‘Security Dawgs’ look to earn collegiate cybersecurity berth

Benton’s Steve Osborn part of the team as an alternate

By Pete Rosenbery – SIU News Service 

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s “Security Dawgs” will host a section of the annual Illinois Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on Saturday, Feb. 17.

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SIU is one of two sites to host the statewide, 11-team competition, which mirrors what students will see in the corporate technology world. The “Security Dawgs” will seek a third state title in six years. Also competing at SIU will be teams from John A. Logan College, Lake Land College Southeastern Illinois College.

Teams work to keep their site secure from hackers and unwanted cyberattacks, and are responsible for system maintenance, upgrades, and completing other requests, such as installing or upgrading a website in the simulated competition. Teams earn points based upon how successful they are at accomplishing the business tasks, in addition to identifying and stopping hacker attacks, and writing incident reports.

Team built on camaraderie, chemistry

The Security Dawgs return four members from last year’s team and have been practicing since the start of the fall 2017 semester. Several of the squad members were on the team that finished fifth out of 179 teams in the National Cyber League last fall.

“A big part of our plan for success is our camaraderie as a team,” Belle Woodward, an associate professor in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies and faculty adviser for the registered student organization, said. “We’ve gotten really close as a team over the last year. I think that really helps when it comes down to that last rush of constant, daily practice. I couldn’t be more proud of how much work these guys have put in to learning for this competition, and not being afraid to embrace more things to do beyond it.”

Competition enhances students’ academic experience 

Woodward said the event gives SIU students a chance to receive a practical look into many of the skills they learn in class, defend against attackers in the competition, and reminds them that the end goal is making sure a businesses’ network is not interrupted.

“This is also a valuable experience in teamwork and commitment,” she said. “Many students who participate learn enough to be more than ready for even the hardest classes they’ll face at SIU, and have a leg up in real-world experience.” 

Cybersecurity event expects strong field

The Security Dawgs have a strong reputation in collegiate cybersecurity competitions. The team has won three state competitions, most recently in 2014, and finished second in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The team has advanced to the Midwest regional competition in seven of the last 10 years, including a wildcard berth in 2017.

The other state competition site is Moraine Valley Community College, which is hosting six more teams.

The top team in the state will advance to the Midwest regional competition, March 23-24, at Moraine Valley Community College. There they will face the top teams from Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Second-place in the respective state competitions will compete for a wildcard slot on March 10. The Midwest regional winner advances to the 11th annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition April 13-15 in San Antonio, Texas.

The Team

Security Dawg team members are:


  • Benton: Steve Osborn, information systems technologies, junior (alternate)
  • Centralia: Ronald DeBernardi, information systems technologies, senior
  • Hoffman Estates: Christian Scott, information systems technologies, senior
  • Marion: Trenton Taylor, information systems technologies, senior
  • Mattoon: Mark Blume, information systems technologies, senior
  • Northbrook: Ben Fairbanks, information systems technologies, junior
  • Oak Lawn: Jacob Kupres, information systems technologies, senior (alternate)
  • Pittsburg: Curtis McRoy, information systems technologies, senior (alternate)


  • Naples: Thomas Birch, information systems technologies, senior


  • Sauk Centre: Brianna Yagow, information systems technologies, junior


  • Imperial: Jesse Frawley, information systems technologies, junior (alternate)


  • Houston: Vincent Davis, computer science, senior


WSIL’s Unsung Hero: Benton’s Shannon Carr

Shannon Carr – WSIL image

BENTON – In this week’s Unsung Hero, a Benton woman spends her days volunteering. Shannon Carr has been recognized for her generosity several times in the community.

Shannon has been helping with the cub scouts for about four years, planning activities for more than 25-boys.

The mother of four has been “filling a need” most of her life. She’s also organizer for her church’s free clothing store.

But it doesn’t stop there, Shannon is the fill in van driver for her church, cooks for Vacation Bible School, and organizes the church’s Christmas toy drive all while working a full-time job.

Please click on the link for the full story and video from Evie Allen of WSIL-TV.




Route 34 between Thompsonville and Galatia will be closed starting Feb. 20

CARBONDALE – The Illinois Department of Transportation would like to alert motorists traveling on IL 34 near Thompsonville in Franklin County of an upcoming ROAD CLOSURE.

Beginning Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 8:00 A.M., IL 34 approximately 1.75 miles east of Thompsonville will be closed.

This closure is necessary to facilitate the repair of a drainage structure. The road is expected to be open by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Motorists should use the marked detour or seek an alternate route.

Message boards and signs will be in place to alert traffic of the closure.

For IDOT District 9 updates on twitter, follow us at https://twitter.com/IDOTDistrict9.


Local farmers watching farm bill closely

WSIL image

THOMPSONVILLE — Congress will soon begin writing the 2018 Farm Bill, which will be one of the largest and potentially most controversial pieces of legislation this year.

Local farmers like Larry Miller are watching closely.

“This is a difficult time for farmers. Our costs, they just continue to go up,” Miller said.

Miller said the most important thing area farmers want to see in the farm bill is a strong crop insurance program.
“We’ve had that now in the last two bills and it really has changed farming and security of farming,” said Miller.

Please click below to read the full story from Brandon Richard of WSIL-TV.


Logan water customers under boil order

LOGAN – All Logan water customers are under a boil water order west of Logan road until Friday, due to a water main break.

This is for areas west of Logan road.


Huck’s East Main Street location in Benton is closing

By Steve Dunford 

place lookup image

BENTON –  One of the first convenience stores in the county, will be closing their doors for good this afternoon.

I have just confirmed the Huck’s, at the corner of East Main Street and North McLeansboro, will be closing their doors this afternoon around 5:00 p.m.

There should be a call coming from Martin and Bayley headquarters in Carmi shortly.  Further updates will be posted as they become available.

Third Annual Kaybrin Osborne Memorial Pinewood Derby and Chilli Cook-off

BENTON – Benton Cub Scout Pack #7028 would like to invite you to the Pinewood Derby and Chili Cook-off, which will take place tomorrow, February 3rd, at the North Benton Baptist Church gym.

It is free to the public.  Activities start at 10:00 am.  For more information, please call, 927-0062.

Rangerettes defeat Murphy on senior night for Eb Casey

By Steve Dunford 

BENTON – Eb Casey had a big senior night, scoring 20 on four threes and 8-10 from the Free Throw line as the Rangerettes defeated the Murphysboro Lady Devils 51-35 last night at Rich Herrin Gym.

Rangerette Coach Andy Sloan had this to say on the teams Facebook page about Casey.  “There is one special player who has meant a ton to our program over the last four years. Two Regional titles, one conference title, and 84 career wins and counting, From a little freshman, to a little senior, she has grown up a lot and done some great things, experienced a lot of success, and knows how to win. She has displayed toughness, grit, and guts throughout her career.”

Along with Casey’s 20, Addison Miller added 13 and Ember Milby eight.  Kayla Walker led Murphy with 17.

The Rangerettes will face Carterville at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon as part of the Rich Herrin Classic.

Box Score

BENTON (51)  Casey 0 4 8-10 20, Miller 1 3 2-6 13, Milby 2 0 4-4 8, Carlton 2 0 0-0 4, Wallace 1 0 1-2 , Johnson 1 0 1-2 3

MURPHYSBORO (35)  Walker 4 0 9-13 17, Williams 4 0 0-0 8, Kerner 2 0 1-3 5, Hibbler-Johnson 1 0 0-2 0, Cigranovich 0 0 1-2 1

Score By Quarters

BENTON    9 – 18 – 11 – 13  –  51

MURPHYSBORO  8 – 7 -6 -14  –  35


City increases its number of package liquor licenses

BENTON –  By the slimmest of margins, the city of Benton has increased its number of class B (package liquor) licenses.

City Attorney Tom Malkovich explained the city has reached the maximum number of licenses (six) allowed by the current ordinance.

“If you’re going to bring in other businesses … a lot of places want to sell package liquor.”  Malkovich said.

Please click on the link for the story from Rick Hayes of the Benton News.


Sonic Coming to Benton

BENTON – “I’m excited to announce that we have a real-estate sales contract in our possession,” said Benton Finance Commissioner Dennis Miller at last Monday’s Benton City Council Meeting.

“This is for the sale of the old City Hall. This sale was executed on January 2, and we have an agreed purchase price of $176,000 and this is being purchased by S.A. Dewitt L.P. also known as Sonic, so we are in the process of working on the title work.” The building had previously been offered at public auction at a price of $296,000.

Miller made a motion to approve the sales contract which was approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote.
Please click on the link for the full story from the Benton Gazette.
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