Fire Saturday Destroys Motor Coach

January 7, 2015

Electrical system deemed the cause

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A fire Saturday morning north of Lovington ravaged a motor home that was inside a shed.

According to assistant Hammond fire district chief Gary Gee, his department was dispatched Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m. and upon arrival saw fire and smoke exiting a shed. Read More

County Consolidates Pay Schedules into One

January 7, 2015

Some employees receive extra check

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

At their November meeting, the county board unanimously approved consolidating the county’s three different payrolls into one, a move that saw an immediate cost, but one that looks to provide a net savings down the road.

Citing cumbersome payroll processing for each of the county’s three payrolls, board chairman Dave McCabe explained that the consolidation will make for more efficiency in the county clerk’s office.

“You may remember some time ago we made the decision to delay the pay period so that we’d have time when someone left the county’s employment to take care of any changes in money we owed them, [or that] they owed us,” said McCabe. “Like most businesses do, you have a delay from your first pay period to reflect those…well, that got to be a little messy because we were just changing new employees so the old employees were under the old plan, and the new employees were under the new plan, and somehow we got a third one in there, and I’m not real sure how that third one got in there, but what it resulted in was Pam (Wittkowski, chief deputy clerk) and Georgia (England, county clerk) were having to calculate three separate payrolls for each pay period. Very time consuming, very confusing, so they worked with our auditor and talked with me a little bit about it and decided we would go to a one week delay for everybody.” Read More

Daily Successfully Pushes for First 2015 Baby at DMH

Submitted Pictured is the Daily family with their New Year's newborn Oliver Daily. From left to right, husband Andrew, their daughter Addison, mother Heather with Oliver, and son Colby.

Submitted
Pictured is the Daily family with their New Year’s newborn Oliver Daily. From left to right, husband Andrew, their daughter Addison, mother Heather with Oliver, and son Colby.

January 7, 2015

Oliver Daily born at 3:34 a.m. Jan. 1

by Ariana Cherry
Sullivan/Arthur reporter

On New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, there’s a push to kiss that special someone, make a new year’s resolution, and/or let bygones be bygones. But for Heather Daily of Sullivan- she was pushing against the clock to deliver the first baby of 2015 at Decatur Memorial Hospital, which ultimately, would become the first baby born in Macon County.

“The nurses at DMH were very competitive. They were all rooting for us and wanted to be the first ones. They were like, “let’s go!” said Daily.

While, indeed, the race was on at DMH, Daily never planned on delivering a new year’s baby.

“We were not expecting it at all and attended several occasions throughout the day. Everyone kept telling me, ‘You better get that baby in before the end of the year.’”

And as Daily’s friends and family said those very words, she began to feel her first labor pains at 7:30 p.m. that evening.

“We called the doctor at 9:30 and then again at 10:30. It was after 11 once we got to DMH.

“The whole experience was surreal because we weren’t planning on it and didn’t think it would happen,” added Daily. “They (the nurses) wanted our baby to be the first one.”

After the successful efforts, Daily and her husband Adam welcomed their new baby boy Oliver Lewis Daily, weighing 6 lbs, 11 oz, born at 3:34 am. January 1, 2015. Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve 6.73 Percent Levy Increase

January 7, 2015

Final figure to depend on actual EAV yet to be determined

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Sullivan school district approved their levy request last month and went with the higher of two levy increases that the board first made public in November.

At their December 18 truth in taxation hearing, which was attended by two members of the public, the board explained the need for the 6.73 percent levy increase request, citing in part the nearly $200,000 lost this year in state aid after the local property value raised considerably while student population fell. Superintendent Brad Tuttle also cited approximately $61,000 in tax money the board recently left on the table after last year’s levy request fell short of the full actual levy amount for which they could have asked.

“Even though we asked for 9.98 (percent levy increase) last year, it came in at 11.90. By us not asking for 11.90, we actually lost $61,000 that we could have recouped,” said Tuttle. “And if you look at the history of our school, we have not received the amount we could have received since 2002.” Read More

OV Schools Approve Nearly 9 Percent Levy Increase

December 31, 2014

Over $300,000 additional revenue requested

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

In this month’s board meeting, the Okaw Valley school district approved a levy that seeks more than $300,000 in new revenue.
After holding a truth in taxation hearing December 18, at which no objections were raised, the board formally approved the 8.81 percent increase in the levy using an estimated EAV of $81 million, up from the previous actual EAV of $73,966,393
The district tax rate comes to 4.5 percent, and results in an aggregate levy of $3,664,079, which is a $322,805.36 increase over the previous levy.
The estimated EAV of $81 million comes prior to the county assessor’s office’s actual EAV figure, which will be calculated within the upcoming months. Only then will the district have a concrete levy total. Read More

Council Asked to Take a Crack at the Courts

Photo by Keith Stewart A long crack can be seen running through one of the two tennis courts at Wyman Park.

Photo by Keith Stewart
A long crack can be seen running through one of the two tennis courts at Wyman Park.

December 31, 2014

Growing local tennis association calls for need of better facilities

by Ariana Cherry & Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Sullivan City Council was addressed by a member of the public in their last regular meeting of the year to see whether rebuilding tennis courts in Wyman Park might be a possibility in the future.
Christopher Dobosz, owner of the Okaw Valley Tennis Association, addressed the council with the current state of the courts and how his tennis association, in growing each of its three years, is in need of newer and more courts to continue the program in Sullivan.
“The tennis program, in our third year, is growing every single year,” said Dobosz. “We’re expanding to other cities and other towns around here. We are also doing Shelbyville, Findlay, Bethany, Tuscola. We’re adding Lovington and Arthur next spring. We also sponsor many other actives in the park and at the tennis courts. We do a Nickelodeon world wide day of fun. We do that and all of these at no charge to children to come and enjoy the park and enjoy the tennis courts. We do lessons. We do play days. We have Jazzercise. I want to make this more than just tennis. It’s education. It’s growing the children. Also, a lot of these people that are coming to these programs, coming to these tournaments, they’re all coming from out of town, so we have a lot of people that are coming in, stopping, spending money at the gas stations and at food places, and it’s really been working well.” Read More

Bethany Awaits State Action on Police Cameras

December 24, 2014

Camera system estimated around $800

by Derek Pope
Bethany Reporter

At this month’s regular meeting, Bethany village council members decided to delay a vote on the implementation of police body cameras until it is clear whether the state of Illinois itself will act on new legislation concerning them.

Since October, lawmakers have been actively engaged in creating legislation that would govern police use of body cameras, citing an Illinois Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that struck down the state’s current “eavesdropping” law as one of the major hurdles in drafting such legislation. On December 15, however, a new bill that would close the gaps in policy introduced by the Supreme Court’s ruling was sent to the desk of the Governor. Should the bill be approved, lawmakers would presumably resume discussions on police cameras when they return to session January 13 of next year. Read More

Bending Birthday Traditions for Christmas

Photo by RR Best Nine-year-old Shalyn Hunter decided to instead of capitalize on her Christmas Eve birthday to donate her presents to the local Secret Santa group. Pictured, from left to right, are Sullivan police chief and Secret Santa organizer John Love, Hunter, and fellow Secret Santa organizer Janet Dirks along with a few of the gifts Hunter donated Sunday.

Photo by RR Best
Nine-year-old Shalyn Hunter decided to instead of capitalize on her Christmas Eve birthday to donate her presents to the local Secret Santa group. Pictured, from left to right, are Sullivan police chief and Secret Santa organizer John Love, Hunter, and fellow Secret Santa organizer Janet Dirks along with a few of the gifts Hunter donated Sunday.

December 24, 2014

9-year-old donates gifts to Secret Santa

by Ariana Cherry

Arthur/Sullivan Reporter

For nine year-old gymnist, Shalyn Hunter, she just isn’t flexible with her gymnastics routines-she is also very flexible with what she is doing with her birthday presents this year. In fact, you could say, she was bending the rules when it comes to tradition.

“I wanted other kids that don’t have presents to have presents,” said Hunter.

“She’s always had a soft heart and has been sweet,” her mother Siovhan stated.

Hunter did something quite extraordinary with her birthday gifts this year. With her birthday being on Christmas Eve, she wanted to make a difference in other children’s lives for the holidays. Hunter asked that all her guests bring a gift for both girls and boys in the following age groups: two to four, four to six and six to eight. They hoped to collect at least 12 to 13 gifts total. After her birthday party celebration this past Sunday at the gymnastics academy that was to include plenty of tumbling tricks, they loaded all the gifts and delivered them to the Secret Santa Program in Sullivan. Hunter admitted to feeling a bit like Santa Claus because she, too, was delivering presents to children. Read More

Harley Chiropractic Ribbon Cutting

Photo by Keith Stewart Harley Chiropractic Ribbon Cutting Sullivan’s newest chiropractor Katie Harley held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house with several local officials December 5. Harley Chiropractic is located at 221 N. Anderson in Sullivan. Pictured left to right: Laurrie Minor, Debbie Hilligoss, Katie Harley, Kathleen Blievernicht, Hollie Atchison, Stepheny McMahon, Ann Short, Mike Kirk, and Chris Harley.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Harley Chiropractic Ribbon Cutting
Sullivan’s newest chiropractor Katie Harley held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house with several local officials December 5. Harley Chiropractic is located at 221 N. Anderson in Sullivan. Pictured left to right: Laurrie Minor, Debbie Hilligoss, Katie Harley, Kathleen Blievernicht, Hollie Atchison, Stepheny McMahon, Ann Short, Mike Kirk, and Chris Harley.

Lady Red Take Sixth at Sectionals

Submitted Lady Red Take Sixth at Sectionals The Sullivan girls’ swimming team competed and finished in sixth place in the Champaign Central Sectional Saturday, Nov. 15.   The team is made up of members Abby Cravatta, Michaela Donnell, Cadisen Nuzzo, and Brynna Sentel. All four girls earned points in their individual events, as well as the two relays in which they were entered.  The girls finished fifth in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 200 freestyle relay, to earn 38 points. Cravatta finished 12th in the 100 butterfly, while Donnell finished eighth in the 500 free. Sentel, meanwhile, earned third in the same event.  Nuzzo took 18th in the 100 backstroke, with Sentel finishing third.  The team rounded out their scoring with Donnell finishing 12th in the 100 breaststroke. Sentel, who swam back-to-back-to-back events in the 500 free, the 200 free relay, and the 100 back, earned the team’s unofficial “Wonder Woman” award. Sentel more recently received second team all-area for girls’ swimming by the Champaign News-Gazette. All four girls are members of the Sullivan Blue Dolphins swim team, pictured above, which took first place at the 2014 Terre Haute Halloween Splash Oct 24-26.

Submitted
Lady Red Take Sixth at Sectionals
The Sullivan girls’ swimming team competed and finished in sixth place in the Champaign Central Sectional Saturday, Nov. 15. 
The team is made up of members Abby Cravatta, Michaela Donnell, Cadisen Nuzzo, and Brynna Sentel. All four girls earned points in their individual events, as well as the two relays in which they were entered.  The girls finished fifth in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 200 freestyle relay, to earn 38 points. Cravatta finished 12th in the 100 butterfly, while Donnell finished eighth in the 500 free. Sentel, meanwhile, earned third in the same event.  Nuzzo took 18th in the 100 backstroke, with Sentel finishing third.  The team rounded out their scoring with Donnell finishing 12th in the 100 breaststroke. Sentel, who swam back-to-back-to-back events in the 500 free, the 200 free relay, and the 100 back, earned the team’s unofficial “Wonder Woman” award. Sentel more recently received second team all-area for girls’ swimming by the Champaign News-Gazette. All four girls are members of the Sullivan Blue Dolphins swim team, pictured above, which took first place at the 2014 Terre Haute Halloween Splash Oct 24-26.