Science & Technology
Website Assistance Workshop Scheduled PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Melanie Flesch   
Friday, 22 February 2013 15:51
ROCK FALLS, IL – Melanie Flesch, Assistant Outreach Coordinator for Blackhawk Hills,
will be conducting the second of the Website Assistance Workshops on March 7, 2013, from
10:00 AM to noon, at the Lanark Heritage Center, located at 106 South Broad Street in Lanark,
IL. The workshop will consist of an explanation of how search engines work and how to get
your website noticed through keywords, maintaining a proper updating schedule, and how to
use free Google programs such as Analytics, Insights for Search, and Webmaster. Workshop
participants will also have the opportunity to evaluate websites of those in attendance,
particularly those participating in the Website Assistance Program.

The Website Assistance Program awards a $2,000 match to communities and counties
within the 6-county region of Blackhawk Hills to help facilitate the building or redesigning
of a website. Participants in the program are required to attend two workshops in order to
receive the funds. However, the workshops are open to anyone and are not limited to program
participants. The participants of the 2012 Website Assistance Program are Fulton, Galena,
Rochelle, Warren, and Ogle County. For questions specific to the workshop, please contact
Melanie Flesch at 815-625-3854 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This workshop is required for those receiving funds from the Blackhawk Hills Website
Assistance Program. However, this event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by
calling 815-625-3854 or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About Blackhawk Hills

Blackhawk Hills is a not-for-profit organization based in Rock Falls, IL, that serves Carroll, Jo
Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties in northwest Illinois. Services include
community planning, development assistance, natural resource conservation and protection
support, and grant writing and administration. Blackhawk Hills is sponsored by local county
boards and Soil and Water Conservation Districts and is overseen by an 18-member council,
consisting of three representatives from each of the six counties.

Questions about Blackhawk Hills Regional Council may be directed to (815) 625-3854 or
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Midland Communications Helps SMBs Keep Their Network Running Smoothly Whether You’re Using iPhones, Droids or VoIP PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Janet Dufour   
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:13
With More Employees “Bringing Their Own Devices”, Networks Are Getting More Complex


DAVENPORT, IA- DATE - Midland Communications, a leading provider of unified communications and technology management services, announced today the launch of their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) management services. With more and more organizations finding themselves facing the challenges of a BYOD environment, Midland Communications’ solutions are coming at just the right time.
Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the need for a diversity of support in their infrastructure. They’re facing new challenges every day in trying to support mesh wireless, transient users, and meet the security challenges that go along with it. In addition, as employees continue to seek out best of breed solutions for individual tasks, today’s networks face are far from unified networking environment.
Midland Communications lets organizations be proactive in managing their infrastructure. This means reduced costs, better security, and a network that’s more aware of who and what is connecting to it.
Organizations need to be alerted when a new device is coming onto the network. Midland Communications helps an organization scan a device to make sure it’s not bringing with it security risks, and establish proper security measures for access control levels, including the separation of employees from guests. Midland Communications can identify which devices are using the lion’s share of an organization’s bandwidth, and make infrastructure changes to accommodate the changing needs of the BYOD user.
“A business should be able to focus on what it does best and our solutions free up businesses to do just that. By bringing proactive infrastructure management to the BYOD environment, our clients enjoy greater efficiency, security, and agility. A more efficient network means that our customer’s technology is running to its fullest capacity. When we’re increasing overall productivity our customers are dropping more to the bottom line and that’s how we know that our customers have a leg up on their competition,” stated Scott Nauman, Consultant, of Midland Communications.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS
Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.

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Thank Congress for Extending the Renewable Energy Tax Credits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Chris Chwastyk   
Monday, 04 February 2013 15:20
Business is picking up in the wind industry now that Congress has extended the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC).  We encourage you to take a moment to write to your legislators and thank them for extending the renewable energy tax credits.

Among the positive announcements that have been made since January 2, when President Obama signed the legislation extending the tax credits into law, are the following: 
  • Wind project development company First Wind announced that they are projecting a 50 percent growth in business over the coming year, which translates to another 500 megawatts of wind projects.  “That will mean jobs and investment, and consumers will be getting clean energy at a competitive price,” CEO Paul Gaynor told the Boston Business Journal.

  • Wind project development company Midwest Wind Energy announced that they are moving forward with construction of their 75 megawatt wind project in Nebraska.  “There are several business decisions that play into the schedule (turbine purchasing, sale of the asset to equity, etc.) but the PTC was the last remaining stumbling block,” Director of Development Tom Swierczewski told the Kearney Hub.

  • Carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek announced that the PTC extension will help the company keep up the momentum from its high-performing year in 2012.  “This is definitely helpful because investors were holding back on projects to see what would happen,” Chairman and CEO Zsolt Rumy told the St. Louis Business Journal.
We have been very pleased to see these news stories, and many others about wind projects that are ready to be built, and manufacturing orders that are ready to be placed.  Please click here to make sure that your legislators hear about these positive developments in the wind energy industry!

Thanks again for your tireless efforts last year to urge your legislators to extend the wind energy tax credits.  We hope you are glad to see that your efforts are paying off.

 
Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Ranked Fourth State Nationally in Green Building Survey PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 31 January 2013 14:31

New Study Lauds Governor’s Commitment to Sustainability Across Illinois

CHICAGO – January 30, 2013. Governor Quinn today announced that Illinois has become a national leader in “green building,” according to a study released by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which ranked the state fourth out of 50 states in new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. The group cited the governor’s commitment to making Illinois a healthier place to live, play, work and grow.

“Since the day I took office I have been committed to making sure Illinois is the most environmentally-friendly state in the country,” Governor Quinn said. “I’m proud to have the U.S. Green Building Council recognize the success of our efforts to make sure sustainable practices are implemented in homes, schools and businesses throughout Illinois.”

“Illinois has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable-built environment within a generation,” Jason Hartke, USGBC vice-president of Advocacy and Policy said. “I applaud the extraordinary leadership of those in Illinois – designers, architects, chapter advocates, public officials, everyday citizens – who are working to create the healthiest possible environment for people to work, live and play in.”

The annual study ranks states based on the amount of LEED-certified space per capita. With 140 million square feet of LEED-certified space, Illinois certified 1.94 square feet per resident - behind only the states of Virginia, Colorado and Massachusetts.

Illinois certified 156 LEED projects in 2012, including the Chicago Center for Green Technology, Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign, G&W Electric Company in Bolingbrook and Rush University Medical Center. The USGBC also lauded the KONE Centre in Moline, the first Illinois project to earn Platinum rating.

“We are so proud of our state’s achievements in green building,” Katie Kaluzny, interim executive director, USGBC Illinois Chapter said. “We look forward to continued partnerships with state and local leaders to advance sustainable building and communities across Illinois.”

Throughout his career in public service, Governor Quinn has been an advocate for green building in Illinois. In 2009, Quinn fought for and signed Illinois’ first capital construction plan in more than decade. The Illinois Jobs Now! plan requires all new state-funded building construction projects to seek a minimum LEED Silver certification, and all major renovations of existing state-owned facilities to seek LEED certification.

The Illinois Capital Development Board currently has nearly 50 projects slated to meet LEED certification, including projects at the University of Illinois and College of Lake County in Grayslake which are expected to earn the highest rating (“Platinum”).

Governor Quinn has also signed numerous Executive Orders and statutes into law to ensure greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and protection of Illinois’ land, air and water resources. For more information about Governor Quinn’s sustainability initiatives, please visit Green.Illinois.gov.

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Pleasant Valley High School Wins Iowa High School Science Bowl and Spot in National Finals PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:33

Obama Administration Highlights Importance of Investing in Next Generation of Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Fields

Washington D.C. – Building on President Obama’s efforts to help more students excel in math and science and his call for investments in a skilled American workforce, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that Pleasant Valley High School from Bettendorf, IA, won the Iowa High School Science Bowl on Saturday. Pleasant Valley High School competed against 40 other teams from across the state in one of the nation’s regional competitions of the 23rd Annual U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl, and is now eligible to compete in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., at the end of April. The National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, astronomy, and math.

“Congratulations to the students at Pleasant Valley High School for their achievements in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Energy Secretary Chu. “Providing opportunities like the National Science Bowl to challenge today’s students is an essential part of keeping America competitive in a rapidly advancing world.”

"Iowa is home to some of the most dedicated and brightest students, and I'm proud that Pleasant Valley High School students have once again demonstrated why Iowa is a leader in innovation," said Congressman Loebsack. "They demonstrated their knowledge of and the value of STEM learning, which will open up doors for them to secure good jobs and help make them our country's future leaders. I want to extend my congratulations to the team from Pleasant Valley High School and wish them luck in the National Science Bowl Finals."

The Department of Energy (DOE) created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. More than 200,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 22 year history, and it is the nation’s largest science competition.

Over the next several months, more than 9,000 high school students and 5,000 middle school students will compete in 69 high school and 49 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments.  Students, in teams of four or five, compete in a fast-paced Jeopardy-style format where they solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math.  Most teams are coached by teachers from the students’ schools and spend several months preparing for the regional competitions.  Many states have one regional or statewide Science Bowl competition, while larger states, such as California and Texas, hold several regional competitions across their states.

Students from Pleasant Valley High School will be awarded an all-expense paid trip to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., which are scheduled for April 25-29, 2013. The regional tournaments, which host 15-50 teams, are sponsored by federal agencies, national laboratories, institutions of education, and non-profit organizations.

DOE’s Office of Science manages the competition. More information about these events is available on the National Science Bowl website:  http://www.science.energy.gov/nsb/.

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