Pennsylvania surpasses Illinois as 5th largest
For the fourth consecutive year, Illinois has lost population; this time, losing the most number of residents of any state in America, according to newly released U.S. Census data.
Illinois lost 33,703 residents, dropping the total population to 12,802,023, the greatest numeric population loss of any state. Pennsylvania saw a slight increase, and now with a total population of 12,805,537, has outranked Illinois for the first time in years, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017.
Illinois’ population drop represents a loss of 0.26 percent, which allowed Pennsylvania to slide ahead of Illinois into the No. 5 spot for the most-populous states.
Idaho was the nation’s fastest-growing state over the last year, the census said. Its population increased 2.2 percent to 1.7 million. Following Idaho for the largest percentage increases in population were Nevada (2 percent), Utah (1.9), Washington (1.7), Florida and Arizona (1.6 each).
Overall, the country’s population grew by 2.3 million during the one-year period, representing a 0.72 percent increase to 325.7 million.
New website gives detailed road conditions
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced its newly redesigned GettingAroundIllinois.com, which will have continually updated information on road conditions.
“The new-and-improved GettingAroundIllinois.com is a great resource any time of the year, but especially during winter when road conditions can quickly change,” IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said recently in a news release. “Illinois has the third-largest highway system in the nation, so we know it is important to provide the public with a convenient way to access information they know they can trust.”
Available on computers and mobile devices, the website includes the ability to identify and zoom in to a location, travel route or destination. Road conditions are recorded by IDOT plow drivers out in the field and relayed through GettingAroundIllinois.com through a cloud-based system.
Recent updates to this map include more detailed reports of snow coverage and a color scheme that aligns with map technology used by surrounding states.
Forest preserve district honored for its fuel cuts
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County ‘s efforts to decrease its use of petroleum has earned it a Green Fleet Leadership Award from the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition.
The Forest Preserve District was recognized for having the greatest decrease in petroleum use in the E85 gasoline category. It reduced its use of petroleum-based fuels by the equivalent of 55,085 gallons of gasoline and lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 194 tons in 2016 with its use of compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, ethanol and biodiesel.
The annual awards are given to commercial or government fleets that reduce petroleum consumption and improve air quality by using cleaner-burning alternative-fuel vehicles, electric vehicles or other advanced technologies.
The Forest Preserve District was the only conservation agency to be recognized by the coalition, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program.
Health officials want to hike age for tobacco
The DuPage County Board of Health wants to hike the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. County health officials say that tobacco use is a contributing factor in the leading causes of death in DuPage County, which include cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease.
“Numerous studies show that raising the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21 is an effective intervention,” said Karen Ayala, executive director, in a press release. The county also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 95 percent of adult smokers begin before the age of 21. Many of those move from the experimental phase to regular use between the ages of 18 and 21.
Since 2014, several cities have increased the smoking age to 21, specifically Evanston, Chicago, and, most recently, Naperville in 2017.
Metra weekend pass good over holiday
Metra’s specially priced weekend pass is available for the holidays. Because New Year’s Day falls on a Monday this year, the Metra weekend pass will be valid Dec. 30 through Jan. 1. It also was available for extended use over Christmas. The price is $8.
Weekend passes that are bought on the train or at the station will be good for the full three-day weekend. Customers who use the Ventra app to buy their Metra tickets should select the “Holiday 3-Day Pass” to get unlimited three-day weekend access.
In addition to the unlimited $8 passes, Metra is offering free rides for up to three children age 11 or younger if accompanied by an adult.
On New Year’s Eve, Metra will hold the last train on some lines to allow passengers celebrating late to ride. Depending on the train line, the last train will depart between 1:10 a.m. and 1:25 a.m.
With the exception of some late trains being held on New Year’s Eve, Metra’s holiday/Sunday schedule will be in effect on New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Visit metrarail.com for more holiday schedule information.
Two events to help educate about diabetes
State Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, and the B.R. Ryall YMCA will host two free diabetes health events. First, blood glucose screenings will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 8, at the AMITA Health Hospital cafeteria, 701 Winthrop Ave., Glendale Heights. Also, a diabetes prevention seminar to help residents learn about reducing risk and learn about the diabetes programs offered by the YMCA will be held 7-8 p.m. Jan. 16, at the Glenside Public Library, 25 E. Fullerton, Glendale Heights.
–DuPage County News Briefs–