Wednesday, August 1, 2012

HCC to Offer Entrepreneur Essentials this Fall

Those who have toyed with the idea of opening their own business may find the motivation they need to get started with the help of Heartland Community College's Entrepreneur Essentials program.

Entrepreneur Essentials at Heartland Community College is a vocational training program that focuses on a person's dreams, interests and abilities. Through experiential classroom learning and the development of a targeted support structure, students in Entrepreneur Essentials will prepare for the expectations, issues and responsibilities associated with organizational management and business ownership. The program concentrates on market research and projections, money management and financial planning, business and tax structures, insurance, marketing and mentoring. Students who complete the course will have created a business plan that they are able to take to banks or loan institutions in order to make owning their own business a reality. In addition, students will benefit from small class sizes, individual attention, professional networking, laptop loans, and HCC and local support during and after program.

Entrepreneur Essentials meets from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for 16 weeks beginning August 20. Classes will be held at Heartland's Normal campus, located at 1500 W. Raab Rd. The fee for the course is $425, and scholarships are available for eligible individuals.

Enrollment is limited, so interested individuals are encouraged to call (309) 268-8048 right away to apply.

For more information about Heartland Community College, visit

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spuds Inc. Featured on CNBC Small Business

Spuds Inc., LLC (Dwight, IL) is currently being featured on the CNBC website for small businesses that turned tragedy into triumph. See the full article by following this link:


Prison Update: Town Hall Meeting Monday July 16

Barickman to Host Town Hall to Discuss Future of
Dwight Correctional Center

Pontiac, IL…State Representative Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) will be hosting a town hall meeting in Dwight at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 16th at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall to discuss Governor Quinn’s closing of Dwight Correctional Center.
Barickman, Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey and AFSCME representatives will be on hand to answer questions and discuss potential options for DCC.  Barickman stressed they are still looking at alternatives to keep Dwight Correctional Center open and the over 350 men and women employed at the facility in their current jobs.

WHO:  Representative Jason Barickman and Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey
WHEN:  Monday, July 16th at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE:  St. Patrick’s Parish Hall
                  118 W. Mazon Ave., Dwight, IL.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Local Adult Welding Class a Huge Success

The Livingston Area Career Center (LACC) recently graduated its inaugural adult welding class with great results. The class of nine unemployed adults received 40 hours of welding instruction over two weeks. Upon completion of the class, each of the graduates took and passed a welding test administered by Manpower, Inc. All nine graduates have been hired by local companies and are now gainfully employed and beginning a new career as a welder.

The GLCEDC (through the Livingston County Board) provided a $7,000.00 grant to the LACC for the purchase and repair of welding equipment to be used for training adults in basic welding. "We are excited to be able to contribute to a program that benefits our local residents and employers in such an immediate and tangible way" said Larry Vaupel, GLCEDC CEO. The program began shortly after a round-table discussion that included the Workforce Investment Board, GLCEDC, LACC, local employers, and Manpower, Inc. The discussion revealed that numerous welding jobs were available but unfilled due to a lack of skilled welders in the area. The LACC plans to offer additional welding courses for adults in the coming months.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spending Continues at Dwight Correctional Center

An article in today's edition of The Pantagraph  theorizes that recent purchases at State facilities may provide hints as to which of them will be closing. The article points out that there have been service contracts for 2013 signed recently for the Dwight Correctional Center. Other State facilities have cancelled contracts or did not renew contracts expiring June 30. Additionally, word on the street informs us that capital projects like roofing and water well repairs have recently been completed.

While this spending is surely a good sign, we cannot rest until the Governor signs the budget with Dwight Correctional Center funding intact. Please continue to email the Governor at and urge him to honor the will of COGFA and the State Legislature and keep Dwight Correctional Center open.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dwight Correctional Center is Funded by Legislature

The Senate has approved the House Budget and the state budget now moves to the Governor's desk for signing.  While we are excited that Dwight Correctional Center (DCC) is fully funded in the budget, the Governor can utilize his line item veto and still close DCC.  Please take a moment to call or email the Governor and urge him to keep DCC open.  Key arguments to make include:

  • 629 direct and indirect job losses locally. On a percentage basis, this would be like the Chicago MSA losing 140,000 jobs!
  • A negative $54 million economic impact on the local economy.  This would be equivalent to Chicago MSA experiencing a $40 BILLION negative impact! 8% of our total economic output would evaporate.
  • If DCC closes, the female corrections facilities will be operating at 180% capacity - nearly double the inmates they were designed to handle.
  • 65% of the inmates are from Chicago and 78% are mothers. They need to be close to their families for visits.  Moving inmates another 100 miles from their families will make visits more difficult.
  • The savings projected from a closure will not be realized - $8.35 million in capital improvements are needed at Logan Correctional Center. Early release programs will result in increased state spending elsewhere: food stamps, medicaid, public housing vouchers, etc.
Governor Pat Quinn
Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street, Floor 16
Chicago, IL 60601

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Local Efforts Paying Off in Fight for Dwight

The fight to save Dwight Correctional Center (DCC) looks promising thanks to the efforts of local residents.  Village and GLCEDC representatives have been in Springfield meeting with legislators regarding the funding of Dwight each week since the Governor announced that his budget proposal did not fund operations at DCC.  The efforts of our residents and employees at DCC seem to be paying off, as legislators are well-informed about the "Fight for Dwight".  I want to share a recent story that illustrates how local efforts are paying dividends.

Last week, Mayor Wilkey and I had a conversation with Representative Luis Arroryo from Chicago. Rep. Arroryo is Chairman of the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee and a critical vote in the funding of DCC. As Rep. Barickman introduced us to Rep. Arroryo, I offered him a postcard of DCC containing facts about the impact the closure would have on our community. He responded with a big smile and said that he did not need anymore postcards.  He stated he had a stack of them on his desk "this high", indicating 2-3 inches with his index finger and thumb. Thank you to all the residents who took the time and effort to pick up the postcards from Village Hall and send them to Springfield.  Your work has made a big difference!

Rep. Arroyo shared with us that when he drives home from Springfield he always plans his trip so that he can stop at Route 66 Family Restaurant in Dwight, because "they have have the best roasted chicken and excellent service".  At one of his dinner stops, he noticed that his waitress was wearing a bright green t-shirt with "Fight for Dwight" on the front of it. He asked her about the shirt, thinking it was a sports team or something along those lines. Instead, he got an education on what the Dwight Correctional Center means to the community and how devastating it would be to the community if it were to close. A waitress going about her daily routine makes a lasting impact on one of the most influential and powerful legislator in Illinois. This exemplifies the community spirit and community-wide support for DCC.

The picture in Springfield changes by the hour. Most thought that a vote would be taken yesterday on the House Public Safety Appropriations and a vote would be taken today on the House Budget.  Instead, it looks like today will be the day for the Committee vote.  All the action can be followed online here  Look for the Public Safety Committee meeting and General Session.