OV School Budget Approved

October 1, 2014

Projected budget shortfall of $70,000

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

One of the major items on the agenda for school boards this time of year is the annual budget proposal, Okaw Valley being no exception.

There was ample opportunity for public discussion on the proposed 2014-15 budget during the special session scheduled for the 15 minutes previous to the regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday evening. However, no one from the public attended to take advantage so the regular meeting commenced without incident, and the budget ended up passing with a unanimous vote. “Everything is going to be decided on the governor’s race,” said  superintendent Kent Stauder replying to board president Tim Rothrock after he asked about the direction state funding might take over the course of this next year. “We know where the Democratic governor is going, as far as funding, but the Republican candidate really does not have a plan yet.” The amount of General State Aid(GSA) is, in fact, lower than last year but that is in response to a rise in local Equalized Assessed Valuation of property, or EAV. Read More

Moultrie Circuit Clerk Takes on E-Filing 

September 24, 2014

New online tool to allow attorneys to file and retrieve case information remotely

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Cindy Braden’s office has undergone an upgrade, so to speak. But it hasn’t only made her office more efficient. It has also provided attorneys a more efficient way to file and retrieve case information without having to travel to Moultrie, which could eventually trickle down to clients in the form of some cost savings.

“Attorneys of record can now access documents electronically through Judici,” said Braden.

“It also means that an attorney in Chicago can file from his office and not make a trip here,” said sixth judicial circuit chief judge Dan Flannell. “The decision to go to e-filing is driven by the clerk in every county. It won’t matter in my view if the presiding judge each county is in favor. If the clerk isn’t, it won’t happen. And this has been Cindy’s project. Frankly, from a court’s perspective, it effects them more.” Read More

ALAH School Board Sets District Goals and Objectives for School Year

September 17, 2014

Community service program planned for next year

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Lovington Reporter

As a school district grows, there comes a need to set new goals and insights for its students and the community. The ALAH School Board saw to this by creating a list of goals and objectives for the 2014-2015 school year which included areas of community relations and communications, district facilities and safety, and personnel and academic achievement.
To strive for more communication with the community, the board set a goal of enhancing the district’s website by unifying all the school sites and giving it a cohesive look and use, which was recently completed. The information on the website includes important school event dates, early dismissals, school lunch menu, faculty and staff directories and a current district calendar. Other forms of communication involve putting articles in area newspapers, making use of social media, conducting parent meetings and holding open houses There is also a future plan to create a goals and objectives brochure that will be distributed to the community. Read More

New Sidewalks to be Poured on Church Street

September 10, 2014

Board delays decision on new roof for maintenance building

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Sidewalks and the village maintenance building were high on the agenda at this month’s Lovington village board meeting as the season is turning to fall, leaving little time to complete work that is time sensitive.
During last month’s meeting, it was determined that new sidewalks would be put in on Church Street where there exists a path already taken by many Lovington children heading to school. The budget allowed for two sections of sidewalk to be completed, and work is expected to begin within the next two months. Read More

Moultrie County Health Department Officially Relocates

September 10, 2014
Photo by Keith Stewart The new Moultrie County Health Department facility was unveiled at an open house last month. Pictured in front of the new facility, from left to right, are: Ill. Rep. Adam Brown, board of health member Dr. Glen Dust, State Senator Chapin Rose’s chief of staff Landon Stenger, ADG, LTD architects Tim Raibley and Jason Wright, Moultrie County health department administrator Angela Hogan, board of health secretary Vickie Bowers, board of health members Marge Overlot and Kerry Pate, health department building committee chair Ron White, board of health member Mike Reedy, county board chairman Dave McCabe, and former director of the Coles County Regional Planning and Development Doug McDermand.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The new Moultrie County Health Department facility was unveiled at an open house last month. Pictured in front of the new facility, from left to right, are: Ill. Rep. Adam Brown, board of health member Dr. Glen Dust, State Senator Chapin Rose’s chief of staff Landon Stenger, ADG, LTD architects Tim Raibley and Jason Wright, Moultrie County health department administrator Angela Hogan, board of health secretary Vickie Bowers, board of health members Marge Overlot and Kerry Pate, health department building committee chair Ron White, board of health member Mike Reedy, county board chairman Dave McCabe, and former director of the Coles County Regional Planning and Development Doug McDermand.

Open house last month celebrates move

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

An estimated 175-200 people came out to see the official public unveiling of the new Moultrie County Health Department building last month.
Relocating to an-above ground and newly constructed facility just south of where it was previously in the basement of the Fields Wright Medical Facility, the county health department began operating out of its new space July 17 but held its open house almost a month later on August 14 with both county board and health department committee members in attendance, as well as architects Tim Raibley and Jason Wright of ADG, LTD.
“The biggest challenge was the lot sloped seven feet,” remarked Raibley. “But once that was taken care of, it went very smoothly. We had a good contractor and an excellent owner to work with.” Read More

Manhunt Near Windsor Goes Unsuccessful Tuesday

Armer

Matthew E. Armer

September 3, 2014

Matthew E. Armer wanted in four counties and one state

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A manhunt that began early Tuesday evening near Windsor was later concluded unsuccessful.
According to Moultrie County Sheriff’s deputy Gary Carol, county deputies were attempting to serve an arrest warrant to Matthew E. Armer, 41, of Trilla, Tuesday at 3:12 p.m. when Armer fled on foot into a corn field. A search then commenced with Moultrie County deputies assisted by Sullivan, Windsor, and Mattoon police as well as Coles and Shelby county deputies. The Illinois State police also assisted with patrol units and with an aerial unit that was already in the area. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ police division also assisted. Read More

OVES Reports Lower Enrollment Than in Past

September 3, 2014

Numbers cited as a concern

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

During last month’s Okaw Valley school board meeting, OVES principal Doug McCausland gave his school’s most recent enrollment numbers, which he cited as a concern.
With a class size of just 26 students, “the numbers are a concern,” he stated.
“We’ve been used to the high 30’s, low 40’s numbers.” Read More

Bethany Village Council Grants Public Request for Planning Committee

August 27, 2014

Purpose is to get new business to the area

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

In a move to help bring new businesses to Bethany, village officials this month approved a public request to form a new planning committee made up of local residents. 

The committee, when formed, would be tasked with reaching out to new businesses, as well as determining potential locations and properties for commercial and industrial establishments wishing to open in Bethany. Similar to Bethany’s now well-established TIF committee, members of the group would be appointed rather than elected and would submit their consensus opinions as documented proposals for the village board to consider—the committee would be unable to pass any resolutions on its own.  Read More

Mattoon Boy Drowns at Sullivan Marina Pool Saturday

August 27, 2014

Boy, 8, found in deep end

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

An 8-year-old boy drowned Saturday while swimming in the Sullivan Marina Pool.

Reginald Fulton III of Mattoon was pronounced deceased at 7:52 p.m. at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital according to Coles County coroner Ed Schniers. 

A report by the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Department states that its office and the Sullivan Fire Department were dispatched to the Sullivan Marina swimming pool at 6:58 p.m. in reference to an unresponsive 8-year-old. According to witness statements, Fulton was seen swimming in the shallow end of the pool before then going into the deep end. Witnesses further added hearing Fulton say, “Look at me, I am in the deep end.” Read More

Civic Center Floods After Water Heaters Misfire Sunday Morning

August 27, 2014

For now, only cold water available for showers

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Early Sunday morning the Civic Center was flooded when one of the two 90 gallon water heaters misfired, causing steam. This in turn caused a solder joint in the 1-1/4 pipe to come loose and flood the floor in the gym and surrounding area. It is thought that, when discovered, water had been running out for between two to three hours. There were about 16 inches of water collected when the leak was discovered. Civic Center staff and volunteers worked until late Sunday pumping and squeegeeing the water. “Needless to say Ron (Jenkins) will not have to clean the floors for a few days” noted commissioner Mike Mossman.

Read More