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

Crash in the Front Leads PO Customers Back

Photo by RR Best Post office clerk Trisha Elder inspects the damage last Tuesday after a car jumped the curb and crashed into the Sullivan Post Office lobby door.

Photo by RR Best
Post office clerk Trisha Elder inspects the damage last Tuesday after a car jumped the curb and crashed into the Sullivan Post Office lobby door.

•December 2, 2015•

The front door of the Sullivan Post Office was crashed on November 24 and access to the front lobby limited since.

Postmaster Cindy Temple is sorry for the inconvenience to the public and then explained repairs should be complete this week.

“We recommended a Champaign contractor to the building owners in Chicago,” Temple said of the procedure to get the door repaired. “They are set to start work on the door and frame Wednesday (Dec. 2).”

Until then customers seeking lobby access will continue to ring the bell on the loading dock.

A postal clerk will retrieve mail from post office boxes.

“Our package season has doubled,” Temple said referring to the holiday package traffic at the post office.

“A postal clerk escorts the customer through the back room to the lobby access door,” she explained. “From there we can conduct business as usual.” Read More

Just Paint Class Comes to Sullivan

Photo Submitted Students gathered at the Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library with artist David Zoberis, Sr. last week, and by following his “Just Painting” instructions they each produced a masterpiece.

Photo Submitted
Students gathered at the Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library with artist David Zoberis, Sr. last week, and by following his “Just Painting” instructions they each produced a masterpiece.

•December 2, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Students learned to “Just Paint” at beginning acrylic paint class presented by artist David Zoberis, Sr. at Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library last week.

For a little more than two hours, a group of beginning acrylic painters and one reporter learned a few lessons of what it was like to “just paint” – as instructor and artist, David J, Zoberis Sr. said.

In front of the class sat a piece of artwork that featured an outdoor springlike setting with a table that had an antique tea kettle and a folded tablecloth sitting on it. Zoberis told the students that would be their project for the day.

To some, seeing such a professional painting created, could be overwhelming – for others, motivation to “just paint.” The final masterpiece was open to interpretation.

Zoberis provided materials for the entire class including paints, easel, canvas and paintbrushes. While everyone painted, he suggested different techniques that could possibly help a painter when creating a piece of artwork. Zoberis has conducted these workshops for more than two years for both adults and children. Libraries in Wisconsin started asking for adult painting classes. “I wanted to do what other artists didn’t do. None of the artists I know do workshops in the state of Illinois. I’d like to provide creativity to small libraries in Illinois and keep my studio,” he said.  Read More

Civil War Historian Reflects on the Soldier’s Life

Photo by Nick Fiala Pictured is Civil War historian Gary Blessman.

Photo by Nick Fiala
Pictured is Civil War historian Gary Blessman.

•December 2, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
for the News Progress

The Moultrie County Historical and Genealogical Society’s annual dinner at the First United Methodist Church in Sullivan featured guest speaker Gary Blessman of Minnesota.

Blessman is a Civil War historian who recently authored a book on the 126th Illinois Infantry Regiment of Illinois, entitled Three Years Off the Farm. His great-great-grandfather, Edwin R. Grubbs of Hillsboro, was a private in Company D of that regiment.

Blessman began his research for what became Three Years Off the Farm in 2010. After the passing of his  last maternal aunt, Blessman’s family stumbled onto records of his ancestor’s life and military service.

The Regiment assembled at Alton in August of 1862, made up of 69 percent of farmers and another company of coal miners from Coal Valley, Illinois.

“The very first time they may have ridden on a train was when they went to war,” Blessman said.

The regiment went on numerous lengthy marches all throughout the midwest and the south, being joined by other regiments from as far away as Minnesota. This included long trudges around, over, or even through swamps and rivers that no doubt were contaminated with diseases that claimed the lives of many soldiers.  Read More

Secret Santa Uses Donations for Others

Photo by Mike Brothers Sullivan IGA donated $500 to Secret Santa. IGA manager Pat Stinson  (center) presents check to Secret Santa representatives Police Chief John Love (right) and Greg Foster.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sullivan IGA donated $500 to Secret Santa. IGA manager Pat Stinson (center) presents check to Secret Santa representatives Police Chief John Love (right) and Greg Foster.

•December 2, 2015•

Secret Santa of Sullivan was presented a check for $500 from Sullivan IGA last week.

Accepting on behalf of the communitywide help organization was Greg Foster left and Police Chief John Love (right). IGA manager Pat Stinson presented the annual donation.

Chief Love said that 100 people have signed up for Secret Santa so far this season.

“People can still sign up for Secret Santa until Dec 5,” Love said, noting that the police department is handling all registrations for the program.

“Donations like the one from IGA help us bring Christmas to people who can’t otherwise afford it,” Love said, pointing out that the garage area at the police department will have toys on display for Secret Santa shoppers.

Secret Santa has grown from a couple of folks purchasing bicycles for Christmas to a community based help program all year round.

Love explained they have been able to help families in emergency situations with food, clothing and shelter in addition to making Christmas better for those who don’t have it so good. Read More

4-H Shining Stars Using ADM Grant to Help Food Bank

Photo Submitted Making the check presentation are Mike Schultz and Josh Snelling of ADM (Back row) with the 4-H Shining Stars. The member list includes: Anyssa Coffer, Gareth Coffer, Abagail Dean, Cora Emel, Lena Emel, Mitchell Hooten, Ellie Lehman, Kent Lehman, Rhett Lehman, Aidan Melvin, Alivia Melvin, Emily Miller, Hayden Moody,Julia Moody, Simon Parri, Devon Richardson, Lane Richardson, Gage Simmons, Peyton Simmons, Addison Stollard, Brady Stollard, Ethan Tice, Sophia Tice, Sarina Voegel, John Voyles, Kylie Voyles, Natalie Voyles, Claire Welch, Brycen Wildman Kolton Wiley.

Photo Submitted
Making the check presentation are Mike Schultz and Josh Snelling of ADM (Back row) with the 4-H Shining Stars. The member list includes: Anyssa Coffer, Gareth Coffer, Abagail Dean, Cora Emel, Lena Emel, Mitchell Hooten, Ellie Lehman, Kent Lehman, Rhett Lehman, Aidan Melvin, Alivia Melvin, Emily Miller, Hayden Moody,Julia Moody, Simon Parri, Devon Richardson, Lane Richardson, Gage Simmons, Peyton Simmons, Addison Stollard, Brady Stollard, Ethan Tice, Sophia Tice, Sarina Voegel, John Voyles, Kylie Voyles, Natalie Voyles, Claire Welch, Brycen Wildman Kolton Wiley.

•November 25, 2015•

Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $400 to Moultrie County Shining Stars 4-H Club.

The donation will go towards purchasing vegetable plants and seeds for the 4-H youth to grow in their individual gardens. The 4-H members will then donate the produce to the Moultrie County Food Bank where it will be distributed to local individuals.

”For our grant project we are combining agriculture and community service. We will grow gardens and donate the produce back to the food pantry. It will be rewarding to provide fresh vegetables for our local community” said Lane Richardson, president of the club.

The Moultrie County Shining Stars 4-H club was founded in the fall of 2015 and meets the second Tuesday of each month at the First United Methodist Church.  Read More

Sullivan Schools Look at Building Improvements

Roofs and HVAC systems needed

•November 11, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Facing a little more than $5 million in needed HVAC upgrading and roof repairs Sullivan Community Unit 300 board members explored funding options at the regular Monday, Nov. 9 meeting.

Tim King of King Financial Consultants presented some options utilizing  health life safety bonds.

King explained, with existing debt expiring, the district could maintain its $380,000 annual payment toward bond payback.

“With your fund balances you also have the ability to purchase your own bonds,” King continued, noting Monticello school district self-funded health life safety bonds in January.

Sullivan fund balances totaling $6 million in education and transportation could be used with the district earning between 1.3 and 1.9 percent interest on the loan.

“One advantage to partially funding the bonds from existing funds is the balance could be borrowed locally at competitive rates,” King said.

Supt. Brad Tuttle asked about the option of selling bonds to cover a portion of the project.

King noted if the district needed to raise funds to reimburse or add additional funds, they could sell bonds to raise cash in 30-60 days.

Tuttle explained the district is looking at various funding options which will be discussed at the winter board planning session.

A public hearing concerning the intent of the board to issue $5 million in health life and safety bonds was held following King’s presentation. Read More

Local Funds Withdrawn from Eagle Creek Plan

•November 11, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Efforts to keep reopening plans for Eagle Creek Resort moving forward through local funding have taken a step backwards.

Moultrie County Board Chairman Dave McCabe told budget and finance committee members this week a stumbling block had been reached with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the funding counties.

He explained states attorneys from Moultrie and Shelby counties were working on an intergovernmental agreement for a repayment schedule for the $92,000 loan to the IDNR.

Differences over a 90 day pay back term caused the IDNR to balk on the agreement.

“We have decided to drop the idea until the state resolves its budget problems,” McCabe said.

A group of Moultrie and Shelby counties leaders effort to get Eagle Creek Resort reopened had secured an Illinois Department of Natural Resources  grant to conduct a feasibility study last year.

The $138,000 study, which would determine the feasibility of reopening the resort, stalled along with the state budget.

McCabe stated the $92,000 loan from Shelby and Moultrie counties could have completed the study. He explained the urgency stemmed from developers who have expressed interest in Eagle Creek, but nothing can be done until the study is completed.

Treasurer Marci Thompson presented the committee with resolutions for two properties sold at tax auction.

One track in Lovington Township sold to John A. Renfro on a $1326 bid and one track in Sullivan Township sold to Robert G. Jackson on a $2555 bid.
Read More

Bethany Acquires New Technology for Roadways and Police

•November 11, 2015•

By Derek Pope
For the News Progress

Bethany residents may notice some changes as they drive through town this fall thanks to funding from Moultrie County and the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. Over the past few months, village workers have replaced nearly 150 traffic signs throughout the village as part of a Federal Highway Administration mandate that went into effect this year.

The project, which consisted of installing new posts, signs made of modern highly reflective materials, and the removal of some old traffic signs that did not meet previously existing federal regulations, started back in July and was finished November 6. All of the materials were purchased by Moultrie County’s governing body and distributed to Bethany, though village labor was required to set up the new signage.

As part of the federal mandate, Bethany was required to have all the new signs in place by November 30 of this year. Similarly by 2018, all street signs will need to be replaced in order to posses the same “retroreflectivity” as the town’s new traffic signs.

Bethany’s utilities department also got the go ahead to change out 22 streetlights in the village’s downtown district with new LED lighting in the coming months, in part by using funds given to the village by the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). Through the IMEA’s Electric Efficiency Program, cumulative funds are granted each year to be used by affiliated municipalities, as the town sees fit, in projects that will reduce overall public electricity use.  Read More