Touch Screen Voting Comes to Moultrie

Photo Submitted New Voting Equipment: Liberty Systems LLC partner Ken Gibson, County Clerk Georgia England and Election Deputy Jamie Helton prepared the system for operation last week.

Photo Submitted
New Voting Equipment: Liberty Systems LLC partner Ken Gibson, County Clerk Georgia England and Election Deputy Jamie Helton prepared the system for operation last week.

Storage Capacity Increased

•February 10, 2016•

Touch screen voting is coming to Moultrie County elections this spring, giving electronic or traditional as a voting option , all with updatedcentralized tabulation equipment.

County Clerk Georgia England explained election judges will learn the new system’s operations during a March 8 training session.

Ken Gibson, of Liberty Systems LLC, the vendor for the new voter tabulation system, explained the county’s equipment was 25 years old and was reaching maximum memory capacity.

The new tabulation system can hold the entire county’s tabulations on one piece of equipment.

“Plus there is the capacity for future growth,” Gibson said. Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Sullivan District Approves Bond Issue

•February 10, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan Community Unit #300 school board approved issuing $123,000 taxable obligation bonds while discussing funding options for $5 million in Life Health Safety Improvements.

Board president Steve Poland asked whether the general obligation bonds issuance was related to the current state budget crisis.

Supt. Brad Tuttle explained that Gov. Rauner’s  economic agenda calls for a property tax freeze which could affect every district’s funding ability in the state.

By issuing the $123,000 in bonds the school tax rate will be partially buffered in the event of a freeze.

The resolution to issue $123,000 in bonds at 2.5 percent interest passed unanimously

Tim King of King Financial Consultants noted that the 15 school districts he represents all are taking the same precautions as Sullivan toward the tax freeze.

King pointed out the $2.5 billion in 0 interest statewide loans for which Sullivan applied to finance the HVAC and roofing repair costs went to Cook and collar counties school districts. Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

More County Flood Damage

•February 10, 2016•

Additional flood damage on Moultrie County roads and bridges increased to $180,000 county engineer Jeff Birch told the Road and Bridge committee February 8.

That amount is added to the total county damage claim filed earlier with the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.

“Once the water went down we discovered six bridges with erosion damage.” Birch explained that the county could  submit labor costs related to debris removal which assured the county’s qualification for disaster relief.

Committee chair Kevin McReynolds led discussion on eliminating vehicle rental from employees following the purchase of a truck for the Road and Bridge Dept.

Birch explained the department had accumulated enough funds to allow the purchase, and he had looked into the state contract bid site for vehicles. Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Guilty Plea for Burch

One charge dismissed

•January 20, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Wade T. Burch, 26, pled guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse before Judge Dan L. Flannell in Moultrie County Court January 13.

Burch, from Shelbyville, appeared with attorney Sean Britton in the 9 a.m. proceedings, where he entered the guilty plea on the lesser charged filed against him in April 2015.

Judge Flannell set sentencing for March 7, 2016. Burch has been released on $100,000 bond since April 26, 2015.  Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Donation Makes Pet Adoption Easier in Moultrie County

•January 20, 2016•

A donation to the Moultrie County Animal Shelter could make adopting a pet easier following Moultrie County Board action January 14.

Arlene Aschermann, chair of public health, safety and welfare presented terms to accept a $10,114 donation from the David A. Woodruff Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust, to be used for  animal control.

Aschermann’s moved to accept $10,114 from the David A Woodruff CRAT to expended only for the sole ad exclusive benefit of the Moutlrie County Animal Control Department for the purpose of increasing pet adoptions and decreasing rate of euthanasia including without limitation, costs of spaying, neutering, veterinary care, food and shelter.

In an additional motion the board unanimously approved creating a voucher program for animals adopted from the shelter. Once the pet is spayed or neutered the county will reimburse the owner up to $60 toward that expense. Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Sullivan Schools Funding Prospects from State Get ISEB Boost

•January 20, 2016•

Sullivan schools faces funding challenges since the state has failed to meet obligations to local districts, but there is a glimmer of hope that may change.

District #300 superintendent Brad Tuttle told school board members  during the regular January 11 meeting that there is a call for fully funding school districts for the first time in five years.

Tuttle explained that the Illinois State Board of Education passed a state budget that called for increased General State Aid (GSA).

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tony Smith pointed out since 2010, Illinois schools have lost $3.8 billion. The new state aid budget calls for full funding of GSA plus $2.548 billion for 2017.

Supt. Tuttle cautioned board members that full funding requests have been endorsed by the ISBE in the past and ignored by the legislature.

“Since Dr. Smith was appointed by Gov. Rauner, I have to believe there is hope for fully funding schools this time,” Tuttle said, noting the funding request could mean an additional $321,096 in state aid for Sullivan schools.

One factor improving the formula to $299 per student for Sullivan schools is the 42.7% low income level enrollment. Read More

Posted in Uncategorized