On this episode, Chris Merrett from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs responds to questions formed from students at Cuba High School in Cuba, IL. These questions reflect a range of challenges facing small towns, not only in Cuba, but throughout Forgottonia. The essential questions our students asked Chris include the following:
- How do you feel about the road conditions in IL? Our small towns tend to get overlooked on issues with the pot holes in the roads. Being a teen driver I hate getting flat tires every other day.
- How do you feel about lowering the amount of young citizens who leave IL for college? What is something we can do to help increase enrollment at WIU?
- How do you think we can improve on getting rid of racism in small towns throughout IL?
Chris is the director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs located in Macomb, IL. He holds a Ph.D. in Planning and Geography from the University of Iowa. Chris is originally from Canada, but has been a native of Forgottonia since 1995. His wife teaches 4th grade at St. Paul’s School in Macomb, IL, he has a son who studies sociology at the University of Illinois in Champaign and a daughter who serves in the “Food Corps” in San Diego. Chris loves to cycle and ski and is passionate about making rural communities better versions of themselves. (Check out our previous interview with Chris Merrett–linked below– where he discusses the challenges facing businesses throughout rural America).
Helpful links mentioned in our interview with Chris:
- NY Times article – “The Changing Face of the Rural Plains“
- Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
- Our previous podcast interview with Chris – S2 – Episode 04: Chris Merrett, IL Institute for Rural Affairs – What are the Challenges to Running a Business in Rural America
- Blog post reflecting on our interview with Chris – S2 – Blog 07: What are the Challenges to Running a Successful Business in Rural America? Takeaways from our Interview with Chris Merrett, Director of the IL Institute for Rural Affairs
Audio clips included in this episode come from the following:
- A 2016 press conference held by the Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education. The program was streamed and recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). Click the link to learn more about the coalition.
- A 1950s Public Service Announcement taken from the TV series “Captain Video” which tells young viewers to avoid racism.
- A 2015 interfaith discussion concerning the Confederate Flag held in Bloomfield Township in the state of Michigan.
- A 2014 news segment concerning problems with potholes throughout various communities in Illinois.
- A 1996 program produced by the Federal Highway Commission entitled “Problems with Gravel Roads.”