The official dedication of the Sgt. Gary Vasquez Memorial Highway will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 in Highland, and the public is invited to attend in remembrance of a local hero who gave his life defending America’s freedom. State Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) said the Illinois Department of Transportation signs are ready to go up, designating Route 160 between Highland and Trenton as the “Sgt. Gary Vasquez Memorial Highway” in honor of his ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty in 2008.
The official dedication ceremony will take place at the Highland American Legion at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.
“We will recognize and remember a true hero who gave his life protecting our country,” Rep. Meier said. “The American Legion and VFW will present the flag, Jean Korte will sing the national anthem and everyone is invited to participate in the dedication to say ‘thank you’ for Sgt. Vazquez’s service and his sacrifice.”
Vasquez, 33, who grew up in Highland, was killed Sept. 29, 2008 in a bomb explosion while he was on duty as a special forces Green Beret in Afghanistan.
Vasquez, 33, was one of three soldiers killed when his vehicle hit an enemy IED (Improvised Explosive Device), while conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol in the vicinity of Yakhchal, Helmand Province.
He was a 1992 graduate of Highland High School and later received a drama degree from Illinois State University.
Several local athletes are still pursuing and achieving their dreams of playing professional or semiprofessional sports. Here is a brief summary of some of those athletes.
Josh Thole — Catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League: Thole is the backup catcher for the Blue Jays in his eighth season in major league baseball all with the Blue Jays and the New York Mets.
The left-handed hitting catcher from Mater Dei High School is currently hitting .158 for the Jays with 101 at bats. He has a homer and a pair of doubles while he has walked 12 times.
While getting more playing time lately, the Breese native is hitting .237 over his past 15 games. He has nine hits and five runs batted in during that span.
Toronto is currently in first place in the American League’s East Division with a 67-51 record. They have won six of their last 10 games.
Trevor Richards — Class A Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League: The Miami Marlins prospect and Mater Dei High School graduate is pitching well for the Grasshoppers.
The Aviston native pitched three times for the Class A short season in Batavia where he went 10-2/3 innings with no record and a 1.69 earned run average before moving to Greensboro.
In Greensboro, he has a 2-0 record in his 21 innings pitched. Richards has allowed just five earned runs while he has struck out 22 batters while walking just nine.
Over his last 10 outings, the righty has a 1.99 earned run average. The Grasshoppers are 25-25 in the Northern Division which is in fourth place, three games out of first.
Bryant Holtmann — Rookie League Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League: The Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect and Central High School graduate is in his second season with the Osprey.
The lefty is 0-1 with a 6.91 earned run average in 28-2/3 innings of work. He has walked 16 batters while striking out 17.
Over his last 10 games the Albers native is 0-0 with a 5.27 ERA with nine punchouts. The Osprey are currently 6-7 on the season.
Adam Fuehne — Undrafted free agent tight end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League: The Mater Dei High School graduate made his professional debut with the Lions on Friday in the NFL’s preseason.
The 6’7”, 265 pound tight end made his debut in the Lions’ 30-17 win over the host Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday.
The Damiansville native was on the field for several special teams plays and also had one catch for 5 yards on offense in the second half.
Jessica Foote — Wide Receiver for the St. Louis Slam of the Women’s Football Alliance: The Mater Dei High School graduate played a significant role on the National Championship squad.
Foote played a big role in the Slam’s Division II National Championship season which was capped off with a 38-7 win over the Tampa Bay Inferno in Pittsburgh this month.
The Slam is group of 43 players from throughout the St. Louis area ranging in age from 18 to 47. The Women’s Football Alliance launched in 2007 and currently has 43 teams across the nation.
The 49th annual Spassfest, Germantown’s celebration of its German heritage, opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 and runs through noon on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Besides the usual Spassfest events, there are three additions for this year – Bierluaf (Beer Run), Human Foosball, and a talent show.
On Friday the Spassfest opens at 4 p.m. Food, including carryouts, with the usual bratwurst and knackwurst, plus their famous fried chicken, homemade German potato salad, fish, hamburgers and funnel cakes will be available, as well as the other stands and attractions – including games, beverages and rides.
The “Kinder Korner” is back with expanded hours and includes games, face painting and prizes just for kids and runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The Spassfest bags tournament, and the first Spassfest Bierlauf (Beer Run), which follows official “Beer Mile” rules with three divisions and prizes, all begin at 7 p.m.
Music starts at 8 p.m. with Short Circuit DJ.
On Saturday the Spassfest grounds open at 11 a.m.
The Custom and Antique Bike Show, presented by Devin Santel Productions with cash awards and trophies, has registration at 10 a.m. and prizes awarded at 3 p.m.
Hugz & Fitz and Gymnastics & Cheer will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Another addition to this year’s Spassfest is Human Foosball starting at 11 a.m.
The washer tournament will begin at noon.
There will be “all you can ride” wristbands from 1 to 5 p.m.
At 1:30 p.m. the first “Germantown Has Talent” talent show opens. The show is open to anyone and has prizes for both adult and child categories.
A “Polka Mass” with German music will be celebrated at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the nearby historic St. Boniface Church.
The Spassfest also includes a parade at 5:30 p.m., with “An Old German Village” as the theme. The grand marshals are past village presidents Marcel Langenhorst and Gerry Kohnen and current village president Duane Ripperda.
Entertainment on Saturday includes the Well Hungarians playing from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Sunday has breakfast starting at 8 a.m. with Duane Grapperhaus providing music and the Spassfest concludes at noon with the grand prize drawing.
Prize raffles include a 2008 Jeep Wrangler or $12,000 alternative and a $1,000 consolation prize plus a second raffle with $1,000, $500 and $250 prizes.
Planning has already started for the 50th Spassfest which will be Aug. 18-20, 2017.
There will be a kickoff celebration, and many special events to coincide with this milestone. Watch for announcements of all special events.
The Germantown community and all of the dedicated Spassfest volunteers invite everyone to join them in celebrating the 49th annual Spassfest for a weekend of music, food, celebration, fun and “Gemütlichkeit.”
The Spassfest is held in “Red” Schoendienst Park, along Illinois Route 161.
Germantown is in Clinton County, only 45 minutes from St. Louis, and 15 minutes from Carlyle Lake. The Spassfest grounds are handicapped accessible and as always, admission and parking are free.
In the past years, the Spassfest has raised over $1 million for community projects. This year funds went for the new ball diamond lights in Veterans Park as well as new fountains and fountain lighting in the park lake.
The Spassfest is a total community effort benefiting the entire community.
The full schedule with times is on the village Web page at www.germantownil.net. In addition look on Facebook for last-minute updates.
Remember – the third full weekend in August always means Spassfest, just as it has since 1968! Celebrating 49 years of fun in 2016.
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|Sun., Aug. 14||445.04|
|Tues., Aug. 16