National Guard Battalion Holds Training Games in Sullivan

Photo by RR Best Illinois National Guard from around the state gathered for logistics training  with 550 gathering for exercises  at the Sulllivan Middle School and Civic Center on August 15.

Photo by RR Best
Illinois National Guard from around the state gathered for logistics training with 550 gathering for exercises at the Sulllivan Middle School and Civic Center on August 15.

•August 26, 2015•

By Nick Fiala

Reporting from Sullivan

For the first time since before 2007, a special training session hosted 550 members of the Illinois National Guard battalion at the Sullivan Middle School and Civic Center Saturday, August 15.

“We’re a logistics battalion,” explained Captain April Hawes. “So we’re supporting other units with fuel and water and food...and medical support…It’s usually just one unit drilling together.”

Over the years, the battalion has not narrowed down such an inclusive schedule. But the opportunity finally came this year, with a date set for last Saturday.

The special training day is a unique opportunity to further develop a wide variety of skills and relationships within the battalion that can prepare them for whatever field experience is in their future.

“Everything that we’re doing today has a direct tie to our actual logistical mission in supporting somebody else,” said Lieutenant Joel Jessup.

“But it’s been built into a competitive game-style environment. It’s an opportunity for everybody to come together who haven’t been together for seven to eight years.  They get to know people they may not interact with everyday and build professional relationships. Now they can go talk directly to their counterparts, whom they didn’t know last night.” Read More

Moultrie County Retired Teachers Association Holds Meeting

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The Moultrie County Retired Teachers Association held their third meeting of the year today, Aug. 5, 2015.

At the meeting, Stepheny McMahon, Director of Sullivan Chamber & Economic Development, spoke about the “No Job Left Behind” program which is creating ties between local high school students and area businesses in an attempt to prepare students for the workplace and develop prospective employees for those businesses. Pictured are Denny Hutchings, President of MCRTA; Stepheny McMahon; and Linda McCabe, Vice-President of MCRTA.

The Moultrie County Retired Teachers Association also presented Teacher Grants to nine Okaw Valley teachers/administrators to use in purchasing items for use in the classroom in the 2015/2016 school year. Pictured are four of the grant recipients: Doug McCausland, Okaw Valley Elementary Principal; Jena Atchison, Okaw Valley Counselor; Beth Sawyer, 2nd Grade Teacher; and Gayla Jackson, 1st Grade Teacher

Local Pair Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Photo Courtesy of the News•Progress Archives
Pictured are six members of the 1983 Blue Dolphins Swim team which qualified for the Junior Olympics that March. Those who qualified were, clockwise from the top, Heather Highland, Darren Powell, Brad Voltz, now current Blue Dolphins Head Coach Jason Drury, Trenton Guyot, and Justin Dunscomb.

Civic Center changes over time

•August 19, 2015•

By Joash Tiarks
Reporting in Sullivan

It is no small feat for a couple to live in harmony through a 50 year union; for it to remain a joyful partnership; to be a benefit to friends and to the community surrounding them.

On the 19th of this month, the Sullivan Civic Center celebrates 50 years of service to the community.

On the 18th of September the Sullivan Blue Dolphins swim team will also celebrate their 50th year.

As one mother put it “you can’t have a swim team without a pool!” And it was for this very reason, teaching kids to swim, that the Civic Center was first envisioned.

In the spring of 1961, the Sullivan Business and Professional Women’s Club collected names asking the city to set aside $150,000 for construction which the community approved by April 1962.

A Federal grant under the Housing and Home Finance Agency provided $250,000 for the project and construction began a year later.  Sullivan Civic Center hosted 525 swimmers on opening day, August 16, 1965 and and more than 1000 people attended the dedication.

When Charles Smith, 24, was hired as director an agreement was reached with the school district to allow the students to receive swimming lessons. The first competitive swim team was formed with Doug Shimp as coach of about 20 swimmers.

By March the next year the center hosted seven teams from surrounding counties. Included in the 200 swimmers, was a 1964 Olympic swimmer Lynn Alsup of Bloomington.

From the beginning Sullivan demonstrated its support; giving the team a free pass for practice and competitions.

When the doors reopened in 1974, after roof repairs,  director Steve Ludwig reorganized the swim team as the Blue Dolphins.  Read More

Time is Precious When a Child Goes Missing

•August 19, 2015•

By Nick Fiala
Reporting in Sullivan

With a law-enforcement career spanning more than 30 years, Sullivan police chief John Love has handled several missing person cases. He indicated time is something that can be either the biggest help or hinderance in such a case, depending on how it is handled.

“Please, please call us immediately,” Chief Love urged. “Don’t take the chance.”

The chief stressed the need to recognize how precious time is when a child, for example, goes missing.

“We’ve had numerous incidents where we are called, and the first thing I do when I get there is say ‘Well, how long has the child been gone?’” he said. “I have had situations where children come home with stuff, almost like gifts...and when asked where they got it, they say a person gave it to them, but they didn’t know who the person was...My fear is that...someone [could] abduct a child and have an hour-and-a-half long start on us...I don’t want to scare anybody, but...It could happen here.”

Chief Love knows the fear of being too late to secure a loved one’s location. He shared a story of how an ordinary day shopping with his daughter became one he won’t forget.
Read More

Lovington Civic Center Owner Seeks Guidelines

•August 19, 2015•

By Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Guest John Gordon approached the board about a zoning matter at 502 West Emery Street. An old church building, used until its sale, was purchased by Gordon, who hopes to use it as a civic center for the community to rent out for events. Mike Castelli, zoning board president, was present.

Gordon originally wanted to open a tavern, but the zoning board voted against it. Citing his Scottish heritage, Gordon asked the zoning board and the Lovington Village Board what, if any, rules would apply to having alcohol served on the premises.

The zoning and village board agreed that alcohol could be served but not sold with the same rule applying to food.

Gordon also stated that his reasoning behind charging for use of the building was simply to cover expenses. In this case, a special use permit with a variance would be needed.

The village board agreed to do more research in order to set parameters on the possible permit and the discussion was tabled until such information was gathered.
Read More

County Board Approves Courthouse Repairs

Photo by RR Best Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured is the head of buildings and grounds Rick Matthews illustrating the damage done to the courthouse over time.

•August 19, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

Moultrie County is sprucing up the courthouse.

On Thursday, August 20 the Moultrie County Board proceeded with the restoration of the exterior of the courthouse with a unanimous vote, based on the recommendation of Building and Grounds Committee chair Gary Smith.

Low bid of $203,755 was awarded Masons Masonry Restoration of Brownstown, Ill.

At the bid opening earlier in the week Tim Raibley from Architercture & Design Group Ltd of Mt. Carmel explained the basic bid was for 200 feet of crack repair and 50 large stone patches needed for the building. Raibley noted that Masons had just completed a similar project on the Richland County courthouse in Olney.

Board chair Dave McCabe explained the county intends to pay for the project from surplus funds.

“We’ve been building reserves,” McCabe said, noting an extra $100,000 loan payment on the jail will be deferred to the tuck pointing project this year.

Potential funding from the city of Sullivan is also being sought.

The serious failure of the tuckpointing is allowing moisture into the building.

A moisture situation on the third floor is among interior issues the board hopes the restoration project will address. McCabe said loose stones and tuckpointing issues on the courthouse came to the board’s attention about a year ago.

Moultrie County Courthouse was built in 1904 and has been well-maintained over the years.  Read More

First Day

RR by Best photo First Day  Sienna Casteel grabs her bag and races to class to join Sullivan elementary school students on the first day. Sullivan went a full day on Aug 18. Elementary schedule is 8am to 3:05pm, Middle school is 8:14am to 3:15pm and High School is 8:14am to 3:15 daily.

RR by Best photo
First Day
Sienna Casteel grabs her bag and races to class to join Sullivan elementary school students on the first day. Sullivan went a full day on Aug 18. Elementary schedule is 8am to 3:05pm, Middle school is 8:14am to 3:15pm and High School is 8:14am to 3:15 daily.

Begin “Building” for the School Year

Photo Submitted Begin “Building” for the School Year Six local FFA members have taken on the responsibility of leading 13 FFA chapters in the planning and organizing of their Section FFA career development events, leadership conferences, and community service projects for the upcoming school year. These Section 16 FFA officers include President Brodie Scribner, of the Sullivan FFA, Vice President Jack Curtin, Taylorville FFA, Reporter Alyssa Garner, representing the Maroa Forsyth FFA, Secretary Mary Kate Curtin, of the Taylorville FFA, Treasurer Lauren Burgener, of the Central A & M FFA, and Sentinel Kristy Burford, representing Okaw Valley FFA. These officers have selected “Building a Future…one brick at a time” as their theme for the upcoming year. They will start the year by welcoming three of the major state FFA officers into the local section for a week of chapter visits and a leadership training workshop during the week of September 14 -18. Section 16 FFA has more than 600 FFA members representing the FFA chapters of Blue Ridge, Central A & M, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Edinburg, Heartland Technical Academy, Maroa Forsyth, Mt. Zion, Okaw Valley, Sangamon Valley, Sullivan, Taylorville, and Windsor.

Photo Submitted
Begin “Building” for the School Year
Six local FFA members have taken on the responsibility of leading 13 FFA chapters in the planning and organizing of their Section FFA career development events, leadership conferences, and community service projects for the upcoming school year. These Section 16 FFA officers include President Brodie Scribner, of the Sullivan FFA, Vice President Jack Curtin, Taylorville FFA, Reporter Alyssa Garner, representing the Maroa Forsyth FFA, Secretary Mary Kate Curtin, of the Taylorville FFA, Treasurer Lauren Burgener, of the Central A & M FFA, and Sentinel Kristy Burford, representing Okaw Valley FFA. These officers have selected “Building a Future…one brick at a time” as their theme for the upcoming year. They will start the year by welcoming three of the major state FFA officers into the local section for a week of chapter visits and a leadership training workshop during the week of September 14 -18. Section 16 FFA has more than 600 FFA members representing the FFA chapters of Blue Ridge, Central A & M, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Edinburg, Heartland Technical Academy, Maroa Forsyth, Mt. Zion, Okaw Valley, Sangamon Valley, Sullivan, Taylorville, and Windsor.

Tall Pepper

Tall Pepper Arletta Dolan of Gays planted a Patio Pepper in an old iron kettle outside her back door in May and thought nothing of it until it started growing about three inches a week. Now that back door is hidden by the six foot tall plant nestled among the petunias, and Arletta is reaping the benefits. Above grandchildren Gareth, 8 1/2, and Anyssa, 7, Coffer of Sullivan examine the abundance of peppers, determining they are not quite ripe enough for consumption.

Tall Pepper
Arletta Dolan of Gays planted a Patio Pepper in an old iron kettle outside her back door in May and thought nothing of it until it started growing about three inches a week. Now that back door is hidden by the six foot tall plant nestled among the petunias, and Arletta is reaping the benefits. Above grandchildren Gareth, 8 1/2, and Anyssa, 7, Coffer of Sullivan examine the abundance of peppers, determining they are not quite ripe enough for consumption.

CIPT Provides Freedom and Independence

Photo by Keith Stewart Patricia Reid is one Sullivan resident who regularly uses the Central Illinois Public Transit system, including last Wednesday when she needed a ride to her doctor’s appointment.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Patricia Reid is one Sullivan resident who regularly uses the Central Illinois Public Transit system, including last Wednesday when she needed a ride to her doctor’s appointment.

The Illinois budget has the possibility of affecting services

•August 19, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting in Sullivan

It is easy to take your mode of transportation for granted when it is readily available-whether it is the car in your garage or a ride from a friend or family member. But when you don’t have a way to get to doctor’s appointments or even the grocery store, it can be frustrating. Those who don’t have other means of getting from one place to another, depend on public transportation. For some, it is their only way to gain some type of independence.

“It is important to get around for every day needs such as going to store and doctor appointments. Without it, I would never get to the doctor because I have no other way,” commented Patricia Reid, who often uses the bus from CIPT (Central Illinois Public Transportation). “Without the bus, I would have to go to the nursing home because I wouldn’t be able to get around anywhere and I can’t walk that far,” she added.

Sandy Siler, who also takes advantage of services from CIPT, depends on public transportation. “My husband died two years ago, and I am disabled. I can’t walk and if Ii didn’t have it to transport me and my scooter, I wouldn’t be going anywhere and I would stay at home all the time,” she said.

CIPT has been in business for 30 years, offering public transportation to anyone needs it. While it is viable for seniors and disabled, anybody can ride the bus. It gives those who ride a sense of independence and security by knowing that they can see their doctors, purchase groceries and still get out every once in awhile and not be stuck at home. “We give them their freedom back by being a part of the community and continuing with their daily lives,” quoted Dennis Shiley, the director of CIPT.  Read More