Join us on Thursday, May 16th at Noon (CST) as we host Christopher Boggs, Supervising Attorney, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, for a live webinar on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The webinar will provide an update on information and tools required to implement this policy at the local level and avoid violations. REGISTER HERE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level. Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers tells us both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise. Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and city and county law enforcement agencies are reminding drivers to put down their phones and focus on driving. In April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, motorists will see increased patrols and enforcement to ticket drivers using handheld devices. “On any given day, you can glance into the next vehicle and see a driver texting, talking or scrolling through social media on their phone,” said Cynthia Watters, bureau chief of IDOT’s Safety Programs and Engineering. “If your attention is anywhere other than on the road, you’re driving distracted, and it can be deadly.” Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 3,166 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. Visit lifeordeathillinois.com for more information.
With the hope of providing comfort to the estimated 80,000 children of incarcerated parents in Pennsylvania prisons, arts and crafts programs are being provided in all 25 institutions. "We understand the important relationships between a parent and child, and we want to foster the continuation of those relationships through contact in our visiting room," Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel said. "We are going a step further by allowing incarcerated parents the opportunity to share in creativity with their children through arts and crafts." Under the new policy, each prison is coming up with a plan to provide crafts that could include origami, making bookmarks and other art projects. The inmates will be allowed to bring artwork back to their cells as a way of bonding with their children. Some state prisons, such as the state Correctional Institution at Chester in Delaware County, already provide crafts projects for children. The policy is in response to a recommendation to Wetzel from Chad D. Lassiter, executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, a state agency charged with promoting civil rights and protecting people from discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations.