Board of Appeals Given Appreciation Bonus

Decision comes after lengthy hearings on wildlife park

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Earlier this month the county board unanimously approved an appreciation stipend or bonus for the zoning board of appeals for the time spent deliberating and attending lengthy meetings regarding the Aikman Wildlife Park.

The $100 bonus was given to four of the five board of appeals’ members, with Howard Sanders excluded since he did not attend the June meetings due to a conflict of interest. Those receiving the bonus include Tyson Grooms, Neil Hinkle, Paul Roney, and Mike Sheehan.

“They spent a lot of time and patience at all the hearings so I think it’s well deserved,” said vice-county chairman Ron White.

“They don’t get any stipend at all. They get paid mileage, [but] they spent a day-and-a-half at one hearing and then half a day at the other hearing,” said board chairman Dave McCabe at the budget and finance committee meeting July 6. “If we’re going to get volunteers to serve on these kinds of things, we need to show we appreciate their efforts when its above and beyond their normal call of duty.”

In particular, the four board members were rewarded for their time spent across two meetings held on June 5 and 17, which together spanned a little more than seven hours. The meeting on the 17th, however, began at 9 a.m. and then broke for lunch before then resuming at 1:15 and adjourning at around 3:30 p.m.  Read More

Renewing Wood Lake

Upgrades come just as Lake Shelbyville is named top project in nation

Photo by Keith Stewart Volunteer members from the Sullivan AmBucs install decking at the new fishing pier at Wood Lake. The pier was completed as of this week. The volunteers will next construct a roof for the pier.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Volunteer members from the Sullivan AmBucs install decking at the new fishing pier at Wood Lake. The pier was completed as of this week. The volunteers will next construct a roof for the pier.

•July 29, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

These days, the Lake Shelbyville area is glistening and not just because of the hot sunshine beaming down on the water.

Two weeks ago this Thursday the US Army Corp. of Engineers announced that Lake Shelbyville had taken this year’s top spot as the Natural Resources Management project of the year.

And as if any further proof was needed, that same day, a small group of volunteers was working on installing a handicapped accessible pier at Wood Lake, just a half mile north of the Bruce-Findlay road–one of several upgrades to the 30-acre lake that when finished looks to make it a unique destination, particularly for fishing.

The volunteers constructing the pier come by way of the Sullivan AmBucs, a local chapter of the national service organization that has come to be best known for, not only providing ‘AmTrykes’ for disabled children, but also constructing ramps to make homes and businesses accessible.

And that’s where the group has drawn much of their expertise with their latest project–building a 50’x20’ handicapped accessible pier at Wood Lake that when finished, will not only allow fishing more than 45’ feet in, but also at night with the aid of solar-powered lights and a roof overhead.

“It’s a real opportunity for AmBucs to do some real good, not only for Sullivan, but the Shelbyville area,” said Denny Hutchings, a member of the Sullivan AmBucs group. “To have a facility like that as close as it is to Sullivan, open to the public and that is a nice fishery, it could be a real boom to the area, and it’s a chance for AmBucs to have a little wider impact. Just a great opportunity.” Read More

Sullivan Man Found Dead Friday

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan Man Found Dead Friday Ryan J. Benton, 41, of Sullivan was found dead late Friday afternoon. According to Sullivan Police Chief John Love, his department was called to do a welfare check, and upon visiting Benton’s residence at 504 N. Van Buren, found the 41-year-old dead. Benton was pronounced deceased by Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed at 4:02 p.m. Friday. Sullivan police and Reed’s office are still conducting an investigation into Benton’s death but say that no foul play is suspected. Love declined to provide comment on a preliminary cause of death and instead said that they are awaiting both autopsy and toxicology reports. Pictured are both Sullivan police and officials from the coroner’s office preparing to enter Benton’s apartment.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan Man Found Dead Friday
Ryan J. Benton, 41, of Sullivan was found dead late Friday afternoon. According to Sullivan Police Chief John Love, his department was called to do a welfare check, and upon visiting Benton’s residence at 504 N. Van Buren, found the 41-year-old dead. Benton was pronounced deceased by Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed at 4:02 p.m. Friday. Sullivan police and Reed’s office are still conducting an investigation into Benton’s death but say that no foul play is suspected. Love declined to provide comment on a preliminary cause of death and instead said that they are awaiting both autopsy and toxicology reports. Pictured are both Sullivan police and officials from the coroner’s office preparing to enter Benton’s apartment.

Yard of July

Submitted WHAT’S Yard of July Windsor’s yard of the month winner is Noel and Gloria Helton. Making good use of perennials and annuals in their flower beds makes this a favorite drive by spot of many in Windsor, and the new log siding on their home has been a long awaited goal. The WHAT group, Windsor’s Happenings Around Town, is a mapping group that is working on beautification of Windsor. The group encourages all residents to beautify their homes and yards. Nominations may be made by stopping by city hall or calling  273-5488.

Submitted
WHAT’S Yard of July
Windsor’s yard of the month winner is Noel and Gloria Helton. Making good use of perennials and annuals in their flower beds makes this a favorite drive by spot of many in Windsor, and the new log siding on their home has been a long awaited goal. The WHAT group, Windsor’s Happenings Around Town, is a mapping group that is working on beautification of Windsor. The group encourages all residents to beautify their homes and yards. Nominations may be made by stopping by city hall or calling 273-5488.

Trashy

Photo by RR Best Trashy Pictured are several televisions that were dumped in a drainage ditch just north of Wyman Park sometime over the weekend. According to Sullivan road district commissioner Elmo Weaver, the televisions were left in the ditch in what appeared to be a result of complications with the Sullivan citywide electronic recycling event which was held Saturday. According to the city, the recycling company was not equipped to handle the large volume of electronics, which citizens brought to be recycled. “They should have taken them back home instead of dumping it on someone else,’ said Weaver. “It’s not right.” The city does plan to hold another electronics recycling day. Information on that event will be provided in the News•Progress once available.

Photo by RR Best
Trashy
Pictured are several televisions that were dumped in a drainage ditch just north of Wyman Park sometime over the weekend. According to Sullivan road district commissioner Elmo Weaver, the televisions were left in the ditch in what appeared to be a result of complications with the Sullivan citywide electronic recycling event which was held Saturday. According to the city, the recycling company was not equipped to handle the large volume of electronics, which citizens brought to be recycled. “They should have taken them back home instead of dumping it on someone else,’ said Weaver. “It’s not right.” The city does plan to hold another electronics recycling day. Information on that event will be provided in the News•Progress once available.

Sullivan Man Formally Charged with Child Pornography Offenses

•July 22, 2015•

Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, announced today that a federal grand jury in Peoria has returned an indictment charging Justen W. Troxell, 30, of the 400 block of South Worth Street, Sullivan, Ill., with distribution and possession of child pornography.
The indictment alleges that in June 2015, Troxell distributed and possessed images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of computers and related materials allegedly used to commit or promote the offenses. Read More

Okaw Valley Schools Close out FY15 with Deficit

New class schedule also to begin this fall

•July 22, 2015•

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

In time for the closing of fiscal year 2015 on June 30, the Okaw Valley’s administration approved their final estimated ending budget, giving a glimpse into what Okaw Valley School District can expect this next fiscal year, financially.
The budget fell largely in line with what superintendent Kent Stauder had projected months earlier when concerns of state education budget cuts loomed overhead. The district ended their fiscal year with almost $5,2630,000 total in all their various funds, incurring a deficit of roughly $145,000—an increase over last year’s deficit of nearly $59,000. The majority of that deficit came from the district’s operation and maintenance fund, which ended with close to $97,000 less than with what the district began. The operation and maintenance fund pays for the upkeep of school building and grounds as well as the day to day functions needed to keep each school running. This year the district saw several one-time expenditures that affected the operation and maintenance fund, including the recent asbestos abatement and demolition of Okaw Valley Intermediate School in Findlay. Read More

ALAH District Short Another State Payment

Reduction in funding causes change of summer maintenance, insurance policies

•July 22, 2015•

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

At their meeting last Wednesday, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond school board discussed being denied a fourth state aid payment and how that looks to impact projects.
“We didn’t receive our fourth payment from the state which equaled about $80,000, ” said Superintendent Kenny Schwingel.
While the district didn’t expect to receive that missed payment from the state, it did still put them short for funding toward extra projects. The district had several projects for summer maintenance that were needing to be done, but because of funding issues, they had to be put on hold for the next school year. The total cost of the maintenance projects was over $105,000, but after taking a second look at the list, it was narrowed down to $70,000. Some of the projects that were put on hold include putting up a second hitching post, new storage shed and repairing/replacing the entrance at Arthur Grade School. Read More

Eagle Creek Task Force Forms

Local officials come together to provide oversight on shuttered resort

•July 15, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A group of local officials and representatives have recently come together to form a task force overseeing the future of the long-shuttered Eagle Creek Resort.
“Some of us locally think we need to have some local control in overseeing it to make sure it continues forward,” said Moultrie County board chairman Dave McCabe. “Everyone has been wanting to get it accomplished for years now, but it never seems to get done.”
Eagle Creek was closed in July of 2009 after mold was detected. Some hope for its reopening surfaced in 2010 when Decatur-based BMDD Resorts Corp. was hired to renovate and reopen the resort. But that hope soon faded last year after the firm pulled out among disagreements with the state over the project, leaving Eagle Creek to once again sit unusable.
“With the way DNR has been prolonging this, I’m not sure whether we can be effective or not,“ said Sullivan Mayor Ann Short who is also a member of the task force. “But if we can accomplish something positive, I’ll be thrilled.” Read More

Golf Outing Winners

Submitted Golf Outing Winners Pictured is winning team from the 21st annual Okaw Valley Academic Foundation golf outing, which was held July 10. From left to right: Andrew Fultz, Joe Fultz, sponsor Jack Scott, Ben Broadbeck, and JC Fultz.

Submitted
Golf Outing Winners
Pictured is winning team from the 21st annual Okaw Valley Academic Foundation golf outing, which was held July 10. From left to right: Andrew Fultz, Joe Fultz, sponsor Jack Scott, Ben Broadbeck, and JC Fultz.