YouTube to ban all vaccine misinformation, not just false claims about COVID-19 vaccine

YouTube will remove videos spreading misinformation about any approved vaccine, not only those aimed at preventing Covid-19, the company announced in a blog post Wednesday.

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

Black drivers twice as likely to be pulled over in Herrin, data shows; cops benefit from towing fees

HERRIN — Last year, Black individuals driving in Herrin were 2.1 times more likely than white individuals to be pulled over for a traffic stop, according to an analysis by The Southern of Herrin Police Department data.

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

COVID is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of urban residents

Rural Americans are dying of COVID at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated.

Here’s the link to the story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Annual RLC Car Show set for Oct. 9

INA, IL – Help support the next generation of automotive enthusiasts by participating in the 8th annual Rend Lake College Car show.

Taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 9, the show will have a $15 registration fee that helps fund the RLC automotive student scholarships. Registration will run from 9 a.m. to noon with awards starting at 12:30 p.m. Participants must be present to win.

The show will feature more than 20 award categories and the first 100 to register will also receive a participation award. In addition, there will be a 50/50 drawing and door prizes every 15 minutes. Hot Rod Nights will be providing music, and concessions will also be available for purchase.

Anyone interested should contact Nigel Thompson at 618-437-5321 ext 1806 or email You won’t want to miss it!

COVID-19 in Southern Illinois: Additional deaths reported in Franklin, Johnson, Massac, Perry, and Union Counties on Thursday

A county-by-county look at lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southern Illinois, updated daily. Last updated: 10:30 p.m., Thursday, August 12.

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

SIU workshops to help Southern Illinois businesses apply for COVID grants

Southern Illinois business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s new “Back to Business” grant program.

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

Rend Lake College Board highlights

Board of Trustees Meeting

Meeting Highlights

Under New Business, the Board:

Approved revisions to Rend Lake College Policy 3.1110 – Computation of Hourly Rate of Pay for Part-Time Employees (Second Reading) as presented, to be effective August 10, 2021.

RATIONALE: In revising this policy, consideration was given to the following:
1. The college’s financial condition;
2. State averages for comparable positions; and,
3. Local salaries.
4. Salary adjustments made to align with current market conditions
5. Increasing minimum wage requirements in the State of Illinois

Approved revisions to Rend Lake College Policy and Procedure 4.1505 – Textbooks (second reading) effective for Summer 2022 term.

RATIONALE: Following a review of potential proposals by outside vendors, Administration believes that the College should continue to own and operate our Bookstore. However, the Administration also believes that to remain competitive changes need to be made to the way students are charged for textbooks. Following careful consideration and analysis, the Administration proposes a system in which students are assessed a fee on a per credit hour basis which includes in part the costs of texts. This assessment of fees will allow student to better prepare and budget for the costs of textbooks. Students will not be charged any additional fees for textbooks above the assessed fees.

Approved revisions to Rend Lake College Policy and Procedure 3.1530 – Holidays, first reading, effective September 14, 2021.

RATIONALE: JUNETEENTH (June 19) is now recognized as a holiday by the federal government.

Approved a Joint Agreement for Dual Credit between Rend Lake College, District #521 and John A. Logan College, District #530, as presented, effective August 10, 2021.

RATIONALE: This Joint Agreement will allow the community colleges listed above to provide additional educational programs to the high school students of each district.

Approved the tentative FY 2022 budget as presented.

RATIONALE: Provided as a separate document, the FY 2022 budget will be presented in a tentative form at the August meeting. As required by law, the proposed budget will be available for public inspection for thirty (30) days and a public hearing on the budget will be held at 6:00 p.m. prior to the regular board meeting which is to be held on September 14, 2021.

Granted permission to create the stipend position and job description for American Heart Association Training Center (AHA TC) Coordinator, as presented, effective August 10, 2021. This stipend position will be in the amount of $2,000 annually.

RATIONALE: This stipend position is necessary in order to partially fulfill the duties available due to the recent resignation of Jo Ann Dick who oversaw the AHA Center at the MarketPlace.

Approved the 2021-2022 Instructor Reference Guide as provided.

RATIONALE: The provided Instructor Reference Guide has been updated to reflect revisions to board policy & procedure, internal processes, contact information, and faculty resources.

Under Personnel, the Board:
Accepted the resignation of Jacey Donoho, Toddler Room Lead Child Care Provider of the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective August 12, 2021.

Accepted with regret the resignation of Jo Ann Dick, Coordinator of Special Projects, effective August 10, 2021.

Appointed Andrea Davey as Institutional Research and Analysis Coordinator, effective August 16, 2021.

RATIONALE: Ms. Davey has the necessary education, experience, and enthusiasm for the Institutional Research and Analysis Coordinator position. She also adds her experience working with RL-Cares and the Student Success Department. Davey is currently a Recruitment & Student Success Specialist at RLC. She holds associate degrees from RLC and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Appointed Chelsey Thompson as Lead Teacher Infant Room for the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective August 2, 2021.

RATIONALE: Ms. Thompson has been employed by the College as an Assistant Pre-K teacher since 2013. During that time, she has proven herself to be qualified to provide quality care to the children in her classroom. She holds an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education from RLC.

Appointed Christy Jean as Director of the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective July 26, 2021.

RATIONALE: Ms. Jean possesses the prior work experience and the education needed to be qualified as the Director per DCFS and ISBE guidelines. Jean holds an A.A. in Early Childhood Education from RLC, a B.S. in Human Services from University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Phoenix. She served as the Early Education Support Provider for the San Diego County Office of Education from 2004 to 2020.

Granted permission to revise the contract length and salary of Rene Crouse, Pre-K Room Lead Child Care Provider for the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective August 16, 2021.

RATIONALE: In light of current salaries being paid for comparable positions in our area, the salaries of our current Child Center staff need to be adjusted. Mrs. Crouse currently works on a 12-month contract and is the Lead Teacher for the Pre-K grant which is 9-month grant program. This change in contract length will better align with the needs of the grant program and the College.

Granted permission to revise the salary of Nichole Martie, Pre-K Room Lead Child Care Provider for the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective August 1, 2021.

RATIONALE: In light of current salaries being paid for comparable positions in our area, the salaries of our current Child Center staff need to be adjusted. Ms. Martie holds a Bachelor’s Degree and during the five years that she has been employed at the Center she has proven to be a valued employee who provides quality care for the children in the classroom.

Appointed Bailey Lindsey as Lead Teacher Toddler Room for the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center, effective August 16, 2021, subject to DCFS approval.

RATIONALE: Mrs. Lindsey possesses the necessary skills to fill this position. She holds an associate degree in early childhood education and a Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She currently serves as a preschool teacher at Dr. Andy Hall School in Mt. Vernon. Prior to that, she was a pre-Kindergarten teacher at Openair Academy and The Learning Experience, both in Colorado.

Granted permission to transfer Walker Bullington from Academic Advisor with Baseball to Student Success & Recruitment Specialist with Baseball and revise the job description, effective August 16, 2021.

RATIONALE: In light of the recent appointment of Ms. Andrea Davey who served as Student Success & Recruitment Specialist, Walker Bullington will transfer to this position. To better fit the needs of the college, Mr. Bullington’s position as head baseball coach is being included in his new primary role as Student Success & Recruitment Specialist.

Granted permission to transfer Sean Carley from Web and Social Media Specialist to Academic Advisor, effective August 16, 2021.

RATIONALE: In light of the recent transfer of Mr. Walker Bullington who was to serve as Academic Advisor with Baseball, Mr. Carley will transfer to this position.

Additional Highlights:

Reports —

A presentation on the all-inclusive textbook program from Bookstore and Copy Center Manager Casey Rhine and Assistant Manager Hannah Webb.
An ICCTA report from Trustee John Kabat.
An accreditation report from Associate Vice President of Institutional Outreach Chad Copple.
President Terry Wilkerson reported on updates to COVID-19 protocol at RLC campuses, completion of the Slankard Learning Resource Center renovation, the final stages of upgrades at the Academic Building, and the beginning of construction at the new Event Center.

Mark your calendars …

Warrior Days Workshop, Saturday, Aug. 14, Rend Lake College campus, 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Annual RLC Foundation Golf Outing, Thursday, Sept. 9, Rend Lake Golf Course, noon shotgun start.
Fun Fest, Wednesday, Sept. 15, Rend Lake College Ina campus, noon to 3 p.m.
Auto Show, Saturday, Oct. 9, Rend Lake College campus.
Faculty/Staff In-Service, Tuesday, Oct. 12, Rend Lake College Theater.
College Fair, Wednesday, Oct. 13, Rend Lake College Gymnasium, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
RLCF Annual Scholarship Dinner, Thursday, Oct. 21, Benton Civic Center, 6-8 p.m.
Southeast Region Trustee Meeting, Thursday, Nov. 4, John A. Logan College, TBD.

“Back to School Night” at RLC slated for August 4

Before you hit the books, why not have a blast with Rend Lake College?! RLC is inviting all in-district high school student and recent graduates to its “Back to School Night” at the Aquatic Zoo in Mt. Vernon, IL on Wednesday, August 4th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Come out and have a fun night at the waterpark!

The night includes free admission and giveaways to the first 25 to enter the park. Students can also sign-up for additional giveaways as RLC will raffle off items throughout the night. There is also a chance to win tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

The event is limited to 450 people. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP on Facebook. We hope to see you there!

Chalk, chalk and more chalk – Benton artists plan to decorate sidewalks at Benton Community Park

The second-ever “Chalk Benton” event will be held this Saturday, July 31 at Benton Community Park.

Triston Bigham, of Benton, was busy this week advertising his second-ever “Chalk Benton” event this Saturday at Benton Park.

Triston Bigham, a Benton High School grad, initiated the first event a few weeks ago as just a way of getting a few creative friends together to draw with chalk. Bigham, who has a passion for chalk drawing, will attend Rend Lake College this fall and study graphic design. He said the first event was so successful – more than 25 showed up to show off their chalk drawing skills — that he wanted to hold another event at Benton Community Park.

The event will begin at 2 p.m., just look for a crowd with chalk in their hand and a smile on their face. You can also find more information on Facebook at Chalk Benton.

Remembering Mary Havlovic – an iconic educator who left a huge impact on students’ lives

By Jim Muir

Many people probably glanced over the obituary of Mary Havlovic and didn’t pay much attention. Perhaps the most noteworthy item listed in the brief death notice was the fact that Mrs. Havlovic lived to be 101 years old, a quite remarkable feat.
But for many, news of her death brought sadness and bittersweet, nostalgic memories of an iconic teacher and a long passed era when the world was far safer and when time didn’t seem to pass so quickly.

Mary Havlovic passed away on Monday, July 19, 2021 and will be buried in Mount Auburn, Illinois on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

Mrs. Havlovic was a longtime teacher at the old Washington Grade School in Sesser, located near where the Miner’s Memorial Park is located. She had the distinction of being a teacher there both before and after the 1963-64 consolidation that created a unit school district that is now known as Sesser-Valier. Countless children had the blessed opportunity to have Mrs. Havlovic as a teacher and can still recall her ‘big’ voice and hearty laughter.

It was not unusual in that era to see Mrs. Havlovic – wearing a dress and barefooted – in the middle of a dusty ball diamond, pitching softball during recess. In conversations I’ve had with those who fondly remember her and from comments I’ve read on social media, the most significant thing that stands out decades later was her kindness to everybody. And it didn’t matter – rich, poor, boys, girls, smart and those who struggled – she was kind to everybody. In fact, the only thing that exceeded her kindness back in those wonderful days was her keen ability to help her students learn and to make school fun.

Washington Grade School

Mrs. Havlovic didn’t have any children of her own, but she made a huge difference and a positive impact on an untold number of lives, mine included. Simply stated, she was one remarkable lady!

Interestingly, when I heard of the death of Mrs. Havlovic I thought of a short quote written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It reads:

“What is success?

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

Based on that description, Mary Havlovic’s time on earth was a smashing success and hers was a life well-lived.

Obituaries are adequate and purposeful when describing the highlights of a person’s life but they fail to reveal the real fabric of that person.

Today I would like to add a footnote to Mary Havlovic’s obituary.

Along with the relevant facts that were listed, Mrs. Havlovic should also be remembered as a person that loved all children, helped shape and mold an untold number of young lives and spent her best years making the small mining and farming community of Sesser a better place to live and attend school.

And most importantly it should be remembered that Mrs. Havlovic is still admired and revered by former students, many who are now in their 60s and 70s. That’s a legacy with quite a lasting impact.

RIP Mrs. Havlovic. Your race is run but your contribution to children’s lives will carry on for generations to come!

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News