Z-R Junior High Girls Softball raised over $1K for Coaches vs. Cancer

By Steve Dunford


Randall Risley photo

ZEIGLER, IL-  Over time I have written a couple stories and shared a few links about the incredible work that Zeigler-Royalton Elementary/Junior High and High School has accomplished raising money for Coaches vs. Cancer.

I am going to mention in this story to people that I have a lot of respect for, Z-R superfan Randall Risley, and Tornado Junior High Girls Softball Coach, Amy Garmane.    I will be writing this from my own perspective.

Over the last several years, Z-R has raised $113,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer.  In the tournament over the weekend the junior high softball girls raised $1,058.10.

Let me give you a little background about Z-R Coaches vs. Cancer.  There have been a lot of   This effort has been spearheaded by Randall Risley, who in my book is the face of Zeigler-Royalton sports.  Even back in the 1980’s when I played basketball  Thompsonville, I would always see him sitting behind the bench keeping stats, etc.    I would see him around when I used to referee, and as a sportswriter and being at my son’s football games for C-Z-R I have got to know him..

Risley as well as Z-R High School Basketball Coach Matt Morgan had a conversation about can we do this here at Zeigler.  Both Risley and Morgan lost their fathers at a young age.  As you can see by the figure that I shared above, the rest is history.

I am nearly all the sports at Zeigler-Royalton have some type of fund raiser during the season for CVC.  Last Saturday, it was the junior high girls turn.

They are coached by Amy Garmane.  I have known her since she was in high school, first playing for Vienna, and later Sesser-Valier.  (They might have been co-oping with Waltonville at the time).  She later went on to play college softball for Rend Lake.   She has been an elementary teacher at Z-R for at least the last decade.

She has a passion for softball.  One thing that amazes me and we have not talked about it, she is pregnant and still coaching.  It was revealed Sunday that she and her husband Cory are going to have a little girl.

The Tornadoes went 1-1 on the day losing the opener to Crab Orchard 15-5 and winning the second game to Desoto 11-1.

Here is what the girls did at the plate on the afternoon:

Crab Orchard Game:  Lainey Morris 1-2, Skylar Hudson 1-2, Olyvia Crain 2-3, Hayley Pasquino 1-2, Bella Bate 1-3.

Desoto Game:  Lainey Morris 3-4 with a HR, Skylar Hudson 1-3, Olyvia Crain 2-3 with a HR, Hadleigh Swetz 1-3, Olivia Kirkpatrick 1-2, and Shelby Grove 1-1 with a sac and a walk.

They might have split on the day but their record is beyond 2-0 for the ones who worked real hard to raise $1.000 to fight cancer.  Yes I love sports and a stat freak, however, what was accomplished on the field is secondary to this amazing feat.

I am passionate about any fund raiser to fight cancer.  My mom has been gone over thirteen years to lung cancer, and she was a non smoker.

Any fundraiser the Zeigler-Royalton school district has for Coaches vs. Cancer I would be happy to share and promote.

Awesome job ladies!!!!!!!!!!!!







Zeigler community demands answers about missing money


ZEIGLER, IL –  (Hannah Gebresilasse, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story and video.  Here is an excerpt below)

Z-R High School Social Studies Teacher joins over 300 concerned Zeigler citizens over the missing funds in the Zeigler treasury. (WSIL-TV photo.)

People in Ziegler packed Tuesday night’s city council meeting demanding answers as to why FBI agents raided the town hall last month, and the home of the city treasurer.

“The money that’s gone came out of the pockets of the people sitting here,” said Jaime Moyers, a local high school teacher.

Moyers grew up in Ziegler. He said it’s one reason he’s passionate about the city’s issues. In the heated council meeting, he and others called for town leaders to take ownership of their mistakes.

“The last thing that we need to hear here is whitewash because what I need to know is that these elected officials have our best interest in mind,” Moyers said.

Local fire departments were busy Sunday evening

by Steve Dunford


Several area fire departments responded to a house fire last night at the corner of Horrell Ave. and St Louis St. in West Frankfort. (Zeigler Fire Department photo)

In a six hour stretch between 6:00 pm and around midnight, area fire departments were busy handling several calls.

Just right at 6:00 p.m. West Frankfort Firefighters were paged to the intersection of St. Louis Street and Horrell Avenue (Deering Road)  to a structure fire.  Departments from West City, Benton, Zeigler, Johnston City and Abbott EMS provided mutual aid.

Between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Royalton firefighters were toned to a pole barn fire on Washington Street.  Zeigler firefighters were leaving West Frankfort when the were called for mutual aid.  The structure was a total loss.  Christopher provided station coverage for Zeigler.

At 10:55 p.m., Benton firefighters were called to a single vehicle accident  and fire on East Main Street in front of the new Dollar General with injuries.

At 11;45 p.m.. West City firefighters were called to a three vehicle accident with injuries at the intersection of Route 14 and Central Street (in front of Walmart.)

I might be mistaken, but I am nearly positive that  Benton and West City provided mutual aid for each other during the wrecks.  Buckner Fire and Rescue also provided station coverage for West City.



Zeigler City Attorney Releases Statement Concerning FBI Presence at City Hall, Treasurer’s House


The FBI removing items from the home of Zeigler Treasurer, Ryan Thorpe. (William McPherson, WF Gazette photo)

ZEIGLER, IL – (William McPherson, West Frankfort Gazette.  Please click on the link above fore the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Zeigler City Attorney Rebecca Whittington has released a statement regarding today’s FBI presence at Zeigler City Hall and at the home of City Treasurer, Ryan Thorpe.

In the statement, the City Attorney said that Thorpe has been placed on administrative leave as of this morning. Around a dozen FBI agents were seen earlier today at Thorpe’s home where they seized several vehicles and other items, including several firearms.

Whittington confirmed that FBI agents executed a search warrant at City Hall in Zeigler, and said that, “City officials are fully cooperating with the investigation…” but will have no further comment on the investigation at this time or in regards to any personnel matters.

Zeigler Firefighters- Mayor Dennis Mitchell to host pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday

ZEIGLER, IL –  The Zeigler Fire Department and Mayor Dennis  will host a pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday, August 26., at the fire station.

They will be serving between 7:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The cost is $7.00 for adults, and children under 12, $5.00.

Proceeds will go toward the homecoming fireworks fund.  Donations are welcome.


Trust fund set up for Zeigler fire victims

By Steve Dunford

WSIL TV photo

A trust fund has been set up at Southern Illinois Bank in Zeigler for the family who lost their home in a house fire last Saturday.

The fund is under the 223 Orchard Fire Fund.  In addition to Zeigler, you could give at Southern Illinois Bank locations in West Frankfort, Johnston City and Thompsonville.

The family are in need of boy’s clothes, sizes 5-6 and 8-10, women’s sizes 9-11, and men’s pants 38×34 and large shirts.  You may drop these and any other household items off at 224 Orchard Street in Zeigler.

Home total loss in Zeigler fire

WSIL -TV photo


by Steve Dunford

ZEIGLER, IL  Several fire departments responded to a house fire this afternoon on 220 Orchard Street in Zeigler around 5:15 p.m. this afternoon.

Departments from Royalton, Christopher, Coello, West Frankfort, Buckner, West City, Hurst, and Abbott EMS provided mutual aid, as it was a MABAS box alarm.

Cause is undetermined at this time.  I know the family experienced a total loss and has small children.  If there is a drop-off point for clothes, or any type of fundraising set up, I will pass that information along.

Information from, WSIL-TV, Southern Illinois Fire Incidents, and Southern Illinois Fire Dispatch contributed to this story.

UPDATE 2:00 p.m. Saturday, 8/19:  I spoke with the mother of the family, Amanda Stoops about mid morning.  She told me that the family lost everything.  They are in need of boy’s clothes, sizes 5-6 and 8-10, women’s sizes 9-11, and men’s pants 38×34 and large shirts.  You may drop these and any other household items off at 224 Orchard Street in Zeigler.


Zeigler and Christopher firefighters called to a vehicle fire on State Route 148

ZEIGLER – Zeigler and Christopher firefighters responded to a vehicle fire on State Route 148 between the two towns this afternoon. (Zeigler Fire Department FB page with photo submitted by Kim McCullom

50 Influencers of Rend Lake College: Carroll Turner, Forefather of the Farm

by Reece Rutland, Rend Lake College Public Information/Sports Information Director

INA, IL – The color green is in Carroll Turner’s blood. He was one of the founding fathers of Rend Lake College’s Agriculture Department and one of the driving forces behind the 280-acre farm lab that acts as RLC’s front yard, and in retirement he traded teaching for sinking putts.


Carroll Turner teaching an Agriculture class at the old Bonnie Grade School in 1971

Turner spent 26 years at the college, helping build one of the flagship departments from the old three-roomed Bonnie Grade School to what it is today. Hired in 1968, alongside Mark Kern and Ardell Kimmel, the team established a program that “structurally has stayed about the same since it was started,” because you don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

While the program wasn’t broken, its first home was. In 1973 a tornado ravaged the old school house, which was already on the decline. That brought everyone home to Ina and set that particular course of history in motion.

Kern, of course, went on to be president of the college for nearly 17 years.
Turner elevated to his own leadership role, becoming the AAA Department Chair for two years before leaving RLC to work for Riverside Farms in Zeigler for a year and at Franklin Grain and Supply one year.

The hiatus didn’t last long though; he returned to take up the mantle of Deal of Vocational-Technical Education in 1979 at the age of 38. He was one of 61 applicants.

During his tenure as Dean, Turner witnessed a major conversion in one area, with the Mining Department emerging into a more diversified Industrial Technology Department due to a changing industry locally.

He was responsible for providing direction for numerous grant programs over the years, including JTPA and its forerunner, Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA); Child Care Resource and Referral (Project CHILD); Early School Leaver; Sex Equity; Teen Parent and Correctional Education programs.

Perhaps one of his biggest, or at least most noticeable accomplishments, is helping to spearhead a proposal to the Board of Trustees for utilization of college land for educational and demonstration purposes on a 280-acre plot in 1976.

At the time, Turner explained that the lab’s operation would allow students to gain practical experiences in the field of agriculture. RLC students, to this day, are involved in all aspects of decision-making at every level, from crop selection to marketing the harvest. Students will recommend crop varieties grown, planting rates, and fertilizer and tillage practices.

During that inaugural year, 126 acres of corn, 126 acres of soybeans and 40 acres of wheat were planted, and 90 students were able to take part in the lab’s operation.

While not as noticeable as a massive, working farm lab, one of Tuner’s most prolific legacies at RLC was his assistance in establishing the first “2+2” agreements with area high school feeder systems and the Mt. Vernon Area Vocational Center.

The program allowed for the coordination of efforts between RLC and the high schools to provide an easy, effective and efficient transition from the high schools’ vocational programs into the college’s related program.

“Our plan is to implement programs in all areas of vocational education that will allow a high school sophomore to select an occupational program and have a course of study outlined for four years,” Turner explained at the time.

It’s a concept that has grown in the subsequent years to cover more programs and curriculum agreements between RLC and the feeder schools, benefiting hundreds of students.

“Carroll is an outstanding citizen of Southern Illinois who always strives for the betterment of the people of the area, often times with little or no recognition,” said Rend Lake Conservancy District Chief Larry Foster when he presented Turner with the Foster Award for Public Service in 1990 on behalf of Gov. James Thompson.

Turner was a force for positive change at the college. It was no wonder that leadership was sad to see him go.

His resignation was accepted “with deep regret” at the March 19, 1996, board meeting. The trustees expressed their “appreciation for Turner’s 26 years of exemplary service to Rend Lake College.”

For his part, Turner made no qualms about his feelings for the college or his willingness to continue to be an asset.

“I have always been proud to be associated with Rend Lake College. It has been a real privilege to have worked with so many great people,” Turner stated at the meeting.

“If I can be of assistance in the future, don’t hesitate to call. Better yet, leave a message at the pro shop,” the aspiring senior golf tour pro said in closing.

Turner received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from the University of Illinois. He taught four years at Hillsboro High School before coming to the college.

Both of Turner’s daughters are graduates of Rend Lake College. Debbie was a Student Representative on the RLC Board of Trustees for a year before graduating in the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs; Beckie received her Associate in Arts Degree three years later, in 1988.

Turner and his wife, Jerilyn, have lived in Zeigler since 1977. For about half the time he has been with the college, Turner also has farmed on a part-time basis.


Railroad crossing on Route 148 in Zeigler closed tomorrow and Thursday

Press release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, District 9 office

CARBONDALE, IL – Jeffrey L. Keirn, Region Five Engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, announces that there will be a road closure at the railroad crossing on IL 148 at the north edge of Zeigler

This will begin Wednesday, July 26 at 8:00 am and concluding on Thursday, July 27 at 5:00 pm, crews from the Union Pacific Railway Company (UPRR) will be performing repairs on the railroad crossing on IL 148.

There will be no traffic permitted through the crossing during the repairs. Motorists should follow the marked detour or seek alternate routes to avoid delays.

Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News