Record Crop on the Back Burner as Farmers Wait

Photo by Keith Stewart Muddy tire tracks from a combine are seen Monday in a field east of Allenville that J.C. Doty began harvesting just prior to the rains that moved into the area later that afternoon.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Muddy tire tracks from a combine are seen Monday in a field east of Allenville that J.C. Doty began harvesting just prior to the rains that moved into the area later that afternoon.

October 15, 2014

Corn and soy harvests at standstill with recent rains

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

John Doty and his son J.C. were two of few farmers out in the fields Monday afternoon.

“I’ve ordered three weeks of nice weather, but I’m not in charge of that,” said John. “But I guarantee you, we’ll finish.”

The father/son duo who were harvesting corn just east of Allenville couldn’t beat the rain that eventually moved in later that afternoon. So now they join the rest of their colleagues in checking weather forecasts, waiting, and looking out the window. And what most farmers see out that window are potential record yields barred from being harvested due to the recent wet weather. Read More

Sullivan Schools Plan to See Further Reduction in State Aid

October 8, 2014

Expenditures also rise in latest budget

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Last month the Sullivan school board approved an updated tentative budget that saw more than $200,000 less in revenue over the previous tentative budget.

After holding a public hearing on the budget (which went unattended by the public), the board unanimously passed the latest budget, which increases the overall deficit by $393,226. Of that, $212,726 was a loss in revenue, while $180,500 can be attributed to expenses.

With revenue, the kicker is despite the school district receiving 89 percent of its full state aid payment as in the previous fiscal year, this year’s amount is $198,147 less because of two primary factors. Read More

Bethany Continues Expansion and Modernization of Police Department

October 1, 2014

Body cameras proposed for village officers

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

During last month’s regularly scheduled village council meeting, Bethany officials voted to hire two new part-time police officers.

Officially hired on September 11, the two new part-time officers, Thomas Lehew of Bethany and Joshua Ekiss of Sullivan, are currently part of Decatur’s auxiliary police force. According to Bethany’s police chief Jessie Scribner, the dates of the two new officers’ first patrol are still to be determined as of the end of September. Read More

Sullivan Council Rescinds Vote on Purchase of Patterson Property

September 24, 2014

Appraisal comes in far below asking price

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

Council members voted to rescind a vote taken earlier this month to purchase a piece of property.

Following a 3-2 vote at the Sullivan city council meeting September 8 to purchase the property located at 402 S Patterson for $40,000 an independent appraisal was since obtained.

Due to Freedom of Information Act exclusions, the appraisal amount is not yet public knowledge until either the ongoing negotiations are completed or are terminated. However, the appraisal was described by Mayor Ann Short as well below the asking price. Read More

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