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March 4, 2016
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation that will result in smarter, streamlined and statewide rules for food sanitation at farmers markets. “This is a really important step when it comes to supporting farmers markets and community development. Regional planning commissions, communities and economic development organizations are consistently including local food and farmers markets in their long term plans. As a state, we should be doing everything we can to support the growing local food and sustainable agriculture sector, and that is exactly what this legislation does.” said Wes King, Executive Director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
 
Main Street in Corbin, Kentucky (pop. 7,300), looked and felt like most downtowns in rural America: Vacant buildings. Empty sidewalks. A few surviving businesses. Today, it’s hard to find a parking space on the mile and a half of Corbin’s Main Street. “We have a vibrant 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. economy here now,” said Andy Salmons, a 2003 Corbin High School graduate who came back home to open a specialty coffee shop downtown, and started working as the city’s part-time Main Street manager. How did downtown Corbin land more than 20 new businesses since 2012, pushing its 40% vacancy rate to practically zero? How did downtown Corbin bring young and old downtown to shop, dine, and socialize after decades of consumers shifting to national chains and Big Box stores? The answer is important to rural and urban places across the country. Bringing people back downtown to live, work, and play is key, said Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney. “To do that you need places to eat, places to shop.”
 
A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition examines how two trends – more jobs being created but stagnant hourly wages -- play out regionally. The work maps how much an American worker needs to earn per hour in each state to rent a two-bedroom apartment. In no state can a person earning minimum wage afford such an apartment at market rent.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
March 8, 2016 - 27th Annual Rural Community & Economic Development Conference, Springfield, IL
March 17, 2016 - Strategic Priorities for Local Governments Dealing with the Current Fiscal Climate, webinar
March 29, 2016 - Building Wellness Into Your Worksite - John A. Logan College
April 7, 2016 - Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference - Mount Vernon, IL
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