GRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is urging Lake County residents to shop small this holiday season to support local businesses that have been struggling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Small businesses are a part of our communities. They invest in our economy, employ our friends and neighbors and support local events,” Bush said. “It’s now our turn to support them and invest in all they have to offer.”

As people begin their holiday shopping, Bush is reminding them frequent to small businesses throughout the area. For every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays in the community.

Bush has talked to many small business owners, who say they need the community’s help now more than ever. Supporting small, however, doesn’t just mean going to brick and mortar stores. Residents can support small businesses through online sales, ordering carry out from a locally owned restaurant or buying a gift card for a friend.

Additionally, if money is tight due to the pandemic, people can still support local businesses by following their social media, recommending to friends and leaving positive reviews.

“I encourage you to support small businesses in any way you can,” Bush said. “The pandemic has been especially tough on them, and as cases continue to rise, we must show them that the community is there to help.”

Bush would also like to remind struggling small business that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has launched the second round of the Business Interruption Grant program, which will distribute $220 million to small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic, including movie theaters, event venues, hotels and more. Learn more and apply on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Press Releases

GRAYSLAKE – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accentuate inequalities in access to technology throughout Lake County and the entire state, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is highlighting that 15 Lake County-based schools have been selected to receive part of $80 million to close the digital divide.

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“No student should have to miss out on learning because they don’t have the proper technological resources to participate in e-learning,” Bush said. “I am pleased to learn 15 Lake County schools have received funds to close the digital divide and give every student a chance to succeed – regardless of financial situation.”

Nearly 500 schools across the state received a total of more than $80 million to help ensure all students have reliable access to the technology they need for remote learning. The money comes from the Digital Equity Formula Grant, which was funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The grant allocated funding to the highest-need communities in the state to provide important e-learning resources to low-income families.

Schools can use the grant to purchase additional devices and connectivity or to cover purchases made since the onset of the pandemic on March 13.

For more information about COVID-19 and education, visit isbe.net/covid19.

Category: Press Releases

GRAYSLAKE – To help small business owners dealing with the devastating financial impact of COVID-19, State Senator Melinda Bush is encouraging them to apply for the second round of Business Interruption Grants.

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“Small businesses make Lake County such a great place to live. Seeing so many forced to close their doors has been heartbreaking,” Bush said. “I am pleased the state has prioritized this much-needed financial relief and hope business owners will take advantage of the assistance.”
The BIG Program has allocated $220 million in the second round for movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues and more to help them stay afloat through this time of crisis and ensure they have the resources to open safely in the coming months.

BIG funds may be used to help businesses cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

To ensure funds are distributed across the state and across business types, $60 million has been specifically allocated for heavily distressed industries, including indoor recreation facilities and amusement parks, and another $70 million has been set aside for businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19. Businesses located in the 60099 ZIP code of Zion and the 60087 ZIP code of Waukegan qualify for part of the $70 million. For a full list of eligible ZIP codes, click here.

During its first round of funding earlier this year, the program granted more than $49 million to small businesses across the state. More than 20 business in the district Bush represents received a combined $400,000 earlier this year.

Applications open Thursday, Sept. 17 and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria.

Category: Press Releases

GRAYSLAKE – This year alone, 55 Lake County residents have lost their lives to suicide. Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is showing her support for those struggling and reminding everyone that help is available.

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“Even one life lost to suicide is too many,” Bush said. “There are many great resources available to Lake County residents that can help them when they feel down. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Every life matters.”

The Lake County Health Department offers a free Crisis Care Program. The confidential hotline, available at 1-847-377-8088, can help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or substance abuse. Counselors are also available in person at 3002 Grand Lake Ave. in Waukegan. Anyone who needs help can call or walk in, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Help is extended to every resident of Lake County – no matter their age. Kids who are struggling are encouraged to download the “Lake County Help” app to their smartphone, which they can use to text anonymously with a licensed clinician.

Additionally, any Lake County resident who needs assistance finding mental health or substance abuse treatment, as well as food, shelter, rent or utility assistance can call 211 or text their zip code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help.

“The best way we can help others through their hardships is to support them and let them know we are here for them,” Bush said. “I encourage everyone to learn the signs of suicide and reach out to your friends and family who might need a little extra love.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers a number of resources to help people in crisis or those worried about a friend or family member. The lifeline offers 24/7 confidential support at 1-800-273-8255. Bush also encourages everyone to learn the risk factors and warning signs of suicide so they can help their loved ones. For more information, click here.

Category: Press Releases

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