Lt. Governor tours Watseka flood damage, visits with 911 dispatchers
Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti got her own first-hand look at some of Watseka's flood damage Tuesday. She also got a look at a detailed map, presented by Mayor Bob Harwood, showing the areas that sustained flooding the last two months.
Sanguinetti offered hope that FEMA may be touring and conducting damage assessments yet this week.
Governor Bruce Rauner has declared a disaster. A proclamation issued Monday is likely to bring FEMA officials to town to pursue additional hep.
The Lorenzo R. Smith Elementary School in Pembroke Township has received a $100,000 federal grant enabling the school to become the nation's first 'food hub' selling locally-grown food to distributors. The grant also provides the school with both free and low-cost produce for school lunches.
U.S. Representative Robin Kelly visited Pembroke (Monday) for a ribbon-cutting event.
The grant stems from the grant written by the Pembroke-based Black Oaks Center for Sustainable and Renewable Living. The Lorenzo Smith Aggregation Services will be the official name of the organization.
The Farm Bureau's development division will engage the 'food hub,' providing the infrastructure to store, sell and transport products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is yet to determine which Illinois counties will be eligible for federal assistance when it comes to flood damage. Any statewide disaster declaration still needs to be made and damage assessments will be key.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner submitted the request to the federal agency last week.
In Iroquois County, the Farm Service Agency reported the loss reported was 32 percent for corn and 27 percent for soybeans. Agriculture officials in Kankakee County reported the loss of 36 percent of the corn crop and 38 percent of the soybean crop. To be eligible for disaster assistance a county must report a minimum of 30 percent loss of a crop.
Illinois Agriculture Director Philip Nelson urges farmers to stay involved with their FSA offices and get those numbers submitted.
The State disaster declaration, which must be approved by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, has helped to clarify how farmers can get assistance. Vilsack's office is reviewing the request and hopes to make a determination soon.
Federal assistance usually comes in the form of security for loans or low-interest loans. The U.S. Rural Development Agency also has 43 programs pertaining to economic development that may provide further assistance.
The Bourbonnais Park District's Perry Farm is the setting today for the "National Night Out." Activities begin at 4 pm. Food and entertainment and a fireworks display are part of the program. Organizers also present a school supplies give-away. Those attending are asked to bring a non-perishable food item. A clothing drive and food raffle are available through the Salvation Army.
National Night Out is a coordinated campaign that promote police and community partnerships. Area police departments and fire departments team with social service clubs to accomodate area children. The goal of the program is to build relationships between neighbors and law enforcement.