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PARK FOREST – This Halloween, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is reminding drivers to keep themselves, other motorists and trick-or-treaters safe by never driving under the influence.

“Halloween may look a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Joyce said. “I want to encourage folks to celebrate safely by following health guidelines and making plans for a sober ride home if you plan to drink.” 

Illinois motor vehicle crash death rates are higher this year than last year. As of Oct. 23, 864 Illinoisans have lost their lives in vehicle accidents so far in 2020, according to information from the Illinois Department of Transportation. In an effort to keep motorists and pedestrians safe, law enforcement has increased its efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.

“We need to make a commitment as a community to celebrate safely,” Joyce said. “Make a conscious decision to buckle up and plan ahead for a sober ride home to keep our streets free of drunk drivers.” 

Joyce also wants to remind those celebrating to practice appropriate social distancing, keep gatherings to a minimum and never substitute a Halloween mask for a face covering intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. For more guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, visit dph.illinois.gov/covid19.

Category: Information

broadband2 102120PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging local businesses and nonprofits to apply for Connect Illinois grants to help expand broadband to underserved communities.

“Businesses and schools continue to rely heavily on internet access to coordinate virtual learning and conduct business, yet so many communities lack access to a high-speed internet connection,” Joyce said. “These grants will help us expand broadband access more quickly, efficiently and effectively across our rural communities.”

Connect Illinois is the state’s $420 million plan to provide necessary internet access to every Illinois community by 2024. In the first round of grants, funding was awarded to 28 projects across Illinois, which are expected to expand internet access to more than 26,000 homes, businesses, farms and community institutions across the state.

Eligible applicants for the second round include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments. Awardees may receive up to $5 million per project in matching funds. All Connect Illinois projects must meet the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois' Business Enterprise Program.

The application for this round of grants will remain open through February 2021. More information on this grant program can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Information

All in for women FB

PARK FOREST – In recognition of National Women’s Small Business Month and to help navigate the application process for Business Interruption Grants (BIG) offered by the state, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is inviting female small business owners to sign up for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s “All in for Women: BIG Webinars.”

“During the pandemic, BIG grants have equipped business with the resources they need to survive this crisis and come out stronger on the other side,” Joyce said. “Small businesses that are facing COVID-19 disruptions and are in need of financial assistance should sign up for an upcoming seminar.” 
 
During the month of October, the department will offer webinars focusing on women-owned businesses, helping owners navigate eligibility requirements and the application process for the BIG program.
 
The BIG program is a $636 million program created to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The program uses federal funds provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19-related losses for Illinois small businesses.
 
In the second round of grants, $220 million will be allocated to provide relief for all types of small businesses, including women-owned small businesses. Funding can be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and other operational costs.
 
The webinar will be presented in four sessions, and technical assistance support will be provided for the last 30 minutes of every session. The date and time of each webinar is listed below, along with links to register.

  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. Register HERE
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m. Register HERE
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m. Register HERE

More information about the second round of BIG grants can be found here.

Category: Information

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PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) joins Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White to invite students in grades 4-12 to enter a statewide reading and writing competition known as “Letters About Literature in Illinois,” offered by the Illinois State Library’s Illinois Center for the Book.

“Literature is a powerful tool, and this is a wonderful opportunity for students to share their love for reading,” said Joyce. “I encourage students to participate in the competition and submit an entry.”

To participate, students must read a book of their choice and write a letter to the author about how the work changed their life or view of the world.

There are three levels of participation: Level 1 for grades 4-6, Level 2 for grades 7-8 and Level 3 for grades 9-12. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Students can enter on their own or through their school, local library or other youth organization.

One winner will be selected from each group to receive a cash award and a plaque signed by Secretary White. Teachers of the winning students will receive a certificate and a cash award for their school to purchase books for the library.

“Every year, thousands of students in Illinois enjoy participating in this inspirational competition,” said White. “Anyone who has read past letters can see how literature inspires and touches the lives of our young people. I encourage all our students to take part in the competition and I hope their participation leads to a lifetime of reading.”

Winners will be formally announced in May 2021. All runners-up will receive certificates in May prior to the end-of-the-year award ceremonies.

For more information, contact competition coordinator Bonnie Matheis at 217-558-2065 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Category: Information

Fire Prevention Week FB

PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is drawing attention to the leading cause of home fires and is urging people to become familiar with the safety guidelines suggested by the Illinois State Fire Marshal during National Fire Prevention Week.

“Cooking continues to be a main contributor to home fires,” Joyce said. “During this year’s National Fire Prevention Week, take a moment to consider where potential cooking hazards exist, along with basic but critical ways to prevent them.”

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S. Almost half of reported home fires start in the kitchen, and in 2019, Illinois fire departments responded to nearly 6,500 fires that were either caused by cooking or originated in the kitchen, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System.

Keep these fire safety tips in mind when cooking:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen, and if you must leave the room, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain at home and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or have consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when cooking. Should a small grease fire start, don’t pour water on it—slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website.

Category: Information

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