Feature Stories

Waggoner Family and Descendants Finally Reunite

First mass reunion is held in over 80 years

May 20, 2015

by Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

With the Memorial Day holiday being celebrated this coming Monday, many families will take the extra day off from school and work to get together, enjoy a cookout perhaps, and typically visit the sites where those family members who served in the armed services are laid to rest.
For the local Waggoner family, this would mean visiting Whitfield Cemetery where Isaac Waggoner lies next to his wife Emsey, having served in the Revolutionary War. Many members of the family were able to do just that and to pay their respects earlier in the month as part of a two-day family reunion that brought in more than 140 people from at least nine states. Read More

Phelps Helps Out, One Pop Tab at a Time

Submitted Pictured (left) is Sullivan McDonald’s owner Angie Matlock and (right) Sullivan high school senior Beretta Phelps, who along with Matlock’s help, collected 400 pounds of pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charity as a state service project.

Submitted
Pictured (left) is Sullivan McDonald’s owner Angie Matlock and (right) Sullivan high school senior Beretta Phelps, who along with Matlock’s help, collected 400 pounds of pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charity as a state service project.

Tabs converted into cash to help Ronald McDonald House

May 20, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Forty-four gallons of soda are drunk per year, according to an associated press article published in 2013. Of those who consumed the 44 gallons, it is quite possible that they did not give much thought to the worth of a pop can tab. At the Ronald McDonald House, however, they think much differently when they see a can of soda-they think of hope and the chance at helping save lives. Each year nearly 40, 000,000 tabs are collected for the Ronald McDonald House Charity. Those tabs are cashed in to raise money to help the patients and families who stay there. That adds up to $10K annually for its charity.
Former Sullivan Middle School principal Nancy Schaljo can attest to this beneficial charity because of her own personal experience.
Nearly 12 years ago her granddaughter was very ill and had to undergo a heart transplant. While undergoing care, she stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. Read More

Sullivan Students Receive Sobering Message

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan high school students walk by the casket of a crash victim as the mother, played by SHS social studies teacher Marsha Kirby and pastor Bil Reedy look on solemnly. Though pretend, the casket and actors were part of last Thursday’s very serious presentation on the perils of both drunk driving and texting and driving.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan high school students walk by the casket of a crash victim as the mother, played by SHS social studies teacher Marsha Kirby and pastor Bil Reedy look on solemnly. Though pretend, the casket and actors were part of last Thursday’s very serious presentation on the perils of both drunk driving and texting and driving.

Prom-wreck simulation adds tragic story to presentation

April 29, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Last Thursday morning wasn’t your typical prom-wreck simulation at Sullivan High School. Though still present were the moving portrayals of a drunk teenager stumbling out of her car, “blood” smeared on her face, local police and emergency responders rushing onto the scene–also known as the north high school parking lot–and a motionless body in the back seat of another badly damaged car, this year’s simulation was also accompanied by a presentation by Samantha Kater, a former Charleston resident who in 2011 was directly involved in a fatal DUI that killed her best friend. Read More

Mother/Daughter Duo Reopen the Flower Pot

Photo by Keith Stewart Lesa McDaniel puts the finishing touches on a flower arrangement Monday morning. McDaniel, along with her mother Kimberlie Elkins, are the new owner/operators of the Flower Pot in Sullivan.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Lesa McDaniel puts the finishing touches on a flower arrangement Monday morning. McDaniel, along with her mother Kimberlie Elkins, are the new owner/operators of the Flower Pot in Sullivan.

Shop remains familiar to customers while adding a few items

April 22, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan reporter

When it came to making the decision to take over The Flower Pot, new owners and mother/daughter team Lesa McDaniel and Kimberlie Elkins (of Mackinaw, Ill.) didn’t have to go out on a limb. With Elkins already having experience running a store and McDaniel’s motivation, the idea to take over the business was already planted firmly in both of their minds.
“My husband and I are friends with Mike and Ellen (Bernius). When I had first heard she was going to retire, I told my husband that I would love to run it and have my mother move down here to run it with me,” said McDaniel. “I had been a stay-at-home mom over the last 10 years and was ready to have a career. I was also given the opportunity to come in before Ellen closed, and she taught me how to make a proper arrangement and showed me what I needed to know.
“My mother had a store up in Mackinaw and loved what she did so I thought it would be a lot of fun to work with my mom. I got a hold of Ellen, and here we are. I am very grateful that we were given the chance to keep the business going!” Read More

Private Donor Allows for New Moultrie K-9 Unit Purchase

Photo by RR Best Pictured is Moultrie County deputy Caleb Smith along with the department’s K-9 next to the latest vehicle addition–a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe fully equipped and valued at over $62,000. The purchase was made possible by a recent private donation.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured is Moultrie County deputy Caleb Smith along with the department’s K-9 next to the latest vehicle addition–a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe fully equipped and valued at over $62,000. The purchase was made possible by a recent private donation.

Vehicle, equipment valued at over $62,000

April 22, 2015
by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

The county’s K9 unit is now riding in style and improved capability.
With an older vehicle having taken its fair share of wear and tear not to mention proving unfit to accommodate storage of all their equipment, the sheriff’s department was in need of a new K-9 unit.
One large anonymous donation later, the department was in business.
Now in their fleet sits a fully decked out 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe along with new K-9 equipment–paid for in full by a private donor. The total amount given from the anonymous donor was $62,549.
Miles Chevrolet in Decatur allowed the department to purchase the Tahoe at $33,190. The rest of the funds were put towards the addition of the K-9 equipment.
According to Sheriff Chris Sims and Deputy Caleb Smith, a 2012 Chevrolet Impala was already in place with the unit, but it was difficult getting around in inclement weather, and there wasn’t always enough storage space. Read More

Trying to Put the Picture Back Together

One of Moultrie’s oldest families tries to reunite

April 22, 2015

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

A picture can be worth a thousand words, but what about a thousand relatives? And what if many of the faces in that picture are without names, waiting to be identified? A complex puzzle to be sure, especially when that photo was taken nearly 100 years ago.
Yet, this is just what Janie Ball of Estes Park, Colo., Doris Hubner of Onarga, Ill., and Connie Cerdena of LaCenter, Wash. have undertaken to do in planning and preparing for their family’s reunion set for the May 9 and 10 in Sullivan.
However, this is not your typical family get together.
Ball, Hubner and Cerdena each trace their lineage back to one of the first families to arrive in Moultrie County, who were actually the first white settlers to take up permanent residence here: the Isaac Waggoner family.

Submitted Pictured is a photo from 1928 in what was then called Freeland’s Grove (near present day Wyman Park) of the Waggoner family reunion. The family goes back as far as 1828, making it one of the first to settle in Moultrie County. After more than 80 years after their last, the family plans to reunite in Sullivan next month, but is still trying to get the word out to family members.

Submitted
Pictured is a photo from 1928 in what was then called Freeland’s Grove (near present day Wyman Park) of the Waggoner family reunion. The family goes back as far as 1828, making it one of the first to settle in Moultrie County. After more than 80 years after their last, the family plans to reunite in Sullivan next month, but is still trying to get the word out to family members.

Read More

Sullivan Chiefs Inducted into Hall of Fame

Short-lived softball team recognized for big impact

April 15, 2015

 
by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

This past Saturday night may have been organized to recognize efforts and performances deserving of hall of fame status, but for the men and women involved, it was about recalling the smell of fresh cut grass, playing double-headers four times a week, and playing fast pitch softball on the Fourth of July.
The Sullivan Chiefs, one of five teams inducted into the Amateur Softball Association 11th annual Hall of Fame held at the Decatur Convention Center and Hotel Saturday evening, may have been last, but they certainly were not the least deserving.
“The Sullivan Chiefs didn’t play a lot of years, but they did win the state championship in 1970 with a truly outstanding bunch of players,” said presenter Joe Snedeker. “Our teams played against them many times, and they could hit, and they could run, and they could do it all.”
Before winning the state tournament in 1970, the Chiefs began as a 4H club that slowly evolved over the next few years.
There was, according to Moultrie County News archives, a Sullivan Merchants softball team that played throughout the 30s but disbanded in 1964. The next year, at just 19 years old, Larry Morrison decided to keep Sullivan’s fastpich softball alive by seeking a sponsor from Ed Dunphy.
“Believe it or not, we started out as the Sunnyside Fleaflickers 4H club,” recalled Morrison, who played first base for the team, including the state championship team. “My dad got sick after my freshman year of college so I came home, and we still wanted to play ball, but we couldn’t play 4H anymore, so we talked to Ed Dunphy, and he sponsored when we started.”

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured are individuals who either played for the Sullivan Chiefs or a team just prior to their formation in 1970 who were present at this past Saturday’s hall of fame induction in Decatur. Back row, left to right: Carl Fieldbinder, Harold Martin, Barry Freeman, manager Ron (Sox) Sutton, Mark Wascher, Danny Green, Jerry Lane, and “Iron” Mike Shelton. Front row: Gary Yoder, Dean Mitchell, Larry Morrison, Richard Maxedon, Charlie Bland, Mike Orris, and Terry Phillips (team announcer and son of the late Joe Phillips). Not pictured is Buster Chumbley.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured are individuals who either played for the Sullivan Chiefs or a team just prior to their formation in 1970 who were present at this past Saturday’s hall of fame induction in Decatur. Back row, left to right: Carl Fieldbinder, Harold Martin, Barry Freeman, manager Ron (Sox) Sutton, Mark Wascher, Danny Green, Jerry Lane, and “Iron” Mike Shelton. Front row: Gary Yoder, Dean Mitchell, Larry Morrison, Richard Maxedon, Charlie Bland, Mike Orris, and Terry Phillips (team announcer and son of the late Joe Phillips). Not pictured is Buster Chumbley.

Read More

Spinning Vintage Treasures Into New Fashions

Submitted Pictured is local artist and clothing designer Darby Harden who just recently unveiled her new clothing line, The Wanderlust Collection–a handcrafted line that boasts uniqueness in every garment.

Submitted
Pictured is local artist and clothing designer Darby Harden who just recently unveiled her new clothing line, The Wanderlust Collection–a handcrafted line that boasts uniqueness in every garment.

Darby Harden designs new Wanderlust Clothing Collection

April 8, 2015
by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Many have heard the saying, “turning something old, into something new” or “somebody else’s trash, is another person’s treasure.” Darby Harden, owner of Gypsy Soul Revival in Sullivan did something similar with her latest clothing line, “The Wanderlust Collection” by literally turning vintage pieces into an intricate meaningful fashion line for women to treasure for years to come.
“I love things that have a history, that would normally get discarded and that need to be reused,” she said. “I have handcrafted each piece in the Wanderlust Collection using select vintage linens, lace, fabric, and trims. No two items in the collection are the same.”
Harden may have found the perfect “niche” as there is already an interest in antiques and handcrafted items within the area. But in order to stand out amongst the rest, though, it is important for items to have something special and unique. Read More

Sullivan Native Wins $21,500 On “Jeopardy!”!

Photo Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. Pictured is “Jeopardy!” game show host Alex Trebek with Sullivan native Rachael Sims during an episode that aired March 6.

Photo Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Pictured is “Jeopardy!” game show host Alex Trebek with Sullivan native Rachael Sims during an episode that aired March 6.

Sims appeared on popular game show earlier this month

March 25, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Not only does knowledge equal power, but it also can help you earn some extra money for your bank account. That is what Sullivan native and recent law school graduate Rachael Sims found out after competing on the famous ““Jeopardy!”!” game show.
“I won $21,500 in my first game, which was very exciting!” said Sims. “Unfortunately, I didn’t win my second game, but I did get to earn $1,000 for my third place finish. Of course, all of these totals are before taxes!
While the show was aired March 6, it actually had been filmed in January. And the journey to participating on ““Jeopardy!”!” actually started online.
“Everyone who wants to appear as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” has to take an online test,” said Sims. “The test is offered once per year and consists of 50 questions. You’re given eight seconds to answer each question, and you don’t have to phrase your answers in the form of a question. It’s basically just a general knowledge test to see if you know enough about a variety of different categories to be competitive on the show. You don’t get your results for the online test, but if you score high enough, you might be contacted for an interview.” Read More

New Ownership for Muzzy’s Hometown

Submitted Pictured are former Muzzy’s Hometown owners Terry and Sharon Muzzy (left) handing the new owners C.J. Swinehart and his wife the first dollar that the business made in an informal sign of the official sale and transfer of the business.

Submitted
Pictured are former Muzzy’s Hometown owners Terry and Sharon Muzzy (left) handing the new owners C.J. Swinehart and his wife the first dollar that the business made in an informal sign of the official sale and transfer of the business.

Bethany native takes over

March 25, 2015

by Joash Tiarks
Bethany Reporter

The building at 115 W. Main St. and the business it contains has long been a fixture in the rural community of Bethany.
Situated just west of Scott State Bank headquarters, it is a conspicuous storefront in the small downtown. Emblazoned with large blue lettering, the front window is easily recognizable to passing motorists.
Many readers are undoubtedly personally familiar with Muzzy’s Hometown Heating and Cooling of Bethany, a business that has a pedigree spanning six decades. In the early 1960s the location was known as Crowder’s Hardware Store, at which time Danny Coleman opened a plumbing/heating business from the back office. Shortly thereafter, he purchased the whole store from Crowder, running the two businesses out of the same building. Read More