Will County Announces Healthy Homes/Healthy Families Program

Will County is proud to announce the 5th annual “Healthy Homes Healthy Families” event that will take place on Saturday, October 10th at ATI Field Memorial Stadium in Joliet. The event will begin at 9am and is sponsored by the Will County Center for Community Concerns.
All families are invited to stop by to learn about healthy living, safety, and other important information. The Will County Health Department, Joliet Police Department and Joliet Fire Department will be just a few of the agencies participating in the event.
In addition, this year’s event will feature the mobile food pantry from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The food pantry will begin at 10am and in order to participate, you must prequalify with the Will County Center for Community Concerns. For any questions or concerns regarding the food pantry, please call (815) 722-0722.
ATI Field Memorial Stadium is located at 3000 W. Jefferson Street in Joliet, Illinois. The event will run from 9am-12pm with the food pantry running from 10am-12pm. Any questions about the event can be directed towards Anastasia Tuskey, Communications Director for Will County, at (815) 530-2372.

Teal Pumpkins for Candy Alternatives

Parents and children will have an easier time identifying houses that offer alternatives to candy this Halloween.

For a project called “Teal Pumpkin Project”, the non-profit organization Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) is working with neighborhoods, asking residents to offer food allergy-friendly alternatives. Households offering these alternatives will have a teal-colored pumpkin outside the front door.

FARE’s vice president of communication Veronica LaFemina says one in 13 children has a food allergy. While most of these allergies come from just eight foods, people can have reactions to nearly anything.

Instead of passing out candy, FARE encourages providing non-food treats instead. FARE’s website suggests a few low-cost items to pass out such as glow sticks, bubbles, bouncy balls, finger puppets and stickers. However, it is important to remember that some of these items may contain latex or other allergens. FARE also recommends keeping any non-food alternatives in a separate container than the candy.

Last year was the first year of the Teal Pumpkin Project. Households from all 50 states and seven countries participated by handing out non-food alternatives. LaFemina said one reason for the success is that it appeals not only to families of children with food allergies, but also to the “parents of children with celiac disease and diabetes.” The program is also a good way for parents who are worried about the safety of the candy to identify houses with safe alternatives.

By taking part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, LaFemina says, “You’re able to ensure that every trick-or-treater that comes to your door is able to enjoy the holiday.”

Caterpillar considering relocating to Mexico

Caterpillar Inc. recently announced that they are considering downsizing their Joliet factory and moving production lines to an existing Caterpillar plant in Mexico. The positions that will be affected are the production lines of truck hoist and strut cylinders. The company released a statement explaining their plan, which said “Caterpillar is contemplating this move to be better positioned for long-term competitiveness with a more efficient and sustainable manufacturing footprint, while delivering significant cost savings.” In efforts to reduce costs, Caterpillar plans to relocate at least two production lines and lay off nearly 10,000 employees within the next three years. The company is considering ending manufacturing altogether at the Joliet location, but will remain open as a supply chain hub. Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller stated that “Caterpillar intends to finalize this contemplated decision in the fourth quarter of 2015,” according to mysurburbanlife.com. The plan affects 40 full-time positions, while 20 productions positions would remain but become logistics jobs.

In addition, Caterpillar’s lease ends with CenterPoint Properties in 2018, which is the same time line for the company to complete their downsizing efforts. State representative Larry Walsh Jr. spoke on the matter stating “When they don’t own and don’t have any liability other than paying rent, it’s easy to move.” Caterpillar announced earlier this year that the company would cut 230 jobs at the Joliet Caterpillar plant. This is when the company first went public with the news that there would be a possibility of relocation from Joliet to Mexico. Walsh also feels that “there’s nothing in certainty on what’s going to happen in Joliet outside what they have already announced.”

According to the Herald News, the plant currently has about 660 employees, 430 of those being managerial jobs, and the rest being manufacturing jobs. While the manufacturing jobs are facing downsizing, there are no current plans for the remaining 430 managerial positions.