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Southwest Illinois News is a weekly news publication spotlighting attractions, events, entertainment, tourism, jobs and business developments in Southwestern Illinois
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Youth Experienced a Career in Aerospace From the Cockpit
Aerospace from the Cockpit
Participating students Corhan and Xavier experienced flight simulation under the direction of volunteer Joseph Carriem with the Tuskegee Next program during the Legacy Flight Academy at St. Louis Downtown Airport.

SAUGET, IL (, September 10, 2016 - St. Louis Downtown Airport welcomed nearly 100 students to the Legacy Flight Academy on Saturday for a unique outreach and flight orientation program aimed at fostering an interest in aerospace careers among minority youth.

Activities during the event included an opportunity to actually fly the plane with guidance from a licensed pilot and to experience the confidence and thrill of being a pilot themselves.

Eyes Above the Horizon was launched in 2015 to give under-represented minority youth an opportunity to develop an interest in the exciting field of aerospace through flight introductions, mentorship and immersion into the rich history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

A team of dedicated role models, whose experience covers a vast array of aviation professions, led discussions around academic college preparation, the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and exciting career opportunities in both the military and civilian industry. The day featured several hour-long sessions with a focus on team building and included a luncheon with a keynote motivational speaker.

Seminar leaders came from Legacy Flight Academy, Scott Air Force Base and the United States Air Force (USAF), Southern Illinois University, Middle Georgia State University and others.

"This is the first time this innovative program has been offered away from the Legacy Flight Academy's home airport in Tuskegee, Alabama and we're excited to host it," noted Erick Dahl, director of St. Louis Downtown Airport.

Governor Signs Executive Order Creating New Illinois Bicentennial Commission
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, September 4, 2016 - Governor Bruce Rauner has signed Executive Order 2016-11 to create the new Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Governor's Office of the Illinois Bicentennial to lead the planning for the celebration of the state's 200th anniversary.

"The Illinois Bicentennial is an incredible opportunity to celebrate Illinois' contributions to the country and the world and plan for our next 200 years of innovation and achievements," said Governor Rauner. "I look forward to the commission's recommendations on how best to move forward to ensure that this will be a celebration to remember."

Executive Order 2016-11 creates the Governor's Office of the Illinois Bicentennial. The Bicentennial Office, with administrative support from the Governor's Office and other state agencies, will develop the strategic vision for the bicentennial celebration and work with the public and private sectors to implement that vision.

The EO also rescinds Executive Order 2014-07, dissolving the 77-member State Bicentennial Commission. In its place the EO establishes a reconstituted commission of no more than 51 members to be called the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, which will be housed within the new Bicentennial Office.

No more than 40 members may be appointed by the Governor and one member each may be appointed by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Minority Leader, the House Minority Leader, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, the Secretary of State, and the Mayors of Chicago and Springfield.

The Governor also announced the hiring of Stuart Layne to serve as the Illinois Bicentennial Executive Director. Stuart brings decades of experience in strategic marketing and communications, with expertise in research, branding, publicity, events and sponsor partnerships.

"We are fortunate to have Stuart Layne on board to lead the state's bicentennial efforts," said Governor Rauner. "His knowledge, experience, and creativity will allow him to develop the strategic vision for the bicentennial celebration and work with the public and private sectors to implement that vision."

IDOT Hiring Temporary Workers in Preparation of Winter Weather
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, September 25, 2016 - The Illinois Department of Transportation is in the process of hiring temporary help to assist with snow-and-ice removal throughout Illinois this winter. These seasonal employees will be hired on a full-time and an on-call basis.

The department's annual "snowbird" program requires employees to promptly respond to weather situations, assisting in snow-and-ice control and working in emergency conditions at any time, including weekends, holidays and nights. Applicants must have a commercial driver's license and submit to a criminal background check. A pre-employment physical, vision testing, drug and alcohol screening also are required.

Applicants will be selected based on availability, job-related experience and qualifications. Veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. For additional information, including details on pay and the potential for benefits, please visit:

Fourth Annual Sequins, Suits & Sneakers Gala
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (, August 28, 2016 - The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation will host its Fourth Annual Sequins, Suits & Sneakers Gala at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

The Gala is a fun-filled event which allows you to wear your finest cocktail attire with your bling sneakers.

The year's Gala will focus on showcasing the programs and activities of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation. The Gala allows the Foundation to continue helping children and families access the tools they need to achieve their dreams.

In 2016, the Foundation served nearly 3,000 children in quality programs such as summer camp, after-school, leadership and character education programs using the Winning in Life curriculum developed by Jackie, as well as sports leagues for: wrestling, football, soccer, cheerleading, baseball, softball and basketball.

For more information, call 314-749-5606 or the Foundation Office at 618-274-5437.

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