Mine Rescue Contest set for July 22

INA, Ill. – Mine Rescue teams from across Southern Illinois will compete next week at the Rend Lake College Mine Rescue Contest – both for training requirements and bragging rights. The contest will be held on Wednesday, July 22 at the Rec.

The five teams – Foresight Energy Blue Team, Foresight Energy White Team, Foresight Energy South Team, Illinois State Mine Inspector Rescue Team, and White Oak Resources Mine Rescue Team – will go into lock-up at 8 a.m. with the competition starting at 9 a.m. for the first two teams.

Don McBride, RLC Mining Technology Instructor, said each team will be kept in isolation until their turn to compete to give each team an equal playing field.

“There will be two fields set up so two teams can go at the same time. Both teams will come out of lock-up and see the field for the first time. Because we only have five teams competing, I would say the problem is going to be a little bit tougher, so a reasonable time to complete it would be an hour and a half,” said McBride.

White County Coal’s team Pattiki placed first at last year’s mine rescue contest held at RLC. White County Coal, located in Carmi, won the same contest in 2008. Click on the image for a larger view.

(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

Because the teams are made up of local, working miners, McBride said they’ll have to use learned skills from two fields to be successful.

“They are all underground miners, so they’ll have to bring their underground safe work practice skills with them to this competition, plus they’re all mine rescue teams, so they have another set of specific skills to use and draw from for this problem,” added McBride.

During the mock disaster, the teams will also be utilizing a new mapping system – one that many have not yet seen or used in an underground mine. Chris Nielsen, RLC Dean of Applied Science and Technology, said the new computerized system will be a part of the challenge for the teams.

“Unlike in traditional mine rescue competitions, our contest will use the new computerized mapping system instead of pencil and paper,” said Nielsen. “This will likely be the first contest for these teams to use it. During the disaster scenario, they will use the computer to map the mine for the rescue team to follow. They’ll have to map the ventilation and equipment as they explore to solve the problem we give them. There will probably be something that needs to be changed as part of that problem to make the mine safe, evacuate victims, or a number of other things.”

RLC is hosting the Mine Rescue Contest as part of the compliance requirements for the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grant received last year. The grant was the third of its kind RLC’s Coal Mine Training Center has received in recent years, including a $92,247 grant in 2014; a $73,000 grant in 2012; and a $50,000 grant in 2009. The Brookwood-Sago grant is being supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The 2014 grant project, titled “Mine Emergency, Prevention, and Preparedness Project,” helped to restructure and expand on current mine training curriculum to challenge miners and rescue teams with necessary skills, such as patient extraction, advanced firefighting skills, rope rescue, smoke exploration, and confined space training.

Mine rescue teams are required to compete in contests every year to be considered an active team. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, RLC’s Applied Science and Technology Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1261.

Illinois constitution exists to impose order, not for political convenience

There’s nothing mysterious or complicated about the Illinois Constitution’s directive on state expenditures. They all must be defined by the General Assembly. Without an appropriation, there is no authority to spend.

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

RLC board highlights

The board approved a program articulation agreement with the Chamberlain College of Nursing, located in Downers Grove, Ill. The agreement allows students to complete an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Degree at Rend Lake College and transfer seamlessly to Chamberlain in good standing, where students can pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.

State Electric receives LED lighting bid

Accepted the low bid of $48,315.90 from State Electric Supply of Marion  for exterior LED lighting fixtures, brackets and delivery. This project will be funded with excess Protection, Health and Safety funds.

Several transfers, appointments receive approval

Several personnel moves were approved Tuesday.

  • Margo Wagner was transferred from Director of Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps to Director of Community and Corporate Education effective July 1. The move was made to replace Lori Ragland, who last month was transferred from that post to Vice President of Career Technical Education.
  • The board granted permission to create the position, approve the job description and transfer Kent McKown from Network Specialist to Network Security Specialist effective July 14. The move was made due to the workload resulting from cyber security concerns and mobile / wireless network use. McKown has been with the college full-time since February 2005.
  • Garrett Collier was transferred from Web / Sharepoint Developer to Network Specialist effective July 14, and a revised job description also was approved. He has been with RLC full-time since July 2011. The move was necessary due to McKown’s transfer.
  • The board authorized creation of the position, approved the job description and transferred Jeff DeMattei from Administrative Computer Technician to Coordinator of Computing and Audiovisual Services effective July 14. Changes in the network security positions prompted the move. DeMattei has been with the college full-time since February 2009.
  • Beth Stevens was transferred from Records Specialist to Testing and Placement Specialist effective July 14. The testing center is in the process of adding Pearson Vue and Illinois State Police testing, creating the need for additional help in that department. Stevens is a 20-year veteran of RLC.
  • The board granted permission to create the position, approve the job description and appoint Kathy Evans as Grants Specialist effective Aug. 1. The position will be funded half by the Title III grant and half by the institution. Evans originally was hired as Title III Curriculum Specialist in January 2014, and will now split her time between that and the Grants Specialist duties.

Truck Driving’s Clendenin moving on

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Russ Clendenin as Truck Driver Training Professor effective June 25. He had been with the college full-time since July 1999.

In other business, the board …

  • Approved revisions to board policy concerning community use of facilities (second reading).
  • Approved revisions to board procedure concerning stipends.
  • Approved the handbooks for the Pharmacy Technician and Certified Medical Assistant programs.
  • Authorized the destruction of closed session tapes after having been held for 18 months in accordance with the Open Meetings Act and opted not to release closed session minutes from the May 2013 to December 2013 board meetings.
  • Approved changes in lecture and lab hours for several Radiologic Technology courses and a change in the total credit hours for the Radiologic Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree and authorized their submission to the Illinois Community College Board for action. A change to the Health Information Technology course sequence also was approved by the board, but ICCB approval is not necessary for this item.
  • Approved interdistrict cooperative agreements for educational cooperation with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, John A. Logan College, Shawnee Community College and Southeastern Illinois College. These agreements allow students to take programs at another college if their sending college does not have that program. They do not have to pay charge back and the sending college is able to receive state equalization.
  • Granted permission to revise the job descriptions for the Director of Community and Corporate Education, Director of the RLC MarketPlace, Coordinator of Special Projects and Coordinator of Perkins. These revisions were based on last month’s transfer of Ragland.

Mark your calendars …

  • Volleyball Camp – 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 18, Waugh Gymansium.
  • Warrior Days New Student Orientation – Fridays, July 31 and Aug. 7, RLC Theatre.
  • Mental Health Workshop for Professional or Personal Development: Shifting Dementia Care from Crisis to Comfort – 8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, RLC Theatre.
  • Cruise Nights at the RLC MarketPlace, Mt. Vernon – 6-9 p.m. Fridays: Aug. 7, Sept. 4, and Oct. 2.
  • Fun Fest – Noon-3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, on campus.
  • 35th Annual RLC Foundation Golf Outing – Thursday, Sept. 17, Rend Lake Golf Course, noon shotgun start.
  • Warrior Fest – 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, on campus.
  • ACCT Annual Leadership Congress, Oct. 14-17, San Diego, Calif.
  • Paramedic Accreditation Site Visit – Nov. 3-5.

Shimkus issues statement on Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON – Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) released the following statement in reaction to the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran:

“Even as today’s deal was being negotiated, Iran violated sanctions by trying to ship weapons to terrorists in Yemen, organizing and training militias in Iraq and Syria, and maintaining an active nuclear procurement program. During the deal making, Iran also seized a merchant vessel in international waters and put an American journalist on trial for espionage. Their actions speak louder than words, which is especially frightening when those words wish ‘death to America’ and promise to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’

The Iranians want the bomb as badly as they ever have; and the Obama Administration’s concessions, on everything from inspections to breakout capacity and ballistic missiles to terrorism, will turn the Ayatollah’s dream of Iran as a nuclear power into America and Israel’s worst nightmare. When Congress gets the opportunity to vote on it, I will stand with Israel and against this bad deal.”

Citizens eCycle 2.5 tons of tech



MOUNT VERNON, Ill. – Ask Kaylin Largent how much waste was in the 2.5 tons of televisions, printers, coffee makers, computers and other tech that was saved from the trash at Rend Lake College’s eCycling event last month. She’ll say very little.

“None of the material is land filled. Everything is recycled down to the nuts, screws, bolts, and plastics,” Largent said. She works for Commercial and Industrial Electronics Recycling, the company RLC turned to for the event. “C&I is just the first step in the recycling process,” Largent added. “All equipment we receive is counted, sorted, and then separated by material. After the dismantling process it is shipped to various locations within the U.S to be broken down to commodity level. Since C&I is a certified recycling facility, it ensures our facility and all of our chosen downstream vendors adhere to strict principals.”

Tyson Ellis, who heads up sustainability efforts at RLC, said he was happy with how local citizens came out for the event. And there’s no doubt community members favored a free service to dispose of that broken 60-inch TV and obsolete VCRs piling up around the house.

“I felt like we had a very good turnout,” said Ellis. “We never went more than five minutes without a vehicle in the parking lot. There were different times around lunchtime that we had a small line, but it wasn’t for very long.”

RLC Maintenance Technician Rusty Downen helped with the heavy lifting. Ellis stated that changes in law governing recycling CRT/tube TVs killed the event last year and probably kept donations down a bit this year. This would have been the fifth straight year RLC put on eCycling like this at the RLC MarketPlace.

“We are planning on getting back to having it annually in June so citizens can plan on setting aside their e-waste for it,” Ellis said. “I feel that, as a community college, we have a responsibility to lead with events like this. I’m not aware of another e-waste event held in Jefferson County. It’s definitely a service the area needs. Without it, most citizens would have to drive to Belleville, Carbondale or Evansville [Ind.].”

Ellis said many he talked to at the event had accumulated piles of e-waste without a plan for what to do with it until they heard about eCycling at the MarketPlace.

“These events not only allow us to engage the residents in our district, but it stirs thoughts about e-waste within the community,” said Ellis. “The more aware we are about our responsibility to take care of the environment, the more progress we make in doing so.”

Evening viewing the “Night Skies” at the Rend Lake Visitor Center



BENTON, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Science Series’ July night programs continue this Saturday, July 18 with the “Night Skies” program. Come to the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center as Rend Lake College General Science Associate Professor, Greg Hollmann allows you to explore our solar system through a high powered telescope.

Hollmann will point out bright stars, constellations, and planets while telling stories of ancient mythology and modern science as it relates to the heavens. This night program starts at 8:00 p.m. and will end at 10:00 p.m. on July 18, 2015 and will be held at the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy an evening with an amazing view.

Also join us for our last nighttime program on July 25 and watch as the Rend Lake Visitor Center comes to life with visitors from the past. This program will also run from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. For more information about Rend Lake’s Environmental Science Series, please call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493 or like us on Facebook at the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center.

High school students find $812k value in RLC’s dual credit program

INA, Ill. – Rend Lake College’s dual credit program just wrapped up its 14th year of helping local high school students save in both money and time. This year, a total of 2,845 students (duplicated) saved approximately $812,820 in tuition by enrolling in the program.

RLC’s dual credit program offers tuition-free courses with a reduced rate for textbook rental for in-district high school students. Each credit hour at RLC costs $95, so for the 2,845 (duplicated) students who earned a total of 8,556 credit hours in the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters, the savings in tuition alone adds up to approximately $812,820. Students who enroll in both semesters are counted twice for official reports.

Through this program, juniors and seniors take general education courses during the day at their high school, meeting graduation requirements at both the high school and RLC. The courses are taught by both college and high school instructors.

Lisa Price, RLC Vice President of Student Services, said students who take advantage of the dual credit program have many benefits to look forward to.

“Dual credit courses can give high school students a very unique opportunity to see first-hand what college-level classes are like, while helping them figure out what they want to focus their studies on,” said Price. “On top of that, the savings for each family really adds up over the semesters. This year, our local students saved over $800,000 in tuition – that’s something to be very proud of.”

This was especially true for Christopher High School graduate Courtney Young of Buckner who graduated from RLC before receiving her high school diploma in May. Young joined the ranks of those dedicated students who used RLC’s dual credit and dual enrollment programs to help knock two years off their collegiate careers.

In May, Young said, “Reaching this achievement has been very surreal for me. Graduating from Rend Lake College before I graduate from high school has been a goal of mine since the summer after my sophomore year… I first heard about dual credit and dual enrollment courses through my high school. When I first began taking classes, they were fairly easy, only there was a little more work involved. In my last two semesters, however, I found the classes to be a bit difficult, but not unmanageable. Overall, I really enjoyed the challenges that came with taking courses at Rend Lake. I feel they helped enhance my knowledge and furthered my education while I was still enrolled at Christopher.”

In total, 88 (duplicated) Christopher High School students enrolled in RLC’s dual credit program this year, earning 370 credit hours and saving approximately $35,150.

Mt. Vernon Township, Benton Consolidated, and Pinckneyville Community high schools had the most participants in the dual credit program this year at 888, 526, and 376 (all duplicated) respectively. Mt. Vernon Township students earned a total of 2,415 credit hours in two semesters, saving approximately $229,425 in tuition.

Benton Consolidated followed with 1,677 credit hours earned and savings of approximately $159,315. Pinckneyville Community students earned 1,304 credit hours, saving their families approximately $123,880 in tuition.

The biggest jump in participants and savings this year was from Webber Township High School. Last year, Webber only had 56 (duplicated) participants, which increased to 235 (duplicated) this year. The difference in tuition savings between the years is $43,225.

($95 per credit hour)
Benton 526 1,677 $159,315
Christopher 88 370 $35,150
Hamilton Co. 155 482 $45,790
Mt. Vernon 888 2,415 $229,425
Pinckneyville 376 1,304 $123,880
Sesser-Valier 50 98 $9,310
Thompsonville 66 204 $19,380
Waltonville 135 380 $36,100
Wayne City 133 370 $35,150
Webber 235 639 $60,705
Woodlawn 113 336 $34,770
Zeigler-Royalton 80 251 $23,845
TOTAL 2,845 8,556 $812,820

All 13 public high schools in RLC’s district are registered with the program, and 12 participated last year including Benton Consolidated High School, Christopher High School, Hamilton County High School, Mt. Vernon Township High School, Pinckneyville Community High School, Sesser-Valier Community High School, Thompsonville High School, Waltonville High School, Wayne City Community High School, Webber Township High School, Woodlawn High School, and Zeigler-Royalton Community High School.

Students must meet placement requirements and prerequisites prior to enrolling in the courses. Approval for students to participate in dual enrollment must be obtained by a high school official. Students also must adhere to the RLC drop policy. The grade will become a part of the college transcript.

Tuition is waived for eight hours per semester. For those wanting to take additional classes, approval from the Vice President of Student Services is required.

For more information on dual credit, contact the Student Services Department at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266.

Fowler-Bonan Foundation of Southern Illinois receives $5,000 Grant from Ameren Illinois


Funds will support the purchase of complete wardrobes for underprivileged school children.


Harrisburg, Ill. – The Fowler Bonan Foundation has received a $5,000 grant from Ameren Illinois to support the purchase of complete, new wardrobes for 50 underprivileged children.

“We are thrilled that Ameren Illinois deemed our “Clothes for Kids” program worthy of their sizable contribution,” foundation Chairman, Dale Fowler said. “We very much appreciate their corporate support for our mission to clothe underprivileged kids here in southern Illinois.”

The grant from Ameren will help provide new clothing including: jeans, shirts, socks, underwear, jackets and coats, to children based on referrals from area schools, completely free of charge. School administrators have reported that students exhibit increased self-esteem and an improved learning environment after receiving these services.

“Ameren Illinois’ grant to us will fund complete wardrobes for approximately fifty children,” Fowler added. “That’s huge. We value our new partnership with Ameren Illinois.”

The grant funds were made available through the Ameren Cares program, which connects Ameren Illinois with the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering. Richard Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois, said a key focus of this program is to partner with volunteer organizations like the Fowler Bonan Foundation to improve the quality of life in Ameren Illinois’ service territory.

“Ameren Illinois is proud to partner with organizations like the Fowler-Bonan Foundation that are dedicated to enhancing the communities where we work and live,” said Eric Kozak, Director Division VI, Ameren Illinois. “Through this partnership, we are able to support their efforts and help to provide new wardrobes for children in need.”

Tina Gibbs, Community Relations Coordinator Division VI, Ameren Illinois, echoed those sentiments.

“Dale and the entire board of directors of the Fowler-Bonan Foundation do an incredible job of helping kids in our area,” said Gibbs. “We’re proud to partner with them in helping the kids of the communities we live and work in.”

For more information on the Fowler Bonan Foundation, visit FowlerBonanFoundation.com or call 618-231-3904.

Summer, Fall Concealed Carry dates and handgun trainings scheduled

INA, Ill. – Seven Concealed Carry Firearms Training sessions and three different handguns training courses have been scheduled at Rend Lake College for the Summer and Fall 2015 semesters. Each unique class will prepare locals to apply for their Illinois Concealed Carry license or improve upon their firearm skills.

To complete the 16 hours of required training for the Illinois Concealed Carry license, students will meet from 8 – 4:30 p.m. on the following Saturdays and Sundays: June 20-21, July 18-19, Aug. 29-30, Sept. 26-27, Oct. 24-25, Nov. 21-22, and Dec. 5-6. Participants will meet in the Coal Mine Training Center (CMTC), Room 107, and on the RLC Shooting Range in Ina.

The classroom portion of the training will happen on Saturdays wherein students will learn about firearm safety and marksmanship, including loading and unloading a firearm, principles of marksmanship, fundamentals of firearm safety, and safety and cleaning. Students are asked not to bring a firearm or ammunition to the Saturday portion of the training.

On Sundays, students will participate in the live fire qualification of the training session, plus learn about weapon handling and State and Federal laws relating to firearms. To pass the live fire qualification, attendees will shoot 30 rounds at five, seven, and 10 yards with a 70 percent accuracy. A qualifying shot consists of a shot placed inside the seven ring of a B-27 target.

Presence of toxic algae closes Campus Lake

Campus Lake in Carbondale is closed, and contact with water in the lake can cause skin rashes in humans, and sickness in animals that can be fatal, Southern Illinois University officials said in a release Friday.

Here’s a link to the story in the Southern Illinoisan.