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MARION VA UNDER INVESTIGATION: Congressional subcommittee looking into allegations of mismanagement

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By Holly Kee
hkee@bentoneveningNEWS.com

Less than a decade after a federal investigation into the Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Center resulted in wholesale changes to its surgical department, the Marion VA is again under investigation.

The Veterans Affairs Congressional Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee is looking into allegations made by whistleblowers and other informers from within the Marion facility — among them that radiology tests were misread and the mistakes were covered up; that employees who complained about what they considered mismanagement within the VA were bullied or in some cases reclassified or fired; that nepotism has figured into some hirings; and that in general the culture inside the VA is not transparent.

Centralia runs through Terriers 42-21

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Chris Barron
Carbondale Times

The Carbondale Terriers scored 21 points in the first half against the preseason South Seven Conference favorite Centralia Orphans. However, giving up 28 points in that same first half, isn’t the way to win conference games. 

Friday’s 42-21 loss again revolved around another talented quarterback. This time it was Javon Williams, who ran and passed for 357 of the Orphans’ 460 total yards and accounted for five of its six touchdowns. 

Nevertheless, Terrier Head Coach Bryan Lee was upbeat about his team’s defense — especially in the first half.

“It’s the best effort we have shown in the three years I’ve been at Carbondale,” Lee said. “Especially in the second quarter where we grabbed a lead.”

Ryan Neal named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week

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Saluki Media Service

SIU football defensive back Ryan Neal was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Sunday evening. Neal led SIU to a 35-17 win at Southeast Missouri on Saturday night. 

Neal had an interception, a fumble recovery and a game-high eight tackles in the victory. He returned his interception 52 yards, and his fumble recovery set up an SIU touchdown. Neal led SIU’s defense, which held SEMO to 278 yards of total offense and less than four yards per play.

Neal is SIU’s first MVFC Player of the Week this season, and he is Southern’s first MVFC Defensive Player of the Week since Brandon Williams on Sept. 26, 2015. 

Special teams and defense lead to a Saluki win

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Chris Barron
Carbondale Times 

The 2015 away game against Southeast Missouri State and this past Saturday’s away game in the same stadium, both started off with a turnover by SIU. However, the reaction of those two teams was worlds apart.

In 2015, SIU emotionally folded after an interception by Mark Iannotti and went on to turn the ball over six more times (four fumbles, three interceptions in total) in a 27-24 loss to the Redhawks.

On Saturday, SIU’s Daquan Isom put the ball on the turf on his first carry. This time SIU’s veteran team just bowed its figurative football neck and scored the next 21 points — to basically win the game. Winning in Football, like any other sport, is a good part mental and emotional — not necessarily about who has the best talent.

Walt Frazier returns to highlight ‘Heroes, Myths and Traditions’ at SIU’s homecoming

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Christi Mathis
SIU Media Service

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, one of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s legendary alumni, returns to campus next month as “Heroes, Myths and Traditions” are celebrated during Homecoming 2017 festivities, Oct. 8-15.

Frazier, the homecoming grand marshal, will participate in the parade at 10 a.m. on Oct. 14.

Barron: SEMO could cause problems for SIU

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Southeast Missouri State is no Mississippi Valley State. Then again, nobody is probably that bad. MVSU got clocked this past Saturday in Carbondale by 52 points at Saluki Stadium.

It is true that the Redhawks team has yet to get a win in 2017 (0-2) and were beaten by non-scholarship FBS Dayton 25-23 this past Saturday. That game was played in Ohio, but still, dropping one to a team whose players are not on scholarship opens some questions for Head Coach Tom Matukewitcz. Nevertheless, he seems positive about the season.

“I’m happy about how we competed,” said Matukewitcz after his team’s first loss to Kansas (38-16). Maybe so, but the Redhawks are still not getting it done.

Salukis coast in opener

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SIU plays its next two games on the road. The last time SIU won an away game was in 2014. That fact is no joke. Even though SIU’s next game is with 0-2 Southeast Missouri State, played in Cape Girardeau about an hour away, it is still a road game.

Art, Wine, Blues and good music on tap for Riverside Park

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Dakota Holden
Carbondale Times 

The Murphysboro Art, Wine, and Blues Festival is coming Saturday, September 9, featuring many musicians, vendors, and artists. One of the featured performers of the night is blues artist, Samantha Fish. The band joining Samantha (guitar/vocals) is composed of, Kenny Tudrick (drums), Chris Alexander (bass), Phil Breen (Keyboard), Travis Blotsky (saxophone), and Mark Levron (Trumpet). 

The festival gets kicked off at noon at Riverside Park in Murphysboro.  

The Times had the pleasure of talking with Samantha about her success and her path to the spotlight. Samantha Fish is a singer/guitarist originally from Kansas City, Missouri. Inspired by her dad’s talent, she took music in at a young age. 

“I started playing guitar when I was 15,” Fish said. “My dad and his friends all played. When I picked up the guitar, it was a natural thing to do. I never would have thought I’d been a front person because I was so shy. Music gave me a means and outlet to communicate and come out of my shell.” 

Southern Illinoisans pitch in to help displaced Texans of all kinds

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HOLLY KEE
hkee@bentoneveningnews.com

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey may have devastated Texas but is has also brought out the Texas-sized humanity in many from Southern Illinois.

Just a few days after the devastating hurricane hit, a group of volunteers from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief left from the parking lot of the Johnston City Dairy Queen in vehicle loaded with supplies.

Don and Jan Kragness of Johnston City, no strangers to dropping everything and leaving on short notice to help others, are two of 10 that are spending time in a Dallas relocation center this week.

“We’ll be helping with child care,” said Jan, noting that all the members are trained and certified child care experts.  

Women for Change to take to the streets of Carbondale

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Nathan Colombo 
Carbondale Times 

Saturday, Sept. 9 will mark the six-month anniversary of the event that saw the formation of Women for Change Carbondale. Now, realigning their name with its purpose, they have adopted the name Women for Change, Unity in the Community.

“The name of our group is Women for Change, Unity in the Community. We expanded it,” said Organization Founder Ginger Rye. “We don’t ever want to lose our focus on what we’re doing and why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Saturday is also the date of the organization’s “Big Event,” a march through the Northeast neighborhood of Carbondale, and a coming together of the Carbondale community at Attucks Park. 

“Under the Big Event is the Unity March and the celebration in the park,” said Rye. “The theme is Unity in the Community.”

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