Hundred-Days Men Left Checkered Civil War Legacy

August 20, 2014

Left a Darker Side to the War 150 Years Ago This Summer

by Tom Emery

There are many inspiring stories of Civil War soldiers from Illinois. But 150 years ago this summer, the “hundred days” men left behind a checkered legacy that reflects a darker side of the war.

The “hundred-days” movement arose from a need for more manpower in early 1864. Thousands of men were tied up in the campaigns on Richmond and Atlanta, and the recruiting pool was drying up after several calls by the President for more troops. Read More

Local Scouts Complete Eagle Scout Projects

Submitted Pictured is former Troop 39 scoutmaster Gerry Wood (left), recently promoted Eagle Scout Benjamin Berner (middle), and current scoutmaster Jeff White at the formal unveiling of Berner’s Eagle Scout project, a list of more than 2,000 Moultrie County veterans and current armed forces and a podium upon which the list will sit.

Submitted
Pictured is former Troop 39 scoutmaster Gerry Wood (left), recently promoted Eagle Scout Benjamin Berner (middle), and current scoutmaster Jeff White at the formal unveiling of Berner’s Eagle Scout project, a list of more than 2,000 Moultrie County veterans and current armed forces and a podium upon which the list will sit.

August 13, 2014

High honor now within grasp

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

“Congratulations, Eagle Scout.”

Three simple words that so many Boy Scouts hope to one day hear, they perhaps don’t completely encompass the years of merit badges attained nor the hours and hours of work on their Eagle Scout project.

But for two local scouts, Benjamin Berner and Sean Johnson, hearing these words recently were well worth the time, money, and work.

“The Eagle Scout project is the last major requirement before a boy becomes an Eagle Scout,” explained Troop 39 Scoutmaster Jeff White. “He must earn 21 merit badges, 13 of them are required (first aid, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, communication, cooking, personal fitness, emergency preparedness (or lifesaving), environmental science, personal management, swimming, camping and family life), but the remaining eight merit badges are chosen by each scout according to his interests (there are over 100 in all).”

For the 16-year-old Berner, his project involved the collection of service records both for current and past Moultrie County citizens enlisted in the armed forces. Read More

A Trip Worth Taking

Submitted by Troy Rogers Jazmyn Jane feeds a giraffe during a visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., which was just one of several science related experiences Sullivan students encountered on their trip this past June.

Submitted by Troy Rogers
Jazmyn Jane feeds a giraffe during a visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., which was just one of several science related experiences Sullivan students encountered on their trip this past June.

August 6, 2014

Sullivan students embark on biennial science trip to Florida

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

From snorkeling with manatees and feeding giraffes, to dissecting sharks and kayaking on barrier reefs, there’s a trip Sullivan students have taken every other year for the last five years that completely immerses them in a world of science and marine biology over just three days.

Near the beginning of June, 16 Sullivan students from both the eighth and ninth grade classes travelled to Tampa, Fla. and experienced nonstop hands-on science, first beginning with a trip north of Tampa to the Crystal Springs Preserve. There the students swam with manatees and even interacted with a mother and its calf, before then traveling to the Rainbow River, where students enjoyed more snorkeling in the fresh water spring fed river.

“There was a mile and a half stretch we snorkeled in,” explained SHS science instructor and trip leader Troy Rogers. “We saw shoals of tilapia, and there are bubbling springs, so there is bubbling water that is coming up to the surface. Then there are also caverns 20 feet down. It’s just a really neat experience and really my favorite one, but each time it’s different.” Read More

Sparrows to Celebrate 20 Years Sat.

August 6, 2014

Lovington-based outreach group to host public extravaganza

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Sparrows Unlimited, a non-profit organization, will be celebrating 20 years of service to the Lovington community this Saturday, August 9 in downtown Lovington. The celebration will begin at noon and feature a car and bike show, inflatables for the kids, a DJ, hamburgers and hot dogs and a bags tournament with signups starting at 12:30 at Jerry’s East End. Read More

Final Show Delivers Pretty Performance With a Hint of Pink

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Sarah Ledtke as Elle Woods (left) and Anna Blair as the good-hearted salon owner Paulette (right) in the Little Theatre’s latest and last production of the 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is Sarah Ledtke as Elle Woods (left) and Anna Blair as the good-hearted salon owner Paulette (right) in the Little Theatre’s latest and last production of the 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

July 30, 2014

“Legally Blonde” to close out 2014 summer season

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

Willowy and witty, pretty and poised, Sarah Ledtke never makes a false step as the star of the Little Theatre’s final show of its 2014 summer season, “Legally Blonde.”

As Elle Woods, Malibu boy-chaser turned Harvard Law ace, she brings the same qualities of likability, whimsy and stage presence to the role as Reese Witherspoon did in the original hit film, although not at all in the same way. 

Ledtke’s confident gestures easily arrest the audience’s attention. With empathy, without preaching, Ledtke sells the show’s ever-relevant message — that you don’t have to be limited by other people’s low estimation of your worth. It’s a pleasure to watch a professional performer who has such command of her craft. 

Director Therese Kincade did an equally professional job of casting this musical, and all her principals find a comfortable fit in their roles. She’s got Mike Danovich, the season’s most reliably solid player, as Warner, the preppy boyfriend who thinks he’s too good for Elle. She has energetic Tiffany Sparks as Brooke Wyndham, the exercise queen on trial for murdering her elderly hubby. Anna Blair is the gaudy but good-hearted salon owner Paulette, balancing show-stopping clown against endearing underdog.

Andy LeBon, who was so good as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” brings his ringing note of authority to bear on the John Houseman-like role of the arrogant and brilliant Harvard criminal law professor Callahan.  Read More

A Repeat Donator: Punches Cuts Again for Locks of Love

Submitted Local hair stylist Candy Cox (left) and Ricky Punches  (right), each hold up their recently cut locks of hair, which they plan to donate to Locks of Love.

Submitted
Local hair stylist Candy Cox (left) and Ricky Punches (right), each hold up their recently cut locks of hair, which they plan to donate to Locks of Love.

July 30, 2014

Joined by local stylist in hair donation

by Christina Whitford
Sullivan Reporter

For most people the never ending task of getting your hair cut becomes routine. But for those who have lost their hair due to medical illness, the gift that one person’s hair cut can give them is extraordinary and priceless.

Through the non- profit organization Locks of Love, many people choose to give the locks they cut to help children, including Ricky Punches of Sullivan, who recently made his second donation in two years.

The organization provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss from an assortment of diagnoses. Locks of Love goal is simply to restore self confidence to children in these situations.

Over the years, many local residents have generously made hair donations to help others in need. Recently making a return trip to the salon for another round of donation was Punches, who first donated in January 2013.

“After my first donation, I began growing it again to cut and donate,” explained Punches.

He made the donation after learning about the program from his mother and seeing her rally to help find people to donate their hair.  Read More

Moultrie-Douglas 4-H Livestock and Horse Show Results

Submitted Christian Hopper of Gays waits patiently with his rabbit.

Submitted
Christian Hopper of Gays waits patiently with his rabbit.

July 30, 2014

The following area individuals earned accolades during the Moultrie-Douglas 4-H livestock show:

Boer Goats

Katie Cline, Moultrie County Longhorns, Windsor-Jr. Champion Doe, Sr. Champion Doe; Zachary Hall, Moultrie County Longhorns, Gays-Reserve Grand Champion Doe, Jr. Champion Buck, Sr. Champion Buck, and Grand Champion Buck; Ethan Gingerich, Atwood-Hammond Prairie Dogs, Sullivan-Reserve Sr. Champion Buck; and Matt Cline, Moultrie County Longhorns, Windsor-Reserve Grand Champion Buck.

Pygmy Goats

Maddy Paddock, Awesome Arthur Clovers, Arthur-Grand Champion Wether-Sr. Champion Doe, Reserve Grand Champion Doe, and Reserve Jr. Champion Buck; Mathew Paddock, Awesome Arthur Clovers, Arthur-Reserve Sr. Champion Doe.

Poultry

Amy Monroe, Sunny Side Flea Flickers, Bethany-Grand Champion American, Reserve Grand Champion American, Reserve Grand Champion English, Grand Champion Asiatic, Grand Champion All Other Fowl Single, Grand Champion Water Fowl Pair; Benjamin Bushue, Moultrie County Longhorns, Sullivan-Grand Champion Continental & All Other, Reserve Grand Champion Continental & All Other, Grand Champion Bantam-Feather Legged, Reserve Grand Champion Bantam-Feather Legged, Grand Champion Meat Production Class, Reserve Grand Champion Meat Production Class; Blaire Monroe, Sunny Side Flea Flickers, Bethany-Grand Champion Egg Production Class, Grand Champion Eggs;Issac Gingerich, Atwood-Hammond Prairie Dogs, Sullivan-Grand Champion Large Purebred, Grand Champion Rabbit; Joshua Gingerich, Atwood-Hammond Prairie Dogs, Sullivan- Reserve Grand Champion Large Purebred, Reserve Grand Champion Small Purebred; and Maddy Paddock, Awesome Arthur Clovers, Arthur-Grand Champion Small Purebred. Read More

A Legend Restored

Photo by Florence Hallford The Burcham Sisters, (from left to right) Julie Yantis, Carole Jacoby, and Sara Gale recently visited the newly completed and relocated horse shoe pits in Tom Conn Park, which they helped fund. Not pictured is Laura Stinson. Their father, the late Emmett Burcham was a reknown horseshoe thrower. The pits were officially reopened last Thursday.

Photo by Florence Hallford
The Burcham Sisters, (from left to right) Julie Yantis, Carole Jacoby, and Sara Gale recently visited the newly completed and relocated horse shoe pits in Tom Conn Park, which they helped fund. Not pictured is Laura Stinson. Their father, the late Emmett Burcham was a reknown horseshoe thrower. The pits were officially reopened last Thursday.

July 23, 2014

Lovington’s horseshoe pits reinstalled at Tom Conn Park

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

The old horseshoe pits in Lovington’s Tom Conn Park held the memories of many residents as they watched or played horseshoes with friends and family. But last year the pits were removed to accommodate the new skate park. Yet, towards the end of the planning for the skate park project, Sara Gale approached the board to reinstall the horseshoe pits in a different location to keep alive the memory of her father Emmett Burcham, who was a champion thrower.

“During the discussion of the skate park, they talked about relocating the pits,” said Gale. “But they lacked the funds. Then I thought my sisters and I could help.” 

The sisters, known as the ‘Burcham Girls’, were not against the skate park being put in but were concerned with moving the original horseshoe pits. 

“It was the idea that Dad had used them, not necessarily where they were located,” added Gale. Nonetheless, the sisters are now more than satisfied since the pits were relocated last Thursday, though still in Tom Conn Park.

The horseshoe pits were built to regulation and include the pins from the original pits. The only thing missing is the clay, which board member Dennis Garmon is working to locate. 

Jeremy Doggett executed the project while Garmon designed the pits. 

“They turned out exactly like it was on paper,” explained Garmon, who was supportive of the project and was interim mayor during the final talks on the skate park project.  Read More

Lovington Resident Opens up Resale Shop in Sullivan Friday

Photo by Keith Stewart Robin Vaughn of Lovington is set to open her new resale shop, Mudgies, at 20 W. Harrison in Sullivan Friday.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Robin Vaughn of Lovington is set to open her new resale shop, Mudgies, at 20 W. Harrison in Sullivan Friday.

Mudgie’s soft grand-opening set for Saturday

by Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

There is at least one new store opening this Friday in Sullivan, but for shop owner Robin Vaughn it is a familiar routine. Vaughn has owned and run the Thrifty Boutique for the last five years, first in Decatur before then moving to Arthur. But prohibitive rent prices there recently forced her to close up shop and look elsewhere for options, which brought her to Sullivan.

However, Vaughn realized an immediate conflict: there is already a similarly named shop in town. With the proposed opening date of July 18 fast approaching, she needed a new, unique name for her new location. Read More

Powerhouse Cast Drives “Sound of Music”

Sound_0049

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Sam Mulligan of Sullivan (left) as Friedrich von Trapp, and Lukas Mills (right) as Kurt von Trapp walking Maria Rainer, played by Leah Berry, center, to her wedding in the second act of the “Sound of Music”.

July 16, 2014

Grand set design, intricate costuming add to show’s strength

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

few minutes into the first act, the Little Theatre’s “The Sound of Music” turns perfect.

It’s the famous “Do-Re-Mi” number sung by the young would-be nun-turned-governess Maria (Leah Berry) and Captain von Trapp’s children (Sam Mulligan, Sydni Mulligan and Maddie Keller, all of Sullivan,  Lukas Mills, Izzy Miller and Piper Countryman). 

In a lesser production, those children can be precocious annoyances, too cute by half. But director John Stephens has given his cast a dazzling clockwork charm here and provided us with one of those live theatre moments when audience and performers are in radiant unison. Read More