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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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Jobs Plus Regional Job Fair Offers Opportunities
COLLINSVILLE, IL (, September 16, 2018 - Individuals searching for new career opportunities across the St. Louis area are encouraged to attend the upcoming Jobs Plus 2018 Regional Job Fair, where nearly 60 employers will be seeking out potential employees to fill hundreds of job openings region-wide.

The event is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 1-5 p.m. at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville, Ill. Job seekers will be able to learn about employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries, such as transportation, logistics, healthcare, utilities, the trades, customer service, sales and more. Parking and admission to the job fair is free. It is open to the public and will be beneficial for high school graduates, those with advanced degrees and anyone in between.

"The Jobs Plus 2018 Regional Job Fair is the perfect event for job seekers in the area, no matter what stage they're at in their careers," said Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chairman. "Anyone interested in new job opportunities should take advantage of the chance to meet the largest employers in the St. Louis area who have many open positions they are eager to fill."

Job seekers can visit to see the growing list of participating employers and a summary of the types of positions available. Fair attendees are encouraged to dress professionally and make sure they have copies of their resumes to share, as representatives from participating employers will be accepting resumes on site and conducting interviews during the event. They should also be prepared with writing materials or an electronic device to make note of valuable information.

A free Wi-Fi connection will be available throughout the entire venue for those interested in submitting applications online. The event will also feature free interpretation services for the hearing impaired and Spanish-speaking attendees, along with a resource room where attendees can take advantage of free copying services and computer access.

"This is a great opportunity for the individuals we work with every day and others across the region who are seeking to advance their careers, as well as for the employers we serve and the many other companies and organizations that recognize this job fair is one where they can get connected to great talent," said Rick Stubblefield, Governance & Program Coordinator for the Workforce Development Group, St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department.

Job-seekers interested in learning more about the Jobs Plus 2018 Regional Job Fair can contact Rick Stubblefield with the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department, at (618) 825-3259.

Open House Event in Maryville to Address Flooding
MADISON COUNTY, IL (, September 16, 2018 - HeartLands Conservancy and Madison County will hold an Open House event to inform the public about the Canteen-Cahokia Creek Watershed Plan on Tuesday, September 25 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Maryville Community Center.

The Canteen-Cahokia Creek Watershed Plan strategically addresses stormwater-related issues in the area that drains to Canteen Creek and Cahokia Creek in Madison and St. Clair counties, and provides voluntary recommendations for water quality protection and flood mitigation efforts.

During the event, the draft plan will be available for review and display boards will highlight the plan's key elements. Representatives from HeartLands Conservancy and Madison County will be on hand to answer questions and gather input from attendees on related issues such as flooding, erosion, and water quality.

The Open House event is open to the public and is intended to attract people from within the Canteen-Cahokia Creek watershed, which includes all or parts of the following municipalities: Caseyville, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Fairview Heights, Glen Carbon, Hartford, Maryville, Pontoon Beach, South Roxana, and Troy.

For more information about the Canteen-Cahokia Creek Watershed Plan, please contact Janet Buchanan at HeartLands Conservancy at 618-566-4451.

Senator Dick Durbin Addresses the Crowd at Ribbon Cutting
Senator Dick Durbin addressed the crowd at the RDB ribbon cutting on the East St. Louis Riverfront.
Ribbon Cutting Marks Completion of River Bridge District Project
EAST St. LOUIS, IL (, September 2, 2018 - Public and private stakeholders gathered August 30th to celebrate the transformation of a key section of the East St. Louis Riverfront into a magnet for additional industry and jobs.

A ceremonial snip of the ribbon marked the completion of the $7 million River Bridge District Project that came in on time and more than $1 million under budget. The landmark project opened up several hundred acres of undeveloped, newly accessible ground that is already sparking interest from other agribusiness and distribution companies in a section of the East St. Louis Riverfront that is part of the thriving Ag Coast of America.

The River Bridge District Project included a comprehensive overhaul of Front Street from Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis to where the road terminates in Fairmont City, as well as improvements to various connecting roadways.

The initial phase, for which ground was broken in August 2016, included the critical rebuilding and upgrading of Front Street to allow for enhanced access for the burgeoning commercial traffic generated by Cargill and Bunge-SCF along the East St. Louis Riverfront.

The second phase included a new roundabout near the Casino Queen on River Park Drive and associated improvements to other parts of River Park Drive and B Street. This important infrastructure work was aimed at addressing traffic congestion issues in the vicinity; creating enhanced access for patrons and employees of the Casino Queen and citizens of East St. Louis and providing separation of the heavy commercial traffic from other normal public movement.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who grew up in East St. Louis, was on hand for the ceremony. "I am so glad be back here in my hometown today to celebrate a project that will help attract businesses to a long-dormant area on the East St. Louis Riverfront. I helped secure federal funding for this successful public-private partnership that will improve travel through East St. Louis and increase economic opportunity," Durbin said.

'Seed to Table' Concept Restaurant Opens in Godfrey
GODFREY, IL ( - The long-awaited new venture for partners Rex Hale and Kelsi Baker Walden is open at 7120 Montclaire Avenue in Godfrey, Illinois.

Hale describes the restaurant concept for Bakers & Hale as "seed to table," where all of the food is grown either onsite or is sourced from local producers. In fact, the hallmarks of the space are the small farm next to the patio and the substantial herb garden on the other side of the property. Both have been growing since late spring and been producing a bounty of fresh produce for recipe testing and soft launches. In the years to come, the farm will be expanded.

Anything not grown on site and all proteins are almost entirely sourced from a 50-mile radius (with the exception of the sea scallops, sockeye salmon and white fish from Michigan, all currently on the opening-day menu).

Some of the local farms Hale is working with include EarthDance Farms in Ferguson, Missouri; Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Missouri; Double Star Farms in Benton, Illinois; Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, Illinois; Bohlen Family Farms in Perryville, Missouri; Such and Such Farms in Desoto, Missouri and The Mill at Janie's Farm in Ashkum, Illinois.

The fare is American comfort food with a twist. The menu features dishes familiar to many, but some of them have been simplified, to let the hyper-fresh ingredients shine, and some will be more complex, as a nod to the partners' fine dining roots. All of it will change frequently to follow the ever-changing seasonal harvest.

An inventive cocktail menu also features local produce prominently, whether it's in a carrot-juice based concoction with local honey and herbs, a peach-based creation with peaches from Calhoun County garnished with grilled peaches or a lighter drink of fresh cucumber juice and lime.

Bakers & Hale seats a whopping 255: 120 at the outside bar, 75 at the inside bar and 60 in the restaurant dining room and is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Call 618 433 9748 for more information.

"From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama" Exhibition
SPRINGFIELD, IL ( - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum celebrated the state's 200th birthday with a major new exhibit about the four presidents who have called Illinois their home.

The exhibit, entitled "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama," explores their connections to the Prairie State, their political battles, the first ladies who helped them succeed and much more.

Visitors will see amazing documents and artifacts, including Ronald Reagan's yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant's accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama's speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president.

"From Illinois to the White House" runs through the end of 2018.

"Illinois helped shape these leaders, and they in turn helped shape Illinois and the entire country. As we celebrate the state's bicentennial, it seems appropriate to take a close look at their lives and legacies," ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe said.

"We're bringing together artifacts from more than a dozen institutions and private collectors for what will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit," Lowe added.

Items in the exhibit come from, among others, the U. S. Grant State Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Barack Obama Presidential Library, National Portrait Gallery, Chicago History Museum and Wayne Whalen, chair emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The John Ullrich Foundation of Decatur has provided generous support.

The exhibit is housed in the ALPLM's Illinois Gallery, a space dedicated to rotating exhibits on state history. There will be no extra fee to see "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama." It is provided as part of regular admission to the Lincoln museum (212 N. 6th Street, Springfield).

For more information, visit

Drury Inn & Suites Completes Renovation of Hotel in O'Fallon, Illinois
O'FALLON, IL ( - The Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, has completed a full renovation to the property's 180 guest rooms and suites, public areas and more than 2,800 square feet of meeting and event space.

Renovations to the hotel's guest rooms include new mattresses and headboards, carpet, paint, window treatments, lighting and artwork. All of the guest bathrooms also received new showerheads, hair dryers and soft goods. The public and meeting areas of the hotel received upgraded lighting, new furniture complete with USB plug and play charging ports and artwork inspired and reflective of the St. Louis landscape.

"This is a great, fresh look for our property," said Ashley Timmons, general manager, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois. "Our upgrades were influenced by guest feedback and were made with their satisfaction in mind. We're excited for our guests to experience our new look and feel."

The hotel is 20 minutes east of downtown St. Louis off I-64. Conveniently located near Scott Air Force Base, the hotel is also near a wide variety of local attractions. Because of its central location and numerous amenities, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, is an ideal location for business and leisure travelers. Call 1-800-325-0481 for more information or reservations.

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