Pedal and Garden Tractor Pull July 11 at Tabor Park

Free family event from the Christian County Tractor Puller Association

June 17, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

The Christian County Tractor Pullers Association is pulling in some family entertainment for everyone to enjoy come Saturday, July 11, at Tabor Park in Sullivan where the association will be putting on a free pedal and garden tractor pull.
“We are a family-based group from kids to 88-plus year-old guys and gals,” explained Ed Righter, a member of the association. “It is family-based club. We even have some ‘groupies’ that follow us.”
The association actually began 30 years ago and was started by the Jackson family of Taylorville, Ill. Christian County Tractor Pullers are a pulling garden tractor club that consists of 50 members from mostly central Illinois who pull competitively. They have classes that range from Stock 10 horse-power to NQS (National Quarter Scale) 50.5 cid alcohol burning tractors. Not long ago, they added stock twin classes and a pro-twin class to their options of tractors to compete. Read More

Sullivan Kiwanis, Back in the Business of Serving

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan Kiwanis Club President Cindi Reed (right) is presented the club’s gavel by Jim Dooley as part of the charter ceremony Monday night.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan Kiwanis Club President Cindi Reed (right) is presented the club’s gavel by Jim Dooley as part of the charter ceremony Monday night.

June 17, 2015

Local chapter receives charter Monday

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Nearly nine months of meetings, soliciting, and discussing came down to Monday evening’s charter celebration as the local Kiwanis group officially reemerged in Sullivan after shuttering several years ago.
Held in a packed side room of the Red Apple Family Restaurant, the charter presentation not only included the installation of 16 members, but also three officers, and saw a show of support from various neighboring Kiwanis groups from Mattoon, Charleston, Decatur and Tuscola.
And two of those groups–the Decatur Golden K Club and the Tuscola club, were instrumental in reviving the Sullivan branch, that, according to member and local historian Paul Stone, was originally founded in 1929.
Dave Butler, who is not only from the Tuscola club, but also the current Kiwanis lieutenant governor for district 27, along with Jim Dooley, the 2014-2015 Kiwanis Governor for the Illinois and eastern Iowa district, and others began by going door to door, soliciting membership late last fall. Read More

Bringing the Boats Back to the Lake

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is Jeff Gibbs, the owner of Clinton Marine who recently opened a location in Sullivan just in time for the busy boating season.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is Jeff Gibbs, the owner of Clinton Marine who recently opened a location in Sullivan just in time for the busy boating season.

New boat dealer/repair facility opens in Sullivan

June 10, 2015

by Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

As summer approaches and things heat up at the lake, many boaters will recognize a familiar name in town, especially those with runabouts and the larger cruisers. Clinton Marine, out of Weldon, Ill. is expanding and has opened up shop in the former D & M Sporting Good storefront on S. Hamilton Street in Sullivan.
“We felt it was a good idea to get down there, not only for service but also for sales,” owner Jeff Gibbs explained. “There really has not been anyone down there selling boats for years, and it’s really a great body of water.”
Clinton Marine was originally started by Gibbs’ father in the late 70s and the primary location in Weldon on Clinton Lake was built in 1985. Gibbs took over the business when his father retired in 2010, having returned from establishing and running a boating business at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for 16 years. Read More

A Look Back at Sullivan’s John Eden Who Ran For Governor In 1868

Served Five Terms in Congress

June 10, 2015

By Tom Emery
Contributing Historian

Among the leading figures of Sullivan history is John R. Eden, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Illinois in 1868. It was just one highlight in a long career in public service that included a total of five terms in the U.S. House.

From “John R. Eden 1826-1909 A Compendium of Materials” by R. Eden Martin. John Eden

From “John R. Eden 1826-1909 A Compendium of Materials” by R. Eden Martin.
John Eden

Eden was born in Bath County in east-central Kentucky Feb. 1, 1826 and moved with his family by prairie schooner to Rush County, east of Indianapolis, at age five. Young John worked on the farm and attended his first school in a cabin of round logs. The students sat on benches that had wooden pins for legs. The “desks” were actually puncheon boards mounted on pegs set in holes on the wall.
The window of the building was simply a space left by the removal of one log, stretching nearly the length of the wall. It had no glass, and greased paper was used in cold weather to keep out the elements. John, however, embraced his schooling and at age 18 became a teacher himself, for $20 a month and room and board. Read More

Running the Extra Mile for Childhood Cancer

St. Jude Dash and Bash set for June 20

June 10, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

Each year thousands of children battle in the fight for their lives at St. Jude Research Hospital. In fact, according to their website, nearly 7,800 active patients are treated annually. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude so they can put their soul focus on recovery. But in order to provide that financial relief, hundreds if not thousands of people, set out to run.
Stephanie Helmuth is one of those who are serious about helping contribute to the fight of childhood cancer.
“Many of us runners are very passionate about St. Jude and without their help, we would not be able to do this event,” she said. Read More

2015 Graduate Future Plans

Below is the information graduates from the class of 2015 voluntarily submitted regarding their future plans. Graduates from Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond, Okaw Valley, Sullivan, and Windsor are included:

Sixty-four Graduate in First Ever ALAH Class

Christy Eileen Allen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Allen, plans on attending the University of Illinois to study agricultural communications. She then hopes to have a career in advertising or public relations.
Toby Wayne Ball, son of Elizabeth Irene Ball and Robert Douglas Ball Sr., plans on attending Lake Land College to study either agriculture business or radio broadcast. He is currently employed with the Arthur IGA.
Tristan Barrett, son of Chris Stilwell, plans to study paleontology.
Tyler Benedict, son of Jerod Benedict and Christy Benedict, has no immediate plans.
Jonathan Bialeschki, son of Ed and Paula Bialeschki, plans on attending Lake Land College.
Dylan Ray Black, son of Rick and Dee Black, plans to attend South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to obtain a mechanical engineering degree. He also plans to participate in football.
Courtney Bontrager, daughter of LaMar and Barbara Bontrager, plans on earning a full time job once out of high school while also beginning to practice photography. She also wishes to start her own charity to put together gifts for children in the hospital with cancer.
J. Tanner Brewer, son of Tod Brewer and Krystal Lester, plans to attend the University of Illinois through the Pathways Program at Parkland College to major in sport management.
Mary Ann Budnick, daughter of the late Paul Richard Budnick and grand-daughter of Valerie Turnbow and Walter Turnbow plans to start work at a facility that deals with long-term health care including the Arthur Home and the Moultrie County Beacon. Read More

Called to Reading, One Word at a Time

Photo by Florence Hallford Pictured, left to right, are Lovington Grade School librarian Karen Smith-Cox, Joshua Zander holding his prize, fifth grade first-runner up Alyssa Thompson, and fourth grade, third place Emma Edwards.

Photo by Florence Hallford
Pictured, left to right, are Lovington Grade School librarian Karen Smith-Cox, Joshua Zander holding his prize, fifth grade first-runner up Alyssa Thompson, and fourth grade, third place Emma Edwards.

School reads more than 67 million words during contest

June 3, 2015

by Florence Hallford
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

As Amazon’s great text stats have calculated, the average length of a book is around 64,000 words. But for Lovington seventh grader Joshua Zander, that’s hardly a big deal.
And he would know.
Zander recently won a reading contest at the grade school after totaling 5,148,507 words read throughout the school year.
That came to 75 books, but even that was an easy feat after learning what the prize was.
“Once Josh found out the “Call of Duty” was involved, it was easy for him to take the tests in AR to document his accomplishments,” said Karen Smith-Cox, the grade school’s librarian for the past 12 years. “I noticed Josh was a reader last year when discussing books with him. I was impressed with his reading level and types of books. I would order through Illinois Heartland Library System books we did not have in our library for him. He also goes to the public library a lot to order even more books.”
Word count was verified through a test system called AR (accelerated reading). The student would enter the book he or she read and the AR system would test them on the book to assure they read it. Read More

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