OVES Reports Lower Enrollment Than in Past

September 3, 2014

Numbers cited as a concern

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

During last month’s Okaw Valley school board meeting, OVES principal Doug McCausland gave his school’s most recent enrollment numbers, which he cited as a concern.
With a class size of just 26 students, “the numbers are a concern,” he stated.
“We’ve been used to the high 30’s, low 40’s numbers.” Read More

Bethany Village Council Grants Public Request for Planning Committee

August 27, 2014

Purpose is to get new business to the area

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

In a move to help bring new businesses to Bethany, village officials this month approved a public request to form a new planning committee made up of local residents. 

The committee, when formed, would be tasked with reaching out to new businesses, as well as determining potential locations and properties for commercial and industrial establishments wishing to open in Bethany. Similar to Bethany’s now well-established TIF committee, members of the group would be appointed rather than elected and would submit their consensus opinions as documented proposals for the village board to consider—the committee would be unable to pass any resolutions on its own.  Read More

Mattoon Boy Drowns at Sullivan Marina Pool Saturday

August 27, 2014

Boy, 8, found in deep end

by Keith Stewart

An 8-year-old boy drowned Saturday while swimming in the Sullivan Marina Pool.

Reginald Fulton III of Mattoon was pronounced deceased at 7:52 p.m. at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital according to Coles County coroner Ed Schniers. 

A report by the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Department states that its office and the Sullivan Fire Department were dispatched to the Sullivan Marina swimming pool at 6:58 p.m. in reference to an unresponsive 8-year-old. According to witness statements, Fulton was seen swimming in the shallow end of the pool before then going into the deep end. Witnesses further added hearing Fulton say, “Look at me, I am in the deep end.” Read More

Civic Center Floods After Water Heaters Misfire Sunday Morning

August 27, 2014

For now, only cold water available for showers

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Early Sunday morning the Civic Center was flooded when one of the two 90 gallon water heaters misfired, causing steam. This in turn caused a solder joint in the 1-1/4 pipe to come loose and flood the floor in the gym and surrounding area. It is thought that, when discovered, water had been running out for between two to three hours. There were about 16 inches of water collected when the leak was discovered. Civic Center staff and volunteers worked until late Sunday pumping and squeegeeing the water. “Needless to say Ron (Jenkins) will not have to clean the floors for a few days” noted commissioner Mike Mossman.

Read More

Despite Plea, ALAH School Board Continues with Demolition of Atwood-Hammond Gym

August 20, 2014

Board cites Illinois school code in denial

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Lovington Reporter

With 48 hours to go before demolition, 1966 Atwood High School graduate, Richard Price, who purchased the land on which the Atwood-Hammond High School sits, made a plea to the ALAH School Board to reconsider the decision to tear down the gym.

“The building has a lot of use in it still,” he noted. “I could save it and use it and return some of the money to the school district for not tearing it down,” Price explained. “I do have the money to take care of it. I was even approached with the possibility of making it a community center,” he further added.  Read More

County Audit Report Shows Good Standing, but Caution in Future

August 20, 2014

Revenues slide while expenditures rise

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

At the monthly Moultrie County board meeting the board heard a report from West & Company regarding the annual audit for the financial year 2013.

“The purpose of the audit is to render an independent opinion as to whether or not the financial statements made by the county are reasonably stated,” explained Jim Russell of West & Company. Russell went on to highlight where the county is in relation to the previous year, citing revenues in 2012 were $7.3 million while in 2013 they fell $7.2 million. Investments in 2012 came to $5.3 million and improved to $6 million in 2013. Expenditures, meanwhile, for 2012 amounted to $6.3 million and increased to $6.6 million in 2013 mostly due to increases in health insurance.  Read More

Teacher Union Negotiations Near Completion

Special meeting to finalize talks this Friday

by Keith Stewart

Superintendent Brad Tuttle informed the Sullivan school board Monday evening that negotiations with the local teachers’ union, Sullivan Education Association, are wrapping up and are expected to be finalized during a special meeting Friday morning.

The negotiations, which began May 14, are expected to be discussed and finalized among the union during a meeting Wednesday. The contract then looks to be formally adopted at Friday’s special board meeting at 7:30 a.m.  Read More

Trap, Neuter, and Release Program Approved for Lovington

August 13, 2014

Will be cheaper than current trap and euthanasia of feral cats

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Last week’s decision to pass the trap/neuter/release program presented by Lovington village clerk Sue Gordon may be the start of a long term and compassionate solution to the common and overwhelming problem of feral cats around town.

“We have a problem we can’t deny,” said Gordon at last Monday’s village board meeting. “I’d like to see the board address and assist with it.”

Last Monday’s approval of the TNR program was for a one-year trial basis. Gordon has been working with Beth Hughes, director of the Care Van Pet Program, to plan the program and will continue to work with Hughes to execute the program now that it has passed.  Read More

Proposed One-Way Alleyway Tabled Monday

Council also rescinds vote from last month

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

With both Mayor Ann Short and Commissioner Monty LeCrone absent from the Sullivan city council meeting Monday, Commissioner Mike Mossman assumed the position as acting mayor.

Tim Rose, owner of TnT Pizzeria, requested to speak to the council regarding the proposed ordinance to make the alleyway between Washington Street and Main Street one way after an incident involving the collision of a TnT delivery vehicle and a Little Theatre cast member last month. Read More

Customers Angered Over Flag Pole Removal at Hardee’s

Photo by Keith Stewart Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee's in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee’s in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

August 6, 2014

Unkept flags spurs removal out of respect, says LeVecke

by Keith Stewart

The removal of flag poles recently at the Sullivan Hardee’s has spawned outrage from local customers.

According to Regional Vice President Dave Becker, three flag poles were removed last week.

Sullivan Hardee’s, franchise owner Jason LeVecke explained to the News Progress that upon a recent trip to the Sullivan location and seeing both the flags and poles in disrepair, the flag poles were removed.

“Nothing upsets or makes me mad more than when I see one of our flags tattered or dirty,” said LeVecke. “We haven’t always done justice at all of our locations so I ordered some of them be taken down. The poles were taken down out of respect to the flag.

“Our commitment is to the country, our vets, our customers, and our employees,” added the franchisee, who is a five year Marine veteran. “Nothing brings me to tears more than our flag. But when I hear our employees are being yelled at without asking what occurred, it’s despicable.”

LeVecke, who is the CEO of MJKL Enterprises and the grandson of the original Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher, stressed that the decision does not reflect on the staff at the Sullivan location and instead says he takes responsibility for the unkept flags. Read More