State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) returned to the 59th District after the Senate adjourned on March 14, meeting with local organizations, supporting local business owners in the region and spending some time back in the classroom.
Kicking off his time back in the District, Sen. Fowler attended the Gallatin County Future Farmers of America for their 4th Annual Alumni Association Fish Fry on March 16. Everything they made and sold was homemade, with both active FFA members and former alumni members coming together to put on the event. The proceeds go toward Alumni initiatives, including annual scholarships. Sen. Fowler also met with members of the Harrisburg High School FFA, joining them on March 22 for a visit and tour of the recently renovated high school facility.
Also during the week, Sen. Fowler joined the Southeastern Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission for their 50th Anniversary Banquet. The Commission works with local governments and the residents in Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope and Saline counties to encourage economic growth and prosperity in the region. Sen. Fowler worked closely with the organization when he served as Mayor of Harrisburg and was happy to join them for their anniversary celebration.
Celebrating a local Southern Illinois-based business, Sen. Fowler joined Smoothie King for their ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier in the week. Smoothie King celebrated the opening of their new store in Marion on March 20. The new business is located at 1001 West Main Street and offers customers a number of smoothie blends and options.
Sen. Fowler also joined local innovator Keith Dismuke for a demonstration of his patented invention, the “Hopper Topper.” The farming waste management attachment prevents dust, moisture, loss of grain, and rodent infestations when transferring grain. The one-of-a-kind product will be showcased at Sen. Fowler’s upcoming Southern Illinois Made Expo event on July 28 and July 29. Be sure to visit simade.org for more information on the “Hopper Topper” and to follow the news about the Expo.
From celebrating a local innovator to encouraging future entrepreneurs, Sen. Fowler attended a breakfast with student members of the Saline County CEOs on March 23. The organization is dedicated to encouraging leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship, pairing students with local leaders in the community.
Also during the week, Sen. Fowler attended the 10th Annual Williamson County Traffic Safety Days at The Pavilion in Marion on March 20. This event is dedicated to educating students on road safety, including sharing the road with other motorists, issues with distracted drive and the dangers of drinking and getting behind the wheel. This event has continued to grow over the years, with an estimated 1,500 students attending in 2017. This year, 31 schools participated from 11 counties.
“This event has seen great success over the years, demonstrating what can be accomplished when communities, law enforcement, schools and local businesses work together,” said Sen. Fowler. “Congratulations to everyone on 10 years of continued growth and success with this program.”
Later in the week, Sen. Fowler joined students from Eldorado Elementary to celebrate Read Aloud Month. The month-long national reading campaign initiative is dedicated to encouraging kids to read aloud every day for at least 15 minutes.
Finally, Sen. Fowler is sharing news from the Illinois Department of Transportation about an upcoming bridge closure for annual safety inspections. From March 20 at 12:00 p.m. to March 30, and from April 2 to April 6 at 12:00 p.m., the US 60/62 bridge over the Mississippi River will be closed. The bridge will be open in the evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
In other news, March 20 was declared as National Agriculture Day, celebrating the 72,200 farms that call Illinois home and the hardworking people throughout the ag community who continue to make agriculture the number one industry in our state.
With farmers gearing up for the start of another planting season, National Agriculture Day is a great reminder for everyone to celebrate Illinois’ rich agriculture industry, recognize the hardworking individuals involved in the agricultural community and remember the critical role the industry plays in Illinois’ economy.
March also marks the national month-long campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of poisoning exposure and to educate the public about poisoning prevention.
According to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), more hospitalizations can be attributed to poisoning than motor vehicle crashes or firearm injuries combined.
The IPC has a confidential helpline that can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 and can be contacted if you or someone you know is suspected of being exposed to a poisonous substance. The American Red Cross also offers information on poisoning safety and first aid, including the importance of keeping medicines and chemicals secured and reading medication instructions closely.