sponsored by the magazine and was selected as one of 25 winners throughout the nation. Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve New Teacher’s Union Contract

Tentative budget also approved

•August 26, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Between July and August, the Sullivan school board approved both a teacher’s union contract and a tentative budget for fiscal year 2016.

At their July 13 meeting, the board presented what is the first budget of the new fiscal year, which began July 1. Known as the tentative budget, it tries to predict not only what expenses the district will incur over the next year but also the much more tricky area of revenue at a time when state funding for K-12 education continues to be unreliable.

The budget does show the district spending more than $400,000 than it estimates bringing in, but Superintendent Brad Tuttle reported to the board that not only do tentative budgets usually contain contingencies that may later be taken out, but that this budget, in particular, is better than other tentative budgets in the past.

“Obviously this is a work in progress,” said Tuttle. “As you work a tentative budget, you have a lot of contingencies and a lot of things throughout that. This one in particular is better than what we’ve had in a while. It is showing a deficit…[but] “at this point I feel it’s in a lot better shape than what we have been in the past at this point.”

A look back at the FY15 tentative budget does support Tuttle’s comments. In particular, that budget estimated deficit spending of $464,213 compared to this year’s tentative budget, which anticipates $417,786. The estimated fund balance across the four major operating funds is also estimated to improve by more than $71,000 thanks, also, to more than $107,000 less in anticipated expenses. Read More

C.E.F.S. Awards Educational Scholarships

cut with scholar story and pic C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2015 Annual Board of Directors meeting.  Pictured (L-R): Vickie Bowers, board member, Alana Bernardi and Arlene Aschermann, board member.

cut with scholar story and pic
C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2015 Annual Board of Directors meeting. Pictured (L-R): Vickie Bowers, board member, Alana Bernardi and Arlene Aschermann, board member.

•August 26, 2015•

A scholarship winner from Moultrie County was recognized at the recent annual C.E.F.S. Board of Directors meeting. Scholarship recipient, Alana Bernardi, received a certificate of recognition and a monetary award to pursue educational training.

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation, Board of Directors recently awarded $8,000 in educational scholarships to three individuals who are pursuing post-secondary education. The educational scholarships were made available through funding provided by the Community Services Block Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Bernardi of Arthur is currently enrolled at Lake Land College in Mattoon and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Accounting. Bernardi previously owned her own business which in how she became interested in this field. Read More

National Senior Citizens Day Celebration

Photo by Mike Brothers Sixty-two people from Sullivan and surrounding communities gathered at the Mid-Illinois Senior Services for lunch Friday, Aug. 21 in observation of National Senior Citizens Day. On this day in 1988 President Ronald Reagan made the official declaration. Mason Point provided lunch for the group  celebration. Above Executive Director Deb Groendal is served her meal by Darin Wall, Karen Rodgers, Leeann Stickles and Angie Clawson.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sixty-two people from Sullivan and surrounding communities gathered at the Mid-Illinois Senior Services for lunch Friday, Aug. 21 in observation of National Senior Citizens Day. On this day in 1988 President Ronald Reagan made the official declaration. Mason Point provided lunch for the group celebration. Above Executive Director Deb Groendal is served her meal by Darin Wall, Karen Rodgers, Leeann Stickles and Angie Clawson.

•August 26, 2015•

Seniors from Mid-Il Senior Services in Sullivan observed National Senior Citizens Day Friday, August 21 with a meal.

The luncheon served by Mason Point to 62 area seniors commemorated the 27 year recognizing senior citizens nationwide.

Mid Illinois Senior Services is the local SHIP site for Medicare, insurance counseling, advice for choosing skilled care facilities, as well as caregiver support for seniors and grandparents raising grandchildren.

Executive director Deb Groendal noted in addition to the meal provided by Mason Point those attending on Friday enjoyed Bible study in the morning and card games as afternoon entertainment.

“Deb is a real expert on insurance matters,” Kay McCoy said of the director, noting her knowledge has helped many of those attending Mid-Illinois Senior Services unravel the complications from insurance coverage for senior citizens.

President Ronald Reagan’s declaration from 1988 designating the observation is printed below.

Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land. Read More

National Guard Battalion Holds Training Games in Sullivan

Photo by RR Best Illinois National Guard from around the state gathered for logistics training  with 550 gathering for exercises  at the Sulllivan Middle School and Civic Center on August 15.

Photo by RR Best
Illinois National Guard from around the state gathered for logistics training with 550 gathering for exercises at the Sulllivan Middle School and Civic Center on August 15.

•August 26, 2015•

By Nick Fiala

Reporting from Sullivan

For the first time since before 2007, a special training session hosted 550 members of the Illinois National Guard battalion at the Sullivan Middle School and Civic Center Saturday, August 15.

“We’re a logistics battalion,” explained Captain April Hawes. “So we’re supporting other units with fuel and water and food...and medical support…It’s usually just one unit drilling together.”

Over the years, the battalion has not narrowed down such an inclusive schedule. But the opportunity finally came this year, with a date set for last Saturday.

The special training day is a unique opportunity to further develop a wide variety of skills and relationships within the battalion that can prepare them for whatever field experience is in their future.

“Everything that we’re doing today has a direct tie to our actual logistical mission in supporting somebody else,” said Lieutenant Joel Jessup.

“But it’s been built into a competitive game-style environment. It’s an opportunity for everybody to come together who haven’t been together for seven to eight years.  They get to know people they may not interact with everyday and build professional relationships. Now they can go talk directly to their counterparts, whom they didn’t know last night.” Read More

Time is Precious When a Child Goes Missing

•August 19, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
Reporting in Sullivan

With a law-enforcement career spanning more than 30 years, Sullivan police chief John Love has handled several missing person cases. He indicated time is something that can be either the biggest help or hinderance in such a case, depending on how it is handled.

“Please, please call us immediately,” Chief Love urged. “Don’t take the chance.”

The chief stressed the need to recognize how precious time is when a child, for example, goes missing.

“We’ve had numerous incidents where we are called, and the first thing I do when I get there is say ‘Well, how long has the child been gone?’” he said. “I have had situations where children come home with stuff, almost like gifts...and when asked where they got it, they say a person gave it to them, but they didn’t know who the person was...My fear is that...someone [could] abduct a child and have an hour-and-a-half long start on us...I don’t want to scare anybody, but...It could happen here.”

Chief Love knows the fear of being too late to secure a loved one’s location. He shared a story of how an ordinary day shopping with his daughter became one he won’t forget.
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Lovington Civic Center Owner Seeks Guidelines

•August 19, 2015•

By Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Guest John Gordon approached the board about a zoning matter at 502 West Emery Street. An old church building, used until its sale, was purchased by Gordon, who hopes to use it as a civic center for the community to rent out for events. Mike Castelli, zoning board president, was present.

Gordon originally wanted to open a tavern, but the zoning board voted against it. Citing his Scottish heritage, Gordon asked the zoning board and the Lovington Village Board what, if any, rules would apply to having alcohol served on the premises.

The zoning and village board agreed that alcohol could be served but not sold with the same rule applying to food.

Gordon also stated that his reasoning behind charging for use of the building was simply to cover expenses. In this case, a special use permit with a variance would be needed.

The village board agreed to do more research in order to set parameters on the possible permit and the discussion was tabled until such information was gathered.
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CIPT Provides Freedom and Independence

Photo by Keith Stewart Patricia Reid is one Sullivan resident who regularly uses the Central Illinois Public Transit system, including last Wednesday when she needed a ride to her doctor’s appointment.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Patricia Reid is one Sullivan resident who regularly uses the Central Illinois Public Transit system, including last Wednesday when she needed a ride to her doctor’s appointment.

The Illinois budget has the possibility of affecting services

•August 19, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting in Sullivan

It is easy to take your mode of transportation for granted when it is readily available-whether it is the car in your garage or a ride from a friend or family member. But when you don’t have a way to get to doctor’s appointments or even the grocery store, it can be frustrating. Those who don’t have other means of getting from one place to another, depend on public transportation. For some, it is their only way to gain some type of independence.

“It is important to get around for every day needs such as going to store and doctor appointments. Without it, I would never get to the doctor because I have no other way,” commented Patricia Reid, who often uses the bus from CIPT (Central Illinois Public Transportation). “Without the bus, I would have to go to the nursing home because I wouldn’t be able to get around anywhere and I can’t walk that far,” she added.

Sandy Siler, who also takes advantage of services from CIPT, depends on public transportation. “My husband died two years ago, and I am disabled. I can’t walk and if Ii didn’t have it to transport me and my scooter, I wouldn’t be going anywhere and I would stay at home all the time,” she said.

CIPT has been in business for 30 years, offering public transportation to anyone needs it. While it is viable for seniors and disabled, anybody can ride the bus. It gives those who ride a sense of independence and security by knowing that they can see their doctors, purchase groceries and still get out every once in awhile and not be stuck at home. “We give them their freedom back by being a part of the community and continuing with their daily lives,” quoted Dennis Shiley, the director of CIPT.  Read More