Excellent Funding Levels for Rural Community Capital Improvements

March 11, 2015

People may not expect building a firehouse, renovating a library or expanding a nursing home to have much in common. At USDA Rural Development in Illinois, they do. Each of these projects and countless others were made possible through a Rural Development Community Facility (CF) Program loan, guarantee or grant.

Residents look for critical services from their community such as protecting life and property, ensuring education and providing health care or public services. Small, rural communities are often faced with steep challenges when it comes to funding costly, yet basic needed services. Read More

Seventh Coldest February on Record Wraps Up Winter in Illinois

March 11, 2015

The statewide average temperature for February was 18.6 degrees, which is 12.3 degrees below the 1981-2010 average and the seventh coldest February on record. In comparison, February 2014 was the ninth warmest at 19.5 degrees, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

Snowfall for February in Illinois was widespread and well above average. Amounts of 15 to 20 inches were common in western and northern Illinois and 10 to 15 inches across central Illinois and parts of far southern Illinois. This was eight to 12 inches above average in many locations. Read More

Teen Dating Violence Awareness

March 11, 2015

McGruff the Crime Dog and AlertID share warning signs and resources

According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, each year 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner. Only one-third of those victims seek help. Dating violence is the verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of a partner. Teen victims of dating violence pose a higher risk of substance abuse, eating disorders as well as a risk of future abuse (National Domestic Abuse Hotline, 2015). To address this serious problem, The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and AlertID have joined forces to raise awareness and offer warning signs, advice for parents, and resources for victims. Read More

Voter Registration Deadline Nearing

March 4, 2015

Moultrie County Clerk Georgia England would like to remind residents of Moultrie County that the deadline to register to vote or transfer/change registration for the upcoming April 7 consolidated election is Tuesday, March 10. You may register to vote at the County Clerk’s office, Moultrie County Courthouse, 2nd floor in Sullivan from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Registration is also available at all Moultrie County libraries and with your precinct committee person.
Requirements for registration are:
• U.S. Citizen
• 18 years of age by Election Day
• Resident of your precinct 30 days prior to Election Day
• Two forms of identification, one showing registrant’s current address
Have you moved or changed your name? Read More

Soil Temperatures in Illinois Normal So Far This Winter

March 4, 2015

Soil temperatures across the state have been near normal on average so far this winter, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.
Soil temperatures at four inches under sod averaged 38.6 degrees F across Illinois for the period of November 1 to February 15, normal for the time period. Temperatures at eight inches averaged 38.4 degrees F, 1.2 degrees below normal. Read More

USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

March 4, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that rural agricultural producers and small business owners may now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, support America’s clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The resources are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“This funding allows rural Illinois farmers and small businesses to realize significant economic benefits,” said Colleen Callahan, Illinois Director for Rural Development. “It’s an opportunity to use today’s technology to be more energy and cost-efficient. That’s one way we can help our producers save money and our rural businesses create more jobs.” Read More

Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Improvement Day Postponed

March 4, 2015

The Fish Habitat Improvement Day scheduled for Saturday, March 7 has been postponed due to unseasonably thick ice still covering most of Lake Shelbyville. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 21.
Volunteer registration begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Wilborn Creek boat ramp parking lot, and the work will begin at 9 a.m. Following the event, a free lunch is available for work day volunteers.
Once again, volunteers are welcome to bring pontoon boats as well as jon boats. The artificial fish attractors are approximately five feet in diameter and are more easily transported on a pontoon boat. If there is a shortage of boats, it will slow down placement of the structures. Anyone interested in volunteering their boat is advised to contact Park Ranger Tyler Goble at (217) 774-3951, ext. 7019 before the work day for planning purposes. Read More

Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Illinois

March 4, 2015

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio that the final date to purchase or modify crop insurance coverage on most insurable spring-planted crops is March 15.
Crop insurance protects producers from natural disasters which affect crop yields and revenues. Producers have a number of coverage choices, including yield coverage, revenue protection, and area risk policies.
“Farmers have several new insurance options to consider for the 2015 crop year, as well as improvements to the farm safety net for beginning farmers and those with diversified operations,” said Brian Friedan, RMA Springfield Regional Office director. Many of the new options are provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that RMA was able to implement in time for spring crops this year. Read More

National Groundwater Awareness Week: March 8-14

March 4, 2015

About half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. Many cities in Illinois, including Champaign-Urbana, Normal, and most of the western and southern suburbs of Chicago, get some or all of their drinking water from groundwater sources. In addition, almost all rural residents use groundwater. During National Groundwater Awareness Week, the goal is to promote stewardship of this important resource, to protect and conserve it.
If you own a well, it is your responsibility to keep it in good working order, according to Walt Kelly, head of the Groundwater Science Section at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois. Read More