New Dollar General open in West Frankfort

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – The new Dollar General in West Frankfort, opened its doors at 4:00 p.m. Sunday.  It is across for the former Dairy Queen.

The store layout is similar to the new stores on East Main in Benton ,and in Thompsonville.

I was asked the question today, Can West Frankfort support two DG’s?  The answer is yes.  Benton has two and they always have  traffic flow.

Dollar General has found their niche in the market in neighborhood stores, and small towns such as T’ville

Sunday’s opening makes the eighth store in Franklin County.  I am hearing rumblings that number can increase.

I will be calling the corporate public relations office soon to try to confirm this.  I will also try to get some info on the brand new store.

Not being able to drive, I am to have a store a few blocks from me that I can pick up essentials.  There are very few people that drive in the apartment building I live in.  It would be a convenience.

The inside is very modern and sleek.  There is still some infrastructure details that need to be taken care of.

As there will be some losing their retail jobs at K-Mart, there will be some replaced at this opening.

This is something that is desperately needed at the east side of town.



West Frankfort Hires Second Ever Female Police Officer

New West Frankfort Police Officer Amanda Marlow poses for a picture with West Frankfort Police Chief Mike Irwin at the January 8, City Council meeting at which Marlow was hired on as member of the WFPD. (William McPherson, WF Gazette photo)

WEST FRANKFORT – The West Frankfort City Council voted to hire a new officer at the January 9, 2018 meeting.

West Frankfort resident Amanda Marlow has worked with the City of West Frankfort as a telecommunicator for most of the last year, helping guide officers and firefighters to various emergency situations. Now she’s going to be making the transition from taking the calls in the office, to responding to them out in the field.

Please click on the link below to read the full story from William McPherson of the West Frankfort Gazette.

GIRLS MWC: Wright, Tucker, Wilderman All Tournament Team Selections

From left to right: Cali Wright, West Frankfort; Bella Pasquino, Pinckneyville; Paige Tucker, and Brooke Wilderman, Sesser-Valier-Waltonville; Aston Hawk, Madison Russell (MVP) Herrin

Redbirds pick up their third win of the year Saturday night against Sparta

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  It was not one that would be saved for the archives, but a win is a win.  They all count the same in the win loss column.  It is no secret that I am starting to cover games from listening to radio broadcast and especially video streaming.  My good friend Rick Westemeyer said it just did not have any flow to it.   I could tell by listening to it.

It was back to back nights without leading scorer C.J. Johnson who is out with a knee injury and Cole Levanti who is out with an ankle sprain.  Levanti told me today he is day to day.

The Redbirds improved to 3-10 on the season with a 55-50 win over Sparta.

Kyle Hammers (23) on the wing and Lucas Wolfe (3) at the top of the key for the Redbirds Saturday night. (Thank you Connie Siveking for the pics.)

The Redbirds raced out to at 12-7 lead with all twelve points coming from behind the arc, with Lucas Wolfe having two, Kyle Hammers one, and Keagan Thrash one.  They ended up with seven threes on the night.

West Frankfort struggled from the free throw line in the in the second quarter and the Bulldogs took a 16-15 lead at one point.  The Redbirds get buckets form Hammers and Thrash in the closing seconds to posses a 22-18 halftime lead.

The Redbirds go on a tear in the third quarter as Wolfe bombs another three as the Redbirds score 13 unanswered points.  Sophomore Gavin Gaylor hits a three and has a bucket in this run for all five of his points on the night. The Redbrids were up 39-23, and were on the verge of blowing it wide open.  A late Sparta rally and it is 41-30 after three.

Sparta makes it interesting toward the end, and could not cut the deficit less than five as the final was 55-50.

Redbird Center Bradlee Croslin on the baseline in Saturday night’s win. Croslin had nine points on the night.

Lucas Wolfe led the Redbirds with 15 on the night, followed by Kyle Hammers 13, and Keagan Thrash was the third for West Frankfort in double figures with 11.

Deon Clark had a game high 22 points for Sparta as Timberland Lucas added 12.

West Frankfort improved to 3-10 on the season.  They have the tough task in going to Memorial Gym to face the Murphysboro Red Devils tomorrow night, before a girls/boys DH at home with the Massac County Patriots on Friday night.  It pains me to say that, but that is weather permitting on Friday.

Sparta fell to 4-11 on the season.  They host the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats on Friday (weather permitting.)

Box Score

WEST FRANKFORT (55)  Wolfe 1 3 4-6 15. Hammers 4 1 2-4 13, Thrash 2 2 1-2 11, Croslin 4 0 1-2 9, Gaylor 1 1 0-1 5,  B. Russell 0 0 2-2 2

SPARTA (50)  Clark 5 3 2-3 21, Lucas  5 0 2-5 12, Boston 4 0 1-3 9, Anderson 1 1 0-0 5, Stefani 0 1 0-0 3

Score By Quarters

WEST FRANKFORT (3-10)    12 – 10 – 19 – 14  –   55

SPARTA (4-11)    7 – 11 – 12 – 20  –  50


WSIL UNSUNG HERO: 10-year-old raises money for families in need

Lilyanne Cooksey (WSIL-TV)

WEST FRANKFORT – The holiday’s may be over, but one Franklin County girl is already making plans for the next Christmas. For the past two-years, 10-year-old Lilyanne Cooksey has helped give presents to families in need. Lily was determined to earn her money, not have it given to her.

They say, grandma’s house is where memories are made.

“It’s pretty fun because it’s Grandma,” said Lily. The kitchen is where Lily spent most of her days leading up to Christmas.

Please click on the link below from Evie Allen of WSIL-TV.

West Frankfort K-Mart closing

Sears in Marion, Mt. Vernon K-Mart as well

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  In a move that does not come as a big surprise to me or several that has shopped in the stores over the last several months, the West Frankfort K-Mart will be closing its doors.

“We will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” the company said in a statement.

There is not a full press release issued from Sears holding company.  Outside of the immediate Southern Illinois Region, The K-Mart in Paducah is closing as well.

Store management declined for comment, as they have been instructed to by higher level management.

Please follow this link for further updates, including links from other media outlets.

Please click on this link from Business Insider to read this story and accompanying stories about the closures.

Fourth Quarter rally comes up short for the Redbirds

By Steve Dunford 

ELDORADO –  It was a gutsy effort in a 3:30 stretch for the West Frankfort Redbirds in the fourth quarter.  They found themselves down 52-37 right at the six minute mark.  With 2:32 on the clock Lucas Wolfe hits two free throws to complete a 15-4 run to cut the Eagle lead to 56-52.

In the run there were two big threes by C.J Johnson and one by Keagan Thrash.  The Eagles showed why they were undefeated by not hitting the panic button down the stretch. They hold on to punch their ticket and face their Saline County rivals, the Harrisburg Bulldogs in a 64-55 victory.

The Eagles jump out to a 6-0 and 10-3 lead early.  It was not very pretty both ways as Eldorado had a 15-7 lead after one.

Coach Kevin Toney went eight deep into his bench in the second quarter and Cole Levanti, and Gavin Gaylor hit threes.  Josh Melvin had a couple of big buckets in the post. They were able to cut into the lead and were only down two points.

Joe Mayberry, the sixth Man for Eldorado puts on a shooting expedition himself and Eldorado led 36-24 at the half.

The Eagles found themselves in some foul trouble in the third quarter  The Redbirds capitalized by going a perfect 8-8 from the line.  After three, West Frankfort cut the lead to 8 at 46-38.

The Redbird rally came up short, as the Eagles keep their undefeated streak alive at 13-0.   West Frankfort falls to 2-6 on the season.  They will be facing the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats this evening at 7 p.m.

Scoring for the Redbirds, Keagan Thrash was a game high scorer with 17, C.J Johnson 13, Josh Melvin 6, Gavin Gaylor and Kyle Hammers three, Lucas Wolfe and Bradlee Croslin with two points .

Scoring for Eldorado, Jacob Traxler had 16, Jon Meredith 15, Joe Mayberry 14, Braden Attebury nine,  Kale Olglesby eight. Ray May three, and Andrew Whitlock with two points.

Score By Quarters

ELDORADO (13-0)   15 – 21 – 10 – 18  –  64

WEST FRANKFORT (2-6)  7 -17 – 14 – 55




West Frankfort FD responds to traffic crash

WEST FRANKFORT-  The Facebook site Southern Illinois Fire Incidents reports that West Frankfort firefighters are on the scene of a single car motor vehicle accident on Deering Road. with entrapment.

Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.  Updates from other media outlets will be linked below.  Please do not post pictures of the scene or share names on social media sites. -sd

Rangers escape West Frankfort with a win by the skin of their teeth

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – Looking at the records, you would think the Benton Rangers would be heavily favorites in tonight’s game with the West Frakfort Redbirds.

It is Benton and West Frankfort though.  I have always said that if two stray tom cats. one from Benton and one from WF would get in a fight in 18 Bottoms, it would draw a crowd.

The only blemish on the Rangers record is an overtime loss to Anna-Jonesboro in the season opener at the Goreville Invitational.  The Redbirds came into the game with a goose egg in the win column.

The Rangers made the six-mile trip home tonight pulling out a 49-45 win over their arch rivals in a nip and tuck contest.

Keagan Thrash at the FT line for the Redbirds. He had a game high 16 points last night.

The Redbirds jump out to an early 6-0  lead. In the first play of the game, the Redbirds pound it in to Bradlee Croslin, C.J. Johnaon hits the back in of two free throws, and Keagan Thrash steps out from behind the arc to hit a 22 footer on the wing.

Benton goes on a tear from behind the arc.  Hamilton Page started it, then Cade Thomas, then Parker Williams and finally Carson Lewis to put Benton up 12-8.

The Redbirds began chipping away.  At the :24 second mark of the quarter Brett Bonenberger scored the first points in the paint to put the Rangers up at the end of the first quarter 14-11.  Bonenberger gave Coah Ron Winemiller some big minutes in the post.

In the second frame the threes keep coming Gerhig Wynn got in on the fun then Willams agian, sandwiched in between another bucket on the post by Boenberger.  At that Point the Rangers were up 23-13 and looked like they were in command.

The teams began to trade buckets and Coach Winemiller calls a time out just under the two minute mark.  He and assistant coach Wade Thomas go back into their Foxes days and burn clock the rest of the first half.  The teams go to the locker rooms with Benton up  28-23.

Benton kept a five to seven point lead thorugh most of the third quarter, then West Frankfort came with a late rally to cut it to one, and Cade Thomas hit a buzzer beater to put West Frankfort 35-33 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter both teams traded jabs.  Brett Boneberger steps out and hits a three to make it 38-35.   The Redbirds end up going up to take their first and only lead of the night on a steal from Kyle Hammers which he goes coast to coast.

Stepping up big in the fouth quarter for the Redbirds is Bradlee Croslin.  He had six of his 12 points in the final stanza.  I don’t have the rebound stats yet, but I would not be surpised if he had a double double.   Defensively, he pushed Parker Williams to get most of his ponts behind the arc.

By far it was the best game I have watched Croslin play.  “He played a tremendous game.  He is not satisfied where he is at.  He gives me maximum effort every time out.”  Redbird coach Kevin Toney said after last night’s game.

In the maroon, Gehrig Wynn was ice at the free throw line down the stretch was going 6/6, and making it a two posession game twice   “He was who we wanted there. Our four seniors (Page, Williams, Thomas as well) that have have been seeing varsity minutes since sophmores were big tonight.” Coach Winemiller siad.

“When you come in here (WF) it is always a fight.  I came down here and watched them play Eldorado, and knew we were going to have our hands full. We held Johnson to five points tonight with him averaging 18 or 19.  This is a very good 0-6 basketball team.  Coroslin and Thrash are a handful down low.”  We were up ten a couple times and they kept fighting back.” Coach Winemiller said in his post game comments.

The Rangers travel to Nashville tonight to face the 4-2 Hornets at the Assembly Hall.  Long time sucessful girls coach Wayne Harre is now at the helm of the boys’ program after Brad Weathers retired.

Nashville has been on a roll in their last three games.  They beat A-J 61-36, Waterloo Gibault 37-21 and beat Sparta 52-16 (not a misprint) last night.

The Rangers have been road warriors this week.   “We will be heading up there with our third road game this week, and all three are tough places to play.  Bultman and the Parker Brothers are loads.  I am a little concerned about our legs.” Coach Ron Winemiller said.

The kids were receptive in practice all week.  “Their effort has been there.  I could not ask for anymore.  It is a matter of correction of  basketball skills.  When we get that first one (win) it will be huge for us.”  Coach Kevin Toney said after last night’s win.

Todd Tripp’s Goreville Blackcats (4-2) are coming to Max Morris gym this evening.  Their backcourt of Peyton Massey and Braden Webb has been banged up all year.  “I don’t know whether Webb is healthy, but he makes them go.  If he is,  the dribble drive pennetration could cause us problems.”

The “sixth man: showed up big for the Redbirds tonight

It has been nearly two weeks since Goreville has played.  The gap in their schedule was great timing so they can lick their wounds.

The Redbirds had their sixth man last night.  There was a near full boisterous student section last night. They all were in their pajamas.  I said they all looked like they were going Black Friday Shopping at Walmart.  I heard several variations of the theme.

Box Score

BENTON (49)  Williams 3 2 1-2 13, Page 2 1 4-6 11, Wynn 0 1 6-6 9, Bonnenberger 2 1 0-1 7, Thomas 1 1 0-1 5,  Lewis 0 1 0-0 3, Morris 0 0 1-2 1

WEST FRANKFORT (45)  Thrash 3 3 1-2 16, Croslin 6 0 0-1 12, Hammers 4 0 1-1 9, Johnson 2 0 1-2 5, Wolfe 1 0 1-2 3, B. Russell 0 0 0-0 0, J Russell 0 0 0-0 0, Melvin 0 0 0-0 0

Score by Quarters

BENTON (7-1)(2-0)  14 – 14 – 7 – 14  –  49

WEST FRANKFORT (0-6)(0-2)  11 – 12 – 9 – 13 – 45







Council Approves Resolution for Crosswalk Grant

WEST FRANKFORT – At last Tuesday’s West Frankfort Council meeting, the council voted to approve a resolution to support Crosswalk’s community development block grant application.

With this vote, the West Frankfort Crosswalk Community Action Agency got a little closer last week to being able to help some local families in need with some vital home renovations such as siding, roofing, proper insulation and other health and safety related repairs.

West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan added that the council was always happy to give their support to the grant process. Jordan said he is thankful for the investment in West Frankfort and in the region.

Please click on the link below for the story from the West Frankfort Gazette.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News