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signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.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signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.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

Illinois Department on Aging Mired by State Budget, Problem Areas Persist

July 16, 2014

Shortfalls will need to be addressed

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

With the state of Illinois’s new fiscal year beginning on July 1, Governor Pat Quinn gave up his opposition to the state budget passed by lawmakers in May and approved the majority of the bill just one day before the deadline. The new state budget, which Quinn has repeatedly described as “incomplete” due to its exclusion of an extended income tax increase, may provide a fiscal framework under which the government can operate, but it does little to mitigate the daunting uncertainty felt by state agencies including the Illinois Department of Aging and its East Illinois Area Agency on Aging, which supports seniors services in Moultrie County. Read More

Legion, Community Pull Together to Fund Fireworks Show

Photo by Brian Andrews/1st Sense Photography! After several months of uncertainty surrounded the American Legion Fourth of July Fireworks display, the Legion, with the help of the community’s outpouring of donations, was able to purchase the display for Friday’s celebration.

Photo by Brian Andrews/1st Sense Photography!
After several months of uncertainty surrounded the American Legion Fourth of July Fireworks display, the Legion, with the help of the community’s outpouring of donations, was able to purchase the display for Friday’s celebration.

July 9, 2014

Improvements still needed and to come

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

In February, American Legion Post 68 board member Mike Keown thought Sullivan would go without its annual Fourth of July fireworks display. With the majority of its board members replaced with new, including Keown, it wasn’t discovered until January that not only had the Legion missed its first $6,000 installment towards the display but that the Legion didn’t have the money.

“In my opinion, we weren’t going to have fireworks,” said Keown. “The Legion couldn’t pay for it upfront.” Read More

A-Frame Signs Get Approval in Sullivan

July 2, 2014

More requests for downtown changes to come

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

The ordinance to allow Sullivan business owners to display A-frame signs on the sidewalk in front of their business passed unanimously last month.

The process of changing the ordinance started back on April 15 with a presentation from Cathrine Craig, owner of Cathrine’s Custom Framing on the importance of A-frame signs for local businesses. Just over two months later, Craig, in an interview after the June 23 council meeting, noted “This is a big step forward and has been a long and difficult process to get this approved.”  Read More

With Big Act and Entertainment Tent, Celebration Enjoyed by Many

Photo by Stan Smart Members of Sullivan based band “Them Gringos” Lauren Harris (left), Steffen Shook (middle), and Jerry Snyder (right) perform Saturday evening at the Bethany Celebration.

Photo by Stan Smart
Members of Sullivan based band “Them Gringos” Lauren Harris (left), Steffen Shook (middle), and Jerry Snyder (right) perform Saturday evening at the Bethany Celebration.

June 25, 2014

New additions, important aspect

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

From the SOV fundraiser dinner Friday to the firework display Saturday evening, the day-and-a-half long Bethany Celebration was once again a success according to organizers.

“We feel it went over really, really well this year,” said Heidi Ward, the Bethany Celebration chairperson. “We have heard nothing but great feedback from everyone that attended so far. There were people in the park constantly enjoying activities, whereas in the past few years, attendance seemed to die down somewhat during the Saturday afternoon hours.”

But with this year featuring an entertainment tent from which patrons could enjoy an adult beverage as well as a larger musical act in Gracia Harrison not to mention local talent in Slant Six and Them Gringos, the Bethany Celebration enjoyed rave reviews following its conclusion Saturday night. Read More