In 3-2 Vote, Council Agrees to Purchase Patterson Property for $40,000

September 17, 2014

Dissenting votes cite lack of appraisal, believe price is too high
by Barry Featheringill
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

After meeting in closed session last Monday to discuss the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, the Sullivan city council then emerged and voted 3-2 in favor of moving forward on the purchase of property located at 402 S. Patterson for $40,000.
Commissioners Mike Kirk and Monte LeCrone both dissented, each citing that the price was, in their opinions, too high.
“Would it be logical for the city to own it?  Sure,” said LeCrone, in an email. “My no vote was the result of price and timing. We don’t know what it’s worth, but at the price given in the motion, [it] seems twice what I believe it’s worth.” Read More

Wanted Man Arrested in Effingham Saturday

September 10, 2014

Fugitive that Mo.Co. deputies searched for last week found in K-Mart

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Armer

Armer

A fugitive that sparked a manhunt last Tuesday near Windsor was found and arrested Saturday in Effingham.
Matthew E. Armer, 42, of Trilla, was arrested Saturday just after 8 p.m. at a K-Mart in Effingham according to area authorities.
Armer’s arrest comes after he fled from Moultrie County deputies last Tuesday while they were attempting to serve him an arrest warrant. Armer fled on foot into a cornfield around 3:12 p.m., sparking an immediate manhunt in the area by Sullivan, Windsor, and Mattoon police, as well as Coles, Shelby, and Moultrie county deputies. The Illinois State police also assisted with patrol units and with an aerial unit that was already in the area. Read More

Man Dies After Motorcycle Collision

Photo by RR Best Pictured are the remains of a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze that collided head-on with a 1999 Harley Davidson  last Wednesday evening. The driver of the motorcycle, Leslie Harlin, of Mattoon, was prounounced dead at the scene.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured are the remains of a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze that collided head-on with a 1999 Harley Davidson last Wednesday evening. The driver of the motorcycle, Leslie Harlin, of Mattoon, was prounounced dead at the scene.

September 3, 2014

Mattoon resident hits oncoming car head-on Wednesday evening

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Mattoon man that collided head-on with a vehicle and was ejected from his motorcycle, was later pronounced dead Wednesday evening.
The man was heading northbound on his 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle on county road 1100E (north of Worth Street) Wednesday evening and later struck an oncoming 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, according to a press release by the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Department. Read More

Moultrie Sees Lowest Unemployment in Central Illinois Once Again

UnemploymentJuly14-13August 27, 2014

July still sees slight uptick from last two months

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Despite a slight uptick from the last two months, Moultrie County’s unemployment rate in July was still lower than any other central Illinois county, marking an ongoing trend throughout the current year.

At 5.8, the July rate, which tied for the 10th lowest in the state, was an uptick from 5.5 the two previous months, and so far the county enjoyed its lowest rate of the year in April at 5.4, which was the lowest in Moultrie since November of 2011 when it was 5.3.

Moultrie began 2014 with an unemployment rate of 7.3, which was also the lowest out of its neighboring counties. Read More

Red Apple Fire Ruled Accidental

Photo by Keith Stewart The south side of the Red Apple Family Restaurant in Sullivan is seen torn wide open after the state fire marshal conducted an investigation into the cause of the July 29 fire, which was concluded last week as accidental and indicating that grease was in fact a potential cause.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The south side of the Red Apple Family Restaurant in Sullivan is seen torn wide open after the state fire marshal conducted an investigation into the cause of the July 29 fire, which was concluded last week as accidental and indicating that grease was in fact a potential cause.

August 20, 2014

Grease the likely culprit in cause

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

An investigation into the fire that ravaged the Sullivan Red Apple Family Restaurant in late July concluded last Wednesday citing the cause as accidental and with grease a probable suspect according to Sullivan fire chief Mike Piper.

The investigation also concluded that the cause did not appear to be linked to anything electrical. 

“It was the hood vent,” explained Red Apple manager Tim Halili. “The grease collects in the vent hood, and it the fire started in the kitchen.” Read More

Over 2,000 Traffic Signs to be Replaced in Moultrie

Photo by Keith Stewart The new style of rural reference and street name signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The new style of rural reference and street name signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.

August 13, 2014

2009 rules and routine wear prompt replacement

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

With routine replacement of traffic signs and regulations from 2009 dictating new retroreflectivity levels and upper and lower case street signs, Moultrie County is preparing to replace more than 2,000 regulatory, warning, and post mounted guide signs beginning this fall, not to mention 2,755 rural reference/street signs as needed.

At the monthly road and bridge committee meeting last Tuesday, it was announced that bids for the purchase of the 2,015 regulatory signs would open August 22.

According to county engineer Jeffrey Birch, the sign upgrade project comes with a program cost of $185,000, though a figure that is strictly for budgeting purposes. While there is an estimated cost for the project, which is typically lower than the program cost, Birch says that in order to have potential bidders bid “blind”, that estimate would need to be withheld.

“The program cost is a ‘best guess’ established by the agency at the time of preparing the annual budget and is a very rough ballpark figure,” explained Birch in a separate interview. “The estimate of cost is prepared  after the specifics to any contract have been determined.  The estimate of cost is a much more refined number.  Both numbers were prepared by the County Highway Department.” Read More

Alleyway Accident Leaves Council Considering One-Way Ordinance

Photo by Keith Stewart A TNT Pizzeria delivery vehicle sits in the alleyway, which was the site of an incident last month when a Little Theatre staff member and a TNT delivery collided. As a result, the Sullivan City Council is considering an ordinance making the alleyway a one-way after the request by LTOTS executive director John Stephens. However, TNT owner Tim Rose doesn’t believe that will prevent another such occurrence in the future.

Photo by Keith Stewart
A TnT Pizzeria delivery vehicle sits in the alleyway behind the business, which was the site of an incident last month when a Little Theatre staff member and a TnT delivery collided. As a result, the Sullivan City Council is considering an ordinance making the alleyway a one-way after the request by LTOTS executive director John Stephens. However, TnT owner Tim Rose doesn’t believe that will prevent another such occurrence in the future.

August 6, 2014

TnT vehicle and LTOTS cast member collide

by Barry Featheringill
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Little Theatre executive director and producer John Stephens was present a week ago Monday at the Sullivan City Council to discuss a problem that recently arose with the alleyway behind the theatre.

According to Stephens, one of the cast members was exiting the building and walked into a vehicle that was entering the alley off Washington Street. 

“I’m concerned about this as there is a blind spot coming out of the building and more and more we are having young people in the cast,” said Stephens, who filed a police report.

According to the report, 22-year-old Erik Weis received a scrape on his left hand when he hit the driver’s side passenger window area of a TnT delivery vehicle driven by Rickie Wood.

No tickets were issued according to Stephens, who asked the city to consider making the alleyway a oneway in an effort to avoid similar accidents in the future.

“There’s no fault on either side” said Stephens in a separate interview. “But this can help avoid this from happening again in the future.” Read More

Red Apple Goes Up in Flames

Photo by RR Best Sullivan firefighters Trevor Hughes and Larry Edwards stand atop the burning Red Apple restaurant Tuesday morning.

Photo by RR Best
Sullivan firefighters Trevor Hughes and Larry Edwards stand atop the burning Red Apple restaurant Tuesday morning.

July 30, 2014

Box-alarm fire devastates local restaurant

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A blaze that lasted nearly two hours ravaged a restaurant in Sullivan Tuesday morning.

The Red Apple Family Restaurant caught fire shortly before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday according to Sullivan fire captain Chris Wright.

  Emergency personnel were paged out at 8:23 a.m. with the first fire company arriving at 8:25 a.m. Initial observations by emergency personnel included heavy dark smoke and fire coming out the back of the restaurant.

The first company entered the building only to discover zero visibility and that the fire was actually located above them in the attic.  Read More

Red Apple Up in Flames

Photo by Keith Stewart Firefighters douse flames on the south side of the Red Apple restaurant in Sullivan Tuesday morning.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Firefighters douse flames on the north side of the Red Apple restaurant in Sullivan Tuesday morning.

July 29, 2014

Multiple-alarm fire devastates Sullivan restaurant

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A blaze that lasted nearly two hours ravaged a family diner in Sullivan Tuesday morning.

The Red Apple family restaurant caught fire approximately at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday according to the restaurant’s staff. Manager Tim Halili said that at the time, the only item cooking was bacon in the deep fryers.

“I turned around and saw flames,” he said. “I then told everyone to get outside.” Read More

Sullivan Schools Consider Bus Leasing

July 23, 2014

Big aim is to avoid increasing maintenance costs

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

With new regulations and increased costs for purchasing and maintaining bus fleets, Sullivan schools may opt to begin leasing their busses, rather than purchasing them outright.

The need for a lease was discussed both during and after Sullivan schools transportation supervisor Cary Suhl’s annual transportation report last month.

In his report, Suhl explained that the district has 25 vehicles in its fleet, including 16 school busses and that bus drivers drove an average of 709 miles each day to get students to and from school at an average cost of $2,210.33 per day. For the 13-14 school year, the district’s fleet underwent 154,143 miles of travel, down 2,812 miles from a year ago. The majority of the fleet also enjoyed slightly better gas mileage this past school year, and the average cost per gallon of diesel had also fallen just less than 12 cents. The 13-14 budget stipulated $80,000 for fuel, but the total came in $14,573.07 less at $65,426.92 as of June 12. Read More