From AP - News Local/State -

Simon Announces Guide For Services In Rural Areas

Sheila Simon

In this May 5, 2011 file photo, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is seen in Springfield, Ill. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, Simon announced that she would not seek re-election in 2014. The Carbondale Democrat was first elected to the office in 2010. She is a former law school professor. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Illinois state officials are releasing an updated guide to state services that targets residents in rural areas.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says the online resources will help rural residents who often don't know about state programs that answer their needs.

Simon is a Carbondale Democrat and chairwoman of the Governor's Rural Affairs Council. The council and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs spent the past year compiling a list of state programs and services that are relevant to rural areas.

The online guide is a searchable database listing programs by name, organization, category or keyword.

Residents, community leaders and elected officials can access information about government programs and how they can help.

Programs range from those dealing with agriculture to business development and tourism.