Judicial Steering Commission Screens Judge Applicants

Six Express Interest in the Sixth

•January 25, 2017•

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman has selected the judicial screening committee for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

The screening committee was formed for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of those persons who have applied for appointment to the Office of Judge of the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit created by the resignation of Chief Judge Daniel Flannell on January 12, 2017.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy will be filled by Supreme Court appointment. Read More

Board Approves Proclamation Honoring Judge Flannell

Honored for Courthouse Restoration

•January 18, 2017•

By Mike Brothers

Moultrie County board proclaimed Judge Dan L. Flannell day Friday, January 13, his last day as Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial circuit.

County board chairman Dave McCabe added the proclamation at the end of the regular Jan. 12 business meeting.

McCabe’s proclamation emphasized the county’s appreciation for Judge Flannell’s efforts to help restore the historic Moultrie County Courthouse. He continued to note his service to Moultrie County as a sitting judge from 1988 through 2012 when he was appointed chief administrator of the Sixth Judicial Circuit has been exemplary. Read More

What Keeps Readers Reading After They Move Away?

•January 18, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

There is something almost ethereal about Thursday mornings when I bring in the paper, grab my pot full of tea, snuggle into the couch and settle down for a good read.

At my age, it is news of a deceased classmate or friend, an 80th birthday party, what poor soul got caught speeding on Route 121, and good stories that either bring tears or make the heart go pitty-pat.

What interests former residents who live thousands of miles away and keeps them subscribing year after year? I caught up with two sisters who grew up in Bethany and have subscribed to the News Progress for many years.

Audrey Oathout Gasdorf was a classmate who went to college, married and for many years has lived in Michigan.  Read More

Senior Center Provides Medical Equipment For Loan

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Kathi Shackles stands among the various medical equipment available at the Senior Center.

•January 18, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

If you or a loved one is scheduled for hip or knee replacement surgery, the hospital has probably told you that you need to arrive with a walker.

You may also need an elevated toilet seat and shower seat. Many of these items are not covered by medical insurance, but you may get all of them on loan at the Senior Center.

“We take all kinds of walkers, canes, wheelchairs for loan to others. We also have a large supply of Depends and some oxygen supplies such as tubing,” executive director  Kathi Shackles said. “The center will also take almost any kind of medical supplies as long as they haven’t been opened.”

Many times when a loved one dies, the family has many of these items and is not aware that the senior center will take them. Clean bed pads are also accepted. Several styles and makes of walkers and canes are available so you may select the one that best suits your needs.

Shackles advises calling in advance to reserve the equipment as supplies are limited. The items are available only to senior citizens and are signed out. The center just asks that all items be returned as soon as possible because some are on a waiting list, such as wheelchairs. Donated items may be dropped off at the senior center during regular business hours. Unfortunately, the center cannot  pick up donated items. Read More

An English Influence from This Mason Point Knitter

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Jean Dulik is always on the move.

•January 18, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

The little English garden outside with miniature gnomes, birdhouses, whirligigs and such is the first hint an artist of sorts lives here.

Jean Dulik welcomes you in with her lovely, lilting English accent. Attention immediately focuses on the many beautiful artificial flower arrangements in equally beautiful containers throughout her home.

“Oh, it’s nothing, you just get some flowers and stick them in,” she said modestly. “I just love anything “crafty” to keep me busy.”

Jean married a G.I. and came to America at age 20, moving around to various military bases, arriving in Sullivan to be near a son in Mt. Zion and a daughter in Lovington.

That’s a long way from where she grew up in Faringdon, England - the oldest village in England. A brother, sister, aunt and uncle still live there.

Her sister lives in the village of Bampton, famous as the place where “Downton Abbey” was filmed. “The town you see on TV is completely fake - just sets that they take down after filming.” Jean misses the show and all the gossip her sister provided on the movie stars. Read More

Sullivan Faculty Face Harlem Wizards in Sports Fundraiser

Harlem Wizards come to Sullivan High School

•January 11, 2017•


The Sullivan High School boys’ basketball team is scheduled to host the Harlem Wizards for an exhibition fundraiser game against Sullivan teachers, coaches and community members from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, January 14.

The game will be played at the Sullivan High School, and doors will open at 6 p.m.

“This event will be like no other event that has ever been at Sullivan High School,” said Sullivan head coach Chester Reeder. The Wizards are an amazing group of people that really know how to make it fun for everyone.”

The game is a fundraiser for the boys’ basketball programs and will consist of 30 players and volunteers.  Read More

City Replies to Attorney General Request

•January 11, 2017•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan replied to an Illinois Attorney General Public Access Counselor (PAC) request concerning details of the Nov. 21 special city council meeting that led to the appointment of Dan L. Flannell as city administrator.

Kirk Allen of the Edgar County Watchdog entered a Request for Review with the AG office taking issue with items eligible for action at the Nov. 21 meeting.

Mayor Ann Short stated she, the city clerk and city attorney had prepared a response to the PAC request from the attorney general’s office on Friday, January 6.

“We have replied to the Attorney General’s request,” Mayor Short said, explaining they were awaiting a response from the PAC.

At question was a claim that the special meeting agenda did not set forth the “general subject matter” of awarding the city manager a five-year contract, according to the request sent to Sullivan by Joshua Jones, PAC supervising attorney. Jones’ letter was dated January 4, 2017 and requested a response in seven days.  Read More

Bethany Library Displays Yearbook Collection

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Librarian Sally Ascenzo next to class picture file of the first Bethany High School class of 1889

•January 4, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

When I was growing up in Bethany, the library was a dingy, musky storefront in a block of buildings that isn’t even there anymore. Imagine this librarian’s surprise when I entered the new Marrowbone Public Library with its bank of computers, community room and comfy chairs for casual reading. What a joy to find such a library in a small community such as Bethany.

The head librarian, Sally Ascenzo, ushered me into a side room, and there on a large stand was a collection of all the high school senior class pictures from the first class in 1889 to 1993. The class pictures forward are in a scrapbook nearby.

This collection was originally housed in storage in the high school and was beginning to deteriorate badly.

It was also unavailable to the public. Glenn Austin, Jim McLaughlin and Virginia Weakly rescued the collection and lovingly restored it before giving it to the library for permanent display Ascenzo told me. “There are some pictures in the scrapbook with unidentified students, and we are hopeful that someone will come in and help us identify these classmates,” she said. Word on the street is that every time Glenn Austin comes in, he flips the pictures to his class and leaves it there. I flipped it to my class. Read More

Mentors Put A Little Love In The Hearts Of SES Students

Photo by Ellen Ferrera A Little Time is all it Takes SES Mentoring Program Poppy Graham (l) and mentor, Janet Pasley.

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
A Little Time is all it Takes
SES Mentoring Program Poppy Graham (l) and mentor, Janet Pasley.

Extending A Helping Hand

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

My assignment today is to interview Poppy Graham, social worker with Sullivan Elementary School. As she ushers me into her tiny office I notice that her door is covered with children’s drawings-almost all of them expressing love for Mrs. Graham.

Don’t we all remember the first teacher with whom we fell in love?

She offers me a seat and affectionately begins to describe her mentoring program which has 24 children in grades K through 5.

“These are children who need extra love, support both emotionally and academically, and someone to help facilitate their personal growth,” Graham said. “They are identified by either me or their teacher, and we then ask permission from the parents to pair them with a mentor.”

The program was actually begun by two other teachers, and Graham has been with it for six years.

The mentors are usually retired teachers or other people in the community who meet once a week with their wards during PE or music classes so they don’t miss regular classroom work.  Read More

New C.E.F.S. Transportation Director for Area Public Transit

Susan Love

Susan Love

•December 28, 2016•

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation announced the hiring of Susan Love of Mattoon as the Central Illinois Public Transit (CIPT) Program Director. As CIPT Director Love will serve as a key member of the agency’s management team and will be responsible for the day-to-day leadership and operation of the C.E.F.S. Central Illinois Public Transit and Effingham County Public Transportation Programs. Love will ensure effective program accountability, oversight, leadership, and performance outcomes of the transit operations with funders, grant recipients, partners, local communities and most importantly with the riders.

Love had previously been employed at Camp New Hope in Mattoon as the executive director responsible for day to day oversight and leadership of the not for profit agency. Prior to that position she was employed by Addus Healthcare in Charleston as the agency director responsible for leadership, program development, oversight and management of staff. Prior to that position, Love was employed at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems in Mattoon as a clinical applications specialist. Love obtained her Bachelor of Science degree at Millikin University in Management and Organizational Leadership and her master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in technology with an emphasis on training and development. Read More