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The Illinois State Fairgrounds’ historic Coliseum is going to get a new name following the current renovation effort.

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is hosting a naming contest for participation by eligible Illinois young adults. Current members of three groups -- Illinois 4-H, Illinois FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the Illinois Junior Horsemen's Council -- are eligible to submit naming ideas. The Foundation will accept naming ideas through Friday, December 14. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

The century-old centerpiece of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, an oval arena with Illinois-style clerestory windows, is being re-roofed and partly rebuilt. The Coliseum was temporarily closed to the public in 2016. The building’s original ceiling beams, which were part of the first generation of steel-building technology when the Coliseum rose in 1901, have reached the end of their useful life. The project is being funded with donations of $7.5 million from the private sector. When rebuilt, the Coliseum will resume its role as a place to show horses in saddle and in harness.

Click HERE for more information on the naming contest.

In conjunction with the annual Buffalo Tro event, Southern Illinois University's Touch of Nature Environmental Center will be honoring State Rep. John Cavaletto by re-naming one of its buildings for Cavaletto on Friday, October 12, 2018. The house renaming is in recognition for his support of Touch of Nature, Camp Little Giant and the Special Olympics.

Cavaletto attended summer camp at Little Grassy and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at SIU. He worked with William Freeberg, the Kennedy Foundation and Eunice Kennedy Shriver to establish camps for children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. The camps, directed by Cavaletto, led to creation of the Special Olympics.

He and his wife Connie worked at Camp Little Giant and helped train students throughout the state to work with children and adults with Down syndrome and other physical or mental disabilities during the 1950s and 1960s. During his legislative career, which is concluding this year, he’s also been a supporter.

The day’s festivities kick off at 10:30 a.m. with the dedication and renaming of the student intern house, commonly known as the “the Red House,” to the Cavaletto House. Lunch will follow in the Friends Room.

The Buffalo Tro evening includes a reception at 5 p.m., featuring light appetizers and local beers and wines. Bidding on a wide variety of silent auction items is from 5 to 7 p.m. with the meal served at 6:30 p.m. The live auction will follow.

The Buffalo Tro features marinated beef steaks, cooked on very hot stacked hardwood, then “klinked” to remove the coals. It’s served with baked potato, dinner salad, hot rolls and dessert.

The cooking method is a variation of the Plains Indian ceremonial meal where bison meat was cooked directly on hot buffalo chips to sear in the juices and flavor. Vegetarian and special diet options will be offered as well.

All activities on Oct. 12 are open to the public. There is no cost to attend either of the dedication events but guests are asked to RSVP at or by calling 618/453-1121.

The Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program will be hosting a lunch and learn event on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. You are encouraged to attend this event to learn how your business, organization, or public-sector entity can apply for cash incentives to help pay for part of your next electric or natural gas energy efficiency project (many of which have paybacks of less than one year!).

DATE AND TIME: Wed, September 19, 2018      11:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

LOCATION: Kaskaskia College, 2310 W. Fillmore Street, Room 114, Vandalia, IL 62474

Reserve your place now for this special event, where you will:
* Learn about the award-winning energy efficiency programs from Ameren Illinois
* Find out about the variety of cash incentives available for your business, organization, or public facility
* Discover ways Ameren Illinois customers can reduce energy costs
* Learn how, as a trade business, to get cash incentives for your customers
* Hear updates on Ameren Illinois’ future infrastructure plans
* Talk to program representatives to answer any of your questions

Millions of dollars in cash incentives are available through Ameren Illinois — learn more and start saving!

Interested in getting a head start on your project? Schedule a FREE energy consultation online or by calling 1-866-800-0747.
Veterans Invited to Bill Signing This Sunday, August 12 at State Fair

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), announced today that the governor will be signing House Bill 4954 into law this Sunday at the Illinois State Fair. This bill commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the meeting at the Luther B. Easley Post 128 in Salem by establishing each November 4th as ‘G.I. Bill of Rights Day’ in Illinois.

“I am very proud of this distinction for our community to remember and celebrate our local influence on the legislation to help our returning soldiers from World War II,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “The Department of Illinois American Legion recognized Post 128 as the Birthplace of the G.I. Bill of Rights in 1958 and this designation is very fitting on the 75th Anniversary year of that meeting by eight Legion members back in 1943. I want to thank the Salem Historical Commission and the American Legion for bringing this idea to me for consideration.”

The bill signing will be part of the Veterans Day Program on Sunday, August 12th beginning at 12:00 noon at the Rising Star Stage on the State Fairgrounds in Springfield (located near Gate 2, on Central Avenue, between the Fair manager’s house and the Dairy Building – just east of The Shed).

Veterans and their families are admitted to the grounds for free. A veteran’s parade and activities are some of the highlights for the day. Discounted ride passes for families of military veterans. A lunch will follow at 1:00 p.m. and is FREE for veterans and immediate family.

For more information about the activities at the State Fair you may find information online  by clicking here.

State Rep. John Cavaletto attended the 50th Anniversary program of the Special Olympics at Soldier Field Midway Club in Chicago on Friday, July 20th, joined by his wife Connie Cavaletto and legislative assistant Tabitha Meador.

Rep. Cavaletto was a graduate student at Southern Illinois University when in 1963 he was part of the team who showed Mrs. Eunice Shriver the kinds of programs they were running for kids with special needs at Little Grassy Camp. Those ideas were used to help create what would become known as the Special Olympics.

Here are some of the pictures documenting this milestone...

Dr. Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics and Maria Shriver talk with Rep. John Cavaletto at the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Special Olympics held July 20, 2018 in Chicago. Cavaletto told them about his work with their mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver back in the 1960's that would one day help lead to the founding of the Special Olympics.
Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, Naoki Ito, Rep. John Cavaletto and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.
Soldier Field's Midway Club was the location of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Reception on July 20, 2018.

Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Rep. John Cavaletto, and sculpture artist Richard Hunt.

Special Olympics Torch Sculpture

The Color Guard leading the Special Olympics procession