lion electric busIllinois is making history as the first U.S. state to welcome Lion Electric Company, a Canada-based company manufacturing zero-emission vehicles. The company will construct its first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility in Joliet, which is set to produce all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles.

The 900,000-square-foot facility is expected to add a minimum of 745 clean energy jobs to the region over the next three years, with an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all-electric buses and trucks. As schools and government operations look to decarbonize their fleets, the Lion facility will play a crucial role in meeting those demands.

Will County and the Joliet area have a rich history of manufacturing, which has brought jobs and a strong local supply chain to the region.

The new Lion manufacturing facility will be the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission buses and trucks and will play a large role in meeting the increasing demand for eco-friendly “Made-in-America” vehicles.

Illinois continues to play an important role in moving the region and the country forward in the growth of both jobs and clean energy vehicle options.

Cute dogToday is National Pet Day, and in a country where more than half of all households have a furry (or scaly, or feathered) friend, too many pets find themselves without owners and in need of help. Fortunately, there are many groups dedicated to rescuing dogs and other pets.

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Traffic lightThis year’s winner of the second annual “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois” competition has been announced! Following eight weeks of competition, the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater manufactured by Termico Technologies in Elk Grove Village has been declared the winner of the “Makers Madness” contest.

The Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater uses conductive particles to heat traffic signals so they remain visible and free of ice and snow so motorists can safely navigate roadways in winter weather. Because many communities have upgraded to more efficient LED traffic signals, which do not give off as much heat as incandescent bulbs, new technology was needed to ensure that traffic signal lights remained visible during icy and snowy conditions.

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River OtterNorth American river otters were once common throughout Illinois. This species of otter is the largest member of the weasel family, and they reside in rivers, streams and lakes throughout much of the eastern and northwestern United States. While native to Illinois, their population was greatly reduced after Europeans arrived in the 16th century.

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Grant ParkGrant Park, proudly referred to as “Chicago’s front yard,” is a 313-acre public park located right in the heart of the city’s central business district. It is home to notable features like Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.

Chicago officially designated the land as a park in 1844 under the name of Lake Park. It was renamed for President Ulysses S. Grant in 1901. The park was expanded through land reclamation, with several expansions utilizing excavations from a freight tunnel network under the city.

In the 1910s and 1920s, the sites for the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History and Shedd Aquarium were parceled out, creating what is today known as the Museum Campus. Additionally, Grant Park holds many pieces of public art, including a statue of Abraham Lincoln, the sculptural installation “Agora,” and “Cloud Gate,” also known as The Bean.

The park annually hosts some of Chicago’s biggest festivals, including Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, the Chicago Blues Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival.

A centerpiece of Chicago, Grant Park provides the city with vast outdoor space and a place to gather for a diverse range of events. To learn more about the park, events and hours of operation, visit the Chicago Park District website.