Come to the Mt Vernon Airport to see a rare B-17 bomber July 3rd – 5th

A rare B-17 bomber, owned and operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is making a stop locally as part of its nationwide tour that salutes those veterans and helps the rest of us discover that history. The aircraft will be at MT VERNON ILLINOIS Outland Airport July 3-5th.  All are welcome to see and fly in this historic aircraft.  Times for viewing this B-17 bomber are 9am to 5 pm each day except for the 4th will be 9am to 9pm.  Prices on flyer are for advance ticket purchases only.  Tickets at the gate will be slightly higher.

For more information or to schedule your flight, please call 1-800-359-6217

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Ribbon Cutting for American Obstacle will be Monday July 6 at 1:00 p.m.

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The Chamber office will be CLOSED July 3rd for observation of  the 4th of July.


Employment Continues to Improve

Employment Continues to Improve.
South Central Illinois Highlights

Unemployment decreased in all 18 counties in South Central Illinois when compared with one year ago. Workforce conditions have continued to gradually improve during the year. The data is not seasonally adjusted.
Over the year, employment gains were reported in Manufacturing, Professional-Business Services, and Health Care. Seasonal payroll advances occurred in Leisure-Hospitality and Other Services …this spring. Construction activity remained at high levels as favorable weather conditions prevailed. Government payrolls continued to decline throughout the region.
Numerous employment opportunities in May 2015 were advertised in Healthcare and Transportation. Job openings also were reported in Office and Administrative Support, Sales, Management, and Production occupations. Employment opportunities included jobs in Computer Services, Engineering, Food Services, and Installation, Maintenance, and Repair occupations.
The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work

2015 Garden Tour

See many pictures of the 2015 Garden Tour

on our Facebook page. Pictures courtesy of

Carol Ferguson

Self Defense class for Women

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Come to the Library and find out how you can become an Expert Grower

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Help save the World Shooting & Recreational Center in Sparta

A REQUEST FOR SUPPORT…..Sparta and many communities supported Salem’s efforts to protect the trucking industry 7-8 years ago…..Director


I am reaching out to you from state Rep. Jerry Costello’s office regarding the announced plan to close the World Shooting and Recreational Center in Sparta. Rep. Costello has organized a petition drive to ask the governor to reconsider his plans to close the complex, and I am hoping that your Chamber would be willing to assist with getting the petition out, since this closure will affect not only Sparta but our entire region.

I’ve included the link to the online version of the petition below. We would appreciate if you could send that link to your members or to any who might be interested. Paper versions of the petition will be forthcoming; if you would be willing to distribute paper copies, or have a paper copy available in your office, please let us know. Additionally, anyone without internet access can contact our office to fill out the petition, so please pass that word along as well.

We appreciate any help that you are able to provide. The link to the online version of the petition is:

Again, thank you for your help, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Jaclyn Murphy
Community Outreach Coordinator
State Representative Jerry F. Costello II
116th District

Ladies Concealed carry class rescheduled for July 11 & 12

Two Troops has rescheduled their ladies only concealed carry class for July 11 & 12.  This class will cover all requirements for an Illinois concealed carry license.  It will be presented in a manner that new shooters as well as veteran shooters will be comfortable.  Class will be held at the Sandoval trap range

Cost is $150.00  contact Greg to sign up.  618-267-6161


Speakers at the June Chamber Luncheon


A group of nearly 50 Chamber members and guests had the opportunity to hear about the Workforce Program, Crisp Center, The South Central Illinois Growth Alliance and the Salem Community Theater.

First in the agenda were Kaskaskia College representatives: George Evans, Dean of Career & Technical Education and Art Borum, the Director of Industrial & Continuing Education. Evans spoke at length on the recent 3.5 million dollar renovation at the Crisp Center and what courses are available to meet the needs of local employers and students interested in entering a vocational career. At the present time the Center is providing courses to about 200 students but has the capabilities to add another 200-300.

Evans noted that welders are presently the #1 need of the area, but also available are courses in automotive, carpentry, electricity, air conditioning, ventilation, heating and robotics to name just a few.

Art Borum is also the Director of SCIGA, South Central Illinois Growth Alliance and spoke of the organizations effort to promote the five member counties and attract jobs to the area. The results indicated in a recent survey of 30 companies in the five counties, 1300 job openings would be available due to retirements and growth during the next 12 months. Borum also teams with Steve Groner in directing the Entrepreneurs Club at the Salem Education Center.

Evans, Borum, Kaskaskia College, former mayor John Raymer,
Brad Detering and members of the High School faculty, the Salem Chamber and members of the community are all joining forces to create a local Workforce Program.

Drew Johnson, Chairman of the Salem Community Theater Board provided an overview of the Board’s plans for $1.6 million dollars of improvements over the next 15 years. The plans provide a budget of $100,000 a year for restrooms backstage for staff and performers, new dressing rooms, renovation of the front façade, canopy and ticket booth, new audio/video capabilities including new projector and screen and other lesser additions. Johnson expressed appreciation to the support the theater receives from the City of Salem and the residents. He added that the Board has a standing invitation to those interested in performing or assisting in the many tasks associated with running a theater. ————————————————Pictured is Art Bourm, Drew Johnson and George Evans