A Good Day For a Walk in Wyman Park

Photo by Mike Brothers Walking in the park is the same today as it was 100 years ago except the lake is a little bigger and the trees are mature. Sisters Martina Emrick and Teresa Ingram are taking a morning stroll around the lake on Wyman Park’s 100th birthday.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Walking in the park is the same today as it was 100 years ago except the lake is a little bigger and the trees are mature. Sisters Martina Emrick and Teresa Ingram are taking a morning stroll around the lake on Wyman Park’s 100th birthday.

A century old gift to the city

•September 2, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

It’s a good day to take a walk in the park. And for the people of Sullivan Wyman Park is the best place to take that stroll.

On Sept 1, 2015 the 45 acre Wyman Park at the north edge of the city turned 100 years old.

It was the vision of German immigrant and shoemaker Albert Wyman, a frugal man who took five mile walks every day.

Local resident and Wyman historian Joe Pound got interested in the shoemaker’s life after he and wife Joan returned to Sullivan to retire.

“What intrigued me at first was how a man who came from Germany in his twenties ended up in Sullivan,” Joe said, noting wife Joan, who passed away in July, was his researcher who traced Wyman’s journey along with help from local historian Janet Roney.

Pound, who is also of German ancestry, discovered that Wyman came to Sullivan from Effingham County in 1870 with 65 cents in his pocket.

By the time he gifted the city of Sullivan with $33,000 to establish a park, he was worth more than a million dollars in present day currency value. Read More

From Summer Camp to Macy’s Parade

•August 26, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

 

Photo by Mike Brothers Ben Berner is getting ready for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. He will be joined by mother Samantha in New York City while father Mike watches from Sullivan.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Ben Berner is getting ready for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. He will be joined by mother Samantha in New York City while father Mike watches from Sullivan.

Summer camp changed Ben Berner’s life and Sullivan High School’s history at the same time.

The B-flat clarinet player from the Sullivan High School band will march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with the Great American Honor Band.

Ben attended summer band camp at Eastern Illinois University where Camp Director Barry Houser encouraged him to apply for the Honor Band.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Berner said of his acceptance. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go as the first kid from Sullivan.”

Clarinets are in the Berner family with Ben’s mother Samantha playing in high school. She plans to attend while dad Mike will hold down the fort in Sullivan with the rest of the family watching the parade on television.

“This is cool! “ Samantha said, noting this was the 10th annual Honor Band performance at the Thanksgiving Day parade. She will fly out later in the week to join Ben and take a place on the main stage to watch the parade.

“Ben will be a busy guy,” said Sullivan band director Brock Freece, “He will have to prepare for the Thanksgiving parade in addition to performing in all our competitions and games this season.”

Freece attended the Eastern band camp as a youth. He has been a resource to help find ways to help with expenses for Ben’s trip as he will have to take care of transportation costs. Read More

Sparrows Unlimited Helps Families Throughout the Year

Photo by Mike Brothers Lovington area Vacation Bible School students worked together this summer raising more than $600 which they donated to Sparrows Ltd. Children from all churches gathered at First Baptist Church for the cooperative VBS. Above are some of those VBS participants: (kneeling from left) Cannon and Daylon Doggett, (standing) Krystina Myers, Peyton Newberry and Makayla Hays.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Lovington area Vacation Bible School students worked together this summer raising more than $600 which they donated to Sparrows Ltd. Children from all churches gathered at First Baptist Church for the cooperative VBS. Above are some of those VBS participants: (kneeling from left) Cannon and Daylon Doggett, (standing) Krystina Myers, Peyton Newberry and Makayla Hays.

•August 26, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting from Lovington

In 1994, a group of people saw a need within their community and wanted to help others who were less fortunate than they.

After holding an auction for the very first time at Jerry’s East End that December, it became an annual tradition.

“I have personally been involved with Sparrows for 15 years, and the generosity of the people, not just in our community, but the surrounding towns, never ceases to amaze me,” said Jessica Mercer, a member of the Sparrows group in Lovington.

Sparrows Unlimited is a non-profit organization that was started to help families in Lovington who were in need during Christmas. Although since then, the organization has evolved in the way it helps others.

“Originally the organization was to benefit families in need at Christmas, which is still our primary focus. Sparrow’s Unlimited has evolved into a vital tool within our community providing Christmas to families in need, and delivering fruit baskets to the elderly,” stated Pam Anklam, another member of the organization.

“We act as a resource and support system for many organizations in Lovington such as Christ’s Pantry, Lovington American Legion Post #429, COLA, Boy Scouts and many school organizations,” she added.

Sparrows Unlimited also provided coats for children. “Last year we bought more than 40 coats for children in the community,” informed Mercer. Along with providing coats, the organization also put together more than 100 fruit baskets for the elderly (anyone over 62) as a thank you for their contributions to the community.  Read More

Local Pair Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives
Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Civic Center changes over time

•August 19, 2015•

By Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

It is no small feat for a couple to live in harmony through a 50 year union; for it to remain a joyful partnership; to be a benefit to friends and to the community surrounding them.

On the 19th of this month, the Sullivan Civic Center celebrates 50 years of service to the community.

On the 18th of September the Sullivan Blue Dolphins swim team will also celebrate their 50th year.

As one mother put it “you can’t have a swim team without a pool!” And it was for this very reason, teaching kids to swim, that the Civic Center was first envisioned.

In the spring of 1961, the Sullivan Business and Professional Women’s Club collected names asking the city to set aside $150,000 for construction which the community approved by April 1962.

A Federal grant under the Housing and Home Finance Agency provided $250,000 for the project and construction began a year later.  Sullivan Civic Center hosted 525 swimmers on opening day, August 16, 1965 and and more than 1000 people attended the dedication.

When Charles Smith, 24, was hired as director an agreement was reached with the school district to allow the students to receive swimming lessons. The first competitive swim team was formed with Doug Shimp as coach of about 20 swimmers.

By March the next year the center hosted seven teams from surrounding counties. Included in the 200 swimmers, was a 1964 Olympic swimmer Lynn Alsup of Bloomington.

From the beginning Sullivan demonstrated its support; giving the team a free pass for practice and competitions.

When the doors reopened in 1974, after roof repairs,  director Steve Ludwig reorganized the swim team as the Blue Dolphins.  Read More

County Board Approves Courthouse Repairs

Photo by RR Best Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

•August 19, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Moultrie County is sprucing up the courthouse.

On Thursday, August 20 the Moultrie County Board proceeded with the restoration of the exterior of the courthouse with a unanimous vote, based on the recommendation of Building and Grounds Committee chair Gary Smith.

Low bid of $203,755 was awarded Masons Masonry Restoration of Brownstown, Ill.

At the bid opening earlier in the week Tim Raibley from Architercture & Design Group Ltd of Mt. Carmel explained the basic bid was for 200 feet of crack repair and 50 large stone patches needed for the building. Raibley noted that Masons had just completed a similar project on the Richland County courthouse in Olney.

Board chair Dave McCabe explained the county intends to pay for the project from surplus funds.

“We’ve been building reserves,” McCabe said, noting an extra $100,000 loan payment on the jail will be deferred to the tuck pointing project this year.

Potential funding from the city of Sullivan is also being sought.

The serious failure of the tuckpointing is allowing moisture into the building.

A moisture situation on the third floor is among interior issues the board hopes the restoration project will address. McCabe said loose stones and tuckpointing issues on the courthouse came to the board’s attention about a year ago.

Moultrie County Courthouse was built in 1904 and has been well-maintained over the years.  Read More

Quick Acting Teens Save the Day

Photo RR Best YOUNG FIREFIGHTERS- Leyton Burcham (left) and Patrick Owens took quick action and their garden hoses to the Jim Smith house in Country Estates Sunday. Sullivan Firefighters representative Kenny Graven (center) was on hand to present the young volunteers with Sullivan Fire Department shirts.

Photo RR Best
YOUNG FIREFIGHTERS - Leyton Burcham (left) and Patrick Owens took quick action and their garden hoses to the Jim Smith house in Country Estates Sunday. Sullivan Firefighters representative Kenny Graven (center) was on hand to present the young volunteers with Sullivan Fire Department shirts.

•August 12, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Quick action by two young Sullivan teenagers at a neighbor’s house fire Sunday may have saved the day.

Sullivan’s Fire Department decided to honor that brave effort.

“These boys thought quickly,” fireman Dan Baugher said of their reaction to the fire at Jim and Sheila Smith’s house in Country Club Estates.

“They saw a situation that was bad and tried to make it better.” Baugher said, noting the department appreciated that effort and gave them honorary firefighter t-shirts.

Leyton Burcham,14, and Patrick Owen,13, noticed the blaze at their neighbor’s and immediately got a ladder, two hoses and went to work.

“We came around the corner on our way home from church when I saw the smoke,” Leyton said. “At first I thought the smoke was coming from my house.”

“Pulling into the drive I noticed flames coming out the side of their house,” Leyton said.” So I grabbed their hose while Mom went to get a ladder.”

Cheri Burcham called 9-1-1 while fetching the ladder for her young firefighter.

Deb Owens, Patrick’s mom, was standing in her kitchen. “I heard a crash and knew it was close, but I had no idea it was across the street.”  Read More

Dedicated for Life

Photo Courtesy the News•Progress Archives Pictured is Pauline Briney working inside the former Moultrie County News offices. Briney was not only an avid writer and reporter for area newspapers but also a serious public servant that always strove to represent Findlay.

Photo Courtesy the News•Progress Archives
Pictured is Pauline Briney working inside the former Moultrie County News offices. Briney was not only an avid writer and reporter for area newspapers but also a serious public servant that always strove to represent Findlay.

Pauline Briney remembered as loyal public servant

•August 5, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

 

This past Saturday morning, family members of the late Pauline Briney gathered at her residence on 304 E. Division St. in Findlay to go over the abundance of articles, poetry, and photos that the former Findlay mayor and unofficial historian had written and collected over her 90 years.

Just outside her home about a block west on the main drag, the Findlay Walleye Festival parade was beginning–emergency sirens sounding as residents sat in lawn chairs on the boulevard–a sight and sound Briney no doubt had taken in countless times before and would have again had it not been for her passing just a week earlier. More ironic yet, the very festival that was once again underway had at one point been established by a committee on which Briney had served.

Served.

A word, or verb rather, of which Briney was not only familiar, but one that these days is attributed to her more than ever.

Briney–Reporter and Writer

“She loved being around people,” described Brett Robinson, one of her five grandchildren. “She loved social interaction.”

For Briney, who was born in Sullivan in 1924, that also translated to a love for church-going, and in particular, her membership to Faith Covenenant Church, for which she was also responsible for writing the church bulletin up until being admitted to the hospital in late May. Read More

Renewing Wood Lake

Upgrades come just as Lake Shelbyville is named top project in nation

Photo by Keith Stewart Volunteer members from the Sullivan AmBucs install decking at the new fishing pier at Wood Lake. The pier was completed as of this week. The volunteers will next construct a roof for the pier.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Volunteer members from the Sullivan AmBucs install decking at the new fishing pier at Wood Lake. The pier was completed as of this week. The volunteers will next construct a roof for the pier.

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

These days, the Lake Shelbyville area is glistening and not just because of the hot sunshine beaming down on the water.

Two weeks ago this Thursday the US Army Corp. of Engineers announced that Lake Shelbyville had taken this year’s top spot as the Natural Resources Management project of the year.

And as if any further proof was needed, that same day, a small group of volunteers was working on installing a handicapped accessible pier at Wood Lake, just a half mile north of the Bruce-Findlay road–one of several upgrades to the 30-acre lake that when finished looks to make it a unique destination, particularly for fishing.

The volunteers constructing the pier come by way of the Sullivan AmBucs, a local chapter of the national service organization that has come to be best known for, not only providing ‘AmTrykes’ for disabled children, but also constructing ramps to make homes and businesses accessible.

And that’s where the group has drawn much of their expertise with their latest project–building a 50’x20’ handicapped accessible pier at Wood Lake that when finished, will not only allow fishing more than 45’ feet in, but also at night with the aid of solar-powered lights and a roof overhead.

“It’s a real opportunity for AmBucs to do some real good, not only for Sullivan, but the Shelbyville area,” said Denny Hutchings, a member of the Sullivan AmBucs group. “To have a facility like that as close as it is to Sullivan, open to the public and that is a nice fishery, it could be a real boom to the area, and it’s a chance for AmBucs to have a little wider impact. Just a great opportunity.” Read More

ALAH District Short Another State Payment

Reduction in funding causes change of summer maintenance, insurance policies

•July 22, 2015•

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

At their meeting last Wednesday, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond school board discussed being denied a fourth state aid payment and how that looks to impact projects.
“We didn’t receive our fourth payment from the state which equaled about $80,000, ” said Superintendent Kenny Schwingel.
While the district didn’t expect to receive that missed payment from the state, it did still put them short for funding toward extra projects. The district had several projects for summer maintenance that were needing to be done, but because of funding issues, they had to be put on hold for the next school year. The total cost of the maintenance projects was over $105,000, but after taking a second look at the list, it was narrowed down to $70,000. Some of the projects that were put on hold include putting up a second hitching post, new storage shed and repairing/replacing the entrance at Arthur Grade School. Read More

Eagle Creek Task Force Forms

Local officials come together to provide oversight on shuttered resort

•July 15, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A group of local officials and representatives have recently come together to form a task force overseeing the future of the long-shuttered Eagle Creek Resort.
“Some of us locally think we need to have some local control in overseeing it to make sure it continues forward,” said Moultrie County board chairman Dave McCabe. “Everyone has been wanting to get it accomplished for years now, but it never seems to get done.”
Eagle Creek was closed in July of 2009 after mold was detected. Some hope for its reopening surfaced in 2010 when Decatur-based BMDD Resorts Corp. was hired to renovate and reopen the resort. But that hope soon faded last year after the firm pulled out among disagreements with the state over the project, leaving Eagle Creek to once again sit unusable.
“With the way DNR has been prolonging this, I’m not sure whether we can be effective or not,“ said Sullivan Mayor Ann Short who is also a member of the task force. “But if we can accomplish something positive, I’ll be thrilled.” Read More