County Audit Report Shows Good Standing, but Caution in Future

August 20, 2014

Revenues slide while expenditures rise

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

At the monthly Moultrie County board meeting the board heard a report from West & Company regarding the annual audit for the financial year 2013.

“The purpose of the audit is to render an independent opinion as to whether or not the financial statements made by the county are reasonably stated,” explained Jim Russell of West & Company. Russell went on to highlight where the county is in relation to the previous year, citing revenues in 2012 were $7.3 million while in 2013 they fell $7.2 million. Investments in 2012 came to $5.3 million and improved to $6 million in 2013. Expenditures, meanwhile, for 2012 amounted to $6.3 million and increased to $6.6 million in 2013 mostly due to increases in health insurance.  Read More

First Day Back

Photo by Keith Stewart First Day Back Sullivan Elementary School fourth graders Kylee Ragsdale (left) and Hannah Chance (right) exit the gym on their way to class last Thursday, marking the beginning of the school year for Sullivan.

Photo by Keith Stewart
First Day Back
Sullivan Elementary School fourth graders Kylee Ragsdale (left) and Hannah Chance (right) exit the gym on their way to class last Thursday, marking the beginning of the school year for Sullivan.

Cold Air Funnel Cloud

Photo by Keith Stewart Cold Air Funnel Cloud A long thin cold air funnel cloud is seen just southeast of Sullivan last Thursday afternoon. There were several sightings in the area occuring along a weak frontal boundary according to the US National Weather Service.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Cold Air Funnel Cloud
A long thin cold air funnel cloud is seen just southeast of Sullivan last Thursday afternoon. There were several sightings in the area occuring along a weak frontal boundary according to the US National Weather Service.

Teacher Union Negotiations Near Completion

Special meeting to finalize talks this Friday

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Superintendent Brad Tuttle informed the Sullivan school board Monday evening that negotiations with the local teachers’ union, Sullivan Education Association, are wrapping up and are expected to be finalized during a special meeting Friday morning.

The negotiations, which began May 14, are expected to be discussed and finalized among the union during a meeting Wednesday. The contract then looks to be formally adopted at Friday’s special board meeting at 7:30 a.m.  Read More

Over 2,000 Traffic Signs to be Replaced in Moultrie

Photo by Keith Stewart The new style of rural reference and street name signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The new style of rural reference and street name signs, as seen at the intersection of Rt. 32 and the entrance to Bo Wood, includes mixed case as opposed to the now outdated all uppercase lettering.

August 13, 2014

2009 rules and routine wear prompt replacement

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

With routine replacement of traffic signs and regulations from 2009 dictating new retroreflectivity levels and upper and lower case street signs, Moultrie County is preparing to replace more than 2,000 regulatory, warning, and post mounted guide signs beginning this fall, not to mention 2,755 rural reference/street signs as needed.

At the monthly road and bridge committee meeting last Tuesday, it was announced that bids for the purchase of the 2,015 regulatory signs would open August 22.

According to county engineer Jeffrey Birch, the sign upgrade project comes with a program cost of $185,000, though a figure that is strictly for budgeting purposes. While there is an estimated cost for the project, which is typically lower than the program cost, Birch says that in order to have potential bidders bid “blind”, that estimate would need to be withheld.

“The program cost is a ‘best guess’ established by the agency at the time of preparing the annual budget and is a very rough ballpark figure,” explained Birch in a separate interview. “The estimate of cost is prepared  after the specifics to any contract have been determined.  The estimate of cost is a much more refined number.  Both numbers were prepared by the County Highway Department.” Read More

Trap, Neuter, and Release Program Approved for Lovington

August 13, 2014

Will be cheaper than current trap and euthanasia of feral cats

by Florence Hallford
Lovington Reporter

Last week’s decision to pass the trap/neuter/release program presented by Lovington village clerk Sue Gordon may be the start of a long term and compassionate solution to the common and overwhelming problem of feral cats around town.

“We have a problem we can’t deny,” said Gordon at last Monday’s village board meeting. “I’d like to see the board address and assist with it.”

Last Monday’s approval of the TNR program was for a one-year trial basis. Gordon has been working with Beth Hughes, director of the Care Van Pet Program, to plan the program and will continue to work with Hughes to execute the program now that it has passed.  Read More

Proposed One-Way Alleyway Tabled Monday

Council also rescinds vote from last month

by Barry Featheringill
Sullivan Reporter

With both Mayor Ann Short and Commissioner Monty LeCrone absent from the Sullivan city council meeting Monday, Commissioner Mike Mossman assumed the position as acting mayor.

Tim Rose, owner of TnT Pizzeria, requested to speak to the council regarding the proposed ordinance to make the alleyway between Washington Street and Main Street one way after an incident involving the collision of a TnT delivery vehicle and a Little Theatre cast member last month. Read More

Alleyway Accident Leaves Council Considering One-Way Ordinance

Photo by Keith Stewart A TNT Pizzeria delivery vehicle sits in the alleyway, which was the site of an incident last month when a Little Theatre staff member and a TNT delivery collided. As a result, the Sullivan City Council is considering an ordinance making the alleyway a one-way after the request by LTOTS executive director John Stephens. However, TNT owner Tim Rose doesn’t believe that will prevent another such occurrence in the future.

Photo by Keith Stewart
A TnT Pizzeria delivery vehicle sits in the alleyway behind the business, which was the site of an incident last month when a Little Theatre staff member and a TnT delivery collided. As a result, the Sullivan City Council is considering an ordinance making the alleyway a one-way after the request by LTOTS executive director John Stephens. However, TnT owner Tim Rose doesn’t believe that will prevent another such occurrence in the future.

August 6, 2014

TnT vehicle and LTOTS cast member collide

by Barry Featheringill
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Little Theatre executive director and producer John Stephens was present a week ago Monday at the Sullivan City Council to discuss a problem that recently arose with the alleyway behind the theatre.

According to Stephens, one of the cast members was exiting the building and walked into a vehicle that was entering the alley off Washington Street. 

“I’m concerned about this as there is a blind spot coming out of the building and more and more we are having young people in the cast,” said Stephens, who filed a police report.

According to the report, 22-year-old Erik Weis received a scrape on his left hand when he hit the driver’s side passenger window area of a TnT delivery vehicle driven by Rickie Wood.

No tickets were issued according to Stephens, who asked the city to consider making the alleyway a oneway in an effort to avoid similar accidents in the future.

“There’s no fault on either side” said Stephens in a separate interview. “But this can help avoid this from happening again in the future.” Read More

Customers Angered Over Flag Pole Removal at Hardee’s

Photo by Keith Stewart Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee's in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Where flag poles were once erect are now just the remnants of those taken down last week at the Hardee’s in Sullivan. In total, three flag poles were removed after longstanding disrepair in a move that owner Jason LeVecke described as out of respect for the flags.

August 6, 2014

Unkept flags spurs removal out of respect, says LeVecke

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The removal of flag poles recently at the Sullivan Hardee’s has spawned outrage from local customers.

According to Regional Vice President Dave Becker, three flag poles were removed last week.

Sullivan Hardee’s, franchise owner Jason LeVecke explained to the News Progress that upon a recent trip to the Sullivan location and seeing both the flags and poles in disrepair, the flag poles were removed.

“Nothing upsets or makes me mad more than when I see one of our flags tattered or dirty,” said LeVecke. “We haven’t always done justice at all of our locations so I ordered some of them be taken down. The poles were taken down out of respect to the flag.

“Our commitment is to the country, our vets, our customers, and our employees,” added the franchisee, who is a five year Marine veteran. “Nothing brings me to tears more than our flag. But when I hear our employees are being yelled at without asking what occurred, it’s despicable.”

LeVecke, who is the CEO of MJKL Enterprises and the grandson of the original Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher, stressed that the decision does not reflect on the staff at the Sullivan location and instead says he takes responsibility for the unkept flags. Read More