Zion-Benton News

Stories from the April 23, 2015 Issue


Packed house for Zion City Council meeting

By Mona Shannon
Zion-Benton News staff 

Zion City Hall was overflowing Tuesday night as both residents and non-residents came to hear and be heard regarding the police-involved shooting of Justus Howell on Easter Sunday. Once council chambers reached capacity, the lobby filled and even more people stood in the parking lot. It was a respectful crowd.

Ten people spoke during citizen’s comments, and not all about the shooting.
The Zion Benton Ministerial Association prepared a statement which was presented by Pastors Mike McDowell, Robert Williams and Eliel Rojas. McDowell asked the pastors from the ZBMA and members of their churches who came to support them to stand; it was nearly the entire crowd seated in council chambers.

“We believe that all lives matter and are sacred to God. This includes both the families of those who have suffered the loss of a loved one and the families of those sworn to uphold the law,” the statement read.

It continued, “We regret the false accusations and misinformation being spread in our community” and asked for the timely release of information about the investigative process to the public through a community liaison to help dispel rumor and falsehood. The statement also said the ZBMA supports legislation and funding to provide body cameras to all patrol officers in Zion.

The statement was signed by 22 local pastors. More...

Roberts to return as District 6 Superintendent

By Ginny Skweres

Zion-Benton News staff 

In a unanimous decision at Monday night's District 6 Board meeting, Dr. Keely Roberts was hired as the District’s next superintendent. The Board approved a three-year contract for Dr. Roberts beginning July 1. She is new in that position but not new to the district. Dr. Keely was the principal at Shiloh Park for five years, leaving in 2010.

Board President Craig Bennett said the board had narrowed its search down to three candidates before deciding on Roberts. "Keely was a principal so she's familiar with the district, community and students,” he said.

"She was hired as a principal by former superintendent Dr. Connie Collins in 2005 and improved student achievement. She was hired again by Dr. Collins at the Round Lake District. In her roles in Antioch, and later Round Lake, she served as assistant superintendent.

“A lot of their improvement had to do with Keely driving it forward," he said. "She's an advocate for students and learning and is wonderful with parents."

"She brings a lot of energy to the job and we look forward to building and moving programs forward that we started," Bennett said. "We're going to keep changing with the needs of the students and go on meeting our students' needs." More...

Photo of the Week

Daycare expands

Granny Betty’s Day Care was so busy that owner Angela Jackson Lopez opened a second location on Route 173. Pictured are Isabella wearing a tutu from the dress-up area while G’yani is content playing with a toy at the new site.


Color it happy

Katie Bradison, Alexia Calderon, Emily Pichelmann and Rebecca Unze painted
a window shade for Ms. Wallace’s class room. They took their own time to
paint it. Mrs. Trimmer, North Prairie’s art teacher, drew the picture but the
girls added their painting knowledge and creativity to colorfully paint it.

School News

North Prairie students Alexia Calderon, Maddie Murry and Emily Pichelmann performed a puppet show commercial to encourage the US to allow women to vote for their periodical propaganda piece.


The hot start for the Zion boy’s volleyball team show no signs of abatement, as the boys kept the pedal down throughout another weekend tournament and a conference game to start the week.