Sound of the 70s: A Musical Time Warp at The Little Theatre

•March 15, 2017•

By Erin Valentine
for the News Progress

It’s been many years since I held an 8-track tape.

The best I remember is that my nephew may have inherited the few I had, and maybe he still has them. They were the portable way we listened to music in the early 70’s, preceding cassette tapes. If you added an 8-track tape deck to your car, you could listen to Deep Purple or Wings, or even Johnny Rivers when AM radio failed you.

So when my friend asked if I wanted to join her at The Little Theatre performance of “8 Track - The Sounds of the 70’s”, I was in. And her 30-ish daughter joined us.

My friend and I (we’re the same age) knew we would probably know all the songs and the lyrics to many. But her daughter, who really wasn’t the youngest person in attendance, knew all but two of the 45 songs delivered by the six-member cast. That may be in part because she was in high school show choir and performed, or heard other choirs, perform many of them. Read More

Security Wall Recommended for States Attorney’s Office

•March 8, 2017•

A wall with a security window and magnetic entry door for the state’s attorneys was approved for installation by the Moultrie County Board building and grounds committee March 1.

Building and grounds manager Rick Matthews reported the measure to provide increased security to the Moultrie County State’s Attorney Jeremy Richey’s office could be accomplished for about $1000.

Matthews noted an eternal bid of $5906 for constructing the security window and wall let him take another look at the project.

By utilizing used security glass with a built in speaker, Matthews told the committee he could build the wall with occasional assistance from the state’s attorney for $958.19. Read More

Hands Producing Good Works from the Heart in Honduras

Photo by Joe Pound
In the little village in Honduras every one comes to the church where volunteers work to provide medical treatment for families like the one above. Volunteers from the Sullivan mission helped with Vacation Bible School which was attended by more than 300 children. Regular classes are conducted for students in the church pavilion built during an earlier mission trip.

•March 8, 2017•

By Jose Libra
for the News Progress

For the eighth year in a row, 17 members of Hearts and Hands for Honduras  traveled to a remote community in the northeast part of Honduras, near the large town of Tacoa.

The mission team from Sullivan First United Methodist Church (FUMC) included members from area churches and communities who brought support and healing medical services to residents of nearby La Ceibita. The small, struggling community’s local Methodist church building was the clinic’s location.

These semi-annual treks consist of a medical mission effort in February (just completed) and a trip with a construction focus in July.

Last July a group helped local church members build a 20x20 ft. covered pavilion in the front yard of the church, which is now used as a classroom.  Read More

Titus Opera House-Sullivan’s Musical Past

Photo furnished
Performers at the Titus Opera House.

•March 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Long before Guy Little, Jr. had a vision for The Little Theatre on the Square, Sullivan enjoyed a storied musical past with the Titus Opera House.

It was Sullivan’s cultural center from 1871 to 1910.

Joseph Titus moved to Sullivan with his wife, Louise, and their talented daughter, Winifred. Mrs. Titus sang and played piano, sharing that love of music with the community.

Mr. and Mrs. Titus became patrons of the arts and built the opera house in 1871 for $30,000. Located on the northeast corner of the square where Dunscomb’s Furniture later resided, people began to come. Read More

CIPT is Making Sure No One is Left Behind

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Jennifer Moore (l) accepts the $1,000 grant from Kristy Dawson, Area Agency President.

Grant Helps Cover Costs

•March 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Central Illinois Public Transit (CIPT) has received a $1,000 grant from the Moultrie County Interagency Group.

This returning grant will be used to help cover transportation costs for seniors over 60 and people with disabilities. Kathi Shackles, Exec. Dir. of the Senior Center, is surveying seniors for suggestions on trips or other services they need. Some ideas include a trip to Moonshine, Scovill Zoo, or Effingham for a performance.

Jennifer Moore, Mobility Manager of CIPT, emphasized that transportation services are not just for the elderly and disabled, but for anyone in Moultrie, Christian, Clay, Fayette, Montgomery, Effingham or Shelby counties.

“Even a millionaire can use our service,” she said.   Read More

Council Discusses Ordinances Regarding Cannabis and Curfew

•March 8, 2017•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

City council members discussed ordinances regarding cannabis and city curfew hours at the last meeting.

Illinois law on marijuana possession changed in 2016. It is now a civil offense for individuals who are caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis. The fine will cost such persons $200. The new law makes this punishable by fines – but not by jail time.

The council discussed whether they should pass a city ordinance creating a policy and setting fines.

Presently the county has an ordinance; otherwise, it is a state citation. Without an ordinance, the city loses the revenue from the citations.

City police chief Jim Waggoner reported six cases of individuals who have been caught with cannabis recently. No action was taken during the meeting regarding the ordinance. Read More

Dive-Rescue Team Fish Fisherman from Lake Shelbyville

Photo by RR Best
First responders from Moultrie County Dive-Rescue, Fire and Ambulance and IDNR were called to fish a fisherman out of Lake Shelbyville Sunday.

•March 1, 2017•

A 41 year Taylorville man suffered severe hypothermia after falling into Lake Shelbyville from his fishing boat Sunday morning.

Moultrie County ESDA Dive-Rescue Team commander Clay Brush received the call at 10:41a.m. Feb. 26.

The fisherman had to cling to a tree while in the water for half an hour. Wind had blown his boat too close to the shoreline where the tree that he was clinging to for life knocked him into the water.  Read More

Agri-Fab Moves Toward Healthier Workforce

Photo by Mike Brothers
Moultrie County Counseling Executive Director Dave Cole, AgriFab Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman, and IPS Employment Specialist Jeremy Nolen.

•February 22, 2017•

Agri-Fab’s ability to employ 60% of its workforce locally and implement an employee friendly environment is the result of efforts to change the work environment over the past two years.

Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman told the Individual Placement & Support (IPS) of Moultrie County Counseling Center’s quarterly meeting about some changes that are helping retain employees at the 42 year old lawn equipment manufacturer in Sullivan.

“The six families who saved the company did so because they wanted to live here and keep jobs in the community,” Foreman said of Agri-Fab’s commitment to the area, noting the president of the company started out as a welder on the factory floor.

Besides making strides within the factory walls by reducing turnover with comprehensive benefits and better hiring practices, Agri-Fab is making strides with retaining employees by helping them stay healthier.

As part of the newly implemented health and wellness program the company provided a Fitbit for every employee and their spouse, Foreman said, noting the impact has been tremendous since being introduced during the summer.  Read More

Sullivan School Board Proposes Property Tax Abatement

•February 22, 2017•

By Mike Brothers

The Sullivan CUSD #300 school board proposed a $250,000 annual tax abatement at the Feb 15, district board of education meeting.

The proposed abatement could save Moultrie County property tax payers from $23 to $131 on annual tax bills.

Property tax relief  would come for Moultrie, Coles, and Shelby county taxpayers in the event the County School Facility Occupation Tax is approved at the consolidated election Tuesday,  April 4, 2017.

“The commitment by the board to abate taxes speaks for the integrity of everyone serving,” Supt. Brad Tuttle said following the unanimous approval of the resolution.

Tuttle explained funds generated from the proposed sales tax will help retire bonds and interest issued to replace the roof and HVAC systems last summer. Read More

Sullivan’s Victory Arch-A Brief Tribute to Veterans By Ellen Ferrera for the News Progress Next year in February Moultrie County will celebrate its 175th anniversary of incorporation (1843). Sullivan was incorporated in 1850. There are various plans afoot for a celebration and, in that spirit, we revisit stories of Sullivan’s interesting past. The famous Arc d’Triomphe in Paris was commissioned in 1806 after the victory of Austerlitz but was completed between 1833 and 1836. One of the world’s most beautiful monuments, it is 164’ high, 148’ wide and 22’ deep. It was used for victory and Bastille Day parades until Armistice Day, 1920, when the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected under the arch. Parades now go around the arch rather than under it. A biplane was actually flown under the primary vault in 1919. Meanwhile, back in Sullivan, Illinois in 1919 a fund was started to build a welcome arch for our returning local servicemen. It looks suspiciously like the famous Paris arch. Located in the NW corner of the square, it was built of wood and wallboard and was the most elaborate structure of its kind in central Illinois. Work was completed shortly before July 4, 1919 when a big celebration was held honoring the returned veterans. There was still a deficit of $100 for building the arch so several local citizens paid the sum with the understanding that when the structure was torn down, they would get the material for salvage. Our arch had a short history. The top of the structure was seriously damaged the following November by a prairie wind storm and the structure had to be torn down. The merchants who had made up the deficit drew lots to see who would get the material. A. D. Miller was the winner. I appreciate Pat Cribbet at the Historical Society for her invaluable assistance in the preparation of this article. I have become a regular at this incredible repository of all things Moultrie County — and so should you!

•February 22, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Next year in February Moultrie County will celebrate its 175th anniversary of incorporation (1843). Sullivan was incorporated in 1850. There are various plans afoot for a celebration and, in that spirit, we revisit stories of Sullivan’s interesting past.

The famous Arc d’Triomphe in Paris was commissioned in 1806 after the victory of Austerlitz but was completed between 1833 and 1836. One of the world’s most beautiful monuments, it is 164’ high, 148’ wide and 22’ deep. It was used for victory and Bastille Day parades until Armistice Day, 1920, when the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected under the arch.

Parades now go around the arch rather than under it. A biplane was actually flown under the primary vault in 1919. Read More