Injured Bald Eagle’s Captor Sought

Photo by RR Best

Photo by RR Best

Damage forces euthanization

•March 30, 2016•

A bald eagle in a severely weakened state due to being kept illegally in captivity, was euthanized March 17.

Illinois Conservation police officers Jason Moody and Brandon Barnes responded to a call about an injured eagle in a field near the Lake Shelbyville Wildlife Management Area in Moultrie County.

The eagle made several attempts to fly but was unable to fly more than 20 yards. After several attempts, the officers were able to capture the bird and deliver it safely to the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur.   Read More

Left Over Clothing Here, Helps Overseas

CAM Schrock_0283•March 23, 2016•

By Nick Fiala
For The News Progress

A non-profit organization called Christian Aid Ministries, or CAM, has a small operating branch right here in Sullivan.

Ray Miller, a Mennonite from the community of Bourbon, has been assisting with the donations for the past five years. He voluntarily picks up donated or overstocked clothes from thrift stores and churches in the county and drives them out to a collection building rented out by CAM, near Arthur, where they are packaged and eventually shipped overseas.

“I donate my time picking them up,” Miller said. “It’s a really unique deal. Everybody’s doing a little something to help somebody.”

CAM, which is based out of Ohio, orders large containers from a third party company that go to each collection site across the country. The process for transporting the clothes is very thorough.

At the rural Arthur collection facility various church groups gather in shifts to sort through the mountains of donated clothing. For three months volunteers sort, clean repair and prepare the clothing for bales that are shipped overseas.

But since 1981, volunteers have been running it as a well-oiled machine, turning out two large containers per group, to be carried overseas on a barge every year by March. In fact, Miller’s group has already finished their first one this year, and they’re well on their way to finishing the second.  Read More

ALAH District Dips into Reserves to Cover $240,000 State Owes

Could be 5 months before anymore payments are made

•March 23, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

“The current checkbook balance is $5,525,184.24,” stated Superintendent Kenny Schwengel at the last Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond School Board meeting. “All funds are in the black, but the balance is getting a little smaller.”

Schwengel noted that the district received a second mandated categorical payment in the amount of $199,000. “I am anticipating it to be the last one for the year though,” he cautioned.

“The state still owes us about $240,000,” Schwengel informed. The district has received only two of four mandated payments. “We are definitely up for some challenges,” he solemnly said.

Schwengel explained that it could be five months before they see any type of payment.This could make the district come up with nearly $1 million.

Illinois may not approve any education budget until the November election or some type of reforming takes place he said of future expectations.

“Presently, we are looking at three areas to make some cuts – middle school math, media in the library and Spanish. We possibly could use those resources where they are better needed,” Schwengel said. “We are still in better shape than a lot of schools right now.”  Read More

Lovington Board Reviews Drainage Issues

•March 23, 2016•

The Lovington Village Board helped sponsor the Easter egg hunt held March 19  in the park.

Trustee Dennis Garman presented the request for $500 which was used to purchase new baskets and a variety of treats to fill them with Jenny Peck coordinating the effort.

Board president Jim Minor appointed the new park and recreation committee which will serve one year. Included on the committee are chair/treasurer Jenny Peck, co-chair Brandie Mendoza, secretary Amanda Kreher along with Nina Fridge, Paula Murray and Lisa Clark.

Dave Bowers presented a report to the village board concerning drainage issues and possible solutions.

Representing the drainage district, Bowers explained drainage tile are  being inspected  with a tree needing removed at the west end of town. Read More

Sullivan City Council Approves Temporary Plaza

•March 23, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
For the News Progress

Spring has arrived which means warmer weather and new shows arriving at the Little Theatre on the Square.

Sullivan residents will be seeing a few changes this season when the theatre opens. Starting May 15, Washington Street will become a one-way street to make room for an outdoor plaza.

The plaza will run from Harrison Street to the outside of the Little Theatre while the alleys remain open. The plaza will be protected by heavy blocks and large planters with outdoor patio furniture and other plants and flowers.

This new arrangement is to create a safe place for patrons to gather before and after shows and during intermission. It also will allow an accessible area for bus drop-offs.

Children will benefit by having a place to safely get autographs. The plaza will also provide an opportunity for specialty vendors during the season.

There are future plans to have a Farm to Table Dinner to kick-off the opening of the plaza and theatre. According to SCED (Sullivan Chamber Economic Development) Director Stepheny McMahon, the plaza will open at no cost to the city. The SCED will be heading the new project. “We have had 16 letters of support and offers to help from the Sullivan Rotary, Little Theatre Advisory, Sullivan High School and My Garden,” she said. Read More

OV FFA Donkey Baksetball 2016

Photo By Sonya Best Sean Kirksey deals with the classic problem during the Okaw Valley FFA donkey basketball challenge in Findlay Saturday, March 19. How to get back in the saddle with a basketball in your hand. Thrills and spills filled the evening with the students falling to the more experienced administration team. View more photos here.

Photo By Sonya Best
Sean Kirksey deals with the classic problem during the Okaw Valley FFA donkey basketball challenge in Findlay Saturday, March 19. How to get back in the saddle with a basketball in your hand. Thrills and spills filled the evening with the students falling to the more experienced administration team. Click the above photo to access photo page.

Sullivan Schools Technolgy Budget Grows

•March 23, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

As school technology expands so do the budgets required to keep pace.

Sullivan School Board members were updated on the FY 2017 budget by Supt. Brad Tuttle which includes a $34,938 increase from the prior year.

Formulated by the District Technology Committee the proposed annual budget is $268,003.

With the anticipated E-Rate reinbursment of $57,222 the total district cost should reduce to $210,781.

The iPad student program expands to include the ninth grade in the new budget. The purchase of 80 iPads and cases is $32,320. Read More

Show Choir Invitational

Photo by Sonya Best Show Choir Invitational Sullivan Singers sponsored an Invitational Show Choir competition with performing groups traveling from all over the Midwest to compete. In addition to an intense weekend of high school show choir competition there was time to showcase future Sullivan talent. Above the Sullivan six grade choir dazzles the invitational crowd.

Photo by Sonya Best
Show Choir Invitational
Sullivan Singers sponsored an Invitational Show Choir competition with performing groups traveling from all over the Midwest to compete. In addition to an intense weekend of high school show choir competition there was time to showcase future Sullivan talent. Above the Sullivan six grade choir dazzles the invitational crowd.

Leak Free Roofs for Sullivan Schools

•March 23, 2016•

By Mike Brothers

Sullivan students should enjoy leak free roofs and better climate inside following Sullivan Community Unit District #300 school board action March 14.

At that meeting the board approved bids to replace the roofs and HVAC systems for the elementary, middle and high schools. The bus garage will also be included in the roof replacement project.

Mike Zellers of Graham and Hyde Architects explained coordination will be the key to accomplishing the HVAC and roofing replacements during the course of the summer when students are away from school.

Bids were received from six companies for the roof replacement. Top Quality Roofing of Mt. Zion submitted the lowest overall bid at $1,350,000.

Zellers noted a 30 year Firestone rubberized surface was manufacturer backed, and the bid came in 18% under the estimated cost.

Kevin Landrus, district maintenance director, reported on past projects from Top Quality. He noted the company had replaced roofs at several area schools with the most recent involving Mattoon School District which gave excellent ratings for the completed project.

Upon administration recommendation the board approved the Top Quality bid unanimously. Read More

Sparrows Winners 2016

Photo furnished Sparrows Winners Winners of the Sparrows sponsored bike ride in Lovington  were: 1-3 year old boy- Blaine Hill, girl- Dixie Davis; 4-6 year old boy- Owen Crum, girl- Paityn Strauf; 7-9 year old boy- Ross Young, girl- Kaylee McDaniel; 10-12 year old  boy- Mason Kreher, girl- Lanie Wiley.

Photo furnished
Sparrows Winners
Winners of the Sparrows sponsored bike ride in Lovington were: 1-3 year old boy- Blaine Hill, girl- Dixie Davis; 4-6 year old boy- Owen Crum, girl- Paityn Strauf; 7-9 year old boy- Ross Young, girl- Kaylee McDaniel; 10-12 year old boy- Mason Kreher, girl- Lanie Wiley.