Feature Stories

Parade Floats A Labor Of Love

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Christmas Parade veterans Mary Ellison (shepherd) and Nancy Vail on parade day.

•December 7, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Were you along the Sullivan parade route Saturday, Dec. 3 catching candy, listening to the bands and waving to people on the floats?

Now for me, the word “float” usually follows the words root beer so how did it come to be applied to these mobile creations?

They were so named because the first “floats” were decorated barges floating on the Thames for the Lord Mayor’s show.

Floats were first introduced in the Middle Ages when churches used pageant wagons as movable scenery for passion plays. The wagons were pulled through towns, mostly during Corpus Christi when up to 48 wagons were used, one for each play in the Corpus Christi cycle. Read More

Following the Chamber Elves Around Sullivan Businesses

Tyler Mosier at Astoria

Tyler Mosier at Astoria

•November 30, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Christmas is coming and never mind about that fat goose. It is time for the annual trek to find unique and original gifts and stocking stuffers - but where?

Enter the Find the Elf contest sponsored by the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development agency.

I visited seven participating stores and was amazed at what beautiful and whimsical gifts may be found right here in Sullivan and at very reasonable prices, thanks to remarkable entrepreneurs.

First stop - Astoria (204 W. Harrison) housed in an old mansion where I once stayed when it was a B&B. A brightly painted red door bids you enter the two-room shop choc-a-block with aromatic soaps, lotions and hand creams.

My favorite find was a soap called May Bailey’s Soap for Loose Women - perfect for the guest bathroom!  Read More

Walk on the Wild Side at Wildlife Adventure Park

Photo furnished Whether it involves a walk through experience in July or a leisurely drive through Aikman Wildlife Adventure has brought a new perspective on zoos for visitors as they experience up close encounters with some 150 animals.

Photo furnished
Whether it involves a walk through experience in July or a leisurely drive through Aikman Wildlife Adventure has brought a new perspective on zoos for visitors as they experience up close encounters with some 150 animals.

•November 16, 2016•

By Ariana Cherry
for the News Progress

If you’ve ever wanted to escape to the “wild” or see animals and nature up close, you don’t have to travel too far. In fact, you can “walk on the wild side” all year long at Aikman Wild Life Adventure.

It has more than 150 animals that are a part of 60 different species and native to six continents. Located west of Arcola the park opened its drive-through experience March 11 with the walk-through following 4th of July weekend.

Since opening, the park has already had more than 30,000 visitors becoming a popular attraction in the area.

The entire concept of the park actually appeared as a dream to owner James Aikman. Back on October 22, 2013, he dreamed that he and his wife Kelsey were running a wildlife park.

When Aikman had this dream, they already had plenty on their plate with Kelsey  within two weeks of delivering their son. While Aikman agreed with his wife, he had the same exact dream the next evening.
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Good Times at Senior Center Halloween Party

Photo by Ellen Ferrera Senior Center staff Alicia Moyer(l),Vonnie Lee, Kathi Shackles and Mary Flint preside over a groaning treat table!

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
Senior Center staff Alicia Moyer(l),Vonnie Lee, Kathi Shackles and Mary Flint preside over a groaning treat table!

•November 9, 2016•

By Ellen Ferrera
For the News Progress

The Sullivan Senior Center was the place to be Monday afternoon as nearly 50 seniors attended the 12th annual Halloween party. “It’s the most anticipated party of the year. They love the food but really enjoy the games we create for them,” said executive director, Kathi Shackles.

The staff prepared a buffet of holiday treats, but the fun began with the games which included guessing the number of m&m’s in a jar, a word scramble, a stack the cups contest and the ever popular wrap the mummy contest which involved two teams of three racing against time and shredding TP to wrap a fellow senior. Golden witch trophies were awarded for three best costumes.
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Reading Brings Community Together

Photo by Mike Brothers One Book One Sullivan representatives from Sullivan Middle School attended the program funding Rotary Club Oct 11.  Pictured from left: Wesley Standerfer, Caprice Smith, Carley Towle, Brett Johnson, coordinator Rikki Ray and Rotary president Dave Cole.

Photo by Mike Brothers
One Book One Sullivan representatives from Sullivan Middle School attended the program funding Rotary Club Oct 11. Pictured from left: Wesley Standerfer, Caprice Smith, Carley Towle, Brett Johnson, coordinator Rikki Ray and Rotary president Dave Cole.

One Book One Sullivan

•November 2, 2016•

By Samuel Clemmons
for the News Progress

Thanks to the generosity of Sullivan Rotary Club One Book One Sullivan enters its ninth year of bringing the community together through literacy.

The One Book One Sullivan committee is announcing the winning title on Wednesday, Nov. 23 during a Sullivan Middle School gymnasium assembly.

Since its beginning, Sullivan Rotary Club has contributed $16,000 to One Book One Sullivan.

Founder Rikki Ray and Sullivan middle school student members explained the program to Rotarians during the Oct. 11 meeting at TnT Pizza. Read More

Sun Shines on First American Legion Car Show

Photos by Mike Brothers American Legion Post 68 had a successful first car show Sunday. That was because of the efforts of the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of American Legion and American Legion volunteers working in cooperation with the Sullivan Street Machine Assn. Best of Show-John Upton of Flora displays 1941 Chanute Air Corp photo in front of his prize winning 1969 Chevrolet Impala SS.

Photo by Mike Brothers
American Legion Post 68 had a successful first car show Sunday. That was because of the efforts of the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of American Legion and American Legion volunteers working in cooperation with the Sullivan Street Machine Assn.

•October 26, 2016•

John Upton from Flora had parked his 1969 Chevrolet Impala SS in the barn when gas prices jumped to 83 cents a gallon in 1975.

On Sunday, October 23 Upton and that restored big block Chevy won best of show at the inaugural Sullivan American Legion Post 68 car show.

The Sullivan American Legion with the help of “Sullivan Street Machine Assn.” held their inaugural car-truck-motorcycle show on a warm sunny Sunday on the south lawn and parking lot at the East Strain Street Post.

Registration was 10 a.m.-noon with judging shortly after registration. Awards were announced at 3 p.m. The first 25 entries registered received dash plaques. Top 20 entries received a plaque.   Read More

The Flying Moodys: It All Began In Dalton City

Photo furnished Hunter Moody started flying at 14 years old and was the force behind a history of aviation for the Dalton City family.

Photo furnished
Hunter Moody started flying at 14 years old and was the force behind a history of aviation for the Dalton City family.

•October 5, 2016•

By Emily Stutzman
For the News Progress

“Flying is a romance, an adventure, and here’re the guys that practically wrote the book on it. I can’t overemphasize the fact that it was a pleasure and honor to know both of them.” This is how Bob Waddell, of Illiopolis, describes the Moody brothers, Hunter and Humphrey.

Born in the small town of Dalton City, Illinois, the sons of Edward and Ethel Moody, the brothers were avid aviators from a young age. The older of the two, Hunter, showed an interest in flying at age nine, inspired by Charles’ Lindbergh’s non-stop flight across the Atlantic to Paris.

At the age of 14, he began taking flying lessons and soon learned to fly the Tri-motor Ford airplane his father bought him for the price of $185, receiving his pilot’s license at the age of 16. Read More

Executive Director Keeps Economic Development Moving

Photo by Mike Brothers Sullivan Chamber and Economic Executive Director Laurrie Minor welcomes Sullivan High School interns Jazmyn Jayne and Parker Whitaker. In the recently expanded SHS intern program Jayne and Whitaker are helping organize the annual Octoberfest celebration.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sullivan Chamber and Economic Executive Director Laurrie Minor welcomes Sullivan High School interns Jazmyn Jayne and Parker Whitaker. In the recently expanded SHS intern program Jayne and Whitaker are helping organize the annual Octoberfest celebration.

•September 21, 2016•

Laurrie Minor has been appointed Executive Director of the Sullivan Chamber & Economic Development.

In her position, Minor will work with the city, county and the community to enhance and grow the area via community development, economic development and chamber of commerce activities.

“With Laurrie’s vast knowledge of local and Moultrie County business relationships and her involvement in the community she has always called home, she is a natural fit for this role,” said Dave McCabe, Sullivan Chamber & Economic Development board president.

As part of the Chamber’s ever expanding role of bridging education with business Minor has enlisted the help of two Sullivan High School interns to learn about the economic development on the city level. Read More

SHS Band Continuing the Culture of Excellence

Photo by Wurtsbaugh Photography

Photo by Wurtsbaugh Photography

•September 14, 2016•

By Emily Stutzman
for the News Progress

You’ve probably seen them Friday nights under the lights of the football field or on Sullivan High School’s stage at basketball games.

An integral part of Sullivan High School, the band program and its many members have delivered countless flawless performances over the years.

Directed by Brock Feece and choreographed by Mark Moss, the Sullivan band has been a part of Sullivan High School’s music program.

Feece, a graduate of Millikin University, took the band director’s position in 2015. Speaking about the Sullivan community: “I love what a supportive community it is here. Everyone in the school and town supports what everyone else does, and people have been very welcoming to me as I navigated my first year of teaching. Everyone knows everyone, so being an “outsider” is hard, but people have been so helpful!”  Read More

C.E.F.S. Awards Educational Scholarships

Photo furnished Scholarship Awards from C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2016 Annual Board of Directors meeting.  Seated front row (l-r): Jennifer Penberthy and Lynette Green both of Sullivan.  Pictured second row (l-r): CEFS board members Arlene Aschermann and Vickie Bowers.

Photo furnished
Scholarship Awards from C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2016 Annual Board of Directors meeting. Seated front row (l-r): Jennifer Penberthy and Lynette Green both of Sullivan. Pictured second row (l-r): CEFS board members Arlene Aschermann and Vickie Bowers.

•August 31, 2016•

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation, Board of Directors recently awarded $8,000 in educational scholarships to nine individuals who are pursuing post-secondary education. The educational scholarships were made available through funding provided by the Community Services Block Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation’s Community Services Block Grant Scholarship Program was established in 1985. The CSBG Scholarship Program is designed to provide financial assistance to individuals to pursue education and training in occupational skill areas or post-secondary education for the purpose of upgrading employability levels. In the past 31 years of the CSBG scholarship program C.E.F.S. has awarded $350,376 in educational awards and has assisted 499 students.

Scholarship winners were recognized from Moultrie County at the recent annual C.E.F.S. Board of Directors meeting. Lynette Green an Jennifer Penberthy, both of Sullivan, received a certificate of recognition and a monetary award to pursue educational training.

Green would like a career that will provide for her family after the unexpected death of her husband. She decided on a career in nursing and will be enrolled in the nursing program at Lake Land College in Mattoon upon completion of her pre-requisites. Green wants to be an example to her children, both spiritually and academically.
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