DYK JesseOwensOn March 28, 1990, President George H.W. Bush awarded Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Owens was born to Henry and Emma Alexander Owens in Alabama on Sept. 12, 1913. His family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was 9 which is where his athletic career began.

In 1928, Owens would set the junior high school records by clearing 6 feet in the high jump and almost leaping 23 feet in the broad jump. Eight years later, he represented the United States in track and field at the Berlin Olympic games.

Owens set a record for most gold medals by an African American Olympian in a single Olympiad. He won four gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 4x100 meter and the long jump.

Later in life, Owens became an inspirational speaker and addressed youth groups, civic meetings, PTAs and others. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford in 1976. In 1979, he received the Living Legend Award from President Jimmy Carter.

Jesse Owens passed away March 31, 1980, due to complications from lung cancer. He was buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.

For more information: http://www.jesseowens.com/

DYK World Poetry DayIn 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a resolution declaring March 21 as World Poetry Day.

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings  Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

The day was proclaimed by UNESCO to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. World Poetry Day precedes the U.S. National Poetry Month in April.

Austrian coffee company Julius Meinl allows its customers on World Poetry Day to pay for their coffee with a poem. Last year, coffee drinkers from 1,153 coffee houses in 27 countries paid for their coffee with a poem.

One of Illinois’ most famous poets was Carl Sandburg, who was born in Galesburg in 1878. He wrote poems about the state of Illinois and Chicago. He also wrote biographies about Abraham Lincoln and his family.

For more information:

UNESCO World Poetry Day: http://www.un.org/en/events/poetryday/index.shtml

Illinois Poet Laureate: http://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/Pages/default.aspx

WilliamBushnellStoutWilliam Bushnell Stout was born on March 16, 1880 in Quincy, Illinois.  Stout designed and built his first model airplane out of cardboard and rubber bands when he was 14 and kept designing and building thereafter.

Stout’s innovative designs led him to a number of engineering positions at several American automobile companies. His most noticeable invention was a monoplane, the first successful airplane design devoid of exterior struts, wires and other wind obstructions. His company, the Stout Metal Airplane Company, was bought by the Ford Motor Company in 1924.

In 1934, he founded the Stout Motor Car Company, which featured a “beetle-like” Scarab with an all-aluminum tubular airframe covered with aluminum skin, with the engine in the rear, glove compartment and reclining aircraft-type seats.

Did You Know? The first Dairy Queen was located in IllinoisDairy Queen is offering free vanilla ice cream cones today, March 15, in celebration of its anniversary.

The first Dairy Queen opened in June 1940 in downtown Joliet at 501 North Chicago Street. While the structure no longer houses a Dairy Queen, the building made headlines in 2010 when it received landmark status for being home to the first official Dairy Queen.

Illinois also played a role in developing Dairy Queen’s trademark soft-serve ice cream. John Fremont and Bradley McCullough, Kankakee natives, developed the formula in 1938 and franchised it until the first location opened in 1940.

Dairy Queen has expanded to include more than 6,000 stores worldwide, many of them located in the United States.

Learn more:
World’s First Dairy Queen Gets Landmark Status (CBS Chicago)

AgWeekDYKToday is the second day of National Ag Week, with tomorrow being National Ag Day. Throughout the country, many events will be taking place to honor the hard work that farmers across the country put in to feed the country and the world.

Illinois is a national leader in agriculture. With nearly 75,000 farms across the state, agriculture covers about 27 million acres in Illinois. The state produces multiple different products including corn, soybeans, winter wheat and livestock.

Illinois not only feeds the country, but also the world. It is third nationally in exporting agricultural commodities. On an annual basis, the state ships over $8 billion worth of goods to other countries. The state accounts for six percent of all U.S. agricultural exports.

Illinois also is a top manufacturer of agricultural products. It ranks number one nationally with nearly $200 billion in processed food sales. The whole state comes together in creating a top-of-the-line agricultural production from the fields to the factories.

For more information:

About Ag Week/Day: http://www.agday.org/

Illinois Agriculture: https://www.agr.state.il.us/facts-about-illinois-agriculture/