Aikman Files Permit Application for Zoo

Public hearing Friday at 9 a.m.

•June 3, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Following the county board amending the zoning ordinance to allow for special use permits for zoos this past April, one such application has been filed.
Aikman Wildlife, LLC. filed their application May 15 requesting a special use permit for a zoo for a tract of property located one mile west of The Great Pumpkin Patch, southwest of Arthur.
The driving force behind the project, James Aikman of Arthur, has proposed a park that would initially span 45 acres and include both a drive-through area where patrons may feed animals and a walk-through that would be similar to a zoo but with much larger habitats. There would also be a 7,000 squared foot walk-through aviary featuring different species of birds that patrons could feed. Read More

Mt. Zion Man Found Dead Near Coalshaft

No foul play suspected

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Local law enforcement found a man dead just before midnight Friday near the Coalshaft Bridge.
According to Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed, Bradley Stoneburg, 38, of Mt. Zion was pronounced dead at 12:03 a.m. Saturday after Moultrie County deputies located the man in a wooded area on the east side of the bridge and south side of Lake Shelbyville.
Reed added that the Mt. Zion man had been missing since Wednesday after he left his residence to go fishing. After he didn’t return Thursday morning, at some point, his fiancé reported him missing. Soon after, Moultrie County deputies began to check nearby boating docks and accesses through Thursday evening. Read More

Okaw Valley District to Demolish Findlay Elementary

At $116,000, demolition to be completed by August

May 27, 2015

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

Demolition of Findlay’s old elementary school, which saw a brief stint as Okaw Valley Intermediate School following the consolidation of Bethany and Findlay school systems, began earlier this month after members of the board of education voted to dismantle the building during their April meeting. The old schoolhouse became disused back in 2010 when the decision was made to send elementary aged children living in Findlay to Bethany’s more modern and robust elementary school.
The vote to demolish the building was unanimous despite several members of the board having themselves attended the Findlay school in their youth. The decision marked what many regarded as an expected end to the declining building. Read More

Lovington Talks TIF

Village to decide whether to establish TIF district

May 27, 2015

by Florence Hallford & Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Guest Tony Schuering, vice president of Municipal Consulting Group, LTD, spoke to the Lovington Village Board earlier this month about the possibility of starting a TIF district in Lovington.
The initial concerns of putting in a district involved cost, with a start-up expense around $30,000, but which can be recovered through TIF.
TIF districts work by first identifying the base value of property within the proposed district. This is done so as to ensure that all property taxes paid on this base value continue to go to all of the established and governing taxing bodies. After the district is established, however, any taxes paid on the value over the base amount are diverted into a special TIF fund that ultimately is reinvested in the TIF district either by making improvements to roads and other infrastructure, promoting the area to potential new businesses, or building new public buildings. The growth that in turn creates the tax increment occurs as a result of increased property value, which is often a result of increased development, which, in a cyclical nature, is derived from the increment. Read More

Police Warn of New Mail Scam

Letter asks to cash check and return portion as processing fee

May 20, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Sullivan police are warning citizens of Sullivan and the surrounding communities of what appears to be a new scam.
According to Sullivan police chief John Love, a citizen recently received a notice in the mail informing them that they were the second prize winner of a European, African, and US Consumers Sweepstake. The notice added that as a result, they had won $250,000.
The notice also goes out of its way to try and reassure the recipient that bank details are not needed and that they should not be given to anyone on behalf of the sweepstakes. However, the notice does instruct the recipient that in order to collect their quarter-million dollar prize, they only have to cash the enclosed $3600 check and then return the $3300 as the processing fee. Read More

Burch Charged with Sexual Assault

Rural Shelbyville man brought up on second count

May 20, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A rural Shelbyville man who was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual
abuse last month is now facing a second count of criminal sexual assault.
Wade T. Burch, 25, of rural Shelbyville appeared in court a week ago Monday with his attorney Sean Britton. There, Burch was read the second charge filed against him and a preliminary hearing was set for next month. Read More

Sullivan Seniors Receive Recognition on Awards Night

May 13, 2015

Listed below are the various scholarships/awards followed by the students who received them during Sullivan High School’s annual Awards Night, which was held May 6:
American Legion Post #68-Keegan Kruckeberg;Barbara Steffens Scholarship-Ariel Heppe; Billy Harris Educational Scholarship-Elissa Stewart and Tori Murphy; Blake Lane Scholarship-Jed Wheeler; Calvin Family Memorial Scholarship-Dakota Clayton; DAR Good Citizens Award-Kennedy Lucas; David Elzy Memorial Scholarship-Kenneth Farley and Nick Cravatta; Delmar Elder Scholarship-Becca Pratt; Dr. Joseph Schrodt/DMH Scholarship-Dylan Hart; Ellsworth & Nellie Lehman Collegiate-Brent Mauck; First National Bank Scholarship-Zac Mayberry; George A. Sentel Lodge #764-Kennedy Lucas; Helping Hands Scholarship-Liam Bechtold; J. Leonard Brown Scholarship-Ariel Heppe; Julio “Jibby” & Ruth Florini Memorial Scholarship-Keegan Kruckeberg; L.J. Hollonbeck Track Memorial Award-Emily Neuhauser; Leon Lane Memorial Scholarship-Dylan Hart; Lewis Lingafelter, Jr. Memorial Read More

Team Wise Benefit Planned for Saturday in Bethany

Submitted Pictured is Christina Wise, a Bethany native that was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and is currently undergoing treatment. A benefit will be held this Saturday at the Bethany Fire House to raise money for her ongoing treatment and to raise awareness about the disease. Pictured along with Christina is her husband Wes and their children Amelia and Parker.

Submitted
Pictured is Christina Wise, a Bethany native that was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and is currently undergoing treatment. A benefit will be held this Saturday at the Bethany Fire House to raise money for her ongoing treatment and to raise awareness about the disease. Pictured along with Christina is her husband Wes and their children Amelia and Parker.

Mother/daughter from Bethany each suffer from Lyme Disease

May 13, 2015
by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Mothers and daughters hope to share many parts of their lives together as they grow older. That may include dances, weddings or even children. But one thing that mothers and daughters hope not to share - is battling the same disease.
Christina Wise has had Lyme Disease for at least 20 to 25 years.The doctors believe she contracted the disease between the age of five to seven years old. Her mother Karen Allen was diagnosed in November of 2014 after experiencing chronic fatigue and major joint pain in her knees, hips and elbows. Since then, the two have been battling the disease together.
“It’s unknown how I contracted it. I was probably five to seven years old. We don’t ever remember a tick biting me, and I never had the bulls eye rash, (a rash that gradually spreads over about 12 inches as part of it clears -appearing like a “bull’s-eye” -CDC.gov) but we went camping and fishing all the time. We were constantly outdoors,” noted Wise. “My mom asked me to get tested. I always had a bad immune system, but we never thought I was ever this sick and that there was a reason for my sickness,” she added. After having a Western Blot Test, (a test done that confirms the diagnosis and detects antibodies), it was confirmed that Wise had Lyme Disease. Read More

Commissioner LeCrone Makes One Last Council Appearance Before Johnson Steps In

Sullivan Police Department also given go-ahead to purchase new squad car

May 6, 2015

by Ariana Cherry & Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

At the regular city council meeting last week, streets and public improvements commissioner Monty LeCrone announced that it would be his last time attending.
“Thanks for all of your cooperation,” he said. “I hope we got everything in good shape in the last four years.”
LeCrone did not seek re-election earlier this year. He is to be replaced by former county board member Ken Johnson who ran unopposed.
LeCrone noted that one of the things he felt still need completed were improvements to the streets on the square; in particular, that they needed tilled up and redone at some point. This was a concern before the council in April of 2014, but a proposal by LeCrone for the project was ultimately postponed after concerns were raised about the bid specs. The project also saw frustrations and tempers flare in a special April meeting. Read More

Suspicious Fire Damages Abandoned House in Bethany

Photo Submitted by Kade Grimm Flames are seen engulfing the exterior of an abandoned house located at 409 N. Washington Street in Bethany Friday.

Photo Submitted by Kade Grimm
Flames are seen engulfing the exterior of an abandoned house located at 409 N. Washington Street in Bethany Friday.

Ongoing investigation into cause

May 6, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A fire that took place Friday evening caused extensive exterior and interior damage to an abandoned house in Bethany.
According to Bethany fire chief Jim McMahan, his department received a call at 9:08 p.m. Friday about a fire at 409 N. Washington. His department was on scene five minutes later. McMahan, who lives near the property, says he could see the fire from his house.
“Flames were shooting up about 30 feet above the house,” he said. Read More