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February 3, 2017
The Rural Partners Annual Meeting is scheduled for March 8th at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, Presidential Ballroom. For those members that wish to attend the lunch at noon, but not the entire conference please email Sandy Wittig at There will be a $30 charge for lunch only. Contact Janet Bascom at 217-529-6503 or with any inquiries.

The next Local Government Education (LGE) webinar is on February 16th, the first in the Spring 2017 Series on Infrastructure for Economic Development. 

Investing in Building Energy Savings, will feature Todd Rusk and Robert Nemeth of the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC).  Todd and Robert will elaborate on how counties, municipalities, and other public agencies can reduce operational losses and address deferred maintenance backlogs through cost-effective investments in building energy efficiency. They will present case studies on energy efficiency projects with a variety of building types, describe how to best plan for improvements, and outline how to integrate those improvements with the capital planning process.

When people see photographs of domestic chickens behaving like other birds (e.g., roosting in tree tops), it is often cause for surprise and amusement. Why? With over 19 billion worldwide, chickens are the most abundant of all domesticated animals, so this perception of chickens is not due to unfamiliarity with them per se. Chickens are misperceived as lacking most of the psychological characteristics we recognize in other intelligent animals and are typically thought of as possessing a low level of intelligence compared with other animals. The brains of birds have historically been viewed as simpler and more primitive than those of mammals. However, that assumption about avian brains has now been overturned by more recent studies showing that there are many functional similarities in the brains of birds and mammals, allowing for similar cognitive abilities. In particular, the avian forebrain (the part of the brain involved in problem-solving and other higher-order cognitive capacities) is actually derived from the same neuroanatomical substrate as the mammalian forebrain, providing more potential evidence for similar cognitive capacities in the two groups.

Answer five simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers identification help for beginning and intermediate bird watchers to learn about North America’s most common birds. Or, use a photo from your camera, and Merlin Photo ID will offer a short list of possible matches. Photo ID works offline, so you can identify birds from your photos when you don’t have cell service.

February 16 - Investing in Building Energy Savings webinar
March 8 - Rural Partners Annual Meeting, Springfield, IL
March 8-9, 20-17 Rural Economic Development Conference, Springfield, IL
March 31 - Rural Business Development Grant deadline
June 11-14, 2017 Community Development Society Conference, Big Sky, MT
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Rural Partners · 3085 Stevenson Drive, Suite 200 · Springfield, IL 62703 · USA

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