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Doug Elgin, seen here during a past Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame ceremony, is in his 30th year leading the league.

Carbondale Boys and Girls Club | Volunteers Needed
Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale asks for help to keep organization operational

CARBONDALE — During times of financial uncertainty at state and local levels of government in Illinois, one organization is seeking as much support as possible to continue caring for the next generation.

Tina Carpenter, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, said on Thursday, February 1, that it takes $298,000 a year to operate the main site, 250 N. Springer St., for one year. The club receives about $83,000 annually from the city of Carbondale, Carbondale Township and other grants.

After government support, the club still needs to raise $215,000 just to hit its minimum levels of full service. Carpenter said it takes $342.71 to support one club member for a year, $171.36 to support a member for half a year, and $6.59 to support a member for a day.

“We know the residents of Carbondale care about their community; however, we don’t think that everybody realizes how much we need their support to keep the club operating,” Carpenter said.

The organization had 1,230 members enrolled in 2017. Already in 2018, there are 737 members. The daily average attendance at the club is 325 children, which is a 30 percent increase from this past year. The cost for membership for the year is $20 for children in kindergarten through eighth grade and $10 for high-school students. 

Tiana Myers, the club’s 2018 Youth of the Year, said when she first started to attend the club, she was so shy she wouldn’t raise her hand in class to speak, even if she knew the answers to questions. Now, after years attending the club, she is confident enough to speak to a room full of people.

“I am a completely different person because of the support of staff at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale,” she said.

bhetzler / Byron Hetzler, The Southern 

Tianna Myers, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale's 2018 Youth of the Year, describes how participating in the club has changed her life during a news conference at the Carbondale District 95 Office on Thursday in Carbondale.

She said the club is something people should take advantage of because it offers several experiences such as leadership camps, road trips, and opportunities to meet people from other counties.

“Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” Myers said.

Magnolia Hood had two daughters and a nephew grow up through the club, which she said enhanced all of their lives.

“My oldest daughter loved the Boys and Girls Club because it was a place where she could continue her communication skills and continue to have fun,” she said. “Those social outlets allowed her to come out of her shell and feel more confident about herself.”

She said the club also helped her youngest daughter understand her love for dance. She said when the club put on a performance with ArtStarts at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, her daughter fell in love with the process.

“Now I can’t get her to stop dancing,” Hood said. “I am really grateful for the Boys and Girls Club because they help to nurture other character traits in (her daughter).”

Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry said there is nothing more important than lifting up children and ensuring their success.

“This gives us good citizens for the future and hopefully gets them to stay here and contribute to the community,” he said. “We will be funding them again this year like we do the other social service agencies, hoping to maintain last year’s level.”

Black History Month
Logan Museum to kick off Black History Month with program on Bostick Settlement

MURPHYSBORO — Imagine making a 250-mile trip with a newborn baby, a trip that would take about four hours today by automobile. Now, imagine making the same 250-mile trip by wagon in the spring of 1870, before interstate highways, disposable diapers and smart phones. How much longer would it take?

That is the story of one family that migrated from Williamson County, Tennessee, to the Bostick Settlement, which was southeast of Murphysboro. The family had a baby in April 1870 in Tennessee and was listed on the census of June 1870 in the Bostick Settlement. P. Michael Jones, director of General John A. Logan Museum, figures the journey took the family about two months.

“It all goes back to the Civil War. A group of people came here after the Civil War and established a small black settlement about 5½ miles southeast of Murphysboro called the Bostick Settlement. A majority of the folks came from Williamson County, Tennessee,” Jones said.

The General John A. Logan Museum will kick off Black History Month with a presentation on those families, called The Bosticks of Williamson County, Tennessee, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the museum. Tina Jones of Franklin, Tennessee, will trace the story of those families from their enslavement on the plantations of Tennessee to their freedom in Illinois.

“In 1993 and 1994, my class did a project and wrote a little book called the 'Forgotten Soldiers of Murphysboro.' Tina Jones, who lives in Williamson Country, Tennessee, got hold of a copy on Ebay,” Mike Jones said.

She then began tracing the families and started corresponding with Mike Jones.

When Jones and Joy Medley were planning Black History Month programs and displays, he was planning a display on the Bostick Settlement, and invited Tina Jones to speak.

Tina Jones is a board member of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, Tennessee, and co-chairs its historic committee. She volunteers as a genealogist for African-American families in Tennessee and has pieced together more than 100 family trees. She also writes a blog devoted to sharing what she has learned about African-American history in her home state.

She holds a degree in international studies from Vassar College, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and graduated from University of Virginia School of Law. She practiced health care law in Nashville, Tennessee, and served in the General Counsel’s Office for Vanderbilt University until 2004.

Joy Greer-Medley, who volunteers at the museum and helped plan Black History Month events, said the theme of Black History Month at General John A. Logan Museum is Strength and Community.

Other Black History Month events will include:

• General Logan Film Festival showing of the documentary film “Before They Die” and discussion, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in the Liberty Theater, Murphysboro. Special guest historian Pamela Smoot will lead a discussion.

• Gospel concert featuring The Spiritual Travelers and essay contest presentation, from 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25, Liberty Theatre, Murphysboro. A movie will be shown at the Liberty Theater that is about the Tulsa riots in 1921 called “Before They Die.”

• All three events are free and open to the public. Sponsors include the Historic Liberty Theatre, Race Unity Group of Carbondale and The Smile Place in Murphysboro.

• Greer-Medley said this year, the museum has opened up its essay contest to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Carbondale and Murphysboro public, parochial and private school and homeschoolers. The deadline to submit an essay is Feb. 15. For more information, call the museum at 618-684-3455.


This is a picture from the schoolhouse at the Bostick Settlement south of Murphysboro; on Sunday, Feb. 4, Williamson County, Tennessee historian Tina Jones travels to the General John A. Logan Museum to discuss some of its citizens, who came from that Tennessee county.

breaking top story
SIU Carbondale spring enrollment down 8.81 percent; chancellor says decline was expected

Spring enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale declined 8.81 percent from the previous spring semester, according to a news release from the university.

The university enrolled 13,346 students this spring compared with 14,636 in spring 2017.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said the decline was expected.

Enrollment for the 2017 fall semester declined 8.96 percent compared to the previous year.

“Spring enrollment usually corresponds directly with fall enrollment, since new students do not typically enroll in the spring,” Montemagno said in a statement. “Spring enrollment is also typically lower than the fall due in large part to the number of students who graduate in December.

“Enrollment is our primary focus as we revitalize SIU. We are working through proposed changes that will create excitement and opportunities for students as well as faculty.”

— The Southern

alert top story
Illinois high court says gun ban near parks unconstitutional

CHICAGO — An Illinois law banning guns within 1,000 feet of public parks violates a right under the Second Amendment to carry a weapon outside the home for self-defense, the state Supreme Court concluded in a unanimous decision issued on Thursday.

The 7-0 ruling came in the criminal case of Julio Chairez, who had appealed his 2013 conviction for having a gun near Aurora's Virgil Gilman Trail park, just west of Chicago. In addition to striking the law, Thursday's ruling also vacated Chairez's conviction.

The 25-page opinion, penned by Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier, says the law — in its scope — functions as "a categorical prohibition without providing an exception for law-abiding individuals." He adds: "It is therefore a severe burden on the recognized second amendment right of self-defense."

Thursday's ruling is in line with other rulings over recent years by the state's high court and the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Court of Appeals that found Illinois bans on citizens from carrying guns outside the home were unconstitutional. Such rulings have forced Illinois lawmakers who back tougher gun control laws to rethink their approach.

The Illinois attorney general's office, whose lawyers defended the law, said Thursday it is reviewing the ruling and didn't have an immediate comment. It could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which Karmeier said hasn't specifically addressed the issue of gun-free zones around public parks.

In his ruling, Karmeier says there are too many scenarios under the park law in which "innocent behavior could swiftly be transformed into" crimes.

People living by parks could be charged simply by walking from their houses to their cars carrying a legal gun. To avoid breaking the law, he says, they would have to disassemble their guns each time they leave home, then reassemble them after driving far enough away.

"This requirement...renders the ability to defend oneself inoperable and is in direct contradiction to this court's (earlier) decisions..., which recognized that the right to carry firearms for self-defense may be especially important when traveling outside of the home," the ruling said.

The executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard A. Pearson, welcomed Thursday's ruling.

"If you make all these 1000-foot restrictive zones, then chain them together, there's no place you can go with a firearm," he said. "They're always unconstitutional."

Karmeier, in his ruling, made a similar point.

"The most troubling aspect" of the law, he wrote, "is the lack of any notification where the 1000-foot restriction zone starts and where it would end." That, he said, would make it especially hard for law-abiding gun owners to negotiate Chicago, which has over 600 city parks, putting them in constant peril of breaking the law.

Attorneys for Illinois argued in filings that there is a public safety interest in keeping weapons away from sensitive locations, such as parks and schools. But Thursday's ruling says the state presented scant evidence that bans on guns in or near parks offered added protection to children or anyone else.