Environmental Sector Is a Field of Green Growth

Conserving and managing the environment is a real growth career field for the new millennium. Environmental careers are on the brink of great expansion in the United States and around the world, as new technologies and focused policies will help people solve old problems and tackle new ones.

The ZB Library offers an abundance of educational and career opportunities among its expansive e-resources collection, including apps with detailed information on green careers and testing, certification and education guides to enter the green economy. Of course the library also offers books on green jobs and careers in its print collections.

The College of Lake County also offers educational and certification programs to break into the green jobs industry. The cover story in the latest CLC AlumNews issue reports that the college’s environmental health and safety certificate program is designed to meet a growing need for biological and environmental technicians, especially in water resources and water quality industries.

CLC is one of 17 partner community colleges receiving $19.37 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop green career training programs. It’s part of a consortium of community colleges called the Illinois Green Economy Network that provides green career programs to prepare graduates for green jobs in technology and sustainable agriculture.

In addition to the certificate program, CLC offers two transfer degree programs in sustainability: one focused on science and technical aspects, and the other on policy and social aspects.

Since they pay taxes to community college, all residents of Lake County can get a CLC Library card and have access to its public collections.

To find a job, seek career opportunities, change careers or further your formal education, a good first step is to check out what’s at the ZB Library.

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We’re Your Partner in Raising Readers

A recent research report by Common Sense Media found only one in six young adults are daily readers. Despite the increase in reading platforms resulting from the digital revolution, according to the “Children, Teens and Reading” report, older teens aren’t reading for fun any more than they have for the past few decades, NPR reported.

The CSM study found that while 53 percent of 9-year-olds are daily readers, by the time they reach the age of 17, only 17 percent are still daily readers. We can see this finding play out here: out of the 121 readers enrolled in the ZB Library’s Summer Reading Club for teens, which is open to 5th- through 12th-graders, nine are in the 17-year-old range.

So the numbers indicate that even with more reading opportunities in the form  digital books on mobile devices, the brain drain from lack of reading for most older teens and young adults continues. Reading researchers like Seeta Pai, however, suggest that parents can be influential in keeping their children reading, even through the busy adolescent years:

  • Be a reader yourself: Parents who set an example by reading tend to raise teen readers.
  • Provide opportunity: Curate your own collections at home and encourage regular visits to the library, either in person to check out items or show how they can download library books online. Steer young readers to suggested reading lists, like this one at Common Sense Media or ask the ZB Library about other credible sources.
  • Set aside Reading Time: Set aside a time period every day for just reading.

As far as promoting regular reading, we’ve got your back at the ZB Library, with online e-resources and apps to check out digital e-books and audiobooks, reading clubs and book discussion groups for all ages, in-person and online reader’s advisory services to locate book genres and authors for readers of all ages, print and online reference resources and collections in a variety of platforms covering all subjects and interests.

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Beach Park Goes Electricity Shopping; Zion Locked In

Since Beach Park and Zion citizens approved referendums last year to purchase electric power through aggregation, the electricity costs have decreased by 12 percent for Beach Park and 11 percent for Zion.

But Zion power customers will probably wind up saving more over the long term, since the city locked into wholesaler contract at a fixed rate for three years, while Beach Park opted for a one-year contract.

Now, as Beach Park’s initial deal has expired, electric rates have increased for all suppliers, including Zion’s, but Zion still gets the fixed-rate price of 6.65 cents/kWh rather than the 7.78 cents/kWh base rate that Constellation Energy is charging for new customers. The village board recently approved a one-year aggregation contract with Constellation, since it offered the best fixed-rate price, but that rate is 1.13 cents/kWh more than Zion’s.

The new rate will save the average Beach Park household about $43 this next year. Last year, the average household saved roughly $80.

The average Zion household saved and will continue to save about $70 per year, which is an aggregate savings of all city households of about $500,000. That savings, however, is not even close to the aggregate savings touted by officials of the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative in the referendum campaign. They claimed Zion customers would get $2 million in savings, while Beach Park would get $1.5 million.

Winthrop Harbor has yet to explore electric aggregation. Customers in non-aggregated municipalities can buy power as an individual account from another wholesaler, or more commonly get it from Commonwealth Edison at a variable rate significantly more than an aggregated rate.

During the summer of 2010, Illinois had some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. After deregulation and aggregation, Illinois’ electric rates are among the lowest in the nation.



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Families Show Love By Life Planning For Aging Parents

Life planning for aging parents might seem harder for parents, but surveys show 76 percent of today’s seniors are comfortable talking about it, while only 18 percent of their children are. Yet it’s up to the children of aging parents to be prepared for issues that are raised as parents get older and their abilities and needs change.

Life planning involves three strategies:

  1. Understanding your parents’ vision of the future
  2. Collecting information needed to help achieve that vision
  3. Having honest and healthy conversations about aging issues

In a life planning workshop at the ZB Library earlier this year representatives from the Waukegan office of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans suggested beginning the process by considering how well you understand your parents’ wants during their senior years and thinking of ways to support them as they age. The library has print resources and online databases to guide the planning process.

In sibling conversations, determine who would be best for each supporting role for your parents, like communicator, supporter, banker and driver. Try to fairly assign primary responsibilities, and review assignments occasionally.

Collecting vital information—personal, medical, financial, legal and other information—beforehand will allow preparation to make decisions on their behalf when it becomes necessary. Use checklists as a guide to gather vital information.

Here are some tips to approach a conversation about life planning as a partner working toward a common goal of achieving their vision of the future:

  • Start now with an agenda, approaching the conversation by asking about their past
  • Address one topic per meeting in a comfortable setting
  • Seek to determine and understand your parents’ vision of the future
  • Arrive at a common understanding
  • Stop on time and decide when to have another session

Children should also look beyond immediate family for resources and support. Alternative resources include spousal support, social networks, community resources, churches and in-home care workers.

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Be Ready in Case of Emergency

Now is the best time to plan for emergencies; later could be too late.

Emergencies like natural disasters, technological and accidental hazards, terrorism, pandemics and house fires do not usually occur with notice or on schedule. They’re also not decreasing in intensity or number. In fact, given the emergence of climate change, increasing dependence on technology and changing geopolitics, there seems to be more potential global threats today.

To minimize the potential damage to these threats, it’s important for individual citizens and families to plan actions that should be taken before, during and after an emergency event. Connecting online or visiting the ZB Library is a good first step in the emergency planning process. The library offers dozens of online resources and items in its collections to assist in emergency preparedness.

Lake County offers directions and a collection of videos to assist residents in planning for emergencies.

Basic emergency planning includes putting together a disaster supplies kit, identifying specific hazards that have happened or could happen in your area and planning unique actions for each. Local emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each.

Once a plan is formulated, it’s important to share the information with household members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan.

Learn about emergency planning and tools in Spanish at Propóngase estar listo en el año 2014.


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