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Partnership News
March 28, 2014
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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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Funding Initiative Announced by Rural Partners
 
Rural Partners has announced the availability of $15,000 to support collaborative, change-oriented projects in Illinois that respond to or address a need evident or identified at the community level.
 
Matt Johnson, Rural Partners Board, said that the program, entitled Investing in the Future of Rural Illinois, is designed to support and leverage existing efforts of local organizations and agencies. “We hope to develop models of successful development or innovation that could be useful across the state,” he said. Proposals must be recommended by a member of Rural Partners; meet the goals of rural development and vitality; and be used for collaborative, change-oriented projects that address a need evident or identified at the community level.
 
The purposes of the funding assistance, information required for a preliminary application and the criteria for evaluating proposals can be found on the Rural Partners website. Funding for this program comes from dues of Rural Partners’ members made up of individuals, businesses, organizations and units of government.

 
DOE has recently launched an app that allows you to easily locates nearby alternative fueling stations (E85, biodiesel, electric charging, compressed natural gas, etc...). Check it out at energy.gov/alternative-fueling-station-locator.
 
Deer Overpopulation Affecting Native Plants

The results of two studies examining the impact of deer overpopulation on natural ecosystems were published early March 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and PLOS ONE. Scientists at Cornell University investigated how large deer populations disrupted the natural growth of forests, and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh showed how overgrazing on native plants led to an increase in garlic mustard, an exotic invasive plant, in the forest understory fauna. The declines in plant diversity, and increase in exotic invasive plants are happening because deer prefer consuming native plants, and allowing exotic invasive plants, that they generally find unpalatable, to proliferate.
 
The Illinois Bike Summit | April 15th | Champaign. Join the forum designed to make Illinois a national leader in bicycle transportation, recreation and commerce. IDNR anounces bicycle path grant award recipients: Bolingbrook, CCFPD and Glen Carbon to name a few.

The Illinois Bike Summit is an opportunity for bicycle enthusiasts, advocates, and professionals to come together to network and share knowledge to make the state of Illinois a national leader in bicycle transportation, recreation, and commerce.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rivers in half of the continental United States are at minor or moderate risk of exceeding flood levels this spring with the highest threat in the southern Great Lakes region due to above-average snowpack and a deep layer of frozen ground. Additionally, drought is expected to continue in California and the Southwest. "This year’s spring flood potential is widespread and includes rivers in highly populated areas putting millions of Americans at risk," said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. "Although widespread major river flooding is not expected, an abrupt warming or heavy rainfall event could lead to isolated major flooding."
 
Cool Climate Research

CoolClimate researchers have built the most complete, highest-resolution, peer-reviewed model of carbon footprints associated with transportation, foods, goods and services for households, businesses, organizations and cities. The CoolClimate Network (CCN) is a division of UC Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). CCN carries out research on carbon footprint mitigation, develops carbon management tools for public, business and government users and implements best practice programs grounded in behavior research to engage business and individuals in voluntary carbon reductions. The latest CoolClimate tools, including the Household Carbon Footprint Calculator, integrate social context into carbon footprint management.
Schools Rebuilt after Joplin, Missouri Tornado
 
The EF5 tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011, spent 32 minutes on the ground. In that brief period, the twister managed to inflict immense damage. The storm, which featured winds exceeding 200 mph, killed 161 people and destroyed more than 25 percent of the city, including 7,000 homes and nearly 2,000 buildings. It was the deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1953. Twenty of the school district’s buildings were damaged or destroyed, causing more than $100 million in damage and leaving more than 4,000 students without a school to attend. In rebuilding, Joplin officials took the opportunity to incorporate 21st-century learning environments into the new schools. District leaders engaged high school staff, students, administrators and parents to brainstorm new ideas. A team of administrators toured tech-savvy schools around the country, as well as innovative companies like Apple in Cupertino, Calif., to examine cutting-edge work environments. Care was also taken to ensure the new school buildings would be efficient. While they won’t be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rated due to the high cost of certification, the buildings were built with sustainability in mind, with everything from the materials used, to rain water collection for irrigation, to natural daylighting, and motion on/off switches in the classrooms. In addition, the new Joplin High School has a conduit in place to incorporate solar power once it becomes cost effective.
 
Rural Partners welcomes your comments and feedback. If you have information to share with the
members of Rural Partners, send comments and/or press releases to info@ruralpartners.org
Statements of opinion in this newsletter are not necessarily endorsed by Rural Partners.