Feature Stories

New Manager for Thrift-T-Boutique

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Rebekah Artrip with Easter items at Thrift-T Boutique

•March 15, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

The Thrift-T Boutique on the square has a new manager, and her name is Rebekah Artrip. “This is the funnest job I have ever had!” she said by way of greeting. She has worked 21 years in nursing and that was sometimes very stressful, but she said everyone has been so pleasant and the atmosphere so relaxing. She was also impressed with all the donations that the people of Sullivan make to the shop.

Artrip grew up in Ohio where she worked in department stores putting out merchandise and also owned a mom and pop grocery store. Her father worked at a Big Lot store and was eventually promoted to supervisor in the Sullivan area, and at age 28 she brought her children here to live on the farm with her parents.

Most recently she was the supervisor for housekeeping/laundry for Petersen Health Services and at Eastview which she found to be very stressful at times as working in the nursing profession can be. Read More

Area Fishermen Help Build Lake Shelbyville Habitat

Photo by Mike Brothers
Assembly line action from volunteers such as Mike Fallert made quick work of the habitat construction process at Chip’s Marine south of Sullivan Saturday, March 4.

Volunteers Make Difference

•March 8, 2017•

By Wally Bass
for the News Progress

Fishing habitat is serious business so it was no surprise to Chip Christensen when so many fishermen showed up for a habitat build March 4.

Chip’s Marine service bays south of Sullivan were converted into an assembly line for building some 50 fish habitats for Lake Shelbyville.

In this joint venture with the Illinois Department of Conservation and Army Corp of Engineers volunteers from a variety of clubs joined individual sport fishermen to build and place the artificial habitats in the lake. Read More

FFA Petting Zoo Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

Photo by Don Lockwood
Dippin Dot Treats
A liquid nitrogen and like magic Maddie Atchison and Irie Dulin created Dippin’ Dots for eager taste testers at the Sullivan FFA Week open house.

•March 1, 2017•

Last week was National Future Farmers of America FFA, and the Sullivan FFA chapter petting zoo and open house was visited by more than 900 people.

All three Sullivan school attendance centers plus Sullivan preschool and folks from the public were treated to local chapter exhibits as well as Scovill Zoo which contributed more exotic animals to impress those coming to pet an alligator or python for the first time.

During the afternoon visitors were treated to a Dippin Dots treat following a liquid nitrogen demonstration.

It was hatching day for the local chicks as candling the eggs produced fresh hatches for the young students.

Expanding into the outer garage a giant schnauzer, horses, goats, pigs and a variety of animals were provided by FFA Chapter members for petting.  Read More

Valentine’s Day Changes Over Time

•February 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Ah, be still my heart, Valentine’s Day approacheth, and hope springs eternal for all aspiring lovers.

The world’s population will spend close to $20 billion on cards, candy, fragrances, flowers and other objets d’amour in this timeless ritual of love and courtship this year.

Its origins are ancient, but the concept of sending decorated cards spread from England to the United States about 1850. Hallmark Cards in Kansas began mass producing Valentine cards in 1913, and now 25% of all cards mailed each year are Valentines.

So, it is not surprising that 100 years ago in 1917 there is absolutely no mention in the local Sullivan papers of anything relating to Valentine’s Day - no ads, parties, etc. The country was preparing for WWI and Hallmark had only been producing Valentines for four years. It was not a time to celebrate love or anything else. Read More

Sullivan and Moultrie Traced to Deeper Historic Origins

Name Rooted in 17th Century

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

If you have looked at the city of Sullivan web page you know that Sullivan was named for Sullivan Island and Moultrie County was named for Ft. Moultrie, both in Charleston, S.C.

But the names have a deeper history than you realize.

Fort Moultrie was originally named Fort Sullivan as the first fort built on Sullivan Island. It was an incomplete log fort built of Palmetto wood. When it was attacked by British forces in 1776,  the soft Palmetto wood absorbed the cannonballs, and the British were forced to retreat. Charleston was saved, and the fort was renamed for its commander, Colonel William Moultrie.

After the war, the fort was neglected and by 1791 little remained. A second Fort Moultrie was completed in 1798, but it was also neglected and eventually destroyed by hurricane in 1804. A third and better reinforced fort was built in 1809 and was further modernized in 1885. It was one of 19 forts along the Atlantic coast.  Read More

New Veterinarian Joins Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital

Photo by Madison Uhlrich
Pictured is Heather Green.

•January 18, 2017•

by Kennedy Nolen
for the News Progress

Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital welcomed new associate veterinarian Heather Green in 2016.

The Mattoon native said she knew she wanted to become a veterinarian by the time she was five or six years old.

Green said she has always loved animals and had an interest in science and zoology. She said she did well in science classes in school and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Green attended Millikin University in Decatur for four years and received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry.

She attended the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine in Champaign-Urbana.  Read More

A Sweet Morning That Starts in the Middle of the Night

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
You may not know Peggy Booker, but you know those sweet creations.

•January 11, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for there News Progress

We’ve all been to the local IGA to shop. We enter, turn right and amble toward the deli section and then, in the corner of our eye, there it is. That hulking white case with the slanted shelves filled with THEM.

Some are round and glazed or with sprinkles, some are square or twisted and sugar coated. You salivate at the sight of those that ooze of vanilla pudding that mingles with haunting dark chocolate in every bite, and Lord have mercy!

Some are even drenched in maple glaze and bacon. Yes, it’s the doughnut case. On a full stomach I’m probably safe from their siren call but on an empty one I am doomed.

And who is responsible for these delectable, delicious pastry treats? She is a tiny lady with the merriest blue eyes and someone you should know if you don’t already.

Peggy Booker is in her eighties and arrives at IGA at 1 a.m. every morning Monday through Saturday. Yes, while you are snuggled down dreaming of doughnuts, she is wrangling some 20 dozen donuts into the wonderful creations that make your dreams come true. Read More

Year End Review

•January 4, 2017•

Photo by Mike Brothers
Bethany Fire District Leads Procession
Sullivan, Lovington, Mt. Zion and area first responders joined family and friends to honor the passing of Jerry L. Clark, Chief Engineer of the Bethany Fire District. Following the 11 a.m. January 12 services at McMullin-Young Funeral Home in Sullivan the Bethany Fire District led Clark’s procession to Marrowbone Cemetery in Bethany where Sullivan and Mt Zion Fire District ladder trucks displayed the American Flag at the entry. Bethany American Legion Post #507 performed military rites. Serving the fire district for more than two decades, Clark was also a member of the Okaw Fire Association and Bethany American Legion Post.

January 6, 2016

Moultrie County Sheriff’s Dept. responds to a 6 a.m. call New Year’s Eve to a car submerged in water off Joe Pound Road, east of Sullivan. The Sullivan Fire Department and Moultrie County Dive Team assisted in car removal; no injuries were received.

Sullivan Blue Dolphins locked up the new year competing in the Seth Dunscomb Opener in Decatur. Out of 14 teams the Dolphins brought home first with 1093 points.

ALAH Knights beat the Tri-County Titans 46-42 in a tournament hosted in Kansas.

January 13, 2016

Okaw Valley Timberwolves girls’ basketball team holds off the Windsor-Stew Stras Hatchets at home.

Georgia Patterson celebrated her 100th birthday with a reception at Sullivan VFW.

Moultrie County law enforcement began issuing eCitations, ending the days of courthouse personnel trying to decipher police officer’s handwritten tickets.

Sullivan police issued a warning that residents had been contacted in a telephone scam where the callers claimed to represent the IRS. Read More

A Festive Christmas Celebration at the Senior Center

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Above are winners of the ugly sweater contest. Pictured left to right are Peggy Booker (most creative), Shirley Devore (most flammable), and Pam Mann (overall ugliest).

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Above are winners of the ugly sweater contest. Pictured left to right are Peggy Booker (most creative), Shirley Devore (most flammable), and Pam Mann (overall ugliest).

•December 28, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Nearly 50 senior citizens filed into the Senior Center Thursday, Dec. 23 for the 14th annual Christmas party.

First stop was the treat table which was laden with delicious, decorated Christmas cookies, fudge, snack mix, cheese balls and crackers, fruit tray and other temptations. No sugar plums, however!

Games were next in order, and a Christmas word scramble was completed in about three minutes. The next game required one person with a pair of dice to try and throw doubles while another person put on heavy oven mitts and tried to open a large package which was actually a lot of packages down to a small gift card. As soon as the person rolls doubles, the person unwrapping stops, the person throwing dice puts on the mitts and another person comes up to roll the dice. Normally this would go through several shifts, but Kathy couldn’t roll doubles to save her life, and Janet ripped through all that wrapping like Grant through Richmond to claim her gift card, and the game was over almost as soon as it started, but everyone had a good laugh watching the antics. Read More

Parade Floats A Labor Of Love

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

•December 7, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Were you along the Sullivan parade route Saturday, Dec. 3 catching candy, listening to the bands and waving to people on the floats?

Now for me, the word “float” usually follows the words root beer so how did it come to be applied to these mobile creations?

They were so named because the first “floats” were decorated barges floating on the Thames for the Lord Mayor’s show.

Floats were first introduced in the Middle Ages when churches used pageant wagons as movable scenery for passion plays. The wagons were pulled through towns, mostly during Corpus Christi when up to 48 wagons were used, one for each play in the Corpus Christi cycle. Read More