Rural communities may get some extra cash to get healthy.   Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (pictured) 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.


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“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.


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