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August 17, 2018



University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live Local Government Education webinar, Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part I), on September 13, 2018, Noon – 1:00 p.m. Scott Tess (Environmental Sustainability Manager at the City of Urbana), will share strategies and experiences to make your municipality an easy, fast, and cheap place for solar energy installations for both public and private sector properties. He will discuss the SolSmart best practices and recognition program, municipal solar procurement, public bulk purchase programming, and leasing underutilized property for solar. The webinar is free and open to the public. Register Here



More than 37 million adults age 50 and older — 1 in 3 —  are at risk of not having enough to meet their most basic needs. A problem this big can’t be solved with a “business as usual” approach. The AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. The foundation seeks to fund bold projects with plans to scale proven, effective interventions through exponential growth (as opposed to linear growth), disrupting the current landscape for combating social isolation and food insecurity in low-income seniors. Applicants should carefully consider the scalability of their evidence-based program and present a thoughtful scaling plan in their application. For more information about funding from the AARP, see the Foundation grants program webpage.



Towering plumes of smoke are rising from fires in northern California. One of the fires—the Mendocino Complex—surpassed the 2017 Thomas fire to become California’s largest fire on record. As of August 7, 2018, the fire had charred 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles), an area about the size of New York City. Another blaze, the Carr fire near Redding, had torched more than 1,000 homes, making it California’s sixth most destructive fire on record. Several thousand firefighters are battling each of the large fires in California. The heat generated by intense wildfires can churn up towering pyrocumulus and pyrocumulonimbus clouds, which lift smoke above the boundary layer, the lowest part of the atmosphere. “The hotter a fire burns, the higher up smoke can go, and the farther it can spread,” explained Amber Soja, an atmospheric scientist with the National Institute of Aerospace who is based at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Smoke injected above the boundary layer often travels hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from the source before descending. Satellites have observed smoke from the California fires spreading into nearly two dozen states, though the highest concentrations were found in California and the Great Basin. The U.S. Forest Service says it now spends more than 50 percent of its budget suppressing wildfires, and that fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s. Since 2000, at least 10 states have had their largest fires on record.



There has been a steady increase in the number and percentage of voters voting early in both presidential and off year federal election years since 2004, when the EAVS (Election Administration and Voting Survey) was first administered. The percentage voting early more than doubled from 2004-2016, rising from 8.4%  to 17.2%, with nearly 10.2 million early ballots cast in 2004 and 24.1 million early ballots cast in 2016. The number of absentee ballots cast by absentee voters nearly doubled, from 14.7 million in 2004 to 24.8 million in 2016. Mail voting was tracked beginning in 2008, and the number showed a steady increase through 2016, more than tripling from 2.4 million in 2008 to 8.2 million in 2016. The total number of voters who voted by one of these three methods more than doubled from 24.9 million in 2004 to 57.2 million in 2016, or from one in five of all ballots cast to two in five of all ballots cast.



September 13, 2018 (Webinar) - Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part I)

September 27, 2018 (Webinar) - Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part II)

September 30, 2018 (USDA Funding Deadline) - Rural Energy Savings Program