Challenged Runner on Inspirational Trip

Photo by Mike Brothers Jeff Hobbs’ journey to the Chicago Marathon inspires Sullivan students during recent assembly.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Jeff Hobbs’ journey to the Chicago Marathon inspires Sullivan students during recent assembly.

•May 25, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan High School principal Erik Young saw Jeff Hobbs running in a high school cross country meet 18 years ago and was inspired.

Hobbs has Spastic Cerebral Palsy (Quadriplegia) and is a runner who has already overcome more obstacles than you can imagine. Now he  is training to run the Chicago Marathon.

Hobbs told Sullivan High School students his story of determination during an assembly May 9.

His attempt to run the 26.2 mile Chicago Marathon in 2014 ended short with severe damage to tendons and stress fractures to his feet.

With the help of special shoes and training on an ultra gravity treadmill his hope to run is rekindled.

Hobbs’ big hope is to be the first person with Quadriplegia to ever finish the Chicago Marathon which celebrates its 39th anniversary this October. Read More

A Day at the Wax Museum

Photo by Mike Brothers Babe Ruth is ready to hit as Jake Stewart.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Babe Ruth is ready to hit as Jake Stewart. Click the photo for the photo page.

•May 25, 2016•

The fourth grade wax museum at Sullivan Elementary School displayed a mix of pop culture and history Wednesday, May 11.

Students in the three fourth grade classes of Kurt Friese, Drew Campbell and Kay Lehman spent the past two months learning about characters from history and pop culture.

Inside the elementary school gymnasium on Wednesday those students became the characters they were studying.

“Students were given a month to select their character,” said Kay Lehman, noting they had to make the case for their character having an influence on history before approval was given.

Social studies help provide many of the characters. “Those choosing pop culture characters had to show how they impacted America,” Lehman explained.

This is the third year for the wax museum, and students added an iPod dimension to their character displays. Read More

Yost Trial Date Set

•May 25, 2016•

The Michael Yost jury trial begins at 9 a.m. August 1 in the Moultrie County Courthouse.

Yost, 42, is charged with the March 5, 2015 death of Sheri Randall, 34, of Sullivan and was not present for the status hearing May 24.

Public defender Brad Rau, State’s Attorney Jeremy Richey and special prosecutor Ed Parkinson appeared before Chief Judge Dan L. Flannell set August 1 as the first day for jury selection and discussed a letter from Yost, complaining of jail conditions.

Directing state’s attorney Richey and Yost’s attorney Rau to discuss the complaint with sheriff Chris Sims, Judge Flannell pointed out this was the second complaint made by the Moultrie County inmate. Read More

New Water and Sewer Rates Ahead for Lovington Residents

•May 25, 2016•

Lovington water and sewer rates are increasing in an effort to cover production and provide improvements to the system.

Village board members unanimously approved the ordinance with new rates during the April meeting.

The water rate increases by 50 cents for the first 1000 gallons with no cost change for additional 1000 gallons. Sewer rates increase to $4.50 first 1000 gallons with a 50 cent charge for each additional 1000 gallons. A $5 reserve fund for both water and sewer was added with no SSM change.

Lovington Park and Recreation week is Monday, June 6 through Friday, June 10 and received $700 from the village. Jennifer Peck appeared before the board explaining the program was starting from scratch so everything from supplies to totes for storage are needed. The room next to the clerk /treasurer’s office at the village hall is being cleared for park recreation storage space. Peck related that approximately 40 Lovington children are planning to participate in the weeklong event. Lunches will be provided by Fun in the Sun every day but Friday which is a Little Caesar’s Pizza party. Read More

Good Weather for Graduation in Sullivan

Photo by Mike Brothers Pomp and Circumstance-Sullivan High School seniors Evan Baker holding the flag and Ben Berner line up during the processional Sunday. It was the 138th high school commencement held at 5 p.m. May 15 on the high school football field.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Pomp and Circumstance-Sullivan High School seniors Evan Baker holding the flag and Ben Berner line up during the processional Sunday. It was the 138th high school commencement held at 5 p.m. May 15 on the high school football field.

•May 18, 2016•

The weather blessed Sullivan High School with outdoor graduation ceremonies at 5 p.m. Sunday with 83 seniors receiving diplomas.

District 300 board president Steve Poland announced the salutatorian Zane Uphoff and valedictorian Emily Stutzman.

In her valedictory address Stutzman recalled arriving at Sullivan High School as a new student.

“When I arrived here three years ago, I was amazed how quickly news travels,” she began, “I wasn’t used to everyone knowing everyone.”

She explained the dread she felt in the beginning was relieved when unfamiliar classmates quickly became friends. “Now I’m not quite ready to leave.”

“How we see others is a reflection of how we see ourselves,” Stutzman said, pointing out the friends and memories of high school are priceless.

“Ours is a bright, untouched future, where the possibilities are endless,” she continued, encouraging her classmates to work for their dreams. Read More

A Twist of Fun Followed by the Sound of Laughter

Photo By Mike Brothers Deb Joy Hart brought the WorldLaughterTour to Mason Point as part of National Nursing Home Week activities.

Photo By Mike Brothers
Deb Joy Hart brought the WorldLaughterTour to Mason Point as part of National Nursing Home Week activities.

•May 18, 2016•

National Nursing Home Week brought a variety of activities to area facilities May 8-14. The sounds of laughter arrived when Mason Point residents in Sullivan met Deborah Joy Hart.

Hart, a laughter therapist, is part of the WorldLaughterTour and stopped by Mason Point May 10 for…you guessed it…a few laughs.

“Laughter has psychological and physiological benefits for the body, mind and spirit.” Hart of St. Joseph, Ill. has spread laughter therapy all over the world.

“I was the class clown in school, and while I was a nurse I saw the positive effect humor had in healing and health,” she said of her start in applied and therapeutic humor. Read More

ALAH District Board Reviews School Lunch Programs

•May 18, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Last school year after experiencing rising costs in services with Aramark, Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond questioned the possibilities of finding alternatives. The new 2016-2017 contract with a 2.6% increase (due to cost of living) was brought to the table at the last ALAH board meeting.

“With new regulations and menus that have come about in the last few years, it would be a huge undertaking to find other companies,” commented superintendent Kenny Schwengel .

“High school lunch numbers have gotten bigger since there is an open menu. More kids eat here,” noted principal Buck Condill.

“The menu has changed drastically since last year,” said Lindsay Blickenstaff, Atwood-Hammond elementary principal. “Some complaints I have heard are portion size—some students may not be getting enough to eat. Although our breakfast numbers are large, there are a lot of people who eat breakfast,” she added.

At Lovington Elementary School, the story was a little different. “Our lunch numbers are down,” informed principal Brandon Stone. “The main complaint heard in Lovington is the variety. Variety is lacking. Even the students who receive free and reduced lunches are bringing their own lunch. That is rare,” he said.

Sage Hale, principal of Arthur Elementary School reported little change in numbers served. After some discussion among the administrators and school board, the 2016-2017 contract was approved unanimously. Read More

Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story

Photo courtesy Jessica Voyles Sullivan High School English teacher Rebecca Lawson left introduces Holocaust survivor Jerry Koenig, who gave his account of Poland under the  Nazis during World War II.

Photo courtesy Jessica Voyles
Sullivan High School English teacher Rebecca Lawson left introduces Holocaust survivor Jerry Koenig, who gave his account of Poland under the Nazis during World War II.

•May 11, 2016•

Eleven people hidden in a hole under a barn in Poland lived in fear of death for 22 months during World War II.

Jerry Koenig, Holocaust survivor of that ordeal, told Sullivan students what life of a persecuted group was like under the Nazi reign of terror. Only 10 percent of the Jewish population in Poland survived the Holocaust.

Sunday, May 1 was Yom Hashoah (Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust), making Koenig’s presence historically significant for those gathered in the Sullivan High School gymnasium.

“After Germany took over Poland in 1939, they forced Jewish people to wear a white arm band with the Star of David,” Koenig, who was nine years old then, recalled. “Then they started rationing food to give the army first priority.”

Koenig and his middle class family lived in Pruszkow but were soon trucked to Warsaw ghettos where the Nazis were starting the starvation process to exterminate the Jews.

“There were 300,000 people crammed into a walled neighborhood and survival depended on how much food we could buy from the black market,” Koenig, said, recalling his father arranged an escape to the country for his mother, younger brother and himself. Read More

Talent Management Pipeline Program Fills Skill Gap

Photo furnished Culvert Replacement Sullivan Township Road Commissioner Elmo Weaver explained Moultrie County Road 1100N, south and east of Kirksville will need to be closed a couple days when weather permits. Then this drainage improving 50 foot long, six foot tall culvert can be installed. Above Township operator Rich Rutledge puts pressure on end loader tires as he unloads the five ton culvert, which was trucked from Kirksville, Missouri to Kirksville, IL.

Photo furnished
Culvert Replacement
Sullivan Township Road Commissioner Elmo Weaver explained Moultrie County Road 1100N, south and east of Kirksville will need to be closed a couple days when weather permits. Then this drainage improving 50 foot long, six foot tall culvert can be installed. Above Township operator Rich Rutledge puts pressure on end loader tires as he unloads the five ton culvert, which was trucked from Kirksville, Missouri to Kirksville, IL.

•May 11, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Those attending the No Job Left Behind May 3 session at Yoder’s Kitchen in Arthur learned the value of the Talent Management Pipeline.

Guest speakers Vicky Haugen, Executive Director and Kim Kuchenbrod, Workforce Development of Vermillion Advantage presented the Talent Management Pipeline Program.

Several businesses were in attendance: Hydro-Gear, Agri-Fab, GSI, IHI Turbo, Moultrie County Counseling Center, MasterBrand Cabinets, U of I Extension, several school officials and business teachers, Arthur Tourism and the City of Arcola.

The Talent Management Pipeline Program was put into movement in 2014 to help an American economy  facing threats with a skill gap that is hindering growth and competitiveness of companies. A growing number of students are finding trouble managing their transition to employment and business. In a troubling economy, there are businesses who are in need of new workers with fresh talent. Read More

Street Closings Accompany Square Improvements

Photo by Mike Brothers New curbs, gutters and ADA approved sidewalks in Sullivan are nearing completion by Walker Construction of Mattoon. Work has begun milling pavement around the square with motorists dealing with street closings and detours for awhile.

Photo by Mike Brothers
New curbs, gutters and ADA approved sidewalks in Sullivan are nearing completion by Walker Construction of Mattoon. Work has begun milling pavement around the square with motorists dealing with street closings and detours for awhile.

Time and Patience Required

•May 4, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

The good news is the streets and sidewalks around the Sullivan square will look great when finished.

And the bad news has already hit some of the businesses around the square.

Starting Wednesday, May 4 the north and west sides of the square are closed.

On Thursday, May 5 the east and south sides of the square are being closed for more extensive construction.

As the city’s complete resurfacing project continues, side street closings started May 3 and extend through Thursday, May 5.  Read More