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March 9, 2018



The Trump administration’s idea for reducing hunger in the U.S. – a meal-kit procured, packaged and delivered by the government – would be both inefficient and ineffective, said Craig Gundersen, the Soybean Industry Endowed Professor of Agricultural Strategy at the University of Illinois College of ACES. Gundersen said, “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) began in the early 1960s, and before that, it was a commodity supplement program, meaning you would go somewhere to get surplus cheese or surplus milk. It changed to become a more efficient and ultimately more effective program – people go to grocery stores to get the food that they feel is correct for their family as opposed to what was available at the moment at these distribution centers. SNAP is far and away the most successful government program we have going today. It provides benefits to more than 46 million people, and it does everything it sets out to do in terms of alleviating food insecurity and reducing hunger in our country. From an administrative standpoint, the Harvest Box idea is a disaster. First of all, you would have to set up an entirely new bureaucracy to figure out what foods you’re going to put in these boxes, how you procure those foods and how you distribute the boxes, among many other decisions. Needless to say, the government is not really in the business of shipping food to tens of millions of Americans on a weekly basis.”


QuiltCon 2018, the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual convention, featured over 350 works, including acts of protest. Quilts carried messages such as, “strong women taught us to quilt…and to fight,” “rise up, resist,” and simply, “oh no.” Some quilts depicted difficult, but insightful, interpretations of mass incarceration, police brutality, school shootings, and acts of terror. The need quilters have felt to channel their frustrations into their craft was palpable. But the members of the Modern Quilt Guild are also continuing a very old tradition of using the quilt as a tool for resistance. The guild launched in 2009, after quilters making innovative, nontraditional works began forming connections online and realized they weren’t alone in their experimentation. The guild has established chapters internationally, in which quilters come together and show their work, workshop new techniques, and build a community.



International Trade – It’s Easy When You Know How

Presented by: Kathie Cravens, International Trade Specialist, Illinois Small Business Development Center

Noon-1PM, Thursday, April 12, 2018

Join us for a free webinar, where local officials and economic development professionals will learn about what they can do to assist small business expansion into the international market, international trade opportunities in Illinois, and business retention.

Kathie Cravens, CGBP, MIEx, a seasoned international trade specialist with years of exporting experience, has traveled and lived abroad, worked closely with numerous international dealers and distributors, and has attended several international trade shows. She has advised small to medium sized companies on their export practices and has been directly involved with U.S. exporting. She provides research support for new markets and products and referral assistance for export related activities, licensing, certification, legal and financial consultation, logistics and customs issues.

Cravens was owner of BritAm International, an export management company, advising small to medium sized companies on the expertise of exporting. Before accepting her new position as international trade specialist for the September 2013 opening of the new International Trade Center (ITC) in Champaign, she was employed at the GSI Group as an international logistics specialist, exporting product from Taylorville and Assumption to every continent of the world. REGISTER HERE



This year, the US sent 244 Olympians to Pyeongchang, South Korea. You might expect a majority of athletes for the winter games to hail from cold, snowy mountaintop places and winter sports locales. But the U.S. delegation comes from a wide array of places, according to state-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau and metropolitan-area data gathered by Patrick Adler at the Martin Prosperity Institute. Although those competing in some alpine sports are clustered around ski country, the athletes in many other sports—especially those that take place indoors, such as figure skating and speed skating—come from a wider variety of places, including big cities and metro areas. America’s Olympians disproportionately hail from smaller states, according to the Census analysis. Roughly 70% of the athletes come from states with populations of less than 10 million. America’s nine largest states, which account for more than half of the country’s population and an overwhelming share of its economic output, produced less than 30% of Olympic team members. In raw numbers, Colorado sent the most Olympians, with 31. On a per-capita basis, Vermont leads with 24 athletes per million residents. Alaska is second, with 9.5 athletes per million.



April 12, 2018 (Webinar) - International Trade and Small Business Development in Illinois

May 3, 2018 (Webinar) - Open Meetings Act

June 14, 2018 (Webinar) - Age-Friendly Communities and Senior Bullying

June 27, 2018 - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference