Feature Stories

Kiki’s Boutique is for the Fashion Lover

Photo by Ellen Fererra
Kiki’s Boutique owner Nikki Jacobazzi is pictured.

•April 19, 2017•

By Ellen Fererra

The exquisite Venetian chandelier catches your eye as you enter the very stylish new Kiki’s Boutique and the owner, Nikki Jacobazzi says, “ Yes, I had to have it, and it was the first item installed - everything was built around it. We had to wrap it in plastic for over a month while we remodeled.”

And what a charming space it is with racks of really beautiful and colorful blouses, dresses, jeans, t-shirts, shoes and must-have jewelry. So much temptation in such a small space but all artfully arranged. The sizes here run from small to 3x, and I was surprised to find almost all of the gorgeous blouses priced at $26 as they look much more expensive.

“We wanted a place to shop in Sullivan with high fashion and reasonable prices as so many shops like Penney’s and Kohl’s are closing.  Plus, you don’t have to drive to shop - we are right here,” she said.

Jacobazzi, who has the gamin looks of an Audrey Hepburn, grew up in Sullivan, went off to the big city and returned about five years ago. That’s when she began going to vendor fairs and selling online where she has shipped her line all over the U.S. and to a growing market in Europe.  Read More

Two Officers Complete Sullivan Police Force

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sullivan Police Chief Jim Waggoner (middle) is pictured with two new police officers, Vincent Trapani (far left) and Tom LeHew (far right).

•April 12, 2017•

Sullivan police department is up to full force with the addition of two new officers.

Chief of Police Jim Waggoner said the new patrolman fill vacancies created with the retirement of John Love and one officer who accepted a position in state law enforcement.

“We are glad to attract good talented young officers,” Waggoner said, explaining Vincent Trapani and Tom LeHew’s prior police experience will benefit the force and the city.

Trapani is originally from Decatur, graduating from Argenta-Oreana High School.

He joined the National Guard with his parents permission at 17 and is based with the National Guard military police in Springfield. Read More

Sullivan: A League of Their Own

Photo Furnished
It all changed in 1948 when Earl Walker of Walker Road Oilers decided to sponsor a women’s softball team and, for the first time, they had uniforms and a name - “The Walkerettes”! and lost only one game that year to Charleston.

•April 5, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Were you in Wyman Park during the hot summers of the 40s, 50s, 60s munching on popcorn, washing back hot dogs with some cold brewskies and watching Sullivan’s Walkerettes knock a few out of the ball park?

For over 30 years Genny Sutton, who just turned 100 this year, coached, managed and coddled women, their children and even their grandchildren in Sullivan’s only women’s softball league. Sutton founded the league around 1940 and was helped by her husband, son, grandson and countless others to provide summer entertainment to thousands as more than 75 women played on her teams over the years. Read More

Area Fishermen Help Build Lake Shelbyville Habitat

Photo by Mike Brothers
Assembly line action from volunteers such as Mike Fallert made quick work of the habitat construction process at Chip’s Marine south of Sullivan Saturday, March 4.

Volunteers Make Difference

•March 8, 2017•

By Wally Bass
for the News Progress

Fishing habitat is serious business so it was no surprise to Chip Christensen when so many fishermen showed up for a habitat build March 4.

Chip’s Marine service bays south of Sullivan were converted into an assembly line for building some 50 fish habitats for Lake Shelbyville.

In this joint venture with the Illinois Department of Conservation and Army Corp of Engineers volunteers from a variety of clubs joined individual sport fishermen to build and place the artificial habitats in the lake. Read More

FFA Petting Zoo Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

Photo by Don Lockwood
Dippin Dot Treats
A liquid nitrogen and like magic Maddie Atchison and Irie Dulin created Dippin’ Dots for eager taste testers at the Sullivan FFA Week open house.

•March 1, 2017•

Last week was National Future Farmers of America FFA, and the Sullivan FFA chapter petting zoo and open house was visited by more than 900 people.

All three Sullivan school attendance centers plus Sullivan preschool and folks from the public were treated to local chapter exhibits as well as Scovill Zoo which contributed more exotic animals to impress those coming to pet an alligator or python for the first time.

During the afternoon visitors were treated to a Dippin Dots treat following a liquid nitrogen demonstration.

It was hatching day for the local chicks as candling the eggs produced fresh hatches for the young students.

Expanding into the outer garage a giant schnauzer, horses, goats, pigs and a variety of animals were provided by FFA Chapter members for petting.  Read More

Valentine’s Day Changes Over Time

•February 8, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

Ah, be still my heart, Valentine’s Day approacheth, and hope springs eternal for all aspiring lovers.

The world’s population will spend close to $20 billion on cards, candy, fragrances, flowers and other objets d’amour in this timeless ritual of love and courtship this year.

Its origins are ancient, but the concept of sending decorated cards spread from England to the United States about 1850. Hallmark Cards in Kansas began mass producing Valentine cards in 1913, and now 25% of all cards mailed each year are Valentines.

So, it is not surprising that 100 years ago in 1917 there is absolutely no mention in the local Sullivan papers of anything relating to Valentine’s Day - no ads, parties, etc. The country was preparing for WWI and Hallmark had only been producing Valentines for four years. It was not a time to celebrate love or anything else. Read More

Sullivan and Moultrie Traced to Deeper Historic Origins

Name Rooted in 17th Century

By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress

If you have looked at the city of Sullivan web page you know that Sullivan was named for Sullivan Island and Moultrie County was named for Ft. Moultrie, both in Charleston, S.C.

But the names have a deeper history than you realize.

Fort Moultrie was originally named Fort Sullivan as the first fort built on Sullivan Island. It was an incomplete log fort built of Palmetto wood. When it was attacked by British forces in 1776,  the soft Palmetto wood absorbed the cannonballs, and the British were forced to retreat. Charleston was saved, and the fort was renamed for its commander, Colonel William Moultrie.

After the war, the fort was neglected and by 1791 little remained. A second Fort Moultrie was completed in 1798, but it was also neglected and eventually destroyed by hurricane in 1804. A third and better reinforced fort was built in 1809 and was further modernized in 1885. It was one of 19 forts along the Atlantic coast.  Read More

New Veterinarian Joins Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital

Photo by Madison Uhlrich
Pictured is Heather Green.

•January 18, 2017•

by Kennedy Nolen
for the News Progress

Kaskaskia Valley Animal Hospital welcomed new associate veterinarian Heather Green in 2016.

The Mattoon native said she knew she wanted to become a veterinarian by the time she was five or six years old.

Green said she has always loved animals and had an interest in science and zoology. She said she did well in science classes in school and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Green attended Millikin University in Decatur for four years and received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry.

She attended the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine in Champaign-Urbana.  Read More

A Sweet Morning That Starts in the Middle of the Night

Photo by Ellen Ferrera
You may not know Peggy Booker, but you know those sweet creations.

•January 11, 2017•

By Ellen Ferrera
for there News Progress

We’ve all been to the local IGA to shop. We enter, turn right and amble toward the deli section and then, in the corner of our eye, there it is. That hulking white case with the slanted shelves filled with THEM.

Some are round and glazed or with sprinkles, some are square or twisted and sugar coated. You salivate at the sight of those that ooze of vanilla pudding that mingles with haunting dark chocolate in every bite, and Lord have mercy!

Some are even drenched in maple glaze and bacon. Yes, it’s the doughnut case. On a full stomach I’m probably safe from their siren call but on an empty one I am doomed.

And who is responsible for these delectable, delicious pastry treats? She is a tiny lady with the merriest blue eyes and someone you should know if you don’t already.

Peggy Booker is in her eighties and arrives at IGA at 1 a.m. every morning Monday through Saturday. Yes, while you are snuggled down dreaming of doughnuts, she is wrangling some 20 dozen donuts into the wonderful creations that make your dreams come true. Read More