Red Devils win on a buzzer beater

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER –  I have spent a lot of times watching game film. live streaming broadcasts this week, and I have loved every minute of it.  I have been finishing up before tip-off of every game.  To say the least I am running behind.

When something is meant to be, you hear something from multiple different places.  There has been different ones that said you can cover a game streaming, there is no reason why you could not write something listening to a radio broadcast.  Last night that is what I did.

I am going to give you the “Cliff Notes Version” of the game coverage.  Most of you have seen a lot of playing time since your sophomore year.  You were down 11 in the second quarter.  You could have folded up the tents and be content with playing Christopher at 3:00 p.m.

Three Seniors in. Lukas Gunter, Tyler Winchester, and Preston Launius, played like veterans down the stretch.  Winchester came up big.  Even though I was listening to Danny Czerwinski, there were several that had Winchester’s shot posted.

Tonight, there will be a Goreville Blackcat team, that has been slated by several to end up in Peoria this year.  There will be at least two more battles in the conference this year.  I would not be surprised one bit if there would be a fourth down in Elizabethtown in the sectionals.

Just from experience, there is a huge line outside.  The doors open at 6:00 p.m.  It will be sold out at 6:15.  There will be people in the commons watching on video.

Most of you taking the floor tonight, I watched you grow up, even though I have not been around the last few years.  I was actually pacing the floor in the last two minutes.  It is a blessing, I will get to watch you play on Goreville’s live stream.

I have a lot of respect for your coach and staff.  They to a lot of things right.  Most of all Coach Garner sets a Godly Example in front of you daily.

Across the way there will be another coach that has been very good to me since I have became a sportswriter  Coach Tripp will be clapping a lot to get your opponent going.   The coat will go off first.  Then the tie will, and sometimes the shirt tail.

There will be such a crowd there will be a soda cart brought out like at Busch Stadium.

I hope you will be cutting down some nets in about three hours.

Box Score from last night

SESSER-VALIER (65)  Winchester 3-2 6-7 18,  Launius 6 0 0-0 12, Boles 3 2 0-0 12, L. Gunter 6 0 0-0 12, Rock 4 0 0-0 8 Page 1 0 1-2 3,  J. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, E. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0

WOODLAWN (64)  McKay 5 1 7-8 20, Fowkes, 4 2 0-3 13,  Rynski 3 1 3-3 13, Bennett 4 0 2-5 10, Hollenkamp 1 1 2-2 7, England 0 0 1-2 1

Line Score

SESSER-VALIER (8-4)    7 – 15 – 16 – 27  –  65

WOODLAWN (8-5*)     17 – 13 – 12 – 22 –  64

*Record includes this afternoon’s loss to Christopher.

Red Devils man-handle the Appleknockers last night

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER – In the opening minutes of the first quarter, it was Tyler Winchester 10 Devils 0.  Winchester had a game high 28. points as Sesser-Valier moves to a date with the Woodlawn Cardinals.  They knocked Cobden to the fifth place bracket with a 77-62 victory.

After Winchester picked apart the Appleknocker defense, Cobden goes on an 8-o run to cut it to 10-8.  The Red Devils spread the wealth, and Coach Garner goes deep into his bench, which in my view, is the deepest in Southern Illinois 1A basketball, to take a 19-12 lead.

The Devils go on several runs in the second quarter. Preston Launius was the key to several of the runs as he had seven points in the quarter.  You might see him on the all tournament team.  The Appleknockers were in deep foul trouble.  One thing that grabbed my attention is was post player Seth Boles stepping out and hitting his first of two threes. The Red Devils let at the half 44-29

Sesser ends up taking a 65-36 lead before Cobden goes on a seven point run.  When they faced continuous  clock in the fourth quarter it seems like they would go on a run.  After three quarters, the score was 70-46.

The Devils take a 77-51 lead, when Coach Garner begins to substitute freely, and run time off the clock.  Cobden goes on a 11-0 at the end of the game for a 77-62 finaL

As mentioned above, Winchester’s 28 and Launius’ 13 led the Devils scoring in double figures.

Dylan Lewey, Clayton Eck,  and John Russell all had eight points for the Appleknockers.

Sesser Valier improves to 7-4 on the season.  They play the Woodlawn Cardinals in a semi-final game at 8:00 p.m. this evening. If they win, they will play the Goreville Blackcats in the championship game at 7;00 p.m. tomorrow night.  If they lose, they will face off against their rivals, the Christopher Bearcats at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Cobden fell to 9-7 on the year.   They play the Johnston City Indians at 6:30 this evening in the fifth place bracket at 6:30 this evening.

Box Score

SESSER-VALIER (77) Basso 0 0 0-0 0, L. Gunter 2 0 4-5 8, Winchester 5 3 9-9 28, E. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Launius 6 0 1-2 13, Pates 0 0 0-1 0, Rock 2 0 1-2 5, Kiselewski 0 0 0-0 0, Boles 3 2 1-1 13, Page 4 0 2-6 10.
2FG-22, 3FG-5, FT-18-26, PF-18.

Fouled Out:  Page

COBDEN (62) Franklin 1 0 3-6 5, Nance 0 2 1-2 7, Allen 1 0 1-1 3, Lewey 3 0 2-4 8, Russell 2 1 1-2 8, Britt 2 0 0-2 4, Eck 4 0 0-0 8, West 0 0 0-0 0, Inman 0 0 0-0 0, Flamm 1 1 0-0 5, Brumleve 4 0 6-7 14.
2FG-18, 3FG-4, FT-14-24

Technical Fouls:  Franklin

Line Score

SESSER-VALIER (7-4)    19 – 25 – 26 – 7  –  77

COBDEN (9-7)    12 – 17 – 16 – 16  –  62

Valier student beneficiary of Rend Lake College Foundation Endowment Scholarships increased.

By ReAnne Palmer

INA, IL– It was a night of celebration and merriment at the 2017 Rend Lake College Foundation Annual Dinner with numerous surprise awards and announcements, starting with the 2017 Alumnus of the Year. The Annual Dinner was held Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Mt. Vernon Hotel & Events Center.

“I am very pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has decided to make a one-time distribution of an additional one percent on all endowed scholarships in the upcoming academic year,” said Kay Zibby-Damron, Rend Lake College Foundation Director.  “All of our endowed scholarships will award six percent of the principle to very deserving RLC students. As the cost of education rises, coupled with the uncertainty of financial assistance from the state, I am grateful that the Foundation is able to help so many students.”

Ramsey shared his journey to Rend Lake College with members of the RLC community at the RLC Foundation Annual Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 7.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

One of those students, Heath Ramsey of Valier, shared his appreciation for the Foundation and the donors in the room. Ramsey is a nontraditional student who returned to the classroom for a new career with a family and small children in tow. The nursing student said he’s looking forward to helping people in new ways, thanks in part to the help he’s received.

“I’d like to welcome you and thank you for being with us this evening. I’m 38 years old and was in corporate sales for many years before I decided to go back to college,” said Ramsey. “I figured I’d been helping people for the past few years, and now, I’ve decided to help people in a different way. I decided I needed to get back into college, even as a nontraditional student. When I received a letter in the mail from the RLC Foundation saying I’d been awarded the Howard L. Payne Nursing Scholarship, I knew I’d made the right decision.”

The RLC Foundation Annual Dinner was sponsored by Hamilton County Telephone Co-Cop and subsidiaries, and People’s National Bank – both of which have been sponsors of the event for over a decade. The invocation was provided by Eric Black, RLC Board of Trustees Secretary, and live music was provided by Hannah Fullerton on piano.

To learn more about the RLC Foundation, contact Zibby-Damron at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214 or

See You at the Pole: Sesser-Valier Schools

From the Sesser-Valier Fellowship of Christian Athletes Facebook page

Valier High School “Blue Birds”

VALIER, IL  – (Illinois High School Glory Days.  Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.,

Valier (population 662) is located along Il. Route 148 at Park Street Road in eastern Franklin County. This places Valier in the southern tip of Illinois about 25 miles northeast of Carbondale.  The A, T & SF Railroad runs north and south through the west side of town. The east side of town is surrounded by two branches of Andy Creek.
Valier was established in 1905 and named after Albert and William Valier who owned the land on which the village was platted.
J.C. Stoffel (Class of 1943) provided the following facts about the organization of Valier High School:
Valier High School was organized for the 1925-26 school year:
1926-27 – This is the first school year to hold classes in the new high school building.
1927-28 – VHS became certified as a 4-year high school
1928-29 – First graduating class – 11 students
1965-66 – Last graduating class –   8 students
1928-29 thru 1941-42 classes – Average enrollment – 120.21
1942-43 thru 1965-66 classes – Average enrollment –  60.46
During 38 years of operation   – Average enrollment –   82.47

Sesser PD doing welfare checks during the heat

From the City of Sesser

SESSER, IL – Sesser Police Department Officers are doing welfare checks on citizens during this heat. Please check on your neighbors, friends and pets. If you have someone you would like added to the list please contact City Hall. 625-3611. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe during this heat. Please share.

Anchor Grille opens in Sesser

by Steve Dunford


SESSER, IL-  The Anchor Grille opened for business this week in Sesser.  It is located in the former Bruno’s Steakhouse building on the east side of town on State Route 154.

I spoke with owner Joshua Qualls last night,  he says they have a full breakfast and dinner menu, specializing in burgers and seafood.  They also have daily specials.   I will post their menu below.

In conversations I have had and from reading social media posts, the vast majority says the food is excellent.

Please give them a try.  They open at 7:00 a.m.  Spending money locally benefits our communities.

Breakfast Menu:

Lunch and dinner menu

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


“Tiny House” on the market

High School Construction Trades Class Completes Year-long Project

 Press Release from Regional Office of Education- District #21

Photos courtesy of ROE #21

Drivers navigating the Benton Public Square this past week or so may have noticed, not only the renovations to the former Campbell’s Furniture building, now home to several county offices, but also a rather charming structure on display on its east parking lot. The “Tiny House”, described as a fully-functioning house in condensed form, is a product of the first-ever multi-school district Construction Trades class, which included students from Benton, Christopher, and Sesser-Valier High Schools.

“Some creative thinking on the part of our Board of Control led us to be able to offer this class for students who have an interest in the building trades,” said George Hopkins, Jr., Director of the Franklin County Regional (Vocational) Delivery System. “The ‘Tiny House’ project allowed them to get a lot of hands-on experience in carpentry and construction, and we now hope to sell the building through a closed-bid procedure, the proceeds of which will be used for next year’s class projects.”

Hopkins pointed out that a minimum bid will be established, which basically will cover the cost of materials, and anyone interested in placing a bid is encouraged to pick up an informational bid sheet at the Regional Office of Education #21, now located in the new county office facility (Campbell’s Building).

Some people are familiar with the “tiny house” concept through the popular HGTV prime time series that has highlighted the potential uses of such a basic, mobile, structure.

“I am aware that some folks have utilized these houses at lakes and hunting areas,” Hopkins commented. “The TV show has spawned a growing interest in having amenities of home—heating, air-conditioning, kitchen, etc., without extravagant square footage.  Our students even included an outside deck on their project.  It’s a neat little place!”

Hopkins points out that it took a village, so to speak, to make this program and Tiny House construction a reality.

“A lot of people in the community…Kenny Hutchens, Doug Nolen, Jerry Randolph, and Ron House, who provided us a facility to build, all helped us pull this off.  Without their assistance, we’d have never met our deadline,” the Director said.

Additionally, a $30,000 donation from philanthropist Robert Burton, a West Frankfort native who is CEO of Cenveo, Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, took the Construction Trades class from planning stage to actuality.

“Mr. Burton’s generous donation a year or so ago, that provided us with a mobile construction lab and all tools necessary for the project, made this program a reality in Franklin County, and we are indebted to him,” Hopkins said.

After its stint on the Public Square, the Tiny House is now located at Benton High School, near the superintendent’s office, until its sale in the next week or two.  Tours of the Tiny House will be conducted on Wednesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 25, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. so those interested in submitting a bid can view the property being sold.    

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