ALAH Lady Knights Win in Strasburg

•December 23, 2015•

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Lady Knights traveled to Strasburg winning 70-51 Dec. 17.

In the first quarter the Stew-Stras Lady Comets kept pace with the Lady Knights 13-14. By the second quarter the ALAH team started hitting, as they scored 26 points to Stew-Sras 16. Opening the third quarter with a 40-29 lead the Lady Knights added a 15-12 third quarter and 15-10 fourth quarter scores for the win.

Hannah Wallen caught fire for the ALAH team in the second quarter hitting four field goals and two three pointers. She added another field goal and one free throw to lead the team with 19 points. Read More

Making Dads Jump From Their Skin

Photo by Mike Brothers Setting the graveyard nook are (from left) Quinton Cunningham, Chris Crabtree and Cody Board. After two nights of ghoulish fun, the whole thing is removed.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Setting the graveyard nook are (from left) Quinton Cunningham, Chris Crabtree and Cody Board. After two nights of ghoulish fun, the whole thing is removed.

A 12 year tradition

•November 4, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

It’s been 12 years since Chris Crabtree’s kids thought they were too old to trick or treat.

That’s when they started converting the front yard of the family home on Harrison Street into the haunted graveyard.

It was open 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31 in conjunction with Sullivan trick or treating times.

Open to any and everyone who is willing to test their terror capacity, the Crabtree project gets bigger every year.

“We started out with the ticket booth and four sections that came out to the street,” Crabtree said of the first year, emphasizing the dogwood tree has always been at the center.

Chris and his band of family and friendly volunteers spend weeks building the giant black plastic enclosure.

“This is the sixth year we have totally enclosed the rooms,” he explained,  pointing out his mom Connie Bordher would be at the entrance handing out candy as she has every year.

Crabtree said they handed out about 300 treat bags which brings the two night total of visitors to about 500.

There are up to 14 volunteers needed to man the various fright stations within the black plastic shrouded lawn. Read More

Nowlan Could Use Some Help From Readers [or, Have we given up?]

Nowlan•October 14, 2015•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

Shortly before this week’s deadline my column fell apart, so in its stead (out of mild desperation; can desperation be mild?) I offer below snapshots of important topics with which I am grappling, thus far without success.

Am I on the right path with these topics and very preliminary thoughts? What suggestions might you have for both substance and policy suggestions?

I can be reached at

The unraveling of the American family. According to Washington policy wonk Isabel Sawhill, 72 percent of black children live in single-parent families, up from 22 percent half a century ago. Half the children in my white rural county were born to unmarried women last year.

Surprising to me in this day of easy availability of birth control options, Sawhill reports that as many as 60 percent of those births were unplanned, and children resulting from unplanned births are less likely later to graduate from college and earn a middle-class income.

As for young males, 20 percent of those with low skills (high school only) are unemployed, and many more are simply dropping out of the workforce, apparently for good.

I could wax on with these kinds of statistics, and they would confirm my point that there is unproductive turmoil among many if not most young, unskilled adults. Read More

Awards Reception for Students Featured in Art Exhibition

April 15, 2015

The students represented in the 2014-2015 Cultivating Creativity: Consolidated Communications Children’s Art Exhibition will be recognized for their achievement at an awards reception. The event will be held at the Tarble Arts Center on Eastern Illinois University’s campus at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Admission is free, and the public is invited. Read More

Redskins Hold Bulldogs to 38 points in Win

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Ty Molzen (no. 21) shoots over St. Anthony’s Derek Rios Tuesday. Molzen led Sullivan with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Ty Molzen (no. 21) shoots over St. Anthony’s Derek Rios Tuesday. Molzen led Sullivan with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

December 3, 2014

Sullivan evens record at 1-1

by Keith Stewart

Managing to hold the St. Anthony Bulldogs to two single-digit scoring quarters Tuesday night, the Sullivan boys’ basketball team came away with a 48-38 victory to improve to 1-1 on the year.

“This is a good basketball team that we just beat, and not a lot of basketball teams are going to beat them on this floor, so I’m proud of them,” said Sullivan head coach Chester Reeder. “Thirty-eight points for them was a testament to how hard we’ve worked on the defensive end.”

Sullivan flitted back and forth between a 1-3-1 zone and their normal man-defense. After the Bulldogs found early success in the paint, Sullivan eventually smothered the lane to force St. Anthony to shoot from outside, where they struggled almost the entire night, shooting 13-of-44 from the field, including 4-of-17 from the arc, three of which baskets came in the second half.

And try as they did, St. Anthony never could get closer than within eight of Sullivan three separate occasions in the second half.

But they, at times, created havoc of their own, when they also switched to a 2-3 zone in the third and fourth quarters, which in turn, helped create Sullivan turnovers.

“We sped up too fast and tried to do things too quick, but I think overall we handled it pretty well. It’s a work in progress for us,” said Reeder. “We were getting whatever we wanted, which is why he went to that zone. Something we have to get better at is our zone offense. We’ll keep working on it.” Read More

Battle of the Bigs in Mt. Zion

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer (left) tries to drive around Mt. Zion’s Tori Johnson (no. 14) and Shannon Probst (no. 21). Boyer finished the night with 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer (left) tries to drive around Mt. Zion’s Tori Johnson (no. 14) and Shannon Probst (no. 21). Boyer finished the night with 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half.

December 3, 2014

Sullivan spreads the scoring to defeat Lady Braves

by Keith Stewart

Mt. Zion’s 6-foot senior Shannon Probst may have won the battle of the bigs Monday night, but Sullivan won the war, defeating the Lady Braves 57-45.

But it was certainly a back-and-forth affair as far as the post-game goes, not to mention, highly physical at times.

For the Lady Red, 5-foot, 11-inch Brittin Boyer was the first half highlight, leading all scorers with 17 points. Opposite her was Probst, who up through the first two quarters had 12 points. But Probst would give Boyer and company headache after headache in the second half, en route to a 25-point performance.

“It was Brittin first half kind of, then no. 21 (Probst) in the second half,” said Sullivan head coach Sheri McCain. “I was very disappointed in our post defense because she had 12 at the half and ended up with 25, so I am not at all impressed with our post defense on her. One girl should not score 25 points. She is a very good player, so nothing to take away from her. She is a phenomenal player. I just wish we would have played a little bit better defense on her and challenged her a little bit more. I just don’t think we did. And she was one of those where you double team her and she was going to pass.” Read More

Flood Plains Make for Tricky Situation in Lovington

December 3, 2014

One resident recently escapes flood insurance requirement

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

At the Lovington Village Board meeting in October, the village was surprised when they received a letter from FEMA stating that a portion of property located in the flood plain was lifted. Ron Lamb, owning a residence on West Jefferson, was able to prove that there was a less than one percent chance the property would flood in a 100 year flood. Lamb was unable to be reached for comment, but often times, landowners seek this course of action to alleviate the cost of the additional insurance required of home buyers to have flood insurance.

Insurance is required to get a mortgage, but when the property is in a flood zone, additional flood insurance is required. When seeking a mortgage, each home is determined to be or not to be in a flood zone. If in a flood zone, the property is rated according to levels determined by FEMA. Insurance costs are adjusted accordingly and can be expensive. Read More

Okaw Valley School Report Card Shows Gains and Declines

November 26, 2014

Test results still shaky as state moves towards common core

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

This month Okaw Valley School District’s annual school report card has been made available by the state’s board of education at The school report card, which is released at roughly the same time every year, is a metric that gauges student academic growth from year to year based on state standardized testing. In addition to this, the school report card also provides useful data to the public such as graduation rates, attendance rates, and even data such as the school district’s racial makeup. The school report card is designed to be a valuable tool internally within school districts for making academic and instructional improvements to school environments, as well as for the public, which may include families considering moving to the area or parents concerned about their children’s education.
The results of this year’s school report card, much as last year’s, are mixed for Okaw Valley—containing examples of both improvements and declines in academic growth. Read More

If We Aren’t Thankful What Else is There?

November 26, 2014

by Sarah Hudson Pierce
Guest Columnist

If we aren’t thankful for what we possess what else is there? What good does it do to have the best of everything if we are discontented?
Having been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, along with my sister Alice, due to having grown up in an orphanage, perhaps we are a little more grateful than some of our peers.
Maybe it takes emotional storms, of having the rugs jerked out from under our feet, to truly understand the trauma of hurting. Having stood on the edge of homelessness as a child and an adult, God has always stepped out of the woodwork to help me. Read More

Sullivan Schools to Hold Tax Hearing, Again

November 26, 2015

Two levy rates presented, but board errs on side of caution

by Keith Stewart

Earlier this month, the Sullivan school board agreed to schedule a truth in taxation hearing early next month, though presented two different levy rates, one of which will be decided at next month’s regular board meeting.
Citing recent speculation that school districts across the state might be facing a cut in their already cut state aid for this financial year, Sullivan Superintendent of Schools Brad Tuttle presented two tentative tax rates, both of which represent increases over last year’s levy amount, but one that would require a truth in taxation hearing, at an increase of 6.69 percent, and one that would not at an increase of 4.99 percent, just under the five percent limit that decides whether such a hearing is legally required.
“As early as this financial year, we could get a prorated version of our prorated version,” said Tuttle, who had travelled to Springfield earlier that day. “For the first time, I heard from some people that understand in Springfield that there is a legitimate chance we could not get 89 percent this year. They don’t know that,  but that’s speculation that could happen.”
Districts were told earlier this year that they would receive 89 percent of their otherwise full amount for this financial year. In addition to this level of funding being potentially cut further, Tuttle cited “major concerns” about the income tax extension likely to run its course and end come January and the implications that, too, could have on school revenue.
“The only reason I tell you that is because I think it’s important as we think about this tentative (levy), that we talk about this,” said Tuttle, “to guarantee that we would be able to levy the amount to get our maximum rates.” Read More