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Stadelman: Local journalism vital to communities of every size

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 12:41 PM

newspapers 031020SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is taking action to ensure that local journalism survives in Illinois’ small towns and mid-sized cities.

“As a former journalist and news anchor, I know how important it is to have access to truly local news,” Stadelman said. “People deserve to know what’s happening in their communities, regardless of where they live.”

Senate Bill 3457 would create the Local Journalism Task Force, which would be made up of 10 individuals representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government. They would be charged with conducting a study on communities underserved by local journalism and making recommendations on how to preserve and restore news coverage in these areas.

“Your address should not dictate the quality and type of information you have access to,” Stadelman said. “This measure is meant to start a conversation and provide new ideas to help address shrinking press coverage in local communities.”

Declines in advertising revenue and circulation have meant that nearly half of the newsroom jobs at newspapers that existed in 2004 have since disappeared—and more than 2,000 thousand papers around the country have closed over the past 15 years.

If passed, the task force would be required to submit the findings from its study to the governor’s office, as well as the General Assembly, no later than January 1, 2022.

Hastings announces opportunity for local governments to benefit from grants aimed to create jobs and improve infrastructure

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 12:32 PM

hastings 031020SPRINGFIELD – Local governments are now able to apply for a portion of nearly $80 million in grants to update critical infrastructure and jumpstart further economic development in the South Suburbs, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) announced Tuesday.

“This grant money serves as an opportunity for local governments to spur economic growth,” Hastings said. “Through this program, DCEO has provided an avenue to both improve critical infrastructure and create jobs in our communities.”

Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

Koehler announces open application period for $80 million in local economic development grants

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 12:12 PM

koehler 031020SPRINGFIELD – Local governments will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in grants to boost economic development and modernize infrastructure in their communities, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

“By offering local governments the chance to invest in themselves, we’re continuing to demonstrate a commitment to downstate,” Koehler said. “When downstate thrives, Illinois thrives.”

Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

Harmon praises Illinois’ $80 million investment in economic development

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 11:55 AM

harmon 031020Senate President Don Harmon praised the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s announcement that local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be able to compete for $80 million to improve local economies.

“This is an investment in local communities throughout our great state,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon. “These projects will build a better Illinois. The bipartisan success we’ve seen with Gov. Pritzker shows what we can do when Illinois works together.”

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