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With more rain expected in the coming days, today Governor Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation for Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties. The declaration will ensure state support to communities that are battling floods caused by heavy rains earlier this week.

Governor Rauner toured flooded areas in the City of Watseka Thursday night and met with residents who have been evacuated from their homes.

“I am impressed with the strength of the those who have been forced out of their homes and the volunteers who make sure they have essential needs,” said Rauner. “We must continue to stand together during times of emergency and provide continued support and assistance as these communities fight the rising floodwaters.”

The Governor also directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield to coordinate state personnel and assets needed to help local officials keep residents safe and protect critical infrastructure.

IEMA is receiving weather forecast updates and river stage predictions and staff is in close contact with emergency management officials throughout the state.

To assist with these efforts, the Department of Natural Resources has provided two boats to support flood patrols in Watseka. Works crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections are installing flood gates in Hardin County, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is handling delivery of the pumps, hoses and sandbags.

More heavy rainfall is in the forecast this weekend in southeastern and southern Illinois.

For that reason, IEMA’s acting director, Jennifer Ricker, is reminding people to use caution when driving in flooded areas. “Flooded roads can be dangerous, even deadly, so the best advice is always to ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown,’” Ricker said.

Information related to the current flood event and flood safety is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced this week that Vermilion County’s Land Bank Authority will receive a $300,000 grant to assist with the revitalization of vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties throughout the county.

Land banks are public or community-owned entities created to assist with community revitalization projects, and the grant, awarded through the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) Land and Capacity Program and Technical Assistance Network, reimburses costs associated with improvement projects. “The Authority received a great number of applications, and I’m thrilled to know that $300,000 of the total $1.8 million in awards is coming right here to Vermilion County,” said Hays. “Vermilion County Board Chairman Mike Marron and Vermilion county Land Bank Authority Chairman Patrick O’Shaughnessy are to be commended for their efforts in securing this large grant for the county’s revitalization efforts. Their joint leadership in seeking this money has led to 17% of the entire outlay of grants being awarded for our local use here in Vermilion County.”

Hays also thanked State Senator Scott Bennett for his partnership in coordinating efforts with the IHDA to help secure the grant.

According to Hays, the grant money will be awarded as reimbursement for funds expended for community revitalization projects. “After the activity is completed and the funds have been expended, expenses will be reported to IHDA and eligible expenses will be reimbursed,” Hays said. “Upon learning of this grant, Mr. Marron, Mr. O’Shaughnessy and others went straight to work to maximize opportunities in Vermilion County.
On Monday, January 22, State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) will join other community leaders in co-sponsoring a youth leadership conference where teens from high schools throughout Vermilion County will discuss road safety and teen smart driving.

The summit will be held on the third floor of Vermilion Hall at Danville Area Community College (DACC), and the event was organized by the 12 members of the Danville High School Future Problem Solvers. Other event co-sponsors include Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and State Senator Scott Bennett.

“We’re bringing together more than a dozen community and civic leaders to talk with these high school students about making smart decisions behind the wheel,” said Hays. “There will be great opportunities for deep discussions on issues that are prevalent in teen driving accidents, and how bad decisions can have devastating effects for teen drivers.”

The schools participating in the conference include Armstrong, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin, Georgetown-Ridge Farm, Hoopeston Area, Oakwood, Salt Fork and Westville. Students from St. Joseph-Ogden High School have also been invited to participate.

According to Hays, the youth leadership conference is part of Danville High School’s “Project Ignition: Be the Key to Road Safety,” a project that will be entered in the upcoming regional Future Problem Solving competition.
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced today that $7,877 in school library grant money is on its way to five school districts located in the 104th Legislative House District.

The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district.

“Funds delivered through this program are extremely helpful to school districts,” said Hays. “This grant money will be helpful in assisting with teaching and learning across the 104th District.”

Specifically, the following grants will be processed by the Secretary of State’s Office next week and then forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment:
  • Danville Community Consolidated School District #118: $4,220.25
  • Oakwood Community Unit School District #76: $750.00
  • Rantoul City Schools District #137: $1,206.75
  • Rantoul Township High School District #193: $750.00
  • Westville Community Unit School District #2: $949.50
“As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are very important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future,” said Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White. “Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program for libraries, and I am pleased that we can continue to provide them with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.”
January is National Blood Donation Month, and the recent cold weather has added an additional strain to an already-low blood supply. Each unit of blood that is donated can save up to three lives, and while approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, fewer than five percent of the eligible public actually donates. Click here to find the location of an upcoming blood drive year you.

To be eligible to donate blood in Illinois, donors must:
  • Be 17 years of age or older (16 year-olds may donate with parental consent)
  • Be in good health on the day of the donation
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms
  • Present a photo ID with a birth date
  • Not have a history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at any age
On January 3, State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) sat down with Linda Bolton of AM 1490's WDAN radio to discuss the State of the State. During the 25-minute interview Hays provided a brutally-honest look into the current dynamic in Springfield. Click here to listen to the interview.