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      Local Latinos celebrate their Hispanic Heritage

      Consuelo and Rigo Cobian are living the American dream.

      "We started working in Arkansas and then we moved to here Illinois and I really like moving here," Consuelo Cobian, owner of Maya Authentic Mexican Restaurant, said.

      The Cobians immigrated from Mexico to Arkansas where they worked in a Mexican restaurant. Six years ago they moved to Quincy to open their own restaurant and now they own three.

      "It's been hard, many hours working but it's part of my life," Consuelo said. "I love working here and I love the people."

      The Cobians say Hispanic Heritage month is the perfect way for them to combine their Latino culture with their new American life.

      "It's a special recognition from the United States government," Julio Flores from Amigos Unitdos Committee, a Mexican-American organization in Beardstown, said. "For us it's so important because this is a way to show how much we contribute with this society."

      The Tri-States has a growing Hispanic population, especially in Beardstown.

      "The Hispanic population in Beardstown is probably the second biggest community," Flores said. "We are not just the people we brought culture to this area too."

      That Latino culture shines through the Gard Elementary School's traveling Hispanic Dance Group.

      "The United States is very very multicultural," Ricardo Montoya, from Gard Elementary School's Hispanic Dance team, said. "So finding out about the other cultures is very important to understand who we are as a whole people."

      The Cobians say that's the exact meaning behind Hispanic Heritage month, remembering where you came from but looking forward to the American life you want to have.