Severin Encourages District to Shop Local this Saturday

Marion, IL –  State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) would like to remind constituents of Williamson, Franklin, and Hamilton County to shop small and shop local in honor of Small Business Saturday on November 25th. Small Business Saturday has turned into a national tradition and has continued to grow each year.

“Sometimes we forget that small business owners are our neighbors, friends, or other people with ties to our community,” Severin said. “These business owners hire local workers, as well as support our local charities and other organizations. The weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. That makes it even more important for people to be shopping and supporting local businesses.”

As the owner of a small business in Benton, Rep. Severin knows firsthand how important small businesses are to local communities.

“Illinois is home to 1.2 million small businesses, which makes up about 90% of the state’s overall exports,” Severin said. “Small businesses bring entrepreneurship and innovation, giving a unique and energetic feel to our towns and villages. Most importantly, when they are supported, local businesses turn around and invest back in the community, providing jobs and other valuable resources.”

To learn where you can go to support local business visit the Shop Southern Illinois page on Facabook and follow on Twitter @shopsouthernIL.

Plenty of sun and seasonal the next several days

Seven Day Forecast

Sunny, with a high near 42. North wind 3 to 7 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 25. Calm wind.
Thanksgiving Day
Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 51. South southwest wind 3 to 7 mph.
Thursday Night
Clear, with a low around 31. Light south southwest wind.
Sunny, with a high near 58. Light south wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
Friday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. South wind 6 to 10 mph becoming west northwest after midnight.
Sunny, with a high near 56. Northwest wind 7 to 9 mph.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 31. North northwest wind 3 to 7 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 48. Light and variable wind.
Sunday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 30. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph after midnight.
Sunny, with a high near 54. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
Monday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 41. South southwest wind around 10 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 58. South southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

5 Loaves Cafe in Sesser offers more than a meal

SESSER, IL –  Living in the community over fifteen years, I know first hand the work, generosity, and showing Christ’s love the Sesser-Valier Ministerial Alliance does for the community.  Please the link below to read the story from Holly Kee of the Benton news about the alliance’s newest ministry, Five Loaves Cafe, and their outreach to the community during the ministry’s thanksgiving dinner.  -sd


Click It or Ticket Campaign in Full Gear

DuQuoin, IL  – The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is generally one of the busiest travel holiday periods of the year. As millions of travelers take to Illinois roadways to celebrate Thanksgiving, Illinois State Police (ISP) District 13 / 22 Interim Commander, Lieutenant Michael Alvey, reminds motorists to drive safely.

Drivers can do their part to ensure they, and their passengers, experience safe travels. Simply keeping your eyes on the road, watching your speed, buckling your seatbelt, and refraining from driving after consuming alcoholic beverages can reduce your chances of being involved in a traffic crash.

The ISP will be doing our part to help keep the roadways safe from dangerous drivers. Troopers will be on the watch for drivers exceeding speed limits and those who choose to drive distracted. Along with regular patrols, we will also have additional patrols out to help remove intoxicated drivers from Illinois roadways. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.

The ISP is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation and other law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket. The Click It or Ticket campaign officially started on November 17. The goal of this high-visibility effort is to reduce motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. Stepped-up patrols and seat belt enforcement zones will be seen throughout the state through November 27.

Lieutenant Alvey stated, “Our ultimate goal is to create a safe driving environment for travelers, but they have to do their parts as well. By them making good driving choices they are exponentially increasing their chances of having a safe drive.” Alvey added, “Even with Troopers every 20 miles on the interstate, there will still be people making bad choices. Our hope is we stop them before anyone is injured.”

The ISP’s goal is to ensure safe travels for you and your loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. If you find yourself behind the wheel, please watch the road and your speed, buckle up, and do not drive intoxicated.

Investigators searching for cause in Johnston City fire

Seasonal weather over the next week with no precipitation in the forecast

Seven Day Forecast

Partly sunny, with a high near 55. South southwest wind 8 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.
Mostly clear, with a low around 27. North wind 6 to 9 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 42. North wind 3 to 7 mph.
Wednesday Night
Increasing clouds, with a low around 25. Calm wind.
Thanksgiving Day
Sunny, with a high near 49. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 7 mph in the morning.
Thursday Night
Clear, with a low around 32. South southwest wind 3 to 5 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 55. Light south southwest wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
Friday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 41. South southwest wind 8 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight.
Sunny, with a high near 55. Northwest wind 8 to 10 mph.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 31. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 44. North northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.
Sunday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 28. North northwest wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable.
Sunny, with a high near 46. East wind 5 to 7 mph becoming south southwest in the afternoon.

Franklin County Farm Bureau News

From Gay Bowlin -Franklin County Farm Bureau Manager 

Gay Bowlin -Franklin County Farm Bureau Manager

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! According to AFBF, the price of an average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 dropped this year to $49.12, a 75-cent decrease compared with last year and the lowest since 2013. While the price of the meal has steadily increased since 1986 when AFBF first conducted its survey, the average cost has been trending downward for the last two years. Be sure and thank a farmer for your Thanksgiving Dinner.

BIG CROPS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR STRONG AG MARKETS – Thinking back to August, IFB President Richard Guebert, Jr. wasn’t too worried about who would buy this year’s crops. He wasn’t sure there’d be much of a crop to buy in the first place. But Guebert’s yield monitor showed surprisingly high numbers this fall, and his thoughts have returned to where his crops are going to go. “We really need good export and trade agreements to move this product out into the world market,” he said. (

  IL SHORT OF TEACHERS – A recent report finds Illinois schools needed 2,000 teachers at the start of this year, and 16 percent of schools had to cancel something last year because they didn’t have the teachers to conduct the classes or activities. Experts say teachers’ starting salaries, cost of a four-year degree and certification requirements are contributing to the lack of teachers in the state. (Illinois News Network)

Illinois Dicamba Training will roll out this winter, with sessions beginning Nov. 27 and continuing until April 1, just prior to spring planting.

Illinois is following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) parameters as it relates to dicamba use in 2018.

“We are now moving forward with one of the new requirements on this label for 2018, which is that this is a restricted-use pesticide,” Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) President Jean Payne recently told the RFD Radio Network®.  “So you already have to be a certified applicator to apply it.”

Those applicators must also prove that they have been to dicamba-specific training in order to apply the product, she added.

“And you have to keep proof of training as part of every record of application,” Payne said. “You don’t have to have proof of training to buy dicamba products; you just have to be a certified applicator and provide the pesticide dealer your license.”(Jim Taylor for


     Oranges – a 40 lb box is $35.00 and 20 lb box is $25.00

     Grapefruit – 40 lb box is $30.00 and 20 lb box is $20.00

     (we will not have Tangelos this year at all – sorry for the inconvenience.) 

   Orders must be received by November 27 for fruit and it will be in before Christmas.

  WE CURRENTLY HAVE PECANS IN THE OFFICE – so you can call or stop by and pick them up. Supplies are limited so don’t wait.

  Pecans are $10.00 for a jumbo 1 lb bag of  ½ shelled and $7.00 for a 12 oz bag of choc covered pecans.

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


2017-18 Franklin County Basketball Preview: The Christopher Bearcats

By Steve Dunford 




11 Dalton Saeger 5’ 10” 150 Jr
12 Greg Fletcher 5’ 10” 160 Soph.
13 Braden Ingoldsby 6’ 2” 150 Soph.
14 Gabriel Motsinger 5’ 9” 155 Soph.
20 Chris Dorris 5’ 11” 155 Sr.
21 Caden Blankenship 6’ 1” 155 Sr.
22 Bradley Young 6’ 4” 180 Sr.
23 Bryce Pratt 6’ 2” 170 Soph.
24 Tyler Weeks 5’ 11” 160 Sr.
25 Gage Hawkins 6’ 5” 160 Jr.
30 Jared Curry 6’ 6” 180 Sr.
32 Daniel Flowers 6’ 3” 230 Sr.
Manager: Presley Gray





Bailey Gilbert Fresh.
Haley Hammonds Sr.
Jenna Janello Fresh.
Laney Owen Jr..
Ashlin Randolph Sr.
Becca Redding Fresh.
Savannah Saeger Fresh.
Courtney Salatas Fresh.
Emily Severs Soph.
Makayla Stratton Jr.
Victoria Towers Sr.
Halle Valette Soph.
Sydney VanHoorebeke Sr.
Lily Winget Soph.
Sydney Yosanovich Fresh.

Superintendent:  Richard Towers

Principal:  Jeff Johnston

Athletic Director: Angie Gossett

Head Coach:  Eric Stallman

JV Coach:  Gabe Sveda

Frosh Coach:   Josh McCurren

Asst. Coach:  Shawn Menckowski

Cheer Coach:  Rachel McCoy

Asst. Cheer Coach:  Emily Clark


Nov. 21-25 Christopher Turkey Tourney

Dec. 2  Cobden

Dec. 5 @ Woodlawn

Dec. 12 @ Waltonville

Dec. 15 Sesser Valier

Dec.  19  Trico

Dec. 26-29  Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament

Jan. 5  @ Hamilton County

Jan. 9  @ Zeigler-Royalton

Jan, 12 @ Goreville

Jan 13-20  West Frankfort Midwinter Classic

Jan. 23  Chester

Jan.  26  Vienna

Jan.  30  Trico

Feb. 2  Goreville

Feb. 6 @ Chester

Feb. 9 @ Vienna

Feb.  13 @ Sesser-Valier

Feb.  16  Zeigler-Royalton

Feb. 19-23  Regional Tournament


Gone from last years squad are sharp shooters Kaeleb Pedigo and Gabe Schimpf.  Schimpf is now a lefty pitcher for the SEMO Redhawks baseball team.   Reserves Zach Snell and Andrew Dunford graduated as well.

Returning are four year starter 6′ 4″ senior Bradley Young and three year starter 6′ 5 senior Jared Curry.  Young plays the four and can step out and shoot the three.  Curry takes the ball down the floor like a point guard, then posts up like he plays the five.

Sophomore Bryce Pratt won a starting job in last year’s Turkey Tourney and played a ton of minutes as a freshman.  Gabe Motsinger a 5′ 9″ sophomore  started a couple of games for the  Bearcats last year.  Dalton Sager a 5′ 10″  junior made a start in the Midwnter Classic.

The rest of coach Eric Stallman’s rotation is 6′ 5″ junior Gage Hawkins, 6′ 3″ senior Daniel Flowers,  and 5′ 11″ senior Tyler Weeks.

“We are improving in practice, we have struggled a little with ball control which is expected when you graduate two guards from last season (Pedigo and Schimpf). We have a long way to go, its the middle of November so we will just try to continue to improve as the season progresses.”  

FORECAST:  I have the Bearcats finishing third in the BDC West.   Young and Curry have the ability put this team on their back.  They both have to stay out of foul trouble. Past Pratt and Motsinger, there is not a lot of varsity minutes coming back.  Depth might be a problem especially early.   Christopher is on of the top 1A teams in Southern Illinois.

Yes I have Webber Township beating them in the Championship game in the championship game.  It is one of those things you just have to see how the season goes.  If it was in February, it would be different.

The Bearcats are one of the elite 1A schools in Southern Illinois with Sesser-Valier, Goreville, and Webber.  You can always throw Cairo and Meridian in the mix as well.  They can be a very dangerous team to face in the postseason.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE:  I have the Bearcats as fifth out of seven in the conference.  Losing Flora hurts.  I will be posting this for every conference shortly.  Playing in the Midwinter Classic was a huge upgrade.  They gave Eldorado a very good second half.  Then gave Carterville all they wanted, and played a close game with AJ.  When you have  the chance to go up against 2A and 3A schools it will help you at regional time.

The Bearcats open against Waltonville tonight at 7:45 p.m.





2017-18 Franklin County Preview: The Zeigler Royalton Tornadoes

By Steve Dunford 



Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes

Boys’ Basketball

Varsity Roster


Player Name Uniform # Grade Height
Landen Bate 3 9 5’6
Trevor Mills 10 9 5’7
Jon Meadows 21 12 5’7
David Eldridge 22 10 5’6
Franky Rebolledo 23 11 5’11
Jakob Imhoff 25 10 5’6
Andrew Bisaillon 30 12 5’9
Noah Leeper 32 12 5’11
Bryce Leeper 34 11 6’0
Cole Sanders 35 12 6’2
Dalton Humphrey 42 10 5’8
Xander Schablowsky 44 12 5’9
Cole Gelso 45 9 6’0
Gannon Dollins 52 9 6’5

Varsity Basketball (Boys)
Place Time

Tuesday Nov. 21 VS.  Webber Township at the Christopher Turkey Tournament 7:45 p,m,
Friday Nov. 24 VS.  Thompsonville or New Athens at Chirstopher Turkey Tournament TBA
Saturday Nov. 25  at Chirstopher Turkey Tournament TBA
Tuesday Dec. 05 GOREVILLE
Friday Dec. 08 VIENNA
Tuesday Dec. 26-29 Sesser Valier Holiday Tournament TBA
Tuesday Jan. 02 CHESTER
Thursday Jan. 04 @ ELVERADO  6:OOPM
Tuesday Jan. 09 CHRISTOPHER
Friday Jan. 12 SESSER VALIER
Saturday Jan. 13 @ VIENNA
Tuesday Jan. 16 @ CHESTER
Tuesday Jan. 23 WALTONVILLE
Tuesday Jan. 30 JOHNSTON CITY
Friday Feb. 02 @SESSER VALIER
Saturday Feb. 03 @ TRICO

Tuesday Feb. 06 @ GOREVILLE GOREVILLE 6:15PM
Friday Feb. 09 GALATIA
Tuesday Feb. 13 TRICO High School 6:15PM
Friday Feb. 16 @ CHIRISTOPHER

All times are 6;15 unless specified

First of all it is good to see Matt Morgan will be on the sidelines.  He is one of those coaches I am proud to call my friend.

Cole Sanders

I want you all from Z-R know how you are all so lucky to have the support of Randall Risley.  He commits himself to the program more than any program that I cover.

As a community, the response to you all have made to Coaches-vs-Cancer is phenomenal.  With him spearheading this, the things you have accomplished is outstanding.

Coach Morgan mention Cole Sanders, a 6′ 2″  the post player is back wearing the Tornado uniform after playing for the Christopher Bearcats last year.  He was the winner of the TC-34 belt in practice.  This goes to someone who busts their tail in practice.

The second winner of award is Jacob Imhoff a 5′ 6″ sophomore.  He will joined in the back court with another 5′ 6″ sophomore David Eldridge.  Also who will be in the rotation will be 5′ 7″ senior John Meadows. 6′ 5″ freshman Gannon Dollins,  (I am looking forward to see him play), 5′ 9″ freshman Trevor Mills, 5′ 6″ freshman Landon Bate, 5″ 8 sophomore Dalton Humphey,  and 6′ 0″ junior Bryce Leeper.

Coach Morgan says, “We would be lucky to be returning 100 varsity minutes.  I am going to play a lot of people and a lot of Freshman early.  I am excited how practices are going, and the way this group is paying attention to detail. ” 

Jake Imhoff


FORECAST:  I think there is no secret to this, wins will be a premium for this group.  The Tornadoes play harder than any team that I have watched.  This group needs to look at February.  The need to realize what last years team did down the stretch.  They knocked off two teams in Webber Townshp and Elverado.  They game Christopher and Goreville everything they wanted.  Both teams had to shoot free throws down the stretch to win.

I have talked to a few fans this week.  I told them to watch Webber and Thompsonville closely in the tournament.  They were both Freshman heavy groups a few years ago.  of years ago.  I think the Trojans is one of the top teams to be playing at SIU in March.  Thompsonville is going win at least 15 this year and they can  win their conference.

This group is going to take their licks.  Give them two years.  You will see the Tornadoes in the thick of things in the BDC.  I have the Tornadoes to finish 7th in the BDC.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE:  The Black Diamond West is tough every night. However, even though they play a pretty tough non-conference schedule for a 1A school.  I have to go with them as the weakest.  To do some adjustments they had to leave the Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament.  I remember a few years back the Tornadoes were playing Thompsonville on a Wednesday night in the 9:00 game.

I think a good fit with them would be go to Egyptian a couple of years.

Here is another note the GEC and SEC member schools are more their size.  They would have been a middle of the pack team in the GEC and would have maybe finished second in the SEC behind Meridian last year.

The Tornadoes tip it off tomorrow night at 7:45 against the Webber Township Trojans.



Ag in the Classroom: What’s Growing On

The 38th Annual Mt. Vernon Teacher Conference was held on October 27, 2017, at the Mt. Vernon Twp. High School campus with a “reach~teach~inspire” theme. Ag in the Classroom Coordinators from Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Saline Counties provided an exhibit table with free resources. Those resources included posters, Ag Mags, Illinois Reading Council information, IL AITC calendars and much more.  The coordinators owe a big Thank You to Jacob Kueker, Mt. Vernon FFA Chapter, and Derek Sample, Sesser-Valier FFA Chapter, for watching over the exhibit booth while the coordinators presented at 4 sessions throughout the day.

The Coordinators presenting included: Leslie Kueker, Jefferson/Hamilton Co., Maridy Tso, Saline/Gallatin Co, and Melissa Lamczyk, Franklin Co. The session titles were “What’s Growing On?”  These sessions focused on specialty crops growing in Illinois and how to use new learning standards to incorporate hands on activities with some locally grown produce as well as produce from around the state. The new Specialty Ag Mag has several items highlighted from around the state with interviews from growers on the back page and information on the front page and inside. The newer Ag Mags have the standards listed on the back page and the web page for finding more lessons and activities, as well as many more links and FREE resource materials.

Mrs. Lamczyk shared an informative video from the Horseradish Festival in Collinsville , IL and presented a horseradish root, how it’s grown, special equipment needed during the planting, harvesting and storage of the produce.  Mrs. Lamczyk shared her experience of touring Heepke Farms in May of 2017, where they grow horseradish and many other commodities, and learned that Collinsville, IL is the horseradish capitol of the world.

Mrs. Tso presented an activity on broom corn. Mrs. Tso had some broom corn on hand to share with the teachers and told them she relates to the product from childhood memories with her grandparents. She demonstrated the difference in use of broom corn and todays brooms. She also did a fun hands on activity of moon sand using watermelon kool-aid. She told teachers that students could make the sand with different flavors of kool-aid while learning about different produce.

Mrs. Kueker demonstrated how to pull the dna cells from a strawberry, while also providing some for snacks for those teachers attending class though the lunch hour. Mrs. Kueker demonstrated that different equipment used during the extraction process and products used could make a difernce in the outcome and the time needed to do the experiment. She talked about the different orchards available within the county for finding different produce and their products.

Teachers left with handouts, Ag Mags, and some with a variety of door prizes, such as highlighted ag related books. More than 1000 teachers and administrators and several counties participate and attend the Mt. Vernon Conference.   A huge Thank You to the Regional Office of Education and all those who assisted with the planning, preparation and carrying out of the conference.