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IEDA NEWS COUNTY BOARD MEETING 3/12/24 At the end of February,I attended the 35th Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs-Annual Rural Community and Economic Development Conference in Springfield and here are some programs that were highlighted this year! ? Ryan Tate & Brenda Matherly-Illinois Farm Bureau: They spoke about the Rural Development Grant Program released last year & the New Code of Country Living Guide that was just released last month! I’ve attended numerous meetings in Iroquois County, where this very idea was discussed, so I’m glad to see it come to fruition! This will be a great tool for towns to share with new residents. Ryan let me know that this is the first draft, so if you have additional ideas, please contact Kacie Claire at the Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau in Gilman and let her know! ? Molly Hammond, Mike McKee & Mary Warren-USDA Rural Development: They spoke about the USDA Rural Business Development Grant (City of Murphysboro -example of Facade Replacement) and the USDA Intermediary Relending Program or Revolving Loan Fund for towns to help lend to businesses to help improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities at a 1% interest rate. ? Stacy Mullinex-Iowa Center for Employee Ownership: She spoke about Worker cooperatives as an alternative business ownership transition model for business owners wanting to retire, but keep their business going for their communities and local workers. These are just a few of the many sessions that were held during this week-long conference. I look forward to sharing all this information (& MORE!) with all Iroquois County businesses and towns in the future! 3 IEDA NEWS COUNTY BOARD MEETING 3/12/24 This month celebrates Women’s History Month and I was honored by State Representative Jason Bunting and the Illinois House of Republican Caucus to receive recognition to be one of the Statewide Emerging Women recipients of 2024! I attended the this conference with numerous other leading ladies learning about challenges, achievements and how women are working continually to create great accomplishments. I would like to thank Representative Bunting for this honor and opportunity to meet so many amazing women leaders throughout this wonderful State of Illinois! In closing, here are some upcoming events and NEW local news! Last week, the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Watseka Family Festival at the Watseka American Legion and announced this year's Entertainment for the festival! Headlining the 2024 Watseka Family Festival on Saturday, Aug 24th, is country music artist Tracy Lawrence, who has sold over thirteen million albums and charted eighteen number-one hits! Opening for Lawrence is Central Illinois' favorite country party band, The Feudin’ Hillbillys! Also Announced: Headlining Friday, August 23, is The Boat Drunks ~ a Jimmy Buffet Tribute band. Be sure to get your tickets today at before they sell out! Here are some NEW businesses in Iroquois County! ? In WATSEKA the owners of Alliance Polysacks, USA proudly announce the opening of its state-of-the-art facility in Watseka, Illinois. At their facility, they will manufacture interwoven plastic bags primarily used for sakrete and farm seed and they plan to hire around 60 employees. 4 IEDA NEWS COUNTY BOARD MEETING 3/12/24 ? In ASHKUM, Cameron & Dee Charles from Ashkum will be opening the Blue Barn Market store in mid-summer. It will be located next to Beans, Barley & Brew in Ashkum and will be the place to go to get bulk dry foods and locally produced food products. ? In WATSEKA, Tyler Hayes (who is also owner of Steak & Shake in Watseka) is making plans to open Cluck Bucket. It will be located in the old KFC building and will feature a fried chicken buffet. Tyler plans to open around June and hire around 30 employees. ? In MILFORD, Brandyn & Courtney Wallace have opened Wallace Automotive Brandyn has worked in dealerships and private shops locally as well as in other states and looks forward to serving Iroquois County residents. Brandyn & Courtney also own the Milford Laundromat that offers custom laundry services. ? In MILFORD, Tamar Walder will be opening the So Fetch dog grooming shop. She has numerous years of dog grooming experience and is a member of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association! Her opening date is April 1, online booking is available now if you would like to pre book or email inquiries are available. If you know a business that is opening up in Iroquois County, a event happening in your town that you would like to promote or would like to sign up for our notifications, please call our office. Also, be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for all the exciting things happening in Iroquois County! at (815) 432-0072. Thank you!

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