First Human West Nile Virus Death In Illinois For 2017

SPRINGFIELD, IL  – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first human West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2017.  A Kankakee County resident who tested positive for West Nile virus died earlier this month.

“Although we will soon start seeing cooler weather, West Nile virus is still a concern,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions like using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”

IDPH reported the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois this year on July 20, 2017 and IDPH is currently reporting 37 human cases.  Last year there were 155 human cases, including six deaths.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness.

Remember to take some simple precautions to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself from being bitten.

• Minimize being outdoors when mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

• Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, such as old tires, buckets and other receptacles, or refresh the water in bird baths, flowerpots and wading pools every couple days.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.

Illinois Residents Encouraged to Register for ‘The Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill

Drop, Cover and Hold On’ Drill Set for October 19

SPRINGFIELD, IL – On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe will take a few minutes to practice three simple actions that could save their lives during a major earthquake. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and municipal and county emergency management agencies are encouraging Illinois residents to drop, cover and hold on during The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.

“Earthquakes occur without warning, so it’s important to know what to do as soon as you feel the earth shake,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “With two seismic zones in southern Illinois and residents who travel throughout the world, it’s important that everyone knows how to stay safe during an earthquake. The drill takes only a few minutes, but the lessons learned could save your life.”

The Great ShakeOut drill centers around the drop, cover and hold on actions: drop down to the ground, take cover under a table or other piece of heavy furniture, and then hold on until the shaking stops.

In October 2016, nearly 500,000 Illinoisans took part in the ShakeOut drill. To date, more than 300,000 people in Illinois are registered for this year’s event.

Some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. happened in the winter of 1811-12 in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into southwestern Illinois. That series of earthquakes lasted for several months and shaking was felt as far away as the East Coast. A similar earthquake today could cause catastrophic damage in a region that is much more developed and populated than in the early 1800s.

Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness. While the international drill will take place on Oct. 19, individual drills can be conducted anytime within two weeks of that date.

Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at


Press Release From State Senator, Dale Fowler  

Following up the Labor Day holiday, State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) has spent the past two weeks meeting with constituents and trying to advance his’ economic development agenda.

Senator Fowler’s local tourism video series, “Southern Illinois Treasurers,” is now available on the Senator’s Facebook page; The series is meant to highlight the region’s natural beauty, historic sites, and various non-profit attractions that are open to the public.

On September 6, Senator Fowler hosted a senior citizen fraud prevention seminar at Helia Healthcare of Benton. The event was well-attended and participating seniors were offered lots of great tips on how to protect themselves from the ongoing threats of ID theft and online scammers.

The second week of September marks National Trucker’s Appreciation Week across the nation, Senator Fowler celebrated the week by joining Pepsi-MidAmerica driver Mike Vaughn on his route. Following a presentation to Mr. Vaughn and other Pepsi-MidAmerica drivers and employees, the Senator traveled with on several stops in Herrin at some locally-owned restaurants and grocery stores.

Illinois is home to more than 400,000 licensed “CDL” holders and as a result, Matt Hart of the Illinois Trucking Association commented on Senator Fowler’s participation. “The Illinois Trucking Assocation is pleased to recognize the hard working men and women who safely deliver the goods that consumers demand each day. We salute those that work hard each day on our highways,” Hart said.

Senator Fowler closed out his week by meeting with five tourism officials from around the 59th Senate District. The meeting was meant to serve as the basis for his tourism advisory council and figure out ways that the State of Illinois can better cooperate with official convention and visitor’s bureaus to help tell our story

7.1 magnitude earthquake kills at least 61 in Mexico, collapses buildings; reports of people trapped

FoxNews photo

MEXICO CITY, MX – (FoxNews.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, killing at least 61 people and leaving multiple people reportedly trapped in collapsed buildings.

Mexico State Gov. Alfredo del Mazo said the quake has killed at least eight people in his state, which borders Mexico City. Del Mazo said a quarry worker was killed from a rock slide due to the quake, and another died after being hit by a falling lamppost. He later reported an additional six deaths.

At least another 42 were killed in the central Mexican state of Morelos, Gov. Graco Ramirez said. Of those who died, 12 were in the city of Jojutla, and four were in the state capital of Cuernavaca.


Hurricane Maria rains lashes Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico after storm tears through eastern Caribbean

People walk amid debris of a restaurant shattered by Hurricane Maria in Le Carbet on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. (Reuters news service)

SAN JUAN, PR (Molly Hennessy-Fiske.  LosAngeles Times.  Please click on the link for the full story.  here is an excerpt below.

Hurricane Maria was lashing the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with rain Tuesday afternoon after it devastated the Caribbean island of Dominica with 160 mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the potentially catastrophic storm was expected to remain extremely dangerous when it passes near or over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“Preparations against life-threatening storm surge and rainfall flooding and destructive winds should be rushed to completion,” the center said.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy protection

Reuters News Service

(Fox Business Channel-Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Toys “R” Us, the largest U.S. toy store chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, the latest sign of turmoil in the retail industry caught in a vise-like grip of online shopping and discount chains.

The Chapter 11 filing is among the largest ever by a specialty retailer and casts doubt over the future of the company’s approximately 1,600 stores and 64,000 employees.


Gov. Rauner urges stronger educational partnerships with China

Gov. Rauner believes great opportunities for Illinois-China relationship based on a win-win partnership

Press Release from the office of Governor Bruce Rauner

Governor Rauner Zhejiang University Photo (from

Hangzhou, China – Governor Bruce Rauner visited Zhejiang University, a globally ranked university and one of China’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious higher education institutions. He met with the University Party Secretary, Zou Xiaodong, and senior officials, toured the state-of-the-art campus and addressed the university’s international joint institution students. These students are enrolled in a program a that is collaboration between Zhejiang University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“There are great opportunities on the horizon for the Illinois-China relationship,” said Gov. Rauner. “One that is based on a mutual win-win partnership. An example is our recent partnership between Zhejiang University and the University of Illinois Chicago campus where we will begin to offer Engineering Curriculum based degrees in Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Engineering here in China.”

The governor discussed his excitement for the program, and possibly expanding the partnership with more collaboration in regards to research and development. He finished by offering advice on starting a company.

“Be willing to take a risk, that’s the key to a better life,” Gov. Rauner said. “Persistence is key. You’ll have many setbacks, obstacles and barriers. Never give up.”
The governor thanked the University and added that he will continue to work with them to help find ways to connect the institutions to lay the foundation for world-class partnerships that bring together government, business and academia.

Governor Rauner Broadens Access to Child Care Assistance Program

Press Release from the office of Governor Bruce Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced that the state’s Department of Human Services (IDHS) will broaden access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The move fulfills an agreement made with the legislature in 2015 to raise the income eligibility criteria to 185% of the federal poverty level from 162%. It means 16,000 more children will receive child care each month, for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018.

Rauner included the funds to boost the levels in his proposed budget and stressed that the CCAP funding decision was made to ensure that parents can continue working without worrying about how their children will be cared for. “I am proud to stand with families who are working two or three jobs just to make a living,” he said. “Many of them are already struggling, and now they’re taking an even deeper cut in their income thanks to the 32% increase in income taxes the legislature passed in July.”

Even with the massive tax hike, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimates the state budget is at least $1.7 billion out of balance. Rauner is asking the legislature to work with him to identify additional spending reforms and bring the budget into balance.

Criteria for CCAP eligibility are determined through the administrative rule making process, which is overseen by the bipartisan, legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. IDHS plans to implement the new criteria through emergency rulemaking, ensuring more families can receive child care as quickly as possible. The Department will also continue working with the child care community to closely monitor the availability of funds and make adjustments, when necessary, to ensure the state is meeting the needs of families while still being fiscally responsible.

“Rock & Roll” at Coal Miners Memorial Park in West Frankfort

from Marcia Raubach

Coal Miners Memorial Park presents “Rock & Roll” in the park featuring Johnathan Len from the group Blend beginning at 7PM Friday, September 22 at the park location in downtown West Frankfort.

The park unveiled the new stage last May and since has had several events over the last few months with several more planned in the future. Len will be presenting favorite rock & roll hits of the 50’s and 60’s along with some country classics.

Len, the highly popular lead singer from the group Blend, also mixes a lot of comical charisma on stage with his fabulous voice. He has recently branched out with a solo act. Friday night’s concert goes along with the FCHS Homecoming activities and the “Classes of the Fabulous Fifites” celebration reunion which will bring hundreds of alumni in town for homecoming activities as well as alumni from other classes who gather for reunions at the high school homecoming time in West Frankfort.

Homecoming activities are planned all week at FCHS as well as the rival football game with Benton on Saturday afternoon. Everyone is welcome to attend this free concert. Bring a lawnchair and sit back and enjoy “Rock and Roll” in the park this Friday evening at Coal Miners Memorial Park. The park committee will also be celebrating reaching their 2017 goal of 50 new bricks in memorial park for 2017. The number now stands at 55 and committee members will be on hand to take orders for bricks that evening for fall installation. For more information visit Coal Miners Memorial Park on Facebook or call Sharon Ossig at 923-0799.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Report 9/15/17

Press Release from Franklin County Sheriff, Don Jones

NOTE:  The following individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

9-8-17 at 5:05 pm Deputies responded to a three vehicle crash on ll. State Hwy. 34 just east of Aden Road. A 2006 Chrysler Sebring was east bound on Rt. 34. The Sebring was stopped in traffic attempting to negotiate a left turn. The Sebring was driven by William R. Campbell age 67 of Galatia who was uninjured.  A second vehicle, a 2007 Ford, driven by John P. Rosas age 42 of Aurora, was also east bound behind the Sebring. A third vehicle, a 2007 Chrysler 300, driven by Coe Levi Batts age 30 of West Frankfort, was east bound and rear ended the Ford, which in turn forced the Ford into the Chrysler Sebring. John Rosas received minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital by Abbott EMS. Coe Batts was uninjured and was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

9-9-17 at 2:22 am Deputies responded to a domestic dispute in rural West Frankfort. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Daunte L. Phillips age 37 OF West Frankfort for domestic battery.

9-10-17 at 9:50 am Deputies responded to a domestic dispute in Thompsonville. The investigation resulted on the arrest of Robby E. Galyean age 43 of Thompsonville for felony domestic battery.

9-11-17 at 9:55 am Deputies responded to a domestic dispute in Orient. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Cody N. Brookshire for felony domestic battery.

9-11-17 at 4:58 pm Deputies responded to a single vehicle crash on ll. State Hwy.
14 1/4 mile west of Long Prairie Road. A 2015 Ford F150 Pick-Up Truck driven by Michael H. McGhee age 23 of Earlysville VA. received minor injuries when he lost control of the Pick-Up and left the roadway, running into a field striking a tree. He was transported to a local hospital by Abbott EMS.

9-12-17 at 2:04 pm a Deputy was looking for an individual wanted on a warrant at a residence in West Frankfort. The subject, Michael S. Newberry age 33 of West Frankfort, was located and taken into custody. Incident to the arrest, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was discovered. A second suspect was also at the residence and charged along with Newberry for the meth. She is identified as Jeana M. Anderson age 37 of Mount Carmel.

9-13-17 at 8:30 pm a traffic stop in rural Benton resulted in the arrest of Kassie M. Tennant age 36 of West Frankfort for driving while license revoked and for an outstanding Williamson County warrant for traffic charges.

9-14-17 at 12:30 pm Deputies responded to a domestic dispute in rural West Frankfort. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Billy N. Bishop age 22 of West Frankfort for domestic battery.

9-15-17 at 7:05 am Deputies initiated an investigation involving the theft of two handguns from a rural Benton residence. The investigation is ongoing and has resulted in the arrest of Lucas T. Meadows age 25 of Benton and Clayton M. Richardson age 24 of Benton for possession of a stolen firearm (class 2 felony). More arrests are anticipated.

9-15-17 at 9:00 am Deputies arrested Selena L. Melton age 42 of Valier for a theft that had been reported on 9-9-17 from a rural Thompsonville residence. The arrest was made on a warrant charging a class 1 felony theft. Bond has been set at $25,000.00

9-5-17 John S. Proz age 43 of West Frankfort. Domestic battery, violation of an order of protection and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.

9-9-17 Kelly R. Hart age 50 of Marion. Failure to appear for retail theft.

9-9-17 Joseph J. Chaney age 29 of Ewing. Failure to appear for domestic battery.

9-10-17 Shelli J. Drue age 46 of Mulkeytown. Failure to appear on drug charges.

9-10-17 Michael L. Wright age 46 of Royalton. Failure to appear on a battery charge.

9-10-17 Jerica J. Drue age 27 of Zeigler. Failure to appear on D.U.I.

9-13-17 Paul K. Branch-Leach age 41 of West Frankfort. Burglary and theft.

9-14-17 Aaron W. Simmons age 23 of Mt. Vernon. Unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

9-15-17 Bradley N. Ogden age 27 of Carbondale. Failure to appear for criminal damage to property.
The public is reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.