Officials in Beardstown say their population is growing. And they want to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census. Illinois Issues reported the challenges to an accurate count and what’s at risk if not everyone participates. “I do believe there is growth in our community," said Beardstown Mayor Leslie Harris. "We have 21 languages spoken in our schools. That tells me that there’s more people.” Estimates from the American Community Survey suggest the population is shrinking. The 2010 census counted 6,123 residents, and the 2018 population estimate is around 5,502. The community survey is a long-form, ongoing questionnaire of the population done by the U.S. Census Bureau and based on decennial census numbers. But town officials suspect there was an undercount ten years ago, and they don’t want that to happen again. Analysis by the Census Bureau of the 2010 count in states and in counties with more than 100,000 residents found there wasn’t a significant undercount. The analysis didn’t include counties with fewer than 100,000 residents, such as Cass County, where Beardstown is. “If we don't have that many people reporting, then that's less money for Beardstown to operate on. But we still have more people, so we need [those] additional dollars,” Harris said.
A report from Achieve and the Case Foundation finds that millennials are bringing about social change in new ways. The report, Understanding How Millennials Engage in Causes and Social Issues, draws information from a decade of surveys conducted after the Millennial Impact Project was launched in 2009 to explore how Americans born between 1980 and 2000 engage with causes. According to the report, millennials view their time, skills, talent, money, voice, purchasing power, and ability to network as valuable assets to use as "everyday changemakers." Social engagement strategies range from bidding in online charity auctions to buying from and investing in socially responsible companies. However, millennials believe that traditional activism (voting, petitions, and protests) are also the most influential way to bring about change.
By 2050, wind turbines are expected to contribute more than 20% of the global electricity supply. A new study, published in Energy Science, provides comprehensive data on how turbines affect bird populations. While the study did find a negative effect on some breeding birds, it also suggests ways to mitigate that effect through wind turbine design and placement, explains co-author Madhu Khanna, professor of agricultural and consumer economics in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. “We found that there was a negative impact of three birds lost for every turbine within 400 meters of a bird habitat. The impact faded away as distance increased,” Khanna says. Researchers estimate that about 150,000 birds are affected by wind turbines in the U.S. every year. This includes both direct and indirect effects; that is, bird collisions with turbines as well as changes in bird habitat due to wind disturbances and other factors. The effects vary for different types of birds. When looking specifically at grassland birds, the researchers found fewer negative impacts than for other types of breeding birds. The researchers analyzed data on wind turbines, breeding birds, land use, and weather across the United States over a six-year period. The study included 1,670 wind turbines and 86 bird observation routes across 36 states from 2008 to 2014.
Tune into the webinar Community Supported Enterprises to Address Shrinking Markets in Rural Areas, presented by Norman Walzer from Northern Illinois University and David Ivan from Michigan State University on September 12, 2019 at 1 p.m. Central Time. This webinar describes a guidebook for starting community supported enterprises (CSEs), to open or reopen businesses such as grocery stores. These enterprises provide local access to goods and services but also strengthen the social capital in the community. CSEs are now used to provide social services as well. Examples of successful CSEs will be discussed along with elements which are essential to success.