Hullabaloo on the Square

Photo by RR Best Hullabaloo on the Square The sixth annual New Life Church sponsored event on the Sullivan square Sept. 18 provided family entertainment for hundreds of visitors. Many even braved the climbing wall (pictured) as well as inflatables, laser tag, street art, cotton candy and much more.

Photo by RR Best
Hullabaloo on the Square
The sixth annual New Life Church sponsored event on the Sullivan square Sept. 18 provided family entertainment for hundreds of visitors. Many even braved the climbing wall (pictured) as well as inflatables, laser tag, street art, cotton candy and much more.

Moultrie County Praised for Local Habitat Projects

•September 21, 2016•

Habitat for Humanity in Moultrie County is an operation that is respected all over the country.

That’s what the Moultrie County Board discovered when National Habitat Care-A-Vanner Robert Gillespie and his wife Betty,visited their regular meeting September 15.

Gillespie and Habitat volunteers living in campers and motor homes travel the country building some 300 homes all over the United States each year.

“This is our seventh house in Moultrie County, and as soon as the date for this build was posted volunteers filled the sign up list,” Gillespie said.

He pointed out a few things that make Moultrie County desirable for the retired habitat volunteers who have come to town to build a house in six weeks.

One big factor is Pastor Paul McGhghy, Gillespie said, explaining the Faith Lutheran Church offers the Care-A-Vanners a premium campground experience during the six week build.  Read More

Okaw Valley Homecoming Court

Photo Courtesy Jeni Yantis Okaw Valley Homecoming Court Front - 2016 OV dance co-chair Hannah Landreth, crown bearer prince Parker Wise, 2016 king Skyler Birch, 2016 queen Kristy Burford, crown bearer princess Amelia Wise and 2015 queen Gretchen Macklin.  Middle - senior candidates Brendon Lane, Jasmine Baumbarger, Brianna Creviston, Evan Blakey, Madison Uhlrich and Ty Nichols.  Back - freshmen attendants Chloe Rhyerd and Ethan Bartimus, junior attendants Paige Robinson and Trey Yarnell and sophomore attendants Riley Kesterson and Case Crawford.

Photo Courtesy Jeni Yantis
Okaw Valley Homecoming Court
Front - 2016 OV dance co-chair Hannah Landreth, crown bearer prince Parker Wise, 2016 king Skyler Birch, 2016 queen Kristy Burford, crown bearer princess Amelia Wise and 2015 queen Gretchen Macklin.  Middle - senior candidates Brendon Lane, Jasmine Baumbarger, Brianna Creviston, Evan Blakey, Madison Uhlrich and Ty Nichols.  Back - freshmen attendants Chloe Rhyerd and Ethan Bartimus, junior attendants Paige Robinson and Trey Yarnell and sophomore attendants Riley Kesterson and Case Crawford.

Yost Found Guilty of Randall Murder

Photo by Mike Brothers Convicted of murder Michael Yost is escorted from Moultrie County Courthouse Sept. 15 by Sheriff Chris Sims (right) Chief Deputy Gary Carroll (left) and Deputy Gary Eller (second from left). Yost remains in Moultrie County Jail until his sentencing October 21.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Convicted of murder Michael Yost is escorted from Moultrie County Courthouse Sept. 15 by Sheriff Chris Sims (right) Chief Deputy Gary Carroll (left) and Deputy Gary Eller (second from left). Yost remains in Moultrie County Jail until his sentencing October 21.

•September 21, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Michael Yost was found guilty of first degree murder in the cutting death of Sheri Randall in March 2015.

Chief Circuit Judge Dan L. Flannell announced the guilty verdict at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, ending the bench trail that began Monday, Sept. 12.

Judge Flannell emphasized that the state’s case established that Yost was guilty of all four counts filed, acknowledging the crime was cruel and heinous as State’s Attorney Jeremy Richey emphasized in his closing.

Yost faces a 20 years to natural life sentence with Judge Flannell scheduling a pre-sentence investigation report for 9 a.m. October 21. Yost was returned to the Moultrie County Jail to await sentencing.

Public Defender Brad Rau offered two witnesses on Yost’s behalf following the close of the state’s case on Thursday morning.

Yost, 43, recounted the events leading up to the death of Sheri Randall on March 4 while the court allowed endocrinologist Dr. Gregory Clark to observe the testimony.

Rau began by pointing out that Yost had Type II diabetes and asked his activities beginning on March 2, 2015. Read More

Mustangs Return

Photo courtesy Patrick Tueth Mustangs Return Featured in Bethany’s homecoming parade and other festivities this past weekend was the graduating class of 1976. According to those in attendance, no one has changed a bit in the 40 years since they roamed the halls of Bethany High School.The sports teams were known as the Mustangs in those days. Pictured are Kim Abbott, Bill Reeter, Patrick Tueth, John Hill, Sheila (Standerfer) Smith, Doug Moore, Cheryl Robinson, Susan (Iler) Schwartz, Donna (Martin) Fowler, Jane (Harshman) Inman, Tammy (Miller) Stinson and Pam (Richardson) Stetler.

Photo courtesy Patrick Tueth
Mustangs Return
Featured in Bethany’s homecoming parade and other festivities this past weekend was the graduating class of 1976. According to those in attendance, no one has changed a bit in the 40 years since they roamed the halls of Bethany High School.The sports teams were known as the Mustangs in those days. Pictured are Kim Abbott, Bill Reeter, Patrick Tueth, John Hill, Sheila (Standerfer) Smith, Doug Moore, Cheryl Robinson, Susan (Iler) Schwartz, Donna (Martin) Fowler, Jane (Harshman) Inman, Tammy (Miller) Stinson and Pam (Richardson) Stetler.

ALAH School District Approves Budget, Course Changes

•September 21, 2016•

by Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

In August, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board reviewed a tentative budget for 2017 in August. The estimated beginning balance for July 1, 2016 was $1,675,641 and the end balance for June 2017 is estimated at $1,995, 394. After being on display to the public for 30 days, the board had a budget hearing September 14 at their regular scheduled meeting. The budget for the 2017 school year was unanimously passed.

Other matters that were discussed or voted upon:

- Changes were made in the history courses regarding the new state civics requirement that will effect this year’s sophomores. The constitution has been removed from the US I curriculum and added to the civics curriculum which this year’s sophomores will take their senior year.

Also, the “Rights and Responsibilities of an 18 year old in the state of Illinois” will be removed from the US II curriculum and added to civics.

Homecoming king and queen candidates and attendants were recognized.  Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve Budget, Welcome New Member

•September 21, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan District 300 school board welcomed new member Ann Wheeler and approved the 2016-2017 budget at the Sept. 12 meeting.

Supt. Brad Tuttle noted during the budget hearing that the educational fund is in better shape than previous years.

The budget indicates education starts the fiscal year with a $3,340,592 balance. Anticipated revenue from local, state and federal sources totals $7,477,292 with an estimated $7,346,258 in expenses for a $131,034 balance.

On the negative item balances Tuttle explained the transition to new HVAC systems in the schools should significantly decrease operations and maintenance expenses over time.

Operations and maintenance beginning balance is $891,722. Local funding sources generate $805,899 with expenses including $30,000 contingency, are $929,005, leaving $123,106 in the red. Read More

Yost Found Guilty of Randall Murder

image•September 15, 2016•
Michael Yost, was found guilty of first degree murder in the cutting death of Sheri Randall in March 2015.

Chief Circuit Judge Dan L. Flannell announced the guilty verdict at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, ending the bench trail that began Monday, Sept. 12.

Judge Flannell emphasized that the states case established that Yost was guilty of all four counts filed, acknowledging the crime was cruel and heinous as States Attorney Jeremy Richey emphasized in his closing.

Yost faces a 20 years to natural life sentence with Judge Flannell scheduling a pre-sentence investigation report for 9 a.m. October 21. Yost was returned to the Moultrie County Jail to await sentencing.

Public Defender Brad Rau offered two witnesses on Yost’s behalf following the close of the states case on Thursday morning.
Michael Yost, 43, recounted the events leading up to the death of Sheri Randall on March 4 while the court allowed endocrinologist Dr. Gregory Clark to observe the testimony.

Rau began by pointing out Yost had Type II diabetes and ask his activities beginning on March 2, 2015.

County Salary Improvement Plan Proposed to Board

•September 14, 2016•

A plan to improve courthouse employee starting salaries was presented to the Moultrie County Board personnel committee September 6.

Committee chair Roger Glazebrook greeted representatives from the courthouse clerical staff as well as attending office holders to the afternoon session.

Courthouse staff spokesperson Krista Helmuth presented committee members with information on comparative  salaries in surrounding counties, revealing Moultrie County’s starting clerical salary of $18,000 is lower than all.

“The circuit clerk’s office recently lost two longtime employees to the city of Sullivan,” Helmuth said, noting a pattern of new employees training for various tasks in a county office only to leave after receiving a better offer outside is putting a strain on existing employees and service.

Cindy Braden noted the last opening she posted had four applicants. “When faced with turnover issues with corrections in the past, the county improved starting salaries in an effort to keep employees,” Braden said of county board practice in a similar situation. Read More

Sullivan Schools Honor Patriots Day

Photo by Mike Brothers Patriots Day reflections were depicted in a video watched by the assembly at Sullivan High School. Above Sullivan Mayor Ann Short, Sheriff Chris Sims, Chief of Sullivan Police John Love and guest speaker Nathan Becker watched somber memories from 9-11-01.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Patriots Day reflections were depicted in a video watched by the assembly at Sullivan High School. Above Sullivan Mayor Ann Short, Sheriff Chris Sims, Chief of Sullivan Police John Love and guest speaker Nathan Becker watched somber memories from 9-11-01.

•September 14, 2016•

The Sullivan High School Career English class Patriots Day assembly honored area first responders and military Sept. 8 in the high school gymnasium.

Before a gathering of students, first responders, military personnel and guests Rebecca Lawson’s class guided the school assembly through the events with presentation of the American flag by the National Guard, special musical arrangements and recollections of what Sept. 11, 2001 means today.

For SHS science teacher Nathan Becker, a sophomore at Sullivan High School in 2001, it was a day he can never forget.

“Like you students,” Becker began telling the assembled crowd, he was sitting in the commons with friends before school. “On the television in the corner we could see the fire from the first World Trade Center strike.”

Shortly before the bell for class, Becker said they watched the second tower get hit, and the silence over everyone in the halls indicated something was very wrong. Read More