Okaw Valley School Report Card Shows Gains and Declines

November 26, 2014

Test results still shaky as state moves towards common core

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

This month Okaw Valley School District’s annual school report card has been made available by the state’s board of education at www.illinoisreportcard.com. The school report card, which is released at roughly the same time every year, is a metric that gauges student academic growth from year to year based on state standardized testing. In addition to this, the school report card also provides useful data to the public such as graduation rates, attendance rates, and even data such as the school district’s racial makeup. The school report card is designed to be a valuable tool internally within school districts for making academic and instructional improvements to school environments, as well as for the public, which may include families considering moving to the area or parents concerned about their children’s education.
The results of this year’s school report card, much as last year’s, are mixed for Okaw Valley—containing examples of both improvements and declines in academic growth. Read More

ALAH Schools Present 7.98 Percent Levy Increase

November 26, 2014

Truth in taxation meeting to be held next month

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

A proposed tentative tax levy increase was presented to the Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond school board Wednesday, November 12.
With this year’s EAV estimated at $193, 490,228 and last year’s total $183,286,949, an increase of 7.98 percent was figured. A total of $6,517, 231,000 in taxes was received from both districts in 2013. Presently, the proposed amount to receive is $6,905,829. Because the increase represents more than a five percent increase over last year’s levy, a truth and taxation hearing is planned before the next school board meeting in December. Read More

Propane Heater Found to be Source of Wednesday’s Fire

Photo by RR Best Area firefighters prepare to extinguish a house fire located at 115 W. Mattox in Sullivan last Wednesday evening.

Photo by RR Best
Area firefighters prepare to extinguish a house fire located at 115 W. Mattox in Sullivan last Wednesday evening.

November 26, 2014

Sullivan home suffers extensive heat and smoke damage

by Keith Stewart

A fire left a Sullivan home badly damaged Wednesday evening.

According to Sullivan fire chief Mike Piper, the home located at 115 W. Mattox caught fire from a propane heater that was being used temporarily to heat the house since the furnace had previously gone out and was waiting to be replaced.

Piper said other than pinning the fire to the heater, which was located in the southwest room near the front of the house, his department is unsure what exactly caused the heater to cause the fire. The propane tank had been recently changed, however. Read More

Just Shy of 42 Years of Service, Thomas Retires

November 12, 2014

Photo by RR Best Outgoing sheriff Jeff Thomas holds a plaque congratulating him on his retirement at a public gathering in October.

Photo by RR Best
Outgoing sheriff Jeff Thomas holds a plaque congratulating him on his retirement at a public gathering in October.

Outgoing sheriff’s tenure up Nov. 30

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

There’s a new sheriff in town–almost. And another, well, not quite leaving, but turning in his badge.

After more than four decades of service with the Moultrie County Sheriff’s office Jeff Thomas is retiring. And when Thomas leaves office November 30, he will be 90 days short of having spent 42 years of service to Moultrie County.

Thomas joined the sheriff’s office in 1973 and was elected to the office of sheriff in 2002.

“I’ll do anything that I want that does not require that I be responsible for actions of 22 other people,” said Thomas of his upcoming retirement. “I plan to spend time playing golf, fishing, traveling, along with spending time with the grandkids.” Read More

Arthur Man Dies After Being Hit on Bike Friday

November 5, 2014

Car strikes man while passing another bike

by Keith Stewart

An Arthur man was struck while riding his bike to work last Friday and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Moultrie County coroner Lynn Reed, 54-year-old Velvon J. Schrock was traveling south on county road 1800 north to work around 7 a.m. last Friday when he was struck head on by a car that was attempting to go around another bike that was heading north. Reed said that preliminarily it appeared that the driver had been focused on the bike he was passing and had not given consideration to the possibility of an oncoming bike in the southbound lane. Read More

Train Strikes Car, Sending Single Occupant to Hospital

November 5, 2014

Shelbyville man listed in critical condition

by Keith Stewart

AShelbyville man’s vehicle was struck by a train last Tuesday in Dalton City, sending the single occupant to Carle Hospital in Urbana where he was listed in critical condition this week.

According to a Moultrie County sheriff’s crash report 43-year-old James N. Lewis’s 1997 Pontiac Grand Am collided with a locomotive near the railroad crossing situated closest to the intersection of Illinois Routes 128 and 121 in Dalton City at 4:55 a.m. October 28. Read More

Sullivan High School Class to Host Veterans Day Program November 11

November 5, 2014

A Veterans Day program is scheduled for November 11 at 1 p.m. in the Sullivan high school gym.

“We are doing this to give back,” said Sullivan High School senior Issac Shields about his Career English Class who is hosting the Veterans’ Day program.

The class, guided by high school English teacher Becky Lawson, has been working on the event for several weeks.

“We are giving honor to the ones who deserve honor,” added senior class member Brooke Leavitt. Read More

Third Annual IGA Round Up to Benefit Food Pantry

November 5, 2014

IGA staff to try and set record fundraising total

by Keith Stewart

For Moultrie County Food Pantry outreach coordinator Kristy Dawson, her typical week includes purchasing ground beef once a week and then traveling to both the Sullivan IGA and the Windsor Food Center for two grocery pickups a week.

But more recently, the purchases have been happening more often and in larger quantities due to a severe lack in donations.

“We’ve had several small food drives here and there in recent months, but it’s been three months since our last large food drive,” said Dawson, “so purchasing food has been happening more often than normal.” Read More

Sullivan American Legion to Rededicate Veterans’ Memorial Nov. 1

October 29, 2014

Time capsule from 1989 also to be opened

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

On November 11, 1989 the Sullivan American Legion dedicated the Veterans Memorial located at the southwest entrance of Wyman Park.

The memorial was a dream of Legion Commander Al Golden Sr. and the committee of legion members which included Al “Sonny” Golden Jr, Richard Shellabarger, and Mike Keown. The legion started planning the memorial in 1987 with legion members traveling around to other communities to see what their memorials were like. Read More

Red Apple Owners Enter into TIF Agreement with City

October 22, 2014

Part of reconstruction costs eligible for TIF funds

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Steve Sadikoska and Tim Halili of the Red Apple Restaurant were in attendance at the October 13 city council to hear discussion regarding possible Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help with the reconstruction of the restaurant that burned down July 29.

Mayor Ann Short opened the discussion expressing the feelings of the city: “All of us feel so badly because of your unfortunate situation. That was just horrible.”

Short then went on to explain that the TIF program is when construction is completed and taxes are assessed by the county, the difference between what taxes were before the fire and what they are after construction is completed. In talking with the city’s TIF attorney it has been determined that the construction would be eligible for TIF funding for the reconstruction of the restaurant. Read More