No Job Left Behind—Leaves No Community Behind

•March 9, 2016•

By Kennedy D. Nolen
For the News Progress

The Chamber of Commerce and select businesses in Moultrie County have teamed up with local school districts to help educate students about different career paths and job availability in the community.

According to the Skills Gap Survey conducted by ‘No Jobs Left Behind,’ 30 businesses, under four main sectors: healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, and technology and services, in Moultrie, Coles, Douglas, and Shelby counties projected an estimate of almost 800 jobs available in 2016 in a variety of fields; jobs varied from accountants to drivers and from mechanics to welders.  Some of these companies started lacking labor in their facilities, leading to a decrease in growth and expansion.

To solve the problem, the Chamber and businesses such as Agri-Fab, Hydro-Gear, Marvin Keller Trucking, Caterpillar, Justrite, MasterBrand, GSI, and Mid-State Tank offered tours of their facilities to students interested in career opportunities during Manufacturing Week last October 26-30. During that week of Manufacturing Month, 245 students from Humboldt, Sullivan, Okaw Valley, Shelbyville, Tuscola, Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond, and Windsor were able to see the facilities and talk with professionals about potential opportunities. Since this event was such a success, it will continue again this October. Read More

Time to Enact Commonsense Drone Rules

•March 9, 2016•

By Mickey H. Osterreicher, Esq.
NP Guest Columnist

Amidst all the hysterical reports that the sky is falling or it’s literally raining drones, Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis recently introduced a thoughtful Micro Drone amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act (AIRR Act). The amendment would create a new “Micro UAS Classification” of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), improving safety, access and compliance while also encouraging innovation. For the first time, micro drones would be permitted for commercial purposes, appropriately advancing what many believe to be the smallest, safest and fastest-growing sector of the UAS community. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee very commendably voted to accept that amendment without any voiced opposition and then approved the entire AIRR Act, as amended.

It is crucial to note this legislation would not deregulate the use of UAS, but rather proposes regulations containing five commonsense rules that are easy to remember and follow. In fact, many of these rules already exist to oversee safe practices for the recreational use of drones. Under the new amendment, micro UAS (mUAS) would be required to operate at: “(1) less than 400 feet above ground level; (2) at an airspeed of not greater than 40 knots; (3) within the visual line of sight of the operator; (4) during daylight; and (5) at least 5 statute miles from the geographic center of an airport [with an exception for those who provide notice and obtain permission].” Read More

Decatur Hospital Established by Dedicated Bethany Woman

Photo Submitted

Photo Submitted

•March 2, 2016•

By Nick Fiala
For the News Progress

Decatur Memorial Hospital recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The January first date was also a celebration of a Bethany woman who dedicated a significant portion of her time and energy to birthing the establishment a century ago.

Sue Hagaman (1841-1919) was known as “The Mother of the Hospital” by those who took up the task of finishing DMH’s construction after her.

The plans for the project began as early as 1901 with the encouragement of many prominent physicians of central Illinois. Finally, in 1916, she was present to literally turn the first shovel of dirt and witness the laying of the hospital’s cornerstone.

This inspirational effort came after Hagaman had already served for 35 years as a Sunday school teacher at the First Methodist Church of Decatur, as well as raised two biological children and no less than eight adopted orphans.  Read More


•February 24, 2016•

Mid Illinois Senior Services representatives Alicia Moyer and Director Deb Groendal enjoyed a record crowd at the Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest held at Courtyard Estates. They were incorrectly identified as CEFS representatives in a page 8 photograph of the February 17 News Progress. Our apologies for the error.

City Increases Website Offerings to Citizens

•February 24, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Sullivan’s city website has a couple new apps which are available to residents.

One, a citizen problem reporter, allows citizens to report animal, park or utility problems from their computer or cell phone. They may sign in via Twitter or Facebook.

Green Hill Cemetery also has its own app. Currently it shows about 9,000 different spaces not including the old part of the cemetery. Users may click on different plots to see who is buried in a particular space or if it is available for sale. It also presents details such as who is cremated or is a veteran. Plots may be searched by location number or name.

The city of Sullivan is looking to purchase new time clocks for all of their employees. One package plan they are looking into has a $2,600 one time set up fee plus the purchase of the software.

The city may have the company host it on their site which would cost $3 per employee or Sullivan may host it themselves.

The council is also planning to get quotes for computer login software. Clerk Monte Johnson informed the council that there were three commonly used time keeping systems- pin numbers, card swipes and thumb prints. Employees may login remotely or onto a computer at their job site. Council members discussed the positives and negatives of both logging in remotely and on a nearby computer. Read More

Village of Lovington Approves Fireworks Plan

•February 17, 2016•

The village of Lovington January board action included approval for the village to spend $6000 toward July 3 fireworks.

This motion was approved following discussion to include Jake Kamm, representative of the fireworks company, was requested by trustees Dennis Garmon and April Daily to be on the agenda.

Village president Jim Minor said discussions with Shelly Martina and trustee Pam Anklam indicated about $3500 could be raised to help fund the fireworks.

Julie Kinert appeared on behalf of the Miss Lovington Scholarship. She said the contest will be held at 7 p.m. May 19 and the village had donated $500 toward the scholarship in the past. Read More

County Board Ratifies Corrections Contract

Das Clubhaus License Approved 

•February 17, 2016•

by Mike Brothers

Following an executive session discussion Moultrie County Board members ratified a three year contract with county corrections officers.

Included in provisions for the new agreement was a three percent salary increase over the contract period.

An additional provision was if a corrections employee left county employment before one year of service, 100 percent of the training cost would be reimbursed the county. If the employee leaves before two years, they will be responsible for half their training cost.

The county board approved a Class B liquor license that allows Don Frevert  to open Das Clubhaus at the Sullivan Country Club.

Action was taken during the February 11 county board meeting to approve the license following recommendation of the Liquor Commission. Chairman Dave McCabe noted that Frevert is from Sullivan and is planning to reopen the clubhouse at the country club in April. Read More

Individual Placement & Support Program Faces Funding Challenge

Photo by Kennedy D Nolen Hollie Atchison, Employment Specialist; Penny Arthur, IPS Supervisor; Jeremy Nolen, Employment Specialist, are a part of the IPS program offered through the Moultrie County Counseling Center.

Photo by Kennedy D Nolen
Hollie Atchison, Employment Specialist; Penny Arthur, IPS Supervisor; Jeremy Nolen, Employment Specialist, are a part of the IPS program offered through the Moultrie County Counseling Center.

•February 10, 2016•

By Kennedy D. Nolen
For the News Progress

Individual Placement & Support (IPS) is a  program offered at the Moultrie Country Counseling Center (MCCC) since December 2013.

This non-profit program, IPS, offers services in conjunction with the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Adults who receive counseling from the Moultrie County Counseling Center are presented with the following options through the Individual Placement & Support program: a career profile, application completions, peer support, benefits counseling, supportive counseling, interviewing skills, job search skills, job development, job retention, and schooling. These needs are adjusted to fit each of the client’s needs and personal goals. Read More

Moultrie County Inter-Agency Gives in Many Ways

•February 10, 2016•

By Kennedy D. Nolen
For the News Progress

The Moultrie County Inter-Agency is lacking almost a third of their annual budget to assist those who need it most.

Established in 1981 to help those in need, the Sullivan based agency helps in various ways.

Needs the agency meets include utility assistance for elderly and disabled, rent assistance, emergency shelter such as a hotel room if need be, food, car repair, prescriptions, pest control, and other situations deemed suitable for assistance.

Originally, the agency supplied Christmas gifts to children whose parents met the guidelines. Gift certificates in the amount of $25 to Dollar General and Pamida, prior to its closing, were given to the parents per each child.

Once the Moultrie County Inter-Agency had noticed similar Christmas spending had been covered by other organizations in the community, they began to focus on meeting other unfulfilled needs for families and individuals.

Also, the Inter-Agency is able to give those who qualify something called ‘Chamber Bucks’. This special form of currency may be used at only specific places in town, such as the city to pay bills and gas stations.  Read More

3 Degree Guarantee Donations

Help Food Pantry Feed People

•February 3, 2016•

WAND TV’s 3 Degree Guarantee is getting better and better for the Moultrie County Food Pantry.

Kristy Dawson, Moultrie Food Pantry director, reported a total of $950 was reached by the end of the month from the challenge for the Food Pantry.

Presentation will be made during the WAND -TV 6 p.m. newscast Wednesday, February 3 by the station and co-sponsor IBEW Local 146.

A Moultrie County challenge has also been issued to match the WAND 3 Degree Guarantee in an effort to double up on the effort to help those who need food in Moultrie County. That challenge may be responded to by calling 728-7381. Read More