Summer Job Opportunities Available at Rend Lake


Rend Lake – is now accepting applications to fill summer positions at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities. This hiring includes Rend Lake, Benton, IL. Rend Lake is one of the many locations that will be hiring students for summer employment through the Pathways program. These positions are open to current students enrolled at least half-time in high school, vocational, technical, undergraduate, graduate or professional programs. The Pathways “Internship” Program is a paid student internship program that offers a clear path to Federal careers for students from high school through post-graduate school and provides meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service.

To apply, all applicants must first create a USAJOBS account by logging into the Once the applicant has his/her USAJOBS account set up, they can also create “Saved Searches” to receive email notifications when new jobs are announced that meet a specific criteria. All Pathways Program positions are announced on

Two job applications are being advertised for Rend Lake, a GS-02 position, for persons who have never worked in the Pathways Internship program; and a GS-03 position for persons who are currently in the Pathways Internship program.

Rend Lake’s announcement number for Pathway Internship applicants for the summer of 2015 for the GS-02 position is ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER: SWGI155931431359197P. A direct link to the GS-02 announcement is:

For the GS-03 announcement refer to ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER: SWGI155931461359411P. A direct link to the GS -03 job announcement can be found at: Both job announcements are open for self-nomination beginning today, March 20, 2015, and close Monday, March 30, 2015.

Franklin County Farm Bureau News

Gay Bowlin, Manager

You may have heard that the Firearm Owners Identification Card process has changed and I am not exactly sure if it is for the better but none the less we have to deal with it. We have always filled out applications and taken pictures for people but now that process is a little more involved.

Gay Bowlin

Gay Bowlin

First of all you can apply on line or on the phone but either way you must be able to pay with a debit, credit or checking account. If you apply on line you must have a valid email address (not sure about on the phone) and then the 15 minute process begins. You must still have a current picture and a driver’s license or state ID. If you apply online you must be able to pay over the phone.

If you come to the Farm Bureau office we will be able to help with this – we will take your picture and fill out everything online for you and then print out the confirmation. If you do not have a debit, credit or checking account then we will use our information to pay on line for you. This entire fee for this process will be $20 – that includes the $11 to the state. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 435-3616.

Our breakfast with Representative John Bradley was well attended on Monday. We had a total of 28 in attendance with 21 of those from Franklin County. Also Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau Director of State Legislation and Chris Lowery, Administrative Assistant to Representative Bradley.

Many items were discussed including the Juvenile Detention Center in Benton and the uncertainty that surrounds it – John assured us that he and Senator Forby are doing everything they can to keep the center running as it is today.

Representative Bradley is looking to the future and working with Governor Rauner on keeping Southern Illinois in the forefront. If you need to get in touch with him his office number is (618) 997-9697.

As soon as this weather dries up you will begin to see the farmers on the roads once more. Please take into consideration that these are very large pieces of equipment and there is limited space where they can get off the roadways – drive slowly when approaching and be aware of their limitations.
This is the last chance to place your order for Smoked Pork Loin for your Easter dinner. They will be ready for pick up on Thursday April 2nd – that is the day before Good Friday.  1/2 loin is $30 and a full is $45 please call the office or stop by to order yours today.  We will take orders ending March 30 and we don’t have extra. This is a Young Leaders Project with all proceeds going to fund scholarships. See a Young Leader or call 435-3616 to place your order.

This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.


Justice Department investigating former U.S. Rep Schock

The Justice Department is investigating the congressional expenses and business dealings of Rep. Aaron Schock, and FBI agents have begun issuing subpoenas to potential witnesses, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Friday.

Here’s a link in the Chicago Tribune.

Let H & R Block help you know the facts about common tax scams

Your phone rings.

You look at the screen. It has a number you don’t recognize, but the caller ID appears as “IRS.” Your heart leaps into your throat. What could be wrong? You answer.

billionsThe person on the phone tells you they’re with the IRS, they may even give a badge number. They begin to tell you that you owe back taxes. They may even say, “you need to pay immediately” or “The police will arrest you for not paying.”

It’s scary, and understandably confusing. But above all else it is a scam.

According to the IRS, they will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.irs scam

There are similar scams targeted at email. These are called “phishing” schemes. You may get an email that appears to be from the IRS that asks you to “update your IRS e-file.” It may mention and IRSgov. These emails are not from the IRS. They link to websites that look like the IRS site but are solely designed to capture your personal information for scammers to use illegally. The IRS will not initiate contact with you by email to request personal or financial information.

Forward any email you believe to be a scam to

Dirty Dozen

These are two of the most prevalent scams reported by the IRS, but every year the agency also releases a list of the top 12 or “dirty dozen” tax scams. These include false promises of free money from inflated refunds and impersonation of charitable organizations. You can see them all here.

We also have some guidance on how to protect yourself from becoming the victim of a tax scam.

In virtually every aspect of life, experience is important . But, when it comes to income tax preparation experience goes far beyond important – it’s imperative, a must.

That’s why choosing H & R Block in Benton is also a must, because the experience the entire staff brings could result in extra money in your pocket. All total, owners Terri Page and Pat Wilson and their staff have more than 140 years combined experience in tax preparation.

H & R Block has been a fixture on West Main Street (just one-half block west off the Benton Public Square) for more than 20 years and is ready to help you with your tax returns.

Here are some important questions that H & R Block in Benton can help you answer. Call the office at 618-439-4641 or stop by and visit at 101 West Main Street.

Rock & Worship Roadshow coming to Carbondale

The 7th Annual Rock & Worship Roadshow, presented by Compassion International, will be coming to the SIU Arena on the campus of Southern Illinois University on Sunday March 1, 2015. Headlining the Roadshow are tour founders MercyMe who will be joined by Crowder, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Tedashii and Group 1 Crew. Being introduced on the tour are newcomer artists I Am They and Jon Guerra, while Shaun Groves is slated as the guest speaker.
General admission will be $10 per person at the door. A VIP ticket will also be available for $50 per person and will include a Q&A with select artists, early entrance for premium seating, an exclusive tour tshirt, a VIP laminate and more. For more information and to order your VIP ticket please visit  For information regarding parking, line-up instructions, and entry times please visit the following website.
Since The Rock & Worship Roadshow first kicked off in 2009, the tour has performed more than 150 shows to an audience of 1.2 million. According to Pollstar in 2012, the hugely popular tour was named one of their Top 50 Tours for Mid-Year. “The success of The Rock & Worship Roadshow over the last six years has been incredible,” shares Brian Seay, executive producer of the tour. “The quality and variety of the artists in our 2015 lineup ensures that we will continue to provide the entire family – parents and kids alike – with an unforgettable evening of ministry and music presented by Compassion International.”

Rauner makes university trustee appointments, two named at SIUC

Governor Rauner announced today he has made appointments to the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University and Chicago State University.

Name: John Gilbert

Position: Board of Trustees – Southern Illinois University

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected John Gilbert, 65, of Carbondale to the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University. Gilbert is a life-long public servant and is currently a United States District Court Judge (senior status).

Gilbert was appointed to the federal bench in 1992, and currently presides over criminal and civil cases. Prior to that, he was a First Judicial Circuit Court Judge for nearly five years.

Gilbert has also served the people of Illinois as a member of the State Board of Elections, where he set policy matters for the board and presided over election challenges.

Gilbert holds a law degree from Loyola University Chicago. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois.

Name: Joel Sambursky

Position: Board of Trustees – Southern Illinois University

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Joel Sambursky, 32, of Carbondale to serve on the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University. Sambursky is a graduate of SIU and is the president of Liberty Wealth Management, LLC.

Sambursky has worked at Liberty Wealth Management since 2012. Currently, he manages the day-to-day affairs of the firm including financial and investment planning, marketing and client recruitment. He also advises clients on retirement and college savings plans.

Prior to his work at Liberty Wealth Management, Sambursky worked for Forbes Financial Group in Carbondale as a financial adviser. He advised clients and helped determine if they had adequate retirement assets and insurance policies. Sambursky also worked for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

Sambursky graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2005 with a degree in science finance and earned an MBA in 2007. He was also recognized for his athletic accomplishments during his four years on the SIU football team.

Name: Amy Sholar

Position: Board of Trustees – Southern Illinois University

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Amy Sholar, 43, of Alton to serve on the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University. Sholar is a graduate of SIU – Edwardsville and currently owns her own law firm.

Sholar has owned the Law Office of Amy Sholar, P.C. since 2004. Prior to owning her own law firm, Sholar worked for the City of Alton as a planning coordinator. She was responsible for community redevelopment, real estate acquisitions and zoning matters.
Sholar was also a recipient of the 2012 Women of Distinction award.

Sholar graduated from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville in 1998 with a degree in business administration and holds a law degree from St. Louis University.

Name: Timothy Burke

Position: Board of Trustees – Eastern Illinois University

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Timothy Burke, 65, of Evanston to become a member of the Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees. Burke is a graduate of EIU and is currently a member of the EIU Foundation Board of Trustees.

Burke is currently a project risk manager at William Blair & Company. In this role, he works on financial risk management and internal control matters. For ten years until 2012, he was the company’s CFO.

Prior to his work at William Blair & Company, Burke worked at Arthur Andersen & Company for more than 20 years. He became partner in 1987 in the audit practice of the financial services group. He also managed a World Bank project in Indonesia focused on reforming securities industry regulations.

Burke received his bachelor’s degree in math and master’s degree in counseling from EIU. While earning his MS, he also served the EIU community as a residence hall counselor.

Name: Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch

Position: Board of Trustees – Chicago State University

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch to join the Chicago State University Board of Trustees. Hatch has spent years in the community and in public service to help others.

Since 1993, Hatch has been the pastor of the New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s west side. Prior to that, he served as the pastor of Commonwealth Baptist Church.

Throughout his work in the ministry, Hatch has created and developed a number of outreach programs. He is responsible for an interfaith affordable housing development project, which built more than 200 homes for Chicago families. He also established an annual mission trip for inner-city youth.

Hatch earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Illinois University. He holds a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University. Hatch also earned a doctorate and masters degree in ministry and theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. He was also one of four Merrill Fellows at the Harvard Divinity School in 1998.

Second Mining in Society Merit Badge workshop returning to RLC

INA, Ill. – Southern Illinois’ second Mining in Society workshop is again teaming up with the Rend Lake College Mining and Industrial Department to give local Boy Scouts the chance to earn a new merit badge and learn all about the coal mining industry at the same time.

The classroom aspect of the workshop will meet at the RLC Coal Mine Training Center from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, March 21. Local scouts will get some hands-on experience with coal mining, an effort aimed to teach the boys about different career opportunities. There will be several guest speakers and activities focusing on mining enterprises in the state or region, understanding the hazards a miner may encounter while in an active mine, reviewing dangers someone might encounter in an abandoned mine, and many other topics.

“I don’t know which, the adults or the Boy Scouts, were more excited about the workshop last year,” said Dr. Joseph Hirschi, member of the Boy Scouts Content Development team and creator of the merit badge. “I was personally gratified because I’ve been doing a lot with the Boy Scouts for many years. At the end, they were all saying it was the most fun merit badge they’d ever worked on.”

Boy Scouts will then travel to one of Knight Hawk Coal Company’s mines for a tour of the facility from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, March 28. There, they will get a hands-on look at coal mining and hear from professionals in the industry.

The workshop is a combined partnership between RLC, Knight Hawk Coal, and the Illinois Mining Institute. The Boy Scouts of America officially approved the merit badge in February of 2014, making last fall’s Mining in Society workshop the first of its kind in the area to encourage young boys to look into coal mining as a potential career path in the future.

“The Boy Scouts program is all about exposing boys to opportunities and potential careers,” said Hirschi. “The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration wanted this merit badge for the Boy Scouts because we need more people going into mining as a career. The goal is to expose as many people as possible.”

Meals and transportation to the Knight Hawk Coal Mine will be provided. Troops with multiple scouts must provide adult leadership and participation is limited to 20 youths and five adults. All participants must make reservations in advance by Friday, March 13. To make reservations, call the Herrin Service Center at 888-942-4863 or 618-942-4863. For more information about the Mining in Society Merit Badge, contact Joseph Hirschi at 618-751-0364 or

Food Sanitation course rescheduled for Feb. 28, March 7

INA, Ill. (Feb. 24, 2015) – Due to winter weather last week, one Food Sanitation course has been rescheduled to start this weekend, Saturday, Feb. 28, and finish up next Saturday, March 7.

Students will meet from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace, Room 338, in Mt. Vernon, to learn all about food sanitation in preparation for the ServSafe exam for Management and Sanitation Training.

Students can also enroll now in the last Food Sanitation course of the Spring semester, set for Saturdays, March 21 and 28. This course will also meet from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Center, Room 118, on the Ina campus.

In Food Sanitation, participants will learn to identify the causes of food-borne illness; identify and apply correct procedures for cleaning and sanitizing; recognize problems and potential solutions associated with facility, equipment, and layout; and understand the Illinois code related to food service establishments. The ServSafe Essentials textbook is required and is available in the RLC Bookstore or online.

Those who successfully complete the class can sit for the ServSafe exam at the end of the second session. The exam requires a $40 online voucher and photo identification. The cost of the course is $100.

For more information about Food Sanitation, contact Stephanie Smith in RLC’s Community and Corporate Education Department at or 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714.

Franklin County Farm Bureau News – Louisville Farm Show Bus – February 11th


By Gay Bowlin, Manager

We will be taking a bus to the Louisville Farm Show on February 11 – if you are a farm bureau member and would like to go please call the office – there are only a few seats left. We will leave at 6 a.m. and return approximately 7:30 p.m.

I am currently working on the 2015 Plat Book – the book should be out sometime late summer.  If you would like to advertise in the book please call the office.

The following is a statement from Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) President Richard Guebert, Jr., regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address.

“Illinois Farm Bureau opposes President’s Obama’s plan to increase the capital gains tax. Good tax policy sets capital gains tax rates at a lower level to encourage business investments that grow the economy and create jobs.

“Unfortunately, the President’s proposal would dramatically increase the tax bill for any farmer who sells land, buildings or breeding livestock.

Our Adopted Legislator Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, is behind Senate Bill 61 to reduce the sales tax on diapers and baby wipes.

The Senate Democratic Staff news release explains:

Illinois currently has two sales tax rates; a general merchandise rate of 6.25 percent and a food and drug rate of 1 percent. Sandoval is pushing for diapers and wipes to be added to the 1 percent (rate now assessed on purchases of) groceries, medicine, and certain other medical products.

One of the biggest issues facing farmers today is their age – I don’t necessarily mean that they are getting old but they are getting “older” and this means that there is a need for younger farmers to take over.

We feed the world’s population today and it is only going to grow in the future. As agriculture professionals I feel that it is our responsibility to speak to the young people today. If we wait it may be too late and there won’t be anyone to take over. This does not mean that farming will go to the wayside just that there will be fewer farms to produce what the America and the world will need.

The way that Farm Bureau handles this is to involve 18 to 35 year olds in our Young Leaders Committee and high school age under 18 in our Junior Young Leaders Committee. Being a part of this committee will help the youth today by exposing them to young people who are already heavily involved in agriculture business and farming. For more information on joining either one of these committees please call the office.

There are many more discounts available to anyone who has been a member in good standing for at least 30 days.  So don’t wait – call or come by and join now.  The savings are amazing and it is a great organization.

The Franklin County Farm Bureau has many businesses giving discounts and/or support to our members.  Here are just a few:

Mr. D’s Drive-In – 219 N Main St, Benton, IL  (618) 439-9647

Free medium Pepsi with purchase of steak sandwich

Door Doctor of Southern Illinois Inc – 1208 W Webster St, Benton, IL  (618) 439-3667

Farm Bureau Members – “The doctor will see you now!”

Jamerson Auto Sales – 1512 N Main St, Benton, IL  (618) 439-9668

Voted best pre-owned auto dealer in Franklin County – Family owned & operated

Rend Lake Marina – Rend City Road, SW end of the lake by the dam, Benton, IL  (618) 724-7651

10% off week day boat rental (not including holidays)

For more information on joining the Franklin County Farm Bureau please call our office at 435-3616.

Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Fun facts from the 2014 Illinois governor’s race — and a whole lot more

The 2014 gubernatorial election was chock full of milestones. With $80 million spent by incumbent Pat Quinn and challenger Bruce Rauner, it easily was the most expensive in state history. It also ended a 12-year drought for Republicans, who held the governor’s office for 26 years before losing it in the 2002 election.


Here’s a link to the story at Reboot Illinois.