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

City Seeks Housing Improvement Grants

•January 27, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Kevin McReynolds, housing manager for Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission, presented the Sullivan City Council with a housing grant opportunity during the January 11 council meeting. The grants are available for single family owner occupied homes and up to $45,000 may be spent for home improvement repairs such as replacing the roof, furnace, electrical and windows. McReynolds stated that these grants are important for improving neighborhoods and bringing homes up to code. Mayor Ann Short felt that there were families who could benefit from the grants. In order to get started, there would be a $3,500 application fee, the only cost to the city. After conducting a survey, McReynolds said there are about three neighborhoods in the city that qualify for these grants based on their income. Commissioner Bill Hagen made a motion to hire McReynolds and his organization. The council voted to start the application process.

Other news that was discussed or acted upon:

· Zak Horn expressed interest in purchasing Rotary Park. He has submitted a proposal to bury a vault. He needs the property because his business, Metro Communications has been expanding.  Read More

Sullivan Has Break Even Year Financially

•January 27, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Jim Russell of West and Company presented the Sullivan City Council with its annual audit at Monday night’s meeting. He stated that the city’s growth last year as a whole was marginal.

From an asset/liability standpoint, it had a marginal $1.8 million dollar increase, and its net profit had a small decrease of $300,000. The city’s expenses saw a $1.6 million dollar increase (which equaled out to about 10%). Sullivan had about $17.6 million dollars in total revenue which came from city revenue and government funds.

Thirteen million of that were earned from utility sales. Business activities in Sullivan saw a 13% increase, yet revenues showed no growth but stayed consistent. Russell said the city had a break-even year, and its financial state is stable.  Read More

ALAH School District Receives Incentive Funding

•January 20, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Superintendent Kenny Schwengel shared some good news at the last Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond school board meeting.

The district received an unexpected $101,800 in incentive funding, although the state still owed them $240,000.

“Our current checkbook balance is $6,578,329.69,” he said. “ All funds are in the black.”

With a state budget still not in place, Illinois will no longer pay for students to take the ACT as they have in the past. For the last 15 years, the state has paid for the test. Once the state could no longer pay for the ACT, legislators passed a bill requiring the state to offer some type of college entrance exam. The Illinois Board of Education broke its longtime partnership with ACT by putting the test up for bids.

The SAT’s offered a contract $1.37 million less than ACT’’s bid. Although, the state can’t sign anything until it reviews and evaluates a protest from ACT. This puts a lot of this year’s juniors in a tough spot for college testing as well as the district as they try to help their students prepare for testing.

High school principal Buck Condill stated that they are still awaiting instruction from the state regarding funding or if they are planning on giving the SAT to their students. Read More

County Board Gets Governor’s Task Force Report

•January 20, 2016•

The Moultrie  County Board learned about the governor’s task force on local government consolidation and unfunded mandates from Steffanie Seegmiller at the January 14 meeting.

Seegmiller is president of the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond school board and was asked to be one of two representatives from education on the 24 member task force that met 16 times at various locations around the state.

She explained that the task force under the direction of Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti began by executive order of the governor in February 2015, and the report was submitted to Governor Rauner in December.

Seegmiller said school consolidation is encouraged in the report and noted the ALAH district underwent two consolidations within two years, an experience that prompted her invitation from the governor to participate in the task force. Read More