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October 19, 2018



Champaign-Urbana Named One of the Best College Towns in America - The American Institute for Economic Research ranked the top college towns in America based on economic, demographic, and quality-of-life factors. Champaign-Urbana came in second, just behind Boulder, Colorado. Champaign-Urbana was ranked #1 in city access, #3 in arts and entertainment, and #5 in diversity. The American Institute for Economic Research called Champaign-Urbana "economically appealing, with great labor market conditions. The University of Illinois I-STEM initiative brings high levels of innovation to this college town." Other top college towns included Flagstaff, Arizona; Ithaca, New York; Iowa City, Iowa; Bloomington, Indiana; and more. For the full article from Business Insider, click here, and for more information from the American Institute for Economic Research click here.



There are more than 8,000 jurisdictions across the country responsible for the administration of elections. Cyberattacks have dramatically escalated in the past 2.5 years and have become more sophisticated, harder to detect and not limited to elections. Since elections are entwined with trust, this is what is getting everyone’s attention these days.  There is some good news to report, and that is the availability and publication of the Handbook for Elections Infrastructure Security published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). funded by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). This is a great resource that every public official should download and read (it’s free) and the list of contributors and reviewers is reassuring. The primary goal of this handbook is to help improve the security of elections infrastructure as soon as possible, and ideally in advance of the 2018 elections, and establish a set of best practices that, with continual updates, support elections infrastructure security into the future.



The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) released a report which compares two time periods: 2007-2011 and 2012-2016. The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) combines seven complementary metrics into a single measure of economic well-being, resulting in a clear snapshot of the economic and social state of the U.S. zip codes, counties, cities, and congressional districts. Places are sorted into quintiles based on their performance on the index: Prosperous, comfortable, mid-tier, at risk, and distressed. Results indicate a “Great Reshuffling” – a sorting of human capital, job creation, and business formation that has had vast implications for Americans and their communities. In the years following the recession, top-tier places have thrived, seeing meteoric growth in jobs, businesses, and population. Meanwhile, the number of people living in America’s most distressed zip codes is shrinking as the nature of distress becomes more rural. But the gaps in well-being between prosperous areas and the rest have grown wider, and national rates of growth have become more distant from the experience of the median community.



University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live webinar entitled Rural Community Water: Understanding Public and Private Sources of Drinking Water on November 1, 2018, from Noon – 1:00 p.m. Steve Wilson, Groundwater Hydrologist from the Illinois State Water Survey, will discuss what local officials need to know about small drinking water systems, private wells, and septic systems, as well as share tools available to help communities make sure their drinking water is safe and meets standards. Steve specializes in SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) and CWA (Clean Water Act) compliance in small water and wastewater systems. He has directed more than 40 research projects funded by local, state, and federal entities. He authored the ISWS Private Well Class and manages REGISTER NOW for this free webinar.



November 1 (Webinar) - Illinois Geology: How Local Actions Impact Regional Waterways

November 13 - Rural Partners Board Meeting and Discussion

December 6 (Webinar) - Stormwater 101: How to Address Local Flooding and Water Quality Issues