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April 27, 2018



Jay Hayek, University of Illinois Extension’s forestry specialist and keeper of the Big Tree List, confirmed that an eastern cottonwood in Bald Hill Prairie Preserve, in Ogle County, is the biggest tree in Illinois. Forest Preserve Executive Director Todd Tucker nominated the tree after noticing it last November, after the forest preserve purchased the land formerly used as pasture. According to Tucker, “When I first went up to it, I’m 6’2 and have over a six foot reach. It took me six times to put my hands around the bark and measure where my last hand was. And I thought, man, we might have something here.” Using a drone with good elevation software, they found it was 120 feet tall and 28.5 feet around. Those calculations, plus the tree’s average canopy or dripline, added up to a Big Tree Total of 491 points, which is four points more than the previous state champ, a bald cypress in southern Illinois. The public can stand in the shadow of the biggest tree in Illinois at the grand opening of the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve at 5502 N. Silver Creek Rd. in Mt. Morris Saturday, April 28. The Arbor Day celebration includes tours of the new preserve, hay rides, and tree giveaways.




Open Meetings Act (OMA)

Presented by: Sarah Pratt, Puablic Access Counselor, Illinois Attorney General's Office

Noon-1PM, Thursday, May 3, 2018

University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live webinar on the Open Meetings Act on May 3, 2018, from Noon – 1:00 p.m. Sarah Pratt, Public Access Counselor from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, will highlight the training and tools required to implement this policy at the local level, and avoid violations.

Sarah Pratt presently serves as Public Access Counselor for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.  Pratt began her career as an Assistant Attorney General in General Law and served under four Attorneys General as a litigator and supervisor as the Bureau Chief of Workers' Compensation and Bureau Chief of General Law in Springfield, Illinois.  Sarah has worked at the AG's Office since 2011. After leading the Public Access Bureau for two years, she was appointed Public Access Counselor.  Sarah is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Illinois College with a B.A. in English and French, summa cum laude, and earned her J.D. degree at the University of Illinois.


There is no cost to attend the webinar; however, REGISTRATION required. Register online or contact Nancy Ouedraogo at more information.



The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy provides information about the farm bill, both the history of farm bill policy and the consequences of the policy it provides. Interest in the farm bill is far-reaching, since it affects the entire U.S., our trading partners, and the world economy. After holding a series of Farm Bill hearings last year, the chairs of the Agriculture Committees in the House and Senate are feverishly writing a new Farm Bill. By most accounts, this Farm Bill will contain few significant reforms, while managing self-imposed budgetary restrictions and efforts to place new restrictions within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018.



Congress began regulating fuel economy in response to the oil crisis in the 1970s. DOT sets the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard that each auto manufacturer must meet. Under this program, average fuel economy in the United States improved in the late 1970s but stagnated from the 1980s to the early 2000s as customers shifted to purchasing larger vehicles, including SUVs, minivans and trucks. The Clean Air Act empowers the EPA to regulate air pollution from motor vehicles. To promote uniformity, the law generally bars states from regulating car emissions. But when the Clean Air Act was passed, California was already developing innovative laws and standards to address its unique air pollution problems. So Congress carved out an exemption. As long as California’s standards protect public health and welfare at least as strictly as federal law, and are necessary “to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions,” the law requires the EPA to grant California a waiver so it can continue to apply its own regulations. California has received numerous waivers as it has worked to reduce vehicle emissions by enacting ever more stringent standards since the 1960s.




April 30, 2018 - DLT Grant Workshop

May 3, 2018 (Webinar) - Open Meetings Act

June 14, 2018 (Webinar) - Age-Friendly Communities and Senior Bullying

June 27, 2018 - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference