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November 2, 2018



University of Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development team will host a free webinar on Thursday, December 6, at Noon, entitled Stormwater 101: How to Address Local Flooding and Water Quality Issues, presented by Amy Ando, PhD. (Agricultural and Consumer Economics at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Eliana Brown, Outreach Specialist (Illinois Water Resource Center). The webinar will cover pertinent information relevant to local officials in regards to storm water management policies and best practices.  REGISTER NOW



A recent University of Illinois Springfield/NPR Illinois survey found 3 out of 4 people in Illinois see the state on the wrong track. But former Governor Jim Edgar did offer some hope: "I have to say it’s better now than it was a year ago," he said. "Now it’s still terrible, but it’s better." Edgar was referring to the reinstatement of a higher income tax rate and approval of a budget ending that impasse. A few Republicans broke with the governor and sided with Democrats to get that done. "Those rank and file legislators were hearing from their constituents. People were really upset because they were hurting. Not having a budget for two years was the worst thing I have ever seen in my 50 years. I thought it was worse than the Blagojevich years, by far,” Edgar remarked. But taxes, especially property taxes, are a major gripe. Some said they’re being taxed to death. And while they seem to understand the need to pay for services, they worry about being asked to pick up a larger tab with no relief in sight. You can watch video of all the forums here.



The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the 2018 Illinois Report Card, showing the highest percentage of students enrolling in college since Illinois began reporting the metric in 2014. The percentage of students enrolling in college 12 months after graduation increased to nearly three-quarters of all graduates – up from 68.7% just four years ago. The data also show record numbers of students both taking and passing Advanced Placement exams. From 2017 to 2018, enrollment in career and technical education increased by more than 6,000 students to 283,473. The percent of graduates needing to take remedial courses at Illinois community colleges continued to decline from 46.8% in 2017 to 45.7% in 2018. “The positive trends in college and career readiness show so much is going right in our schools," said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We are also laser focused on providing and advocating for resources and supports for the schools that need them the most. We have radically more fair funding and support systems in place to build on the enormous teaching and leading talent in our schools. We have high expectations for our students, and we know that each and every student can meet them. In the midst of a statewide teacher shortage crisis, we are working hand in glove with lawmakers to get schools the resources and fully supported educators they need to improve." 



Hunters Point South Park in New York City features a storm resilient design. Phase two opened last June, but the first half of the park has already been tested. As phase one neared completion in 2012, Hurricane Sandy and its 4-foot storm surge inundated the entire thing. And then, calmly and with great precision, the water drained right back out into the river at a pace the sewer system could handle, leaving the park intact. Construction resumed just days later. Phase two of the park boasts similar storm resistant design. Twice a day, as the high tide rolls in, Hunters Point South Park becomes a marsh. Instead of concrete walls and buttresses guarding the plot from the river, there are slow, rocky descents into the sea, and the tide works with the landscape. The sleek, curved walkways, eco-friendly awning and jagged, serene footpaths lead park goers through a variety of scenes: Low-lying grasses, an overlook at the New York City skyline, the installed outdoors workout stations and even a boat launch, where folks can put their kayaks in the river.



November 13 - Rural Partners Board Meeting and Discussion

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