Presented continuously from 1983 to 2014 and then 2017 to present, the Governor’s Hometown Award​s (GHTA) program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life. These projects are sponsored by local units of government t​​hat had strong volunteer support, met a need, and made a definitive impact, thereby generating a positive outcome in the community and by extension, the state. The program is administered by the Serve Illinois ​Commission, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.
Serve Illinois, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, is excited to be able to tie GHTA to its mission to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State. In order to nominate your community, please complete the application at the link below:

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/serve/Pages/GHTA.aspx
Joe Ragusa of WSIL Channel 3 reports that Illinois state officials want to reopen the Rend Lake Resort.

Representatives with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources met with several companies Thursday, hoping to find someone capable of running the place.

The facility closed due to mold problems in Dec. 2016, right after Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) won his seat.

"There was actually one building, it was called 'The Wind Jammer,' it was razed," Severin said. "They tore it down just a couple weeks ago and they found that not only was there mold in that building, but the walls, you could put your hands through them. It was in terrible shape."

Loris Elston of Marion is considering a bid with his son-in-law.

"We need flooring. We need pads. We need the carpet," Elston said. "The bathrooms need to be sheet-rocked. In some cases, new tubs, new toilets."

Thursday's meeting was the fourth meeting officials have held since the Rend Lake Resort's closure, according to another prospective buyer whom did not wish to be named.

"It's a beautiful, beautiful facility. Beautiful resort," Elston said. "But it's just sat too long and too much needs to be done."

Elston said he isn't sure just how much the repairs will cost but the work won't end anytime soon.

Bidders have until Aug. 9 to submit their proposals. An IDNR spokeswoman said there is no timetable after that to reopen the facility, it just depends on the bids.

The contract would last 18 years with an extension possible for another 25 years.

View the WSIL Channel 3 report by Joe Ragusa by clicking here.
Benton….State Representative David Severin (R-Benton) is voicing his support for a newly introduced bill by his House colleague Barbara Wheeler of the 64th legislative district. HB 5928 would create the “Pyrotechnic Use Act”, thereby legalizing fireworks in Illinois for the first time since the 1930s.

“I’m proud to say on this 4th of July week that I am a supporter of re-legalizing fireworks in our state,” Severin said. “Rep. Wheeler’s bill not only legalizes fireworks, but lays out important safety guidelines as well. Safety should always come first when using fireworks.”

During the recent legislative session, Severin filed legislation (HB 5630) that would have legalized fireworks, but the bill was never allowed for a vote. Severin says he believes the public is in favor of legalizing fireworks and that Southern Illinois is losing out on revenues to other states.

“Right now the situation is, folks are using fireworks in Illinois, but they're buying these items in places like Kentucky and Missouri where fireworks are legal,” Severin said. “If people are willing to travel to buy fireworks then surely they would be willing to spend their money closer to home if Illinois were to legalize fireworks. I’m strongly in favor of legalizing fireworks and making it as safe as humanly possible at the same time. I think HB 5928 would accomplish those goals.”


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