Central Dispatch moves closer to suing City of Sesser


The West Franklin Central Dispatch Board approved a recommendation to send one final communication to the city of Sesser before filing a lawsuit agains thte city. The Board met in continued session Wednesday night in Christopher.

The equivalent of a “Final Notice” was approved for delivery to Sesser over the amount that represents their share of monies owed to Central Dispatch. According to documents obtained by FranklinCounty-News.com, the city of Sesser is being billed for a total of $71, 480.32 representing past due and monthly funding for Central Dispatch.

The Board authorized a final letter that will be hand delivered to Sesser City Hall as soon as it has been completed. The city will have 14 days to make their account current. If this is not done, Central Dispatch attorney Rebecca Whittington has the Board’s approval to file a lawsuit against the city of Sesser on the Board’s behalf.

As FranklinCounty-News.com has reported in covering this story, Sesser is disputing the money owed. They have retained Harrisburg attorney Robert Wilson to represent them.

West Franklin Central Dispatch continues to meet obligations to the state and the federal government agencies that were owed money after major financial problems were uncovered. As the arrangement currently stands, the Board is still seeking its federal not-for-profit status as well while dealing with “clean up” of their financial mess.

In other Board actions:
  • Approval was given to purchase a time clock. The previous clock was damaged in an electrical storm.
  • A trainee telecommunicator was hired.
  • The board suggested an intergovernmental agreement with Valier that would cover other departments other than Police. This was suggested formally as a way to lessen liability for responders and maximize mutual aid opportunities.
  • The board reported that overtime excesses had been addressed with staff.

Fire destroys building, semis at Sesser Concrete


Fire destroyed a building Wednesday night at a Sesser business, and quick action by fire fighters kept it from becoming a much bigger problem.

Fire fighters were called to a building at Sesser Concrete Products at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday. A vehicle storage building and two semis parked inside were fully engulfed.

Fuel tanks just outside the building were a concern, but fire fighters were able to keep them from burning.

The fire was extinguished in about an hour. Fire departments from Waltonville, Valier and Christopher assisted Sesser fire fighters at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire fighters raise funds for food pantry

Raymond Scott, Treasurer of the Sesser Fire Fighter’s Association presents a check to Kirk Packer with Sesser Valier Lifeline.  Members of the Sesser Fire Department collected $1609 by holding a boot drive at the Sesser 4-way stop.  Funds will be used to purchase food for the local food pantry and will help many in the Sesser area.

New police cooperation contract to be sought


A new contract among members of West Franklin Central Dispatch is to be formulated by Zeigler Mayor Dennis Mitchell.  The Zeigler City Council empowered their mayor to begin negotiations with Christopher and Valier toward a new agreement.

At Tuesday night’s meeting the situation with neighboring Royalton was discussed. Zeigler routinely responded for back-up to Royalton and vice versa. Now, Royalton has decided dispatching services should be concentrated in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. That puts officers, providing mutual aid to each other in dangerous situations on separate radio frequencies. It was theorized that life-threatening information may not reach officers on a frequency they would not normally monitor.

Mitchell is to now meet with representatives of the communities left in the pact. The Western Franklin Central Dispatch has developed a lawsuit against the City of Sesser. The suit stems from payments to the IRS and state agencies over the financial scandal that rocked the entity in 2012. That lawsuit against Sesser has yet to be authorized for filing by the Board.

The Board could vote to authorize filing tonight, or could authorize a final billing statement for money alleged due to Central Dispatch by the City of Sesser.

Sesser club buys dress uniforms for fire fighters


Modern Woodmen of America Junior Club 2966-1 presented a matching fund check to Sesser Fire Fighters to purchase
Class A uniforms. The remaining balance needed to purchase uniforms was donated by Jason Ashmore, friend of the
Sesser Fire Department.

Central Dispatch board meeting today

A meeting is planned for noon today of the West Franklin County Central Dispatch Board. Sources to FranklinCounty-News.com say that the meeting will be held in Executive Session.
One explanation for the closed door meeting could be to review the details of a tentative lawsuit that the Board has already authorized. The suit could be formally filed against the city of Sesser. The board is considering suing that member city in an effort to recoup funds already spent by other entities to correct the financial problems of Central Dispatch.

Central Dispatch Board meets


A regular meeting of the West Franklin Central Dispatch Board Wednesday night focused on three major areas being updated.

The Board heard from their attorney, Rebecca Whittington on the status of the entity’s application for 501c3 status with the state as a not-for -profit. That application is still pending with final information being added before submitting to the Secretary of State’s office. That process is continuing.

No lawsuit has yet been filed on behalf of the Board against the city of Sesser. However, a draft of a possible suit to be filed was discussed, Wednesday. The lawsuit seeks money believed owed to the Board by the city of Sesser, who is considered in arrears in payments to fund the group. The amount currently owed is believed to be around $24,000 for general funding of the dispatch center itself.The other members of West Franklin Central Dispatch have voted to sue the city of Sesser for non-payment of expenses including monies paid to the IRS as part of the recent financial scandal experienced by the group.

And, the Director of E911 for Franklin County, Rick Basso, spoke on the status of the emergency call center for Central Dispatch. A number of scenarios are being discussed among the members of the group. Dispatching from County, the city of West Frankfort and keeping the status quo have all been discussed with no decision yet reached.

The three and a half hour meeting was the final regular meeting of the calendar year.

Late Bloomer: Sesser woman embarks on writing career after retirement


Phyllis Pearson with her just-published book “For Better or Worse.”
(Photo by Jim Muir)


By Jim Muir

While some people look at the golden years of retirement as a time to relax, kick-back and watch the world go by Phyllis Pearson saw it as a chance to embark on a new career.

Clearly the most remarkable thing about her decision is the fact that it wasn’t just any old career that Pearson chose – at the age of 71 she decided to write a book.  And in a matter of a few months, “For Better or Worse” – 218 pages in paperback about a young girl named Maggie – was finished.

A native of Franklin County and a current resident of Sesser, Pearson said she prayed about a direction for her life.

“I prayed for guidance,” said Pearson.  “I am in fairly good health for a person my age and I sure didn’t want to sit and twiddle my thumbs until I died.  I was given this urge to write this story and this is where it came from.  I was led to write this book.  The Holy Spirit led and sometimes pushed me all the way through. To God by the glory.”

Once she started the words came easily, Pearson said.

“I started writing the book in mid August last year and I wrote the final word on Thanksgiving Day,” said Pearson. “Of course that was just the rough draft and we had to go through the editing process.  It was finally ready to go to print this July.”

Pearson is a widow and has two grown sons, Eric and Cleve, and is also a grandmother.

Pearson said she has no formal training as a writer but did “tinker around” writing many years ago.

“I jotted things down, sort of like a blog before anybody knew what a blog was,” she said. “I called it ‘my world as I see it.” I basically wrote about childhood memories.”

Pearson said the experience of holding her book is rewarding to her but she also hopes it serves as motivation for other retirees her age who might be struggling with a new direction in life.

“It’s been quite and experience and I’m proud of what I accomplished,” said Pearson. “I found something in me that guess I didn’t know was there. I hope others my age might find some inspiration from this.”

Pearson said she knew a vague beginning to her book but once she started her creative side took over.

“I didn’t know the complete story from start to finish,” Pearson said. “I knew what I wanted to do with the first few chapters but then as I got deeper into the book it just came to me. One night I couldn’t sleep until I got up and deleted a couple of pages I had written. It was that kind of experience.”

The book is about a troubled young girl named Maggie who Pearson said had a childhood far different from her own.

“The biggest problem I had was keeping Maggie in character,” said Pearson.  “I had a blessed childhood and I was writing about a child who was abused, ignored and whose needs were never met. And then later on that caused her to be such a closed-in person … which I am not.”

Pearson said the book is not based on any event or any person she has ever known but noted that she did use a few stories from her friends about their own childhood.

“I guess you could say it is a collaboration of some of the stories I’ve heard,” said Pearson.  “I’ve read a lot and watched a lot of Dr. Phil – about the impact that childhood has on us as adults.  Maggie was just a compacted version of all this.  She got the full load, poor child.”

Pearson said she has heard authors talk about fictional characters ‘coming-to-life’ on the pages of a book and said she didn’t believe that until her writing experience was completed.

“Maggie is real to me, she really is,” said Pearson.  “There was a time in my life when I would have liked to adopt a little girl 10 or 12 years old just to love her.  Maybe Maggie is that little girl.  She is just a poor little girl that you want to hug.  These weren’t just words on a page to me. The world is full of kids like Maggie.”

Now that she is published author Pearson is certainly not resting on her laurels.

“I have started my second book,” she said, “and I think it has more of my personality and more about experiences I’ve had in my own life.  I also have plans to write  a couple of mysteries too.”

Pearson said she is counting on good genetics to enhance her now-thriving writing career.

I’ve got the two mysteries book already written right up here,” Pearson said pointing to her head.“My great-grandma lived to be 92 so I plan on being like her so I can continue my new writing career.”

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