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August 31, 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



When Kroger closed two stores in Peoria in early 2018, Senator Dave Koehler organized community meetings to generate constructive conversations. The Regional Fresh Food Council (RFFC), a regional collective of food access and food economy stakeholders in the five-county Greater Peoria region, was established in 2015 to address regional food system development issues. Since then, the Peoria County-based RFFC has supported the grocery store development effort with planning and data collection. The core team includes representatives from University of Illinois Extension, City of Peoria, Greater Peoria EDC, Senator Koehler’s office, Peoria County, PCCEO, and community members. This team has been designing a study that can serve as a tool to support future grocery developments. The community survey portion of the study is currently open and will close in early September. Over 500 responses have been collected to date. Residents of 61603, 61604, and 61605 are encouraged to take the survey.  



This week, Chancellor Jones announced the Illinois Commitment, to make attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign easier for students from low- and moderate-income families. For first-time freshmen and new transfer students in the fall of 2019, all tuition and campus fees will be covered for four years, if an in-state student’s family income is $61,000 or less. The university wants to simplify financial aid, make an Illinois education more affordable to families across the state, and leave graduates with less debt. Illinois Commitment is designed to encourage Illinois residents to attend our own land grant University, and help to build the Illinois workforce when they graduate.



Traveling by air in their small plane, James and Deborah Fallows visited often overlooked cities and towns across America, including in the country’s midsection, sometimes referred to as “fly-over country.” The perspective they gained was often surprising as they uncovered off-the-beaten-path communities rising from the ashes of industrialism and reimagining themselves in creative ways. The Fallows, both writers for The Atlantic magazine, chronicled their four-year odyssey in the recently published book, Our Towns. In a webinar on Thursday, August 30, noon to 1 p.m., they will share their optimistic take on the people and places they discovered, and what’s making communities thrive today. Register today.  If you can’t join the live call,  register to receive the call recording.




September 10 (SBA) - Small Business Regulatory Fairness Roundtable (Springfield)

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

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

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