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April 5, 2019



Join us on Thursday, April 18th at Noon (CST) as we host the director of Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Christopher Merrett, for our local government education webinar, Are Demographics Destiny for the Rural Midwest? Economic Development Implications for Rural Youth Population Decline for our Region. Merrett will discuss challenges and recommendations related to rural population decline. Local officials, community leaders, and professionals in community and economic development are encouraged to attend and participate in a discussion after the presentation. REGISTER HERE



Join Prairie Rivers Network, Blue Green Alliance, and Grow Gillespie on April 15th at the Illinois Coal Museum in Gillespie for a community conversation about "The Future of Illinois Energy". Presenters will share information about the Future Energy Jobs Act, the RECLAIM Act, Illinois' future energy economy, and more. A facilitated conversation will engage participants in exploring how Illinois' rural communities can benefit from and help shape Illinois' energy future!



In recent years, bee populations have been dwindling for largely unexplained reasons. If the trend isn’t reversed, food supply chains across the country could suffer shortages of food from apples to avocados. University of Illinois entomology graduate student Jacob Torres is out to stop that, by arming beekeepers and concerned citizens with data. He says, “At the Dolezal Bee Research Lab, we focus on trying to understand landscape level predictors of what exactly affects honey bee health, which means that we like to ask questions, like what practices work in certain places that might not work and others, and what beekeeping features are associated with better bees. However, honeybee health is a very complicated topic to tackle because it's not just one factor that impacts it directly; it's actually a lot of different factors, including pathogens, pesticides, the microbes in their guts...being able to understand how these interactions impact honeybee health is extremely complicated and requires a huge number of hives to collect data from to be able to accurately understand.”



How fast is the internet connection in your part of rural America? The National Broadband Map has been decommissioned. The latest report from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has serious flaws, researchers say. And private efforts to measure access speeds tend to underrepresent rural areas and cause confusion about what speed is available and what consumers actually pay for. Three national rural nonprofits hope to create a more accurate picture for researchers and advocates to see how their communities measure up. The TestIT smartphone app invites rural residents to help identify current broadband speed and service gaps. To accomplish this goal, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is partnering with the National Association of Counties (NACo) and Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). The TestIT app is open-source and available to everyone in any community across the country. You open the app, it tests your download or upload speed wherever you are, and then populates that information in a larger database. The app was developed with the Measurement Lab, a private initiative that includes industry leaders and researchers. The data will be shared publicly.



April 18 (LGE Webinar) - Are Demographics Destiny for the Rural Midwest? Economic Development Implications for Rural Youth Population Decline for our Region

May 16 (LGE Webinar) - Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

May 16 (Belleville) - Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference

June 5 (Springfield) - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

July 14-17 (Columbia, MO) - Community Development Society Annual Conference

August 12-15 (Moline) - Midwest Community Development Institute