Sullivan Council Upgrades Radios, Secret Santa Lauded

•December 30, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
For the News Progress

The December 14 Sullivan City Council meeting covered multiple points of financial and personal importance to the community at large.

After reviewing the city’s bills, members asked about a notable expense of nearly $15,000.

“$14,900 (is being paid) for a used 2003 Ford F350 1-ton dump truck,” said Justin Farris of the water and sewer department.

Though this cleared up the need for the funds, it also led finance and accounts commissioner Mike Mossman to inquire as to why he did not know other departments were looking for a used vehicle.

“I sure would like to know upfront what we’re going to spend,” he said, “in case somebody comes up to me on the street and says ‘Well, why’d you do this?’ There’s a lot of things going on. Departments are hiring people. We’re spending money above and beyond the bid amount, and I’m sitting here, and I don’t know anything about this. I think that we need to step back and start communicating. I would just like to be informed about what’s going on.”

After Mossman had made his case, he seconded a motion to pay the bills. Read More

Moultrie County Toys for Tots Collects for Those in Need

•December 30, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

People, get ready the train’s a comin’, you don’t need no ticket, ya just get on board”.

Not just a lyric from a popular song , but it was a call to collect for the Toys are Tots train in this area.

That train brought Toys for Tots back to Moultrie County where they  collected 360 toys in Sullivan, Bethany and Lovington.

Moultrie County Toys for Tots coordinator Ric Kenney said in this return year for the U.S. Marine Corp based program 179 children in Moultrie County received toys or books from the program.

One way people were able to help without buying toys was to purchase a train at participating locations for $1.00. Names go on the trains which were displayed at the Toys for Tots business location.

Drop boxes at the Sullivan IGA, First National Bank of Sullivan, First Mid Illinois State Bank & Trust and Scott State Bank generated the bulk of toys collected.

Kenney noted Christmas week they were still picking up toys which they were still delivering on Christmas Day.

“When I took the final box check at IGA in Sullivan, people were still dropping off toys (December 22),” Kenney said.

He explained that monetary collections went for the purchase of new toys and books.  Read More

ALAH School District Looks To Navigate, Approves Levy

•December 23, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

The Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board approved its 4.97% property tax levy for taxes payable in 2016 at its most recent school board meeting.

The district also voted to abate the sales tax for year 2015 to pay debt service on General Obligation Bonds which is an alternate revenue source. The sales tax is the primary revenue source to pay for the junior high addition. If something happens to the sales tax, then the district would have to use property taxes,” Superintendent Kenny Schwengel said.

Supt. Schwengel stated that all funds are in the black and the checkbook has around $6.177 million. “We are still waiting on reorganization money. We haven’t received any special education funds or transportation money.The general state aid funding will come through in June at a reduced rate of 92%,” he said.

Other matters that were discussed or voted upon: Read More

Shawnee Communications Buys Lovington Phone Co.

Shawnee to Preserve Moultrie Heritage and Continue Network Improvements

•December 23, 2015•

Shawnee Communications (Shawnee) and Moultrie MultiCorp, Inc., today announced that Shawnee, a rural provider of telephone, high speed Internet and other telecommunications services in five southern Illinois counties, would acquire Moultrie MultiCorp, Inc., the holding company of Moultrie Independent Telephone Company (MITC) and MITC’s affiliated companies, including One-Eleven Internet Services and Moultrie Telecommunications.

Shawnee announced that the Lovington based companies would continue to operate with no changes and that Shawnee would continue investing in technology infrastructure to provide customers with the latest in telecommunications and high speed Internet services, preserving the strong legacy left by Moultrie’s current owners, the Bowers brothers. Read More

Family Game Night at Lovington Library

Photo by Darian Hays The Lovington library has taken Christmas to a new level with their unique book Christmas tree now on display at the library.

Photo by Darian Hays
The Lovington library has taken Christmas to a new level with their unique book Christmas tree now on display at the library.

•December 23, 2015•

Lovington Public Library will hold a family game night competition 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 4. Those attending may bring their own board and card games or borrow the library’s games.

Reading Redbirds Youth Book Club for fourth-eighth graders meets 3:30-4:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The children in this club enjoy planning and assisting with library events and discussing their favorite books.

Community service hours and volunteer experience that will look good on a resume may be earned by teens volunteering for tasks such as cleaning, shelving books, helping to create new book displays, as well as providing feedback and suggestions for teen programming. It is held every Tuesday after school.

Wee Readers Storytime meets 10-10:30 a.m. Thursday mornings. Preschoolers two years and older hear a story, do song and dance, play games and more. Themes include Jan. 7 - “Snowmen”, Jan. 14 - “Penguins”, Jan. 21 - “Sledding”, Jan. 28 - “Snowballs”.

Crazy 8s is a cool over-the-top after school club that’s designed to get kids fired up about math. Starting January 8, every Friday from 4-5 p.m. kids will get to build stuff, run and jump, make music and new friends. This program is for children in grades third-fifth. Children should be preregistered at the library. Read More

Moultrie County Board Spreads Seasonal Cheer

•December 16, 2015•

Meeting Opens with Prayer

By Mike Brothers

The Moultrie County board  approved employee appreciation bonuses at the December meeting.

Budget and finance committee chair Ron White moved that full time employees receive a net $200 bonus with part-time employees receiving proportional amounts.

Board chairman Dave McCabe explained that the bonuses were excluded from the Health Dept., elected officials and those covered under collective bargaining contracts. The board approved the $8165 total in bonuses unanimously.

Opening the meeting with a prayer for the first time was Father John Sohm of St. Columcille Catholic Church in Sullivan. Prayer was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

White proposed to invest $7500 in Sullivan Economic Development Commission’s No Job Left Behind program. This was a $2000 increase over the previous budget year. The measure was approved unanimously.

The Code Red five year contract totaling $7,749.40 annually was approved. Code Red Director Jan Haegan explained the contract includes the automated weather alert system which calls individuals within a watch area in the event of tornado, floods and other natural disasters.

Haegan may also get onto the Code Red web site to discover if other dangerous situations require automatic telephone alerts.

“If a tanker overturned causing a dangerous gas leak,” Haegan said, “the system would then call everyone within the evacuation area in a couple of minutes.” Read More

ISAC Applauds the Success of Seven Sullivan High School Students

Photo by Mike Brothers Seven Scholars for Sullivan-Sullivan High School students selected as Illinois State Scholars are: (Front from left) Emily Stutzman, Ross Metzger, Ryan Baker; (back) Blake Stewart, Zane Uphoff, Adam White and Michael Hubbert.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Seven Scholars for Sullivan-Sullivan High School students selected as Illinois State Scholars are: (Front from left) Emily Stutzman, Ross Metzger, Ryan Baker; (back) Blake Stewart, Zane Uphoff, Adam White and Michael Hubbert.

•December 16, 2015•

Sullivan High School principal Erik Young has announced that seven Sullivan High School students of the class of 2016 have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state agency committed to helping to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois families, bestows this prestigious recognition to top Illinois high school students annually. This year more than 19,000 elite honorees join the other top state students honored for their academic achievements since the designation was first introduced in 1958.

Illinois State Scholars possess strong academic potential and are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank. State Scholars rank in approximately the top 10 percent of high school seniors, representing 652 high schools across the state. Read More

ALAH Announces Illinois State Scholars

•December 16, 2015•

Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is recognizing area high school students who have been named 2016-17 State Scholars for their outstanding academic achievement.

L to R: Jakob Brewer, Cade Day, Rebecca Davis and Allison Irwin

L to R: Jakob Brewer, Cade Day, Rebecca Davis and Allison Irwin

Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond high school Illinois State Scholars are Jakob Brewer, Rebecca Davis, Cade Day and Allison Irwin.
Read More

A Good Time to Heat Up the Season

•December 9, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

What better time to give away a free furnace than winter?

Atteberry and Marshall Heating of Allenville is taking that a step further. They are giving away a free furnace, complete with installation, and the winner is announced Christmas Day.

“We have grown over the past two years and would like to give something back to the community,” office manager Sara Bendler said of the idea to give a furnace to someone in need.

“In October we were able to raise $1125 for breast cancer awareness,” Bendler said, noting they were talking about ways to give back to the community for the holidays when the furnace giveaway idea came up.

“Our technician Mark Stabler gets to see furnaces in different conditions every day, and he thought this would be a good way to help out,” Bendler continued, noting they partnered with Amana on the $3500 furnace and installation giveaway. Read More

City of Sullivan Acts on $15,000 Worth of Unpaid Cemetery plots

•December 2, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

There are quite a few unpaid cemetery plots and the Sullivan City Council took action at the regular meeting.

“There are about $15,000 worth of unpaid cemetery lots,” informed mayor Ann Short. The city is taking action by mailing out letters to all of those who still have lots but have yet to pay. “Action will be taken. If they do not respond in two weeks, plots will be resold,” said Short. One plot has already been presumably “filled” and is not paid for. Further action will be taken on the outstanding bill if it isn’t paid though, according to Short.

Other news that was discussed or acted upon:

- -Commissioner Bill  Hagen reported that on the last days of the recycling program that so much trash was left on the ground that another dumpster had to be brought in.

“It was pretty bad,” he noted. “We are still waiting on the paperwork from those who still would like to have a recycling program. It will be presented at the next meeting he stated.

- -Commissioner Mike Kirk reported the city was selling a 1970 Toyota gasoline FG20. “It is old, but it still works,” he said. The city received five bids with the highest one at $1,030.  Read More