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May 1, 2015
The Illinois Department of Transportation and Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn, in coordination with the Illinois Capital Development Board, are hosting a series of informal public meetings. This dialogue, emphasizing quality of life and economic growth, will establish priorities for future investment in our transportation system. These meetings are intended to be a listening tour, sparking discussion that ultimately leads to a package of recommendations that can be presented to Governor Rauner and General Assembly for consideration this spring. Dates and locations will be updated as additional meetings are confirmed.

Blight has adverse health effects
Research finds that poorly-kept areas can raise our stress levels and lead to other adverse effects. "There is increasing evidence to show that our environments do affect our health," says Gina South, a physician in the school of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. South led a recent study looking at two run-down parts of Philadelphia. One group of lots received a "greening treatment" from the Philadelphia Horticulture Society, which includes clearing away trash, planting grass and trees, and putting up a wooden rail fence. The other, control, group was left as it is. Volunteers were strapped with chest-strap heart rate monitors and wrist GPS devices, so their reactions could be tied to location. The researchers found that heart rates changed little as participants passed control lots, but decreased by between five and 15 beats per minute (depending on the measurement method) as they passed the greened lots.

2015 Most Endangered Historic Places

The “Most Endangered Historic Places” list was recently announced by Landmarks Illinois. The purpose of the list is to focus attention on sites threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, or inappropriate development, and to bolster local advocacy efforts and build support toward each property’s eventual preservation. The list draws attention to important policy issues that affect these properties and historic properties throughout the state. Check each listing's “What You Can Do” section for how you can help. The list includes the Black Hawk Statue in Ogle County. 

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Rural Partners is a member-driven forum that links individuals, businesses, organizations and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois.
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