Sullivan Singer Invitational Makes Comeback

Photo Submitted FAME Award for Singers Sullivan Singers placed fourth runner-up in FAME Chicago last weekend with qualifying scores for FAME Nationals. Grant King was named “Best Male Soloist.” The Singers were awarded the prestigious FAME Award that is given to the most “professional and easy to work with ensemble and director.”

Photo Submitted
FAME Award for Singers
Sullivan Singers placed fourth runner-up in FAME Chicago last weekend with qualifying scores for FAME Nationals. Grant King was named “Best Male Soloist.” The Singers were awarded the prestigious FAME Award that is given to the most “professional and easy to work with ensemble and director.”

•April 6, 2016•

By Kennedy D. Nolen
For the News Progress

After the Sullivan Singer’s cancellation of the annual invitational last year, the Singers knew they had to make a comeback, director Jeffrey Thomas said.

More than 20 groups participated in the competition, and 4,000 spectators flocked to the SHS gym March 11 and 12.

Singer’s alumni and school board member Jeff White was the emcee for the high school competition, and middle school principal Ted Walk hosted the junior high competition Friday evening.

Read More

ALAH District Dips into Reserves to Cover $240,000 State Owes

Could be 5 months before anymore payments are made

•March 23, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

“The current checkbook balance is $5,525,184.24,” stated Superintendent Kenny Schwengel at the last Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board meeting. “All funds are in the black, but the balance is getting a little smaller.”

Schwengel noted that the district received a second mandated categorical payment in the amount of $199,000. “I am anticipating it to be the last one for the year though,” he cautioned.

“The state still owes us about $240,000,” Schwengel informed. The district has received only two of four mandated payments. “We are definitely up for some challenges,” he solemnly said.

Schwengel explained that it could be five months before they see any type of payment.This could make the district come up with nearly $1 million.

Illinois may not approve any education budget until the November election or some type of reforming takes place he said of future expectations.

“Presently, we are looking at three areas to make some cuts – middle school math, media in the library and Spanish. We possibly could use those resources where they are better needed,” Schwengel said. “We are still in better shape than a lot of schools right now.”  Read More

Lovington Board Reviews Drainage Issues

•March 23, 2016•

The Lovington Village Board helped sponsor the Easter egg hunt held March 19  in the park.

Trustee Dennis Garman presented the request for $500 which was used to purchase new baskets and a variety of treats to fill them with Jenny Peck coordinating the effort.

Board president Jim Minor appointed the new park and recreation committee which will serve one year. Included on the committee are chair/treasurer Jenny Peck, co-chair Brandie Mendoza, secretary Amanda Kreher along with Nina Fridge, Paula Murray and Lisa Clark.

Dave Bowers presented a report to the village board concerning drainage issues and possible solutions.

Representing the drainage district, Bowers explained drainage tile are  being inspected  with a tree needing removed at the west end of town. Read More

Sullivan City Council Approves Temporary Plaza

•March 23, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Spring has arrived which means warmer weather and new shows arriving at the Little Theatre on the Square.

Sullivan residents will be seeing a few changes this season when the theatre opens. Starting May 15, Washington Street will become a one-way street to make room for an outdoor plaza.

The plaza will run from Harrison Street to the outside of the Little Theatre while the alleys remain open. The plaza will be protected by heavy blocks and large planters with outdoor patio furniture and other plants and flowers.

This new arrangement is to create a safe place for patrons to gather before and after shows and during intermission. It also will allow an accessible area for bus drop-offs.

Children will benefit by having a place to safely get autographs. The plaza will also provide an opportunity for specialty vendors during the season.

There are future plans to have a Farm to Table Dinner to kick-off the opening of the plaza and theatre. According to SCED (Sullivan Chamber Economic Development) Director Stepheny McMahon, the plaza will open at no cost to the city. The SCED will be heading the new project. “We have had 16 letters of support and offers to help from the Sullivan Rotary, Little Theatre Advisory, Sullivan High School and My Garden,” she said. Read More

Sullivan Schools Technolgy Budget Grows

•March 23, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

As school technology expands so do the budgets required to keep pace.

Sullivan School Board members were updated on the FY 2017 budget by Supt. Brad Tuttle which includes a $34,938 increase from the prior year.

Formulated by the District Technology Committee the proposed annual budget is $268,003.

With the anticipated E-Rate reinbursment of $57,222 the total district cost should reduce to $210,781.

The iPad student program expands to include the ninth grade in the new budget. The purchase of 80 iPads and cases is $32,320. Read More

Correction…

•March 23, 2016•

On the front page of the Wednesday, March 16 issue there was an error in the Yost Fit to Be Tried article. In that story public defender Brad Rau was incorrectly referred to as David Rau. My apology for the error.

Scholastic Bowl Wins Regionals, Ends Season

•March 16, 2016•

Sullivan Varsity Scholastic Bowl team won Regionals Monday, March 8 in Maroa-Forsyth.

The first match against Oakwood ended 320-110. Grace Mauck had five tossups, Ross Metzger three, Luke Delong three, and Ryan Baker two.

The second match of the night was against Argenta-Oreana. Sullivan was victorious winning 280-210. Leading were Ryan Baker and Grace Mauck with four, Ross Metzger two, and Luke Delong two.  Read More

County Board Increases Sheriff’s Service Fees

•March 16, 2016•

The Moultrie County Board updated sheriff’s fees and learned of changes with Central Illinois Public Transit at the Thursday, March 10 meeting.

Coles County Regional Planning and Development commission conducted a study of the Sherfiff’s Department fee schedule which revealed some fees needed to be increased to cover actual costs.

That study showed the $85,561.79 in fees now generated could increase to  $96,466.29 in annual fee revenue for the county.

Sheriff’s fee cost analysis revealed: eviction fee is currently $101.01 with an actual cost of $147.55 for a $46.54 difference; 321 warrants were served last year for a $46.00 fee with the actual cost $96.19 for a $50.19 difference; 643 civil processes were served at a $46 fee which cost $94.36; taking bond was a $10 fee with a $24.20 cost.

Budget committee chair Ron White moved the resolution adopting the new sheriff’s fee schedule be adopted. In addition the court security fee was increased from $25 to $35 following approval of Chief Judge Dan L. Flannell. Motions received unanimous approval. Read More

Enhanced 911 Enters The Home Stretch

•March 9, 2016•

State agencies can be consistently inconsistent,” was how Coles County Emergency Communications CECOM Director Bernie Buttram described attempts to file the joint Coles Moultrie County joint agreement for enhanced 911 service.

Buttram explained that the switch from the Illinois Commerce Commission to Illinois State Police control of the state emergency services system prompted CECOM to enlist the resources of the Coles County Regional Planning Commission to complete the filing.

The planning commission’s software provided better access to the new Illinois State Police system facilitating filing the two county agreement for CECOM to provide emergency service dispatch under the enhanced 911 system.

Buttram went on to explain the enhanced system is about 90 percent complete with the addition of Moultrie County land lines into the database as the last step.

Public health and safety member Kevin McReynolds noted that 911 calls now are located within a range, the enhanced 911 system actually pinpoints the call location. Read More

Moultrie Co. 2016 Mobile Home Privilege Tax Time

•March 9, 2016•

Mobile home tax bills will be mailed March 11, 2016 and are due on May 16, 2016. Taxes may be mailed to Moultrie County Collector, P.O. BOX 650, Sullivan, IL. 61951. Taxes may also be paid at all Moultrie County banks: Hardware State Bank, Scott State Bank Bethany/Dalton City/Sullivan, State Bank of Arthur, Arthur Community Bank, First National Bank of Arthur, First National Bank of Sullivan and First Mid-Illinois Bank Sullivan.  Read More