Local firefighters have been busy over the last several hours

by Steve Dunford

At 5:42 p.m. Benton and West City firefighters responded to the KOA campground on DuQuoin St. in Benton for a camper fire.  With two other structures in danger.  Amount of loss is undetermined.

Zeigler emergency officials responding to a previous incident. (Zeigler fire department photo)

Just after midnight, Zeigler firefighters responded to a chemical situation on Coxspur street, on the north side of the city limits.  There were some evacuations that took place.  Residents were allowed to return to their homes around 2:00 a.m.  Coxspur Street was reopened around 3:00 a.m.

At 3:10 a.m. Buckner and West City firefighters responded to a single vehicle accident on Route 14 at the Big Muddy Bridge.  There was a possible extrication.   Updates on the accident will be shared as information becomes available.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.  I just spoke with Buckner Fire Chief David Dolderer, and he said the accident occurred just west of Rend City Road.  There was a young man injured and he is in critical but stable condition.  Coello Fire Department was also called for mutual aid.



Area fire departments toned to two structure fires over the weekend

by Steve Dunford

There were two structure fires in the county over the weekend.

Saturday night at 10:09 p.m., Benton and West City firefighters were toned to a structure fire at 208 South DuQuoin St.

Sunday night around 9:00 p.m. West Frankfort, Benton, and Johnston City firefighters were toned to an apartment fire at 108 Parkview Circle in West Frankfort.

Damage or amount of loss is undermined at this time.

Two wrecks on I -57 this morning

There were two accidents on I-57 this morning, as this is becoming more frequent here in Franklin County.

At 1:37 a.m. this morning, West City Fire Department were called to an accident southbound at the 74 mile marker,  with injuries.  Benton Fire responded for mutual aid.

Around 7:30 a.m. this morning, West Frankfort Fire was called to a truck and horse trailer rollover, close to .  Northbound traffic was exit 65.  Traffic was detoured to the off ramp and were let back on the interstate at the on ramp.

West Frankfort police confirmed the interstate is now open.


Rend Lake college graduates from Franklin County

ReAnne Palmer- RLC Public information 


Rend Lake College officials want to congratulate the Class of 2017 for another successful year. The 50th Annual RLC Commencement was held Saturday, May 13 in James “Hummer” Waugh Gymnasium. A total of 633 graduates were conferred 681 Associate Degrees and 454 Occupational Certificates for a total of 1,135 degrees and certificates. Bob Carlock, retired vice president of finance and administration at RLC, was the keynote speaker.

BENTON – Gary Allan, Michael Allan, Alison Anthis, Ashley K. Atkins, Alissa Bain, Leigha Bain, Deryck Bates, Jonathon Carson Batts, Kelly L. Bishop, Brandtlee Abram Brown, Brandi Nicole Cairns, Cali M. Carney, Aubrionna Casey, Joseph James Clinton, Kaleigh Cole, Mariann R. Cook, Lindsey Marie Cox, Zoie Paige Crain, Bria Leigh Curry, Pari Morgan Davis, Mackenzi Dollins, Heather Crystal Drew, Chason Lee Dunford, Rachel Raquel Easton, Curtis Alan Eubanks, Emeri-Jean Allyce Farnam, Connor Foltz, Samantha Franklin, David Bradley Garrett Jr., Sadie Hall, Abbigail E. Hart, Kelsey Morgan Head, Nicholas Sebastian Hoffman, Katelyn J. Houghland, Sarah E. Hubbard, Laura Katherine Jamerson, Emmy-Leigh Jay, Robin Nicole Johnson, Caleb James Kearney, Christine Keppler-Clayton, Amy Kovarik, Molly LaRae McGuire, Matthew Krug, Dakotah Micheal Lampley, Leanne Ledbetter, Shelby Lewis, Alaina Lynch, Dionna Grace Martin, Jayme Martinez, Janie Marie McMurray, Mallorie Melvin, Darian O’Brien Menees, Brandon Meyer, Kenneth A. Miner, Lindell Ray Minor, Virginia Morgan, Devon Jean Morris, Lorie Jane Nalley, Ashley Odom, Samantha R. Orrill, Ben Pankey, Gabriel Price, Joshua Price, Tarron Pulliam, Presley Robbins, Naylin Ronchetto, Charles Schram, Jenna McKay Shadowens, Andrea Linda-Marie Shaw, Kerrie Smith, Dylan Snyder, Kassie N. Spencer, Whitney Summers, John David Sweet, Nathan Watkins, Allee Nicole Wellen, John R. Wilder IV, Jacob Young

BUCKNER – Alyx Michaela Starkweather

CHRISTOPHER – Andrew David Benard, Jacob Ross Burkitt, Michael Taylor Calloni, Julie Y. Faling, Austin Frey, Zoie Danielle Frey, Amanda Gant, Nicole D. Howell, Jacob Allen Jablonski, Trevor Johnson, Kailey Kerkemeyer, Brittany N. Lowery, Camryn Joan Maloney, Erica Lynn Maple, Micah Motsinger, Kayla Parrish, Adam Jay Porter, Annabelle Lea Shukites, Jacob W. Underwood

COELLO – Joseph N. Shaw

EWING – Jaylyn Cozart, Delta Dawn Hermann, Ike Hutchcraft, Wade M. Hutchens, Kacee Leann Roberts

LOGAN – Dakota Casey, Nicole Marie Mullins

MACEDONIA – Bailey Jo Hiestand, Terrence Anthony Richard Marshall, Anthony L. Page, Danielle Rena Richardson, Martin John Ward

MULKEYTOWN – Brianna Bowlin, Ryan Andrew Curry, Allanna C Garrison, Michael T. Hoffman, Cameron Jones, Tara Chantell Law, Loghan Danielle Matyi, John Rapp, Christopher Richard, Breanna Faye Whitley, Cindra F. Wroblewski

ORIENT – Brittany Segatto

ROYALTON – Meghan Marie Clark, Kassandra Jones, Brandon Stubblefield, Stephan Threewitt, Austin D. Walker

SESSER – Ashly Lynn Brown, Reginald Joseph Eubanks, Johnathon Leonard Galloway, Cody Hamm, Blaine Leslie, Nicholas David Marlo  Caleb I. Mays, David Nelson, Brianna Joyce Risley, Kyle Andrew Robinson, Monica Lynn Scott, Skylyn DeVonne L. Simpson, Luke William Thompson, Matthew D. Wallinger, Kieran S. White

THOMPSONVILLE – Maleissa Anne Baney, Charlene Boyd, Chelsey Lynn Bundy, Kayla Follmer, Brady German, Cecily Ann Heusner, Austin Kerley, Austin Michael Kessler, David K. Payne, Kenzie Nichole Rizor, Kyle J. Shimkus, Kenise Rashelle Smith, Damien Sky Wilburn

VALIER – Sophi Rai Johnson, Bailee Lynn Jones, Jamie Jones, Courtney D. Smith

WEST CITY – Amanda Frankart

WEST FRANKFORT – Alexa L. Beavers, John Fenton Bowers, Shannon Browning, Jared Lee Eastwood, Garrett Karoski, Makenzie Kondoudis, Brittany Nicole Long, Alexis Rae Newell, Charles Saunders, Amber Marie Sloan, Kailee Spears, Adam Wiggins, Bryce Timothy Wiley, Kathryn Nichole Wise

WHITTINGTON – Dakota J. Head, Tabitha Hopkins, Noah Jones, Nathan Scott MacDonald, Jennifer Young

ZEIGLER – Breanna Renee Davis, Bailey Schimpf


West City Village Board Sworn In at May Meeting

West city village boardWEST CITY, IL (William McPherson, Benton/West Frakfort Gazette) Please click to read the full story. Here is an excerpt) During the May meeting of the West City Village Board, which was the first such meeting since the April 4 elections, board members and Village President Ron House were sworn in for another term in office. The new board consists of House, Linda Sullivan, Gordon Rice, Darren Romani, Bill Baker, Dale Watkins, and Bruce Watkins. The council voted for the city attorney to craft an ordinance to allow the Village of West City to move forward with random drug testing of city employees with a number of randomly selected individuals and number of test times per year to be determined.

Benton/West City Fire Departments perform water rescue

Press release from the Benton Fire Department 

Benton FireOn Saturday May 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm The Benton Fire Dept. Dive-Rescue team was requested mutual aid to the West City Fire Dept. for a male subject on the roof of a vehicle submerged in water on Yellowbanks Rd.

Upon arrival of Benton Engine 801, Utility 809 and Boat, the decision was made to deploy the boat due to 5 ft. deep water over the roadway where the subjects vehicle had been swept off. The subject was subsequently rescued from the water and care transferred to Abbott EMS where he was treated for exposure to the elements and a previous medical condition. Franklin County Sheriff’s Dept. assisted.

One injured in McLeansboro Street fire.

by Steve Dunford 

WSIL photo

WSIL photo

BENTON, IL-  Local firefighters have been busy over the last few hours.

Benton FD was called to the 500 block of North McLeansboro Street.  A MABAS box alarm was toned, and West City, West Frankfort, Ewing-Northern, Sesser, and Christopher responded for mutual aid.

A passerby notice smoke and the resident was pulled out of the residence.  The initial call said there was entrapment.  The resident is being treated for serious burns.

A representative from the Benton Fire Department said there is an undetermined amount of loss.



benton grade school bandBENTON, IL – Please click for the schedule for the Rend Lake Water Festival, from the Benton-West City Chamber of Commerce. Here is the theme this year. 2017 Theme: Communities Moving Forward! With the upcoming construction, new opportunities coming to our area in the coming years, and the turbulence of 2016 – we think this is an optimistic attitude for 2017. We encourage parade entries to celebrate how you think we are moving forward. Business expansion, community programs, our youth achievements on the field and in the classroom, our military & public safety services, the Eclipse, increased tourism and recreation activities, our rich history and traditions all contribute to our community – and the goals of becoming an even more prosperous area for future generations. Let’s make it great!!

Ashmore, Buchanan re-elected mayors of Sesser and Valier yesterday

In the results of the Franklin County Consolidated Election yesterday,  incumbent Sesser Mayor Jason Ashmore was elected to serve another four years in a landslide over his challenger Glen Gulley.  Ashmore of the Citizens Welfare Party had 559 votes to the challenger Glenn Gulley who had 121 votes.

The Citizens Welfare Party also won all the Ward races in the city  In Ward 1 Dana Laur defeated Barry Ramey 88 to 49,  In Ward 2, Richard Lee Miller defeated Jeff Harmon 172 to 97, and in Ward 3, Alan Wayne Shannon defeated Edie Hawk 172 to 64.

Martin Buchanan has been elected to another term as village president of Valier.  Buchanan has held the post since the 1960’s.  He is the longest standing mayor in the state other than to Marion mayor Robert Butler.  Buchanan received 180 votes to his challenger Joe Canup 131.  Gale Burzynski, Michael Moyers and Bruce McMurray were elected to the Valier village board.  Burzynski was the top vote getter with 193 votes, Moyers 171, McMurray 152,  In defeat Harl Ray Lewis received 147 votes and Clarence Gulley 127.

Ron House was elected West City Villiage President, as he received 124 votes to Mike Reed’s 76.  Bruce Watkins was elected to full an unexpired term on the town board as he was elected over Steve Mumbower 113-85.

Angela Kay McDowell was elected mayor of the village of Ewing over Eric Haney 42-36.

Donald Storey was elected Benton City Commissioner defeating Melvin Dixon 654-383.

In the City of Christopher, Katrina Claxton defeated Michael Deaton 278-178 for treasurer, and in Ward 3, Brian Hargis defeated Marshall Johnson.

In the Village of Buckner, there were two ties that happened on the village trustee racevilli.  Ray Rozhon and Rick Hefner finished in the top slot with 47 votes.  Robert Klingel and Herbert Krumrey had 23 for the third spot on the board.  I will keep you updated on the tie breaking procedures.

For the North City “Coello”  village board Louis Thery, Mark Moschiono and James Allen will be seated on the next board.  Thery was the top vote getter with 102 votes, Moschino 87, Allen 82, and Mark Parke 63.

Numbers from the races in Royalton and any other Six-Mile township race will be posted when they become available.

“West City’s Good Luck Charm” – Shirley Smith Set to Retire After Nearly Four Decades of Service

Shirley Smith, who has been the Village of West City's Clerk since 1978, will be retiring on April 30th.  (William McPherson, West Frankfort Gazette photo)

Shirley Smith, who has been the Village of West City’s Clerk since 1978, will be retiring on April 30th. (William McPherson, West Frankfort Gazette photo)

WEST CITY, IL (William McPherson- The Benton Gazette. Please click to read the entire story. Here is an excerpt) Shirley Smith, 79, has been West City’s good luck charm for nearly four decades. The West City Village Board accepted her retirement at the March board meeting. When Smith began her job as West City Village Clerk, there was only one fully paved road in the entire village—highway 14. Now nearly all of the roads are paved, and the tiny village is one of the most successful, business wise, in all of Southern Illinois. “It’s been amazing the changes that have happened in West City. There were no computers when I started—all the checks, vouchers were written out by hand. The minutes of the board meetings were written out by hand in a bound book,” she said as she pulled out one of the many file drawers in her small office to locate one of the original ledgers.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News