planning grantCHAMPAIGN – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is awarding a planning grant to the Champaign County Systemic Safety Evaluation Tool project, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Tuesday.

“I am thrilled we have secured these funds for Champaign County,” Bennett said. “This grant will enhance safety, improve livability and support economic development in our community.”

Champaign County will use the grant to develop an interactive map of the local road network to show assessed level of risk for safety incidents.

The grants are designed to advance the objectives of IDOT’s Illinois Long-Range Transportation Plan page. Among the criteria considered were plans that implement asset management strategies and performance-based planning and programming, as well as activities that grow and support economically distressed areas.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we strengthen opportunities for economic growth and job creation,” Bennett said. “Securing vital infrastructure will allow our community to thrive and prosper.”

IDOT awarded 52 grants totaling more than $38 million to support the planning efforts of long-range transportation projects across the state.

INDIANOfire truck 1525129102GlALA – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced this week that a more than $25,000 grant has been awarded to the Carroll Township Fire Protection District as part of the state’s Small Equipment Grant Program.

“We need our firefighters in good equipment to go out and save lives,” Bennett said. “Funding is already difficult for rural volunteer fire departments, and this grant is a great opportunity to help with the deficit in funds for much needed equipment.”

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal awarded the grant to give Illinois first responders the opportunity to replace or upgrade aging equipment they may otherwise not be able to purchase.

The program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services in the state, particularly those that struggle to generate the necessary revenue for small equipment, such as air-packs and portable radios.

In total, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal awarded $3.5 million in grants to 154 fire departments, fire districts and EMS providers. A complete list of grant recipients can be found here.

CHAMPAIGfishing 062320N – To celebrate Illinoisans that demonstrate exemplary service to conservation in Illinois, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging area residents to submit a nomination for the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s (ICF) 2020 Outdoor Hall of Fame.

Since 2002, the ICF has recognized people who have records of commendable service and commitments to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois.

“Outdoor enthusiasts play a key role in protecting our public lands and the outdoor experiences they provide,” Bennett said. “I encourage residents to nominate a person who has devoted their time, energy and passion for the outdoors in a way that preserves and enhances these spaces for generations to come.”

Past inductees have led efforts to preserve and enhance fish and wildlife habitat, to protect and restore Illinois’ lakes and rivers, participated on the national and international stages in conservation advocacy, and provided resources for thousands of youth and adults to enjoy fishing, hunting, conservation and safety education.

Nominations must be submitted by July 8, 2020 on the official Hall of Fame Nomination form, which is available at a link on the ICF website.

For more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation at 217-785-2003 or visit www.ilconservation.org.

classroom education learning lecture 356090CHAMPAIGN – Schools may resume in-person learning for K-12, community colleges, and higher education institutions for the upcoming academic year, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) relayed Wednesday.

“The safety of students, faculty and staff has been the first consideration when planning for the safe reopening of schools,” Bennett said. “These new guidelines are a necessary measure to allow students to resume their education back in the classroom this fall.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health requirements for schools to reopen in Phase 4 are:

  • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
  • Require social distancing whenever possible;
  • Conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require self-certification that individuals entering school buildings are symptom free; and
  • Increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.

To help schools meet these guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, allowing K-12 schools to provide a cloth face mask to all students and staff.

School districts will determine how to implement the guidance based on their unique student enrollment, school facilities, staffing, transportation, and technological capacity. Students in higher education institutions and community colleges should expect to see changes as well.

Educational institutions reopen as part of Phase 4 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan that starts on Friday, June 26.

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