Retail outlets with eclipse glasses in stock

by Steve Dunford

The following list does not guarantee the quality, or if no longer in stock. is not liable for any malfunction of the glasses.

Franklin County


Casey’s (East Main Street Location)

Heartland office supply – free with a can good donation

Benton Gazette

Walmart is sold out and they do not anticipate receiving any more


Hometown Shirts and Graphics

Bowlin’s Foodland






Mom’s Milk

West Frankfort Gazette

West Frankfort Public Library (Free to patrons with a library card)

Perry County


Walmart – They have a limited supply

Available tonight from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at the Alder Planetarium Mobile Crew Show at the St. Nicholas Hotel

Williamson County





Information about the heat…updated list of cooling centers

by Steve Dunford

The Heat Advisory is still in effect until Sunday.  I would not be surprised if the National Weather Service ups it to an Excessive Heat Warning.  The NWS in St. Louis has had one for two days.

Here are some area temperatures and heat indexes across the region

  • Mt. Vernon 96 degrees/heat index 109
  • Marion 95 degrees/ heat index 103
  • Carbondale 93 degrees/ heat index 103

Here is an updated list of cooling centers across the county:


City Hall

Fire Department

Township Community Building

West Frankfort:

Police Department


City Hall – Please use the police department entrance.


First Baptist Church will be having the lunch program between 11am till 1pm.  Kids 18 and under ear free.  Adults it is $3.00


Cooling centers in the region

by Steve Dunford

As long as the heat wave lasts, I will pass on any emergency information on a timely basis.

I would appreciate any information that you might have.  Over the last few months, and especially during the flooding in late April, the citizens of the county has trusted to be a reliable source of information in the county.

The site has good numbers in the Jefferson, Williamson, Perry, Hamilton and Saline counties as well now.  Franklin County will be the top priority, but I will start sharing info from those counties as well.

Please contact me at 513-1274, 937-0253, send me a message on Facebook or email me at



City Hall – 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Benton Fire Department

Benton Community Building


City Hall – Please use the police entrance


First Baptist Church is hosting their summer meal program, free for kids 18 and under.  For adults the cost is $3.  The time is 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You are welcome to come and cool off.








Missing Perry County man home safely

by Steve Dunford

Kenneth Mohr, a Pinckneyville area man was reported missing earlier this afternoon.

I just spoke with a family member a few minutes ago, and he is safely at home now.  Thank you all to everyone that helped.


WSIL Unsung Hero: Christopher summer meal program

CHRISTOPHER, IL –  (Ashley Smith, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story and video.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Kids in Christopher are eating lunch for free this summer, thanks to a grant. But that program was going to be cut short until a local church stepped into help.

Heather Little and Sandy Young prepare to feed hungry kids and adults in Christopher.

This week was the first time they served the summer meals at Christopher First Baptist Church.

“We’re picking up those kids in the Christian Church van, they’re delivering them to the First Baptist Church where they’re gonna get fed by the grant program by the Christopher Elementary School,” says Matt Crain, pastor of Christopher First Baptist Church . “The community working together.”



by Reece Rutland- Rend Lake College Public Information/Sports Information Director

INA, IL – Three decades of service. Three decades of unselfish giving. Verna Mildred “Millie” Caldwell has enthusiastically supported Rend Lake College and its students for a length and breadth that is nearly unparalleled in an already distinguished lineup of supporters.

Millie Caldwell – (All pictures provided by Rend Lake College

Caldwell and her husband Clifton were already community staples outside of their involvement with RLC. For years, the couple operated one of the area’s most successful newspapers, The Christopher Progress. In fact, the Caldwells purchased the two Southern Illinois papers in 1974 (the Progress and the Herrin Spokesman) and ran them for over a decade, eventually selling them in 1987 to the American Publishing Company newspaper chain.

Cliff passed away on Feb. 29, 2004. He was a well-known journalist for 46 years and a member of the Southern Illinois University Editors Hall of Fame. Together, Clif and Millie instituted zoned editions of their weeklies that provided published local news for the communities of Sesser, Zeigler, Royalton, Johnston City and Carterville, as well as the communities included in their names. They had been married for 61 years.

To commemorate Cliff’s legacy, the family banded together to create the Clifton Caldwell Endowment Scholarship for Rend Lake students. The scholarship looks to help a Journalism or Math major in need.

The Foundation was the natural fit; Millie had spent the better part of three decades doing everything she could to aid the RLCF and the students of RLC.

Caldwell has represented the Christopher locality on the RLCF Board since 1982 when she elected at 4th Annual Meeting to bring the board to nine members. She had been an integral part of three capital campaigns. She was a major part of the RLCF Children’s Center campaign and the RLC Music Program Addition and Theatre Renovation. All of that on top of the fact that she has donated toward RLCF scholarships for years.

But, it was never just money either. Both Millie and Cliff gave of their time. The Caldwells actively attended RLCF events throughout the years. He was a frequent player at annual RLCF Golf Tournaments and they regularly attended the RLCF Annual Dinner together. Millie was also frequently at the RLCF Women’s Luncheon and RLCF Scholarship Dinner.

In 2002, Millie was recognized by the Rend Lake College Foundation Board of Directors when the group enthusiastically and unanimously approved her for Emeritus status.

She earned it. Her support of the college through Foundation efforts is, without a doubt, significant. And her length of service to the organization is nearly unmatched. Only three other members hold Emeritus status on the board – Charter Director Howard L. Payne and former Rend Lake College President Mark S. Kern and long-time foundation board member and Sesser businessman George Slankard.

“This honor is reserved for members because of longevity and lasting contributions made to the RLC Foundation,” explained Pat Kern, RLCF consultant and former CEO.

“This status welcomes these selected Board members to the RLCF meetings at any time they wish to attend.”

It’s not the first honor Millie has received for her service.

She also earned the coveted RLCF Presidential Award in 2006. It’s an achievement set aside specifically for RLCF Board members who have displayed exceptional service.

Millie Caldwell (center) accepts the Presidential Award from then RLC President Mark Kern (left). She was joined by her daughter, and RLC Professor Cindy Caldwell (right).

For her numerous scholarship contributions, she has also been presented the RLCF Bronze Seal Award, an achievement also shared by her daughter Cindy.

In fact, the Math component of the Clifton Caldwell Endowment Scholarship stems from Cindy’s willingness to pick up her family’s legacy and continue the giving tradition. She is a Mathematics Professor who joined the Rend Lake College faculty in 2000. She also is a graduate of Rend Lake College (Class of 1980) who worked on the RLC Times student newspaper. The Caldwells also had three sons – Denis, Dave and Douglas.

“Like many of our influencers, Millie and the Caldwell family display a selflessness that has helped the institution become what it is today. We are able to do the things we do thanks to the generosity of people like Millie, people who care about the district’s students and want to see them succeed,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.




Christopher Police issues reminder about golf cart compliance

From the Christopher Police Department

CHRISTOPHER, IL – Christopher Police Department  has received complaints on carts and side by sides that are not in compliance with City ordnance.

C.P.D will be checking golf carts and side by sides.  To avoid a possible citation and tow, please make sure you are up to date with your city sticker. Yearly stickers can be obtained at city hall. All units will be inspected.

Here is a copy of the check list required.

Overnight house fire in Christopher

WSIL – TV photo

By Steve Dunford

UPDATED – 10:45 a.m.

CHRISTOPHER, IL –  WSIL-TV reported a  house fire that happened overnight in the 300 block of South Thomas street in Christopher.

Christopher fire officials told News 3, they believe it was an exterior electrical panel, but the investigation is still ongoing.

I just spoke with Christopher Fire Chief Ron Learned, and he says loss to the structure was about 25%.  Coello fire department was called for mutual aid.  The financial loss was undetermined.


Buckner High School “Wildcats”

The white building is believed to be Buckner High School which sit next to the grade school which burned a few years ago. (Genealogy Trails website.

NOTE:  I will be sharing links from time to time from the website, Illinois High School Glory Days.  It is a website dedicated to schools that have consolidated in Illinois.

Please click on the link above for several news clippings and photos about Buckner High School.

I am a history buff.  I would like to share stories in the future of some of the consolidated grade schools and one room schoolhouses that use to dot the landscape of Franklin County.

Here are some excerpts about the Buckner Wildcats.

Buckner (population 479) is located in far south-central Illinois in the west-central portion of Franklin County.  Buckner is located on Illinois Route 14 about three miles west of Interstate Route 57.  The Illinois Central Railroad also passes through Buckner and runs parellel with Illinois Route 14.  The city of Benton is located about 4 miles east of Buckner.

It was in 1880 that a post office was erected and the town was named Sofronia.  Soon, however, the town seemed to disapate and the post office was closed.  Eventually a railroad was slated to pass through the town.  The owner of the land that the railroad would pass over was donated by J.L. Buckner on the promise that the railroad complany would name the town Buckner.  Such was the deal and the town was so named in 1914.

Russell Browning provided a lot of information to the website about Buckner, He said the following.”I grew up in the town of Buckner and I did not know, and only the very old people there knew, about the High School.   Nothing was known about teachers, class mates and any other thing until I found one woman, who has passed away now, that gave me access to pictures. Then I did a micro film search of those years and came up with the information.”


Route 148 to be closed in Christopher at the RR tracks Wed.-Thurs

Press Release from the Illinois Department of Transportation

Beginning Wednesday, June 28 at 8:00 am and concluding on Thursday, June 29 at 5:00 pm, crews from the Canadian Northern / Illinois Central Railroad Company (CNIC) will be performing repairs on the railroad crossing on IL 148 (Victor St.) in Christopher.

There will be no traffic permitted through the crossing during the repairs. Motorists should follow the marked detour or seek alternate routes to avoid delays.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!