County Audit Report Shows Good Standing, but Caution in Future

August 20, 2014

Revenues slide while expenditures rise

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

At the monthly Moultrie County board meeting the board heard a report from West & Company regarding the annual audit for the financial year 2013.

“The purpose of the audit is to render an independent opinion as to whether or not the financial statements made by the county are reasonably stated,” explained Jim Russell of West & Company. Russell went on to highlight where the county is in relation to the previous year, citing revenues in 2012 were $7.3 million while in 2013 they fell $7.2 million. Investments in 2012 came to $5.3 million and improved to $6 million in 2013. Expenditures, meanwhile, for 2012 amounted to $6.3 million and increased to $6.6 million in 2013 mostly due to increases in health insurance.  Read More

Teacher Union Negotiations Near Completion

Special meeting to finalize talks this Friday

by Keith Stewart

Superintendent Brad Tuttle informed the Sullivan school board Monday evening that negotiations with the local teachers’ union, Sullivan Education Association, are wrapping up and are expected to be finalized during a special meeting Friday morning.

The negotiations, which began May 14, are expected to be discussed and finalized among the union during a meeting Wednesday. The contract then looks to be formally adopted at Friday’s special board meeting at 7:30 a.m.  Read More

Trap, Neuter, and Release Program Approved for Lovington

August 13, 2014

Will be cheaper than current trap and euthanasia of feral cats

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Last week’s decision to pass the trap/neuter/release program presented by Lovington village clerk Sue Gordon may be the start of a long term and compassionate solution to the common and overwhelming problem of feral cats around town.

“We have a problem we can’t deny,” said Gordon at last Monday’s village board meeting. “I’d like to see the board address and assist with it.”

Last Monday’s approval of the TNR program was for a one-year trial basis. Gordon has been working with Beth Hughes, director of the Care Van Pet Program, to plan the program and will continue to work with Hughes to execute the program now that it has passed.  Read More

Proposed One-Way Alleyway Tabled Monday

Council also rescinds vote from last month

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

With both Mayor Ann Short and Commissioner Monty LeCrone absent from the Sullivan city council meeting Monday, Commissioner Mike Mossman assumed the position as acting mayor.

Tim Rose, owner of TnT Pizzeria, requested to speak to the council regarding the proposed ordinance to make the alleyway between Washington Street and Main Street one way after an incident involving the collision of a TnT delivery vehicle and a Little Theatre cast member last month. Read More

Customers Angered Over Flag Pole Removal at Hardee’s

Photo by Keith Stewart Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee's in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee’s in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

August 6, 2014

Unkept flags spurs removal out of respect, says LeVecke

by Keith Stewart

The removal of flag poles recently at the Sullivan Hardee’s has spawned outrage from local customers.

According to Regional Vice President Dave Becker, three flag poles were removed last week.

Sullivan Hardee’s, franchise owner Jason LeVecke explained to the News Progress that upon a recent trip to the Sullivan location and seeing both the flags and poles in disrepair, the flag poles were removed.

“Nothing upsets or makes me mad more than when I see one of our flags tattered or dirty,” said LeVecke. “We haven’t always done justice at all of our locations so I ordered some of them be taken down. The poles were taken down out of respect to the flag.

“Our commitment is to the country, our vets, our customers, and our employees,” added the franchisee, who is a five year Marine veteran. “Nothing brings me to tears more than our flag. But when I hear our employees are being yelled at without asking what occurred, it’s despicable.”

LeVecke, who is the CEO of MJKL Enterprises and the grandson of the original Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher, stressed that the decision does not reflect on the staff at the Sullivan location and instead says he takes responsibility for the unkept flags. Read More

OV Schools Consider New Investment Strategy

July 30, 2014

Board also hears about swim co-op

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

It is that time again, no doubt too soon for the kids and none too soon for the parents.

At the last regularly scheduled school board meeting before the start of the new school year, there was not much business to work through as things moved along fairly rapidly.

After quickly approving the annual “consent agenda” to officially record the district designees of various fund managers, banking services, and legal representation, the board heard from Shelby County State Bank concerning its proposal to streamline the district’s security investments through SCSB.

Currently, the district has SCSB invest in a variety of federally backed securities. SCSB proposes simplifying the process and to try and get a better return for both SCSB and Okaw Valley school district by rolling the various securities into one.  Read More

Bethany Post Office Struck by Vehicle

Submitted The Bethany Post Office suffered damage two weeks ago after a car struck it, shifting an entire wall.

The Bethany Post Office suffered damage two weeks ago after a car struck it, shifting an entire wall.

July 30, 2014

PO Box pickup interrupted as a result

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

After a car crashed into the Bethany Post Office earlier this month, service interruptions are expected.

Due to a July 14 motor vehicle collision with the building, post office box mail pickup has been limited to normal postal business hours for local residents.

Following the wreck, building inspectors deemed the front part of the building, which houses Bethany’s post office boxes, unsafe for use.  As a result, area residents that opt to collect their mail in person, rather than have it delivered to their home, must enter through the building’s rear and speak with a postal worker directly to get their mail.

The service restrictions are likely to continue for a long while as well, according to Bethany’s postmaster Shelly Freeman.  Currently there is no timeline for repairs to the building, and there has yet to be any estimates as to how much the repairs will cost.  According to Freeman, legal red tape is slowing down the repair process considerably.   Read More

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Growing Epidemic

July 23, 2014

Elderly face struggles with second raising

by Ariana Cherry
Sullivan Reporter

When grandparents reach the age of retirement, most of their goals consist of relaxation, travel, getting involved with new hobbies or catching up with family and grandchildren, but for some grandparents, this won’t be the story. Many grandparents here in Moultrie and neighboring counties are now finding themselves heading households and caring for their grandchildren.

According to the Illinois Department on Aging, grandparents raising grandchildren is considered an epidemic by the federal government. Common factors that result in grandparents raising their grandchildren are alcohol and drug abuse, death of a parent, divorce, neglect, abuse or abandonment, unemployment or poverty, parental incarceration, and teen pregnancy.  Read More

New ALAH School District Holds First Meeting

July 23, 2014

With merger, financial updates given including Atwood-Hammond money

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

The former Arthur-Lovington District School Board opened their July 16 meeting as the Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (ALAH) District with new superintendent Kenny Schwengel and administrative assistant, Audrey Fleener, who served as an administrative assistant at  Atwood-Hammond High School for 23 years, and will be serving her 24th year at the ALAH district.

“I’ve been a superintendent for nine years, but there’s always a learning curve when you switch districts,” said Schwengel, in a separate interview. “As far as goals, first and foremost, I intend to work toward the district goals that were established/updated over the course of last year. I hope to build relationships, get to know everyone, and determine other areas to work on or possibly improve.” Read More

Lovington Discusses Village Projects

July 23, 2014

Work on old village hall held up, but now underway

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Talk of work to happen on the old village hall building had been ongoing for several months before a vote was taken to repair the falling wall on the structure in May.

A bid of around $20,000 was accepted, and included in the bid was completion in August. The funds have been paid, but board member Roger Walker noted earlier this month that the work had not begun. Questions from other board members about the ability to finish the project arose, and Walker assured the board that he would get in contact with the contractor about the project. Work has since begun and is underway. Read More