Mitchell wins Gold Cup for second straight year

BENTON — Last year, Andrew Mitchell claimed the Benton Gold Cup title on his home course of Benton Country Club for the first time in emotional fashion after erasing a six-shot deficit on the final nine holes and winning a playoff.

Benton's Andrew Mitchell, right, is pictured receiving the trophy for winning this year's Benton Gold Cup.  Pictured with Mitchell is Mark Dyel, tournament director.

Benton’s Andrew Mitchell, right, is pictured receiving the trophy for winning this year’s Benton Gold Cup. Pictured with Mitchell is Mark Dyel, tournament director.

Family among alleged victims of West Frankfort accountant

Family among alleged victims of West Frankfort accountant

By Gina Blankenship

Family members are among the victims of a West Frankfort accountant accused of stealing money from her clients.

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Hands-on Science Fun at Rend Lake on August 2

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake invites you to attend this week’s Environmental Science Series program to be held in the Rend Lake Visitor Center on Saturday August 2.

“Hands-on Science Fun” will be presented by The Science Center of Southern Illinois. Join us at 11:00 a.m. when we will be investigating volcanoes. We will be making a volcano and then watch as we make it erupt! At 2:00 p.m. we will be having some fun with “messy science!” Be sure to wear appropriate clothing as we make our own version of slime.
“Hands-on Science Fun” is another of the programs in the continuing, summer-long Environmental Science Series programs. These programs are held each Saturday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, are presented free of charge, and are suitable for all ages.
For more information call the Rend Lake Project Office and Visitor Center at 618-724-2493.

RLC to host first Warrior Fest on Oct. 18 with car show, flea market, children’s activities


INA, Ill. – The whole family is invited to spend the day at Rend Lake College for the first Warrior Fest this fall. The event, scheduled for Oct. 18, will feature a car show, flea market, and tons of children’s events across the Ina campus.

Flea Market

To kick off the day’s activities at 9 a.m. will be the flea market. Craft and flea market vendors are welcome to register for the event, which will be held in the west parking lot on the Ina campus. Registration forms will be available online Aug. 1 and can also be picked up at the RLC MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon.

Spots at the flea market are $10 each for a 12-by-12 foot space. The flea market will end at 3 p.m. For more information about the flea market, contact Whitney Chaudoin at 618-244-9525, Ext. 2000 or

Children’s Activities

Headlining the children’s activities will be the annual Big Truck Day, hosted by the RLC Foundation Children’s Center in the west parking lot.

The event is being held from 9 a.m. until noon and will feature an open house, a petting zoo with the Franklin County Ag in the Classroom representative, several inflatables, and many big trucks. Center Director Brooke May said they already have a number of big trucks, heavy equipment, and machinery committed to the event, and more are expected to be on hand.

“We are really excited about this year’s Big Truck Day and being a part of Warrior Fest,” said May. “The amount of people who will be here will be incredible and we can’t wait to show off our Children’s Center. This is a hands-on experience, so we encourage the children to talk to the drivers or operators of the equipment and climb up to see what it is really like inside the machines.”

During Big Truck Day, parents will also have a great opportunity to meet the center’s teachers and staff, and pre-register for child care in the spring. A silent auction will fill the hallways of the Children’s Center to raise money for new playground equipment, and door prizes will be available for those in attendance. The RLCF Children’s Center has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for more than a decade.

For additional information about the children’s events or Big Truck Day, contact May at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1393 or

Car Show

The last big event, the car show, will begin at 10 a.m. in the east parking lot. Registration for the show costs $10 and will be done the morning of the event. Dash plaques will also be available for the first 125 participants.

The official judging of the cars will begin at 11 a.m. and participants will be eligible to win one of several awards: Best of Show, President’s Choice, Best Car, Best Truck, Best Ford, Best Mopar, Best GM, Best Paint, Best Motor, Best Interior, Most Original, Top 10 from 1982 and newer and Top 20 from 1981 and older. Photos of the car and owners will be taken by RLC between noon and 2 p.m.

Trophy presentations will begin at 2 p.m. in Warrior Way underneath the Academic Building. In addition to trophies, there will also be door prizes and event T-shirts for $10. Hot Rod Nights will emcee the show.

For more information about the car show, contact Nigel Thompson at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1806 or

Other Activities

The fall-themed event will also feature hay rides, video gaming, hand and chair massages by the RLC Therapeutic Massage and Cosmetology programs, food and beverages provided by RLC Culinary Arts, and much more. More details about Warrior Fest will be provided soon.

For more information about Warrior Fest, contact Erin Morris at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714 or

Health Information Technology program enrolling now for first semester at RLC

INA, Ill. – There are plenty of career options in the ever-growing health care field, and one of the newest programs at Rend Lake College is kicking off the fall semester with plenty of enrollment opportunities.

The Health Information Technology (HIT) program prepares students for entry-level positions in a growing number of different health care fields. RLC’s two-year program provides students with the administrative and technical skills the need to maintain a variety of health record systems. Knowledge in medical, administrative, ethical, legal, accreditation and regulatory fields are all important pieces to the HIT program.

Health information technicians usually are employed in hospitals; however, career opportunities are growing in physicians’ practices, care groups, home health care settings, hospices, and long-term care facilities. Jobs are also growing in locations outside of the traditional health care field, such as insurance companies, accounting firms, consulting companies, law firms, prisons, and much more.

Kim Robert, RLC Dean of Allied Health, said the new classes this fall are available in face-to-face meetings or an online format for the student’s convenience.

“The Health Information Technology program is a great starting point for the student who wants to be in the health care field, but not in a hands-on way,” said Robert. “With some face-to-face classes and other online courses, the students at Rend Lake College have numerous opportunities to advance their education in this field. I’m looking for this profession to grow exponentially in the coming years.”

As the population continues to age, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests there will be an addition of more than 40,000 jobs for Health Information Technicians by 2022, bringing the number of HITs to more than 200,000 across the nation.

The program consists of 66 credit hours to be taken over four semesters. Fall classes start Aug. 18 and registration is open. For more information about the program or to register, contact the Allied Health Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1251, or

Sesser man killed in single-vehicle accident

A 51-year-old Sesser man was killed early Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle accident in Franklin County.

Patrick Styve

Patrick Styve

Authorities say that Patrick Styve, was traveling northbound on Route 148 at 3:30 a.m. when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.  The accident happened in front of Sesser Animal Hospital, which is less than a mile from Sesser’s city limits.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the fatal accident.


Benton police report busy weekend

Benton police reported a busy weekend with multiple arrests.

* On July 25, 2014 Benton Police conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of N. Mcleansboro and Bailey Lane.

Through investigation, police arrested Daniel R. Dick, age 31, of Mulkeytown for driving while license suspended.

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


* On July 26, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to the vicinity of East Webster and Makenzie Streets in reference to a domestic disturbance.

Through investigation, police arrested Anthony K. Cunningham, age 26, of Eldorado for domestic battery.  Cunningham was charged and transported

to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.


* On July 26, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to the 700 block of Forrest Street in reference to a theft complaint.  Through further investigation,

police arrested Brittany L. Cox, age 25, of Benton for theft and criminal damage to property.  Cox was charged and transported to the Franklin County

Jail for further processing.


* On July 27, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to the 700 block of Burkitt Street in reference to a battery complaint.  Through further investigation,

police arrested Lindsey R. Williams, age 23, of Benton for battery.  Williams was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.


* On July 27, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to the 300 block of Mcall Street in reference to a harassment complaint.  Through further investigation, police arrested Christian D. Craig, age 39, of Benton for obstructing a police officer.  Police also arrested Jennifer M. Dubec, age 40, of Benton for violation of bail bond.   Both were charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.


Quinn complains wealthy are trying to help Rauner buy election

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn criticized Republican opponent Bruce Rauner and Rauner’s allies today as “billionaires trying to buy their way into Illinois politics” after the GOP candidate received a $2.5 million campaign contribution from hedge-fund boss Kenneth Griffin.


Here’s a link to the story in the Chicago Tribune.

Three Benton residents arrested in two separate altercations

A pair of non-related altercations led to multiple charges Monday in Benton.

In the first incident, Benton Police were dispatched to a fight in progress near the intersection of East Taylor and Buchanan streets.

Police discovered the incident occurred between mother, Terri Lampley, 42, of Benton and daughter, Denease Kidwell, 20, of Benton.

Lampley was charged with battery, and Kidwell was charged with aggravated battery.

Also Monday, Benton police were dispatched to the 500 block of East Burkitt Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

Police arrested William M. Barger, 33, of Benton. He was charged with domestic battery and resisting a peace officer.

Lampley, Kidwell and Barger were taken to Franklin County Jail for processing.

Shimkus seeks input from VA employees, vets

Maryville, Illinois — Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) is reiterating his open-door policy for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees and veterans in his district to contact his office to report any irregularities in VA scheduling procedures they have witnessed.

Congressman John Shimkus

Congressman John Shimkus

“Today’s release of the VA’s Access Audit confirms that the problems with veterans getting timely service are even more widespread than previously revealed,” Shimkus said. “My office has aided numerous veterans through the years who have experienced similar issues, and I encourage anyone currently in that situation – as well as VA employees – to share with me any knowledge of irregularities at the VA.”

The Access Audit revealed 57,436 veterans waiting for appointments more than 90 days after requesting them, as well as confusing scheduling practices and more efforts to conceal the long wait times. The audit flagged 112 VA facilities for further review and investigation, including the Illiana Health Care System in Danville and the Marion Medical Center, located in or near the 15th Congressional District.

“I will be returning to VA facilities that serve my constituents to seek answers, and I have asked to talk to veterans and employees without administrators present,” Shimkus added. “Anyone who seeks anonymity in fear of reprisal can also call my office at 618-288-7190.”