Harrisburg blows out West Frankfort in SIRR Ohio opener

By Steve Dunford 

HARRISBURG – With the Rebdirds making a trip to Davenport gym for their SIRR Ohio division opener, I knew it would be an uphill battle.

The Bulldogs raced out to a 45-29 half time lead and never looked back, as they defeated West Frankfort 87-56 last night.

Isaiah Saulsbury had a game high 29 for Harrisburg last night. Dalton Lambert 13, Jordan Bartok 12, Carson Burtis was the fourth Bulldog in double figures with ten points on the night.

C.J. Johnson led West Frankfort with 22 points on the night, Kyle Hammers added 15, and Keagan Thrash added nine.

The Bulldogs improve to 5-1 on the season.  They have a late afternoon contest with the Meridian Bobcats.

The Redbirds are 0-5 on the season.  They have a two game home stand next weekend.  On Friday, they host that team the late Bruce Fasol used to call, “the team six miles to the north”

Satuday they host Todd Tripp’s Goreville Blackcats.

Box Score

HARRISBURG (87)  Burtis 4 0-0 10, Drue 3 1-2 7, Saulsbury 11 2-5 29, Lambert 4 4-6 13, Bartok 5 2-2 12, Gibbs 0 3-4 3, Sigler 1 1-1 3, Storms 1 1-2 3 Sanders 3 1-2 7

WEST FRANKFOT (56)  Wolfe 2 0-1 4, Russell 1 0-0 2, Johnson 8 3-4 22, Hammers 7 0-0 15, Woolard 1 0-0 2, Thrash 3 3-5 9, House 0 2-2 2

Score by Quarters

HARRISBURG (5-1)(1-0)  27 – 18 – 22 – 20   -87

WEST FRANKFORT (0-5)(0-1)  12 – 17 – 14- 13-   56


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.


Candy Cane Lane opens this evening

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – Since its inception in 1988, Candy Cane Lane has been a regional Christmas tradition, for people of Southern Illinois and surrounding states.

From the City of West Frankfort Website

This was started by retired Frankfort Community High School Art Teacher and Volleyball Coach Tim Murphy.  It was a display at his home, with characters made by his art students over the years.

Since then path of lights sprawls over six city blocks, with the entrance on the 600 block of E Main Street just past FCHS.

I was able to speak with Murphy before Thanksgiving.  He said, “With the weekend of December 1st upcoming, opening it a couple of days early will help me get the bugs out of things.”  

He also said,  “Several have asked me to open it on Thanksgiving Weekend.  It seems now that we skip over Thanksgiving and go right into Christmas.  I would like to reserve this for Chirstmas”

In the few days leading up to Christmas, there will be horse drawn carriage rides along the path.   I will be posting about them at a later date.

The weekends get quite busy.  The West Frankfort  Redbirds host the Benton Rangers and Goreville Blackcats, on the weekend of the 15th-16th.  This is something to keep in mind in planning your trip.

Murphy also made the suggestion in walking the lane, for a different experience.


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.





City Approves Mach1 for Liquor License, Discusses Expanding Number of Pour Licenses for Video Gaming


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

Randy Mires of Mach1 was approved for a Class A pour license at a recent West Frankfort City Council meeting.

The planned Mach1 development was contingent on getting this approval Jordan said, because they need the liquor license in order to set up video gaming. This is why, Jordan said, the pour license was being approved so early before any construction was set to begin.

Mayor Tom Jordan said that Mires has been trying to bring a gas station to West Frankfort for the past three years. The West Frankfort Mach1 will be built on the ground which formerly was the West Frankfort Pizza Hut located near the Outlet Mall and I-57 interstate exit, and will also have a space at the current home of the Special Occasions bridal shop—who will in turn be bringing their business into the Outlet Mall, Jordan said.

Boil Water order South of West Frankfort

WEST FRANKFORT, IL – A boil water order is issued for the following areas South of West Frankfort.  Route 37 between Pond Creek to County Line Road.  Country Club Road between Route 37 and Interstate 57 overpass.

Frankfort school board adopts $16 million budget


WEST FRANKFORT, IL – (Tim Hastings, West Frankfort Gazette.  Please click the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

The Frankfort Community School District 168 Board of Education adopted a $16 million budget for the 2017-2018 school year after conducting a public hearing on Thursday, September 28, at the Central Junior High School cafeteria.  Superintendent Matt Donkin said the hearing elicited no questions or comments.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News