S2 – Episode 06: The Rural Youth Assembly Summit with Kaylann Beekman

Cuba High School senior Kaylann Beekman was recently selected to represent Illinois at the Rural Youth Assembly Summit in McAllen, Texas (*Note: The Summit was originally scheduled for April 2-5, but will be postponed for a later date).  She is one of just 50 young adults, ages 16-24, selected across the nation to serve as a delegate.  The Summit brings young people together to explore unique challenges facing rural youth, and identify creative solutions to address them.

On this episode, we ask Kaylann about the Rural Youth Assembly; what she’s learned so far and what she hopes to gain from the experience.

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 06: The Rural Youth Assembly Summit with Kaylann Beekman”

S2 – Episode 05: Roads, Higher Ed, & Racism – Students ask the IIRA

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:

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. How do you think we can improve on getting rid of racism in small towns throughout IL?

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 05: Roads, Higher Ed, & Racism – Students ask the IIRA”

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

What are the challenges to running a successful business in rural America?  There’s  a thousand different ways you can answer this question, and the answer really depends on the community you live in.  But when it comes to who you should ask, I don’t think there is any one better than Chris Merrett, the Director of the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs.

Of course, if you are not aware of the Institute (or IIRA as it’s often called) and what it is they do , then you’re likely to miss out on the experience and wisdom that Chris has to offer.  Thus, here are three takeaways I’d like to share from my interview with Chris Merrett and the IIRA. (*NOTE: You can listen to our podcast interview through the link below or search Forgottonia Project wherever you find podcasts).

Continue reading “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”

S2 – Episode 04: Chris Merrett, IL Institute for Rural Affairs – What are the Challenges to Running a Business in Rural America?

We are beyond pleased to share this interview with our friend Chris Merrett from the IL Institute for Rural Affairs.  Chris is the Director of the Institute, which is located on the campus of Western IL University in Macomb, IL.  The institute oversees research, outreach, teaching, and policy development that is comprised of 20 community development faculty and professionals.  He serves on the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council and is the Chairperson of Rural Partners, which has raised over $6 million in external grant funding to support community and economic development outreach and research.  Chris has researched and edited books on the topics of cooperatives and community development, and has published a range of articles on topics such as value-added agriculture, rural land use, social justice, and rural community and economic development. 

IIRA-Profile-Chris

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 04: Chris Merrett, IL Institute for Rural Affairs – What are the Challenges to Running a Business in Rural America?”

S2 – Blog 06: What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America? Five Takeaways from Our Interview with Forgottonia Brewing

This month, we are exploring the topic “What it Takes to Run a Successful Business in Rural America.”  The following blog post features key takeaways from our recent interview with the owners of Forgottonia Brewing in Macomb.

Continue reading “S2 – Blog 06: What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America? Five Takeaways from Our Interview with Forgottonia Brewing”

S2 – Blog 05: Sundown Towns and the history of segregation in the North

We are beyond excited to share this blog post from our new contributing author, Alyssa (Hall) Anderson.  Alyssa not only teaches sociology at Western Illinois University, but she is an alumni of Cuba High School and currently resides there as well (read her full bio below).  In this blog, she discusses the history of housing discrimination and racial segregation in the North.

Continue reading “S2 – Blog 05: Sundown Towns and the history of segregation in the North”

S2 – Episode 03: Forgottonia Brewing – What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America?

On this episode were fortunate to speak with some local entrepreneurs who not only started a new business in Macomb, IL, but they are kindred spirits because they named it “Forgottonia!”  Sean West and his partners Scott and Susan Park of Forgottonia Brewing in Macomb, share their story on starting a business and how they are incorporating Forgottonia history.   The essential question we asked is “What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Forgottonia?”  We hope you enjoy this conversation and if you have any questions or feedback we’d love to hear from you. Continue reading “S2 – Episode 03: Forgottonia Brewing – What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America?”