South Marion Road closed from approximately 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Thursday

Franklin County Emergency Management  reports South Marion Rd between C Rd and Lawrence will be closed until approximately from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM Thursday for a water line install.  Use alternate routes.

This is on the edge of the city limits of West Frankfort.


By Marcia Raubach 

2017 Princess Flame Lexie Tourville

WEST FRANKFORT – Applications are being accepted for all 2018 Old King Coal festival Princess Flame Pageants.

Princess Flame Scholarship Pageant contestants must be between 17-24 years old as of April 1, 2018. Each contestant will be judged based on swimsuit, evening gown, interview and on-stage question. The 2018 Princess Flame will receive a $2,500 scholarship, flowers, crown, sash and trophy. The 1st runner up will receive a $1,000 scholarship, 2nd runner up will receive a $500 scholarship.

Other pageant categories are: Pre-Teen Princess Flame ages 8-12 and Teen Princess Flame ages 13-16 years old. Each contestant will compete in interview, casual wear, formal wear and on-stage question. Each winner will receive a tiara, sash and trophy.

Pageants are open to all Southern Illinois girls and will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2018 beginning at 7PM at the West Frankfort Community High School auditorium in West Frankfort. There is a $110 entry fee for Princess Flame and $60 entry fee for all other age groups if application is received by the March 20, 2018 deadline. All entries received after the deadline will require a $175 late registration fee for Princes Flame and $80 late registration fee for all other categories. All late applications must be post marked on or before March 31, 2018.

For applications for the Princess Flame Scholarship pageant and a complete lineup of all the events happening during the 2018 Old King Coal Festival go to

2018 Nominations for Old King Coal

By Marcia Raubach 

WEST FRANKFORT –  Steve Sawalich, President of the Southern Illinois Old King Coal festival, announced today that the deadline for nominations for 2018 Old King Coal is Friday, March 30th. The honor is bestowed annually to a deserving coal miner. Old King Coal will be crowned during the Princess Flame Scholarship Pageant on Sasturday, April 21 at the West Frankfort High School Auditorium  and will  reign over this year’s festival to be held May 10th thru the13th in downtown West Frankfort. This year’s festival theme is “Old King Coal Salutes America” .

Old King Coal President Steve Sawalich (left) is shown congratulating 2017 Old King Coal of West Frankfort, Charles A. Bartoni, Jr, in front of the Coal Miners Memorial monument at Coal Miners Memorial Park

All Southern Illinois coal miners are eligible, regardless of age or number of years they have worked in the mines. Nomination forms can be downloaded from the festival website at Forms are also available at the West Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, West Frankfort city hall water office or at Advanced Hearing in the West Frankfort Outlet Mall. Nominations are to be mailed to Old King Coal Festival, P.O. Box 242, West Frankfort, Illinois 62896 by March 30th, 2018.

This year’s festival kicks off Thursday, May 10th with Family Night on the midway and “Cadillac Jones Band” on the main stage beginning at 6PM. Other free entertainment on the main stage each evening include “We Got It Covered” and “Brat Pack” on Friday,  “Jake Hoult Band” and Ronnie McDowell on Saturday and “ Cassie Andrews & Calico Creek” on Sunday afternoon. Other events include the annual Coal Miners Memorial Service at Coal Miners Memorial Park at 10AM Saturday. Grand Parade at 1 PM featuring the patriotic theme, “Wave On Old Glory” and a celebrity auction on Saturday evening on the main stage.

For a complete schedule of events or to download entry forms for Old King Coal nominations, Princess Flame Scholarship Pageant, Old King Coal parade or booth space information go to

Additional detours/parking for the MHS Sophmore Tourney


From Len Novora – Murphysboro High School Athletic Director 

ATTENTION: ALL vehicles must be parked in the north end of the parking lot (next to the softball field on the right as you pull in) starting Monday (2/26).

Use the north gym doors for entry into building.

This will last for the remainder of the Tournament.


FCHS Hosts Active Shooter Training

Steve Webb speaks about situational awareness in the event of an active shooter scenario. (William McPherson – Gazette photo.)

WEST FRANKFORT – Following recent school shootings across the nation, many local institutions have made attempts to increase and promote situational awareness in the event of an active shooter situation.

Recently, FCHS Pashcedag Auditorium was host to a presentation from safety expert Steve Webb, a 25 year school administrator, who currently serves as the Goreville Superintendent. Webb has also served as a law enforcement officer since 2009. He is also the resource officer for his district and is the official A.L.I.C.E. Trainer and Raider Trainer.  (Raider refers to a special solo-engagement training for certain tactical situations.)

Webb’s presentation focused on the ALICE program. According to the program’s website, ALICE is the leading training solution that increases an organization’s and individual’s odds of survival during a violent intruder event. ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, is a post-Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook strategy that goes beyond the conventional lockdown strategy.

Please click on the link for the full story, from William McPherson of the West Frankfort Gazette.



Herrin Police: 12-year-old threatens girls with toy handgun in Herrin

Juvenile Suspect is from West Frankfort

WSIL image

HERRIN — A southern Illinois mother speaks out after a 12-year-old girl reportedly threatened her daughter with a gun, which appears to have been a toy.

Nicole Lacey is calling for the suspect to be held accountable as the investigation heads toward the Williamson County State’s Attorney’s office.

“My daughter is 13 years old and I have never been more terrified to send her anywhere,” Lacey said. “I don’t care if it was a fake gun, a real gun, the terror that she inflicted in my child that night was real.”

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

Frankfort Unit School District #168 Update on School Safety Measures

Press Release from Matt Donkin – Superintendent 

WEST FRANKFORT – As part of the district’s on-going planning and work on security measures in our schools, Frankfort CUSD #168 continues to use various strategies and actions each day to keep everyone alert and aware of potential incidents that could happen. One of those random strategies and actions may involve searching with metal detectors.

Today, Frankfort Community High School is conducting searches with metal detectors as students are entering school. School staff was joined by members of the West Frankfort Police Department in our ongoing partnership to keep our schools safe and assist us in conducting the searches. There has been no active threat to the schools of the district today. Please be aware that we continue to ask our students and their families to report any concerns or information they may have. We will investigate information that we receive to its conclusion to insure the safety of our students and our staff.

This school district continues its emergency assessment and planning as we all ask ourselves across this community and across this nation what needs to be done to prevent future school incidents

Frankfort CUD #168 meets in special session tonight


Thursday, February 15, 2018
At Central Junior High School – Library, 1500 E. Ninth St., West Frankfort, IL



1. Call to Order, Roll Call, and Establishment of Quorum.

2. Hearing of Delegates or Visitors and Public Comments.

3. Appointment of Hearing Officer (A)

4. Closed Session – To hold hearings regarding student disciplinary cases. [5 ILCS 120/2 (c)(9)]. (A)

5. Return to Open Session. (A)

6. Possible action on student disciplinary hearings. (A)

7. Adjournmen


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


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.


Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News