With fall beginning in a week, here are the best scenic byways in IllinoisWhile temperatures are still warm throughout the state, changing leaves are a sign that fall is on its way.

Illinois offers numerous ways to get out and enjoy the fall season, from taking in breathtaking views along the Great River Road to enjoying vineyards and river cruises near Galena.

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Happy Birthday, I Like Illinois! (SLIDESHARE)

"As the president of the Senate, I attend functions and events across the state and get the opportunity to meet great people doing outstanding things. Recently I was lamenting how hard it is to keep track of all of this good news and said aloud, 'You know, there ought to be a website.' And the response from my staff was, 'We can do that.' That's how the 'I Like Illinois' website got started." -- Senate President John Cullerton, September 11, 2014

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AOTM - Tina WagnerTina Wagner has been touching students’ lives as an art teacher in Illinois since 1977. She has helped elementary, middle and high school students grow as artists. Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Wagner has worked with community artists and organizations to create community murals. Her latest project is the Nunda Township Barn on Bay Road in Crystal Lake. Read on to learn more about Wagner.

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Illinois park of the month: Giant City State Park

Even though kids are heading back to school, there are still some good weather days left this summer to visit one of Illinois’ magnificent parks.

One park you definitely want to see is Giant City State Park, an outdoor enthusiast’s dream where scenes from the popular movie “Gone Girl” were filmed.

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DicksonMoundsFor centuries, the Illinois River valley was populated and developed by a series of Native American cultures and communities.

Today, the Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum and a site on the National Register of Historic Places sits amongst a large complex of burial mounds and ancient village sites.

Visitors are greeted with historical artifacts ranging from ancient cookware, arrowheads and canoes.

Also, interpretive exhibits help patrons better understand the community structures, belief system and interactions with other Native Americans and European explorers.

Starting in 1927, property owner and local chiropractor Don Dickson began excavation of the site.

For many decades, Dickson ran a private museum.

Beginning in 1972, the property was transferred to the State of Illinois and became a part of the Illinois State Museum.

Today, Dickson Mounds Museum is a state treasure that should be visited, learned from, and cherished.

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