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Macoupin County Little Miss & Little Mister Pageant

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After 3 hours on Monday, July 18, at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds, the Little Miss & Little Mister Pageant finally wrapped up. The Pageant coincided with the County Talent Show. There were 15 contestants vying for the Little Miss tiara and another 11 contestants competing for the Little Mister crown. All of the contestants loved being the spotlight on stage and were all either 4 or 5 years old. There were approximately 20 other contestants competing in the talent show which consisted of a Junior Division, Senior Division, and an Adult Division.

The long awaited announcement of the Little Miss and Little Mister came at the end of the show, following the retired royalty farewell. As the crowd came to utter silence and many people crossed their fingers and legs, Mark Dugger made the announcement. The Littler Mister winners were: Kaeleb Lowry – 1st place (of Gillespie, 4 year old son of Kyle & Deanna Lowry), Tobi Lewis – 1st runner up (of Girard, 5 year old son of John & Brandi Lewis), and Jaiden Johnson – 2nd runner up (of Gillespie, 5 year old son of Jeremy & Stevi Johnson). The Little Miss winners were: Camaryn Fetter – 1st place (of Girard, 5 year old daughter of Clint & Lydia Fetter), Stevie Harding – 1st runner up (of Carlinville, 5 year old daughter of Sam & Krissy Harding), and Addison Earley – 2nd runner up (of Girard, 5 year old daughter of Jr & Brooke Earley).

As the pageant was the main spotlight of the night, many attendees enjoyed the wonderful talent displayed by all ages in the talent show. The talent show was divided into 3 divisions and performances were displayed at 3 different occasions throughout the event. Many contestants simply sang a solo vocal, but there was 1 violin performance and also 2 dance routines. The winners of the talent show were announced directly before the pageant winners. First place of the junior division was awarded to Ingrid Uhe’s performance of “Proud to be an American.” The second place was awarded to Marley Schmidt and Abby Boente on their mix tape dance routine. The final prize of the junior division went to Alexia Christison on her solo vocal. Haley Nicole was the sole winner of the senior division as she had the crowd clapping and swinging during her country swing performance. The only adult performance and first place winner came from Tammy Martintuni, who dedicated her performance to her father, who was seated in the front row taking pictures of his daughter.

Retiring Little Miss Braley Wiser and Little Mister Jake Rookey gave their final speech on stage last night. Braley, daughter of Shawn & Trish Wiser, told the crowd she enjoyed representing Macoupin County at many parades, festivals, and County Fairs the past year. She also extended a very special thank you to Megan (2010 Queen), Hannah (2010 Jr. Miss), and Jake (2010 Little Mister) for the many memories they have shared during their reign the past year. Braley wished the new Little Miss the best of luck during her year of reign. Jake (son of Greg & Sarah Rookey) also gave his last speech on stage after he answered a few questions from Queen Megan Broom. Jake told the crowd he has had the time of his life this past year as Little Mister and is very sad to give up his duties. His favorite thing about being Little Mister Macoupin County was going to the parades and being on stage.

After one month practicing for the pageant, it has finally come to end, but the 2011 edition of Macoupin County Fair has just began! The fairgrounds will host the Miss & Jr. Miss Macoupin County Pageant tomorrow (Tuesday) night, the tractor pull Friday night, and the demolition derby Saturday night, which is always the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Follow this weeks action on The BenGil Post and also check our Facebook page for up-to-date announcements of Pageant winners.

To see pictures from last night, click here! (You have to be a Facebook user and a fan of our Facebook page!)

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School board deals with personnel issues during special meeting

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Stephanie Bray

Meeting in special session Monday night, members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education accepted “with regrets” the resignation for purposes of retirement of Stephanie Bray, one of the district’s three technology integration specialists, effective June 4.

The board called a special session to deal with the apparently unexpected resignation before the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting later this month. However, board members tabled action on approving a revised job description for the Student Information System/Data Integration Specialist position, pending further discussion.

The board also tabled action on posting the newly created vacancy and tabled posting a district-level secretary’s position.

In February of 2022, the board accepted “with regrets” Bray’s announcement of her retirement “no later than the end of the 2025-26 school year.” There was no indication of why Bray moved her retirement date up by two years.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Amanda Ross, the board voted unanimously to accept Bray’s resignation. The action followed a 50-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues behind closed doors. The public portion of the meeting lasted less than 10 minutes.

In other action, the board voted to renew the district’s One Room contract to offer a remotely taught Spanish class to fulfill the district’s foreign language requirement for the 2024-25 school year. This will be the second year an off-site teacher will teach foreign language at GHS, using remote communication technology. Supt. Shane Owsley said the district had no applications for the vacant teaching position last year. This year, an applicant from Brazil explored the possibility of teaching in Gillespie but ultimately accepted a tutoring position at Greenville University. Owsley said hiring the applicant could have become cumbersome because she was not yet certificated to teach high school Spanish. He said he recently changed the job description from Spanish to foreign language to expand the pool of potential applicants.

In other personnel action, the board approved the maternity leave request of Amber Allan, BenGil Elementary physical education teacher, effective Aug. 28 through Jan. 20.

In separate actions, the board accepted Nathan Henrichs resignation as Gillespie High School freshman football coach, posted the position as vacant, and appointed Henrichs as a varsity assistant football coach. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Alex Jasper as an assistant freshman football coach. The board unanimously accepted Wayne Ireland’s resignation as a volunteer assistant football coach, and voted unanimously to appoint Jarrod Herron and hire Trenton Cleveland as volunteer assistant football coaches.

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The board voted unanimously to hire Michael Rodriguez as a high school volunteer assistant women’s basketball coach.

On a motion by Schmidt, seconded by Kelli Vesper, the board hired Alexis Ollis as a head cook and kitchen staff member, pending documentation of certification and a background check. The board also Brittany Hughes as a district kitchen staff worker, pending documentation of certification and background check.

On a motion by Vesper, the board voted unanimously to post a vacancy for a one-on-one paraprofessional aide.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Jessica Kelly as a middle school assistant track and field coach and voted unanimously to hire Jay Weber as the high school head track and field coach.

The regular monthly meeting of the board is set for 6 p.m., Monday, June 24, at the district’s administrative office.

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Americana festival set for July 4 at Benld Park

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Jess Barker, The Lodge Brothers, and The New Prairie Drifters are set to take the stage at Benld City Park on Thursday, July 4 as part of the Americana Festival.

The music festival intends to celebrate the birthday and spirit of America with thriving local culture of music, food, and art. It is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and end at 6 pm.

Food will be available for purchase from The Barracks American Table, a new Gillespie restaurant, and skincare products will be available from Nature’s Bliss, a Benld gift shop.

The park is located at 305 North Main Street in Benld. Admission is free.

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Macoupin County Fair underway until Sunday

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Rides, tents, food trucks, music, animals, and plenty of other offerings fill the grounds at the Macoupin County Fair for the 172nd year. The fair is held June 4 through June 9 at the Macoupin County Fairground north of Carlinville.

The oldest county fair in Illinois, the Macoupin County Fair welcomes thousands of guests to the area and unites agriculture, family, and community. The fair continues through Sunday with highlights every evening.

The fair also meets the needs of families on a budget, for just $10 per person you get parking and all-access to the carnival rides. The cost-friendly fun draws in visitors and locals who get to embrace the county’s namesakes.

Tracy Lawrence and Walker Montgomery are set to take the stage Thursday evening, June 6, at 7:30pm. Friday evening features the tractor and truck pull, and Saturday evening is the crowd-favorite demolition derby.

The fair opens every morning at 8am and closes at 12 midnight. For a full list of schedule of events or to pre-pay for entry, visit the fair’s website here.

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