Board of Appeals Given Appreciation Bonus

Decision comes after lengthy hearings on wildlife park

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Earlier this month the county board unanimously approved an appreciation stipend or bonus for the zoning board of appeals for the time spent deliberating and attending lengthy meetings regarding the Aikman Wildlife Park.

The $100 bonus was given to four of the five board of appeals’ members, with Howard Sanders excluded since he did not attend the June meetings due to a conflict of interest. Those receiving the bonus include Tyson Grooms, Neil Hinkle, Paul Roney, and Mike Sheehan.

“They spent a lot of time and patience at all the hearings so I think it’s well deserved,” said vice-county chairman Ron White.

“They don’t get any stipend at all. They get paid mileage, [but] they spent a day-and-a-half at one hearing and then half a day at the other hearing,” said board chairman Dave McCabe at the budget and finance committee meeting July 6. “If we’re going to get volunteers to serve on these kinds of things, we need to show we appreciate their efforts when its above and beyond their normal call of duty.”

In particular, the four board members were rewarded for their time spent across two meetings held on June 5 and 17, which together spanned a little more than seven hours. The meeting on the 17th, however, began at 9 a.m. and then broke for lunch before then resuming at 1:15 and adjourning at around 3:30 p.m.  Read More

Sullivan Man Formally Charged with Child Pornography Offenses

•July 22, 2015•

Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, announced today that a federal grand jury in Peoria has returned an indictment charging Justen W. Troxell, 30, of the 400 block of South Worth Street, Sullivan, Ill., with distribution and possession of child pornography.
The indictment alleges that in June 2015, Troxell distributed and possessed images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of computers and related materials allegedly used to commit or promote the offenses. Read More

Okaw Valley Schools Close out FY15 with Deficit

New class schedule also to begin this fall

•July 22, 2015•

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

In time for the closing of fiscal year 2015 on June 30, the Okaw Valley’s administration approved their final estimated ending budget, giving a glimpse into what Okaw Valley School District can expect this next fiscal year, financially.
The budget fell largely in line with what superintendent Kent Stauder had projected months earlier when concerns of state education budget cuts loomed overhead. The district ended their fiscal year with almost $5,2630,000 total in all their various funds, incurring a deficit of roughly $145,000—an increase over last year’s deficit of nearly $59,000. The majority of that deficit came from the district’s operation and maintenance fund, which ended with close to $97,000 less than with what the district began. The operation and maintenance fund pays for the upkeep of school building and grounds as well as the day to day functions needed to keep each school running. This year the district saw several one-time expenditures that affected the operation and maintenance fund, including the recent asbestos abatement and demolition of Okaw Valley Intermediate School in Findlay. Read More

Sullivan Police Asking Public for Help Amid Criminal Vehicle Trespassing

Four unlocked vehicles targeted over weekend

• July 15, 2015 •

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Sullivan police are asking the public to keep their car doors locked and an eye out for any suspicious activity after a string of unlocked vehicles were illegally entered over the weekend.
Sullivan Police Chief John Love says that four vehicles were the subject of criminal trespass this past weekend, two of which were then taken around town before then being abandoned.
One of the vehicles was found just north of Wyman Park on Worth street and another parked in the middle of a road in front of a stop sign. Read More

Sullivan Woman in Stable Condition After Collision

Victim of DUI wreck in Warrensburg

•July 8, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Sullivan woman is in stable condition after more than two weeks of being hospitalized following a DUI accident near Warrensburg last month.
Judith McPheeters, 69, of Sullivan endured life-threatening injuries the evening of Wednesday, June 17 following a collision near Warrensburg.
According to a press release by the Macon County sheriff’s department, a call came in at approximately 6:35 p.m. regarding the two-vehicle wreck. Once on scene, responders had to extricate the 69-year-old Sullivan woman from her 2011 Chevrolet after it collided with a 2009 Ford pickup truck, driven by Ryan M. Maurer, 41, of Harristown. Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve Final Budget for FY15

Better than originally projected

•July 8, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

At their monthly board meeting last month, the Sullivan school board approved a final amended budget for fiscal year 15, which came to a close June 30.
That budget, while an improvement from the initial one passed last September, was not quite an improvement from the April meeting where a tentative amended budget was presented.
Compared to that budget, the final amended one sees an increase in expenditures just over $66,000. Superintendent Brad Tuttle attributed much of the increase to recent work on the HVAC systems at the elementary and middle schools that are nearly 20 years old and have been working at half capacity. The budget also reflects some of the spending of a $50,000 grant that was received last year. Read More

Sullivan Teacher Dies After Being Struck by Vehicle

Christina Sanders, 30, pronounced dead Thurs.

•July 8, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Sullivan elementary school teacher was pronounced dead last Thursday evening after being struck by a vehicle the Tuesday prior.
According to the Moultrie County sheriff’s department, Christina Sanders, 30, of Sullivan was pronounced dead at Carle Hospital at 5:33 p.m. Thursday.
Shortly before 7:13 p.m. Tuesday, June 30 Sanders was struck by an automobile while jogging along county road 850E just north of the Bruce-Findlay road according to the sheriff’s department.
The release further adds that the automobile was being driven by Kali Forsyth, 18, of Sullivan.
Sanders, who was a first grade teacher for the Sullivan school district, was taken by a Life Flight helicopter to Carle Hospital Tuesday evening where as of Wednesday morning she was in critical condition prior to her passing Thursday.
According to a report by WCIA-3, Sanders’ was an organ donor. Read More

Sullivan Woman Hit While Riding Bicycle

No life threatening injuries sustained

•July 8, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Sullivan woman was struck while riding her bicycle in town the evening of Tuesday, June 30.
According to Sullivan police, Addie Comanse, 55, was riding her bicycle at approximately 5:45 p.m. southbound on Hamilton Street June 30 when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Victoria Clark, 20, of Assumption. Read More

Sullivan Council Signs Agreement with Hughes and Tenney Law Firm

Council plans to pursue legal action concerning the Sullivan Civic Center roof

July 1, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

At their June 8 regular meeting, the Sullivan City Council decided they would move forward with litigation concerning the roof of the Sullivan Civic Center.
Problems with the Civic Center roof began back in 2006 when it was decided that a new roofing system would be constructed.
After receiving bids, Advanced Wayne Cain of Champaign, was chosen to start work on the roof in 2007 which would be completed during that spring and summer. Then, in 2013, when it was noticed that the top covering of the roof was loose, Advanced Wayne Cain was called back to help fix it. The roof was secured in order to stop it from blowing and being damaged any further. According to Sullivan commissioner Mike Mossman, it was never completely repaired as it was only secured until it could be permanently fixed. Read More

Sullivan Man Arrested for Child Pornography

FBI make arrest last Thursday

July 1, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A 30-year-old Sullivan man was arrested last week after a federal investigation into claims of child pornography.
Justen W. Troxell, 30, of Sullivan was arrested by federal investigators and with the assistance of Sullivan police last Thursday.
According to an affidavit filed with the United States District Court in Urbana, the investigation began on June 21 when a 23-year-old woman in Douglas County contacted the Tuscola Police Department in regard to a child pornography complaint.
The woman told police that she had received a pornographic image on her cell phone from a white male whom she had met on social media and that later appeared to be Troxell according to federal investigators. The image was presented to Tuscola police and was also observed by FBI special agent Brian Schenkelberg, who, in the affidavit, described it as depicting a female child approximately three-five years performing a sex act with an adult male. Read More