Baseball tryouts to be held for area high school players


Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – John A. Logan College baseball coaches Jerry Halstead and Kyle Surprenant will host a fall showcase for high school players from the region on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the college’s baseball facility.

Registration will be held that day beginning at 10:30 with the workout scheduled to get under way at 11. The showcase will feature athletes competing in a 60-yard sprint; throws from the outfield and infield; catcher pop-up times; batting practice; and bullpen sessions.

For more information or to pre-register, contact Surprenant at 618-985-2828, X8058, or via email at

Coaches from other colleges and universities have been invited to attend the showcase.

Benton police blotter

On September 14, 2015 Benton Police arrested Dustin R. Stites, age 23, of Benton on an active Franklin County warrant for failure to appear.

Police also arrested Jeresa A. Wilkens, age 35, of Benton on an active Franklin County warrant for Identity Theft.

Both were transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On September 11, 2015 Benton Police conducted a traffic stop in the 600 block of West Main Street.

Through investigation, police arrested Beverly Plumlee, age 34, of Benton for driving under the influence.

Plumlee was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On September 13, 2015 Benton Police were dispatched to the 100 block of N. McCann Street in reference to a noise complaint.

Through further investigation, police arrested Jakeb B. Lambert, age 20, of Benton for unlawful consumption of alcoholic liquor.

Lambert was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

RLC’s Warrior Fest continuing to expand; events scheduled for Sept. 19

INA, Ill. – Details are being finalized for Rend Lake College’s second Warrior Fest on the Ina campus, set to return from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. Similar to last year, the event will feature many different children’s activities, a car show, a flea market, scholarship opportunities, and much more.

Scholarship Opportunities

Outside of the events, one big highlight of the day will be the awarding of a Pathway to Success Scholarship from the RLC Foundation. The Pathway to Success Scholarship will be available for one student attending or volunteering at Warrior Fest – those volunteering with a club or organization will be entered into the drawing and those who attend the event will need to complete a scavenger hunt card by visiting various booths.

The $500 scholarship is the result of a successful fundraiser to renovate and upgrade the walkways and front façade of the Administration Building. The RLC Foundation matched every dollar raised to establish the scholarship for future students. The scholarship must be used for the spring 2016 semester.

For more information about the scholarships, contact the RLC Foundation at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214 or

SIU enrollment drop leads to $5.3M loss

Here’s the link in the Southern Illinoisan.

Irish Festival Coming Soon

The 19th annual Southern Illinois Irish Festival is coming to the region the weekend of October 2-4, 2015. The opening concert in Carbondale on Friday October 2 features the Chicago Irish duo “bohola,” at the Varsity Center for the Arts. The outdoor Celtic Fair, on Saturday and Sunday October 3-4, will be at Walker’s Bluff Winery, northeast of Carbondale.

The band “bohola” features Chicago Irishman Jimmy Keane on accordion, and Dublin native Pat Broaders on bouzouki and vocals. Their band was the “Celtic Connections Album of the Year” winner in 2002 and 2004, and Jimmy Keane was all-Ireland champion on piano accordion for five consecutive years. Doors at the Varsity open at 7:00, and the concert starts at 8:00 on Friday October 2. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and $5 for children, available at the door or through the Festival website.

The Celtic Fair at Walker’s Bluff will run from 11:00-7:30 on Saturday October 3, and from 11:30-6:30 on Sunday October 4. Admission to the Festival grounds will be $10 per adult, and free for children under 18. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Check for access roads.

The Celtic Fair will feature two outdoor stages both days, with music and dance performances by St. Louis Irish Arts, and music by bohola, The Dorians, Roisín Dubh, E.L. Kurtz, Wil Maring & Robert Bowlin, Carter & Connelley, Banjovi, The Storm Crows, Blackberry Blossoms, and more. The Festival includes food and drink for sale, merchandise vendors, Scottish Highland Games demonstrations, pipers Les Lannom and Sean Folsom, bouncy houses for children, an Irish children’s village, Professor Play’s balloon creations, and Magic Storyteller Chris McBrien.

Irish Festival programs will be distributed with the Weekend Times on newsstands the weekend before the Festival. Additional information and concert tickets are available at or by calling Mike Shanahan at (618)549-3090.

Informational meeting for Collette Vacations set for Sept. 15

INA, Ill. – Find out more about trips to Costa Rica and the New England islands through Collette Vacations during an informational meeting next week at Rend Lake College.

Those interested in attending one of the two Collette Vacations in 2016 are invited to an informational meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Historic Schoolhouse on the Rend Lake College Ina campus. The meeting will discuss the two trips, as well as cover details about early booking and discounts.

The first trip to Tropical Costa Rica is scheduled for February 1-9, 2016. On this trip, students will spend the first two days in the capital city of San Jos visiting the INBioparque, a natural park and research station. There, attendees will experience up-close views of many different animals and insects, including a butterfly garden.

Next comes a taste of the outdoors with a visit to the Poás Volcano, a boat tour of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, and the La Fortuna Waterfall. Attendees will then travel to Monteverde and experience the Santa Elena Cloud Forest via a canopy tour. The trip will spend the last few days on the central Pacific coast at Tamarindo Beach and visiting a coffee plantation.

The Tropical Costa Rica tour costs $2,699 per person if registering as doubles. The tour includes 14 meals (eight breakfasts, one lunch, and five dinners) and round trip air from Lambert Airport in St. Louis. An optional three-day extension trip costs $449 per person and includes eight meals (three breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners).

The second trip, to the Islands of New England, is scheduled for June 17-24, 2016, and begins in Providence, R.I. In the first three days, attendees will tour some of New England’s historic and charming cities, including Newport, R.I.; Boston; and Cape Cod, Mass. Along the way, see the Marble House in Newport, visit the legendary Plymouth Rock, and board a reproduction of the Mayflower ship at Cape Cod.

Days five and six will include a ferry trip to the island of Martha’s Vineyard and a stop in Hyannisport to visit the Kennedy compound and a Kennedy Memorial. The remaining days will include stops in Nantucket and Provincetown, Mass., and a whale-watching cruise on Cape Cod Bay.

The Islands of New England tour costs $2,629 per person if registering as doubles. The tour includes 11 meals (seven breakfasts, one lunch, and three dinners) and round-trip air from Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

For more information, contact RLC’s Community and Corporate Education Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714 or 1380, or at

Roskam challenges Obama to release side agreements on Iran proposal

WASHINGTON, DC— Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, called on the Obama Administration to release the contents of two side agreements negotiated between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

As required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA), the measure directs the House Parliamentarian to not recognize the 60-day congressional review period until the side agreements are transmitted to Congress. It also prohibits the President from lifting statutory sanctions against Iran until Congress has the opportunity to both fully review the JCPOA and related documents, including side agreements, and to vote on a disapproval resolution.

Click here to read the full resolution.

“In May, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed and President Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the Administration transmit to Congress all documents related to the JCPOA —including side agreements—prior to a 60-day review period and subsequent vote,” Roskam’s office said in a statement.

A day after the nuclear accord was announced, reports surfaced that Iran and the IAEA struck two side agreements related to Tehran’s past nuclear work. In what Roskam calls a “clear violation of federal law,” repeated requests from leading Democrats and Republicans to review the side agreements were rebuffed by the Obama Administration.

“Congressional briefings provided by Administration officials are a legally insufficient substitute for providing the actual text of these documents,” Roskam said. “Therefore, I raise a question of the privileges of the House insisting that, until the Administration complies with the law, Congress should not vote. All Members of Congress, regardless of their position on the nuclear deal, should demand the robust and transparent review process necessary to cast a fully informed vote.”

Hearing set for status of social service providers’ payments

CHICAGO — An Illinois Senate hearing on payments to social service providers through court orders has delved more into finger pointing over why there isn’t a state budget.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are deadlocked over a July 1 fiscal year budget. However, much is being spent through court orders. Rauner’s budget office officials estimated Tuesday that $38.2 billion are “auto pilot expenditures.”

Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss called the hearing, inviting Comptroller Leslie Munger and Attorney General Lisa Madigan to testify. Neither attended, nor did Republican senators.

Democrats and Rauner administration officials clashed over who was the blame for the stalemate.

Munger’s office outlined in a letter that 13 consent decrees and two county court orders are directing money.

Munger’s office has been in court battles over provider payments.

(This is an AP story)

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.