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.
The American Red Cross urges blood donors to give in the final weeks of summer to help prevent a blood shortage.
Blood donations often decline in August as final summer vacations are planned and back-to-school activities ramp up. On average, during the summer months, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what is needed.
To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities....
Clifton 8/18/2015: 12:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Community Center, 330 East 4th Ave
Watseka 8/21/2015: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., The Arc of Iroquois County, 700 E Elm Street _______________
Bourbonnais 8/20/2015: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., American Red Cross, 20 Heritage Drive 8/27/2015: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., American Red Cross, 20 Heritage Drive
Momence 8/24/2015: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Momence Fire Department, 15 N Pine _______________
Cullom 8/31/2015: 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., St. John's Lutheran Church, 511 W. Jackson
Dwight 8/28/2015: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Dwight Fire Department, 111 South Prairie Ave
Fairbury 8/20/2015: 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., American Legion Home, 600 South 4th Street 8/26/2015: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 200 E. Maple Street
Forrest 8/17/2015: 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 320 S. Oak
Governor Bruce Rauner has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance with storm damage in 23 Illinois counties, including Iroquois and Vermilion.
The Governor also issued a state disaster proclamation for the 23 counties saying they were devastated by a series of severe storms in June and July that caused heavy rainfall, flash and river flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds.
Rauner said, ''We're working to do everything within our power to help people and communities affected by the tornadoes, flooding and damaging winds these storms generated. These damage assessments will provide us with greater detail as to the impact of these storms and could be used to support a request for federal assistance.''
A State Damage Assessment Team will visit Watseka neighborhoods Tuesday 8/4. The damage assessments will be used to hopefully, bring FEMA to the area to get a first-hand look at the seriousness of the damage.
The state has already provided assistance to many of the affected communities, including sandbags filled and placed by offenders from the Illinois Department of Corrections, debris removal and delivery of flood-fighting supplies by the Illinois Department of Transportation, and other support from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois State Police, and Illinois Department of Corrections.