Bethany Applies TIF Funds to Park Trail Project

•July 27, 2016•

By Derek Pope
For the News Progress

Bethany’s village board gave a nod to nature enthusiasts this month by approving TIF funds to expand and improve Crowder Park’s walking trail. According to the Township Investment Fund chairman Greg McLain, the park district had envisioned alterations to the existing trail that would expand its “most visible, top portion” westward “down by the batting cages or skate park”.

While modest in scope, the cost of the project was the motivating factor for Marrowbone Park District to seek outside funding for the renovations.

The park district is itself a taxing body, levying a portion of village residents’ yearly property taxes for funding, but McLain said that the park board reported only around $16,000 in on hand money when they submitted their proposal to the TIF committee.

Although the TIF committee has been somewhat deterred from funding major projects for other taxing bodies in the past, McLain said that the relatively small cost of the proposal influenced the TIF’s final decision.

“We have helped private businesses with a lot more money than what they were asking for so the committee recommended to grant them the entire $6,840.” McLain also mentioned the village’s 2013 decision to provide a much more sizable TIF grant to Marrowbone Public Library, another taxing body in the village, as precedent for the committee’s recommendation.  Read More

Pokemon Go Keeps Going in County

Photo by Kennedy Nolen All it takes is a smart phone, a free app, and a desire to solve the mysteries of Pokemon Go.

Photo by Kennedy Nolen
All it takes is a smart phone, a free app, and a desire to solve the mysteries of Pokemon Go.

•July 27, 2016•

By Kennedy Nolen
For the News Progress

It’s like an invasion. As the sun sets in Sullivan the young people come on to the streets armed with smart phones as Pokemon Go takes them to stops all over town.

Pokémon Go, a game/application by Niantic, has taken the world by storm since its July 6 release. This free application merges the Pokémon world with reality and gives players an opportunity to relive their childhood.

The game uses players’ smart phone GPS locations and maps to track their current location. Based on the location, a range of 250 Pokémon will appear along with the level of its power.

After catching a certain amount of Pokémon, players will eventually run out of Pokéballs which they will need to restock. This may be done via buying them with coins purchased with actual money, by earning them at battling in gyms, or by visiting special monuments known as ‘Pokéstops’. Read More

Passports Available Through Sullivan Post Office

Photo by Mike Brothers Passports are available at the Sullivan Post Office. Postmaster Cindy Temple explained the forms may  be completed in advance to save time in processing.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Passports are available at the Sullivan Post Office. Postmaster Cindy Temple explained the forms may be completed in advance to save time in processing.

•July 27, 2016•

With national political conventions stirring things up, some folks may be looking to leave the country for a while.

Moultrie County residents have new hope in that direction, with the addition of passport services at the Sullivan Post office.

“We are glad to provide this additional service to our patrons,” Sullivan postmaster Cindy Temple said.

A year ago the Moultrie County Circuit Clerk’s office discontinued passport service, and by April 2016 Sullivan Post Office was approved by the U.S. State Department to process passport applications.

“First we went through the State Dept. approval process, then all our clerks were trained, tested and certified on the specific requirements for passport applications,” Temple explained, noting Sullivan Post Office has averaged four passport applications per week since April. Read More

Sullivan Plans Citywide Cleanup

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

The Sullivan City Council voted to use services from Advanced Disposal for city clean-up day.

According to a letter from the Charleston’s Municipal Waste manager Ed Woker Advanced’s house-to-house service is at a rate of $1,550 per load for two Saturdays a month.

Mayor Ann Short noted it would be best to do one half of the city on one Saturday and then complete the other half the following Saturday.

Commissioner Bill Hagen contacted Advanced Disposal’s regional office after the city received a quote from a Peoria disposal company presented at the June 27 meeting.

Advanced pricing was $745 per truck load less for curbside service, and Hagen is scheduling the service days as soon as possible. Read More

Little Theatre Bridges Generations With “All Shook Up”

All Shook Up pic•July 20, 2016•

By Cheryl Murphy
NP Columnist

If you’re a true Elvis fan, you’ll have fun. Even if you’re not, as several patrons expressed, you’ll still have fun as this is NOT a showcase for an Elvis impersonator.

True, “All Shook up” is inspired by and features the songs of Elvis Presley; it’s a jukebox musical full of 50’s and 60’s hit songs from ballads to blues to rockabilly. Some of Presley’s biggest hits are performed such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Me Tender,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and the title’s song. But you’ll find quite a diverse group, too; these come from Presley’s soundtracks and LPs that would be unfamiliar to non-Elvis fans.

Amongst all this vintage singing and dancing there is a story that has a host of characters all searching for love. It is set in the 1950’s, somewhere in the Midwest where one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a leather-jacketed, guitar-playing, motorcyclist helps a small town discover the magic of romance and the power of Rock N Roll.

One critic commented the dialogue seems to just set up the next song, 24 in all, and it’s too much music to make it on Broadway or with the general theatre audience. I disagree; I saw a complex plot to completion with lots of amazing singing and dancing in the normal time frame. Read More

Sullivan Summer Recreation Program Keeps Growing

Photo by Brynna Sentel Sullivan Summer Park and Recreation program is filled will all kinds of activities to exercise the young bodies and minds who are participating this year. Above Kailen Scribner engages in one of the mind exercising games. Click the photo to see the photo page.

Photo by Brynna Sentel
Sullivan Summer Park and Recreation program is filled will all kinds of activities to exercise the young bodies and minds who are participating this year. Above Kailen Scribner engages in one of the mind exercising games. Click the photo to see the photo page.

•July 20, 2016•

By Brynna Sentel
For the News Progress

One hundred fifteen kids, numerous donations, and a little heart have let the summer park program flourish in Sullivan.

Jake and Melissa Haegen have worked hard to improve Sullivan’s park rec program. An over 50-year-old program has evolved from 30-40 kids to 115, from two supervisors to multiple teenage volunteers who have been through the program and from a quick lunch break to a provided food program.

The program grew so rapidly in the past few years that the Haegens had to specify the requirements to participate. This free program is available to kids who have attended kindergarten in Sullivan schools. Kids may come until they are up to 12 years of age. Read More

Shooting Fireworks Packs a Bang Locally

Photo by Darian Hays Hunter Kamm returned to Lovington with a mission. He not only designed but also shot the fireworks return for Central State Fireworks during the rescheduled event July 9.

Photo by Darian Hays
Hunter Kamm returned to Lovington with a mission. He not only designed but also shot the fireworks return for Central State Fireworks during the rescheduled event July 9.

•July 13, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Hunter Kamm’s childhood love of fireworks turned into a full time job, designing shows for Bethany, Arthur, Sullivan and Lovington this Independence celebration season.

Kamm, who works for Central States Fireworks in Athens, is in the busiest of the fireworks season.

“I always dreamed about being able to design and shoot a display,” Kamm said, noting this year he was happy to lead the new Sullivan fireworks program.

At 19, the Lovington native is an assistant pyrotechnist, which allows him to design and set displays but not shoot. Fortunately, his father Jake is lead pyrotechnist with Hunter taking care of design and set up for the Sullivan show as well as others in the area.

Last weekend Hunter brought fireworks back to his hometown of Lovington in a big way.

Gene Clark created a series of ground fireworks displays that were the hallmark of the village fireworks for years. When Clark passed away eight years ago, Hunter began the process of restoring some of those displays and was able to bring “The Chief” back for the rescheduled July 9 Lovington fireworks show.

“He had some unique ground displays over the years, and my goal is to eventually get them restored and returned to service,” Kamm said of Clark’s memorial.

Lovington fireworks followed the spectacular show in Sullivan on July 4. Read More

Direct Primary Care Comes to Sullivan Health Care

Photo by Mike Brothers Dr Dust changes practice at Sullivan Health Care to focus more on patient care.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Dr Dust changes practice at Sullivan Health Care to focus more on patient care.

Thirty Year Practice Continues with New Approach

•July 13, 2016•

When Dr. Glen Dust converts his Sullivan Health Care practice to Direct Primary Care October 1, he joins four physicians in Illinois offering concierge medicine.

Interest in the trend to replace insurance companies with a membership for primary care has grown nationwide as it helps lower health care costs.

Dr. Dust’s traditional family care practice has demanded more time dealing with insurance requirements for the past 10-15 years which does nothing toward treating patients.

“I’m spending weekends and additional time just to keep up with the growing requirements from insurance companies,” Dust explained. “I want to get back to taking care of patients.”

“In some ways Direct Primary Care is a throwback to when doctors were taking chickens and eggs for payment,” he continued, emphasizing the set fee includes everything from office surgeries to regular visits.

Savings in lab costs can reach 90 percent as just one example of services included for a plan set up with monthly payments. No co-pays, no questions from insurance companies about quality of care and no worries of sharing medical files are among the benefits offered. Read More

CodeRED Offers Mulitple Warning Services for County

•July 13, 2016•

By Emily Stutzman
For the News Progress

Living in central Illinois, weather conditions such as tornados, flash floods, and thunderstorms are abundant.

In order to maintain public safety, hazardous weather conditions are commonly broadcast on radio and television; however, most of these warnings are general, and cover sizable, generalized areas.

As Moultrie County ESDA coordinator, Jan Haegen, puts it, “That’s too general, and people don’t take heed. It’s like crying wolf.” Addressing the need to reach only the specific groups of people affected by these occurrences, ESDA employs an innovative alert service called CodeRED.

CodeRED is a nationally used warning service that not only warns citizens of weather conditions but can also be used to send out warnings about dangerous situations such chemical spills, fires, and missing person situations, to name only a few.

Haegen recalls implementing the service several years ago, calling it a “worthwhile investment.”  Read More

Extension Programs: Helping People Help Themselves

Photo by Mike Brothers Moultrie Douglas Extension educator Cheri Burcham introduces Judy Brown to the first of the Memory Game story cards. Brown had a lion card, and she went to the zoo. Nina Glazebrook had to remember Brown’s story while adding her own story to the list as they traveled around the table at Mid-Illinois Senior Center in Sullivan last week.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Moultrie Douglas Extension educator Cheri Burcham introduces Judy Brown to the first of the Memory Game story cards. Brown had a lion card, and she went to the zoo. Nina Glazebrook had to remember Brown’s story while adding her own story to the list as they traveled around the table at Mid-Illinois Senior Center in Sullivan last week.

•July 6, 2016•

By Emily Stutzman
For the New Progress

University of Illinois Extension is about helping people help themselves.” This is how Cheri Burcham, Family Life Educator with the University of Illinois Extension, describes her job in a nutshell.

Burcham has worked with Extension since 1998 and says that the chance to reach people of all ages, empowering them and assisting them in attaining a better quality of life, is what makes her career so worthwhile.

Burcham covers the five counties of Coles, Douglas, Moultrie, Cumberland, and Shelby and is one of the six Family Life Educators in the state of Illinois.

As a Family Life Educator, she is able to offer programs based on research from the world-renowned Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois. She remarks that, “My job as an educator is to take the research from the University of Illinois and bring it to the public in a way that they can use in their everyday lives.”

One aspect of her job is using that research to work with parents and childcare providers. For instance, Burcham teaches workshops and programs for groups of people concerning healthy communication within families, helping them build healthy relationships and become stronger together. Although working in group settings and with presentations is more typical, Burcham affirms that she also aids individuals who come to her with specific questions.  Read More