2016 Moultrie County Final Multiplier Announced

•March 29, 2017•

Moultrie County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to Constance Beard, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier”, is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties as required by law. This equalization is particularly important because some of the state’s 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college districts, fire protection districts). If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result.

Under a law passed in 1975, property in Illinois should be assessed at one-third (1/3) of its market value. Farm property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures, but with farmland assessed at one-third of its agriculture economic value. Farmland is not subject to the state equalization factor. Read More

Agri-Fit Breaks Ground on Organic Garden

Photo by Mike Brothers
Daycare Diggers broke ground at the Agri-Fit garden in Sullivan last week. Pictured from left: James Conlin, Brooklynn Clark, Elijah Crosier, Agri-Fab president Mike Cohen, Addi Heaton, Savannah LaDew, Hope Conner, and Brinnley Hobbs.

•March 29, 2017•

Children from the Agri-Fab daycare center gathered on a cloudy March 22 morning for a growing experience.

As part of the growing Agri-Fit wellness program for Agri-Fab families, ground was broken behind the daycare center for an organic garden.

This is part of the ongoing effort by the Sullivan garden equipment manufacturer to give back to the community by donating a portion of the harvest to the local food bank.

Plant IT manager Neal Ozier came up with the idea and presented it to the Agri-Fit team, and it gained a life of its own from there. Read More

Security Wall Recommended for States Attorney’s Office

•March 8, 2017•

A wall with a security window and magnetic entry door for the state’s attorneys was approved for installation by the Moultrie County Board building and grounds committee March 1.

Building and grounds manager Rick Matthews reported the measure to provide increased security to the Moultrie County State’s Attorney Jeremy Richey’s office could be accomplished for about $1000.

Matthews noted an eternal bid of $5906 for constructing the security window and wall let him take another look at the project.

By utilizing used security glass with a built in speaker, Matthews told the committee he could build the wall with occasional assistance from the state’s attorney for $958.19. Read More

Hands Producing Good Works from the Heart in Honduras

Photo by Joe Pound
In the little village in Honduras every one comes to the church where volunteers work to provide medical treatment for families like the one above. Volunteers from the Sullivan mission helped with Vacation Bible School which was attended by more than 300 children. Regular classes are conducted for students in the church pavilion built during an earlier mission trip.

•March 8, 2017•

By Jose Libra
for the News Progress

For the eighth year in a row, 17 members of Hearts and Hands for Honduras  traveled to a remote community in the northeast part of Honduras, near the large town of Tacoa.

The mission team from Sullivan First United Methodist Church (FUMC) included members from area churches and communities who brought support and healing medical services to residents of nearby La Ceibita. The small, struggling community’s local Methodist church building was the clinic’s location.

These semi-annual treks consist of a medical mission effort in February (just completed) and a trip with a construction focus in July.

Last July a group helped local church members build a 20x20 ft. covered pavilion in the front yard of the church, which is now used as a classroom.  Read More

Titus Opera House-Sullivan’s Musical Past

Photo furnished
Performers at the Titus Opera House.

•March 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Long before Guy Little, Jr. had a vision for The Little Theatre on the Square, Sullivan enjoyed a storied musical past with the Titus Opera House.

It was Sullivan’s cultural center from 1871 to 1910.

Joseph Titus moved to Sullivan with his wife, Louise, and their talented daughter, Winifred. Mrs. Titus sang and played piano, sharing that love of music with the community.

Mr. and Mrs. Titus became patrons of the arts and built the opera house in 1871 for $30,000. Located on the northeast corner of the square where Dunscomb’s Furniture later resided, people began to come. Read More

CIPT is Making Sure No One is Left Behind

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Jennifer Moore (l) accepts the $1,000 grant from Kristy Dawson, Area Agency President.

Grant Helps Cover Costs

•March 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Central Illinois Public Transit (CIPT) has received a $1,000 grant from the Moultrie County Interagency Group.

This returning grant will be used to help cover transportation costs for seniors over 60 and people with disabilities. Kathi Shackles, Exec. Dir. of the Senior Center, is surveying seniors for suggestions on trips or other services they need. Some ideas include a trip to Moonshine, Scovill Zoo, or Effingham for a performance.

Jennifer Moore, Mobility Manager of CIPT, emphasized that transportation services are not just for the elderly and disabled, but for anyone in Moultrie, Christian, Clay, Fayette, Montgomery, Effingham or Shelby counties.

“Even a millionaire can use our service,” she said.   Read More

Council Discusses Ordinances Regarding Cannabis and Curfew

•March 8, 2017•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

City council members discussed ordinances regarding cannabis and city curfew hours at the last meeting.

Illinois law on marijuana possession changed in 2016. It is now a civil offense for individuals who are caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis. The fine will cost such persons $200. The new law makes this punishable by fines – but not by jail time.

The council discussed whether they should pass a city ordinance creating a policy and setting fines.

Presently the county has an ordinance; otherwise, it is a state citation. Without an ordinance, the city loses the revenue from the citations.

City police chief Jim Waggoner reported six cases of individuals who have been caught with cannabis recently. No action was taken during the meeting regarding the ordinance. Read More

Dive-Rescue Team Fish Fisherman from Lake Shelbyville

Photo by RR Best
First responders from Moultrie County Dive-Rescue, Fire and Ambulance and IDNR were called to fish a fisherman out of Lake Shelbyville Sunday.

•March 1, 2017•

A 41 year Taylorville man suffered severe hypothermia after falling into Lake Shelbyville from his fishing boat Sunday morning.

Moultrie County ESDA Dive-Rescue Team commander Clay Brush received the call at 10:41a.m. Feb. 26.

The fisherman had to cling to a tree while in the water for half an hour. Wind had blown his boat too close to the shoreline where the tree that he was clinging to for life knocked him into the water.  Read More

Agri-Fab Moves Toward Healthier Workforce

Photo by Mike Brothers
Moultrie County Counseling Executive Director Dave Cole, AgriFab Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman, and IPS Employment Specialist Jeremy Nolen.

•February 22, 2017•

Agri-Fab’s ability to employ 60% of its workforce locally and implement an employee friendly environment is the result of efforts to change the work environment over the past two years.

Director of Human Relations Lori Foreman told the Individual Placement & Support (IPS) of Moultrie County Counseling Center’s quarterly meeting about some changes that are helping retain employees at the 42 year old lawn equipment manufacturer in Sullivan.

“The six families who saved the company did so because they wanted to live here and keep jobs in the community,” Foreman said of Agri-Fab’s commitment to the area, noting the president of the company started out as a welder on the factory floor.

Besides making strides within the factory walls by reducing turnover with comprehensive benefits and better hiring practices, Agri-Fab is making strides with retaining employees by helping them stay healthier.

As part of the newly implemented health and wellness program the company provided a Fitbit for every employee and their spouse, Foreman said, noting the impact has been tremendous since being introduced during the summer.  Read More

Sullivan School Board Proposes Property Tax Abatement

•February 22, 2017•

By Mike Brothers

The Sullivan CUSD #300 school board proposed a $250,000 annual tax abatement at the Feb 15, district board of education meeting.

The proposed abatement could save Moultrie County property tax payers from $23 to $131 on annual tax bills.

Property tax relief  would come for Moultrie, Coles, and Shelby county taxpayers in the event the County School Facility Occupation Tax is approved at the consolidated election Tuesday,  April 4, 2017.

“The commitment by the board to abate taxes speaks for the integrity of everyone serving,” Supt. Brad Tuttle said following the unanimous approval of the resolution.

Tuttle explained funds generated from the proposed sales tax will help retire bonds and interest issued to replace the roof and HVAC systems last summer. Read More