Benefit held in support of young girl with cancer

BENTON, IL (Sean Conway, WSIL-TV  Please click to read the full story and watch the video.  Here is an excerpt)

Hundreds gathered at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Benton on Sunday for a benefit in support of a young girl recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

10 year old Makanda Williams, of Macedonia, had been experiencing severe headaches on and off for the past year.

“It’s kind of like a mini-brain freeze, just for like 5 to ten minutes,” she said. “Then it goes away.”

Makanda was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive and rare childhood brain cancer. She said she has kept up her spirits while beginning her treatments.


Shooting in Benton yesterday – suspect at large

Local authorities are pursuing Alan Bennett, who left the scene after, a 40 year-old Benton resident obtained a gunshot wound.  The suspect is pictured above.

The shooting took place in the 1200 block of Anna street.

He is described as a white male with a bald head, standing 6’1 and weighing 250 lbs.

Bennett is a relative of the victim, according to police.

Authorities consider Bennett to be armed and dangerous. If you see him, do not approach him, call 911.

Anyone with information as to Bennett’s whereabouts can also call Benton Police at 618-435-8131, or your local law enforcement agency.

Summary of May 27 Severe Weather – Hail over golfball sized and winds upwards of 70 to 80 mph

National Weather Service- Paducah KY

Radar Image as the storm crossed the river into Alexander and Union counties. (National Weather Service – Paducah KY)

NOTE:  Here in Franklin County we were spared for the most part, as we had a cell bearing down on us from the west that produced close to 110 mph winds in Central MO.

The most intense storm in the county was on the east side of the county in the Thompsonville-Akin area around 2:00 p.m.

The cell that prompted the Storm Prediction Center to use the term Hurricane Force Winds dropped to the southeast, going through Southeast Missori,  the Southern Seven counties of Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.

The above link will take you to an interactive page of the National Weather Service.  Here is an overview of the event below from the NWS page.  -sd

Multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms impacted the Middle Mississippi Valley on the 1st day of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Many observations of large hail and damaging winds were reported throughout the region, including wind speeds upwards of 70 to 80 mph and some hailstones measuring golfball sized and slightly higher.

There were multiple bowing segments that impacted the region with damaging winds the main impact from those. Each one seemed to develop further south than the one prior. Multiple individual cells and clusters also developed, especially early on in the event.

The brunt of the storms focused across southeast Missouri into much of southern Illinois and western Kentucky. Multiple rounds of storms over the same locations also resulted in some flooding issues requiring the issuance of a few flash flood warnings as well.

Rainfall totals of 1.5 to 3+ inches were observed from Carter County Missouri east into southern Scott County and into Carlisle and northern Graves Counties in Kentucky. The lowest amounts were up along the I-64 corridor and across the Evansville Tri-State area where only isolated heavier amounts were reported.




Legislation To Change Gender On Birth Certificate Passes House

SPRINGFIELD, IL – (Brian Mackey – WCBU Radio, Peoria.  Click on the link above to read the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Native Illinoisans would have an easier time changing the gender on their birth certificates, under legislation approved today in the Illinois House.  Under current law, only people who’ve had gender reassignment surgery can ask to change their birth certificates.

Several Republicans disagreed, saying the legislation would make it too easy to change one’s legal gender.  The measure passed narrowly… on a vote of 63 to 43.   It now goes to the Illinois Senate.

NOTE:  Area State Represenatives, Dave Severin (R -Benton), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) and Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City) all voted against the measure.

IUOE wants passage of additional 15 cent gas tax in Illinois

WSIL image

(Brandon Merano, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story and video.  Here is an excerpt below.)

An Illinois labor union is pushing Senate President John Cullerton to introduce a 15 cent per gallon tax on gas.

That didn’t sit well with Carterville resident Tom Davis.

“You get taxed when you make your money, you get taxed when you spend your money and then you’ve got property taxes,” explained Davis.

Local 150 of the International Union of operating engineers is also pushing for a special tax assessment of electric vehicles because they don’t use any gas when driving on the roadways.



Severin Passes Senate Bill 730 through the House

Springfield…. Today Representative David Severin (R-Benton) unanimously passed Senate Bill 730 through the Illinois House of Representatives, which extends the Petroleum Education and Marketing Act (PEMA). The Act was planned to expire on January 1, 2018 but will now be extended another 10 years to January 1, 2028.

“IPRB has done a great job of promoting the industry within Illinois,” Severin said. “Some of its other work includes the cleanup of abandoned tank battery sites around the state and developing new processes for remediating historic produced water spills. This extension should enable the IPRB to be of even better service to the public.”

The Act is governed by the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board (IPRB) who works closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The board’s purpose is mainly educational, working to inform the general public of the importance of the industry

Senate Bill 730 now heads to the Governor’s office and waits to be signed. Click here for the bill.

Trial date postponed for Mulkeytown man charged with possession of child porn, indecent solicitation of a child and grooming

BENTON, IL (Isaac Smith -The Southern Illinoisan.  Please click on the link to read the full story above.  Here is an excerpt below.)

The jury trial has been delayed for Curtis Carr, the Mulkeytown man accused of possession of child pornography among other child sex crimes.

During a pretrial hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse in Benton, Carr’s attorney, Aaron Hopkins, of West Frankfort, filed for a motion of continuance, waiving Carr’s right to a speedy trial. Carr was originally scheduled to sit before a jury June 6. He will now appear at 1:30 p.m. July 6 for another pretrial hearing.

Carr has been to court on similar charges in the past. In 2004, Carr was charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault in Williamson County. One of these counts was dismissed while the last two went to jury trial where he was found not guilty.

Carr is being held in Jackson County under Union County’s custody on $250,000 bond.

Marathon food drive aims to help local food banks

WSIL image

WEST FRANKFORT, IL –(Sean Conway, WSIL-TV Please click on the link above to read the story and accompanying video.  Here is an excerpt below. )

Food pantries tend to thrive during the holiday season, but shelves tend to go bare as summer closes in. So a West Frankfort man decided to help with a “marathon food drive.”

Bill Cardin, of West Frankfort, just couldn’t let that happen. He became involved in the fight against hunger after learning just how many Americans struggle to eat.

“At least one in six people in this country go to bed hungry every night, and that’s just not okay with me” explained Cardin.

So he organized the first annual 5,000 Can Marathon food drive, using his contacts from several years of working with the Boy Scouts.

He says pantries thrive in the holiday season, but tend to suffer in the summer season.

“We found out when we brought the food to the food banks at that time, they were very happy to have it,” said Cardin. “And they said it was a great time for them up until about December people gave a lot of donations.”



Lake wind advisory for today/enhanced risk for severe weather tomorrow

by Steve Dunford 

Before we talk about tomorrow, we are going to take care of the business for today.  The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Wind Advisory from 10 a.m. this morning until 6 p.m. tonight. Below is the text from the national weather service in Paducah KY:


The National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a Lake Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 10 AM this morning to 6 PM CDT this evening. *

TIMING…From late morning through the afternoon. *

WINDS…South winds will be sustained from 15 to 20 mph with gusts 20 to 30 mph. *

IMPACTS…Winds are expected to be strong enough to cause problems for boaters on area lakes. Small boats will be the most significantly impacted. Boaters on Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Rend Lake will be significantly impacted due to their extensive south fetches.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Lake Wind Advisory indicates that winds will cause rough chop on area lakes. Small boats will be especially prone to capsizing.

Spending several holiday weekends on Rend Lake, boat traffic will increase today with the upcoming holiday weekend.  The lake is usually choppy with the additional boats on the water.

With south winds gusting up to 30 mph, make sure your craft could handle the choppy waters.  Caution needs to be taken crossing the main body, especially south of route 154.

Randolph, Perry, Franklin, Hamilton, and White counties are on the southern edge of a marginal risk (level one of five) for severe weather today. There is a very slight chance of large hail and damaging thunderstorm winds.  The storm prediction center has the tornado threat near zero today.

There is only a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms today and tonight, but for any that pop up they could turn severe pretty quick.  I would not alter any outdoor plans for today, I would just keep my eye to the sky.

We are still under an enhanced (level three of five) risk of severe weather for tomorrow.  The main threat will be in the late evening hours.  The atmosphere will be juiced tomorrow, with it hot, humid, and highs in the mid 80’s.

As you can see in the graphic above, straight line winds is the main threat.  The tornado threat is still minimal.  The risk for tornadic activity tomorrow would be a pop up storm in front of the main system.  A storm could go severe in a hurry and an outside chance a supercell could form.

Several are following a Facebook page, that has Franklin and surrounding counties in the bulls-eye for violent tornadoes.  If this was the case, the SPC would place us under at least a moderate or  a high risk of severe weather.  This system is to be very concerned about, but not to panic about.

I will be monitoring the situation tomorrow.  I now have NWS-chat access.  I will be able to see what the meteorologists in all three of the TV news outlets are saying, as well as local emergency management officials.  I count it an honor to be entrusted with this, and will be able to provide better severe weather coverage.

Below is the hazardous weather outlook issued by the NWS in Paudcah.

.DAY ONE…Today and Tonight A few thunderstorms will spread eastward into southeast Missouri early this morning. They should dissipate by 10 AM before reaching the Mississippi River. Lightning will be the primary concern. Small chances of thunderstorms are forecast tonight, mainly along the Interstate 64 corridor of southern Illinois and southwest Indiana. A few severe storms with large hail and damaging winds will be possible if storms can develop.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Saturday through Thursday Thunderstorms are forecast throughout the region Saturday through Sunday evening. Any storms that develop through this period may become severe, but the greatest threats will be late Saturday into Saturday night, and possibly again along the cold front Sunday afternoon and evening.

The latest guidance suggests that one or more thunderstorm complexes may move through the region with primarily a damaging wind threat. Any individual storms would pose a threat of very large hail to go along with damaging winds and possibly a few tornadoes.

In addition, heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding where multiple storms train over the same locations. Small chances of afternoon and evening thunderstorms are forecast for all or a portion of the region Tuesday and Wednesday. Better chances of thunderstorms are forecast throughout the area Thursday and Thursday night. Locally heavy rainfall and lightning will be the primary concerns.











Tickets Go On Sale Thursday, June 1

DU QUOIN, IL – Eight dynamic performances plus two FREE concerts are planned for the 2017 Du Quoin State Fair.  State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon announced today that tickets for the

Du Quoin State Fair Grandstand concert series will go on sale Thursday, June 1 via and the Du Quoin State Fair Box Office.

For the first time, the Du Quoin State Fair will offer a FREE concert in the Grandstand on the opening night (August 25th)of the fair.  Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael, all members of the ’85 Chicago Bears defensive line, have moved from the gridiron to the Grandstand.  The Super Bowl champions have formed a band called The Chicago 6.   Fairgoers can expect to hear everything from ZZ Top to Smokey Robinson and John Mellencamp.

Chris Janson will take the stage on Sunday, August 27th along with High Valley. Janson grew up just across the Illinois state line in Perryville, MO, but moved to Nashville right out of high school to purse his dreams of being in the music industry. Known for his talents on the harmonica and high energy shows fans can expect a great show with performances of hit singles like “Fix a Drink,” “Holdin’ Her” and “Buy Me A Boat.”

Monday, August 28th will feature The Gin Blossoms. The Arizona natives came together in the late 1980’s and got their big break by performing at the South by Southwest Music Festival. After that their career took off with hits like, “Hey Jealousy” and “Til I Hear It from You.” They took a brief hiatus, but have come back in full force with “Miss Disarray” being one of their most requested songs.

Granger Smith has exploded on to the music scene recently with a little help from his friend Earl Dibbles Jr., an alter ego he created to make videos and help promote his music. His hits “If the Boot Fits” and “Backroad Song” are sure to be included in Granger’s set list on Tuesday, August 29th.

Dueling Pianos International will be taking the stage on Wednesday, August 30th. This is sure to be a fun filled night as world class dueling piano players entertain fairgoers with a dynamic performance. The show is known for being fun, comedic, and interactive for a show all ages will love.  This Grandstand performance is included with the cost of admission with General Admission seating the night of the show.

On Thursday, August 31st, the Roots & Boots Tour will be coming to the Du Quoin State Fair. This tour features Sammy Kershaw along with Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye. Kershaw found success in the 90s with songs like, “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” and “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer.” Fans will find that familiar sound with his newest album Better than I Used to Be.

Grammy Award winners, Switchfoot, will perform on the Grandstand stage on Friday, September 1st. Formed in California as a garage band, Switchfoot has come a long way with hits like, “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live.” They also founded their own charity event, THE SWITCHFOOT BRO-AM that helps at risk youth in San Diego. Also performing that evening will be Lifehouse.  The rock band has sold more than 15 million records worldwide and has played sold out shows around the globe for the last decade.  The group is best known for songs such as, “Hanging by a Moment,” “Whatever it Takes,” and “Halfway Gone.”

The Cadillac Three burst on to the music scene with hits like “The South” and “White Lightning,” but lead singer/guitarist Jaren Johnston has written hits for some of today’s biggest mainstream country artists. Hailed for their authenticity and southern rock vibe, they always put on a powerful show. Logan Mize and Chris Cavanaugh will join The Cadillac Three on Saturday, September 2nd.

Ticket prices for each of the Grandstand shows are listed below.

Friday, August 25: Chicago 6

Free Concert – General Admission

Saturday, August 26: TBA

Sunday, August 27: Chris Janson / High Valley

Tier 1 – $25 / Tier 2 – $22 / Tier 3 – $19

Monday, August 28: The Gin Blossoms

Tier 1 – $15 / Tier 2 – $12 / Tier 3 – $9

Tuesday, August 29:  Granger Smith / TBA

Tier 1 – $20 / Tier 2 – $17 / Tier 3 – $14

Wednesday, August 30:  Dueling Pianos International

Free Concert – General Admission

Thursday, August 31:  Roots & Boots Tour with Sammy Kershaw / Aaron Tippin / Collin Raye

Tier 1 – $20 / Tier 2 – $17 / Tier 3 – $14

Friday, September 1:  Switchfoot / Lifehouse 

Tier 1 – $33 / Tier 2 – $30 / Tier 3 – $27

Saturday, September 2: The Cadillac 3 / Logan Mize / Chris Cavanaugh
Tier 1 – $16 / Tier 2 – $13 / Tier 3 – $10


Sunday, September 3:  USAC Racing Series
Adults – $25 / Child – $10


Monday, September 4:  ARCA Racing Series:  General Tire Grabber 100
Adults – $25 / Child – $10

This year, the Du Quoin State Fair will offer a dynamic deal that allows fairgoers to create their own Grandstand concert experience.  The Score with More ticket package allows fairgoers to customize their visit to the Du Quoin State Fair by selecting three or more concerts to attend plus receive free gate admission for each concert.  Fairgoers cannot duplicate concert selections when personalizing their package. The price for the Score with More package will be dependent upon each fairgoer’s concert selection.  This exclusive offer sets aside a limited number of tickets for each concert.   Special Note:  All ticket packages must be purchased by phone (618-542-1335) or in person on the Du Quoin State Fair Box Office.   This offer is not available via Ticketmaster.

On June 1, tickets for two of the fair’s most popular events will also go on sale:  Truck & Tractor Pulls and Demolition Derby.  These tickets will be available for purchase via and at the Du Quoin State Fair Box Office.   Dates, times and ticket prices are as follows:

Monday, August 28:  Truck & Tractor Pull

7:00pm at Half Mile Track
Adults (13+) – $10 / Kids (3-12) – $5 / Under 3 – FREE

Tuesday, August 29:  Truck & Tractor Pull

7:00pm at Half Mile Track
Adults (13+) – $10 / Kids (3-12) – $5 / Under 3 – FREE

Saturday, September 2:  Demolition Derby

7:00pm at SI Center
Adults (13+) – $10 / Kids (3-12) – $5 / Under 3 – FREE

In addition, the Du Quoin State Fair is accepting applications for those looking to camp on the fairgrounds during not only the Du Quoin State Fair, but also this summer’s Solar Eclipse.   The eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21st – just four days before the state of the Du Quoin State Fair!  Southern Illinois is a top viewing destination for this rare astronomical event. The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds offers over 1,000 camping spaces with water and electric hookups, multiple bath houses, unlimited primitive camping, and access to fishing and hiking.   Advance reservations are required, and applications can be found online at

More details regarding ticket sales, special events, and additional grandstand acts will be released in the coming weeks and months.  Make plans today to visit the wonderful southern Illinois tradition.  We’ll see you at the Du Quoin State Fair August 25 – September 4.