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July 6, 2018



Amid the dry climate and wildfires, cities in Colorado, Arizona, and California skipped traditional fireworks displays and replaced them with LED lights from drones, according to The Guardian. There will be no drifting smoke. Instead of explosive booms followed by crackling, viewers will hear the gentle hum from the drones’ motors. Patriotic music will be blasting in the background to keep mood upbeat. In Colorado, at least 11 communities and organizations canceled fireworks as firefighters battle as many as a dozen wildfires across the state. In Arizona, six towns cancelled the spectacle. And in California, where fires have not only been ravaging entire cities but also choking the air, officials chose not to put on a show for the sake of safety. Some Bay Area residents will enjoy a drone display thanks to a partnership between Travis Air Force Base and Intel. That’s the same company that helped South Korea wow the world with over 1,200 drones during the closing ceremony of this year’s Winter Olympics.



The Governor’s Hometown Awards program gives formal recognition to those that contributed to their community’s quality of life via projects that have strong volunteer support, met a need, and made a definitive impact in calendar year 2017! The six project categories are disaster services/public safety, economic opportunities, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans/military families. Major emphasis is placed on citizen involvement in the project. The degree of community support is a major factor in the evaluation. Projects which reflect broad community support will be more favorably evaluated that one which is planned, initiated or executed by one individual. Applications are due August 1, 2018. For more information, check the website.



Question: Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?

Answer: When we walk on soil, our body weight compresses the soil. Soil compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing the space between them. Soil particles come in various sizes. In between the particles are open spaces, or “pores,” which allow air and water to move through the soil. Air is important because microbes living in soil pores use some of the nitrogen and other elements from air as food. And, soil holds water and nutrients for plants to use in the same pores. Compressing the soil limits the amount of air and water soil can hold—and that’s not good for soil microbes or the plants living in the soil. Heavily compacted soils contain few large pores. This means that water does not move as easily through those soils. Large pores are more effective in moving water through the soil when it is saturated than smaller pores. A very compacted soil will actually repel water during a rainfall, and this vital water will run off into nearby streams and lakes. So, even though it may rain, the plants in the woods remain “thirsty”. Answered by Mary Beth Adams, U.S. Forest Service



There are about 5,000 native bee species in North America. Many have shown no evidence of decline, and some are thriving in highly urbanized areas. But other species, including some that were previously common, are becoming harder and harder to find. As scientists work to understand bee decline, it is important to identify the unique roles that native bees play, and to identify threats specific to them.  Why are some species thriving while others are declining? Some research suggests that traits such as a narrow or specialized diet and large body size, are associated with decline. But much more research is needed to fully understand which traits make species vulnerable, and to identify species that are especially at risk.



July 10, 2018 - SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Workshop

July 10, 2018 – Rural Partners Showcase Lunch and Tour (Contact:, or call (217) 529-6503).

July 22-25, 2018 - Community Development Society Annual Conference

August 6-9, 2018 - Midwest Community Development Institute

August 8-9, 2018 - IRHA (Illinois Rural Health Association) 29th Annual Educational Conference