Feature Stories

“Adams Family”, the Best Showing at Little Theatre Yet

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured in “The Addams Family” are, from left to right, Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Grandma, Gideon Johnson as Pugsley, Jesse Sharp as Gomez, Josh Houghton as Lurch, Emmy Burns as Wednesday, Colleen Johnson as Morticia and Tommy Lucas as Uncle Fester.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured in “The Addams Family” are, from left to right, Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Grandma, Gideon Johnson as Pugsley, Jesse Sharp as Gomez, Josh Houghton as Lurch, Emmy Burns as Wednesday, Colleen Johnson as Morticia and Tommy Lucas as Uncle Fester.

•July 29, 2015•

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but stranger even than the Addams Family.

The New Yorker magazine cartoonist Charles Addams once dated a widow named Jacqueline Kennedy, and even proposed marriage to her.

“No,” Jackie replied, adding drily, “What would we talk about? CARTOONS?”

Broadway has never shared Jackie’s condescending attitude on that subject. Both comic strips and Broadway musicals are American inventions, and both display the brash energy and optimism that are part of the national spirit.

L’il Abner, Little Orphan Annie, Peanuts, Doonesbury, Superman and Spider-Man all went from four colors to footlights, and so did Addams’ series of humorously macabre New Yorker cartoons collectively referred to as the Addams family. Read More

Simple and in Abundance

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Brandi Novak, the owner of the newly opened primative/antique store Simpler Thymes, located at 110 E Harrison next door to the Sullivan Bakery.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is Brandi Novak, the owner of the newly opened primative/antique store Simpler Thymes, located at 110 E Harrison next door to the Sullivan Bakery.

New antique store opens in Sullivan

•July 29, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
Reporting in Sullivan

It is often said that every success story starts with a dream. In this case, it is a dream and an enormous collection of beautifully-aged odds and ends that Brandi Novak is using to start her own antique store, Simpler Thymes, located on Harrison Street, just east of the Little Theatre.

“I taught second-grade here.” said Novak, who is a former sales director and held her grand opening for the store over this last weekend. “I really enjoy the town; I think it’s a great area [and] they’re really doing a lot with it. New business is coming in, and that was a big factor in my decision to open here.”

A love for auctions and sales led Novak to start her own collections and open booths in places such as B&J Antiques and Copper Eagle in Charleston. But she said this opening, arranged since June, is an opportunity for her to realize a long-time goal and combine it with a deep personal interest.

“I’ve always been interested in being self-employed.” Novak said. “It still can be flexible when I need it to be...I’ve had antique booths for about seven years [and] I thought ‘it’s now or never’.”  Read More

Sheri Randall Benefit August 1

Sheri_Randall_obitProceeds to go to Randall’s family and son

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

An all-day benefit is set for this coming Saturday in Sullivan that will also, in many ways, serve to celebrate the life of Sheri Randall, who died tragically earlier this year.

The benefit will be held at the Sullivan VFW with doors opening at 11 a.m. when a children’s festival will commence outside including carnival games, a dunk tank, and a DJ.

At noon, a lunch will be served at $5 a plate.

A long list of entertainment will then begin at 3:15 p.m. with solo acoustic act Josh Holland. A live auction will run from 4:30-6 p.m.

Entertainment will continue until midnight and feature acts including Wesley Davis, Van Waylon, LTH, Darkness Inside, Grays Divide, and War Nerve.

A silent auction will run throughout most of the day. Read More

Enjoying the Summer, Outdoors

Summer recreation program sees largest number of participants this year

•July 22, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Since June 1, chances are if you’ve gone by Wyman Park during the morning or afternoon, you’ve witnessed a large circus of children playing a variety of games from flag football to kickball, soccer, Frisbee, table tennis, and even interacting on the park’s many slides and swings.
But what may appear to be just a large rag-tag group of children running about is actually the long-standing summer park recreation group, which for decades has kept Sullivan youth busy playing and having fun outside.
“I think it’s a good thing for kids in the community to have some structured event to go,” said Sullivan mayor Ann Short. “It keeps them out of trouble.”

Photo submitted by Melissa Haegen Children enjoy the waterworks provided by the Sullivan Fire Department last Wednesday as part of the popular park recreation program at Wyman.

Photo submitted by Melissa Haegen
Children enjoy the waterworks provided by the Sullivan Fire Department last Wednesday as part of the popular park recreation program at Wyman.

For more than 50 years, the summer rec program has been open to Sullivan’s youth. Paid volunteers run it on a daily basis for eight weeks, typically beginning the first Monday of summer break. The program is funded through property tax revenue, a small portion of which is set aside in a recreation fund to help pay not only for the volunteer staff, but also supplies. For the last four years, the program has been manned by husband and wife Jake and Melissa Haegen.
“I came out here when I was a kid,” said Jake. “My dad said he came out here when he was a kid, too, so it’s been going on for at least 50 years.”
“For the kids I think it gives them something that keeps them occupied, and they’re not getting into trouble,” said Melissa. “They’re being active. They’re not sitting in front of video games all summer long. We’re encouraging them to participate in sports that they may not have thought they were good at. It builds their confidence, their social skills. It’s just a positive thing for them to be out here. It’s a little less structured than the school environment so they enjoy that.”
One key element in the program’s success more recently is the implementation of the summer food service program, an initiative that is funded by the USDA and aims to provide meals to low-income students. Read More

Bringing the Pulls to Tabor

Photo by RR Best Asher Hendry pedals excitedly during the pedal pulls.

Photo by RR Best
Asher Hendry pedals excitedly during the pedal pulls.

First of many pedal/garden tractor pulls held in Sullivan

•July 22, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Two weeks ago Sullivan’s Tabor Park was home to a pedal and garden tractor pull that organizers hope will be the first of many in years to come.
“For the first time, it went really well,” said Ed Righter, a Sullivan resident and member of the Christian County Tractor Pulling Association, which sponsored the event. Along with the association, the day was further helped along by Cory Wiley and Clint Thompson of the city’s park department and numerous volunteers.
The day began with the tot rod pedal pulls, which were enjoyed by 40 children taking their shot at the unique feat.
“There were lots of smiles and cheering that took place as each child was showing off their pedal power at Tabor Park,” said Paul Callan, who was hired by the city to bring in and set up the pedal pulls. “Approximately 40 took their turn pulling the “Tormentor” sled on the John Deere tractors  “Crankinstein “ and “Gotta Go Green” in attempts of a “full pull” or as far as their legs would take them, competing for trophies and fun along the way.”
Following the pedal pulls, the garden tractor competition began with some traveling more than an hour to participate. Read More

“Wizard of Oz” Brings the Charm to Little Theatre Stage

Photo by Keith Stewart Dorothy Gale, played by Daniella Davila, clutches her companion Toto, played by Compo.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Dorothy Gale, played by Daniella Davila, clutches her companion Toto, played by Compo.

•July 15, 2015•

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

The Little Theatre’s family-focused season, which began with “Mary Poppins,” continues today with “The Wizard of Oz.”
And yes, it’s THAT “Wizard of Oz,” the 1939 MGM film version with which the world is most familiar, slightly expanded and extended with a song by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Fantasy is a much simpler sell on film, of course, and there’s a moment or two when the capable performers could use a little extra special effects help. Mollyanne Nunn, for example, tries valiantly to be ethereal as Glinda the Good Witch, but could use a boost from something shiny, at least a pin spot.
But what director John Stephens may lose in movie magic, he more than makes up for in the magic of immediacy. All the familiar characters are there, right in front of you, sustained by the performers’ belief in them, something you can see in their eyes. You may be surprised at how well a very strong cast can keep this Baum ticking. Read More

Sullivan Quality Lube Opens Under New Family Management

Photo by RR Best Pictured are Jeff (left) and David (right) Smith, a father/son duo that recently re-opened the Sullivan Quality Lube.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured are Jeff (left) and David (right) Smith, a father/son duo that recently re-opened the Sullivan Quality Lube.

Plan is to source parts, oil locally

•July 15, 2015•

by Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

Through life it is necessary to deal with many different routines; a morning routine, a health routine, a school routine, a routine of yearly events. But for the routine of regular vehicle service there is a new option in town.
Jeff Smith, along with his six sons and one daughter, has recently leased the vacant garage on Jackson St., across from McDonald’s, to open Sullivan Quality Lube.
“We’ve been open for (a few weeks) now and we are seeing about 70 people a week come through,” Smith stated. “Most of those that stop in did not even know that we were open.”
A longtime resident of Dalton City, Smith is no stranger to routine maintenance, having worked as a mechanic for EK Truck Service, on Market St., for several years before branching out and purchasing a truck of his own. Read More

Uphoff Crowned Miss Moultrie-Douglas

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Gabrielle Uphoff of Sullivan being crowned Miss Moultrie-Douglas Tuesday night by the former Miss Mo-Do Maria Meyer.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is Gabrielle Uphoff of Sullivan being crowned Miss Moultrie-Douglas Tuesday night by the former Miss Mo-Do Maria Meyer.

First Sullivan queen since 2006

•July 8, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

She may have come off to the judges as a seasoned pro, but for Gabrielle Uphoff of Sullivan, Tuesday night’s pageant was her first.
So was her crown.
“I’m kind of in shock, but I’m very excited,” said Uphoff shortly after her crowning. “Fairs are my favorite.”
The two-hour pageant came after months of preparation that for Uphoff included, perhaps more than those with more pageant-going experience.
“It’s been practicing interview skills, and trying to calm my nerves when it came to my speech, and walking,” said the 2015 Miss Mo-Do. “I’ve never done anything like this, but it’s been a great experience. My mom and I went over pages of interview questions and speeches, and outfits. It’s been an all day, every day process.”
“She’s put quite a bit of work into it over the last few months,” added her father Phillip. “Practicing her speech and the whole wardrobe. I basically kept out of it. It was all her and mom and her friends. I’m just very proud of her.”
“It’s been very stressful and a lot of work, but it was fun too, kind of like prom,” said her mother Stacey. “The best part is the preparation. We’ve spent a lot of time together, practicing questions and walking.”
The last time there was a Mo-Do queen from Sullivan was in 2006 when Danielle Ketchmark was crowned. Read More

What’s the Hurry?

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan resident Tyler Wagey stands in front of a newly installed 4-way stop-sign at the intersection of Washington and Blackwood after he went to the city council with concerns about vehicles speeding throughout the neighborhood.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan resident Tyler Wagey stands in front of a newly installed 4-way stop-sign at the intersection of Washington and Blackwood after he went to the city council with concerns about vehicles speeding throughout the neighborhood.

Sullivan residents concerned about speeding in neighborhoods

•July 8, 2015•

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

There seems to be a rush in Sullivan, but nobody knows what the hurry is. Speeding around the square, Sullivan Civic Center and in neighboring areas has been noticed lately by residents and drivers, including Tyler Wagey, who lives on N. Washington Street.
“We need to look out for those who can’t look out for themselves- the kids. They can’t go to the city and tell people that they need to slow down,” he said. “There are several kids who are on my block throughout the day. Safety is my first issue. It comes first before anything else. How are we supposed to be able to teach our kids to be safe?”
Wagey hasn’t been the only one to notice the speeding problem in Sullivan. Speeding cars have been an issue for other parents and residents too.
“I’m his neighbor, and we definitely have noticed a problem with speeding. My dog was hit coming back across the street when he was chasing after a ball,”  said Sullivan resident Cassie Heselton.
“The speeding and reckless driving in Sullivan are horrible. We moved back here in 2011 and after only being here three months, I had the city put up a ‘slow, children playing’ sign,” shared Krista Brandeberry. “Of course, it didn’t really work on our road. Even the big trucks go down Worth Street faster than I think they should.” Read More

“Swing!” Hits the Stage at a Furious Pace

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured are Jordan Cyphert and Megan Farley in the Little Theatre’s latest production, “Swing!”

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured are Jordan Cyphert and Megan Farley in the Little Theatre’s latest production, “Swing!”

July 1, 2015

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

The scene: an urban night club during World War II, and if the atmosphere is particularly realistic, that’s because the bricks and the loading dock are the actual back wall of the Little Theatre, cunningly incorporated into the scenery.
More than Jen Price-Fick’s set is cunningly done in this musical, Swing!, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak and Todd Rhoades.
Unencumbered by plot in any but the most abstract sense, Swing! swings from bebop to scat singing to torch songs at a brisk pace that never flags.
Sound problems lost us Brady Miller’s Boogie Woogie Country during the dress rehearsal, but those ought to be fixed when the show opens today.
Colorfully costumed by Jeannine La Bate (orange shirts, blue fringed cowboy jackets, the works), this show is all song and — particularly — dance, and as my friend Bart Rettberg pointed out, a great deal could have gone wrong with the show that didn’t. The dancing is furious yet fairly flawless.
When this show opened on Broadway in 1999, the people who could remember these song and dance numbers first-hand were already in their 60s. Many are now gone, a fact that has to shift the reception of the show somewhat. We’re looking at a lost world being evoked. Read More