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.

Friday, May 25, 2012

IDOT to Host Stakeholder Meetings for High Speed Rail

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will be hosting a series of meetings to bring everyone up to speed on the status of the High-Speed Rail Program which will run from Dwight to Pontiac with trains running up to 110 miles per hour.  In the coming months, IDOT will be working on roadways and implementing safety measures which include quadrant gates, a new signal system, and fencing.  The inaugural run is anticipated to take place in September 2012. 

In preparation of this significant milestone, IDOT and the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will be speaking with key stakeholders along with various educational and public safety organizations.  Furthermore, the IDOT, ICC, and members of the project team will be attending community events to personally communicate information about high-speed trains while focusing on driver education and the safety aspects associated with higher speed trains. 

Wednesday, May 30 2012
10:00am - Noon
Dwight Village Hall
209 S. Prarie Ave

Wednesday, May 30 2012
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Odell Public Library
301 E. Richard St.

Thursday, May 31, 2012
10:00am - Noon
Pontiac City Hall
City Council Chambers
115 W. Howard St

Please RSVP to Friday May 25 to Lisa Mentzer at 630-510-3944 or  Please visit the project website, for up to date project information or to comment on the project.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Village of Forrest Attracts New Business

The Village of Forrest, IL is now home to a new medical equipment installation firm.  H & H Installation Services, Inc. built a new headquarters for the company on Route 47, on the north side of town.  The company specializes in the installation of medical equipment (CT, X-Ray, MRI, etc.) at hospitals, university research facilities, and medical offices all across the US.  H & H has twenty-two employees, 10 of them work in Livingston County.

The GLCEDC provided a Community Development and Infrastructure Grant to the Village of Forrest to assist in the funding of a water main extension and Route 47 improvements for the new business.  More information about H & H Installation can be found on their website.

Larry Vaupel, CEO (left) presents a check to Pat Huette, President of H & H Installations (center) and Village of Forrest Mayor, Jim Gulliford (right) to assist in funding public improvements associated with the construction of H & H Installations' new facility in Forrest, IL.

The 14th Annual Illinois Leadership Conference

The 14th Annual Illinois Leadership Conference is brought to you by University of Illinois Extension and is an interactive workshop bringing together community leaders, elected officials, and volunteers to assist in planning efforts by focusing on assets and opportunities.  It will be held at the Keller Convention Center in Effingham on Wednesday, June 6 from 9am - 4pm.  For more information click here

Monday, May 14, 2012

Write the Illinois House & Senate Appropriations Committee!

The GLCEDC and the Village of Dwight are going to be providing postcards and pre-printed labels to send to members of the House Appropriations - Public Safety Committee as well as members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  You can pick these up at the GLCEDC office as well as at the Dwight Village Hall, and give your legislators your feelings on the importance of the Dwight Correctional Center is to your community.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chicago Tribune Takes Aim at Members of COGFA

Recently, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board took a swipe at members of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) claiming that because they voted against the Governor’s plan to close Dwight Correctional Center and other Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities, the lawmakers are “part of Illinois’ problem”.

What the editorial board seems to imply is that any budget cuts are good, regardless of the long-term consequences the cuts could bring.  This myopic and short-term thinking is the root of Illinois’ problem, not lawmakers who try to plan for the future by understanding the big picture.  After all, if the Tribune Editorial Board’s only litmus test for budget cuts is that the State spends less money in 2013, we could eliminate road maintenance and construction, snow plowing, and State Police operations and save millions.  Yet, nobody would propose these cuts because these are principal responsibilities of state government and would cost taxpayers more over the long-term.  Similarly, if the State shirks one of its most fundamental responsibilities of operating an effective criminal justice system, taxpayers will pay dearly in the future with increased costs for social programs, local police protection, and jail operations.

The Illinois General Assembly passes more than 300 new laws every year.  Additionally, lawmakers have taken discretion away from judges by passing mandatory sentencing laws.  The ramifications of these actions include an overcrowded prison system that is operating at 140% capacity.  How effective can a prison system be at reforming criminal behavior when it is operating at 140% capacity? It is probably as effective as a school system would be at educating children if it were operating at 140% capacity. 

Rep. Raymond Poe states that the Governor has no long-term plan for prisons.  This is evident by the fact that just 9 months ago, the Governor proposed closing Logan Prison, citing the $8.3 million in capital improvements that is needed at the facility. Now, the Governor’s plan is to make the Logan facility an all female prison and close the Dwight facility and states that the conversion will only cost $540,000, failing to account for the $8.3 million needed for capital improvements.  The fact is that the savings being touted by the Governor will not materialize.  Unfortunately, DOC is constantly responding and reacting to political winds as they swirl around the Capitol and to politicians who use State facilities as pawns in their budget debates, instead of creating a long-term plan for Illinois’ prison system.  Any actions taken without this sort of plan being in place will only aggravate an already precarious situation.

Rep. Patricia Bellock, Rep. Raymond Poe, Sen. Michael Frerichs, and most of the other members of COGFA understand that the Governor’s latest plan is a bad idea that will cost the taxpayers more in the long run.  By closing the transition centers, prisoners being released into society will not be given the opportunity to obtain the job training and life skills that will help them become productive and self-sufficient members of society.  Operating a prison system at 140% capacity reduces the effectiveness of the reform, rehabilitation, and education programs.  Closing these facilities may save the taxpayers money next year, but it would surely lead to increased recidivism rates and social welfare expenses that will cost us more in the future.  

It is time for lawmakers to start looking beyond next year’s budget or the next election cycle and begin considering the long-term consequences and costs of their actions.  Most members of COGFA have figured this out and are insisting their colleagues and the Governor consider the consequences of legislative proposals over the long-term.  This represents a change to the way Springfield has operated in the past and the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board should encourage this change, not take swipes at those leaders who are implementing it. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

COGFA Votes Against the Governor's Proposal to Close Dwight Prison

At their hearing on May 1, COGFA voted 7-3 to keep Dwight Prison open. Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey, Village Administrator Kevin McNamara, and GLCEDC CEO Larry Vaupel attended the hearing, along with several employees of the prison and AFSCME representatives. While this is encouraging news, the fight to keep the prison open is not over. We have begun to meet with members of the Public Safety Appropriations Committee in order to convince them to keep the prison funded in next year's budget. Another lobby day is scheduled for next week.  The Committee should finalize their budget within the next 2-3 weeks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

COGFA Recommendation Vote Scheduled for May 1

A meeting of COGFA, the committee responsible for making a recommendation on the fate of the Dwight Correctional Center and other State facilities that the Governor has recommended closing, is scheduled for Tuesday May 1 at 10:00 a.m. at Room 400 of the Capitol Building in Springfield. The committee is scheduled to vote on the proposed closure at this meeting.

GLCEDC staff joined Dwight Mayor Wilkey, Dwight Village Administrator Kevin McNamara, and Dwight resident Mike Piper in Springfield yesterday where they met with members of COGFA and the Public Safety Appropriations Committee and distributed information regarding the Dwight Correctional Center.  AFSCME members were also meeting with legislators at the Capitol, seeking support in opposing the closure of the Dwight Correctional Center.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What is the #1 Manufacturing Activity in Illinois?

Thanks to its vast fertile farmland, both the agriculture and food processing industries are strong and well developed in Illinois.  Agriculture generates more than $8 billion annually mainly in the production of corn, soybeans, and pigs.  The food processing industry is the #1 manufacturing activity in the State with a value of $14 billion per year.

Also, Illinois is the location of some of the largest food trade fairs in the country such as the annual Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association shows held at the McCormick Place in Chicago.  Linked with the food processing industry is a thriving food processing equipment industry.  In fact, Illinois the top state in the country for sales of food processing equipment. 

  • Number of employees: 120,000
  • Number of food manufacturing companies: 1,300
  • Value of the food processing industry: $14 billion
  • Value of the processing equipment industry: $2.7 billion

Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency incentives Help Revitalize Communities through Building Upgrades

Improving energy efficiency reduces operating costs and enhances is comfort in existing buildings. Investing in energy efficiency should be an obvious choice when renovating a building, but many building owners face roadblocks that make the process challenging. They might need expert advice on which energy efficiency upgrades to implement, or they might have trouble financing the improvements. A new program through the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program makes investing in energy efficiency easy and affordable for owners of commercial, industrial and multi-family buildings.

The Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program focuses on serving communities that are in need of economic redevelopment, as well as businesses and organizations that create jobs, offer social services or provide affordable housing. The program offers financial incentives and extensive technical assistance, helping building owners with every step of the process, from evaluating energy efficiency needs to applying for rebates and finding qualified contractors.

“The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is a helping hand to our customers and communities,” says Jim Jerozal, Nicor Gas Director, Energy Efficiency. “This new Economic Redevelopment Program allows us to target resources to make sure building renovations in challenged areas are as cost-effective as possible. By leveraging energy efficiency to lower lifetime operating costs, entities in TIF districts and Enterprise Zones can spend less on their buildings and more on other improvement initiatives.”

Projects that complete the recommended energy efficiency upgrades can qualify to receive up to $100,000 in rebates. The exact amount of incentive is based on the energy efficiency features implemented and energy saved. The more the upgrades improve energy efficiency, the larger the incentive. In addition to receiving incentives, projects that complete energy efficiency improvements will benefit for years to come, enjoying lower energy costs and greater occupant comfort.

In addition to financial incentives, the program offers extensive technical assistance (valued at up to $20,000) to help building owners through every step of the process. Qualifying projects receive a complete evaluation of the building and a report detailing recommended energy efficiency upgrades, estimated savings, and incentives available from the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Programand other programs. The program also assists customers in applying for incentives, provides design review, and offers construction oversight to ensure quality results.

Projects that qualify for this program include those that are located in, or promote economic development in Enterprise Zones, TIF districts or other economically challenged areas. Other projects that could qualify are those that create jobs, offer social services, rehabilitate brown fields or vacant buildings, or provide affordable housing. Qualifying facilities should be at least 10,000 square feet.

To apply for this program or for more information, please contact the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Economic Redevelopment team at 773.328.7040 or or visit economic.

Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This offer is subject to change or termination without notice at the discretion of the Economic Redevelopment Program. The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is a multi-year program funded by Nicor Gas ratepayers in compliance with state law through a small charge identified on bills as “Energy Program.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lost in Time, Inc. Receives Grant from GLCEDC

The Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council recently provided a $11,935.60 Commercial Building Improvement Grant to Lost in Time, Inc. in Fairbury for the improvements associated with their expansion of the bakery, kitchen and community room. The funds were part of a grant provided to the GLCEDC from the Livingston County Board. The grant program has assisted numerous businesses across Livingston County in renovating commercial space for new businesses and job creation. Lost in Time is now open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The bakery is also open and features homemade cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies and cakes.

Sally Goembel, owner of Lost in Time, Inc. receives a check from Larry Vaupel, CEO of the GLCEDC.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GLCEDC Hosts Unemployment Insurance Workshop

In conjunction with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the GLCEDC is hosting a Unemployment Insurance Workshop to assist local businesses with employment programs and so much more including: 
  • ”How To” Guide to completing the UI Protest Form with a subject matter expert
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credits From $2,400 up to $9,000 for each individual new hire
  • Illinois Labor Market Information
  •  Role Plays of Actual Cases of unemployment hearings and provides an awareness of the hearing process
  • Illinois Job Link Labor Exchange System is an internet database designed for both the employers and employees to find jobs/candidates that meet their criteria for employment
  • Benefits of Employing Illinois Veterans
  • New Employee Fidelity Bonding Program
  • Re-Entry Employment Services Program and Reducing Recidivism in Illinois
It will be held at the Elks Club Conference Room in Pontiac on Wednesday, May 16th.  Registration begins at 8:00am, and the program itself is from 8:30am - 11:30am.  Continental breakfast will be served.  The cost is $10, and you can RSVP at 815-842-2900 before May 7th.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Enbridge Pipeline Project Open House

As most of you may know, Enbridge Inc., through a US subsidiary, is proposing to build a nearly 600 mile crude oil pipeline from Flanagan, IL to Cushing, OK.  The pipeline will carry crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and eastern Montana as well as from western Canada.

Enbridge is sponsoring an open house on Monday, April 23 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at the Pontiac Parks and Rec Center at 900 N. Elm St. in Pontiac.  All members of the public are welcome to attend.  Potentially affected landowners have been mailed a postcard invitation.  The open house will be a come-and-go style format where the public may attend at any point.  Attendees will be able to view maps and displays, meet project personnel, ask questions, and provide input. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Enbridge Expanding Flanagan South Pipeline Project

FLANAGAN — An oil pipeline project that will stretch from Flanagan in Livingston County to Oklahoma will carry an increased load of Canadian oil, according to plans announced by Enbridge.
The Canadian oil firm said Monday it plans to upsize the Flanagan South Pipeline from its initial design of a 30-inch pipeline to a 36-inch pipeline capable of carrying 600,000 barrels per day.
The expanded project would boost the price tag of the pipeline from $1.9 billion to $2.9 billion, according to Enbridge. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2014.
Enbridge spokesman Joe Martucci said the pipeline would generally follow the existing Spearhead pipeline built in the 1960s.
In Central Illinois, the project would cut through LaSalle, Livingston, Woodford and Tazewell counties before heading southwest to Quincy and into Missouri on its way to Cushing, Okla.
Livingston County Board member Carl Borngasser views the project as a possible economic boost for the area.
“I hope there’s new jobs with it because we do need them,” said Borngasser, who said he supports the project.
The project will carry crude oil as part of a larger pipeline between Alberta, Canada, and the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Enbridge, a proposed pipeline between the Flanagan terminal and an oil hub in Patoka in southern Illinois remains on hold because of economic conditions.
In 2010, an appellate court upheld a decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission granting Enbridge permission to build the Central Illinois pipeline.

Read more:

The pipeline expects to employ 1000 people for the Illinois portion of the pipeline - GLCEDC

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spuds Inc. Featured in Huffington Post Small Business Spotlight

The new business start-up in Dwight, IL - Spuds Inc., LLC. is featured in an article on the Huffington Post website.  The article details the personal tragedy of Tim and Jill Wymore that led them to start their own line of plastic-free products for children.  The story can be found at here.

The GLCEDC and three local banks participated in a mortgage on the Spuds Inc. facility to allow them to free up cash for their launch. You can support this local business by buying their products online.  Learn more about Spuds Inc. by visiting their website

Enterprise U Application Deadline March 16

Register now for the Enterprise U program co-hosted by the GLCEDC and being held at Kankakee Community College.  The application deadline is March 16.  The application can be found at  New entrepreneurs and small business owners will benefit from the small business "boot camp".  Even if you do not want to submit a business plan in the competition, you can register for the program.  These classes will benefit any small business.  Courses include:

  • Pre-Business Workshop—April 5, 2012 6–8 p.m.
  • Business Plan Writing Workshop—April 12, 2012 6–8 p.m.
  • Business Recordkeeping—May 10, 2012 7–9 p.m.
  • Legal Issues for Small Business Owners—March 22, 2012 6–8 p.m. 
    Room D124
  • Business Marketing—April 26 2012 6–8 p.m.
  • How to Apply for a Small Business Loan—May 3, 2012 6–8 p.m.
  • Moving Your Business to the Next Level—April 11, 2012 6–9 p.m. Room D124
  • Social Media Marketing for Small Business—April 18, 2012 1–5 p.m. Room D123, LECT9046.A

Monday, March 12, 2012

Submit your Letter: Fight for Dwight Prison Information

Keep up to date on the public record of letters, recommendations, and meeting schedule by following the link to this state website:

When your letter is submitted and received by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, it will appear on this website.  To ensure that your letter is entered into the official public record, address and send your letter to CGFA as detailed below. (Information is from the CGFA website.)

To submit public comments or to register to be put on the agenda to give oral testimony, please contact:
Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability
ATTN: Facility Closure
703 Stratton Building
Springfield, IL 62706



Please include:
Facility Being Closed:
Your Position:   (Proponent, Opponent, or No position)
The type of Testimony you would like to give:   (Oral Testimony at the hearing, Written Statement Filed, or Record of Appearance Only)
Email (if you would like confirmation):

If you are wanting to provide oral testimony, please include:
Your relationship to the Facility:   (Employee, Client, Family of Client, Concerned Citizen, Advocate, etc.)
Organization (if applicable):
Title (if applicable):

To better ensure your name being on the agenda, please remit your request to give oral testimony 2 business days prior to the public hearing. Oral testimony can still be given if your name is not on the agenda. Please limit testimony to 2 minutes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

GLCEDC Attends an Economic Development Conference

As rural Illinois works to overcome the challenges brought about by the recession, community leaders must adjust their strategies to take advantage of new opportunities. GLCEDC Economic Development Specialist Tim Neubeck was one of more than 300 elected officials and community leaders from around Illinois and neighboring states to participate in 23rd Annual Rural Community Economic Development Conference where he gained new insights into the strategies needed in today’s economic development environment. The conference was hosted by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs in conjunction with the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, chaired by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, and Rural Partners. 

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon opened the conference and discussed how local communities were doing more with less. Simon stated that Illinois is making great progress in the areas of broadband access and local foods and emphasized the need for rural communities to collaborate on solutions to the challenges they face. David Oppendahl from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago discussed the role of agriculture in the Midwest’s rural economy and David Terrell. Deputy Chief of State for the Lt. Governor of Indiana presented information on the Stellar Communities Program, a multi-agency partnership designed to fund comprehensive community development projects in small communities in Indiana.

Breakout sessions included presentations on the effective use of TIF programs, downtown redevelopment, historic preservation, local foods, and involving youth in community development. Additional sessions featured the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, a commercial kitchen owned and operated by a center supporting people with disabilities; local foods, connecting rural hospitals with broadband. Don Macke from the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship discussed the use of wealth transfer and community foundations to support entrepreneurship.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Planning and Funding your Business

Planning & Funding your Business 
SCORE sponsored workshop to be conducted at the Bloomington Library on March 15th
at 6:30 PM.  Free.

Planning and funding your business are intimately tied together. Luckily one document forms the basis for both - the Business Plan. Learn the components of the plan and how it influences your success in attracting investors - including loan institutions - and in launching the business.  Hear from a loan officer what goes into approaching the loan insti- tution and find out what infor- mation a bank will typically require and what they are look- ing for. This discussion will also touch on some of the various government programs such as Small Business Administration and how they can help you obtain bank financing.

For more information, please contact SCORE at 309-664-0549.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Press on Dwight Prison Closure

Here are a few additional links to news articles covering the Fight for Dwight rally:

800 rally to stop closure of Dwight prison

Chicago Tribune 

Dwight prison supporters look to future

Morris Daily Herald 

Leaders Issue Call to Action at Dwight Prison Rally

Prison supporters fill high school gym


Dwight rallies 'round DCC

Pontiac Daily Leader

See all stories on this topic »

Energy Incentives and Programs

DCEO is offering up to $13 a lamp incentive for retrofit T8s and new T8 and T5 fixtures between June 1, 2011 and May 15, 2012. 

ComEd Smart Ideas is offering an additional $2 per lamp bonus incentive for T12-to-T8 retrofits between September 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012. 

Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy The 10% T12 phase-out bonus extended to May 31, 2012.  Complete by March 31, 2012 and get a 10% early completion coupon.

NICOR Announces New Program

Nicor Gas has launched a new program to help redevelop and revitalize communities through building upgrades.

The Nicor Gas EEP Economic Redevelopment Program focuses on serving communities that are in need of economic redevelopment, as well as businesses and organizations that create jobs, offer social services or provide affordable housing. The program offers financial incentives and extensive technical assistance, helping building owners with every step of the process from evaluating energy efficiency needs to applying for rebates and finding qualified contractors. 

Projects that complete the recommended energy efficiency upgrades can qualify to receive up to $100,000 in rebates.  The program also offers extensive technical assistance (valued at up to $20,000) to help building owners through every step of the process.

  • Commercial, industrial and large multi-family buildings served by Nicor Gas.  Public-sector buildings are not eligible.
  • Projects located in, or promote economic development in, Enterprise Zones, TIF districts, or other economically challenged areas
  • Other projects that could qualify are those that create jobs, offer social services, rehabilitate brown fields or vacant buildings, or provide affordable housing. 
  • Qualifying facilities should be at least 10,000 square feet.

To apply for this program or for more information, please contact the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Economic Redevelopment Team at 773.328.7040 or or visit

The Fight for Dwight

Here are a few links of press reports for the community rally held Monday March 5 to kickoff the fight to save Dwight Correctional Center.  The GLCEDC is working with Mayor Wilkey and Administrator Kevin McNamara to measure the economic impact the closing would have on the local economy and communicate the impact to the community, the State Legislature, and the Governor.

Strategy emerging to keep Dwight prison open
Bloomington Pantagraph
Supporters rally for Dwight prison
Report: Closing Dwight Correctional Center could cost area $45M
Bloomington Pantagraph

Monday, March 5, 2012

Illinois is Top Ten in Corporate Locations/Expansions

March 1, 2012

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Among Top 10 States for Corporate Locations in National Survey
Illinois Gains Over Last Year’s Ranking

CHICAGO – March 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the state of Illinois and Chicago have been named among the top 10 locations for new and expanded corporate facilities. Illinois ranked seventh among states, an improvement over last year’s eighth place ranking, and Chicago second in the metropolitan areas category in the annual analysis by Site Selection magazine, one of the nation’s premier corporate real estate and economic development publications.

“We are committed to creating jobs and working hard to make Illinois an even more attractive place to do business not only in the Midwest, but globally,” Governor Quinn said. “We have an aggressive long-term strategy for bringing quality jobs to Illinois, which includes innovation, exports and foreign investment, business-friendly legislation, and addressing infrastructure needs. We will continue to do everything we can to further our economic growth and create jobs in Illinois.”

In 2011, Illinois had 216 corporate facilities locate or expand in the state. Illinois joins Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia on the list of the top ten states with the most locations and expansions. With 167 projects, the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area ranked second on the list of cities in the tier one, top ten metropolitan areas list. Illinois companies that have relocated or seen significant expansions this year include Ford, Motorola Mobility, Continental, FedEx, Chrysler and Mitsubishi, among others.

“We are pleased that Illinois has again been named to Site Selection’s top 10 list for new and expanded corporate facilities,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. “Illinois is one of the top business destinations in the nation for good reason, and we will continue to direct our efforts toward attracting and keeping investment in the state, creating jobs for the future and strengthening our economy.”

The Governor’s Cup analyses, issued by Site Selection magazine, are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” Site Selection is the senior publication in the corporate real estate and economic development field and the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC, at The magazine’s circulation base consists of 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions, most at the CEO/President/COO level.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Most Successful Franchises to Own

Been thinking about starting your own business by buying a franchise?  Here is a link to a Forbes Magazine article listing the most successful franchises in the US.  Many on the list are familiar names, like McDonald's and Panera Bakery.  Others can be started for under $75,000.  Franchises are a great way to own your own business because they come with sales and marketing support, as well as a thoroughly developed business model.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GLCEDC Joins the Midwest Food Processors Association

In order to gain the invaluable contacts to ultimately lead to bringing a food processing plant to Livingston County, the GLCEDC joined the Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA).  The GLCEDC will use this trade group to attend conferences and build connections.  A food processing plant in the Livingston area will provide necessary jobs to residents as well as diversifying employers and industries within the county. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Save Dwight Correctional Center

As you all have probably heard, the Dwight Correctional Center is being proposed to be closed as part of the Governor's 2013 Budget.  In response, a meeting was held today in which many elected officials, civic leaders, and AFSCME officials. In the meeting, we discussed a plan of action, created an email distribution list, and formed a smaller committee that will be assigned specific tasks to perform in creating the action plan.

The GLCEDC will be responsible for measuring the financial impact of the closure on the regional and local economy, as well as on our local businesses.  We have already performed a cursory impact analysis and the loss of the 350 jobs translates into a $25 million annual impact on the three county region (Grundy, Livingston & Kankakee).  We will refine this number and measure the spillover, or ripple, effects as we get more specific residency information for the prison employees.

A community meeting has been scheduled for Monday March 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Dwight Township High School.

I just wanted you to know that a plan of action is being put together and that the GLCEDC will be wholeheartedly supporting the effort to keep the facility open by providing facts and data regarding the economic impact of the closure.  I am also reaching out to my economic development colleagues in Grundy and Kankakee Counties.  Both have offered their support for this cause.

I will do my best to keep you posted along the way.  A Facebook page called, "Save Dwight Correctional Center" has been created.  Much of the information regarding our efforts will be posted there.  Our blog will also be updated regularly with the latest information.  Petitions are also being circulated throughout the County.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Executive Committee Elects Officers

A new Chairman and Vice-Chairman were elected at the February 16 Executive Committee meeting. Mr. Dave Ochs, President/CEO of OSF St. James Medical Center, was elected to the position of Chairman and Mr. Terry Sullivan, Managing Broker of Lyons-Sullivan Realty, was elected as Vice-Chair. Kevin McNamara, Village Administrator of Dwight, remains Secretary/Treasurer. The officers will hold their positions until January 2013, when their terms expire and new Executive Committee members will be elected by the Board of Directors.

Other Executive Committee members now include: John Ward, Caterpillar, Inc., Mayor Bob Bradford, Village of Saunemin, Roger Corrigan, 1st Financial Bank, Scott Bauknecht, State Bank of Graymont, Mike McCoy, McCoy Construction, Glen Ludwig, Creative Ag Solutions, Mike Cohlman, Champion Fitness, Mayor Jim Gulliford, Village of Forrest, and Chairman Bill Fairfield, Livingston County Board.

The Officers and the Executive Committee look forward to leading the GLCEDC in 2012 in order to bring economic development opportunities to Livingston County and assist local businesses grow and expand their operations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Size Up Your Business

If you are like most small business owners, you probably have wondered how your business measures up to your competition down the street or to a similar business you visit on vacation.  Well, the creators of the website makes it easy (and free) for you to find out.  Size up your business to gain a better understanding of how much market share your business is missing out on.  You could also confirm (hopefully) that you are at the top of the pack!  Thinking about opening a new business?  This website can help you determine the optimum location for you new venture.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

EnterpriseU Entrepreneurs Boot Camp & Business Plan Competition

The Small Business Development Center of Kankakee Community College (KCC), the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, and the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council (GLCEDC) is hosting the second annual EnterpriseU Entrepreneurs Boot Camp & Business Plan Competition.  The competition will be held from February—June 2012. The initiative includes a formal business plan competition, an accompanying coursework series crafted by KCC's Small Business Development Center, and special community and business events centered around the ideas of developing talent and building business opportunities from the ground up!  EnterpriseU contestants will receive free access to a coursework series developed by Kankakee Community College's Small Business Development Center:
·         Pre-Business Workshop
·         Business Plan Writing Workshop
·         Business Recordkeeping
·         Legal Issues in Business
·         Business Marketing
·         How to Apply for a Small Business Loan
All new businesses as well as existing businesses expanding into new product markets are welcome to participate in the 2-month EnterpriseU Boot Camp, which includes access to business plan mentoring, applicable coursework and several special events.  Winners will be determined based on the quality of their business plans and Kankakee and Livingston Counties will each have their own winners.  

The EnterpriseU kickoff meeting will take place Tuesday, February 21st at KCC with the winners to be determined in mid-June. Last year's competition had over 40 participants just from Kankakee.  The hosts hope that by including Livingston County entrepreneurs, they will increase the total number of participants and lead to a growing regional concentration of successful locally-owned small businesses.
For details, visit or contact the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council at 815-842-2900.

ComEd Smart Ideas Portfolio Helps Businesses Become More Energy Efficient

In today’s economy, business owners and operators have to be more conscious of their bottom line than ever before. ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business® program offers business customers a portfolio of incentives, tools and tips to help implement energy saving technologies that can reduce energy use and lower electricity bills.

ComEd’s Smart Ideas program provides incentives for both routine improvements and large scale projects to meet a building’s complex operations. These incentives help businesses analyze their energy using systems and compressed-air systems and encourage the integration of energy efficient features that surpass standard, new construction requirements.

From June 2008 through May 31, 2011, ComEd’s Smart Ideas program provided $74,000 in incentives to 16 energy-efficiency projects in Livingston County. These projects are expected to save approximately 970,000 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) in electricity.

Overall, ComEd’s Smart Ideas program has provided more than $46 million in incentives to encourage commercial and industrial business customers to implement energy saving technologies that use electricity more efficiently, reduce electricity consumption and save money. This effort has helped more than 5,500 northern Illinois businesses save more than $65 million in electricity costs.

The current Smart Ideas program year runs through May 31, 2012. For more information on incentives and to download an application, visit or call the Smart Ideas hotline at 888-806-2273. Smart Ideas is funded by ComEd customers in compliance with Illinois Public Act 95-0481.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

If You Happen to be at the Chicago Auto Show...

The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center in Pontiac will be presenting a custom-painted car at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.  Read about it here

Thursday, January 5, 2012

GLCEDC Annual Meeting Scheduled for January 18

The 2012 GLCEDC Annual Meeting will be held on January 18 at 5:00 pm at the Country Mansion in Dwight.  This year, we will offer a plated salad, buffet meal, dessert and a cash bar.  Tickets are now on sale for $20 each (covers cost) and are available at the Dwight Country Mansion, Dwight Village Hall, and the GLCEDC office.

Businesses may reserve a table for 10 guests ($200), otherwise, the event will be open seating. Tickets can also be purchased at the event, but you must RSVP by replying to this email before January 11th so that we have an accurate count for the Mansion.

The event is open to Invested Members and Guests.  Our Keynote Speaker will be Ms. Colleen Callahan, IL Director of Rural Development.  Staff will also deliver a "Livingston County by the Numbers" presentation, that will outline the economic picture of the county and also provide a few hi-lights from our recent survey of area businesses.