Bethany Village Council Again Pushes Video Gaming Vote Back

March 4, 2015

Final approval of ordinance tabled for at least a year
by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

Last month, and without much fanfare, Bethany’s village council came to the consensus that they would not vote one way or another on the legalization of video gambling in Bethany for at least another year.
The decision was executed by legislatively “tabling” the vote or, in other words, taking no action on the issue and placing it on the council’s agenda at a later date. The decision, though not opposed by some members of the council, would effectively block video gaming machines from showing up in Bethany for the foreseeable future despite the passage of an ordinance last year aimed at doing the opposite.
It was in January of 2014 that the board approved by a 3-2 vote a motion amending the section of the liquor ordinance that then prohibited gambling and gaming terminals to instead, in the future, allow them.
The legislative move was possible because all ordinances must receive legal review of their wording, and a final approval of that wording, before going into effect, which the amendment to the liquor ordinance has yet to receive. If the amendment were to fail at this point, it would simply go back to the village’s legal council for rewording—a process that board members clarified would be superfluous to their final decision. Read More

Electric Customers Awarded $200 Credit On Bill

March 4, 2015

Settlement refunds Sullivan more than $150,000
by Ariana Cherry
Sullivan/Arthur Reporter

Commissioner Mike Kirk announced at the city council’s last regular meeting that all electric customers who were billable on December 31 of last year will be receiving a $200 credit on their next utility bill.
The $200 credit is a result from an appeal that IMEA (Illinois Municipal Electric Agency) had filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in which they had protested a rate hike. Ameren had increased the wholesale distribution in 2011, which had been passed onto Sullivan and its customers.
Customers saw this rate increase because the city of Sullivan electric department purchases its power from the IMEA (which represents 33 communities that purchase blocks of electricity through a long term power supply agreement with Ameren/Dynegy).The appeal was settled in favor of the IMEA, and a refund was issued by Ameren to the IMEA in October 2014. Read More

Charleston Woman Involved in Fatal Wreck Friday Morning Between Bethany and Sullivan

Photo by RR Best Emergency personnel are seen next to a 2015 Mazda passenger car  belonging to Amanda Kent of Charleston, who was pronounced dead at the scene after her vehicle was struck while parked on the shoulder of Illinois Route 121 Friday morning. In the background is the 2006 Cadillac SUV that was driven by Ame Shelton of Decatur that collided with Kent.

Photo by RR Best
Emergency personnel are seen next to a 2015 Mazda passenger car belonging to Amanda Kent of Charleston, who was pronounced dead at the scene after her vehicle was struck while parked on the shoulder of Illinois Route 121 Friday morning. In the background is the 2006 Cadillac SUV that was driven by Ame Shelton of Decatur that collided with Kent.

February 27, 2015

Vehicle struck after pulling over onto shoulder
by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

 

According to the Moultrie County Sheriff and Coroner's Offices, a 26 year-old Charleston woman was killed after her vehicle was struck between Sullivan and Bethany Friday morning.
At 7 a.m. Friday the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Office received a phone report of a two vehicle crash on Illinois Route 121 approximately two miles west of Sullivan. Read More

Local Libraries Named Grant Awardees

February 25, 2015

More than $10,000 awarded in the county

By Ariana Cherry
Sullivan/Arthur Reporter

A library’s greatest reward is knowing it has made a difference in its community by educating the youth, promoting reading, and being able to act as a reliable resource for the public to get useful information. Although, in order to achieve such, a library does need sufficient funding. A grant to purchase the items that it needs is another reward for which a library can only hope.
And recently, Secretary of State Jesse White, has awarded FY15 Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants that total $15.2 million to 635 public libraries three of which reside here in Moultrie County.
“I am extremely proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to our communities,” White said in a press release. “Our libraries are the best and most reliable information resource available to citizens, and I am pleased to be able to provide these grants each year.” Read More

Moultrie Farmer Directs Funds to Christ’s Pantry

Photo by Barry Morgan Pictured left to right: Ken Ruff (Winning farmer’s husband), Al Rennert (Christ’s Pantry), Jane Franklin (Christ’s Pantry), Greg Watters (Monsanto representative), Larry Adams (Monsanto representative)

Photo by Barry Morgan
Pictured left to right: Ken Ruff (Winning farmer’s husband), Al Rennert (Christ’s Pantry), Jane Franklin (Christ’s Pantry), Greg Watters (Monsanto representative), Larry Adams (Monsanto representative)

February 25, 2015

Christ’s Pantry recently received a $2,500 donation from Moultrie County farmer Kathy Ruff and America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The donation will help the organization purchase a new freezer, ground beef and groceries.
“The pantry recently lost use of a freezer full of meat,” said Pastor Al Rennert. “With this money, we hope to purchase a new, more reliable freezer and to also buy ground beef and other food items that are given out on a weekly basis.”
In addition to the new freezer, the donation will help cover about six months of food. Pantry director Jane Franklin started the pantry in 2011 when she noticed people in her community were going hungry.
“The best part about receiving this donation is that we won’t have to worry for a while knowing that we have the funds to take care of people for a long time,” said Franklin. “I think it’s so wonderful that the Ruff family chose us to receive the donation. They are really good people.” Read More

Council to Move Forward on Al Fresco Dining

February 18, 2015

TNT requests outdoor bistro-like area

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

The Sullivan City Council looks poised to vote on an ordinance in the near future after a local business owner came forward at their last meeting requesting al fresco dining for his restaurant.
Tim Rose of TNT Pizzeria approached the council about the possibility of outdoor dining at his restaurant during the regular meeting February 9.
“I would like to have it during The Little Theatre season for intermission or after the shows,” explained Rose. “It would be a small bistro type area and for those looking for a quick meal.”
The idea of outdoor dining or al fresco dining was first formally brought before the council last April when the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development unveiled what it called its downtown vision, which in addition to outside dining, proposed outdoor merchandise and sandwich signs, which were approved last June. Read More

ALAH Board, Staff Discuss PARCC Testing Preparation

February 18, 2015

Difficulties with typing and time allotted, cited

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

There wasn’t much good to be said for the new standardized test that is slated to replace both the ISAT and PSAE this spring at Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond’s monthly school board meeting last Wednesday.
“The tests are time consuming. It takes a lot of preparation and scheduling. All the tests are done online, and we have 27 computers, 37 Chrome Books. We test over an eight day period in grades three through eight. The longest test is 90 minutes and the average is 55,” explained Atwood principal Lindsay Blickenstaff.
As explained on the PARCC (www.parcc.pearson.com) website, PARCC came about through a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and in their careers. The assessments are in mathematics, English language and literature and are designed to replace both the elementary school ISAT and high school PSAE and are built on the new common core standards. Read More

Villages Approves Permit for Part-time Salon

February 11, 2015

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Last month, Valsalon owner Valerie Brumfield approached the Lovington Village Board about acquiring a permit to place a building on a residential property.
“It’s getting expensive to do hair uptown using the storefront,” Brumfield said.
She presented her information, including specs on the building and letters of approval from her neighbors, to the board for approval. Zoning board member Mike Castelli was present to give the zoning board’s approval and answer questions relating to the permit Brumfield was seeking.
Under Zoning Ordinance 40-10-55, Castelli recommended approval for a nonconforming permit, which would allow Brumfield to erect a building to operate as a salon on a part-time basis. Other requirements include removing the building if the business closes or moves and seeking a different permit if the salon decides to begin operating on a full-time basis. Brumfield also cannot advertise on the property and can have an ‘open’ sign as long as it is not lit.
Before approval a week ago Monday, village board members expressed concern. Read More

Sullivan Schools Hire Principals for Next Year

February 11, 2015

Total of 32 years, Calandrilla, Florey, to leave

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

At their first regular board meeting of the year last month, the Sullivan school district hired two in-house staff members to replace outgoing principals following the completion of this school year.
Sullivan middle school principal Jerry Calandrilla tendered his resignation at last October’s meeting whereas Sullivan elementary school principal Rita Florey announced her retirement at last July’s board meeting.

Allen

Allen

Last month the board approved the hiring of Dan Allen and Ted Walk, both Sullivan school district staffers, to replace Florey and Calandrilla, respectively.
Allen has been a high school teacher at Sullivan for 14 years and has served as student council sponsor, scholastic bowl coach, and middle school basketball coach. He was hired after a group of candidates was narrowed to eight and then interviewed.
“I’m really looking forward to this new atmosphere and working with the staff,” said Allen. “One of the biggest reasons my family and I stayed in Sullivan is the staff at all three buildings. I’m confident we’ll give our children a great education, and I’m very excited about working with the elementary teachers. Read More

Bethany Nears End of Expensive Multi-Year Water Treatment Project

January 28, 2015

New water filters pass EPA tests

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

This month marked the ending point of a multi-year water treatment project for the village of Bethany. The sizeable undertaking, a replacement of the decades old drinking water filters housed at the town’s water treatment plant, had been in development since 2012. A bid was awarded for the sand filter replacement in December of 2013, and after nearly a year of work, the dual filters were given the green light by federal regulators. Utilities manager Steve Sowers told the News Progress that this week the village applied for an operating permit, and use of the new filtration system should follow shortly after. Read More