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January 20, 2017

Researchers have detected prescription and over-the-counter medications and personal care products in Illinois groundwater. In a University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute (PRI) study, researchers collected 58 water samples from eight springs and five cave streams in southwestern Illinois in 2014 and 2015. Hormones were detected in only 23% of groundwater samples, but medications and personal care products were detected in 89% of samples, according to Walt Kelly, head of the Groundwater Science section at the Illinois State Water Survey, PRI. Most water samples were significantly contaminated by bacteria, particularly from humans, hogs, and cattle. Sewage systems also leak pharmaceuticals and other products. From analyses performed by Wei Zheng and Laurel Dodgen, environmental chemists at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, PRI, the two most common products found in streams and springs were triclocarbans, used in antibiotic soaps and found in 81% of samples, and the cardiovascular drug gemfibrozil, found in 57% of samples. Previous recommendations for disposing of medications were to flush them down the drain or into the sewage system. New recommendations encourage taking unused drugs to collection facilities in communities. See for proper disposal information and locations of take-back programs.


The University of Illinois Flash Index ended a three-month fall in December, rising to 104.3 from its 104.1 level in November. The indicator of economic activity in Illinois ended 2016 more than a point lower than it closed the previous year. The index remained relatively steady throughout 2016 in the 104.1 to 105.5 range, reflecting slower growth than previous years. This is consistent with the slow growth of national GDP during the first half of the year. However, preliminary results for the second half of the year (including strong holiday sales) suggest that growth is now somewhat stronger, said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.


Carmel, Indiana has more roundabouts than any other burg in the U.S. At most all times of the day, motorists slow down as they approach a roundabout, look to the left, and yield to traffic in the roundabout. Studies show a 90% reduction in fatal accidents, 80% reduction in accidents with serious injury, and 40% reduction in all accidents at these intersections when a roundabout replaces a traffic signal. When there are accidents, they are typically low impact, at an angle (rather than a deadly T-bone crash), and result in mostly minor damage.

The annual meeting of the membership of Rural Partners, The Illinois Rural Development Council, will be 12:30 to 1 p.m. March 8, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 701 E Adams St, Springfield, as part of the 28th Annual Rural Community & Economic Development Conference. You may attend the annual meeting without registering for the conference.


January 20 - SEDAC - Spotlight on Incentives and Savings webinar
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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