Rangers rebound from loss with lopsided win over Hardin County

By Jim Muir

Ask any basketball coach and they will tell you the best thing for their team after a tough loss is to get back on the court as quickly as possible. In the case of the Benton Rangers on Tuesday ‘as quickly as possible’ translates to approximately 17 hours.

The Rangers wasted little time shaking off the loss and rolled to a 61-21 victory over an outmanned Hardin County team in the first game on night two of the 6th Annual Goreville Invitational Tournament.

The Rangers were defeated Monday night in overtime when Zach Parr of Anna-Jonesboro hit a difficult last-second shot to give his team a 67-65 win and a disappointing season-opening loss for the Rangers. The Benton team rolled out of Goreville at 11 p.m. Monday night and returned for the early game and a 5:30 p.m. start on Tuesday.

Benton shook the loss aside early and jumped out to a quick 13-7 first quarter lead, extended its advantage to 26-11 at halftime and then blew the game wide open with a 30-4 onslaught in the third quarter to take a 56-16 lead into the final frame that was played with a continuous clock.

Benton Coach Ron Winemiller said he was happy to get the first win of the season and was also pleased with the way his team responded after the tough Monday night loss. Winemiller said he is looking forward to getting back in the gym the next two evenings.

“Right now we’re just trying to see who we are as a team,” said the Benton coach. “So, I will be happy to get to practice the next two evenings to work on getting better as a team. It will be a tough weekend with three games in a 24-hour span.”

Everybody saw action for the Rangers in the lopsided win and nine players hit the scoring column, led by Gehrig Wynn with 15. Also in double figures was Parker Williams with 12 and Mason Morris with 11. Rounding out the scoring Hamilton Page and Carson Lewis added six each, Cade Thomas scored four, Joey Craig, Mason Wills and Brett Bonenberger each scored two points.

“It was a great chance to see everybody in a game situation,” said Winemiller.

The win moves the Rangers to 1-1 overall and 1-1in the round-robin format at the GIT. All six teams are off on Wednesday and Thursday and play will resume on Friday with three games and then six games on Saturday. The Rangers face Hamilton County in a 7 p.m. game on Friday and play Johnston City at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning before squaring off in the tournament finale at 8:30 p.m. against the host Goreville Blackcats.

Lady Bearcats move to 4-1 with BDC win over Trico

By Jim Muir

CHRISTOPHER — The Christopher Lady Bearcats improved to 4-1 on the young season with a solid 61-42 Black Diamond Conference West victory over Trico on Monday night.

 The Lady Bearcats led only 14-12 at the end of the first quarter but outscored Trico 26-14 in the second frame to open up a 17-point halftime lead – 40-23.

Despite the stellar 4-1 start Christopher Coach Seiger Shurtz says he feels his team has a lot of room for improvement.

“We’re a young team and we have a lot of work to do to get better,” said Shurtz. “We got some shots to fall in the second quarter and put together a nice run.”

Shurtz emphasized that the defensive end of the court is where he is primarily looking for improvement.

“Defense is clearly an area where we need to improve and work on,” Shurtz said. “If we develop the right mindset we will be able to execute on the defensive end.”

Christopher had excellent balanced scoring with four players in double figures. Courtney Hoppers led the way with 12 points followed by Andrea Miller, Jayla Williams and Lauren Kent with 10 points each in the victory. Rounding out the scoring Rebecca Henson had seven points, Maya Hewitt and Carley Young each had five points and Savannah Sherman added two points.

The Lady Bearcats (4-1 and 1-0 in BDC) will travel to Goreville on Thursday night for a key BDC matchup and then play host to Cobden on Saturday night.

Sesser-Valier drops season opener to Cairo

By Jim Muir

DU QUOIN — The Sesser-Valier Red Devils dropped a season-opening 71-64 decision to the Cairo Pilots Monday night in opening round action from the Du Quoin Tip Off Classic.

Playing without the services of senior veteran Lukas Gunter, S-V fell behind early, battled back but fell short against the up-tempo Pilots. Cairo jumped out to a 21-13 first quarter lead and led 41-35 at the intermission.

S-V Coach Shane Garner said the Cairo defensive pressure hurt the Red Devils in the early going.

“Cairo forced us into a ton of turnovers and we never could get into a good flow during the game,” Garner said. “We had 19 turnovers at the half and probably that many more in the second half.”

Peyton Rock, fresh off a stellar football season, drew high praise from his coach on his first outing on the hard court.

“I thought Peyton played a great game tonight,” said Garner.

Cairo outscored S-V in the third frame 18-12 and the six point swing gave the Pilots a double-digit lead 59-47 heading into the fourth quarter.

“After we got down we chipped away at the lead and got it to six points a couple of times but we just couldn’t seem to get over the hump,” said Garner. “If we control the ball and take care of it in the half court we’ve got a shot to win the game.”

Junior Tyler Winchester led the Red Devils in scoring with 23, followed by Rock who had 13. Rounding out the scoring for S-V Eli Gunter had nine points, Josh Gunter added eight, Preston Launius chipped in with six, Addison Page had three and Kadin Kiselewski had 2.

Malachi Brown and Damarius Taylor combined for 42 points in the victory that improved the Pilots to 1-2 on the young season. Brown matched S-V’s Winchester for game scoring honors with 23 and Taylor added 19 points.

In the five-team, four-game round robin Du Quoin Tip Off format each team gets a bye during one session. The Red Devils are not in action on Wednesday night but need to lace their tennis shoes up tight this weekend with three games (one on Friday and two on Saturday) in a 24-hour period. The Red Devils will face the host Du Quoin Indians in a 7:30 p.m. contest. On Saturday S-V faces Carmi-White County in a 12 noon matchup and then faces always tough Massac County at 6 p.m.



Salukis try to rebound from loss, host SIUE Wednesday night

SIUC vs. SIUE on Wednesday night. Here are the game notes and stats from the series between the sister schools.

GAME 5 • Nov. 29, 2017 • 7 p.m. CT SIUE (1-4) at SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (2-2) Carbondale, Ill. • SIU Arena (8,284) SIU leads, 8-1 (H: 4-1, A: 4-0, N: 0-0)


Here’s the link:


‘The chickens have come home to roost in Illinois’

(Editor’s Note — This is a column I wrote on March 16, 2016 — only 15 months ago — about the tax and spend mentality that has been created by the Illinois General Assembly. There is a lot of discussion about who made the right vote in the recent budget vote in Springfield. Please take a few minutes and read this. It gives a great example of the mess that has been created in Illinois.    JM)

Everybody – from the wealthiest to those just barely scraping by – has a household budget. Those budgets are based on the amount of revenue coming in versus the amount of expenditures going out and when things get out of whack, working families are faced with three choices – spend less, increase revenue or some combination of the two. There’s no other way out.

As we’ve sadly learned year after year here in Illinois that same philosophy doesn’t apply. In the Land of Lincoln lawmakers can squander money like drunken sailors, and then when revenue doesn’t match expenditures they simply raise taxes to refill the coffers. Tax and spend … tax and spend.

This past week Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger went on a statewide tour to educate the public about the current financial mess in Illinois. Munger broke down the numbers in a way that can be related to a monthly household budget and easily understood. Munger explained the bleak picture by removing six zeroes from all revenue and expenditures. If you thought it was a bleak picture in billions, it’s even more dismal in dollars we can related to.

The state’s backlog of bills is more than $7 billion, so that’s comparable with you having $7,000 in bills on your kitchen table. There’s another $2 billion in unpaid bills, so that’s the same as going to the post office and finding another $2,000 in bills.

And on top of that the state has an unfunded pension system – worst in the nation – that totals $110 billion. Munger said that’s like having $110,000 in credit card debt. She added that the state’s daily revenue is approximately $100 million, which is like having $100 in your bank account. Clearly, a household or business would be bankrupt facing a financial mess like that.

While the media has done a great job of reporting all the proposed cuts to state government very few have reported the ‘why’ or ‘how come’ to the story.  First, Gov. Rauner has been in office 14 months, so he’s trying to clean up a mess he didn’t create.

For decades, Democrats and Republicans in Illinois have been digging a hole financially. Lawmakers would overspend, raise taxes, overspend some more and raise taxes again. And nobody during that time frame ever had the courage to say ‘put the shovel down and stop digging’ until Rauner came along and said the current path is unsustainable and cuts have to be made. And because of that, he’s the villain, he’s the bad guy.

Some of you might be wondering why the state just doesn’t raise taxes again instead of making budget cuts. Let me show you another layer to the current misery in Illinois that has been conveniently overlooked. According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust Research & Analysis, since 2008 Illinois has shown a 22.5 percent increase in tax revenue, tops in the nation. As a comparison the remaining states in the nation had an average increase of 2.5 percent. And that increase wasn’t because of an increase in jobs it was because of the tax-and-spend mentality in Springfield.  In fact, for every job created in Illinois last year, two families went on food stamps.

So, during the past eight years while there has been a 22.5 percent increase in tax revenue in Illinois the budget deficit has more than doubled from $3 billion to $7 billion and the pension deficit has increased from $48 billion to $110 billion.

Despite those numbers that show Illinois in a financial abyss there are those who continue to say that the state simply needs to raises taxes and continue down the clearly unsustainable road we’re on. The state has been without a spending plan for more than nine months, yet Munger said the biggest problem is that lawmakers want to continue to spend money … even though there is none.

“They (lawmakers) don’t understand the problem. We are out of money,” Munger said. “We’re at a breaking point.”

In other words, after years of tax and spend and tax and spend some more … the chickens have come home to roost in Illinois.




















Muir’s Musings May 28, 2015

Rand Paul in Chicago: Crime ‘not a racial thing, it’s a spiritual problem.’

More Texas towns brace for high water; death toll climbs

Senate rejects Bruce Rauner agenda; see how you state senator voted

See how your state rep voted on budget that overspends by $4 billion

Baltimore residents fearful amid rash of homicides

‘I’m not crazy’: 62 animals found inside Creal Springs’ woman’s home

Is ‘Charlie Charlie’ a harmless game? Exorcist says ‘absolutely not’

The other ‘showdown’ in Springfield

Muir’s Morning Motivational Minute

‘Every test in life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to make us or break us. In the end the choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.’

It’s funny how one quote will sometimes cause me to think of another quote. I recently found one that parallels this one. It states: ‘The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s not about circumstances but what we’re made of.’

With God’s grace and strength and a healthy dose of our own determination and common sense we have the ability to face any ‘test’ and be better and not let any ‘problem’ break us. And in the end we be a victor and not a victim.
God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a great Thursday and a blessed day!

Muir’s Musings – May 27, 2015

‘Today is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.’

I read this quote and I thought about a comment made by a minister years ago. He said most people he counsels that are going through a tough time want to continually look back and dwell in the past – rehashing all the bad things that happened. He said he always encouraged them to remember how they feel today but to look ahead exactly one year and then strive to be better, healthier, stronger, etc. 365 days later. His comments really made sense to me. And just like today’s quote says, we all have a blank 365-page book in front of us and today is the first chapter. The key thing is that you are the author of that book and you can write the story anyway you choose. And remember, don’t look back … you’re not going that direction!

God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a wonderful Wednesday and a blessed day!

Franklin County Farm Bureau News – Pork Loin Sales and FOID Cards


Gay Bowlin, Manager

You may have heard that the Firearm Owners Identification Card process has changed and I am not exactly sure if it is for the better but none the less we have to deal with it. We have always filled out applications and taken pictures for people but now that process is a little more involved.

Gay Bowlin

Gay Bowlin

First of all you can apply on line or on the phone but either way you must be able to pay with a debit, credit or checking account. If you apply on line you must have a valid email address (not sure about on the phone) and then the 15 minute process begins. You must still have a current picture and a driver’s license or state ID. If you apply online you must be able to pay over the phone.

If you come to the Farm Bureau office we will be able to help with this – we will take your picture and fill out everything online for you and then print out the confirmation. If you do not have a debit, credit or checking account then we will use our information to pay on line for you. This entire fee for this process will be $20 – that includes the $11 to the state. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 435-3616.

Our breakfast with Representative John Bradley was well attended on Monday. We had a total of 28 in attendance with 21 of those from Franklin County. Also Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau Director of State Legislation and Chris Lowery, Administrative Assistant to Representative Bradley.

Many items were discussed including the Juvenile Detention Center in Benton and the uncertainty that surrounds it – John assured us that he and Senator Forby are doing everything they can to keep the center running as it is today.

Representative Bradley is looking to the future and working with Governor Rauner on keeping Southern Illinois in the forefront. If you need to get in touch with him his office number is (618) 997-9697.

As soon as this weather dries up you will begin to see the farmers on the roads once more. Please take into consideration that these are very large pieces of equipment and there is limited space where they can get off the roadways – drive slowly when approaching and be aware of their limitations.
This is the last chance to place your order for Smoked Pork Loin for your Easter dinner. They will be ready for pick up on Thursday April 2nd – that is the day before Good Friday.  1/2 loin is $30 and a full is $45 please call the office or stop by to order yours today.  We will take orders ending March 30 and we don’t have extra. This is a Young Leaders Project with all proceeds going to fund scholarships. See a Young Leader or call 435-3616 to place your order.

This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.


Concealed carry classes set

INA, Ill.  – Time is running short to prepare for your Illinois Concealed Carry license before the end of the year. Rend Lake College has two classes open on Nov. 8-9 and Dec. 6-7 on the Ina campus.

The two-day sessions last from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. both days at RLC. The first day is lecture-based, focusing on safety, marksmanship, cleaning, and loading and unloading. Firearms are not allowed during day one of the training course. On day two, attendees will practice shooting while learning about weapon handling and state and federal laws at the RLC Shooting Range. Everyone is asked to bring two boxes of unopened factory ammunition to Sunday’s class.

To qualify for licensure, attendees must achieve 70 percent accuracy in a live fire qualification of 30 rounds at five, seven, and 10 yards. A qualifying shot consists of a shot placed inside the seven ring of a B-27 target. You must be at least 21 years old to qualify. Also required for licensure is a valid FOID card and driver’s license.

Concealed Carry courses at Rend Lake College cost $150 for in-state students and $200 for out-of-state students. For more information, contact the RLC Community and Corporate Education Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714, or smithst@rlc.edu.

RLC board adopts 2015 budget


The board adopted the final Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which was provided in tentative form at the August board meeting. A public hearing on the budget was held at 6 p.m., prior to the regular board meeting. There were no comments from the public.

In a related action, the board accepted the 2014 tax levy (payable 2015). The levy represents a slight increase – 1.39 percent – over last year. The Corporate and Special Purpose levy went from $3,003,038 last year to $3,083,318 this year, a increase of 2.67 percent. The Debt Service levy dropped from $1,820,902 last year to $1,807,794 this year, a decrease of 0.72 percent. The total of the two levies rose slightly, from $4,823,940 last year to $4,891,112, an increase of 1.39 percent.

Because the total of the proposed Corporate and Special Purpose and Debt Service levies is not greater than 105 percent of last year’s levy, no Truth in Taxation hearing is required.

Bevis Construction to replace campus sidewalks

The low bid of $24,300 from Bevis Construction Inc. of Mt. Vernon was accepted for replacement of concrete sidewalks throughout campus.

Two PHS projects submitted to ICCB

The board granted permission to submit Protection, Health and Safety project applications to the Illinois Community College Board for HVAC replacement in the North Oasis and roof replacement of the Theatre and art building.

New courses approved, sent to ICCB

The board approved five new courses and authorized their submission to the Illinois Community College Board for action. Among the new courses are Basic Handgun Training, Advanced Handgun Training and Low-Light Handgun Training. Also approved were Principles of Taxidermy and Selected Topics in Automotive Technology.

O’Daniel to take reins of Recreational Center

The board appointed Tyler O’Daniel as Director of the Recreational Center effective Sept. 16. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Indianapolis as well as Associate in Science and Associate in Arts degrees from Rend Lake College. He most recently was the event coordinator for Dugout Media / Baseball Youth in Morehead, Ky. Last month, the facility was renamed with the intent to repurpose it to maximize the athletic offerings provided by the college, including individualized lessons, athletic camps, intramural sports and the Wayne Arnold Fitness Center. O’Daniel possesses the necessary knowledge in athletic training, exercise science and marketing along with the strong background in event and camp coordination desired for this position. He has coordinated athletic scouting combines, individualized training programs for youth athletes, and baseball camps throughout the Midwest.

Anselment appointed to CCR&R staff

Appointed Jacquelyn Anselment as Provider Recruitment / Quality Specialist for Project CHILD, the Child Care Resource and Referral program housed at the RLC MarketPlace. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale as well as Associate in Science and Associate in Arts degrees from Rend Lake College. She most recently served as Assistant Director at Bumblebee Child Care Center in Mt. Vernon.

Children’s Center’s Rancuret moving on, Gatimu joins staff

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Emily Rancuret, Lead Child Care Provider at the RLC Foundation Children’s Center, effective Aug. 13. “I have formed lasting friendships at Rend Lake College and feel honored to be a part of this family,” Rancuret wrote in her resignation letter.

In a related action, the board ratified the appointment of Kaitlyn Gatimu as a Lead Child Care Provider effective Sept. 15 to fill the vacancy left by Rancuret. Gatimu holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and most recently worked at Logan Street Day Care and Preschool in Mt. Vernon. She previously worked at the Children’s Center as a part-time Assistant Child Care Provider.

CNA’s Hudgens retiring

The retirement resignation of Aurelia Hudgens, Certified Nurse Assistant Associate Professor, was accepted with regret effective Feb. 28. “I have enjoyed my tenure at Rend Lake College immensely and have had great satisfaction in taking on the challenges given to me and teaching the hundreds of CNA students in my classes,” Hudgens wrote in her retirement letter.

In other business, the board …

Adopted a resolution appointing Terry Wilkerson, RLC President, and Angie Kistner, Vice President of Finance and Administration, as representatives of the RLC Board Secretary for the purpose of accepting candidate nominating petitions.

Approved revisions to board policy and procedure concerning Internet, laptops / laptop data encryption, and information security policy framework and guidelines (all second readings).

Approved revisions to salaries for three employees.

Approved the Jeanne Clery Act Compliance Policy Manual effective Sept. 16.

Mark your calendars …

Visiting Artist Series: Hillary Remm, works on display in Theatre Lobby through Oct. 10.

RLC Foundation Golf Outing, Thursday, Sept. 18, 12 p.m. shotgun start, Rend Lake Golf Course.

Fun Fest, 12-3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, RLC campus.

Rend Lake College Open House, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, RLC Campus.

RLC Foundation Scholarship Dinner, 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, Rend Lake Resort.

Poetry Reader: Matt Rotman, 12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, Pat Kern Private Dining Area.

Warrior Fest, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, RLC campus.

Halloween Concert and Party, Thursday, Oct. 30, Theatre and Student Center; 6 p.m concert, 7 p.m. party.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News