Saline County Clerk Roger Craig dies two weeks into term

HARRISBURG — Saline County Clerk Roger Craig died Wednesday morning, less than two weeks into his term. 

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

New Franklin County sheriff ready to face county’s challenges

BENTON — Franklin County’s newest sheriff, David Bartoni, has inherited no shortage of problems.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Auditions dates set for RLC Spring Musical, “9 to 5”

INA, Ill. – Get down to business this year by auditioning for the Rend Lake College Spring 2019 Musical “9 to 5.” Auditions for the show will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2019 with callbacks set for 6 p.m. Jan. 24. The musical is presented at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 11-13, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14, in the RLC Theatre.

Actors over the age of 16 are invited to audition in the RLC Theatre. Actors should dress professionally and bring an extra set of comfortable clothes to learn dance numbers.

Auditions will be a two-step process. Those interested will sing a portion of a song and then learn a dance combination. Actors are asked to have prepared 32 bars or a minute of a song that best shows off their personality and vocal ability, but should not be from the show “9 to 5.” Participants are asked to bring sheet music with them to the audition. An accompanist will be provided.

Callbacks are also scheduled for 6 p.m. in the RLC Theatre where potential actors will be required to do a cold reading and perform portions of songs from “9 to 5.” There may also be an additional dance callback.

After the cast announcement, rehearsals will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28 in the RLC Theatre and will be held at the same time and location Mondays through Thursdays, with some exceptions.

For more information about auditions, contact Alstat at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1817 or

Based on characters created by Patricia Resnick with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, “9 to 5” revolves around a three female coworkers pushed to the boiling point by a  sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. In a hilarious turn of events, Violet, Judy and Doralee live out their wildest fantasy – giving their boss the boot! While Hart remains “otherwise engaged,” the women give their workplace a dream makeover, taking control of the company that had always kept them down. This show is rated PG-13.

Tickets will cost $12 and will be available for purchase on March 25. Contact the RLC Box Office for additional information at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1467.

Benton police make arrests

On December 7t, 2018 at approximately 11:15 a.m. Benton Police were dispatched to Dollar General located at 1005 East Main Street in reference to a retail theft.  Upon investigating, police arrested Abbey R. Holder, age 37, of West Frankfort for retail theft and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.  Holder was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On December 8, 2018 at approximately 1:45 a.m. Benton Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Glendale Street in reference to a domestic disturbance.  Upon investigating, police arrested. Brent R. Perry, age 43, of Benton for domestic battery.  Perry was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing.

On December 8t, 2018 at approximately 8:50 a.m. Benton Police were dispatched to the 200 block of Bailey Lane in reference to a disturbance.  Upon investigating, police arrested Krystal L. Boner, age 27, of West Frankfort for aggravated assault.  Boner was charged and transported to the Franklin County Jail for further processing

Rauner applauds Board decision on Airbnb

CHICAGO — The Illinois Investment Policy Board (IIPB) today unanimously found that Airbnb’s decision to delist Jewish-owned properties on the West Bank was not in compliance with Illinois anti-BDS law. Airbnb has until the next IIPB meeting on March 13 to respond before the IIPB takes final action.

Gov. Bruce Rauner issued the following statement applauding the IIPB action:

“In response to our request for an investigation, the Illinois Investment Policy Board has determined that Airbnb is not in compliance with Illinois law prohibiting bans, divestitures and sanctions against the state of Israel. We applaud the Board’s finding and urge Airbnb to reverse its decision. It is imperative that we hold companies accountable when they are engaged in targeted discriminatory activities. Such actions not only violate the law of Illinois, they offend the core values of equality and fairness upon which our nation is built.”


INA, Ill. – Rend Lake College is pleased to announce another 10 years of accreditation after the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) found that RLC met all five Criteria for Accreditation and their various subcomponents. The college’s next reaffirmation will be in 2028-2029.

“This is great news for the institution to receive its full 10-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation, and is a testament to everyone’s dedication to the College and its mission,” Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson said after the decision was handed down.

The ten-year accreditation is the longest accreditation awarded by HLC, an independent agency that monitors the quality of degree-granting institutions over a 19 state area. The organization ensures the quality of a college’s programs via an intensive peer-review process and then determines if an institution maintains accreditation, a vital benchmark to ensuring a college offers respected, transferable degree programs. Accreditation also is necessary in order for the college to be able to distribute certain types of federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants. Additionally, those in the community should see the 10-year accreditation as affirmation that their tax dollars are being used responsibly.

“Preparation for our visit and writing the assurance argument has been an ongoing initiative for the past couple of years. Our RLC team has worked diligently and cohesively to strengthen the institution and improve student learning with the concentration on our students’ success. Even though this portion of the process is behind us, our efforts remain focused on continuous improvement initiatives,” said Lori Ragland, RLC Vice President of Instruction and Accreditation Liaison Officer.

“It was clear to the team that all Rend Lake College stakeholders work tirelessly in support of the organization’s mission and values in times of economic uncertainty,” the team wrote in the conclusion of their final report. “The college is committed to keep tuition low, maintaining faculty and staff positions, while continuing to deliver quality services to its students. The team heard countless testimonials from students, alumni, community partners, Foundation Board members, and the Board of Trustees regarding the impact that college administration, faculty, and staff contribute to enhance student success and improve the communities it serves. The college administration, faculty, and staff are to be commended for their commitment to serving their students’ and stakeholders’ needs.”

The reaffirmation process included several various components as part of HLC’s Open Pathway for accreditation. An extensive, evidence-based narrative, called an Assurance Argument, was written and submitted to HLC. This argument outlines the evidence of how the college meets each of the Five Criteria and the subcomponents. This was followed in November by a visit from a peer review team, which met with various campus groups and individuals over the course of two days. Prior to these, a federal compliance filing was required, which demonstrates the college’s satisfaction of various federal guidelines. A Quality Initiative also is a requirement of the Open Pathway process. This was RLC’s First-Year Experience program, which was implemented and supported with a written report to HLC.

Several staff and faculty members worked for the past three years to prepare and submit all the varied reports and requirements for the process.

The final report from the HLC is available at For more information on the Five Criteria and the Open Pathway, visit


SIJHSAA tournaments return to RLC
The board approved a 10-year contract between the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA) and Rend Lake College District #521 to continue to hold the girls and boys state basketball tournaments in Rend Lake College’s James Waugh Gymnasium.

Atchison joins as administrative assistant
The board approved the appointment of Taylor Atchison as Administrative Assistant for the Applies Science and Technology Division on a full-time basis. Atchison is a graduate of Rend Lake College with professional experience as an administrative assistant or titles, having fulfilled the role in different industry environments.  

Kathalynas named clinical coordinator
The board approved the appointment of Rachael Kathalynas as Radiologic Technology Clinical Coordinator on a full-time basis, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Kathalynas holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern University Carbondale and as Associate of Applied Science from Rend Lake College. She had been teaching part-time at RLC and has the professional experience in her field and necessary skills to be successful in the position.

Patrick transfers to Computer Tech
The board ratified the transfer of David Patrick from Health Studies Student Success Center (HSSSC)/Information Technology Help Desk Support Technician to Computer Technician on a full-time basis, effective Dec. 17, 2018. The move was planned in anticipation of the end of the Title III grant, which partially funded the HSSSC position, as well as the resignations of existing Computer Technicians. Patrick has the knowledge, education and experience to be successful in the position.

Marlow appointed to CTE Student Success Coordinator
The board appointed Joseph Marlow as Career Technical Education (CTE) Student Success Coordinator on a full-time basis for the remainder of the fiscal year, effective Dec. 17. Marlow has worked at Rend Lake College since 2016 as a part-time biology instructor and math and science tutor. He possesses all the relevant education and work experience to perform the duties of the position. Marlow holds Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science degrees for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as well as Associate degrees in both Arts and Science from Rend Lake College.

Course/Curriculum changes
The board approved the addition of a new course, title changes to existing courses, changes to existing courses, withdrawal of exiting courses, changes to existing curriculum and authorized their submission to the Illinois Community College Board for action.

Addition of New Course
            CNA 1604 Nursing Aide Skills – Effective 5/1/2019
Title Changes to Existing Courses
            CSCI 1260 Intro to .NET Platform Programming
            CSCI 1261 Mastering .NET Platform Fundamentals
            SCSI 1262 Advanced .NET Platform Development
            Effective 6/1/2019
Changes to Existing Courses
            ALH 1204 Introduction to Venipuncture – Effective 5/1/2019
            AGRI 1161 Soil Science – Effective 6/1/2019
            AGRI 1181 Introduction to Animal Sciences – Effective 6/1/2019
            AGRI 1263 Crop Sciences – Effective 6/1/2019
Withdrawal of Existing Courses
            MLT 1200 Introduction to Clinical Laboratory
            MLT 1201 Serology
            MLT 1202 Clinical Microscopy
            MLT 1210 Clinical Rotation I
            MLT 1211 MLT Phlebotomy
           MLT 2202 Immunohematology
            MLT 2205 Clinical Chemistry
            MLT 2210 Clinical Rotation II
            MLT 2228 Hematology and Mermostasis
            MLT 2229 Clinical Microbiology
            Effective Date 1/1/2019
Changes to Existing Curriculum
            CSCI 119 Programming with .NET Platform – effective 6/1/2019
            ECE 590 Early Childhood Certificate – Level 2
            ECE 595 Early Childhood Certificate – Level 3
                        Effective 1/1/2019

Capital Development Board Project
The board granted permission to enter into a trust agreement with Peoples National bank and to establish a trust account for Capital Development Board Project No. 810-078-025 as part of the Emergency/Deferred Maintenance Capital Projects recently approved by the State of Illinois and too be administered by the Capital Development Board as required.

In other business, the board …

·         Approved the schedule of meetings of the Rend Lake College board of Trustees for the 2019 calendar year.

·         Approved the 2019-2020 Rend Lake College Catalog.

·         Accepted the resignation of Mr. Andrew Burk, computer technician

·         Approved the creation of a graphic designer position and granted permission to advertise the position.

·         Ratified the payment of college expenses, including travel expense reimbursements, as presented.

Mark your calendars …

·         RLC Faculty / Staff Holiday Luncheon, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, Waugh Gymnasium.

·         Holiday Break (offices closed) – Dec. 24, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019.

·         First day of spring classes – Jan. 14

Low budget kept Illinois’ 200th birthday party on the low-key side

Monday officially marked the state of Illinois’ 200th birthday, with a year’s worth of events and commemorations capped with a birthday bash on Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Nick Hill selected to attend AFCA’s 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute

Nick HIll

Football  12/03/2018 | 3:16:00 By Tom Weber,

Nick Hill selected to attend AFCA’s 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute

The American Football Coaches Association announced today that Southern Illinois head coach Nick Hill was chosen to participate in the 2019 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute. The prestigious program is aimed at identifying and developing premier, future leaders in the football coaching profession.

This year’s class of 35 head coaches was chosen from a field of hundreds of under-35-year-old head coach applicants from all levels of high school and college. Applicants were required to submit a resume, five references, and a 1,600-word article or five-minute live instructional video on an Offensive, Defensive, Special Teams, or position-specific topic of the applicant’s choosing.

Hill, age 33, recently completed his third season as head coach at his alma mater. The Salukis had one of the nation’s premier offenses in 2018, averaging 30 points per game and 431 yards per contest. Southern’s offense featured a 1,000-yard rusher in D.J. Davis and a pair of receivers — Raphael Leonard and Landon Lenoir — who combined for 105 catches and nine touchdowns.

Selected participants will attend a one-day institute that features a curriculum of interactive lectures focused on topics specifically tailored to emphasize leadership in the coaching profession, ethics, influential responsibilities, career progression, and family balance. The AFCA 2019 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute will take place on Sunday, January 6, at the AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Wisconsin GOP votes to weaken incoming Democrat who defeated Gov. Walker

Wisconsin Republicans pushed through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition Wednesday to pass far-reaching legislation that would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the Democrat who defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker last month.

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