Photo by R.R. Best Bethany Fire Dist. Promotes Two The Bethany Fire Protection District has announced the promotion of Assistant Fire Chief Tom Rucker to the position of Fire Chief. Rucker (left) has been with the department for 30 years and for most of those years held a state license as an EMT. Rucker is a certified Firefighter II with the Illinois State Fire Marshal. Stepping up to the chief position Rucker has promoted Training Captain Michael Jennings as Assistant Fire Chief. Jennings is in his eleventh year with the fire department . He is a licensed paramedic and Firefighter III certified.
Photo by R.R. Best First Snowman J.J. Standerfer of Sullivan took advantage of a snow covered Christmas to build the first snowman of the season. The snow started on the heals of a warm few days mixed with rain then gently covered the ground. With temperatures in the single digits Standerfer’s first snowman could last all season.
Photo by Mike Brothers Bicycle Gifts Four Lovington students benefited from the French family bicycle giveaway just in time for Christmas. The family tradition began 26 years ago with son, Joc, coordinating the event since 2012. Pictured from left: pre-school bicycle winner Jaxson Wiley, founder Tammy French, Kinzin French (Joc’s daughter), Austin Scroggins (nephew), Joc French, bicycle winners Logan Wiley and Mariyah Miller, Austyn Scroggins (niece). Not pictured was pre school bicycle winner Layleen Sutton. Mark and Tammy French started the tradition after Joc, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, was able to ride a bike. Not only did Joc pass that special needs bicycle on when he was 16 but took over the tradition along with his sister Amanda Scroggins help as an adult. His daughter, niece and nephew all attend Lovington Grade School.
Photo By R. R. Best Priceless Gift Tyrea Riley, a student in the Moultrie Co. CEFS Head Start 0-5 Program, gets a priceless gift from Santa Claus during the class visit to the Moultrie County Courthouse. Candy and gifts are soon gone, but this hug will last a lifetime.
Photo furnished VFW Donates Sullivan VFW #6410 Auxiliary recently donated $1000 to the local Peace Meal program coordinated by Sarah Bush Lincoln hospital. Pictured from left to right: Valerie Turnbow V.F.W. Aux. treasurer; Barbara Wylie of Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital and Barbara Vail VFW #6410 Aux. president.
Photo by Mike Brothers Grant for Lovington Fire District Lovington Fire District received a $2000 grant from ExonMobil Pipeline Co. Above Adam Tedrick of the ExonMobil office in Shelbyville presents the check to Lovington fire chief Gary Smith. Smith explained that part of the funds helped purchase a vehicle stabilizer (foreground) to assist in accident extrications. Tedrick noted ExonMobil has a pipeline pumping crude oil about three miles from Lovington and the Good Neighbor Grants help out smaller rural fire districts. Tedrick coordinates Operations and Maintenance for ExonMobil in a five county area with the grants rotated annually. “I meet with each of the fire departments in my service area one time a year,” Tedrick said. “I reached out to Gary and he pointed out Lovington Fire District could use equipment.” One district in each of the ExonMobil counties in this are received $2000 grants. This is the first time Lovington Fire District has received an ExonMobile Good Neighbor Grant.
Photo furnished OV Youth Advisors Okaw Valley High School students Natalie Jeffers and Ethan Macklin along with Cullen Dyer and Spencer Johnson of Sullivan High School and Eusebio Briseno, Abbi Duzan and Kolby Rickman of Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond High School met recently with State Senator Chapin Rose at Richland Community College. Senator Rose has put together a Youth Advisory Council consisting of two outstanding students per high school in the 51st Senate District. Students discussed issues that are important to today’s youth. They will meet in Springfield in the spring so that the students may experience the legislative process firsthand and participate in a mock committee hearing. Pictured from left: Ethan Macklin, OV social studies teacher, Brad Ackers, and Natalie Jeffers.
Photo furnished Secret Santa Sunday Volunteers for Secret Santa met at the Moultrie County Beacon for a final wrap party. In a few hours packages were wrapped and packed away ready for delivery to more than 180 Secret Santa families who are awaiting the gifts it takes a year of fundraising to earn.
Photo furnished OV Honor Band Eleven Okaw Valley High School Band Students participated in the EIU Honor Band Saturday, Dec. 9. They were front - Baylee Suarez, Haven Caulfield, Connor Powers, Elizabeth Herbord; back - Shelby Harding, Kyra Jackson, Caleb Hildebrandt, Ethan Macklin, Justin Oathout, Madeline Ray, TJ Williams Okaw Valley had students placed in all three bands. Kyra Jackson, Connor Powers, and Elizabeth Herbord placed first chair. Ethan Macklin placed in the wind symphony. To be a part of the EIU Honor Band students must apply online, and then the teacher must submit an evaluation. Fourteen OVHS students were chosen, and 11 were able to attend.
Photo furnished Santa Visits Lovington Santa Claus visited at the Lovington American Legion Sunday, Dec. 10, handing out treats and listening to children’s requests for favorite gifts. It was sponsored by the Ladies’ Auxiliary.