No Raise in Electric Rates for Sullivan Utility Customers

4% raise in water/sewer while gas rate increase is undecided

June 10, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

At their May 26 meeting, the Sullivan city council voted to not raise electric rates this summer.
“Normally, every year, there is a four percent increase in electric rates, but this year since we are at a good balance, I ask that it be abated,” said Commissioner Mike Kirk.
Although the electric rates did not see an increase, the water rate’s annual four percent increase was allowed.
“Since it is automatic, and it is an annual increase, I pass that we go ahead and raise the water rates,” said Commissioner Bill Hagen. Read More

Sullivan Softball All-Conference and Team Awards 2015

Submitted Sullivan Softball All-Conference and Team Awards Pictured are the members of the Sullivan high school softball team that received all-Central Illinois Conference recognition and/or team awards. From left to right: Bailee Pratt, all-CIC honorable mention; Heidi Clements, second-team all-CIC, MVP and Co-defensive player of the year; and Elissa Stewart, second-team all-CIC, offensive player of the year. Pictured, below, is Allison Miller, most improved. Not pictured are Makenzie Ruppert, all-CIC honorable mention and co-defensive player of the year; and Ciara Anderson, hustle award.

Submitted
Sullivan Softball All-Conference and Team Awards
Pictured are the members of the Sullivan high school softball team that received all-Central Illinois Conference recognition and/or team awards. From left to right: Bailee Pratt, all-CIC honorable mention; Heidi Clements, second-team all-CIC, MVP and Co-defensive player of the year; and Elissa Stewart, second-team all-CIC, offensive player of the year. Pictured, below, is Allison Miller, most improved. Not pictured are Makenzie Ruppert, all-CIC honorable mention and co-defensive player of the year; and Ciara Anderson, hustle award.

SoftballAwards

ALAH Receives Unexpected Payments For Transportation, Special Ed

General state aid still less than expected

June 3, 2015

by Ariana Cherry
Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

A few payments that earlier in the year the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond school district thought were long gone, made their way into the coffers, though still less than originally promised.
“We received a third payment of $200,000 towards the transportation and special ed services,” explained superintendent, Kenny Schwengel to the board May 13. “It was a nice surprise to receive it.”
Schwengel also mentioned that the district received a $42,000 payment from general state aid. “Although, they did cut the amount we were supposed to receive,” added Schwengel, “it was about $10,000 less than what we usually get.”
After discussing the recently received revenue, Schwengel went on to inform the board of some of the expenses that the district still has. Read More

“Mary Poppins” Starts Off Family Friendly Theatre Season

Photo by Keith Stewart Mary Poppins, played by Effingham native Colleen Johnson has descended on Sullivan this week and may be seen at the Little Theatre on the Square beginning June 3 through the 14th.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Mary Poppins, played by Effingham native Colleen Johnson has descended on Sullivan this week and may be seen at the Little Theatre on the Square beginning June 3 through the 14th.

Will run through June 14

•June 3, 2015•

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

One night in Australia in 1909, with rain swelling a nearby creek, 10-year-old Helen Goff’s widowed mother told the girl to take care of her two younger siblings. Mother was going to drown herself, she explained. And then she walked out into the storm.
Terrified, Helen gathered the children on the rug in front of the fire and made up a story about a magical flying horse — a perfect symbol of escape — to distract them. Unsuccessful in her suicide attempt, Helen’s mother returned later, but her daughter never trusted her again.
Helen grew up to wear trousers, engage in various unorthodox relationships and become an author. She changed her name to P.L. Travers and wrote famous stories about a no-nonsense, supernatural protector of children whose parents had failed them.
Which makes sense, doesn’t it?
And now you can see that character soar — literally — across the Little Theatre stage as the first offering in Executive Director John Stephens’ most family-friendly season yet.
Mary Poppins, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, is a musical drawn from both the original stories and the famous Disney film. Read More

Mulligan Resigns as Sullivan Show Choir Director

Search is now on to fill skilled position

June 3, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

At their monthly meeting in May, the Sullivan school board accepted the resignation of middle and high school show choir director Connie Mulligan, who also served as the elementary school teacher.
Mulligan had been with the district for five years, and in her letter of resignation to the board, she said, “While I have enjoyed my five years at Sullivan, the position that I originally accepted has changed drastically.”
Mulligan’s resignation is to occur at the end of the 14-15 school year and leaves the district with a difficult task as Mike King of the Sullivan Singers Boosters explained. Read More

Aikman Files Permit Application for Zoo

Public hearing Friday at 9 a.m.

•June 3, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Following the county board amending the zoning ordinance to allow for special use permits for zoos this past April, one such application has been filed.
Aikman Wildlife, LLC. filed their application May 15 requesting a special use permit for a zoo for a tract of property located one mile west of The Great Pumpkin Patch, southwest of Arthur.
The driving force behind the project, James Aikman of Arthur, has proposed a park that would initially span 45 acres and include both a drive-through area where patrons may feed animals and a walk-through that would be similar to a zoo but with much larger habitats. There would also be a 7,000 squared foot walk-through aviary featuring different species of birds that patrons could feed. Read More

Mt. Zion Man Found Dead Near Coalshaft

No foul play suspected

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Local law enforcement found a man dead just before midnight Friday near the Coalshaft Bridge.
According to Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed, Bradley Stoneburg, 38, of Mt. Zion was pronounced dead at 12:03 a.m. Saturday after Moultrie County deputies located the man in a wooded area on the east side of the bridge and south side of Lake Shelbyville.
Reed added that the Mt. Zion man had been missing since Wednesday after he left his residence to go fishing. After he didn’t return Thursday morning, at some point, his fiancé reported him missing. Soon after, Moultrie County deputies began to check nearby boating docks and accesses through Thursday evening. Read More

Supreme Court Confirms 90-Day Suspension for Sullivan Attorney

Robert V. Elder to begin suspension June 4

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

After more than a year of inquiries and hearings re-
garding allegations of misconduct, a Sullivan attorney has been handed a 90-day suspension from the practice of law.
Robert Vernon Elder, 73, of Sullivan will officially begin his suspension from the practice of law in Illinois beginning June 4 for a period of 90 days after being found guilty of misconduct involving a probate matter.
The complaint against Elder, which was first filed by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC) on March 3, 2014, alleged that Elder engaged in a conflict of interest “by assisting” his client Pam Baskette of Sullivan in “selling the decedent’s residence to a friend…”
The complaint further alleged that Elder did not inform Baskette of the conflict of interest, which included withholding the name of the friend and buyer, who the ARDC notes is Ron Houchin, or that the friend owed several thousand dollars to Elder, or that Elder and Houchin had at one time been business associates. Additionally, the complaint held that Elder did not disclose to Baskette that he himself would use funds from his wife’s bank account to purchase the property or that his wife would hold the mortgage on it. Furthermore, because of the misconduct, the probate estate, which was described as “extremely small”, remained open an extended amount of time. Read More

Okaw Valley District to Demolish Findlay Elementary

At $116,000, demolition to be completed by August

May 27, 2015

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

Demolition of Findlay’s old elementary school, which saw a brief stint as Okaw Valley Intermediate School following the consolidation of Bethany and Findlay school systems, began earlier this month after members of the board of education voted to dismantle the building during their April meeting. The old schoolhouse became disused back in 2010 when the decision was made to send elementary aged children living in Findlay to Bethany’s more modern and robust elementary school.
The vote to demolish the building was unanimous despite several members of the board having themselves attended the Findlay school in their youth. The decision marked what many regarded as an expected end to the declining building. Read More