Timber Fire

Photo by RR Best Timber Fire Sullivan firefighters responded to a timber fire two miles north of Allenville Sunday afternoon. Although the blaze at the Dan Fultz property was being fanned by the wind, firefighters utilized brush equipment to quickly extinguish the flame.

Photo by RR Best
Timber Fire
Sullivan firefighters responded to a timber fire two miles north of Allenville Sunday afternoon. Although the blaze at the Dan Fultz property was being fanned by the wind, firefighters utilized brush equipment to quickly extinguish the flame.

Toys for Tots Partners with Secret Santa in Sullivan

•November 18, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

People get ready the trains a comin, you don’t need no ticket, ya just get on board.

That train is bringing Toys for Tots back to Moultrie County where they are collecting toys at Sullivan, Bethany and Lovington locations.

New Moultrie County coordinator Rick Kenney said he is eager to start working in partnership with Sullivan’s Secret Santa to help distribute toys this holiday season.

One way people may help without buying toys is purchase a train at participating locations for $1.00. You may put your name on the train, and it will be displayed at the Toys for Tots location.

“We have two drop boxes already in place in Sullivan—at the Sullivan IGA  and First National Bank of Sullivan,” Kenney began, explaining they are collecting toys in conjunction with Secret Santa of Sullivan.

Sullivan chief of police and Secret Santa coordinator John Love said they will set up a location at the Sullivan Police Department garage to allow the children to shop for the toys of their choice. Read More

Okaw Valley Marching Timberwolves

 Okaw Val Marching TimberwolvesEnd Season on High Note

•November 11, 2015•

The Okaw Valley Marching Timberwolves ended their 2015 season Saturday Oct. 31 with third place in the Class 1A field competition and second place in the Class 1A parade competition in the Pinckneyville Mardi Gras Field Show and Parade.

In addition, the OV percussion tied for first place in the parade, and Nick Tipsword was awarded best soloist in Class 1A field. The competition is a popular one for OV as it adds the fun of an overnight trip and a nighttime parade with Halloween costumes substituted for uniforms.

It was a successful season for the small but determined band of 29 members. There were five field competitions in September and October, with the Timberwolves taking home two firsts, one second, and two third place rankings in overall band score.

Although outscored by five schools, they defeated a total of 15, most of which have a much larger student enrollment and band membership. In addition, their drum majors, percussion, and color guard received Best in Class one time each in field competitions this season.

The band’s show this year had a New Orleans theme, and judging by the cheers from the stands, it was popular with the crowds in addition to the judges. A major goal of the Marching Timberwolves is audience entertainment. The reaction during the performances and the compliments afterwards, often from complete strangers, indicate the band’s success at being fun to watch and hear.

The Marching Timberwolves are directed by Theresa Colclasure and assisted by Kathy Doty and Cami Brown, color guard coaches, David Hagerman, drill design/instruction and Taylor Colclasure, marching coach.  Read More

Sullivan Schools Look at Building Improvements

Roofs and HVAC systems needed

•November 11, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Facing a little more than $5 million in needed HVAC upgrading and roof repairs Sullivan Community Unit 300 board members explored funding options at the regular Monday, Nov. 9 meeting.

Tim King of King Financial Consultants presented some options utilizing  health life safety bonds.

King explained, with existing debt expiring, the district could maintain its $380,000 annual payment toward bond payback.

“With your fund balances you also have the ability to purchase your own bonds,” King continued, noting Monticello school district self-funded health life safety bonds in January.

Sullivan fund balances totaling $6 million in education and transportation could be used with the district earning between 1.3 and 1.9 percent interest on the loan.

“One advantage to partially funding the bonds from existing funds is the balance could be borrowed locally at competitive rates,” King said.

Supt. Brad Tuttle asked about the option of selling bonds to cover a portion of the project.

King noted if the district needed to raise funds to reimburse or add additional funds, they could sell bonds to raise cash in 30-60 days.

Tuttle explained the district is looking at various funding options which will be discussed at the winter board planning session.

A public hearing concerning the intent of the board to issue $5 million in health life and safety bonds was held following King’s presentation. Read More

Courthouse Restoration Nears Completion

Photo by Mike Brothers Mason Masonary Restoration worker puts finishing touches on north side as tuck pointing moves toward completion.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Mason Masonary Restoration worker puts finishing touches on north side as tuck pointing moves toward completion.

Ahead of Schedule

•November 11, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Moultrie County Public Health and Safety committee met November 4 with chair Arlene Aschermann leading discussion on the E 911 system, which is at the stage where individual mapping addresses for municipalities are entered.

The committee toured the Charleston 911 communication headquarters last month receiving an update on completion in the cooperative Moultrie-Coles County emergency system.

Kevin McReynolds reported initial testing proved the cell phone contact instantly maps the caller in the system with the next phase completing.

Aschermann noted the county needs a designated coordinator to assemble the addresses, with some delay placed on implementation until the funding formula is released by the state.

Building and maintenance superintendent Rick Matthews presented a report on the courthouse tuckpointing project to the committee.

Matthews noted Mason’s Masonry Restoration of Brownstown had finished tuckpointing all but the west side of the building.

Expected completion of the $203,755 outside restoration is set for December 28. Matthews said work has been going ahead of schedule, and he expected the project to be completed by the end of November. Read More

Local Funds Withdrawn from Eagle Creek Plan

•November 11, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Efforts to keep reopening plans for Eagle Creek Resort moving forward through local funding have taken a step backwards.

Moultrie County Board Chairman Dave McCabe told budget and finance committee members this week a stumbling block had been reached with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the funding counties.

He explained states attorneys from Moultrie and Shelby counties were working on an intergovernmental agreement for a repayment schedule for the $92,000 loan to the IDNR.

Differences over a 90 day pay back term caused the IDNR to balk on the agreement.

“We have decided to drop the idea until the state resolves its budget problems,” McCabe said.

A group of Moultrie and Shelby counties leaders effort to get Eagle Creek Resort reopened had secured an Illinois Department of Natural Resources  grant to conduct a feasibility study last year.

The $138,000 study, which would determine the feasibility of reopening the resort, stalled along with the state budget.

McCabe stated the $92,000 loan from Shelby and Moultrie counties could have completed the study. He explained the urgency stemmed from developers who have expressed interest in Eagle Creek, but nothing can be done until the study is completed.

Treasurer Marci Thompson presented the committee with resolutions for two properties sold at tax auction.

One track in Lovington Township sold to John A. Renfro on a $1326 bid and one track in Sullivan Township sold to Robert G. Jackson on a $2555 bid.
Read More

Bethany Acquires New Technology for Roadways and Police

•November 11, 2015•

By Derek Pope
For the News Progress

Bethany residents may notice some changes as they drive through town this fall thanks to funding from Moultrie County and the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. Over the past few months, village workers have replaced nearly 150 traffic signs throughout the village as part of a Federal Highway Administration mandate that went into effect this year.

The project, which consisted of installing new posts, signs made of modern highly reflective materials, and the removal of some old traffic signs that did not meet previously existing federal regulations, started back in July and was finished November 6. All of the materials were purchased by Moultrie County’s governing body and distributed to Bethany, though village labor was required to set up the new signage.

As part of the federal mandate, Bethany was required to have all the new signs in place by November 30 of this year. Similarly by 2018, all street signs will need to be replaced in order to posses the same “retroreflectivity” as the town’s new traffic signs.

Bethany’s utilities department also got the go ahead to change out 22 streetlights in the village’s downtown district with new LED lighting in the coming months, in part by using funds given to the village by the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). Through the IMEA’s Electric Efficiency Program, cumulative funds are granted each year to be used by affiliated municipalities, as the town sees fit, in projects that will reduce overall public electricity use.  Read More

Sullivan Schools Add Instagram to Social Media Offerings

See what’s going on

•November 4, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan Community Unit District 300 added Instagram to its list of social media offerings in October.

“Using Instagram gives our community another way to “see” what is going on without needing to subscribe to other services,” IT Director Mark Waelde said.

The idea to ad Instagram started with a suggestion to increase community access through social media from superintendent Brad Tuttle.

The feed began October 22 with Waelde noting it took only about an hour from registration, converting images, adding a slide show to placing it on the website.

He explained by using The Cube to stream home sporting events, adding the photos for an Instagram page an easy way to provide more information for the community to view.

“Right now I am focusing on events that are accessible to the public,” he said of the content, adding that sporting events will be posted.

High School art teacher Jaclyn Lindberg is working with Waelde to showcase some of the students photography work.

The Sullivan High School Tech Club can also provide images for review before being placed on the Instagram page. Read More