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Benton Lions Club Vice President Terry Swift pictured with
Benton High School ambassadors Makaela Hampton and
Carson Hill. Photo courtesy of Cindy S. Page

According to an article by the Harrisburg Register, the Benton Lions Club, with help from students in Benton, Akin and Ewing-Northern, as well as businesses and area churches, now has collected more than 10,000 pair of used eyeglasses for recycling.

It is not known exactly when the 80-year-old club first started collecting and recording its efforts. It is known that Charles Towle, Dr. John Wooley and Bill Lockin were some of the early leaders of the recycling project.

The collection of used eyeglasses will be ongoing. Glasses may be dropped off at any of the following locations: Spencer, Spencer and Spencer, Marion Eye Care, SSLM Health Medical Group, the Benton Public Library, US Bank, Peoples National Bank, the American Legion, All Stars and Stitches, Leffler Funeral Home, Pate Funeral Home, or one of the following churches: Immanuel Baptist Church, Whittington Church, First Christian Church, First United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church.

If your business, church or organization would like to have a drop-off box, notify any Lions Club member.
The Illinois Bicentennial Commission today released its first video commercial promoting the state’s 200th birthday. The :30 second spot is the center point of a statewide multimedia campaign named after the theme of the yearlong celebration: BORN, BUILT & GROWN in Illinois.

The campaign, which will run from now until the 200th birthday party on December 3, 2018, will showcase Illinois’ influence on the worlds of music, sports, agriculture, literature, commerce, history, technology and innovation, transportation, art and architecture, among others.

The content for the effort is pre-produced and being distributed statewide for carriage on television, radio, digital and social media. The messages can be run as public service announcements by media outlets or packaged by outlets for sponsorship by local advertisers. The Illinois Broadcasters Association is the distributor.

"We're delighted with this creativity and the opportunity it now provides our association's members in seeking local sponsorships," remarked Dennis Lyle, president and CEO, Illinois Broadcasters Association.

The content was produced by Chicago-based AnswersMedia and paid for with private funds.

The Bicentennial program incorporates material supplied by Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Illinois Association of Museums, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Illinois State Museum.

To view the commercial, click here.

Congratulations are in order for the sixty-two men and women who graduated on Friday from the Illinois Department of Corrections Academy!

The IDOC Mission Statement:
"To serve justice in Illinois and increase public safety by promoting positive change in offender behavior, operating successful reentry programs and reducing victimization."
Rep. Severin and IDOC Acting
Director John R. Baldwin

Thirty-two men and women will be assigned to the Murphysboro Life Skills Reentry Center and thirty men and women to the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

Thank you to the Illinois Department of Corrections Honor Guard for the presentation of colors and the Murphysboro High School Drumline for their participation!

Thank you to the Williamson County Soil & Water Conservation District and the information provided by Logan Hollow Fish Farm on suggestions for stocking your pond.


In the spring:

1-2 inch Bluegill or Hybrid Sunfish - 500 per acre

1-2 inch Redear - 250 per acre

Fathead Minnows - 5 pounds per acre

4-6 inch Channel Catfish - 150 per acre (if desired)

In the fall:

2-3 inch Largemouth Bass - 75 per acre (with Bluegill) or 50 per acre (with Hybrid Sunfish)


Much depends on the existing stock that is already in the pond but suffice it to say you probably need to stock larger fish in order for them to survive.

3-5 inch Bluegill - 100 to 150 per acre
5-8 inch Largemouth Bass - 50 to 75 per acre
6-8 or 8-10 inch Channel Catfish - 150 per acre

For more information call the Williamson County SWCD at 618-993-5396 ext. 3.

Thank you to Aisin Manufacturing in Marion for hosting this program for business owners to learn about the changes in the Federal Government's immigration policy and what is required for federal compliance. The seminar was conducted by Linda Fleener of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) covering the following topics:

* Contents of President Trump's immigration executive orders, increased immigration enforcement, and impact on employers;

* How to completely and correctly fill out I-9 forms

*The rights of employers in the case of a visit from ICE and how to create a plan of action in case ICE performs an audit or raid at your business

Some of the partners of the IBIC include the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hospital Association, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, the Landscape Contractors Association, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, and the Illinois Restaurant Association.

If you were unable to attend this program, please contact my office at 618-440-5090 to learn more.
With an eye towards the Prairie State’s history in the White House, Illinois celebrates President’s Day today Monday, February 19.  General Washington’s victories at Yorktown and other battlefields helped force Britain to officially cede Illinois Territory to the new United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, making it possible to create the future state of Illinois thirty-five years later.  Washington’s birthday is the ancestor of what is now President’s Day, and 2018 marks the first President’s 286th birthday.  One of Washington’s veterans, James Monroe, as President signed the bill in 1818 that made Illinois the 21st state.   

The first President who lived in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, was elected in 1869 when Illinois as a state was only 42 years old.  Lincoln, whose 209th birthday was observed last week on February 12, has become a symbol of the State’s bicentennial celebration.  Ronald Reagan is the only President  actually born in Illinois (Tampico), while Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena, Illinois. The most recent President who lived in Illinois was former State Senator Barack Obama who lived in Chicago.