He has served as an educator, coach, mentor and state lawmaker. Now, David Luechtefeld will add grand marshal of the Du Quoin State Fair Twilight Parade to his list of honorable mentions. Luechtefeld announced last year he would retire from the Illinois Senate at the end of his term. He has served in the state Senate since 1995 representing the southern Illinois counties of St. Clair, Monroe, Washington, Randolph, Union and Jackson. Luechtefed is a member of the Senate education and Senate agriculture committees, and serves as Assistant Minority Leader of the Senate, a role he has held since 2003.
Prior to serving in the state legislature, Luechtefeld taught social studies and coached baseball and basketball at Okawville High School. “Coach,” as he is commonly referred to as, is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Illinois Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Illinois Basketball Players Hall of Fame.
“The Du Quoin State Fair is a tradition in southern Illinois,” said Sen. Luechtefeld. “I have been a strong supporter of the fair and will continue to be even after my days in the legislature.”
The Du Quoin State Fair runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 5. The Twilight Parade will be held on Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.
2016 Du Quoin State Fair Theme Days
Friday, Aug. 26: College Night (college students who show a valid student ID receive free admission to the fair).
Saturday, Aug. 27: Governor’s Day.
Sunday, Aug. 28: Veterans Day (with proof of proper identification, veterans and their immediate family members receive free admission).
Monday, Aug. 29: Youth in Agriculture Day.
Tuesday, Aug. 30: Democrat Day.
Wednesday, Aug. 31: Senior Day (adults age 60 and older receive free admission to the fair).
Thursday, Sept. 1: Illinois Tourism Day.
Friday, Sept. 2: Sponsor Appreciation Day.
Saturday, Sept. 3: Coal Heritage Day.
Sunday, Sept. 4: First Responder Day (firefighters, police officers, EMTs who show their badge receive free admission).
Monday, Sept. 5: Family Day.
For more information about the 2016 DuQuoin State Fair, check us out online:
Website: www.duquoinstate fair.net
If you’re looking for a day of great, small-town community fun, you won’t want to miss this Saturday’s sixth annual Little Pig Cook-off at Beckemeyer’s BCDC Park. Opening ceremonies begin at noon on Saturday, Aug. 27 along with a vendor fair, kids’ area and the Snapper Lake Regatta “Best of Show” competition.
The actual Snapper Lake Regatta, featuring homemade cardboard boats, begins at 1 p.m. Also at 1 p.m. is the start of the Bags Tourney and a Car Show.
Firefighter Water Wars and entertainment by the Thunder and Lightning Cloggers starts at 2 p.m.
The Egg Toss Competition gets underway at 3 p.m. followed by the Pork Steak Cook-off and Cupcake Wars at 5:15 p.m.
Sampling and judging for both food competitions ends at 7 p.m. with an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Organizers announced that teams can still register for the Pork Steak Cook-off on Saturday (unless or until a total of 51 teams are registered). Entry fee is $50 per team, and meat will be provided.
There will be live music all day.
The lineup includes:
• 3 p.m. - Doc Reitz
• 4:30 p.m. - The Legendary Knapp Brothers
• 5 p.m. - L8R Days
• 6:30 p.m. - Good For Nothin’ Band
• 8:30 p.m. - The Nudge
• 10 p.m. - Feedback
• Midnight - Doubleshot
The event is held in memory of Jim Knapp, who was a fixture of the Beckemeyer community for years. Jim and his smoker/grill (emblazoned with the phrase “Jim’s Little Pig BAR-B-Q”) could be found working at fundraisers/functions around the village. As an active member and past president of the Beckemeyer Community Development Club (BCDC), he was instrumental in developing the BCDC Park.
Cook-off proceeds benefit the BCDC for park maintenance and upgrades – including unique lighting, seating, shelter and other facilities.
For more information, visit littlepigcookoff.com.
Some very special children in Africa are about to be blessed by the love and care of Breese teacher Katie Robben. Robben, 26, spent the past three years as a second-grade teacher at District 12 Elementary. Now, she is traveling over 7,000 miles to Kyarusozi, Uganda where, for the next 16 months, she will be a full-time volunteer teacher at Kyarusozi Primary School.
The possibility of volunteering in Uganda was sparked by two of Robben’s friends who volunteered in Uganda during the summer of 2014. While there, they met Father Richard Potthast, a Holy Cross priest who has been a missionary in Uganda for nearly 50 years.
“I met Father Potthast, myself, at a retreat during the fall of 2014 and talked to him about volunteering,” Robben said.
She set the plan into action and spent 9-1/2 weeks teaching at a private school in Uganda during the summer of 2015.
However, as her stay came to an end, she wasn’t ready to leave.
“My plan was to come back (to Breese) at the end of the summer, but while I was there — at the end of my stay — I felt like I was just getting to know people. I felt this is where God wants me to be,” she said.
She had a long talk with Father Potthast about her calling and her desire to stay longer. She also talked to another volunteer teacher who advised her that, in order to stay in Uganda for an extended amount of time, she needed to first get some business in order, regarding funding her stay, having the proper insurance and other necessities.
Robben returned to the states late last summer with a new mission in mind — to return to Uganda for an extended length of time. She returned to her job at District 12 and started saving money for travel, room and board and other expenses.
The community has shown overwhelming support.
Last fall, Mater Dei’s soccer team held a fundraiser to support the children in Kyarusozi.
“I had coached with Mater Dei’s soccer coach in the past and I sent a photo to him and his wife of a young boy playing soccer with a ball of trash. In Uganda, if they don’t have money for a ball, they’ll play with a ball of trash. They were really affected by that photo,” Robben said.
Over Christmas break, Robben returned to Uganda to deliver 43 soccer balls, 59 sets of shin guards, 109 pairs of cleats, 110 pairs of socks and countless jerseys/shorts and other soccer equipment to the children there — all made possible by the Mater Dei soccer team.
Generous monetary donations made by two Breese families last December provided food for the poorest families in Kajuma, Uganda. Ten families were given ample supplies of rice, sugar, soap, salt and meat.
The community has also shown support through a “Go Fund Me” fundraising campaign. Robben had a goal to raise $6,500 to cover expenses for her next trip, and her family and friends graciously donated $15,000. The extra funds will directly benefit the public school in Uganda.
“Last summer, I taught at a private school that was ran by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. While they didn’t have all the things that students have here, they did have notebooks and pencils,” Robben said. “I would come home every day and see students at the public school that was next door to where I stayed. Students had tattered clothing and the school building was falling apart. I thought ‘That’s where I want to work, and that’s where I can make a difference.’”
In Kyarusozi the teacher to student ratio is about 1:100 so Robben anticipates having a classroom packed full with 80 to 100 children.
“I won’t know for sure what I’ll be doing until I get there,” she said. “But I read a book that said Americans need to go in and figure out where they’re needed, so if they already have a teacher, I may work more as a teacher’s aide.”
What she does know is that conditions are much less than favorable.
There are not enough pencils, so students have to share them. There isn’t enough room for desks so students are crammed. There are no books and hardly any notebooks.
To help Robben make a difference, Dairy King of Breese and Trenton and Legacy Place in Breese teamed up this summer to collect pencils, notebooks, pencil sharpeners and chalk. Dairy King has been accepting monetary and school supply donations, while Legacy Place has collected three suitcases full of school supplies.
Robben is appreciative to everyone for their support, and she looks forward to sharing that love and support with the children in Kyarusozi.
“That first summer was so humbling,” she said. “I went there with this vision that Africa is a mess, and since I had taught for a couple of years, I felt like I was going to do things and immediately make a difference. I got there and realized that it was going to take some time. The culture is so different. I felt like I was student teaching all over again. It takes so long to know the culture and the kids and to learn how to teach without all of the tools that we’re used to.”
She’s thankful to have the opportunity to follow her heart and her calling.
“I loved District 12, I loved second grade and I loved my job, but I feel like when God calls you, you need to go,” Robben said.
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