Food Pantry Fundraiser Looks to Keep Building

IGA Round Up begins Nov. 1

•October 28, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
For the NP

The Sullivan IGA Round Up may be an annual fundraiser, but for the Moultrie County Food Pantry it helps lighten a big load this time of year– providing 200 Thanksgiving dinner baskets, which is a reoccurring need.

“A lot of the Thanksgiving baskets we give away go to the elderly,” said Moultrie County Food Pantry coordinator Kristy Dawson. “Some of them only get $16 a month on their Link card, which is not obviously enough for a month’s worth of food let alone a meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

In order to meet the need, Dawson and the pantry try to put together at least 200 baskets this time every year.

They include a turkey or turkey breasts, cranberry sauce, ingredients for green bean casserole, noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole and stuffing.

But not only does the pantry try to provide the fixings for a special holiday meal for those in need, it also tries to keep up with its normal outreach by still providing the normal small, medium, and large boxes of food for individuals and families, with each box supplying a week’s worth of meals.

And with the lack of a state budget now four months into the fiscal year, Dawson says those boxes have become a bit more important.

“Because of the lack of funding, we are trying to give more items in our food boxes to last a little longer than before,” said Dawson. “We’ve also increased our ground beef order. Our standing order used to be 80 pounds. Now we’re at 100 because we were running out.” Read More

Sullivan Schools Look to the Future

•October 28, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Future goals are a step closer to being for Sullivan schools following a special October 21 planning meeting.

This special meeting of the Unit School District No 300 board invited participation from attending members of the public, teachers and administration in an effort to best determine the future course of education in the district.

“Overall the comments were not as negative,” Supt. Brad Tuttle began. “We have made progress on original goals, and we’ll be looking at new goals.”

Tuttle explained the planning session information will be put together by Illinois Association of School Boards Field Service Director Larry Dirks, who is helping guide the district.

The group was asked to evaluate the school district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as ground work toward establishing goals.

Dirks explained the role of the school board was to use the members connection to the community to learn how the schools may best serve community needs.

“This is how you can teach the values of your community in the schools,” parent Monte Johnson, commented on how that information translates to the schools.

Dirks agreed pointing out the school board members then translate that into policy.

Policy manual delegates authority to the superintendent to implement it. Read More

Sullivan Pursues New Debt Collection Program

SS Numbers Track Those Who Owe

•October 21, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

For years the city of Sullivan’s collections for unpaid utilities were an iffy process; so the city council is trying Local Debt Recovery through the Illinois Comptroller’s office.

The intergovernmental agreement was approved unanimously by city council at the Monday, October 12 meeting.

“As a municipality we can send past utility bills, ordinance violations and even past due parking tickets to Local Debt Recovery, and they take care of collections,” city treasurer Sarah Golden said of the new program.

In the past the city and collection agencies had difficulty locating people after they left Sullivan with no forwarding address. This made the ability to collect past utility bills limited to those folks who wanted to live in Sullivan again.

Golden explained that the returning customer would have to pay the past due utility bill to get service again. With 20 or more utility shut offs per month it didn’t take long for a back log to exist in collections.

A collection agency also charged the city 33% of the due bill, reducing the amount again. Golden said Local Debt Recovery charges a fee, but it is to the person who owes the delinquent bill. Read More

Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk & Punkin Run

•October 21, 2015•

Overall winner in the Octoberfest 5K run/walk and punkin run was Crystal Ashby with a time of 24:53.

Other winners  include overall male, Pat Stinson 26:12; 14 and under male, Hayden Moody 26:39; 25-29 female, Leanna Beck 28:10; 30-34 female, Chelsea Wildman 35:13; 35-39 male, Jason Moody 26:44; Troy Stockdale, 34:20; 35-39 female, Dusty Forlines 25:53; 40-44 male, Neil Elder 28:09; 40-44 female, Starla Stockdale 29:04; 50-54 male, Kyle McCarter 26:52 Read More

Sullivan Has Family of Distinction CEFS Honors

Photo Submitted C.E.F.S. Award Pictured (Left to Right) 2015 Family of Distinction Award recipient Serena Spencer receives plaque from C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation’s Moultrie County Outreach Coordinator Kristy Dawson.

Photo Submitted
C.E.F.S. Award
Pictured (Left to Right) 2015 Family of Distinction Award recipient Serena Spencer receives plaque from C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation’s Moultrie County Outreach Coordinator Kristy Dawson.

•October 21, 2015•

The Serena Spencer family of Sullivan was recently recognized by the C.E.F.S. Board of Directors as the 2015 Family of Distinction, exemplifying the spirit of hope and success that C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation has offered to all individuals and families during its past 50 years of service. The Spencer family was nominated for the award by the C.E.F.S. Moultrie County Outreach Office staff for the significant strides the family made in the pursuit of self- sufficiency since first seeking help from the agency. The family was also recognized and honored along with other families from across the state by the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies earlier this year in Springfield as one of the outstanding Illinois families for their personal achievements to improve their lives.

According to Chief Executive Officer Paul White, “The Serena Spencer family is a great example of what Community Action programs can do to help a family achieve self-sufficiency.” After being referred by a family member, Spencer came to the C.E.F.S. Moultrie County Outreach office in 2007 seeking assistance and access to community resources to help stretch her income. Over the years C.E.F.S. helped provide the family with assistance through various agency sponsored programs and also provided referrals for other local support. Spencer dealt with many challenges in the past years, but together with C.E.F.S., she worked hard and achieved her goals. Read More

District Waits to Receive Reorganization Incentive Funding

•October 21, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting from Arthur

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond superintendent Kenny Schwengel reported that the checkbook balance is $5,166,153.63. “Everything looks good at this point,” he noted. Although he did state that the district still had not received any reorganization incentive funding yet. “It has been prorated at 76% which is about a $250,000 cut,” Schwengel stated. The superintendent also informed the board that there are about 13 other districts still waiting on funding also.

Other matters that were discussed or voted upon:

- The new driveway at Lovington Elementary School has been completed. A sidewalk will be put in soon in order that students don’t have to cross the circle drive. Within the first year, a traffic pattern will be established.

-Superintendent Schwengel noted that the district is still researching the possibilities of creating a vocational/career center. “We are exploring nearby options and funding. It is in the early stages,” he said.

- Lovington principal Brandon Stone said his enrollment went up another six students this month which puts it at 238. “This is the highest it has been since I’ve been here in the past four years.”   Read More

Sullivan Schools Look at Roof/HVAC Upgrades

•October 21, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Aging heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and spongy rooftops were discussed at the Sullivan Community Unit #300 school board meeting October 13.

Maintenance director Kevin Landrus explained the elementary, middle and high school had places where water had pooled, damaging roofs.

He also pointed out air conditioning systems were gaining age and becoming costly to maintain, noting that two units on the high school gym were not working at all.

Mike Zellers of Graham and Hyde Architects presented a power point showing the condition of the roofs and the HVAC systems that are located there.

Landrus said that the HVAC system replacements would need to be completed before new roofs are installed.

Zellers and HVAC engineer Frank Maris pointed out that the middle school steam heating system is slated for upgrading to hot water heat such as in the other two buildings, with the air conditioning systems for all buildings submitted to the Illinois State School Board for approval under Health Life Safety guidelines. Read More

Artoberfest Winners

•October 21, 2015•

The 2015 Artoberfest winners include Judges Choice Winners: first place 2D - Chelsea Witner for “Through the Looking Glass” and first place 3D - Melvin Hawkins for “Untitled”. Read More

Remember When? 10-21-2015

Compiled by Bekki Ferguson-Stevens

25 Years Ago This Week

Candidates for homecoming queen in Bethany are Allyson Ferguson, Heidi Emel, Stephanie Brewer, Kristen Scott, Mike Bryant, Corey Weddles, Brian Plummer and Clint Cribbett.

The time of 47.26 in the 100-yard freestyle has ranked Seth Dunscomb number one in the nation for boys ages 13 and 14. According to the October issue of Swimming World Magazine, Dunscomb is also fourth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.90.

Joan Laugher, a school bus driver in Sullivan, has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to the education of special needs students. She was one of eight recipients from 32 districts selected by the Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education for the award of merit.

Lovington High School teacher Rosemary Brown will be one of 12 Illinois high school teachers honored during a “Great Teachers” luncheon Oct. 25 at Eastern Illinois University.

Bradley Orris, son of Mike and Connie Orris of Dalton City, enrolled as a sophomore this fall at Eureka College. His intended major is history.  Read More

Lovington Alumni Honor Four Saturday

•October 14, 2015•

The Lovington High School Alumni Association will honor a decorated soldier, a paramedic, a well-rounded athlete, and a dedicated teacher at the parade Saturday afternoon, October 17 and at their banquet Saturday night.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Chief Instructor Henry C. “Bud” Hubbard (Class of 1964), paramedic Harold White (Class of 1964), athlete Michael Wilson (Class of 1965), and honorary alumnus James Caudle will receive recognition.

The banquet will also feature music from both Lovington and Arthur Grade School choral groups.

From luncheons to banquets, pancakes to pies, and parades to award ceremonies, the Lovington High School Alumni Homecoming offers many chances for old friends to meet and relive memories of their LHS days.

Members of the Class of 1965 will start celebrating Friday, October 16, with a luncheon at the Church of God Family Center in Lovington. Read More