Corn officially becomes state grain
Illinois has a state bird, a state tree and even a state song. As of Jan. 1, 2018, it will have a state grain: corn. The legislation was sponsored by State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville and was inspired by the Pittsfield High School agriculture development class, which did extensive research on corn’s impact on the state. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law in August, and the law becomes effective Jan. 1.
As of February, Illinois had 72,200 farms. Most farm acreage in Illinois is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans.
Holiday travel worst day: Dec. 21
Making your upcoming holiday travel plans? Stay home the afternoon of Dec. 21. That is when Chicago area travel will be at its peak and traveling on local highways will be a mess, according to AAA.
The busiest time that day is predicted to between 4 and 6 p.m. Travel times expected to triple here — thanks to a combination of holiday travelers and post-work commuters flooding the roadways, according to AAA and global transportation analytics company INRIX. This as predictions roll in that holiday travel across the country could set records.
More than 107 million Americans will take planes, trains, vehicles and other modes of transportation during the year-end holiday period from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, according to the AAA forecast. Again, the worst time of day to travel during the holidays is between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the report shows.
The 2017 holiday period is expected to have the highest year-end travel volume on record, with a 3.1 percent increase in travel volume over last year.
Human services grants meetings in January
DuPage County will host two meetings in January for local nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant through the Human Services Grant Fund. The meetings will be held at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 4 and 2 p.m. Jan. 9 in Room 3-500B of the DuPage County JTK Administration Building, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton. Organizations must send a representative to one of the two mandatory meetings in order to apply for the grant.
DuPage County created the Human Services Grant Fund to assist organizations that serve County residents in need. This year, the fund will distribute $1 million to grant recipients.
The grants are available to organizations that help families achieve independence, ensure the protection of children and other vulnerable residents and maximize prevention opportunities to strengthen families’ well-being and stability. In the previous grant year, more than 88,760 people received assistance. The average grant award in 2017 was $16,700.
For more information, contact Barbara Temborius, community development specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (630) 407-6603, or email@example.com.
Police department to test drivers for drugs
The Carol Stream Police Department will soon become the first department in Illinois to use new testing to detect whether a driver is high on drugs.
The test is similar to breath tests for alcohol, but they use mouth swabs to screen for at least a half dozen other drugs. In less than 10 minutes an officer can determine if a driver has marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines or opiates such as heroin in their system. The impaired driver has to volunteer to take the test that, and the results will not be used criminally.
Law enforcement in California, Colorado, Kansas and Michigan, and Europe and Australia are using or testing the devices.
The device that Carol Stream police plan to test, called P.I.A.2, gives measurements for the amount of drugs present. That’s important, because while Illinois used to define impairment as having any amount of cannabis or other controlled substance in the body, last year lawmakers raised that minimum threshold to 5 nanograms per milliliter in the blood, and 10 ng/mL in other bodily fluids.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that the percentage of crashes involving alcohol dropped 30 percent from 2007 through last year. But the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana tripled in that same time, to almost 15 percent.
Final days for Christkindlmarket
The Christkindlmarket Naperville has been offering guests this holiday season a chance to experience a traditional German holiday market sights, sounds, food and handmade ornaments and gifts. The market, at the Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster, has approximately 35 vendors as well as walk-in cabins for visitors to step out of the cold, relax, shop, eat and quench their thirst with imported German beers or gluhwein (hot spiced wine) in a collectible souvenir mug. As Christmas approaches, the market has announced its final hours of operation for the week of Christmas. They are:
- 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 20-Dec. 21
- 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 22-Dec. 23
- 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 24
Before this year’s market opened, Naper Settlement officials and Christkindlmarket organizers signed a contract that would keep the market in Naperville for three years.
–DuPage County News Briefs–