A Holiday Beacon Still Shines Outside Sullivan

Photo by Mike Brothers Paul Feist has decorated his home southeast of Sullivan since 1959. Above he puts the finishing touches to the display that may be seen from the city limits.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Paul Feist has decorated his home southeast of Sullivan since 1959. Above he puts the finishing touches to the display that may be seen from the city limits.

•December 21, 2016•

A beacon shines southeast of Sullivan city limits just as it has since 1959.

That’s when Paul Feist decided to decorate three Christmas trees at the corner of his property south of Mason Point.

“Those trees were 15 feet tall when I started decorating,” Feist recalled, noting those three original white pine trees are now 100 feet tall.

“This year Herb Flannell brought his 100 ft. lift truck out, and we still needed a pole to get the lights to the top,” Feist said of the three cornerstone trees that mark the entrance to the former cut yourself tree farm.

After more than 40 hours working in the cold weather, Feist threw the switch December 14 to illuminate his yard just as he has every holiday season since 1959.

At a rate of about $12 per day for electricity the display stays on until the first of the year. Read More

What Is the Problem Here?

•December 21, 2016•

By Stu D. Baker
for the News Progress

An editorial in the News Gazette has stirred up some people in Sullivan, and I can’t help but wonder why.

The piece was the paper’s opinion on public servants accepting retirement from one job while doing another.

Specifically cited was the city of Sullivan’s recent hiring of retiring judge Dan L. Flannell as city administrator.

First of all, those who follow the News Progress know this search has been going on for some time. The city has tried over the past two years to get someone to oversee the various departments while watching budgets. Read More

County Board Finalizes Supervisor Appointment

Photo by Mike Brothers The Moultrie County Board reorganized after the election with the first meeting held Dec. 15. Pictured from left: Kevin McReynolds, Arlene Aschermann, Gary Smith, vice chair Ron White, Mike Barringer, County Clerk Georgia England, board chair Dave McCabe, Bill Voyles, Tim Rose and Todd Maxedon.

Photo by Mike Brothers
The Moultrie County Board reorganized after the election with the first meeting held Dec. 15. Pictured from left: Kevin McReynolds, Arlene Aschermann, Gary Smith, vice chair Ron White, Mike Barringer, County Clerk Georgia England, board chair Dave McCabe, Bill Voyles, Tim Rose and Todd Maxedon.

•December 21, 2016•

The reorganized Moultrie County Board met Dec. 15 appointing Lori Barringer supervisor of assessments.

On a motion by new personnel committee chairman Bill Voyles, Barringer was appointed to a term from December 16, 2016 to December 16, 2020 increasing her salary to $50,000.

County board member Gary Smith questioned the second salary increase since October since it was different than the originally approved motion.

Barringer, who was appointed interim supervisor of assessments Oct. 5 following Cindy Kidwell’s death, was originally slated to fulfill Kidwell’s unexpired term through Feb 28, 2017.

Board chairman Dave McCabe explained the interim appointment for 60 days would expire before the Feb 28 date, which prompted the recommended change by the personnel committee. Read More

Sullivan Library Ushers in the Year with a New Director

•December 21, 2016•

By Sam L. Clemons
for the News Progress

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library ushers in more than a new year on January 1, 2017. That’s when Director Clemens Uptmor retires and Michelle Nolen takes on those duties.

The city library has long been one of Sullivan’s best kept secrets. Although serving a small community, Elizabeth Titus gives it patrons services many larger libraries lack.

For example no other library in the area offers a 3D printer. Elizabeth Titus Library purchased one in September 2014 for public use which has been utilized for many student projects and is open for public use.

“Many of the services offered by the library were in place before I was director,” Uptmor said, explaining program expansions and creations were brought about by staff getting together responding to requests from the patrons. Read More

Lovington Board Reduces Number of Liquor Licenses

•December 14, 2016•

The Lovington Village Board met December 12 to discuss holiday bonuses, schedule changes and requests for an additional opening hour New Year’s Eve for Shooters Bar and the East  End Tavern.

Board members voted to amend the village liquor ordinance in November. Unanimously approved was the reduction from three liquor licenses to two.

According to the new meeting schedule the village board next meets on Monday, January 9 with meetings moved from the first Monday to the second Monday of the month.

During the November village board meeting action was taken on participation in the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management insurance program. Trustee Pam Anklam moved the village select the one installment pay option of $41,882.94 with trustee Jim McMahan seconding and board voting unanimously to approve.  Read More

Health Dept. Tightens Belt to Weather Budget

•December 14, 2016•

Moultrie County Public Health and Safety committee learned the County Health Dept. survived  state funding shortages last year by tightening their belts.

Moultrie County Health Dept. executive director Angie Hogan pointed out last year state budget crisis proved a challenge financially for county’s health service agency.

“Last year state budget grants stalled,” Hogan said of the major revenue short fall. “We had one nurse resign, and although it made it harder on our already limited staff, we didn’t replace her.”

That was the formula for the health dept. making it through the fiscal year $17,000 in the black. Read More

County Finance Committee Recommends Bonuses

•December 14, 2016•

Moultrie County Board Budget and Finance Committee met December 12,  recommending Christmas bonuses for county employees.

Budget and finance chairman Ron White proposed that full time employees receive $500 net bonuses with part-time employee amounts pro-rated. The bonuses, approved unanimously by committee members, were increased from $200 net bonus the previous year.  Read More

Communications and Security Proposals Discussed

•December 14, 2016•

Moultrie County Building and Grounds committee was updated on some communication needs and interior building restoration.

Rick Matthews reported that the judge’s office was continuing to finance restoration of the courthouse columns to the natural original oak finish, and that project should be completed before Judge Flannell retires in January.

Matthews reported phone service issues had plagued the courthouse, and he had been looking into possible upgrades that could include voice activated internet, utilizing fiber optics for the phone service.  Read More

Standing Rock: Where Humane Treatment Took a Holiday

Photo furnished Turtle Island was the scene of prayer by Water Protectors at Standing Rock on Thanksgiving Day.

Photo furnished
Turtle Island was the scene of prayer by Water Protectors at Standing Rock on Thanksgiving Day.

•December 7, 2016•

By Mike Brothers
for the News Progress

Access on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing was denied by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, but the battle to protect water is not over.

The Cannon Ball River encampment by the Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors began in April with a few dozen Native Americans and grew into a 4500 person city at the northern entrance of the Sioux reservation by Thanksgiving.

What also grew were the actions against the 4500 peacefully encamped by hired pipeline security militia and local law enforcement.

Dawn Champiny watched the activities at Standing Rock’s encampment from her Venice, Fla. home until deciding to travel to North Dakota with daughter Ryan during the week of Thanksgiving. Read More

Police Searching for Potential Predator

•December 7, 2016•

Sullivan police are investigating two reported incidents involving a potential sexual predator operating in the city. The latest incident occurred  during the day over the weekend.

Police Chief Jim Waggoner said police were called to a Saturday afternoon incident in the northwest part of the city where a man in a small white pickup truck approached a nine year old boy.

“We responded to the neighborhood report immediately and added additional patrols over the weekend,” Waggoner said, explaining citizens should be on the alert for suspicious behavior in neighborhoods.

Waggoner stated two separate incidents in the general area of the city were reported and that each occurred during daylight hours on weekends. Read More