Windsor High School Student of February 2015

Submitted Windsor High School Student of February Senior Alexandria Bridges, daughter of Jeff and Amy Bridges, has been named February Student of the Month at Windsor High School. Bridges is involved in volleyball, student council, yearbook, National Honor Society, WYSE, physics club, health occ., and is an FFA officer. Bridges plans to attend Lake Land College and then transfer to Parkland College for radiology.

Submitted
Windsor High School Student of February
Senior Alexandria Bridges, daughter of Jeff and Amy Bridges, has been named February Student of the Month at Windsor High School. Bridges is involved in volleyball, student council, yearbook, National Honor Society, WYSE, physics club, health occ., and is an FFA officer. Bridges plans to attend Lake Land College and then transfer to Parkland College for radiology.

Windsor All-Conference Scholastic Bowl 2015

Submitted All-Conference Scholastic Bowl Uriah Jones, (left) a senior from Windsor High School and Sterling Howard, (right) a sophomore, both received a trophy for making scholastic bowl second team all conference. Uriah competed on the varsity team and Sterling on the fresh-soph team.  They were among the top 10 scorers of the NTC conference for the scholastic bowl season.

Submitted
All-Conference Scholastic Bowl
Uriah Jones, (left) a senior from Windsor High School and Sterling Howard, (right) a sophomore, both received a trophy for making scholastic bowl second team all conference. Uriah competed on the varsity team and Sterling on the fresh-soph team. They were among the top 10 scorers of the NTC conference for the scholastic bowl season.

BREAKING: Police Make Arrest in Sullivan Murder Investigation

Photo by RR Best Authorities, including a member of the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigating unit were seen entering a residence at 503 W. McGill in Sullivan Thursday afternoon. Court records show that the residence belongs to Michael S. Yost, the man who was found with stab wounds Wednesday morning in addition to Sheri Randall, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators are calling last Wednesday’s incident a homicide.

Photo by RR Best
Authorities, including a member of the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigating unit were seen entering a residence at 503 W. McGill in Sullivan Thursday afternoon. Court records show that the residence belongs to Michael S. Yost, the man who was found with stab wounds Wednesday morning in addition to Sheri Randall, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities are calling last Wednesday’s incident a homicide and have since brought Yost up on preliminary first degree murder charges.

March 10, 2015• 5:02 p.m.

Michael Yost arrested Tuesday afternoon
by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A Sullivan man was brought up on preliminary first degree murder charges Tuesday afternoon in connection with the death of a 43-old woman last Wednesday.
Illinois State Police announced Michael S. Yost of Sullivan as being arrested Tuesday after he was released from St. Mary’s hospital in Decatur. Yost was then incarcerated at the Moultrie County Jail.
Yost was found last Wednesday morning along with Sheri Randall in her Graham Street apartment in Sullivan. Both individuals were found unresponsive and suffering from stab wounds. While Randall was pronounced dead at the scene by Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed at 11:50 a.m. that morning, Yost was transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, where he underwent surgery.
According to Reed, Randall’s preliminary cause of death is multiple stab wounds on the abdomen. Reed said Tuesday that as is normal with autopsies, a toxicology report is pending, but he doesn’t expect it to change the outcome of the findings so far. Read More

Other name released in Sullivan Homicide

Thursday, March 5• 11:13 a.m.

Man who was injured undergoes surgery
by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com
An Illinois State Police spokesman told the News•Progress Thursday morning that the an individual who was transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital Wednesday morning following the discovery of an apparent homicide has undergone surgery and is now being held for observation.
Lieutenant Greg Lindemulder also confirmed that the man that was transported was a Michael Yost. Read More

Drainage, and Farmland, and Zoning, Oh My!

March 4, 2015

County will have to amend ordinance before zoo can apply

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The three-member county planning and zoning committee met Friday afternoon and unanimously approved amending the zoning ordinance to allow for zoo operations in the county.
The amendment comes after the county received a permit application for a zoo from the State Bank of Arthur on January 16. After issues were raised about the permit not including the names of those with the actual vested interest, an amended application was then filed by James Aikman, a loan officer with the bank on February 13, requesting the same permit, but the application could not be processed because the county zoning ordinance does not contain any language or permissions allowing for a zoo.
Aikman’s proposal is for an initial 45-acre wildlife park that would include both a drive-through area where patrons could 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.
But according to a formal protest letter filed with the county clerk’s office last Wednesday by Urbana attorney Kent Follmer representing 17 nearby landowners, 66 percent of those who own land adjacent to the proposed zoo oppose both the application for the special use permit as well as the current amendment that planning and zoning officer Jan Haegan has developed. Of the 17 clients Follmer is representing, seven do not own land adjacent to the proposed zoo site. Read More

A Zoo In Moultrie County?

Photo by Keith Stewart A small boy eyes a 1:220th scale of the proposed Aikman Wildlife Park at the Arthur Outdoor Expo last month. There, Arthur resident James Aikman and his staff presented his proposed zoo to the public.

Photo by Keith Stewart
A small boy eyes a 1:220th scale of the proposed Aikman Wildlife Park at the Arthur Outdoor Expo last month. There, Arthur resident James Aikman and his staff presented his proposed zoo to the public.

March 4, 2015

Arthur loan officer pursues dream from God

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

After the first dream about owning his own wildlife park, James Aikman, an Arthur resident, woke up and told his wife Kelsey.
“On the night of October 21, 2013, I had a dream of my wife and I basically owning and running this wildlife drive-through park, so that next morning I told my wife about it, and she looked at me like I was crazy,” recalled Aikman to a full room during an economic luncheon at TnT Pizzeria February 19. “Our first son was going to be born in less than a month. She said, ‘We’ve got that coming up; this is not the time to be talking about this at all.’”
Listening to what has often been described as the wiser sex, Aikman let the notion go.
That is, until that night.
Aikman then says he had the exact same dream, a sign that this was not something to be taken lightly.
“I completely agreed with her and thought it was the end of it. That night I had the exact same dream again, and so I told my wife about it and said, ‘I don’t know why, but I really feel like this is from God.’ And she said, ‘If it’s really from God, he’ll find a way to make it happen.’” Read More

Lovington Revitalization Discussed

March 4, 2015

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

A small group of Lovington residents gathered in the basement of the First Christian Church February 24 to discuss the possibility of introducing new programs and activities for the children of Lovington.
The group included Pastor Al Rennert, Roger Walker, Norma Woolridge, and Nicole Brodnansky. Resident Victoria Goacher presented information to the group along with community organizer Mike Crews with the Illinois Coalition for Community Services (ICCS). Goacher then presented the information to the board at the Lovington Village Board meeting Monday night.
ICCS began in 1985 in underserved and low-income communities in Illinois. Since its inception, ICCS has helped more than 1,000 communities with a mission to empower people to change their communities with education, advocacy and grassroots organizing. It is a private non-profit grassroots organization with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty through community based programs. Goacher called Crews after seeing the success of a food program through friend Sandra Hiser in Niantic and seeing a need to pull the community together to bring a better future to the children of Lovington.
Crews recommended beginning with a summer food program. Read More

Bethany Village Council Again Pushes Video Gaming Vote Back

March 4, 2015

Final approval of ordinance tabled for at least a year
by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

Last month, and without much fanfare, Bethany’s village council came to the consensus that they would not vote one way or another on the legalization of video gambling in Bethany for at least another year.
The decision was executed by legislatively “tabling” the vote or, in other words, taking no action on the issue and placing it on the council’s agenda at a later date. The decision, though not opposed by some members of the council, would effectively block video gaming machines from showing up in Bethany for the foreseeable future despite the passage of an ordinance last year aimed at doing the opposite.
It was in January of 2014 that the board approved by a 3-2 vote a motion amending the section of the liquor ordinance that then prohibited gambling and gaming terminals to instead, in the future, allow them.
The legislative move was possible because all ordinances must receive legal review of their wording, and a final approval of that wording, before going into effect, which the amendment to the liquor ordinance has yet to receive. If the amendment were to fail at this point, it would simply go back to the village’s legal council for rewording—a process that board members clarified would be superfluous to their final decision. Read More

Electric Customers Awarded $200 Credit On Bill

March 4, 2015

Settlement refunds Sullivan more than $150,000
by Ariana Cherry
Sullivan/Arthur Reporter

Commissioner Mike Kirk announced at the city council’s last regular meeting that all electric customers who were billable on December 31 of last year will be receiving a $200 credit on their next utility bill.
The $200 credit is a result from an appeal that IMEA (Illinois Municipal Electric Agency) had filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in which they had protested a rate hike. Ameren had increased the wholesale distribution in 2011, which had been passed onto Sullivan and its customers.
Customers saw this rate increase because the city of Sullivan electric department purchases its power from the IMEA (which represents 33 communities that purchase blocks of electricity through a long term power supply agreement with Ameren/Dynegy).The appeal was settled in favor of the IMEA, and a refund was issued by Ameren to the IMEA in October 2014. Read More

BREAKING: Female Found Dead in Sullivan Wednesday Morning

Photo by Keith Stewart Moultrie County deputy Gary Eller tapes off an area around an apartment in Sullivan Wednesday morning after law enforcement discovered what they are calling an apparent homicide.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Moultrie County deputy Gary Eller tapes off an area around an apartment in Sullivan Wednesday morning after law enforcement discovered what they are calling an apparent homicide.

March 4, 2015• Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Coroner says homicide investigation is ongoing

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com
A woman was found dead this morning at an apartment complex in Sullivan.
According to an Illinois State Police press release Wednesday evening, Sheri Randall, 43, of Sullivan, was pronounced dead by Moultrie County Coroner Lynn Reed at 11:50 a.m.
Randall along with a 40-year old male subject who remains to be named publicly by authorities, were found at the Graham Street apartments near the elementary school by a female subject, who then called Sullivan PD at 11:30 a.m. Once on scene, Sullivan paramedics located both individuals who were suffering from apparent stab wounds and were unresponsive. The male subject was transported by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital. His condition, according to the press release, is unknown. Read More