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Pictured (L-R) are Rick Linton (Executive Director); Mark Kays, Pat Hollada (new Vice President);
Lowanda Johnston; Steve Vercellino (outgoing president); Dave Freeman (new President); and Tom Vaughn.

Congratulations to Dave Freeman who was elected as president of the Rend Lake Area Tourism Council and to Pat Hollada elected vice president and to Kathy Crawford who was elected the secretary/treasurer! Thank you for all that you do to promote tourism for our region! The next event is the Wine & Art Festival this weekend.

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State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) is asking that local businesses and community groups support the efforts of the Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce to compete for a renewed "Enterprise Zone" designation for the area.

The Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce held its quarterly meeting this week in McLeansboro with over forty in attendance. The guest speaker was Keith Moran, president of Moran Economic Development out of Edwardsville, Illinois who is spearheading the application process to renew and expand the 'enterprise zone' for Hamilton County.

The enterprise zone program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state. This is accomplished through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief, and improved governmental services.

For more information, please contact Chris Howton (618-643-5424) or Mark Epperson (618-643-5425) at the Economic Development Commission.

Deborah Hogg, Community Education Manager
for the Hospice of Southern Illinois, joins
Rep. Dave Severin in giving a thumbs-up
to the “GO Pink” effort to help bring awareness
 to the breast cancer issue in our area.
State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) on Monday joined Herrin Hospital officials in the Healing Garden of Southern Illinois Healthcare’s Herrin Hospital for the “Pink Out” balloon release to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October is the month designated to honor those who have lost the battle, those who are fighting for their life, and those who have survived.

“This month is meant to serve as a reminder to women to have yearly mammograms beginning at age 40, or younger for those with a family history of breast cancer,” said Rep. Dave Severin, “Also anyone at any age who discovers an abnormality should not waste time in having it checked by a doctor.”

According to, about one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Though rarer in men — a man’s lifetime risk is about 1 in 1,000.
State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) today visited Christopher Elementary School to help promote safety on the roads to the 2nd Grade students. Through their “Trucker Buddy” event, the students learned about the dangers of texting while driving and the importance of wearing seat belts while in a moving vehicle.

“Second graders are old enough to begin to understand the consequences of good and bad decisions and this is the right age to reinforce these kinds of safety issues for them and their families,” said Rep. Dave Severin, a member of the Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education Committee.

An organization called Trucker Buddy International gives students a glimpse into what life is like on the road. The Alabama-based nonprofit group matches classes of students with professional truck drivers, who share news about their travels with kids throughout the school year.

Ameren Illinois is partnering with the Crosswalk Community Action Agency in West Frankfort to host a bill payment assistance event this week. It will be held on Wednesday, September 12th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the West Frankfort Mall just off I-57.

One-time grants of up to $150 will be available to income-qualified customers who live in Franklin, Jefferson and Williamson counties. These grants are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

You will need to bring with you a current copy of your Ameren Illinois bill, proof of 30-day income (pay stub) and a photo ID.

State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) supports Governor Bruce Rauner’s proclamation to declare a ‘harvest emergency’ to help farmers dealing with rain-related delays get commodities harvested. The decision is meant to speed crop transportation on state highways.

“I applaud this decision to allow trucks hauling agricultural commodities to obtain a free permit to exceed the gross vehicle weight limit by 10 percent and help farmers harvest their crops more efficiently,” said Rep. Dave Severin, a member of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee.

This is the second year that a statewide harvest emergency has been declared under a law, which was signed by Governor Rauner in 2017. The permit issued by the Illinois Department of Transpiration is not available for interstate highways.

The emergency declaration begins Friday, September 7 and will remain in effect for the next 45 days.

To sign up for a Harvest Season Emergency overweight permit you may go online to the Illinois Department of Transportation at

State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) announced that Centerstone of Illinois has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. The grant money will be used to create a ‘hub & spoke’ model Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Pilot Program for Williamson, Franklin, Johnson, Saline, Jackson and Union counties in southern Illinois.

“I am glad to see that my efforts to help fight for this grant for our area was successful,” said Rep. Dave Severin, a member of the Appropriations-Human Services Committee in the House. “Centerstone will be the hub in Williamson County and then the spokes of this treatment program will be the other counties in our under-served part of the state to help people with opioid use disorders.”

The grant will create a team that can support physicians and other prescribers through technical assistance and training, and on-site counseling and other supports as needed. The new location in Williamson County will serve 100 clients during the first grant year and will open before the end of 2018.