OVHS Awarded Check

Photo provided OVHS Awarded Check Okaw Valley High School was awarded a $2500 dollar check from the Monsanto Fund which donates money to high school ag departments in 40 states. The grant must be initiated by a local farmer. Mark and Andrew Bennett of rural Moultrie County nominated Okaw Valley. The money will be used for curriculum and the mission of making Okaw Valley the best ag program in the area. Pictured (center) are Mark Bennett (local farmer) and Wes Wise (ag instructor) flanked by Monsanto representatives.

Photo provided
OVHS Awarded Check
Okaw Valley High School was awarded a $2500 dollar check from the Monsanto Fund which donates money to high school ag departments in 40 states. The grant must be initiated by a local farmer. Mark and Andrew Bennett of rural Moultrie County nominated Okaw Valley. The money will be used for curriculum and the mission of making Okaw Valley the best ag program in the area. Pictured (center) are Mark Bennett (local farmer) and Wes Wise (ag instructor) flanked by Monsanto representatives.

One Town One Million Dreams for Sullivan

Photo by Mike Brothers Lt Col Mary Storm was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award

Photo by Mike Brothers
Lt Col Mary Storm was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award

New Chamber Initiative

•February 3, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

One Town, One Million Dreams initiative for Sullivan was presented to 120 Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development luncheon guests, January 29.

Executive Director Stepheny McMahon addressed the crowd in the First United Methodist Church banquet hall, explaining SCED’s new initiative. “We hope to inspire each of you to brainstorm what dreams you have…”McMahon challenged the group. “By sharing our dreams, we hope to nurture many to fruition in 2016.”

Featured speaker Tiffany Macke, U of I Extension Education in Community and Economic Development, began to demonstrate the value of dreaming.

“When I attended my first Living the Dream conference, I was challenged to come up with 100 dreams,” Macke began, noting it took her three years to complete the list.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity

“I had forgotten how to dream,” she continued, showing that the ability to dream can eventually lead to attainable goals.

Macke presented the chamber audience with a simple question: “What is the happiest you have been?”

Happy is different for everyone, but the capacity for happiness is universal, she pointed out.

The Living Dream List has two distinct challenges for silly or fun ideas and  for spectacular or serious ideas.

“The reason for both is that we need to be balanced in the dreams we hope to achieve,” Macke said. Read More

Windsor FFA Competes in Section Public Speaking CDE

Photo Provided Windsor FFA Competes in Section Public Speaking CDE The Windsor FFA chapter competed in the Section 16 Public Speaking Career Development Event Jan. 27. Areas of the event included FFA Creed Speaking, JV and Varsity Prepared Public Speaking, and JV and Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking.   Participating in FFA Creed Speaking, Faith Higgs was required to memorize and recite the FFA Creed as well as answer related questions. Whitney Pepperdine participated in Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking. In this event students draw a topic and are allowed 30 minutes to research and prepare a speech before giving it to a panel of judges. Bradley Farmer competed in JV Extemporaneous Speaking and placed first in his division. He will compete at the District IV Public Speaking event in April.

Photos Provided
Windsor FFA Competes in Section Public Speaking CDE
The Windsor FFA chapter competed in the Section 16 Public Speaking Career Development Event Jan. 27. Areas of the event included FFA Creed Speaking, JV and Varsity Prepared Public Speaking, and JV and Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking.
Participating in FFA Creed Speaking, Faith Higgs was required to memorize and recite the FFA Creed as well as answer related questions. Whitney Pepperdine participated in Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking. In this event students draw a topic and are allowed 30 minutes to research and prepare a speech before giving it to a panel of judges. Bradley Farmer competed in JV Extemporaneous Speaking and placed first in his division. He will compete at the District IV Public Speaking event in April.

Brad Farmer

Brad Farmer

Pink and Teal Socks Bring Cancer Fight Home

Photo by Mike Brothers Adam White and River Edwards were joined by the Sullivan Redskins basketball team wearing pink and teal socks with ribbons to honor those fighting breast and cervical cancer.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Adam White and River Edwards were joined by the Sullivan Redskins basketball team wearing pink and teal socks with ribbons to honor those fighting breast and cervical cancer.

•February 3, 2016•

No One Fights Alone
We wear these ribbons to show our support for our two team mothers who are battling cancer.
Please show your support for them, and all cancer patients, by wearing one of these ribbons.
Thank You
Sullivan Redskins Basketball Team.

On January 19 basketball fans in Sullivan were greeted with this message at the gymnasium entrance. Inside the Sullivan High School gymnasium the whole Redskin team came to the floor wearing one pink and one teal sock each for the first time.

Over Thanksgiving two players, Adam White and River Edwards, found out their mothers Lis White had breast cancer and Sarah Edwards cervical cancer.

“Adam first decided wearing the pink and River started wearing teal to honor their mothers’ battles with cancer,” Adam’s grandmother Sue Durbin explained.

Sue discussed the pink and teal sock idea with friends Doug and Sherry Farris while sitting in the stands during the first game of the year. Their grandson Bryce had indicated the team wanted to do something to show their support.

The Durbins and the Farrises put their energies together, deciding to provide the boys’ basketball team with pink and teal socks with appropriate ribbons to represent breast and cervical cancer.

“It took four trips to Decatur and three trips to Mattoon, but we finally found the right shades of pink and teal,” Doug said of the effort. Read More

Dicks Pharmacy Joins Reed Pharmacies

Photo by RR Best Old fashioned soda fountain drinks and sundaes are among the attractions that remain at Dicks Pharmacy. From left: regular customer Patti Grant and Dicks Pharmacy owner Cindi Reed prepare to enjoy a hand dipped shake and green river from server Cheryl Grove.

Photo by RR Best
Old fashioned soda fountain drinks and sundaes are among the attractions that remain at Dicks Pharmacy. From left: regular customer Patti Grant and Dicks Pharmacy owner Cindi Reed prepare to enjoy a hand dipped shake and green river from server Cheryl Grove.

•January 27, 2016•

By Nick Fiala
For the News Progress

Dicks Pharmacy, a well-known establishment on Vine Street in Arthur, recently came under the ownership of Cindi Reed, who owns the Oakwood Apothecary here in Sullivan. It’s part of an expansion of her business, Reed Pharmacies,LLC.

“We closed on it November 2.” Reed said. “In June of last year, I got wind that Dicks was on the market again. I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Arthur, but I knew of the pharmacy. We decided to expand Reed Pharmacies and Oakwood Apothecary and purchase Dicks Pharmacy under it.”

The decision requires a busy work schedule in order to make sure the transition is smooth for the pharmacy’s regular customers who come from all around the area.

“Dicks is really uniquely-situated, because we provide the pharmacy services in Arthur and a wide delivery radius of patients who need them,” Reed said. We’re able to provide those services to a lot of rural areas that are otherwise underserved.”

Reed’s decision was made largely out of a love for small towns and a desire to see local businesses remain free from the obstacles that come with large corporate chains.

“I was born and raised in Sullivan,” she said. “My family owns Reed Funeral Home. I went to pharmacy school in  St. Louis at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, graduated in 2008 and did almost five years at Sarah Bush in Mattoon as a clinical pharmacist. And then I heard that Hagen’s Pharmacy was going to sell to CVS Pharmacy, and I decided that I didn’t really want to see that happen which is when I decided to open the Oakwood Apothecary in 2012 from scratch. Read More

Fire Destroys Rural Sullivan Home

Binion House Fire1

Photo by RR Best Fire Destroys Rural Sullivan Home Findlay fire chief Ed Voltenburg presents burned strong box to Jim Binion following a blaze that totally destroyed his home on 850 E County Road outside Sullivan. Windsor, Bethany and Sullivan fire departments joined to fight the 12:16 p.m. January 20 fire. Sullivan Fire Department reports indicated the Binions saw flames in the center of the house and were able to escape to their daughter’s home next door. They watched the family home destroyed by fire while sitting at son-in-law and Findlay fire chief Voltenburg’s home. Red Cross also lent assistance at the fire scene. Firefighters remained at the Binion home using a backhoe to help expose hot spots until 4 p.m.

Photos by RR Best
Fire Destroys Rural Sullivan Home
Findlay fire chief Ed Voltenburg presents burned strong box to Jim Binion following a blaze that totally destroyed his home on 850 E County Road outside Sullivan. Windsor, Bethany and Sullivan fire departments joined to fight the 12:16 p.m. January 20 fire. Sullivan Fire Department reports indicated the Binions saw flames in the center of the house and were able to escape to their daughter’s home next door. They watched the family home destroyed by fire while sitting at son-in-law and Findlay fire chief Voltenburg’s home. Red Cross also lent assistance at the fire scene. Firefighters remained at the Binion home using a backhoe to help expose hot spots until 4 p.m.

City Seeks Housing Improvement Grants

•January 27, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Kevin McReynolds, housing manager for Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission, presented the Sullivan City Council with a housing grant opportunity during the January 11 council meeting. The grants are available for single family owner occupied homes and up to $45,000 may be spent for home improvement repairs such as replacing the roof, furnace, electrical and windows. McReynolds stated that these grants are important for improving neighborhoods and bringing homes up to code. Mayor Ann Short felt that there were families who could benefit from the grants. In order to get started, there would be a $3,500 application fee, the only cost to the city. After conducting a survey, McReynolds said there are about three neighborhoods in the city that qualify for these grants based on their income. Commissioner Bill Hagen made a motion to hire McReynolds and his organization. The council voted to start the application process.

Other news that was discussed or acted upon:

· Zak Horn expressed interest in purchasing Rotary Park. He has submitted a proposal to bury a vault. He needs the property because his business, Metro Communications has been expanding.  Read More

Sullivan Has Break Even Year Financially

•January 27, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Jim Russell of West and Company presented the Sullivan City Council with its annual audit at Monday night’s meeting. He stated that the city’s growth last year as a whole was marginal.

From an asset/liability standpoint, it had a marginal $1.8 million dollar increase, and its net profit had a small decrease of $300,000. The city’s expenses saw a $1.6 million dollar increase (which equaled out to about 10%). Sullivan had about $17.6 million dollars in total revenue which came from city revenue and government funds.

Thirteen million of that were earned from utility sales. Business activities in Sullivan saw a 13% increase, yet revenues showed no growth but stayed consistent. Russell said the city had a break-even year, and its financial state is stable.  Read More

Sullivan Singers at Crete-Monee

Photo Provided Sullivan Singers at Crete-Monee Both Singers and Singers Jr competed in Crete-Monee Saturday, January 23. Claire Appleby was selected as Best Female in Show soloist (Jr competition), and  Grant King received both Best Male in Show soloist and the Grand Champion Male Soloist in the solo competition.

Photo Provided
Sullivan Singers at Crete-Monee
Both Singers and Singers Jr competed in Crete-Monee Saturday, January 23. Claire Appleby was selected as Best Female in Show soloist (Jr competition), and Grant King received both Best Male in Show soloist and the Grand Champion Male Soloist in the solo competition.

Ballot Release Delayed

•January 27, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Objections to presidential candidates petitions will delay official general primary ballot release past the first day of voting in Illinois, February 4.

Moultrie County Clerk Georgia England announced that the presidential candidates’ petition objections to the State Board of Elections are not anticipated to be resolved before the first day of voting in the general primary election, since the names on the questioned petitions will have to undergo individual review.

“Our instructions from the State Board are to explain to voters who attempt to vote February 4 that ballots are not available,” England said, noting the voter may return to the clerk’s office on the anticipated rescheduled date of Feburary 16 or have a ballot mailed for absentee voting when it’s available.

The State Board of Elections advised county clerks and election commissioners throughout the state of Illinois that they are hoping to have the ballot certified and to their offices by February 11.

“Once final certifications from the state board of elections are received, they will be forwarded immediately to our vendor, Liberty Systems, for preparation and programming of the voting tabulators allowing us to finalize ballots and open for voting,” England said of the process. Read More