From Summer Camp to Macy’s Parade

•August 26, 2015•

By Mike Brothers

 

Photo by Mike Brothers Ben Berner is getting ready for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. He will be joined by mother Samantha in New York City while father Mike watches from Sullivan.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Ben Berner is getting ready for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. He will be joined by mother Samantha in New York City while father Mike watches from Sullivan.

Summer camp changed Ben Berner’s life and Sullivan High School’s history at the same time.

The B-flat clarinet player from the Sullivan High School band will march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with the Great American Honor Band.

Ben attended summer band camp at Eastern Illinois University where Camp Director Barry Houser encouraged him to apply for the Honor Band.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Berner said of his acceptance. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go as the first kid from Sullivan.”

Clarinets are in the Berner family with Ben’s mother Samantha playing in high school. She plans to attend while dad Mike will hold down the fort in Sullivan with the rest of the family watching the parade on television.

“This is cool! “ Samantha said, noting this was the 10th annual Honor Band performance at the Thanksgiving Day parade. She will fly out later in the week to join Ben and take a place on the main stage to watch the parade.

“Ben will be a busy guy,” said Sullivan band director Brock Freece, “He will have to prepare for the Thanksgiving parade in addition to performing in all our competitions and games this season.”

Freece attended the Eastern band camp as a youth. He has been a resource to help find ways to help with expenses for Ben’s trip as he will have to take care of transportation costs. Read More

Sparrows Unlimited Helps Families Throughout the Year

Photo by Mike Brothers Lovington area Vacation Bible School students worked together this summer raising more than $600 which they donated to Sparrows Ltd. Children from all churches gathered at First Baptist Church for the cooperative VBS. Above are some of those VBS participants: (kneeling from left) Cannon and Daylon Doggett, (standing) Krystina Myers, Peyton Newberry and Makayla Hays.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Lovington area Vacation Bible School students worked together this summer raising more than $600 which they donated to Sparrows Ltd. Children from all churches gathered at First Baptist Church for the cooperative VBS. Above are some of those VBS participants: (kneeling from left) Cannon and Daylon Doggett, (standing) Krystina Myers, Peyton Newberry and Makayla Hays.

•August 26, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting from Lovington

In 1994, a group of people saw a need within their community and wanted to help others who were less fortunate than they.

After holding an auction for the very first time at Jerry’s East End that December, it became an annual tradition.

“I have personally been involved with Sparrows for 15 years, and the generosity of the people, not just in our community, but the surrounding towns, never ceases to amaze me,” said Jessica Mercer, a member of the Sparrows group in Lovington.

Sparrows Unlimited is a non-profit organization that was started to help families in Lovington who were in need during Christmas. Although since then, the organization has evolved in the way it helps others.

“Originally the organization was to benefit families in need at Christmas, which is still our primary focus. Sparrow’s Unlimited has evolved into a vital tool within our community providing Christmas to families in need, and delivering fruit baskets to the elderly,” stated Pam Anklam, another member of the organization.

“We act as a resource and support system for many organizations in Lovington such as Christ’s Pantry, Lovington American Legion Post #429, COLA, Boy Scouts and many school organizations,” she added.

Sparrows Unlimited also provided coats for children. “Last year we bought more than 40 coats for children in the community,” informed Mercer. Along with providing coats, the organization also put together more than 100 fruit baskets for the elderly (anyone over 62) as a thank you for their contributions to the community.  Read More

Sullivan Council Approves New Culvert Policy

•August 26, 2015•

By Ariana Cherry
Reporting in Sullivan

The need for a culvert policy prompted action by the Sullivan City Council at the August 17 session.

After some heavy rains and flooding, it became clear that some culverts and drainage ditches would need to be repaired and installed. During that discussion, the question of who was responsible for payment of the culverts was brought to the table -the homeowner or the city?

Commissioner Ken Johnson presented a new culvert policy that answered that question. In section one of the policy it states: “The cost of purchasing the initial driveway culvert will be the responsibility of the homeowner/taxpayer.”
Read More

Moultrie Moment of the Week: Lovington Mule Skinners

Moultrie Moment of the Week                                                    Lovington Mule Skinners—Took care of the mules that were used to haul coal from the shaft mine in Lovington- The Lovington Coal Mine closed in 1924. this photo was donated by Roy Bolin. Partially identified: Top row from left Reenie Eckel, George Simpson, ?, (bottom) Ralph Morthland, Pearl Cantor, Mox Jurick, and Edra Morthland. Please submit photos to the News Progress for future consideration. Originals will be saved for return or forwarded to Moultrie County Historical Society. If you have any other information, please contact the Moultrie County Historical Society at 217-728- 4085.

Moultrie Moment of the Week
Lovington Mule Skinners—Took care of the mules that were used to haul coal from the shaft mine in Lovington- The Lovington Coal Mine closed in 1924. this photo was donated by Roy Bolin. Partially identified: Top row from left Reenie Eckel, George Simpson, ?, (bottom) Ralph Morthland, Pearl Cantor, Mox Jurick, and Edra Morthland. Please submit photos to the News Progress for future consideration. Originals will be saved for return or forwarded to Moultrie County Historical Society. If you have any other information, please contact the Moultrie County Historical Society at 217-728- 4085.

•August 26, 2015•

Coal mining was once a leading industry in Moultrie County, and Lovington was the hub of that industry.

The Lovington Coal Mine began operation in 1910 and closed in 1924 due to flooding issues. There were more than 300 employed by the mine at its closing.

With the discovery of a nine foot vein of coal some 900 feet below the land surface outside Lovington, the Lovington Coal Mining Company began by selling stock for $25 per share.

The company owned 114 acres of surface land and leased 5000 of coal rights.

Once the funds were raised shaft drilling began. To reach the needed 1050 foot depth men worked from a steel cage lowered based on their progress each day.

Working in the 10 x 15 foot steel cage dirt was hauled up from the shaft in buckets as the men descended the shaft. Read More

Back to School at LGS

Photo by Keith Stewart Back to School at LGS Kindergartener Kade Ballinger stands next to his mother Melissa Nichols, who is seen holding her son Jace while school librarian Karen Smith-Cox gives directions last Wednesday, which marked the first day of school for ALAH CUSD 305.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Back to School at LGS
Kindergartener Kade Ballinger stands next to his mother Melissa Nichols, who is seen holding her son Jace while school librarian Karen Smith-Cox gives directions last Wednesday, which marked the first day of school for ALAH CUSD 305.

Cruise Night on the Square

Photo by Mike Brothers Cruise night on the Square A 35 year tradition comes to the square in Sullivan at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Cruisers from the Sullivan Street Machine Association such as Joe Scribner’s 1969 Plymouth GTX (right) and Rick Montague’s 1970 AMX will be leading the way. Far left is Joann Pratt’s 1966 Mustang, a potential cruiser. Cars, trucks, motorcycles and antique rides are welcome with a cash prize awarded most active cruiser. Shovelhead will provide live music. The AmBucs of Sullivan sponsored the event which first came to the square 10 years ago. Free popcorn from the Sullivan Boy Scouts and entertainment for the kids as well as more than $600 in door prizes will be given away. A trophy for spectator’s choice is awarded and a chance for everyone to see some cool rides cruising the streets of Sullivan.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Cruise night on the Square
A 35 year tradition comes to the square in Sullivan at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Cruisers from the Sullivan Street Machine Association such as Joe Scribner’s 1969 Plymouth GTX (right) and Rick Montague’s 1970 AMX will be leading the way. Far left is Joann Pratt’s 1966 Mustang, a potential cruiser. Cars, trucks, motorcycles and antique rides are welcome with a cash prize awarded most active cruiser. Shovelhead will provide live music. The AmBucs of Sullivan sponsored the event which first came to the square 10 years ago. Free popcorn from the Sullivan Boy Scouts and entertainment for the kids as well as more than $600 in door prizes will be given away. A trophy for spectator’s choice is awarded and a chance for everyone to see some cool rides cruising the streets of Sullivan.

Remember When? 8-26-2015

25 years ago this week

Former University of Illinois basketball standout Kendall Gill signed autographs Saturday at The Depot in Sullivan. Chad Andrews of Decatur was one of the fans who stood in line for over an hour to see Gil. Andrews, the grandson of Mary Carnine and the great-grandson of Edith Shadow, both of Sullivan, brought a basketball program for the future NBA player to sign.

Amanda Bruce began the first step of her primary education Monday when she registered for kindergarten at Lovington Grade School with the assistance of her mother Cindy.

While most students spend the summer away from their studies, Sullivan High School junior Denise Elder furthered hers as a delegate to a national 4-H program in the nation’s capital. A member of the Moultrie County Clover Kids 4-H Group, Elder was among 88 state and 4,000 national 4-H’ers ages 15-19, who attended Citizenship Washington D.C. Focus July 14-21 to learn about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens.

The photograph of a Moultrie County youngster illustrates an article in the September issue of Good Housekeeping which went on newsstands this week. Bailey Elliott, daughter of David and Patty Kay Elliott of Lovington, was captured on film by her mother as she smelled a bouquet of flowers. The photo was entered in a contest sponsored by the magazine and was selected as one of 25 winners throughout the nation. Read More

Sullivan Schools Approve New Teacher’s Union Contract

Tentative budget also approved

•August 26, 2015•

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Between July and August, the Sullivan school board approved both a teacher’s union contract and a tentative budget for fiscal year 2016.

At their July 13 meeting, the board presented what is the first budget of the new fiscal year, which began July 1. Known as the tentative budget, it tries to predict not only what expenses the district will incur over the next year but also the much more tricky area of revenue at a time when state funding for K-12 education continues to be unreliable.

The budget does show the district spending more than $400,000 than it estimates bringing in, but Superintendent Brad Tuttle reported to the board that not only do tentative budgets usually contain contingencies that may later be taken out, but that this budget, in particular, is better than other tentative budgets in the past.

“Obviously this is a work in progress,” said Tuttle. “As you work a tentative budget, you have a lot of contingencies and a lot of things throughout that. This one in particular is better than what we’ve had in a while. It is showing a deficit…[but] “at this point I feel it’s in a lot better shape than what we have been in the past at this point.”

A look back at the FY15 tentative budget does support Tuttle’s comments. In particular, that budget estimated deficit spending of $464,213 compared to this year’s tentative budget, which anticipates $417,786. The estimated fund balance across the four major operating funds is also estimated to improve by more than $71,000 thanks, also, to more than $107,000 less in anticipated expenses. Read More

C.E.F.S. Awards Educational Scholarships

cut with scholar story and pic C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2015 Annual Board of Directors meeting.  Pictured (L-R): Vickie Bowers, board member, Alana Bernardi and Arlene Aschermann, board member.

cut with scholar story and pic
C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation recently awarded educational scholarships at their 2015 Annual Board of Directors meeting. Pictured (L-R): Vickie Bowers, board member, Alana Bernardi and Arlene Aschermann, board member.

•August 26, 2015•

A scholarship winner from Moultrie County was recognized at the recent annual C.E.F.S. Board of Directors meeting. Scholarship recipient, Alana Bernardi, received a certificate of recognition and a monetary award to pursue educational training.

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation, Board of Directors recently awarded $8,000 in educational scholarships to three 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.

Bernardi of Arthur is currently enrolled at Lake Land College in Mattoon and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Accounting. Bernardi previously owned her own business which in how she became interested in this field. Read More

National Senior Citizens Day Celebration

Photo by Mike Brothers Sixty-two people from Sullivan and surrounding communities gathered at the Mid-Illinois Senior Services for lunch Friday, Aug. 21 in observation of National Senior Citizens Day. On this day in 1988 President Ronald Reagan made the official declaration. Mason Point provided lunch for the group  celebration. Above Executive Director Deb Groendal is served her meal by Darin Wall, Karen Rodgers, Leeann Stickles and Angie Clawson.

Photo by Mike Brothers
Sixty-two people from Sullivan and surrounding communities gathered at the Mid-Illinois Senior Services for lunch Friday, Aug. 21 in observation of National Senior Citizens Day. On this day in 1988 President Ronald Reagan made the official declaration. Mason Point provided lunch for the group celebration. Above Executive Director Deb Groendal is served her meal by Darin Wall, Karen Rodgers, Leeann Stickles and Angie Clawson.

•August 26, 2015•

Seniors from Mid-Il Senior Services in Sullivan observed National Senior Citizens Day Friday, August 21 with a meal.

The luncheon served by Mason Point to 62 area seniors commemorated the 27 year recognizing senior citizens nationwide.

Mid Illinois Senior Services is the local SHIP site for Medicare, insurance counseling, advice for choosing skilled care facilities, as well as caregiver support for seniors and grandparents raising grandchildren.

Executive director Deb Groendal noted in addition to the meal provided by Mason Point those attending on Friday enjoyed Bible study in the morning and card games as afternoon entertainment.

“Deb is a real expert on insurance matters,” Kay McCoy said of the director, noting her knowledge has helped many of those attending Mid-Illinois Senior Services unravel the complications from insurance coverage for senior citizens.

President Ronald Reagan’s declaration from 1988 designating the observation is printed below.

Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land. Read More