Remember When? 8-19-2015

25 years ago this week

Amanda Howen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Howen of Sullivan, participated recently in the Eagle Talent Showcase at the Champaign Holiday Inn. Competing against 20 other area performers, she was chosen to perform on a nationally-syndicated cable TV program called The Nashville Revue Show. She will perform three musical selections before talent agents and record producers. She is a 1985 graduate of the Chicago Academy of the Arts.

Angela Rogers, daughter of Jack and Marilyn Rogers of Sullivan, and Sherry Voyles, daughter of Marvin and Linda Voyles of Gays, recently received diplomas from Robert Morris College during spring 1990 commencement ceremonies held in Springfield.

Tracy Ann Short of Sullivan is among the new initiates into the Indiana University chapter of Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshmen scholastic honorary.

Cherie Joy Belcher of Lovington returned home recently after attending the Chicage National Assn. of Dance Masters Workshop and ballet forum. The daughter of Don and Joyce Belcher of rural Lovington, she was a member of the Decatur Area Dance Co. for six years appearing on PM Magazine, the Children’s Maricle Network and danced in the Decatur Celebration

Bethany High School math teacher Marilyn Jones was installed state president of Alpha Delta Kappa during the organization’s state convention held May 4-6 in Bloomington. Read More

Ode to a Lackthereof

Photo by R.R. Best Pictured are outgoing managing editor Keith Stewart (left) and his replacement Mike Brothers (right), who took over this week.

Photo by R.R. Best
Pictured are outgoing managing editor Keith Stewart (left) and his replacement Mike Brothers (right), who took over this week.

•August 12, 2015•

by Keith Stewart

Yes, I’m leaving. And soon it will be last week’s news.

After four years here at the News•Progress, I have decided to step away as managing editor, editor, sports reporter, designer, photographer, website manager, et al.

Replacing me (and as explained somewhere nearby), is Mike Brothers, who literally trumps me in experience 10-fold.

And I feel good about putting the paper in his hands.

Last week when he and I were in Findlay, Mike, spur of the moment, jumped out of the car and began delivering complimentary issues of our paper door to door in the 90 degree heat. That’s when I knew he was right for this paper and right for this area.

Because he cares.
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Area Arts Get Boost From Bikers

Photo by R.R. Best  Corn bikers -ElliptiGo riders Brandon Simmons and Jordan Trump enjoyed the Sullivan Area Arts Bicycle Tour: Cruisin’ the Cornfields, Saturday. They liked the ride so much they rode to Sullivan from Moweaqua, took part in the 41 mile tour, then rode their bikes back to Moweaqua.

Photo by R.R. Best
Corn bikers -ElliptiGo riders Brandon Simmons and Jordan Trump enjoyed the Sullivan Area Arts Bicycle Tour: Cruisin’ the Cornfields, Saturday. They liked the ride so much they rode to Sullivan from Moweaqua, took part in the 41 mile tour, then rode their bikes back to Moweaqua.

Sullivan Area Arts got a boost from a bunch of bikers on Saturday, August 8

•August 12, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

The Sixth annual Cruisin’ the Cornfields bicycle tour fund-raiser sponsored by SAArts had 48 riders.

“The ride went really well this year,” event coordinator Stepheny McMahon said, noting the weather was perfect and all the roads were clear and smooth.

Starting at Wyman Park in Sullivan riders were given two choices for the ride. The 16 mile tour began at Wyman and went to Okaw Valley Orchard.

“The Okaw Valley Orchard is a good rest stop where riders can take a break and have refreshments,” she continued.

Those choosing the 16 mile route return to Wyman Park from Okaw Valley Orchard while those choosing the 41 mile tour continue to Dalton City, then on to Lake City where another rest stop was set. Of the group 27 riders chose the 41 mile tour on Saturday. Ride time for the 41 mile bike tour was about three hours.
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When Ink Gets in your Veins

•August 12, 2015•

Mike Brothers is coming to the Sullivan News Progress to serve the community as managing editor.

With some 30 years of history in area newspapers, Brothers’ return is marked by the fact that once ink flows through a person’s veins they are never the same.

“It’s a business that gets under your skin,” he said. “I enjoy getting local news and taking pictures around the community.” Read More

Video Gaming Revenue Uncertain

•August 12, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Money from the Video Gaming locations have steadily flowed into Sullivan and Lovington since 2013, but the budget impasse in Springfield threatens future flow.

“The last tax we received from the state was June 19,” Lovington clerk Susan Gordon said. That last amount was $1,479.91.

“Sad that we didn’t receive any notice from the state to let us know they were sending the tax,” Gordon continued.

She noted that since Video Gaming tax was implemented in 2013, Lovington has received $37,626 total.

Lovington has 10 Video Gaming machines in two locations. From January through July Lovington’s share of the tax totaled $8,063.54. That is based on $2,168,503 played with $2,007,233 won.

According to Sullivan village treasurer Myron Salmon Video Gaming tax was good for  $27,000 extra in the city general fund last year.

Sullivan has six establishments offering video gaming which have $3,729,467 played with $3,421,818 won since January of this year.  Read More

Bethany Clears Way for New Eatery, Reviews Jefferson Street Traffic Congestion

•August 12, 2015•

By Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

In July Bethany village officials welcomed a new eatery to town that promises to be significantly different than anything that has come before it. Scottie B’s, aptly named after the business’s founder, 14-year village resident Scott Buxton, will be Bethany’s first food truck.

Food trucks, which have been described as a new “revolution” in the dining experience by popular periodicals such as National Geographic Magazine, have become more prevalent in recent years because they buck the constraints of traditional restaurants in favor of a more cost effective model for giving customers the food they want. And it seems the craze has finally pervaded Bethany, as village officials granted Scott Buxton a seasonal permit to operate Scottie B’s and subsidized his future operations to the tune of $14,000 in forgivable TIF loans.

The new food truck, currently located at Buxton’s 214 North Street residence, officially opened for business July 13. Buxton first came to the village board with a proposal for an extension of his already existing catering business in May and has since worked with the village’s zoning committee and fellow village resident Dustin Miller to put together a plan for operating his business during the summer months for the rest of this year and expectantly in years to come. Buxton himself did not ask the village for any funding but entered into an agreement with Miller to potentially use the area behind the village’s downtown buildings currently a gravel parking lot enterable through Lincoln Street as the future permanent location for the food truck. Miller, who is the owner of the lot in question, was the one to undertake the $14,000 two-year forgivable TIF loan.  Read More

Sullivan Mulls More Flooding Issues

Question remains, who is to pay for ditch repairs?

•August 5, 2015•

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

After receiving large amounts of rainfall over the summer, several parts of Sullivan experienced flooding, which in turn had members of the city council discussing at their July 27 meeting which areas were in need of repairing ditches and adding culverts.

“There are some places in town that need to be done such as the west end of town. There were lakes in everyone’s yards and there isn’t a culvert out there,” commented commissioner Ken Johnson.

“Scott Street doesn’t drain like it is supposed to. Roane Street and Wagoner Street are both bad and dangerous,” added commissioner Mike Kirk. Read More

Counseling Center Using Reserves Amid State Budget Impasse

Grant money held up so far

•August 5, 2015•

by Mike Brothers

The real life of recovery is something clients at Moultrie Counseling Center deal with every day, but the state’s budget stalemate is forcing the center to face its own real life dilemma.

How to continue providing needed mental treatment when funding sources are threatened is the problem.

Running without a state budget means the Sullivan based community mental health provider has not received $37,076 of its total state grant of $49,075 for contract services.

David Cole, center executive director, explained that is the money needed for psychiatric services. Funding from state Division of Mental Health is essential for paying doctors, who are required to evaluate clients.

“The psychiatrist is the centerpiece to successful mental health intervention,” Cole explained, noting that a third of Moultrie Counseling Center clients are required to have a doctor review medications periodically before prescriptions may be renewed.  Read More

Bethany Welcomes Two New Part-Time Officers to Force

Photo by RR Best Pictured are Bethany’s two newest police officers Thomas Lehew (left), and Joshua Ekiss (middle) along with Bethany Mayor Bill Ashley.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured are Bethany’s two newest police officers Thomas Lehew (left), and Joshua Ekiss (middle) along with Bethany Mayor Bill Ashley.

Will work two days a month

•August 5, 2015•

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

While the scars and immeasurable loss of September 11 will likely always weigh heavily on the nation, and especially the community of law enforcement, for two local public servants this date now carries positive significance as well.

Joshua Ekiss of Sullivan and Thomas Lehew of Bethany applied for the position of part-time police officer with the village of Bethany and were hired on September 11 of 2014. It is nearing the completion of this first year since local law enforcement welcomed these additional two officers into their ranks.

Lehew was born and raised in Decatur but has called Bethany home for the last 11 years. He is a self-employed contractor and construction manager and was drawn to the area because of Lake Shelbyville where, apart from the occasional day of fishing, he has enjoyed hunting over the past two decades.

Ekiss, now living in Sullivan, was part of the first graduating class of the consolidated Okaw Valley High School in 2002. His wife is from the Charleston area, and they have four small children. Ekiss works for MasterBrand Cabinets in Arthur and serves with the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department as well.  Read More

Board of Appeals Given Appreciation Bonus

Decision comes after lengthy hearings on wildlife park

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart

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