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Click here to see this online
 
 
 

June 4, 2021

 

 
 
Rail Needs 
 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is inviting the public to comment and offer suggestions on a new study assessing the state’s rail system. The goal of the study is to seek input on current conditions, capacity concerns and safety challenges to help identify potential improvements and solutions. Comments will be collected through June 14 via illinoisrailneeds.org, which includes a short video, informational displays and a link to a survey. The information gathered will be used in the development of a statewide rail plan, a requirement of states seeking federal funding under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act. It also will serve to inform IDOT’s ongoing Illinois Long-Range Transportation Plan, providing strategic direction for the development of the state’s transportation system.

 

 
 
 NACo
 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on the disparities in COVID-19 vaccination coverage, which found that coverage in rural counties was lower than in urban counties overall. The report also highlights the need to identify and address barriers which include access and hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccination in rural areas. NACo (National Association of Counties) recommends that each community needs a tailored, multilayered approach to inform the public. For rural communities in particular, it may be best to use many communication platforms (such as radio and local newspaper articles) based on where people regularly get their information and identify trusted leaders to deliver messages. A recent CDC study revealed that the overwhelming majority of rural residents trust their health care provider for COVID-19 vaccine information, a key indication of the important role that local health and public health practitioners play in increasing vaccine confidence in rural communities. The White House created a downloadable infographic to outline how the vaccine helps to protect individuals and communities.

 

 
 
Crossbridge Church 
 

Crossbridge Church in Ottawa serves congregations in several area communities. The church partnered with Ameren Illinois program ally Premium Light to upgrade outdated, 1970s-era parking lot lighting with high-efficiency LED bulbs. Ameren Illinois provided cash incentives to defray project costs. Beyond those up-front savings, the new exterior lighting will reduce the church’s monthly power bill by hundreds of dollars a year. In light of the parking lot success, “we had our contractor do a walk-through of our Ottawa campus to look for other energy-saving opportunities,” says Pastor John Pickens. “We ended up replacing nearly all of our interior fluorescent lighting with T8 bulbs.” Rather than installing entirely new fixtures, Premium Light retrofitted existing fixtures and added reflectors to brighten the space even more. “In many fixtures, we were able to reduce four bulbs to three,” says Pickens. “Even with fewer bulbs, it’s amazing how much brighter the rooms feel.” Ameren Illinois can help businesses, churches and non-profits spend less on energy. “Our Energy Efficiency Program provides information and incentives to help customers make changes that reduce their energy bills and preserve energy resources,” says Ken Woolcutt, Manager of Energy Efficiency at Ameren Illinois. “Lighting is a great place for any facility to start saving.”

 

 
 
 LGE Webinar Series
 

As details regarding historic federal funding opportunities for broadband expansion and affordability are starting to emerge, join us today at 11:30 to learn about these opportunities — and how Illinois communities are well-positioned to benefit. As Deputy Director for Broadband within the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Matt Schmit administers the state’s Office of Broadband and grant programs. Prior to this role, Matt engaged public policy from various perspectives and wearing different hats: as state legislator, leading on such issues as infrastructure and economic competitiveness; as academic researcher, published author, and university instructor; and as independent consultant.

 

 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

June 4 - Broadband Funding Opportunities (UPDATE)

June 8 - Revitalizing Energy Communities in Illinois

June 9 - Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 

June 10 - Social Equity as an Ethical Priority in Public Administration

June 15 - Developing Broadband Leadership (Part 1): The Community Role in Post-Pandemic Broadband Deployment

June 16 - TIF Fundamentals for Small Business Development (Rural Partners)

June 25 – Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

June 29 - Developing Broadband Leadership (Part 2): Broadband 101

June 30 - Illinois Extension Housing Toolkit (Rural Partners)

July 13 - Developing Broadband Leadership (Part 3): Funding and Partnerships

July 27 - Developing Broadband Leadership (Part 4): Moving a Broadband Project Forward

 
 
 
 
 

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