Local fire departments were busy Sunday evening

by Steve Dunford


Several area fire departments responded to a house fire last night at the corner of Horrell Ave. and St Louis St. in West Frankfort. (Zeigler Fire Department photo)

In a six hour stretch between 6:00 pm and around midnight, area fire departments were busy handling several calls.

Just right at 6:00 p.m. West Frankfort Firefighters were paged to the intersection of St. Louis Street and Horrell Avenue (Deering Road)  to a structure fire.  Departments from West City, Benton, Zeigler, Johnston City and Abbott EMS provided mutual aid.

Between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Royalton firefighters were toned to a pole barn fire on Washington Street.  Zeigler firefighters were leaving West Frankfort when the were called for mutual aid.  The structure was a total loss.  Christopher provided station coverage for Zeigler.

At 10:55 p.m., Benton firefighters were called to a single vehicle accident  and fire on East Main Street in front of the new Dollar General with injuries.

At 11;45 p.m.. West City firefighters were called to a three vehicle accident with injuries at the intersection of Route 14 and Central Street (in front of Walmart.)

I might be mistaken, but I am nearly positive that  Benton and West City provided mutual aid for each other during the wrecks.  Buckner Fire and Rescue also provided station coverage for West City.



Zeigler High School “Purple Tornadoes”


ZEIGLER, IL  –  (Illinois High School Glory Days.  Please click on the link above. Here is an excerpt below.)

The School system in Zeigler is documented at http://www.zeigleril.com/pages/schools.htm.  Zeigler began a school system soon after its first houses were built.  As Zeigler grew and prospered so did the educational facilities.  The first school house was the “Block School”,  In the 1920s the school pictured abovewas built.  This served the children until the 1960s when the building was demolished and a new building was erected.  The grade school pictured below was used for the high school for a bout three years until the new building was finished.
The year was 1962 when the towns of Zeigler and Royalton agreed to consolidate
their efforts.  The Zeigler-Royalton School District was established ending the solo efforts of the two towns.  If you would like to add any information regarding Zeigler High School please e-mail us at eganann@sbcglobal.net

Royalton High School “Pirates”


Royalton High School building in the early 1960’s

ROYALTON, IL  (Illinois High School Glory Days.  Please Click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Royalton (population 1,130) is located in far southern Illinois about 12 miles southeast of DuQuoin. In its “hey day” in the early 1900s Royalton enjoyed a population of over 3,800!  Illinois Route 149 is the main roadway to and from this southwestern Franklin County town.  The town’s area was settled in the mid 1850s but it was not recognized as an official Illinois town until 1907.  the Missouri Pacific Railroad runs to the southeast of town.  A branch of the Big Muddy River flows through the south side of Royalton.  For some EXCELLENT history and facts about Royalton and its former High School please visit the town’s official website at:
A school was established in Royalton by the late 1800s.  Royalton High School served the town as, at first, a three year school, and later earning a four year high school status.  The original school building was found unsafe in 1936.  A new building was quickly constructed and ready for use in 1937.  This is the building you see pictured above.  Royalton High continued to be the pride and joy of Royalton residents until the early 1960s.  It was then that dwindling enrollment led to a consolidation effort with its neighbor four miles to the northeast, Zeigler.  This effort became a reality in 1962 with the creation of the Zeigler-Royalton School District.

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.

LeQuatte named new Regional Office of Education Superintendent

by Steve Dunford

MARION, IL –  Democratic Party County Chairmen from Franklin, Williamson, Johnson, and Massac counties, caucused and  appointed Lorie LeQuatte to succeed Matt Donkin as ROE district #30  Superintendent.

LeQuatte and Donkin – WSIL file photo

LeQuatte a 1989 Zeigler-Royalton, John A. Logan, and SIU graduate, will be taking office on July 1st.  She was the principal of Project Echo, and Star Quest which is alternative school programs near Johnston City.  LeQuatte resides in Herrin.

Donkin stepped down to become Superintendent of Frankfort Community District #168 in his hometown.  Before taking over as Regional Superintendent, he was a Social Studies teacher and later an administrator at Frankfort Community High School.  He steered a troubled office in the right direction, taking over for Barry Kohl.


Illinois Legislature passes resolution honoring Z-R Coaches vs. Cancer

by Steve Dunford

From State Represenative Dave Severin’s office

ZEIGLER, IL –  In each of  the six high schools in the county there are some super fans that stick out.  At Z-R it is Randall Risley, or Double R as my good friend Tom Wheeler has me calling him.  I don’t know if I have ever been to a Zeigler-Royalton sporting event that I did not see him.  I can go all the way back to the 1980’s when I slid on the jersey of the Thompsonville Tigers.

Since I have completed my second year of covering high school sports.  I have had the opportunity to be around Randall a lot.  We would cross paths at the Christopher Turkey Tournament, the Sesser-Valier Holiday tournament, and this fall as my son was an offensive lineman for the C-Z-R Bearcats.

I had the opportunity to see him at several games, and he always graciously provides me with pics of the Tornadoes.

Z-R coaches vs. Cancer was founded in the 2009-10 school year by Risley, and Tornadoes Head basketball coach Matt Morgan.  Both lost their fathers to cancer at an early age.  I can easily identify, as I lost my mother in her mid 50’s to lung cancer.

Here is a side note I would like to share.  Six years ago today Matt Morgan was hired as the Tornadoes basketball coach.  He has always been very approachable, and I am proud to call him my friend.

In the seven year time frame Zeigler-Royalton High School has raised over $110,000 for the cause.  This is for a high school that over the years had an average enrollment of around 160.  For the upcoming school year, their enrollment has increased to 180.

Z-R leads the state in this time frame, and they are one of the top schools in the nation in fundraising for Coaches-Vs. Cancer.

State Representative Dave Severin with Zeigler-Royalton High School Principal Quent Hamilton. (from Rep. Severin’s office)

The Illinois House of Representatives passed Resolution #379, sponsored by Rep. Dave Severin (R – Benton).  The resolution will be posted at the bottom of the story. 

Rep Severin was at Art Brandon Gymnasium to present the resolution to Risley and the rest of the individuals that worked so hard in the community.  Severin made the following statement.   “Zeigler-Royalton Coaches vs. Cancer is an incredible group.” Rep. Severin said, “Zeigler-Royalton community is neither the biggest nor the wealthiest but somehow, year after year, they are one of the top fundraisers in all of Illinois. The numbers speak for themselves and what Zeigler-Royalton has been able to do is nothing short of amazing.”

In accepting the award, Risley had the following remarks, “The Zeigler-Royalton community is small but we are proud to say we have had a bigger impact than any other high school in the state since we started,” Risley said. “I really appreciate the recognition from Representative Severin as we are all so proud of what we have been able to accomplish.”

Congratulations to the Z-R community for continuing great things for a great cause. Watch for postings for fundraisers for Coaches-vs.-Cancer in the upcoming school year.

From the Z-R Coaches vs. Cancer Facebook page.


Rend Lake College Spring 2017 Honors Lists

ReAnne Palmer, Rend Lake College Public Information

INA, IL– Rend Lake College is pleased to announce 396 students have made the President’s and Vice Presidents’ lists of academic honors for the Spring 2017 semester.

The lists include 150 individuals named to the President’s List. Those students earned a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) during the semester as a full-time student earning 12 credit hours or more. Another 246 students were named to the Vice Presidents’ List. Students on the Vice Presidents’ List earned a 3.50 – 3.99 GPA during the semester as a full-time student.

“With nearly 400 students landing spots on the honors lists this spring, I couldn’t be prouder of the countless hours of hard work and dedication shown on campus. I speak for everyone on campus when I say congratulations,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson. “It’s a testament to these students and their instructors, and they should all be very proud of this achievement.”

Below are the ones from Franklin County who achieved academic honors.

President’s List

BENTON – Mariann Cook, Sierra Deangelo, Ally Devore, Sara Dixon, Mackenzi Dollins, Emeri-Jean Farnam, Dakota Head, Hillary Ionson, Brette Mahan, Mallorie Melvin, Lindell Minor, Presley Robbins, Dylan Snyder, Noah Thomason, Anna Weaver, Lauren Zinzilieta

CHRISTOPHER – Camryn Maloney, Kayla Parrish, Phillip Smith

COELLO – Carrie Shaw

EWING – Wade Hutchens

MACEDONIA – Kelsey Conley

MULKEYTOWN – Kristi Barnett, Amber Dublo

ROYALTON – Kassandra Jones

SESSER – Emily Bulla, Pam Dorris, Nicholas Marlo, Skylyn Simpson, Mackayla Tindall

THOMPSONVILLE – Kayla Follmer, Hudson Garrison, Ivan Wysong

VALIER – Alexandra Boner

WEST FRANKFORT – Alexa Beaver, Jared Eastwood, Mary Linsley, Katie Ramsey, Christian Reed

WHITTINGTON – Morgan Wilson

Vice Presidents’ List

BENTON – Alison Anthis, Kelly Bishop, Lindsey Cox, Bria Curry, Dionna Dillon, Colton Essary, Johnel Eubanks, Brittany Ferris, Nicholas Freeman, David Garrett, John Giacone, Payton Hallis, Abbigail Hart, Kelsey Head, Aubrey Hunter, Haley Ing, Caleb Kearney, Christine Keppler-Clayton, Amy Kovarik, Matthew Krug, Andrew Lingle, Logan Maxey, Molly McGuire, Virginia Morgan, Devon Morris, Alexis Newell, Bradley Phillips, Makayla Rich, Naylin Ronchetto, Benjamin Schilli, Kassie Spencer, Holden Storey, Whitney Summers, Leigh Thomas, Caleb Wilkerson

BUCKNER – Morgan Wirtes, Callie Young

CHRISTOPHER – Brooke Akers, Emily Cavinder, Julie Faling, Zoie Frey, Anthony Hargrove, Kailey Kerkemeyer, Jacob Underwood

EWING – Ike Hutchcraft, Cole Hutchens, Kacee Roberts

MACEDONIA – David Motsinger

MULKEYTOWN – Sandra Eversole, Allanna Garrison, Cameron Jones, Loghan Matyi, Micah Motsinger, Jonathon Swisher, Zachary Webb

ORIENT – Brittany Segatto

ROYALTON – Kassie Jeralds, Kalynn Myers

THOMPSONVILLE – Maleissa Baney, Casey Bowlin, Austin Kerley, Maddie Miller, Aiden Payne, George Styles, Damien Wilburn

VALIER – Peyton Jennings, Sophi Johnson, Bailee Jones

WEST FRANKFORT – Courtney Browning, Shannon Browning, Kelsie Simpson

WHITTINGTON – Megan Rudolphi, Dylan Terry

ZEIGLER – Kenneth Newton


West Franklin Historical District thrift sale/breakfast Saturday

The West Franklin Historical District is hosting a Thrift Sale this Saturday, June 17th, from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. It is in conjunction with their third Saturday meal for June which is breakfast. Breakfast will be served from 7:00 am to 9:30 am.

The Thrift Sale will be in the gym and the breakfast will be in the kitchen/dining room, in the Historical District building, which is the former Mulkeytown Grade School.

Proceeds will go toward maintenance projects on the Historical District building as well as the Silkwood Inn.

Recent Z-R grad earned two degrees from Rend Lake College as well

by Steve Dunford 

Around the time of most high school graduations, I posted a press release from Rend Lake college.  The story highlighted one Christopher students and two Thompsonville students who were earning their Associate’s Degrees from Rend Lake College simultaneously graduating from high school.

Allanna Garrison

I was then made aware of the accomplishments of Allanna Garrison, who recently graduated from Zeigler-Royalton High School and earned two degrees from Rend Lake College. She is the first Z-R graduate to accomplish this.

She was the Salutatorian of her Senior Class, and graduated with high honors from RLC, earning over 70 credit hours.

I have swapped texts with her the last few days, and we talked about the journey of this incredible accomplishment.

She will be attending Southern Illinois University in the fall, majoring in nursing.  She will also participate in the Army ROTC program as well.  She works in the medical field now, as a CNA at Parkway Manor in Marion.

Along with being a high school student, and carrying a college workload as well, Allanna was active in her very recent high school days in the following:  Drama Club, Math club, SHARP Club Secretary, Class Secretary, WYSE team, and Math Field Day. I am also part of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She also likes to listen to music, play the guitar, and likes the outdoors.

I asked her who had the biggest influence on her to accomplish such an awesome feat.  She said, “My parents are my biggest influence. I was raised to always do the best you can in school and that is what I always did. They pushed me to be better and get to where I am today.”

“Another influence was my guidance counselor, Jim Chamness. He helped me learn about the duel credit classes and that is what really helped me the most. I have him to thank for me graduating from RLC.”

She told me that she started taking online classes her sophomore year.  She was enrolled at Rend Lake for two summers, and took night, dual credit, and online classes throughout the rest of her high school days.  Between the three, there were periods in which she was enrolled in six or seven college classes.

Allanna discussed the fall semester of her recently finished senior year.  She said she would be at school all day, head to RLC to take classes, then around 10:00 p.m. would start on her homework.   She told me she gave up athletics, and did not have much of a social life during this time.

In a personal note, I am blown away by her accomplishments after taking with her.  This young lady will go very far in life.





Rend Lake college graduates from Franklin County

ReAnne Palmer- RLC Public information 


Rend Lake College officials want to congratulate the Class of 2017 for another successful year. The 50th Annual RLC Commencement was held Saturday, May 13 in James “Hummer” Waugh Gymnasium. A total of 633 graduates were conferred 681 Associate Degrees and 454 Occupational Certificates for a total of 1,135 degrees and certificates. Bob Carlock, retired vice president of finance and administration at RLC, was the keynote speaker.

BENTON – Gary Allan, Michael Allan, Alison Anthis, Ashley K. Atkins, Alissa Bain, Leigha Bain, Deryck Bates, Jonathon Carson Batts, Kelly L. Bishop, Brandtlee Abram Brown, Brandi Nicole Cairns, Cali M. Carney, Aubrionna Casey, Joseph James Clinton, Kaleigh Cole, Mariann R. Cook, Lindsey Marie Cox, Zoie Paige Crain, Bria Leigh Curry, Pari Morgan Davis, Mackenzi Dollins, Heather Crystal Drew, Chason Lee Dunford, Rachel Raquel Easton, Curtis Alan Eubanks, Emeri-Jean Allyce Farnam, Connor Foltz, Samantha Franklin, David Bradley Garrett Jr., Sadie Hall, Abbigail E. Hart, Kelsey Morgan Head, Nicholas Sebastian Hoffman, Katelyn J. Houghland, Sarah E. Hubbard, Laura Katherine Jamerson, Emmy-Leigh Jay, Robin Nicole Johnson, Caleb James Kearney, Christine Keppler-Clayton, Amy Kovarik, Molly LaRae McGuire, Matthew Krug, Dakotah Micheal Lampley, Leanne Ledbetter, Shelby Lewis, Alaina Lynch, Dionna Grace Martin, Jayme Martinez, Janie Marie McMurray, Mallorie Melvin, Darian O’Brien Menees, Brandon Meyer, Kenneth A. Miner, Lindell Ray Minor, Virginia Morgan, Devon Jean Morris, Lorie Jane Nalley, Ashley Odom, Samantha R. Orrill, Ben Pankey, Gabriel Price, Joshua Price, Tarron Pulliam, Presley Robbins, Naylin Ronchetto, Charles Schram, Jenna McKay Shadowens, Andrea Linda-Marie Shaw, Kerrie Smith, Dylan Snyder, Kassie N. Spencer, Whitney Summers, John David Sweet, Nathan Watkins, Allee Nicole Wellen, John R. Wilder IV, Jacob Young

BUCKNER – Alyx Michaela Starkweather

CHRISTOPHER – Andrew David Benard, Jacob Ross Burkitt, Michael Taylor Calloni, Julie Y. Faling, Austin Frey, Zoie Danielle Frey, Amanda Gant, Nicole D. Howell, Jacob Allen Jablonski, Trevor Johnson, Kailey Kerkemeyer, Brittany N. Lowery, Camryn Joan Maloney, Erica Lynn Maple, Micah Motsinger, Kayla Parrish, Adam Jay Porter, Annabelle Lea Shukites, Jacob W. Underwood

COELLO – Joseph N. Shaw

EWING – Jaylyn Cozart, Delta Dawn Hermann, Ike Hutchcraft, Wade M. Hutchens, Kacee Leann Roberts

LOGAN – Dakota Casey, Nicole Marie Mullins

MACEDONIA – Bailey Jo Hiestand, Terrence Anthony Richard Marshall, Anthony L. Page, Danielle Rena Richardson, Martin John Ward

MULKEYTOWN – Brianna Bowlin, Ryan Andrew Curry, Allanna C Garrison, Michael T. Hoffman, Cameron Jones, Tara Chantell Law, Loghan Danielle Matyi, John Rapp, Christopher Richard, Breanna Faye Whitley, Cindra F. Wroblewski

ORIENT – Brittany Segatto

ROYALTON – Meghan Marie Clark, Kassandra Jones, Brandon Stubblefield, Stephan Threewitt, Austin D. Walker

SESSER – Ashly Lynn Brown, Reginald Joseph Eubanks, Johnathon Leonard Galloway, Cody Hamm, Blaine Leslie, Nicholas David Marlo  Caleb I. Mays, David Nelson, Brianna Joyce Risley, Kyle Andrew Robinson, Monica Lynn Scott, Skylyn DeVonne L. Simpson, Luke William Thompson, Matthew D. Wallinger, Kieran S. White

THOMPSONVILLE – Maleissa Anne Baney, Charlene Boyd, Chelsey Lynn Bundy, Kayla Follmer, Brady German, Cecily Ann Heusner, Austin Kerley, Austin Michael Kessler, David K. Payne, Kenzie Nichole Rizor, Kyle J. Shimkus, Kenise Rashelle Smith, Damien Sky Wilburn

VALIER – Sophi Rai Johnson, Bailee Lynn Jones, Jamie Jones, Courtney D. Smith

WEST CITY – Amanda Frankart

WEST FRANKFORT – Alexa L. Beavers, John Fenton Bowers, Shannon Browning, Jared Lee Eastwood, Garrett Karoski, Makenzie Kondoudis, Brittany Nicole Long, Alexis Rae Newell, Charles Saunders, Amber Marie Sloan, Kailee Spears, Adam Wiggins, Bryce Timothy Wiley, Kathryn Nichole Wise

WHITTINGTON – Dakota J. Head, Tabitha Hopkins, Noah Jones, Nathan Scott MacDonald, Jennifer Young

ZEIGLER – Breanna Renee Davis, Bailey Schimpf


Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News