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January 24, 2020

 

 
 

The April 1, 2020 census count will begin in January in Alaska’s Toksook Bay, a rural village on the Bering Sea that can only be reached by dog sled, snow machine or bush plane when the ground is still frozen. Counting people who live in hard-to-reach villages in the northernmost parts of the United States has been a challenge for the Census Bureau every decade since 1870. Even today, large portions of Alaska are not connected by roads and have spotty mail service. The 2020 Census will be available online, but that may not be an option for remote villages where internet connectivity is poor. That’s why Census enumerators start knocking on doors in Alaska in January to count people where they live before the spring thaw and before residents leave their villages to fish and hunt. 

 

 
 

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) announced areas eligible for Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program grant funding, established in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to invest in communities that were disproportionately damaged by the war on drugs. Twenty five percent of the tax revenue from cannabis sales will be used for the R3 program grants, which will be distributed using a competitive process. With the R3 Board, ICIJA will award grant funds to community organizations that support economic development, provide violence prevention and reentry services, and offer youth development and civil legal aid to individuals in eligible areas. A notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) will be released in the coming months. The agency will administer and monitor the grants and offer ongoing research support to the R3 areas. Researchers and criminal justice professionals assisted ICIJA in identifying the eligible areas using census-level data on gun injury, child poverty, unemployment and state prison commitments and returns, per statute.

 

 
 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the oceans each year, through littering, poor waste management, stormwater runoff, fishing vessels, cargo and cruise ships, and more. Many plastics float, so countless plastic items of all shapes and sizes make their journey downstream, eventually making their way to the oceans. Unfortunately, wildlife may consume some of the plastic or become entangled in it, likely leading to their death. Sea turtles are strangled by plastic six pack rings, and dead marine animals wash ashore with pounds of plastic in their stomachs. Marine debris, mostly plastics, collect into great garbage patches. These patches are not islands of floating trash and are not easily detected from above. Rather, the garbage patches consist of broken pieces of plastic suspended throughout the water column, like flecks of pepper floating in a bowl of soup. Clean-up efforts are extremely difficult. Plastics degrade over time but never go away. They break up into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics and microscopic nanoplastics. They are found in every ecosystem on Earth and consist of microbeads, microfibers and broken-down pieces of plastic. There are simple things you can do to cut down on this growing problem, including: Reduce use of single use plastics; Purchase items with less packaging; Use reusable water bottles/coffee mugs; Refuse plastic straws/lids when dining out, and consider purchasing a reusable straw; Pack trash free lunches using reusable containers/utensils; Use reusable shopping bags rather than plastic ones; When eating out, take a reusable container for leftovers; Recycle when possible; Use microplastic catch bags when washing fleece and other synthetic fabrics; Secure waste bins on collection days; Buy used; Repair/maintain products like clothing and appliances; Borrow, rent or share items you don’t use frequently; Get involved and participate in local clean-ups; and Educate about plastic waste and impacts on the environment.

 

 
 

Illinois Extension will offer Federal Legislative Update on January 30, 2020, and will feature Eryn Hurley, a legislative expert from the National Association of Counties. The webinar will air at Noon CST on Thursday, January 30, 2020. The program will cover recent and potential changes in legislation that will affect county governments. Participants have a chance to ask questions and discuss how to plan for expected changes. Please register to attend the webinar, and receive information from each presentation.

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

January 30 (Small Farms Webinar) - Asparagus Production and Marketing

January 30, 2020 (LGE Webinar) - Federal Legislative Update

February 6 (Small Farms Webinar) - Farm Stress and Impact on Health

February 13 (Small Farms Webinar) - Updates on Industrial Hemp in Illinois 

February 20, 2020 (LGE Webinar) - Using a “Stress Testing” Approach to Measuring the Fiscal Sustainability of Local Governments

February 20 (Small Farms Webinar) - Soil Organic Matters

February 26-27, 2020 (Springfield) - Annual Rural Community Economic Development Conference 

February 27 (Small Farms Webinar) - Saturated Media Extract

March 1, 2020 (Deadline) - Illinois 2020 Conservation Achievement Scholarship

March 3-4, 2020 (Springfield, IL) - RTAC Conference

March 5 (Small Farms Webinar) - Selling through Food Hubs and Co-ops: A Growers Perspective

March 12 (Small Farms Webinar) - Getting Started in Drip Irrigation

March 20 (Small Farms Webinar) - The Basics for Goats and Sheep

 
 
 
 
 

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