Chamber Of Commerce Welcomes New Intern

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurrie Minor pictured with new intern Melinda Calhoun-Hurt.

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurrie Minor pictured with new intern Melinda Calhoun-Hurt.

•November 30, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurrie Minor welcomed me into her office and introduced me to her new intern, Melinda Calhoun-Hurt who was just completing her fifth day on the job.

Calhoun-Hurt is from Memphis, Tennessee and is a senior at Lake Land College majoring in administrative executive assistantship.

She learned about the position from her sister Amy who works at Moultrie County Counseling.

Minor said “I have had other interns from high school, but Melinda is the first one working on a degree in this job category so we are really happy to have her.” When asked her favorite part of the job, Calhoun-Hurt said, “Actually, working with Laurrie because she gives me a lot of confidence and allows me to work on a lot of different projects. I have done everything from helping with planning to getting soaked in the rain while delivering bags to members.” Read More

Sullivan School Board Reviews Testing, Approves Tax Levy

•November 23, 2016•

The Sullivan Community Unit 300 school board approved the 2016 payable in 2017 tentative tax levy of 4.99% based on a projected Equalized Assessed Valuation of $121,595,853.

Supt. Brad Tuttle explained the amount requested could be reduced and noted the district tax levy increase has averaged two percent per year since maximum rates were set in 1983.

Director of maintenance Kevin Landrus reported that work has begun on the elementary school chillers now that the  cooling season in over. He told the board the new boiler was fired at the high school, and the middle school boiler is pending a gas flow regulation adjustment before it can be fired.

Landrus then explained a $23,000 construction change order for the high school HVAC system replacement. The roof top unit for the north wing of the high school was larger than expected and required additional steel reinforcement for the roof.

Supt. Tuttle went on to note that both the architect and carrier returned $2500 to the district because of the error that led to the required change.

“The change was heavier than expected so we had to make a quick decision,” Tuttle said of the problem, noting the architect and carrier’s contributions helped ease the pain. Read More

Wild Ride Ends in Lake

•November 23, 2016•

Kaden R. Dedman, 19, of Sullivan led authorities on a chase that ended with his taking a swim in Lake Shelbyville the evening of November 11.

According to reports, Illinois State Police first encountered Dedman traveling 108 miles per hour on the Findlay blacktop.

The car fled from the pursuing state trooper down country roads until crashing the vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier from Coles County. Read More

Elections Over: Results Tallied in Moultrie Co.

•November 16, 2016•

Elections have passed, and the Moutlrie County Clerk’s office is assembling tallies for the official caucus next week.

In the 2016 Moultrie County election chief election deputy Jamie Helton reported there were 370 new voters registered and 1400 absentee ballots voted. Of that number 1146 were voted along with early and grace voting periods while 254 were submitted by mail.

In the only race contested in the county incumbent Republican State’s Attorney Jeremy Richey withstood a challenge from former Democrat State’s Attorney Marvin Hanson.

Richey received 4121 total votes to Hanson’s 2040.

The state’s attorney received 710 early votes, 117 absentees and 3299 votes on election day. Hanson had 410 early votes and 109 absentees with 1521 election day votes. Read More

New Employees Return Raises Helping Veteran Staff

•November 16, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Courthouse office staff returned raises in an effort to get the Moultrie County Board to give salary increases to all staff at the Thursday, Nov. 10 meeting.

And it worked.

During a personnel session earlier, an effort was proposed to equalize county employee salaries after increasing the starting rate to $19,000 per year for full time staff.

This improved salaries by $2500 for county employees hired after Dec. 2014 but neglected veteran staff, many serving the courthouse from 10-30 years.

Personnel  committee chairman Roger Glazebrook presented the motion with discussion open before the vote. Board member Tim Rose noted the wording led him to believe that any new hire would be eligible for the $1500 increase over the $19,000 starting salary.

County clerk chief deputy Pam Wittkowski suggested the county board consider giving those veteran employees an additional $1000 to help equalize the salary schedule across the board. Read More

ALAH Schools Pass Tentative Tax Levy

•November 16, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board members passed a tentative estimated tax levy of 6.11%. Supt. Ken Schwengel explained that this estimate is based on an inflated EAV. “It is an increase in what the total levy would generate (minus bonds) based on our established tax rates and the inflated EAV.

It is not an indication of how much a person’s property taxes are going to increase,” he said. Schwengel receives estimates from each county which helps him calculate an estimated EAV. “I balloon the levy to protect the district from possible variances in the actual EAV. Regardless of how much I inflate the EAV, we will not receive more than our tax rate will generate,” he informed.

Last year’s projected EAV was $197,819,278 with a tax levy of 3.6753%. Schwengel estimated this school year’s EAV at $202,511,690. A truth and taxation hearing will take place at the board meeting in December. Read More

A Candy Lover’s Dream Visits Sullivan

Photo by Mike Brothers Flesor Candy Kitchen owners (from left) Devon and Ann place Paul’s Pecan Favorites before packaging. The “turtle style treat” has been a Candy Kitchen favorite since Grandfather Gus created it back in 1901.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Flesor Candy Kitchen owners (from left) Devon and Ann place Paul’s Pecan Favorites before packaging. The “turtle style treat” has been a Candy Kitchen favorite since Grandfather Gus created it back in 1901.

Food Pantry Benefits

•November 9, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Once a year Sullivan visitors to Cathrine’s Galley are treated to the creations of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen while helping the Moultrie County Food Pantry in a big way.

For one day only on Saturday, November 19 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. dozens of candy treats are ready for the tasting wit an opportunity to take care of holiday gift giving for the whole family.

Candy lovers may select from a variety of handcrafted holiday baskets with orders delivered in December. Moultrie County Food Pantry benefits at the time its help is needed most by families.

Donating 20 percent of their total proceeds to the Food Pantry also gives patrons a chance to give to the community while getting some of the best handmade candies on the planet. Read More

Sullivan TIF Districts are Ready for Expansion to the South

•November 9, 2016•

Annual review of Sullivan’s three Tax Increment Financing ended with discussion of a possible expansion south along Route 32.

Mayor Ann Short noted that infrastructure is already in place in the Vineyard Church area where Dr. Faisal Bukhari and a group of investors hope to build an Alzheimer treatment facility.

“The city is willing to work with developers on feasible projects,” Short said, noting with enough interest, surrounding property owners could benefit from improved values following both commercial and residential expansion.

Gwen Crawford of The Economic Development Group of Bloomington oversees the Sullivan TIFs and presented the report in public hearing held Oct. 24 in Sullivan City Council chambers. Read More

Local Veterans Share Military Experiences at Senior Center

Photo furnished veterans were honored at the senior citizen luncheon in Sullivan, Nov. 1

Photo furnished
veterans were honored at the senior citizen luncheon in Sullivan, Nov. 1

More than 50 Attend 

•November 9, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Nearly 50 veterans and their spouses attended a special luncheon in their honor at the senior center on Monday. The event was generously underwritten by the First Mid Illinois Bank and the First National Bank of Sullivan with door prizes and dessert provided by Sarah Bush Lincoln peace meal program.

Mike Gross, Charlie Bragg and Mike Keown of the American Legion Post presented a short program telling of their military experiences. Keown then gave a brief history of Veterans Day. He said, “The Sullivan Post was established on July 4, 1919, making it one of the first to organize at the end of WWI.”  Read More

Salary Improvements Recommended for County Workers

Longevity Increases Proposed

•November 9, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

A plan to improve the salary structure for Moultrie County office employees was approved by the county board personnel committee Nov. 1.

Committee chair Roger Glazebrook presented a plan to increase new employee starting salary from $18,000 to $19,000 per year.

An opening in the supervisor of assessments office prompted the county to increase the advertised starting salary to $19,000 earlier and had not addressed the issue for other county offices.

A delegation from the courthouse office employees presented an alternative pay schedule proposal to the county board earlier that included across the board adjustments, equalizing pay levels as well as taking consideration for veteran employees

An alternative proposed by county board chairman Dave McCabe would have compensated those with the most experience with a $500 adjustment. Read More