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

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 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

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.


Sewer Payments Approved at Council Meeting

WEST FRANKFORT –  The West Frankfort City Council convened on Nov. 28 for their regularly scheduled city council meeting where several payments were made regarding sewer projects in and around the city.

Among the other items of note voted on at the meeting was approval of a partial pay estimate, number 19, to Midwest Petroleum and Excavating in the amount of $305,079.13. Brown and Roberts Engineer Matt Tosh said this was the next to last “major payment” to be made for the West Frankfort Sewer Treatment Plant Retrofit Project. Another sewer treatment plant project payment was made to Brown and Roberts in the amount of $24,238.50 for engineering services rendered on the project.

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


Severin Honors the City of Orient for Its 100th Birthday


ORIENT, IL – Monday night, State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) presented a House Certificate to Orient city officials honoring the city’s 100th birthday. Rep. Severin presented the certificate to Orient’s Mayor Pete Witkewiz at city hall prior to the City Council’s monthly meeting.

“It is incredible to think that Orient, Illinois is celebrating its 100th birthday,” Rep. Severin said. “The small Southern Illinois town has been a great addition to Franklin County over the years and it has been an honor for me to represent its constituents in the General Assembly.

The City of Orient was incorporated on September 11th 1917. It was formed in connection to Orient #1 coal mine which at its peak production was the top producing coal mine in the world. Mayor Witkewiz expressed gratitude for the recognition the city received from Rep. Severin.

“It was very thoughtful of the Representative to honor the City of Orient for its land mark birthday” Mayor Witkewiz said, “It is a small town but we are very proud of the long history our small community has had in Southern Illinois.”

West Frankfort…Zeigler firefighters responding to field fire

by Steve Dunford 

ZEIGLER, IL –  At 11:20 a.m., Zeigler and West Frankfort firefighters responded to a field fire at the intersection of State Route 149 and Dry Road.  This is just east of the Zeigler city limits.

Further updates will be provided as they become available.


Charlie Daniels Band guitarist shares memories of life in music, growing up in West Frankfort


Bruce Ray Brown an FCHS grad from the class of ’73 has enjoyed a long career in music, playing for nearly three decades with Charlie Daniels, and also producing music for the hit television shows Duck Dynasty and Hell on Wheels. (William McPherson-West Frankfort Gazette)

WEST FRANKFORT, IL – (William McPherson, West Frankfort Gazette.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

For nearly thirty years, when country music superstar Charlie Daniels has stepped out on stage to play his biggest hits, West Frankfort’s own Bruce Ray Brown has been right there with him.

Brown, a noted guitar player who has also released a solo album as well as produced music for numerous television shows and popular films, is an FCHS graduate from the class of 1973.

“When I was in high school I played with some local bands. I started when I was around 15 when I was a sophomore and then also continued on as a junior.”

Around that time Brown played in a horn band called ‘Sidetrak Plus’ out of Herrin which specialized in jazz music and all the standards.

Redbird LB worked midnight shift during two-a-days

by Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT, IL  –  I had this idea to write this story when the 11 year old kid mowed the Rose Garden for President Donald Trump.  “That’s the real future of the country right there — we’re lucky,” the president said. “Maybe he’ll be president someday.”

Shane #56 with his Father Kenneth Veil and his mother Schannone Steinberger (Thank You Jade Novak)

When this story became viral, I thought of Shane Richardson-Veil.  He is a backup linebacker for the West Frankfort Redbirds, and plays on special teams.  During two a day practices at the start of the season, he was putting in up to 12 hour shifts, working midnights at Pepsi-Mid America.

“It was tough. I would have been lucky to slept 10 hours in a five day period and hardly slept in three days,”  Shane said.  His teammates Brandyn Kahl and Tyler Broy told me basically the same thing, “He is one of the hardest workers on the team.  During that stretch he did not miss a practice, and was always on time.”

It was Senior Night and Black Out Cancer night, last Friday at Johnson Field.  Shane was in there the majority of the second half in a 49-8 win over Massac County last Friday night.  One one drive, he had two tackles and nearly a sack.

Other media sources well documented the game Friday night.  There will be times that you will see me “go off the beaten path,” especially in a blowout.

Shane #56 in action against Massac County (Thank you Caryn Novak)

Players like Shane are the heartbeat of a program.  He has a big part of what happens during the week to get the team ready for Friday night.   “Shane is a good kid that works hard both at practice and at work.  He always gives a 100% to the WF Redbird Football Team.  We are glad to have him on the team, and that he is able to balance his school, athletics, and work.”, said West Frankfort Coach Brian Beery.

For the second year in a row the Redbirds are one of the surprise teams in Southern Illinois.

I know from first hand experience how hard he works, because he lives across the alley from me.  I had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving with him, as well as his mother Schannone, brother Nicky, and mutual friends Dale and Kim Justice, with their son Spencer Metro.

Richardson-Veil (center) as an Honor Flight Escort this week. (Swiped from a proud mama)

Shane is also a wrestler for the Redbirds.  He had a season ending injury last year with a broken leg.

Shane has one project before he becomes an Eagle Scout.  He had the pleasure of serving as an escort on the Honor Flight this week.

He plans to major in History in college and become a coach.  (A man after my own heart)

Athletics is the extension of the classroom.  The discipline it takes to play a sport or an instrument in the band will carry through your life.  Shane has a very bright future.





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