Goble leaves the helm at Benton Grade School District 47


From the District #47 website.

BENTON, IL – (Holly Kee – Benton Evening News – Please click link to read the full story above.  Here is an excerpt below.)

For the past six years, Jay Goble has led the Benton Grade School District 47, bringing it safely through the state’s financial crisis while upgrading both curriculum and facilities.

In just over 30 days, Goble will leave the district and school he’s called home to take the reigns at the North Mac School District.

“I’m a change agent,” Goble said in an interview on Monday. “I like to evaluate and organization and find areas to improve.”

Goble said the Board of Education is currently seeking candidates and hopes to hire a replacement by the end of June.

His last day on the job in Benton is June 30. He will begin his new duties at North Mac July 1.


Michael Hobbs, charged with child porn and child sexual abuse, receives court date


Franklin County Sheriff’s office image

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

Michael Hobbs, the Sesser man charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse and child pornography, is scheduled to sit before a jury this August.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, defense attorney Thomas Mansfield represented Hobbs before Judge Thomas Tedeschi. The court set pretrial dates of July 6 at 1:30 p.m., July 27 at 9:30 a.m. and a jury trial date of Aug. 8 to begin at 9:30 a.m. in Benton.

Hobbs is being held in the Franklin County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Enhanced (Level 3 of 5) risk of severe weather for Saturday

by Steve Dunford 

I haven’t had to do an update in a while.  I hope you have enjoyed this stretch of beautiful weather we have had.  We will have two perfect days weather-wise coming up with highs mid 70’s today and in the lower 80’s tomorrow.

Saturday we are under an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) for severe weather.  I have been keeping my eye out on this system since yesterday.  I was expecting to be under a slight risk today.  With the Storm Prediction Center issuing an enhanced three days out, their confidence is pretty high.

As you can see in the graphic, large hail and damaging winds are the main threat.  The tornado threat is low.  That will be determined if the wind shear factor increases.  There will be a lot of instability.  In the graphic to the left, Dr. Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel, has his TORCON rating as a three for Southern Illinois on Saturday.  That means there is a 30% of going under a tornado warning in a 50 mile radius of a given point.

As far as timing, the threat could come in the afternoon until the overnight hours, into Sunday morning.  I would not alter my plans for Saturday afternoon yet, as there is a chance we could get nothing.

In my opinion, and keep in mind I only had six credit hours of meteorology in college, for Saturday afternoon I see more pop up thunderstorms ahead of the main system.  With the instability, the atmosphere will be juiced, with it being sunny, humid and highs in the mid 80’s.  There is a very small chance that one of these storms could become a super cell.

If you are out on the water, or out camping, I would become particularly aware from about noon Saturday into the overnight hours on Sunday.  I would keep a NOAA weather Radio with me.  I would begin to take action if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning was issued for a bordering county.

I will be home on Saturday monitoring the radar.  I will give updates on the Facebook page when storms are a couple hours away that would be a threat to Franklin County or the rest of Southern Illinois.

Below are some safety tips of being outdoors and severe weather strikes.



Award-Winning Local History Teacher Mark Motsinger Highlights a Civil War Soldier.



Kevin Boucher, WSIU Radio photo.

CARRIER MILLS, IL –  (Kevin Boucher, WSIU Radio Please click on the link to listen to the audio clip.)

Note:  Mark  Motsinger started his teaching career at Thompsonville High School teaching PE, Driver Ed., and Health.  He also served as assistant basketball coach and head cross county and track coach.

He has multiple awards as a history teacher at Carrier Mills.  He also was the head basketball coach for 19 years.

He was also a missionary to Africa during the summer months.  Please listen to the audio clip.  It was very interesting for a history buff like me.

West Frankfort mayor looks at pitfalls of workers’ comp


WSIL image

WEST FRANKFORT, IL (Roni Leforge, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story and video.  Here is an excerpt.)

The Illinois Senate could take a vote on some lingering problems related to workers’ compensation in the so-called “grand bargain” budget.

Illinois already has high workers’ compensation claims, prompting Governor Bruce Rauner to push for a change to how claims get evaluated and paid to lower costs on businesses and attract more jobs to the state.

The plan has support from several political leaders like West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan, who calls workers’ comp reform a must. Jordan says the city sees workers’ comp claims frequently, and each year the city puts aside $500,000 for those claims.

But rising health care costs and insurance premiums, could wipe that money out, quickly.

“This year, we have paid $310,377 in workers’ compensation claims,” said Mayor Jordan.

That’s only five months into the year, and why he wants to see costs go down.



Local political analyst talks gerrymandering in Illinois


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

The United States Supreme Court struck a blow this week against so-called gerrymandered districts, saying politicians in a North Carolina case “relied too heavily on race, in their creation.”

Politicians redraw those districts with each new census, typically to favor the party in power, and it’s had a big effect on Illinois politics.

In redistricting, politicians redraw voting districts in their state.

That’s where political analyst Jak Tichenor says, redistricting often turns into “gerrymandering.”

“The legislature draws the map, so that means, generally speaking, the party that’s in power draws the map to their political advantage,” explained Tichenor.

According to a study by The Economist, Illinois has the most gerrymandered districts in the country.


Beach Blast to be Held at Rend Lake South Sandusky Beach on May 27, 2017

Press Release From U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rend Lake Project Office

BENTON, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake is hosting the annual Rend Lake Beach Blast on Saturday, May 27th, at the South Sandusky Beach. There will be games for all ages, music, and activities that teach all ages how to stay safe when around the water. Beach Blast has long been a public favorite that kicks off the summer recreation season. The event will begin at noon with the arrival of the AirEvac helicopter, which will be landing in the grassy lawn to the north of the beach. The pilots of the helicopter will remain on site to answer questions and explain the workings of the “air ambulance.” A variety of activities are planned for the afternoon, beginning at 12:00, with tours of the Sesser Fire Department firetruck and the Abbott EMS ambulance. For the more energetic crowd there will be a variety of beach activities ongoing throughout the afternoon and ending at 4:00 pm.

There will be something for everyone including competitive games, prizes, a live DJ with karaoke, and much more! Gather your friends and family and head to Rend Lake’s South Sandusky Beach from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 27th!

This program is the second program in the summer-long lineup of educational programming, brought to you by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These programs are free and suitable for guests of every age. The next Environmental Science Series program, scheduled for June 3rd from 9-1:00 p.m., will be a child passenger safety seat check, performed by the Illinois State Police and CPS technicians from various local health and safety organizations. In addition, activities specifically designed for children 5 and under will be ongoing in the Rend Lake Visitor Center during the hours of the safety seat check. For more information, please call the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493 or like our Facebook page at facebook.com/rendlakeusace. We hope to see you there!

Rend Lake fishing report

LARGEMOUTH BASS – Good Minnows spinner baits, worms, and black and blue jigs. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks 14” minimum length limit, 6 daily creel limit. 1 fish daily creel limit in PONDS 14” minimum length.

CRAPPIE –  Excellent Meal worms. Small & medium minnows. Quarter-ounce pink and white tub jigs. Shallow water! Fish attractors! From shore, fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky, Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. Try the Jackie Branch Breakwater and along Mine 21 Road. Fish the main lake drop off areas. 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than 10 fish 10 inches or longer

BLUEGILL – Good Small jigs, worms, meal worms, wax worms, crickets. From shore try Sailboat Harbor and Mine 21 Road. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. 10 fish daily creel limit in PONDS.

CHANNEL CATFISH – Excellent Large minnows, leeches, Hoss’s Hawg Bait, night crawlers, and Sonny’s stink bait. Try leeches in moving water. Drift fish the flats. Set line 3-4’ from the shore over rocks. Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area. 6 fish daily creel limit in PONDS. Jugs must be attended at all times while fishing.

WHITE BASS – Fair In-line spinners, jig and curly tail grubs. Reports of fish being caught around the 154 bridges. Fish around along the rocks and drop-offs Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. 20 fish creel limit. No more than 3 fish 17” or longer daily

Benton, Sesser, and Freeman Spur receive DECO grants


FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (WSIL -TV Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt.

WSIL — Seven Southern Illinois towns will split nearly $3 million in grant money to help spruce up their communities.

The Department of Economic Opportunity grants will go to the following towns:

  • Benton
  • Cambria
  • Creal Springs
  • Freeman Spur
  • Marion
  • Sesser
  • Spillertown.

Morthland College promises free tuition for returning students



WEST FRANKFORT, IL (Brandon Merano, WSIL-TV.  Please click image above for the full story and accompanying video.  Below is an excerpt.)

Morthland College said all students in good academic standing can return to class “free of charge.”

Last week, the college’s board of trustees cut all athletic programs at the school, leaving student athlete scholarships in limbo.

In an e-mail sent to Morthland College students on Friday, the school promised to:

 “ensure that any current Morthland College student in good academic standing returning to Morthland College will have 100 percent of tuition and fees covered through the generosity of the Morthland Foundation.”