Two Concealed Carry trainings left for spring semester at RLC

INA, Ill. (March 24, 2014) – Two more Concealed Carry training classes will be offered during the spring semester at Rend Lake College. The sessions are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6 and Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4. All classes will last from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. both days in RLC Coal Mine Training Center, Room 107 on the Ina campus and the RLC Range.

The session previously scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27, has been cancelled.

Fingerprinting will be available on the first day of each session, April 5 and May 3. The cost to be fingerprinted is $50 in cash or $52 with a credit or debit card. A state-issued identification card is required to participate in this service.

In addition, attendees must bring a valid FOID card to the first day of class. Instructions will be provided to students regarding bringing a handgun and two boxes of unopened factory ammunition to the second day of the training session. Handguns will be inspected by RLC certified instructors.

The costs of the courses are $200 for Illinois residents or $300 for out-of-state students.

Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. For more information or to enroll, contact the RLC Community and Corporate Education Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714 or at Visit us online at

SIH will host Dinner & Trivia Night to benefit Arthritis Foundation

It is time to put your heads together for a good cause. The Arthritis Walk Team from Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) will host its sixth annual trivia night on Friday, March 21, at the Carterville Community Center. All proceeds will benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

The cost per table is $200 in advance for up to eight people. There will be cash team prizes, a best decorated table award and a silent auction. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and play will begin at 7 p.m. A full dinner provided by Martin’s Catering will be served. Participants are welcome to bring their own snacks and beverages.

Advance registration is preferred. To make a reservation or for more information please call The Second Act at SIH, toll free, at 1-877-480-4040.


RLC Board of Trustees takes action on several items

Oil, Natural Gas Technician degree, certificate approved, sent to ICCB for action

The board approved the Oil and Natural Gas Technician Associate in Applied Science Degree, an accompanying occupational certificate and 10 associated courses and authorized their submission to the Illinois Community College Board for action.

Plans for this degree began last summer in response to new legislation. Rend Lake College and Southeastern Illinois College signed a cooperative agreement to provide an array of training opportunities for the emerging oil and natural gas industry. Combined, the two districts have more acreage under lease to the industry than anywhere else in the state.

“This is another example of a community college alliance that reaches across district boundaries and works to provide industry and residents of our region the training they need,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.

Officials said that as the industry takes root, workforce needs will have to be met.  Workers will need custom training, as well as other possible credentials, including certificate and degree programs.

In the same action item, the board also approved the Windows certificate under the IT Systems Specialist curriculum and a change in the total credit hours required for the Associate in Engineering Science Degree (to 68 from 65). These too will be sent to the ICCB for action.

RLC Foundation’s Pathway to Success project to be let for bids

Permission was granted to advertise for bids for the Rend Lake College Foundation’s “Pathway to Success” entryway project on the Ina campus. The estimated cost of the project is $225,000, and it will focus on the walkway to the Dr. Allen Y. Baker Administration Building, which is visited by virtually every student. The area will be renovated to make it more inviting and identifiable, and to provide a testament of the commitment made by supporters of the college and its mission. The project will be funded through a fund-raising effort by the RLC Foundation. The Foundation will match each dollar raised to establish an endowed scholarship for future RLC students.

Tuition rate approved

The board approved an in-district tuition rate of $95 per credit hour beginning with the Summer 2014 term, which is not an increase over the current rate. This decision was made in light of the fact that the technology fee was increase from $3 per credit hour to $5 per credit hour. Out-of-district tuition will be set at a later date. Out-of-state and out-of-country tuition was set at $150 per credit hour.

Tenure for five

The board granted tenure to five instructors effective Aug. 18. Each will now have the title of Associate Professor.

Melisa Berendson, Nursing Associate Professor. Kim Robert, Dean of Allied Health, described Berendson as a leader among the nursing faculty. She has made a significant contribution of time and effort in moving the program into the new concept-based curriculum, Robert said. Berendson encourages students to think and analyze critical situations which could arise in the field.

Jeff Fairbanks, Culinary Arts Associate Professor. Fairbanks has taken the lead on assessment of the Culinary Arts program, according to his supervisor, Lori Ragland, Dean of Community and Corporate Education. In addition, he has taken part in recruitment, advisement and registration activities, works with area restaurants and businesses to establish cooperative education activities and job opportunities for students, and has taken an active role in participating in events for the college, the Foundation and the Culinary Arts program. Fairbanks is a graduate of the program in which he now teaches.

Nicole Haney, Nursing Associate Professor. Robert said Haney has worked closely with students to ensure they are provided the essential skills and knowledge needed for their continued success. Haney is active in organizing both the Practical Nursing Endowment Scholarship program and the Practical Nurse pinning ceremony. She also serves on the Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department’s emergency preparedness and responder program.

Ashley Marthaler, Certified Nurse Assistant Associate Professor. According to Robert, Marthaler is a positive asset to the college and the division who goes above and beyond in assisting students with preparation for their nursing careers. She demonstrates a genuine interest in all of her students, working with them before and after classes if needed.

Robert Wilson, Culinary Arts Associate Professor. Wilson’s vast array of industry experience has been valuable for his students, Ragland said. In addition to working with students, he also has been instrumental with the Culinary Arts Club and has taken an active role in college and community events. He has updated the Culinary Arts curriculum and has supported faculty development to align with the requirements of the American Culinary Federation, and currently is working on an articulation agreement with Southern Illinois University’s Hospitality Management program.

Keele joins RLC Foundation

Appointed Caitlin Keele as Administrative Assistant for the RLC Foundation effective Feb. 12. Keele formerly was a student worker for the Foundation and has been working part-time there. She holds four associate degrees from RLC: Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Fine Arts – Instrumental Performance, and Associate in Applied Science in Agriculture Business.

Two positions created

Two new positions were created by the board Tuesday:

Title III Instructional Designer. This position is needed as part of the college’s Title III grant work. In addition, the board approved the job description and transferred Shari Carpenter to fill the position. Carpenter previously served as a Computer Science Professor and filled a role as the college’s Instructional Designer. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Education with a concentration in E-Learning, and has more than 10 years of practical experience with integrating technology in the classroom and mentoring faculty with implementation of online curricula.

Health Information Technology Program Director, a position necessary to fulfill the needs of the CAHIIM accreditation requirements. The Health Information Technology program is currently offered through the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market. However, CAHIIM will no longer accredit consortia and HIT programs must be accredited by the individual institutions. RLC has opted to offer this program on campus. The accompanying job description also was approved and permission was granted to advertise to fill the position.

Adams transfers to accountant

Approved the transfer of Lana Adams from Accounts Receivable Specialist to Business Office Accountant effective Feb. 17.

Two retirements accepted

Accepted with regret the retirement resignations of two employees:

Barb Crouse, Director of Nursing and Nursing Faculty member, effective May 17. She has been with Rend Lake College full-time since August 1994. “I thank the Rend Lake College family for all the great opportunities that have helped me to grow both personally and professionally,” Crouse wrote in her retirement letter. “It has been a blessing to spend so many of my working years with this group of dedicated people.”

Larry Thuilliez, Academic Computer Technician, effective May 31. He has been with RLC full-time since December 1999. “I have enjoyed my 15 years at the college and will miss my many coworkers and friends,” Thuilliez wrote in his retirement letter.

In other business, the board …

Approved revisions to board policy concerning leaves (second reading) and the tenured / tenure-track faculty and staff seniority list (first reading).

Approved revisions to board policy and procedure concerning reimbursement of miscellaneous department expenses (second reading), travel reimbursement (second reading) and the alcohol and drug policy (first reading).

Approved revisions to board procedure concerning fees.

Approved the notice of election for the student trustee in accordance with the Illinois Public Community College Act.

Approved submission of the statement of final construction compliance on the Protection, Health and Safety project for the re-roofing of the RLCF Children’s Center and the RLC MarketPlace HVAC controls upgrade, and the Excess Protection, Health and Safety Funds project for parking lot lighting replacement.

Accepted the resignation of Tammi Gullikson, Business Office Accountant, effective Jan. 23.

Granted a one-year probationary contract for a Culinary Arts instructor.

Did not renew the employment contract of a Radiologic Technology instructor.

Mark your calendars …

Visiting Artist Series: Wheat Elder, Jan. 17-Feb. 28, RLC Theatre Lobby.

WYSE Competition, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Family Career & Community Leaders of America Section 18 Spring Meeting, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, RLC Theatre.

Art Demonstration: Jerome Wisehart, 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, RLC Theatre.

Rend Lake College Board of Trustees Retreat, 12-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, Pat Kern Private Dining Area.

Student Recital, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, RLC Theatre.

Student Art Show, March 27-May 2, Reception 6-8 p.m. March 27, RLC Theatre and Theatre Lobby.

Job Fair, 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn.

Phi Theta Kappa Induction, 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, RLC Theatre.

Benton police blotter

Benton police reported the following activity during the past weekend:

On February 8, 2014 Benton Police arrested Ronald D. Gillihan, age 48, of Benton for resisting a peace officer.  Gillihan was also cited for leaving the scene of an accident.  Gillihan was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On February 8, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to the 100 Block of East Reed Street in reference to a domestic disturbance.  Through investigation, police arrested Tony D. Jackson, age 36, of Benton for domestic battery.  Jackson was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On February 6, 2014 Benton Police were dispatched to Huck’s Convenient Store located at 102 North McLeansboro Street in reference to an intoxicated customer.  Through investigation, police arrested Steven D. Sullivan, age 47, of Thompsonville for driving under the influence.  Sullivan was also cited for improper lane usage.  Sullivan was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

Public health officials say it’s not too late to get flu vaccine

Influenza activity is increasing in Southern Illinois but public health officials say it’s not too late for residents to protect themselves from the virus.

Here’s the link to the story in the Southern Illinoisan.

Obituary – Melvin Thomas Hamilton – Sesser

Melvin Thomas Hamilton, 88, of Sesser, IL, died Dec. 18, 2013 at 5:20 p.m. at the VA Medical Center, in Marion, IL.

He was born Sept. 12, 1925 in McLeansboro, IL, the son of Warner Hamilton and Ida G. (Turtine) Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton is the former owner of the Print Shop, in Sesser.  He was a member of North Benton Baptist Church in Benton, IL.

He was a Navy veteran serving during World War II.

Mr. Hamilton is survived by his children, Ralph and Cindy Hamilton of Christopher, IL, Nancy and Lee Kinsey of Sesser, IL, Norma and Daryl Webb of Ewing, IL, Melvin Randal and Katty Hamilton of Pheenix, AL and Richard and Michelle Hamilton of Colorado Springs, CO.  He is also survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Also surviving are brothers and sisters, Effie Tevebaugh of McLeansboro, IL, Charles Hamilton of Lincoln, IL, Helen Haynes of Denver, CO and Anna Lee Cox of Cumming, GA.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, two sisters and one brother.

Funeral services  will be held Sunday December 22, 2013 at 1 p.m. at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser, IL, with the Rev. Mark Minor officiating.

Visitation will be on Saturday December 21, 2013 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.  Burial will be at Odd Fellows Cemetery, in McLeansboro, IL. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Whittington Church or to The Veteran’s Tribute.

Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

For more information go to



Five area people plead guilty in federal court to meth-related charges

BENTON — Five Southern Illinoisan residents pleaded guilty to methamphetamine-related charges and another was sentenced this month in U.S. District Court in Benton.

  • Rachel S. Holt, 40, Sparta, for conspiring to manufacture meth and for possessing pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used for meth manufacturing. Evidence showed Holt worked with others in manufacturing meth between 2009 and 2013 in Jackson, Randolph and St. Clair counties. Holt is being held without bond pending a Jan. 30 sentencing, at which she faces five to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $5 million.
  • Virgil L. Easton, 35, of Cutler, pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture meth between January 2011 and January 2013 in Perry, Jackson and Randolph counties. During the conspiracy, Easton obtained and provided pseudoephedrine to others for use in the meth manufacturing. Easton is being held without bond pending a Jan. 30 sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
  • Brian W. Davis, 31, of De Soto, pleaded guilty meth manufacturing between June 2012 and Nov. 1, 2012, in Jackson and Union counties. Davis is being held without bond pending a Jan. 30 sentencing and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
  • Donald Gregory, 47, of Murphysboro, and Daniel Loden, 30, of Grand Tower, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture meth between March 2011 and March 2013 in Jackson County. Gregory is facing five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Loden is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The two men are being held without bond pending their January sentencing hearings.
  • Michael A. Lovell, 35, of Shawneetown, was sentenced to 151 months in prison for conspiring to manufacture meth, possession of meth-making materials and being a felon in possession of ammunition between August 2010 and Aug. 7, 2012, in Saline and Johnson counties. He was fined $600.

Fall Car Show lays out details, fundraiser to benefit RLC students





INA, Ill. – New details on the Rend Lake College fall Car Show are being planned to bring out the whole family for a fun-filled day of cars, awards and prizes. The show and activities are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 on the Ina campus.

In addition to the show, a swap meet and flea market, children’s activities, awards and more are all in the works. The show itself will be located in the east parking lot, and the swap meet and flea market will be in the west parking lot. The show, the swap meet and the flea market will begin at 9 a.m. There is a $10 fee to register a car in the show.

“We’re very excited to be doing this fall Car Show and we look forward to having a big turnout,” said RLC Automotive Technology Professor Nigel Thompson. “The more people who come out and enjoy the day with us, the more we raise for Rend Lake College students.”

Judging of the cars will begin at 11 a.m. and participants will be eligible to win 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 1 and 2 p.m.

The trophies will be awarded at 2 p.m. and dash plaques will be available to the first 125 participants. In addition to trophies, there will also be door prizes, a 50/50 drawing to benefit RLC student scholarships and event T-shirts for $10.

Future RLC students interested in the Automotive Technology program can also attend the event as a qualification for a new Car Show Scholarship. Students will have to attend the Car Show on Oct. 19 and complete an application process in the spring to be eligible. The scholarship will be awarded for the 2014-15 academic year.

RLC President Terry Wilkerson recently announced that he will match the funds raised by the fall Car Show used for scholarships in the Automotive Technology program.

“The instructors and staff in the Automotive Technology program are taking ownership of their program, as a lot of our faculty and staff do, and I want to encourage and support that initiative,” said Wilkerson. “Money raised by this event will be extremely important to prospective students, and I hope more of the community and car enthusiasts attend to help Rend Lake College reach out to them.”

Attendees can also check out the live entertainment from Hot Rod Nights, located between the two big attractions; activities in the RLC Auto Shop, such as Slot Car Racing and prizes; plenty of vehicle vendors; and food, catered by the RLC Culinary Arts program. Coffee will be served at 9 a.m. with food ready by 10:30 a.m.

Door prizes are being donated by Tommy T’s of Mt. Vernon, Mt. Vernon AutoZone, Federated Auto Parts of Mt. Vernon, Bumper to Bumper of Benton, NAPA of Mt. Vernon, the Jefferson County Schools Credit Union, Il-Mo Welding Products of Mt. Vernon, Don’s Stereo and Speed Center of Mt. Vernon and Wilkey’s Airport Restaurant in Mt. Vernon.

Senate leaders announce deal to reopen government, raise debt ceiling


Senate leaders Wednesday jointly announced an agreement on a bipartisan proposal to extend the nation’s debt limit and end the partial shutdown of the federal government.


Here’s the link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

RLC grad TJ Tomshack awarded prestigious Poshard Foundation Scholarship at SIUC

CARBONDALE, Ill. – TJ Tomshack has one more achievement to add to his list: the title of first-ever Rend Lake College graduate to receive the Poshard Foundation Scholarship for his hard work in school and overcoming adversity.

Here’s the link to the story.