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Realtor spreads Kankakee County potential while in Dubai

Ambassador Jeff Bennett? Maybe, just maybe.

A Kankakee County resident his entire life and managing partner with the real estate company McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage, Bennett has been one of the region’s most ardent supporters throughout his life.

The Limestone resident never misses a chance to promote and share the opportunities which are available for commercial, residential or industrial growth here.

He recently took that message across the globe. During a business conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, he let the audience know of the potential there is within this little slice of the world we call home — Kankakee County.

Bennett took part in a panel discussion at the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Global Symposium — where he received the prestigious Global Leadership Award — in recognition for his time, commitment and initiatives in supporting real estate initiatives, to discuss unfolding trends in the world of commercial real estate.

Bennett shared the podium with a fellow commercial real estate broker, Judith Schreyer, of Berlin, Germany.

For the 62-year-old Bennett, this was more than just another day at the office, although it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to think that way. In September 2019, Bennett participated in a similar conference and panel discussion in Athens, Greece.

So what message did Bennett share specific to the Kankakee County region?

“First of all it was an honor to be asked to participate,” he said. “I bragged about our interest rates and the real opportunities available here today for development. Some people may not realize this, but we right here in Kankakee County are now part of the Chicago Southland and that can really open up interest and opportunity.”

Bennett noted the region boasts what so many others cannot: Available land and plenty of it.

“And we have great infrastructure, a global distribution network and e-commerce. ... It’s easier to expand industry here than in Europe. We take what we have here for granted — the land, the access to capital, the natural resources, the railroads, the highways, the sewers, the water.”

The three-day conference offered Bennett the opportunity to see some of that region and he came away impressed. Dubai is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. It is largely known as being a “safe haven” within the Middle East.

He noted in Dubai things such as illegal drugs and guns are not tolerated.

“I came back humbled,” he said. “We are just this little speck in the whole process. I want to put this experience to use right here in Kankakee County. I’m energized.”

Like so many others have noted in recent years, e-commerce, the internet, Zoom conferencing and all similar type of tools and systems are now connecting people and businesses throughout the world. In effect, the world has become a much smaller place.

“When I mentioned the Amazon distribution centers, it connects all of us,” he said. “Chicago is still looked at as a world-class city. That’s obviously good for us.”

Next year’s conference will be in Rome. “Ambassador Bennett” is hoping for another invite so he can spread the region’s message even further.

Voters set to receive new cards

The redistricting process can create changes for voters just as it does for political parties and elected officials.

With 2020 Census data in hand, redistricting has been underway in regard to congressional, legislative, representative, county board and precinct lines. As a result of these changes, many voters will be in new districts and possibly a new polling place.

Kankakee County Clerk Dan Hendrickson is ensuring all voters in the county make any possible transitions smoothly by mailing new voter cards to all registered voters in Kankakee County.

“It is important that all eligible residents of Kankakee County make sure their voter registration is current and correct,” Hendrickson said.

He “strongly encourages” voters to review their new identification card to see what their new districts are and where they should go to vote.

“If you do not receive a voter’s card and believe that you are registered to vote, you should contact our office,” Hendrickson said.

If information on the card is not correct, return the card within seven days with the corrected address. If the information is correct, sign the card on the appropriate line and retain it for Election Day.

For more information, call the county clerk’s office at 815-937-2990 or stop by the office in the County Administration Building at 189 E. Court St., Kankakee. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The next election is the primary election on June 28, 2022.

State again extending driver's license/ID expiration

Expiration dates for Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards have been extended an additional three months to March 31, 2022.

This will be the final extension, Secretary of State Jesse White said.

“This extension is necessary as my office continues to address the heavy customer volume caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through expanded online services and the introduction of appointments at select Driver Services facilities,” White said.

The extension applies to anyone whose driver’s license or state ID expired between Jan. 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. It does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses and CDL learner’s permits.

For those needing to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Bradley to renew their driver’s license, it’s a service now requiring an appointment.

Appointment-based services at the 111 Village Square Shopping Center facility include behind-the-wheel road tests, standard identification cards, REAL ID cards and standard driver’s license renewals.

For quicker access to available appointments, the state says, customers should visit as new appointments are available each day. Appointments can also be made by calling 844-817-4649.