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Simon pushes health grants for rural communities 

 
WJBC Radio
May 18, 2012

Rural communities may get some extra cash to get healthy.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is pushing rural communities to take more than $3 million in grants for health initiatives.

A University of Wisconsin study found rural Illinois counties are less healthy than suburban counties. Twenty-one of the 28 southernmost counties in Illinois are in the bottom half of county health rankings statewide, while every Chicago metropolitan county is in the top 30 percent.

“Sometimes we measure illnesses and the seriousness of the illness by how far away you have to go to get it treated,” Simon says. “If someone is up in a St. Louis hospital getting treated that means it’s something very serious.”

Simon says rural communities lack even the basic resources.

“Some communities in Southern Illinois don’t have a grocery store in the whole county,” Simon says, “so people are more often stopping by a convenience store to buy their groceries.”

Communities must apply for the grant by June 15.