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2007


December 27, 2007
Illinois and Kentucky amend Ohio River fishing reciprocal agreement
Sport and commercial fishermen advised to review regulations
SPRINGFIELD, IL - An amended agreement has been adopted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources outlining regulations which allow licensed sport and commercial anglers from either state to fish in the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River.


December 24, 2007
Midwest Generation to fund new First Lady’s Wildflowers of Illinois site along I-474 near Peoria
Power producer to provide $30,000 for U.S. Route 24 interchange in Bartonville
PEORIA – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announces a new landscape site for First Lady Patti Blagojevich’s Wildflowers of Illinois program at the I-474 interchange with U.S. Route 24 in Bartonville near Peoria. Chicago-based independent power producer Midwest Generation will provide $30,000 in grant funding for the beautification project at this location.


December 20, 2007
Governor Blagojevich reminds veterans, employers hiring veterans to file for new tax exemptions
New 2007 legislation encourages businesses to hire Veterans and provides returning and disabled Veterans with property tax relief
SPRINGFIELD – As a number of tax deadlines begin rapidly approaching, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded the state’s military heroes and employers who have hired them to file for new tax exemptions. Two new laws went into effect in 2007; one made more Illinois veterans and disabled persons eligible for property tax relief and the other created the Veteran’s Tax Credit - a state income tax credit available to employers for every qualified veteran they hire.


December 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $1 million hunger relief initiative to help thousands of Illinois families in need
New Food for Families program to provide assistance to food banks facing critical shortages this year because of insufficient federal support, rising prices
CHICAGO—Responding to the needs of thousands of families struggling to put food on the table this winter, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Food for Families program, a $1 million hunger relief initiative that will provide 1.5 million pounds of food for an additional 37,500 families in need this fiscal year. Through this initiative, for the first time in Illinois history, state funds will be used to help food banks purchase food and help make up for insufficient federal support. The new program will provide enough food for 3,090 meals per day for Illinois families in need.


December 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich urges Bush Administration to keep commitment to FutureGen
Landmark clean-coal project will revolutionize nation’s energy production, create thousands of jobs and bring major outside investment to Central Illinois
CHICAGO – One day after the FutureGen Alliance selected Mattoon as the site of the $1.4 billion plant, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman urging him to follow through on the commitment to fund FutureGen -- what will be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world. After the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) raised concerns about the project in media reports late yesterday, Governor Blagojevich requested a meeting with Secretary Bodman to discuss how to move the project forward so East Central Illinois communities can benefit from the economic boost, and so the whole nation and the world can benefit from the landmark clean coal innovations.


December 18, 2007
Governor Blagojevich celebrates decision to locate FutureGen in Mattoon
Landmark clean-coal project will revolutionize nation’s energy production, create thousands of jobs and bring major outside investment to Central Illinois
MATTOON – Joined by members of the FutureGen for Illinois Taskforce, elected officials, and local residents, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today celebrated the FutureGen Industrial Alliance’s decision to build the first of its kind power plant in Mattoon. The Alliance announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. this morning that Illinois will be home to the $1.4 billion FutureGen clean coal project. The announcement follows more than four years of extensive planning and preparation in Illinois.


December 18, 2007
IDOT Gives Motorists a Break for Holiday Weekends; Reminds Drivers to Plan Ahead for Winter Travel
CHICAGO—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Milton R. Sees announced the agency will be giving motorists a break by suspending lane closures where possible over the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday weekends. Secretary Sees also urged drivers to closely monitor weather reports before beginning any long distance car trips, and to check IDOT’s web site – www.gettingaroundillinois.com - for travel directions and the latest information on winter road conditions across the state. Information is also available by phone from a toll-free hotline.


December 17, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces partnership to help residents restore heat during the winter months
Good Samaritan initiative allows affordable reconnections for those without utility service
CHICAGO – As part of his Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the start of the Good Samaritan Initiative for the 2007-2008 winter season. The initiative provides more affordable reconnection terms to Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients who have had their utility services disconnected. Nicor Gas, Peoples Energy and Ameren have agreed to again participate for the fifth straight year.


December 14, 2007
Illinois State Museum Awarded Federal Grant for Oral History of Illinois Agriculture
SPRINGFIELD. The Illinois State Museum (ISM) has received a $564,651 National Leadership Grant (NLG) from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop educational resources on the history of Illinois agriculture. The Illinois State Museum will partner with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) to record oral histories of Illinoisans with agricultural experiences and make them available worldwide on the internet.


December 14, 2007
Outstanding senior advocates recognized at 2007 Governor’s Conference on Aging
Hundreds of industry professionals gathered to learn how to better address the needs of a growing, aging population
CHICAGO – This week the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) hosted the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Aging, highlighting cutting edge developments, innovations and best practices in the aging network from novices to experts. The conference, entitled “Redefining Caregiving”, was the Department’s biggest, most comprehensive training event as well as the largest statewide meeting of professionals who work in aging fields. At the conference today, individuals and groups from around the state who have shown continued dedication and compassion for aging issues were recognized and honored during a special luncheon.


December 13, 2007
State Agriculture Employees Honored For Outstanding Service
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The creator of the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s online hay directory has been awarded the agency’s top individual honor. Jerry Millburg, a Litchfield resident who works for the Market News Service, was presented the Director’s Achievement Award today at the department’s 29th annual Employee Awards Ceremony.


December 13, 2007
State public health director warns of lead in recalled product
“SINDOOR” found to contain extremely high levels of lead
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers not to use a recalled product called “SWAD. SINDOOR. Best Taste in Town,” an orange or red powder used in some traditional Middle Eastern ceremonies that is applied to the face or scalp. Although Sindoor is never supposed to be used in food, some individuals may use it as food coloring. Testing by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has found this product contains 87 percent lead. IDPH has confirmed that two consumers who used this product as an ingredient in home cooked meals to have elevated blood lead levels.


December 13, 2007
Blagojevich Administration announces new program to help stop youth violence
"The Safety Net Works…Not One Life to Lose" will bring state and community resources together to save young lives
CHICAGO - Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Administration today joined with community leaders and state legislators to launch "The Safety Net Works…Not One Life to Lose", a multi-agency initiative designed to help stop violence and killing in communities across the state. The initiative will bring State and community resources together to help young people avoid violence and become healthy adults.


December 12, 2007
State public health director alerts consumers about Joe Caputo & Sons “Homemade Hot Giardiniera”
Jars of giardiniera recalled
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers about the recall of eight ounce and 16 ounce jars of “Homemade Hot Giardiniera” prepared and sold at Joe Caputo & Sons market. The McHenry County Department of Health is investigating a potential problem in the processing of this product.


December 12, 2007
ISAC Announces Illinois State Scholars
Agency salutes ‘the best and the brightest” of Class of 2008
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today recognized 18,178 high school students from across the state as Illinois State Scholars 2008.


December 12, 2007
2007 sees ninth warmest fall on record for Illinois
Temperatures only slightly below normal in November
SPRINGFIELD- Fall temperatures averaged 57 degrees, 2.9 degrees above normal as Illinois saw the 9th warmest fall since 1895. This was largely the result of warmer September and October temperatures that were 3.6 and 4.9 degrees above normal, respectively.


December 12, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation requiring life-saving equipment at outdoor fitness and sports facilities
HB 1279, known as the R.A.W. Initiative, also requires that defibrillator-trained staff be present during all physical fitness activities
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation requiring outdoor football stadiums, soccer fields, baseball fields and other outdoor facilities to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand to help save lives in the event of a medical emergency. House Bill 1279, sponsored by State Representative Daniel J. Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), adds outdoor physical fitness and sports facilities to the list of facilities currently required to have defibrillators.


December 11, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, December 13 until sunset, Saturday, December 15, 2007.
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, December 13 until sunset, Saturday, December 15, 2007.


December 10, 2007
Blagojevich Administration Officials launch Governor’s 2nd Annual Conference on Affordable Housing
More than 300 industry professionals to learn how to expand affordable housing options for seniors, working families, homeless individuals and persons with disabilities
CHICAGO – Continuing the Governor’s commitment to expand affordable housing options across the state, officials from the Blagojevich Administration today launched Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s 2nd Annual Conference on Affordable Housing. The two-day event held at McCormick Place in Chicago will allow hundreds of experts, developers, lenders and other professionals learn how to expand affordable housing opportunities for seniors, working families, homeless individuals and persons with disabilities.


December 10, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares Morgan County state disaster area following weekend ice storm
State Emergency Operations Center activated to coordinate state assistance, prepare for additional icy weather
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a state disaster proclamation for Morgan County after a weekend ice storm downed trees and power lines, blocking streets and leaving nearly 10,000 homes without power. The proclamation enables the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate state resources to support local governments in their disaster response and recovery efforts.


December 7, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $16 million financing to support updates and improvements at Holy Cross Hospital
Financing will help hospital to update aging facilities, expand emergency room, and reduce operating costs
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a major financing on behalf of Holy Cross Hospital that will be used to update aging hospital facilities and improve access to healthcare on Chicago’s Southwest side. The project includes $16 million of refunding bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), which will provide significant savings to the hospital to be used for facility and infrastructure improvements. The financing is the latest step in the State’s support for this “safety-net” hospital, a designation given to hospitals that provide a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations.


December 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces nearly $18 million in grants awarded to enhance emergency communications
Grants will help local, state public safety agencies enhance emergency communications capabilities through acquisition and deployment of new equipment
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced 10 grants totaling nearly $18 million that will help fire, police and other first responders in strategic locations throughout Illinois better communicate with other response organizations during emergencies. The grants are part of the $36.4 million Illinois received in July from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to support state interoperable communications projects. The state’s funding also included $16.2 million the federal government allocated for interoperable communications efforts in the Chicago/Cook County urban area.


December 6, 2007
IDNR asks snowmobile operators to ramp up safety efforts as snow falls
DNR Snowmobile safety classes currently being offered
SPRINGFIELD – As the snow begins to fall through out the state this winter, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding snowmobile enthusiasts keep safety in mind before, during and after a ride.


December 6, 2007
Remembering Pearl Harbor
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, Friday, December 7, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, Friday, December 7, 2007.


December 5, 2007
2007 Illinois Firearm Deer Season harvest totals 116,708
More than 31,000 deer taken during second firearm deer season
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 116,708 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


December 4, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Wednesday, December 5 until sunset, Friday, December 7, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise, Wednesday, December 5 until sunset, Friday, December 7, 2007.


December 4, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $70 million financing for new world-class supercomputing facility at Argonne National Laboratory
Theory and Computing Sciences Building expected to house the world’s fastest computers
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a significant investment that will enable the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory to house the world’s most advanced supercomputers. Financed by $70 million in bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), the new Theory and Computing Sciences Building will be located on Argonne’s campus in DuPage County. The new world-class facility will allow Illinois scientists to apply breakthroughs in supercomputing and pursue advances in nanotechnology, climate change, protein modeling and more, solidifying the fastest growing research program in Argonne’s history.


December 4, 2007
Department of Revenue posts delinquent taxpayer names on-line
Posting information generates more than $7.2 million for State
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) today posted the names of 131 businesses and individuals that each owes over $1,000 in taxes on the department website tax.illinois.gov. Leading up to the posting, IDOR sent two rounds of notices to nearly 20,000 delinquent taxpayers which generated more than $7.2 million in payments. In addition to posting the names of the 130 delinquent taxpayers online, IDOR will continue to pursue those on the list until their combined debt of more than $5 million is paid.


December 4, 2007
Department on Aging Director provides seniors with tips to stay safe and warm this winter
Seniors can find more information on how to keep warm by calling Keep Warm Illinois at 1-877-411-WARM or by visiting www.keepwarm.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson is encouraging seniors to take steps that will keep them safe, healthy and warm during the winter months.


December 3, 2007
Illinois EPA Offers Environmentally Friendly Holiday Tips
‘Tis the season to reduce, reuse and recycle
SPRINGFIELD – With the holidays upon us, Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott reminds people throughout Illinois when purchasing gifts to be environmentally conscious, choose sustainable gifts, and recycle whenever possible in order limit the negative impact on the environment and keep tons of potential waste out of Illinois landfills.


December 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Special Elections to replace retiring Congressman Dennis Hastert
Primary election on February 5th, 2008; Special General Election on March 8th, 2008
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the date for the Special Primary Election and Special General Election to replace retiring Congressman Dennis Hastert. Rep. Hastert submitted a letter to Governor Blagojevich announcing his resignation on November 26th. The Plano Republican served almost 21 years in the U.S Congress and was the longest serving Republican House Speaker.


December 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich proclaims today “University of Illinois Fighting Illini Day”
Illinois heads to Rose Bowl for first time in 24 years to take on USC Trojans in 2008 Rose Bowl
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation congratulating the University of Illinois Fighting Illini football team on their upcoming trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California where they will take on Pac-10 champions, the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans. This will be Illinois’ fifth-ever Rose Bowl appearance and first since playing UCLA in 1984.


November 30, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces World AIDS Day in Illinois prevention and awareness efforts
Department of Public Health partners with NAACP and Black Ministers Alliance to sponsor HIV/AIDS testing and awareness events
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich ordered the lights dimmed at the State Capitol in Springfield and other state government buildings tomorrow evening in remembrance of Illinoisans who have lost their lives to AIDS. The 2007 World AIDS Day observance will be held Saturday, December 1, from 6:45 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The lights will be dimmed at the State Capitol Rotunda and State Public Health buildings in Springfield, and in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center and Bilandic Building. This year’s World AIDS Day theme is Keeping the Promise through Leadership.


November 30, 2007
Honoring Former U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde
United States and Illinois flags should be raised to full staff at sunset Saturday, December 1, 2007.
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to raise the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings to full staff at sunset Saturday, December 1, 2007.


November 30, 2007
Illinois Products Gift Baskets And Gift Sets: A Creative Option For Your Holiday Shopping List
IDOA web-based “Food and Agribusiness Guide” makes identifying Illinois products even easier
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Holiday shoppers looking for a creative gift idea may want to consider purchasing an Illinois products gift basket or gift set, Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.


November 29, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Lincoln’s Tomb going green
Geothermal heating and cooling system to be installed at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site to reduce energy usage, increase visitor comfort
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that geothermal technology will be used to replace the existing heating and cooling systems at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, a move that will reduce energy usage, improve efficiency, protect the historic tomb finishes, and increase comfort for nearly 375,000 people from around the world who visit the 16th President’s final resting place each year.


November 29, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff immediately.
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff immediately.


November 28, 2007
IEMA and State Fire Marshal suggest preparedness and safety gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season
Weather radios, emergency kits, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are gifts that can save lives
SPRINGFIELD – With the holiday shopping season now underway, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) have a few gift suggestions that can protect your loved ones during emergencies.


November 28, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On House’s failure to pass Senate Bill 307 – long term funding solution for mass transit
SPRINGFIELD – “I'm disappointed that the House was unable to pass a long-term funding plan for the CTA, Metra and Pace. This is the second time the House tried and could not pass a transit funding plan. I appreciate Speaker Madigan's effort to try to pass the funding plan for the CTA, Metra and Pace. The message from the Legislature is clear: members will not pass a solution for the mass transit without a capital infrastructure plan. Therefore based on tonight’s vote, and in response to House Republican Leader Tom Cross's request, I am calling the Legislature back in to Special Session tomorrow to consider the CTA funding legislation with a capital bill. We can't afford any more delay. The legislature must keep working until they pass legislation that keeps the CTA, Metra and Pace running.”


November 28, 2007
Illinois EPA seeks applications from Illinois students for Governor’s Green Youth Award
Agency to recognize environmental and conservation projects by Illinois youth
Springfield—Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott is encouraging Illinois students to apply for the annual Governor’s Green Youth Awards. The award recognizes the outstanding and inventive efforts of Illinois youth who are working on environmental protection and conservation projects.


November 21, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Food Stamp Program recognized nationally for effectively reaching those in need
Illinois' Food Stamp Program provides help to 75 percent of those who qualify for assistance
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its effectiveness in reaching those families in need of assistance through the Food Stamp Program, administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The rate of participation in Illinois is up to 75 percent according to the most recent surveys for FY05, improving participation six percent from the previous year and 10 percent higher than the national average.


November 20, 2007
Governor Blagojevich urges fire safety during holiday season and winter months to save lives
Governor's Keep Warm Illinois campaign and State Fire Marshal offer tips to help families stay safe
SPRINGFIELD – As people throughout the state turn up the heat in their homes to fight the cold winter air, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded Illinoisans to keep fire safety in mind. Last year in Illinois, heating equipment caused 355 fires, resulting in 12 injuries, one death and more than $12.5 million in property damage.


November 20, 2007
Hunters in Illinois harvest more than 85,000 deer during first weekend of firearm deer season
2007 first season preliminary totals nearly identical to last year’s first season numbers
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 85,490 deer during the opening weekend of the state’s 2007 firearm deer season, Nov. 16-18, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today. The second portion of the firearm season is Nov. 29-Dec. 2.


November 19, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois Public Safety agencies to tighten safety belt enforcement over Thanksgiving holiday
State police reminds motorists to "Click It or Ticket" and continues "Stay Alive on the I’s" campaign to reduce crashes, fatalities
SPRINGFIELD - As thousands of people plan to hit the roadways during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police (ISP), and hundreds of other local police agencies are teaming up to crackdown on drivers who fail to buckle up.


November 17, 2007
Blagojevich Administration, legislative and local leaders dedicate McKinley Bridge
Project restores important connection between Illinois and Missouri across the Mississippi River
VENICE - On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Milton R. Sees today joined U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello, State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) and other elected and community leaders to dedicate the McKinley Bridge as the revitalization project nears completion. The $52 million project, funded with state and federal dollars, restores a vital connection across the Mississippi River for local commuters for the first time in six years.


November 16, 2007
Governor Blagojevich hails nomination of Tom Carper to national board of Amtrak
Governor urges quick confirmation by the U.S. Senate of West Central Illinois economic development leader and former Macomb mayor; Says pick underscores success of Illinois' partnership with Amtrak
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today congratulated Tom Carper, the former mayor of Macomb and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) West Central region manager, on his nomination by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to serve on the national Board of Directors for Amtrak. The Governor also urged quick action on the nomination by the U.S. Senate and said that the appointment highlights the success of the state's partnership with Amtrak, which has seen phenomenal growth in riders here since Illinois doubled state support for the rail service last year.


November 16, 2007
State public health department promotes turkey tips for a safe Thanksgiving dinner
Safe food handling to make the holiday healthier and safer
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is promoting food safety tips to use when preparing a Thanksgiving meal to help protect you and your family against food-related illness. Following some simple guidelines can help ensure a safe meal.


November 16, 2007
State surplus auction website offers Municipal Governments service to sell unneeded equipment
Village of Riverdale first to use iBid to sell prairie schooner, harpsichord and Riverside’s surplus water meters
SPRINGFIELD – Municipalities throughout Illinois can now auction their surplus property using the State’s on-line auction system, iBid. Today the Village of Riverside will become the first local government to sell unneeded equipment using the system, which is operated as part of the State’s surplus property operation run by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).


November 16, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Saturday, November 17 until sunset, Monday, November 19, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise, Saturday, November 17 until sunset, Monday, November 19, 2007.


November 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges congressional support for Federal Mortgage Reform Act
House bill offers consumer protection for all homebuyers comparable to those already in place in Illinois
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to members of the Illinois Congressional delegation urging their support of a bill that would further protect Illinois homeowners against predatory, high risk or overly expensive mortgages whether they obtain their loan from a local or national company. H.R. 3915, "The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007" provides homeowners with protections similar to those implemented by Gov. Blagojevich on a state level since 2003. It ensures that Illinois' most important consumer protections would also apply to borrowers seeking loans from banks, thrifts and credit unions, or other lenders that provide mortgages in Illinois and across the country.


November 15, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
Governor Blagojevich has ordered that all State-occupied facilities fly the flag of the United States of America and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the two days before and the day of the funeral of every fallen Illinois soldier.
Governor Blagojevich has ordered that all State-occupied facilities fly the flag of the United States of America and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the two days before and the day of the funeral of every fallen Illinois soldier.


November 15, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord
Agreement to Reduce Pollution that Causes Global Warming and Strengthen Energy Security
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the governors of Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin today signed the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, strengthening his commitment to fight global warming in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. This historic agreement aims to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in Illinois and across the region. The Accord will help achieve the goal Gov. Blagojevich announced in February to reduce GHGs in Illinois to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.


November 15, 2007
Illinois EPA encourages efforts to reuse, reduce and recycle on America Recycles Day
State environmental agency supports and sponsors numerous recycling programs
Springfield – Marking America Recycles Day, Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott urges people throughout Illinois to recycle whenever possible in order to limit the negative impact on the environment by keeping tons of potential waste out of Illinois landfills.


November 15, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Sunday, November 18 until sunset, Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise, Sunday, November 18 until sunset, Tuesday, November 20, 2007.


November 15, 2007
Blagojevich Administration officials launch Homeowner Outreach Days
Illinois foreclosure rates up 16% since 2006; events will help hundreds of Illinois homeowners facing foreclosure avoid losing their homes
CHICAGO – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Executive Director DeShana L. Forney and Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Secretary Dean Martinez today launched the first of six Homeowner Outreach Days to help Illinois residents avoid losing their homes through foreclosure and also to stabilize neighborhoods. Recent surveys show foreclosure filings are up 16 percent in Illinois since 2006 and 18 percent in Chicago. The events will provide one-on-one counseling sessions between borrowers and lenders, as well as workshops on refinancing, foreclosure prevention, legal rights, loss mitigation and credit counseling.


November 14, 2007
IDHS celebrates first Worldwide Diabetes Day
Gov. Blagojevich issues state proclamation to support awareness effort; Sears Tower among hundreds of world landmarks to light up in blue
CHICAGO – Marking the first World Diabetes Day, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., today urged all Illinoisans to learn more about diabetes and how it can be prevented and controlled through diet and exercise. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 750,000 Illinoisans have diabetes. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed Wednesday, November 14, World Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois to correspond with the national celebration.


November 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges Illinois seniors to apply for Illinois Cares Rx as open enrollment season begins for Medicare Part D
To find out more about Illinois’ wrap-around prescription drug program, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966
CHICAGO – As seniors around the country get ready for Medicare Part D’s open enrollment season starting tomorrow, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged Illinois seniors to apply for Illinois Cares Rx, which provides wrap-around prescription drug coverage to fill in the gaps created by Medicare Part D, and offers drug coverage for people who do not have Medicare. Illinois seniors and persons with disabilities who want to find out more about the Illinois Cares Rx program should call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org.


November 13, 2007
Illinois State Fair To Offer Holiday Mega Pass Special
Discount pass good for unlimited carnival rides at the 2008 Illinois State Fair
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Looking for a unique gift to stuff in a child’s stocking this holiday season? Illinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick suggests parents and grandparents consider an Illinois State Fair Mega Pass, which can be purchased for just $45 during a special holiday promotion.


November 13, 2007
Governor Blagojevich and Ford Motor Co. launch statewide campaign to reduce teen crashes and save lives
"Operation Teen Safe Driving" engages teens in competition to improve driving among peers, builds on momentum of Secretary of State's new teen driving law
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was joined by representatives of the Ford Motor Company Fund, Secretary of State Jesse White, and other state officials today in launching a statewide effort designed to reduce teen crashes and fatalities in Illinois. The Operation Teen Safe Driving campaign is the first of its kind in the nation and gets high school students directly involved by engaging them in competition to design community-based driving safety programs targeted at their peers.


November 12, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces more than $1.2 million available for nurses working in state's Veterans' Homes to help pay for their education
Grants will help recruit and retain quality nursing staff to ensure the best care for Illinois veterans
CHICAGO - Today, in recognition of Veterans Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced grant funds are available to nurses working at Illinois Veterans' Homes to help them pay off student loans. Nurses who provide care for Illinois Veterans in the state's four Veterans' Homes are now eligible to have as much as $5,000 of their student loans repaid by the state, thanks to the new Veterans' Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA). There is a total of $1.22 million available for nurses through this program.


November 12, 2007
State public health director encourages smokers to kick the habit during the Great American Smokeout
Smoking kills one of every five people nationwide
SPRINGFIELD – With the state’s ban on smoking set to begin January 1, 2008, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, today encouraged smokers to kick the habit as part of the annual Great American Smokeout, Thursday, Nov. 15.


November 9, 2007
Reminder to Illinois landowners and wildlife enthusiasts: Don’t feed wild deer
Ban on feeding wild deer to help prevent spread of CWD
SPRINGFIELD- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding Illinois residents and visitors not to feed wild deer and other wildlife in areas where wild deer are present. A ban on feeding wild deer was enacted in 2002 as part of the state’s continuing effort to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Illinois wild deer herd.


November 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois ahead of the national curve for emergency preparedness
Illinois Strategic National Stockpile plan scores above the national average in ability to receive, distribute and dispense medications
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois' plan to distribute necessary medications and medical supplies in the event of an emergency received high marks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Illinois Strategic National Stockpile plan scored 91 out of 100, well above the national average, during a recent in-depth assessment by the CDC. Reviewers looked at 13 different areas including controlling inventory of vaccines and medical supplies, distribution and security.


November 8, 2007
National labor leaders back Gov. Blagojevich’s Illinois Covered healthcare plan; Commit to pushing for passage in 2008
Former Congressman, AFL-CIO, SEIU call Governor’s Illinois Covered plan “well-designed template” for Congress to follow
WASHINGTON D.C. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today talked with national labor leaders and former Congressman Dick Gephardt in the nation’s capital at a meeting sponsored by the non-profit advocacy group, America’s Agenda: Health Care for All, to address the current healthcare crisis that has caused millions of Americans to be without health coverage. Leaders praised the Governor’s efforts in Illinois to expand access to affordable health coverage and to bring down healthcare costs for businesses and working families. The leaders committed to helping the Governor push for passage of “Illinois Covered,” an innovative comprehensive healthcare plan that would benefit the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois and generate savings for Illinois households and businesses estimated to be greater than $15 billion over the next four years.


November 8, 2007
Governor Blagojevich awards more than $1.4 million in Off-Highway Vehicle Recreational Trail Grants
Projects include acquisition of land for new OHV trails, improvements at existing sites, and additional safety instructors
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich today awarded more than $1.4 million in grants from the state's Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreational Trails Program to fund improvements at OHV facilities in Illinois. The grants will help fund improvements to some existing facilities and develop new trails that will help attract riders and encourage safe recreation.


November 7, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Tuesday, November 13 until sunset, Friday, November 16, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise, Tuesday, November 13 until sunset, Friday, November 16, 2007.


November 7, 2007
Blagojevich Administration officials cut ribbon on groundbreaking program to help disabled, homeless veterans
Pilot program looks to provide permanent housing, medical assistance and job training for disabled vets
MANTENO - As Veterans Day nears, Blagojevich Administration officials today hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Prince Home at Manteno - a first-in-the-nation pilot program to help disabled, homeless veterans in Illinois. The program is designed to provide permanent housing for homeless and disabled veterans, including veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


November 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Illinois program designed to help uninsured women live a healthier lifestyle recognized as national model
Illinois WISEWOMAN Program works to lower heart disease and promotes a healthy lifestyle through physical activity
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that a state program designed to fight heart disease and help uninsured women live a healthy lifestyle has received national recognition. The Illinois WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) Program has been chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of six women's health curriculums it will offer to states, tribes and territories across the country looking to improve women's health.


November 6, 2007
IDOT To Hold Public Meetings On 2007 State Transportation Plan
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will hold five public meetings on the 20-year State Transportation Plan, starting November 13th. The current plan was revised in December 2005. To comply with state law, an updated plan is scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2007. Members of the public will have the opportunity to learn about the State Transportation Plan, and ask questions at each public meeting.


November 6, 2007
WMRC official named chair of national pollution prevention group
Dr. Gary Miller will head group’s efforts to advance pollution prevention
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Dr. Gary Miller, Assistant Director of the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center has been selected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).


November 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $536,000 in AgriFIRST funds available
Grant program assists producers in development of new value-added agriculture businesses; application deadline December 11
SPRINGFIELD – Applications are now being accepted for the AgriFIRST program, which assists producers in the development of value-added agricultural ventures, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today. More than $536,000 in grants will be available through the program, which is administered through the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


November 5, 2007
Blagojevich Administration unveils new Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket, Double Action
Encourages residents to honor and help Veterans by purchasing new ticket; 100 percent of proceeds go to help provide wide range of services for Illinois Veterans
SPRINGFIELD – As the nation prepares to honor Veterans this coming Veterans Day, Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) joined the Illinois Lottery in Springfield today to unveil the new Veterans Cash lottery ticket, Double Action, on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. The Blagojevich Administration is encouraging residents to purchase the new ticket as an easy way to honor and help improve the services provided to the state’s Veterans.


November 5, 2007
IEMA encourages people to test homes for radon during Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Radon is leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to test their homes for radon, a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer, during the month of November. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has proclaimed November Lung Cancer Awareness Month in Illinois, calling attention to the fact that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.


November 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs anti-predatory lending law, announces borrower outreach initiative to help fight foreclosures
Statewide ban on predatory mortgage products, counseling and face-to-face lenders’ meetings will help families keep their homes
SPRINGFIELD – As the nation’s foreclosure rate continues to rise, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took action to provide Illinois homeowners facing foreclosure with opportunities to meet directly with lenders, community housing counselors and local, state and federal housing officials during a series of Homeowner Outreach Days scheduled for November and December. The Governor also signed legislation that will help reduce the risks of Illinois families seeking new mortgages. Senate Bill 1167, sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, (D-Chicago) and State Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-Broadview), toughens standards that mortgage brokers must meet before completing loans for their customers. The bill also implements the counseling and pilot program changes to House Bill 4050 that Governor Blagojevich recommended earlier this year.


November 2, 2007
State Fire Marshal reminds people to change batteries in smoke alarms when they change their clocks
Working smoke alarms critical to saving lives
SPRINGFIELD – State Fire Marshal David B. Foreman is reminding people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms this weekend as they change their clocks to end Daylight Saving Time. Clocks should be moved back one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4.


November 2, 2007
Revenue Department reports record high number of taxpayers filed online in 2007
E-Filing saved state $3.7 million in processing expenses
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) today announced a record high number of taxpayers chose to file online in 2007. More than 2.7 million taxpayers took advantage of E-Filing through the IDOR website, a 7.4 percent increase over 2006. In addition to making the filing process faster and more convenient for taxpayers, the E-filing option provides a significant cost savings to the state. In 2007, IDOR saved more than $3.7 million in tax processing costs.


November 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces more than $250,000 to enhance snowmobile trails throughout Illinois
Trail maintenance, equipment and safety projects will enhance snowmobile recreation
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded state snowmobile trail grants totaling $252,400 to seven local governments and to the statewide snowmobile association for trail maintenance, equipment, and safety improvements for public-access snowmobile trails in Illinois. The grants were announced at the Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs (IASC) annual convention in Naperville.


November 2, 2007
CTA and Pace accept Gov. Blagojevich's $27 million grant to maintain operations through year's end
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced this afternoon the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace accepted a $27 million direct grant to maintain operations until the end of the year. The short-term financial assistance package will ensure that transit riders in the Chicago area will be able to continue relying on the service they need while lawmakers work to pass a plan that provides long-term funding for mass transit as well as funding for infrastructure projects statewide.


November 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich promotes awareness and reminds caregivers they are not alone during Alzheimer's Awareness Month
More than 210,000 adults in Illinois are currently afflicted by the disease
CHICAGO – In an effort to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and to remind caregivers they are not alone, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed November as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Illinois. Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s throughout the United States, but those numbers are expected to triple in the next three decades if a cure or effective treatment is not found. In Illinois alone, there are more than 210,000 adults who are afflicted by this disease.


November 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich encourages employers to hire Veterans during "Hire a Vet" month in Illinois
Announces job fairs for Veterans throughout the state and reminds employers about $600 tax credit for each Veteran hired
CHICAGO - Building on his commitment to help the state's Veterans get the opportunities they have bravely earned, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged employers to hire the state's military heroes during "Hire a Vet Month" in Illinois. The state will host several job fairs for Veterans this month and the Governor reminded employers of the new state income tax credit available of up to $600 for every qualified Veteran they hire.


November 1, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On effort to provide long-term mass transit funding for RTA/CTA
CHICAGO – “The General Assembly is running short on time to pass a long-term funding plan for mass transit before the CTA and other transit agencies will take actions that hurt their riders in order to balance their budget."


October 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches 2007 winter heating assistance program, urges eligible households to apply for grants starting Nov. 1
Households advised to take steps before extreme cold hits Illinois through the 2007 Keep Warm campaign; For energy assistance and weatherization tips visit www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call toll-free 1-877-411-WARM
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced winter heating grants will be available for all income-eligible households through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) starting Nov.1, and urged all eligible families to apply now before extreme cold hits Illinois. The Governor’s announcement is part of the 2007 Keep Warm Illinois campaign which highlights state efforts to provide energy resources and education to all Illinoisans. The campaign informs and prepares Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children, and persons with disabilities for high home heating costs this winter. For information on energy assistance or weatherization tips, families can visit the Keep Warm Illinois website at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call the toll-free Keep Warm Illinois hotline at 1-877-411-WARM.


October 31, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs bill to toughen current anti-meth law
SB 274 makes any attempt to illegally transport or store anhydrous ammonia a Class 4 felony
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law that toughens current anti-methamphetamine laws by making any attempt to possess, procure, transport, store, or deliver a key meth ingredient a Class 4 felony. Class 4 felonies can carry a prison term of one to three years and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Senate Bill 274, sponsored by State Senator Larry Bomke (R-Springfield) and State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), makes it a felony to attempt to steal, improperly store, or transport anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia is a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, and its storage in unauthorized containers can be extremely dangerous. This increased penalty will deter those who may be planning to steal anhydrous ammonia to manufacture methamphetamine.


October 30, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, October 31, 2007.


October 30, 2007
State public health director offers safety tips for parents and kids this Halloween
SPRINGFIELD – State Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold today gave some helpful tips to make sure kids across Illinois have a safe Halloween.


October 29, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to improve consumer services at Illinois pharmacies
SB 509 expands patient options and streamlines prescription reviews
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that completely overhauls the pharmacy regulations for all Illinois pharmacies and pharmacists, and improves consumer services. Senate Bill 509, re-writes the Pharmacy Practice Act which has remained relatively unchanged since 1987. The changes reflect the growing importance of the role pharmacists play in providing care to Illinois families. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Lake Bluff) and State Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock).


October 26, 2007
Governor Blagojevich continues his effort to crack down on child support violators
New technology allows IDNR to identify parents who have outstanding child support payments when they apply for Illinois hunting and fishing permits
Department of Healthcare and Family Services identified nearly 6,000 parents who owe more than $60 million in child support through new point-of-sale system SPRINGFIELD– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced new technology could bring an additional $60 million in unpaid child support to the state. The point-of-sale technology administered through at the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) allows the Illinois Department of Healthcare Family Services Division of Child Support Enforcement (HFS DCSE) to crosscheck names of child support violators with everyone who applies for a hunting or fishing license in the state. If the applicant owes more than $1,000 in child support payments, they will not be issued a license. When HFS and DNR matched records of delinquent parents with 2006 applicants for hunting and fishing licenses they found nearly 6,000 matches with outstanding payments of more than $60 million.


October 25, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces business expansion in South Holland that will help create dozens of jobs in Chicago's southern suburbs
Illinois Finance Authority supports Rupari Food Services, Inc., with $10 million in tax-exempt bond financing to expand meat processing plant and create over 170 jobs
CHICAGO– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the expansion of a food and meat processing plant in South Holland that will spur economic growth, create over 170 jobs and help revitalize communities in Cook County’s southern suburbs. Rupari Food Services, Inc. is making a significant investment to build a new 60,000-sq.-ft. production/cold storage facility that will nearly double its employment and foster economic development within the region. The project is supported by the issuance of $10 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA). Rupari Food Services’ South Holland operation is a major wholesale supplier of processed ribs to the foodservice industry. Currently employing 150 at this facility, the expansion is expected to add over 110 new permanent jobs, as well as 60 construction jobs.


October 25, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces completion of Dan Ryan reconstruction
A safer and wider Dan Ryan Expressway; IDOT to open up all lanes to traffic ahead of schedule
CHICAGO – Alongside area legislators, law enforcement and transportation officials, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today cut the ribbon at the 39th Street entrance ramp to the outbound Dan Ryan, marking the ahead of schedule completion of the Dan Ryan Expressway Reconstruction Project - an historic and unprecedented effort to improve safety and provide congestion relief on one of the busiest expressways in the country.


October 25, 2007
Illinois Department of Corrections to conduct Operation Safe Spirits
Agency to increase monitoring of paroled sex offenders on Halloween
SPRINGFIELD - For the third consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will increase surveillance of paroled sex offenders on the days leading up to and on Halloween. Operation Safe Spirits works with local law enforcement throughout the state to keep a closer eye on paroled sex offenders during this time when more kids are out in the evenings going door-to-door to trick-or-treat.


October 25, 2007
Illinois organizations receive awards for environmental protection achievements
22 Illinois companies and organizations recognized for efforts in protecting the environment and boosting the economy
GLEN ELLYN, IL- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) along with the State’s Waste Management and Research Center (WMRC) honored 22 Illinois companies and organizations for their significant achievements in protecting the environment and boosting the economy. The Governor’s Pollution Prevention Awards and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Awards were presented today in Glen Ellyn during a luncheon. This is the 21st consecutive year the awards were presented by the WMRC, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


October 25, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
CHICAGO – “I applaud members of Congress for not giving up on the fight to save SCHIP, and for coming together across party lines to approve a plan that supports state efforts to make sure children have access to the healthcare they need. In Illinois, we became the first state in the nation to ensure that all kids have access to affordable health coverage. We’ll continue to make sure all children can get healthcare, but the federal government needs to do its part as well."


October 24, 2007
AmeriCorps volunteers pledge to help others through community service
More than 700 Illinoisans are sworn in during an opening day ceremony in Springfield
Springfield – Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., announced today more than 700 Illinoisans were sworn in, dedicating themselves to a year of serving their communities through the AmeriCorps program. The annual opening day ceremony was held at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, marking the 13th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. In those 13 years, more than 16,400 people have volunteered their time in Illinois through AmeriCorps.


October 24, 2007
4 additional human cases of West Nile virus bring the total in Illinois to 85
Two new counties reporting West Nile virus in animals and insects
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting today four additional human cases of West Nile virus bringing this year’s total in Illinois to 85.


October 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims United Nations Day in Illinois
State marks UN Health theme "Global Health: A Critical Component to Development" to highlight Illinois’efforts in combating HIV/AIDS and other major diseases
CHICAGO – Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Administration proclaimed today as United Nations Day in Illinois to recognize the contributions of the international human rights organization and to highlight the State’s efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other major diseases. This year’s UN theme, “Global Health: A Critical Component to Development,” prompted the State to provide information about HIV/AIDS prevention programs and on how to combat this and other diseases. On behalf of the Governor, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) hosted UN Day at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.


October 24, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces installation of first Memorial sign in honor of DUI victim, Tina Ball
IDOT officials are joined by Tina Ball's family and members of Task Force that backed law, allowing DUI memorial signs along IL highways
CHICAGO – As a result of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s signing of “Tina’s Law” this past August, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today installed the first DUI memorial sign authorized under the new law in Chicago. The legislation allows DUI victims’ family members to request that IDOT install the signs along Illinois highways. The sign erected along Interstate 57 near 111th St. is in memory of Tina Ball, a mother of seven and a road construction worker who was killed by a drunk driver while she was working on I-57 in Sept. 15, 2003.


October 23, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges legislators to provide permanent property tax relief to Cook County homeowners
Relief homeowners will see in soon-to-arrive tax bills to begin to disappear next year under legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly earlier this month
CHICAGO – As property tax bills are put in the mail to Cook County homeowners, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on the Illinois General Assembly to reconvene before the end of the year to provide permanent property tax relief. Earlier this month, lawmakers overrode the Governor's recommended changes to a property tax relief bill and approved a version that takes relief away next year, and completely phases out relief in three years.


October 23, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich cracks down on child support violators
New law provides ability to revoke driving privileges and "boot" vehicles until child support payments are made
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that would give the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Division of Child Support, the ability to use more aggressive enforcement tools to collect child support payments from deadbeat parents. On behalf of the Governor, Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram joined more than a dozen Illinois families, legislators and child advocates at the Marcy Newberry Day Care Center to herald Senate Bill 1035 which will adds administrative suspension of Illinois driving privileges and allows municipalities to immobilize vehicles for certain child support debtors to the list of enforcement actions available. The legislation also add severance pay to the as the definition of income for wage withholding purposes and authorizes parents and their legal representatives to review case records.


October 21, 2007
ISBE & IDOT team up to stress importance of school bus safety
National School Bus Safety Week – Oct. 22 – 26 theme reminds drivers and students to be careful at the bus stop
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are reminding students, parents and drivers about the importance of school bus safety both on and off the school bus during National School Bus Safety Week. The theme for the week, “Be Aware, Cross with Care,” reminds Illinois’ school children to be mindful of hazards any time they must cross the street and are walking to and from the bus stop.


October 19, 2007
ISAC Launches Trailblazing New Student Loan Program
Capstone Loan aims to help college seniors “cross the finish line”
DEERFIELD, IL – College seniors at seven Illinois colleges are eligible to take advantage of an innovative new student loan program under a pilot program administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).


October 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Cook, Knox and Warren counties added to federal disaster declaration for reimbursement to local governments affected by late August flooding
Local governments will be eligible for 75 percent reimbursement of eligible expenses related to storm response and recovery
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the federal government approved the state’s request for federal assistance for units of local government in Cook, Knox and Warren counties for extraordinary expenses incurred responding to and recovering from severe storms and flooding that hit the areas in late August.


October 19, 2007
State public health director issues guidance to help limit and control MRSA outbreaks in schools
Cases reported in communities among healthy people
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, will issue recommendations to limit transmission and control Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) outbreaks in Illinois schools.


October 19, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces state inspection program ensures highest-quality breast cancer detection tests
Illinois first and only state in the nation to offer free cancer screenings and treatment to all uninsured women; Governor urges women to recognize National Mammography Day by scheduling a mammogram
SPRINGFIELD – In his continuing effort to ensure that women receive life-saving mammograms, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called attention to a program through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) that ensures women are receiving high-quality mammograms. Each year, IEMA thoroughly inspects mammography equipment to ensure every machine is operating properly and women are getting accurate results. The Governor is taking this opportunity once again to encourage every woman to get screened just a few weeks after he expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), making Illinois the first and only state in the nation to offer every uninsured woman access to cancer screenings and treatment.


October 18, 2007
Deer activity on the rise with fall season underway; IDOT and IDNR urge motorists to be alert
Car vs. Deer injury and property damage crashes increase in 2006, fatalities drop
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) want to remind motorists that deer are more active during the fall, and as cooler weather approaches, the likelihood of vehicle crashes involving deer increases.


October 18, 2007
John Wood student wins 2007 Student Laureate Award
SPRINGFIELD– Bryan D. Schullian from John Wood Community College in Quincy is the community college recipient of the 2007 Student Laureate Award. The Lincoln Academy of Illinois presents this award annually for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from the four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in Illinois and to only one individual from among all the community colleges (who submit an application) and recommended by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).


October 18, 2007
Illinois Terrorism Task Force member receives national award for spearheading development of Illinois’ public health mutual aid system
Stephen Laker of the Vermilion County Health Department recognized for work on system that provides support to local public health agencies during emergencies
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) member Stephen E. Laker, M.S., L.E.H.P., Administrator of the Vermilion County Health Department in Danville, was recently honored by the American Public Health Association (APHA) with the 2007 Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health Work in recognition of his leadership and work on the development of the Illinois Public Health Mutual Aid System (IPHMAS). The award recognizes a local health officer who has demonstrated exceptional and innovative work in the field of public health.


October 17, 2007
Illinois Regulators Suspend License of Marion Physician
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation today approved a consent order that indefinitely suspends the license of Dr. Veizaga-Mendez to practice medicine in Illinois. The order was approved by the Illinois Medical disciplinary Board this morning and signed by Daniel E. Bluthardt, Director of the Division of Professional Regulation immediately following the Board’s decision.


October 17, 2007
Department on Aging inducts four into Senior Hall of Fame and presents Governor’s Unique Achievement Awards
Seniors honored for enhancing lives around them and commitment to community
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson today inducted four people into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame and presented several Governor’s Unique Achievement Awards during a special ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.


October 17, 2007
IDNR to participate in national surveillance for Avian Flu
Initial sampling of hunter-harvested and live-trapped waterfowl began in Illinois during the fall of 2006
SPRINGFIELD, IL – For the second straight year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will participate in the national surveillance effort for highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 avian influenza this fall. Similar to last year, wildlife biologists from IDNR will be collecting samples from hunter-harvested waterfowl at various sites throughout Illinois during the upcoming waterfowl hunting season.


October 17, 2007
State Fire Marshal’s Office coordinates fire truck, equipment donations to help southern Illinois fire department rebuild after devastating fire
Fire departments answer call to help Rural Pope County Fire Protection District
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Shortly after a devastating fire destroyed a Rural Pope County Fire Protection District fire station in late July, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) sent out a call for donations of fire equipment that could help the southern Illinois fire department recover. This week, help is on the way as a building, fire truck and firefighting equipment donated by fire departments in northern and central Illinois are being transported to Pope County.


October 17, 2007
13 additional human cases of West Nile virus bring the total in Illinois to 81
Two new counties reporting West Nile virus in birds
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting today thirteen additional human cases of West Nile virus bringing this year’s total in Illinois to 81.


October 16, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces U.S. Rt. 67 Web site to highlight progress on key corridor for Western Illinois
Governor urges Illinois House to pass comprehensive capital plan that will continue efforts to complete U.S. 67; More than $92 million included in Illinois Works for U.S. 67 corridor project.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today a new Web site where the public can track improvements along the U.S. Route 67 corridor. The interactive site, maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will contain updates and background information on this important long-term project, which ultimately will provide a convenient route for the transport of goods and services and serve as an economic engine, which will attract new businesses and enable the western part of the state to better compete in the global marketplace.


October 16, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Mortgage Fraud Task Force has shut down mortgage company in DuPage fraud ring
State and DuPage County authorities found evidence of criminal fraud
CHICAGO – As part of his ongoing efforts to protect homeowners from the impact of fraud on the value of their property and the safety of their neighborhoods, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the State’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, working with the DuPage County Sheriff’s office and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), revoked the license of Investor’s Choice Mortgage Corporation and its owner Kelli Wilson as well as loan originator Amber Seng. IDFPR also fined Investor’s Choice $20,000.


October 16, 2007
Illinois Lottery launches Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program to help problem gamblers
Program prevents problem gamblers from collecting large lottery prizes, receiving lottery mailings
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Lottery today launched their Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program that allows people who have determined they have a problem with gambling to stop themselves from playing the lottery by halting their prize claiming abilities. The Self-Exclusion Program aims to reduce the temptations for problem gamblers by preventing self-excluders from collecting prizes at the lottery's prize payment centers or through the lottery’s central office. The Illinois Lottery will also remove self-excluders from marketing lists.


October 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Announces Trade Show To Promote Illinois Food Products
The Illinois Food Expo is expected to attract thousands of buyers from throughout the Midwest
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than 2,500 food buyers have been invited to the 4th Illinois Food Expo, a trade show sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to promote the consumption of Illinois food products. The show will be held Wed., Oct. 17, at the Drury Lane Theatre Center in Oakbrook Terrace.


October 15, 2007
Illinois celebrates Earth Science Week
Governor proclaims Oct. 14-20 Earth Science Week in Illinois; State Geological Survey commemorates event with geological science field trip and distribution of earth science education materials
CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is commemorating the 10th annual Earth Science Week, October 14 – 20, with a geological science field trip for the public, and the distribution of 50 earth science curriculum packets to secondary school science teachers and other educators. These activities are part of the larger national and international celebration organized by the American Geological Institute (AGI) to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. This year’s theme is “The Pulse of Earth Science.”


October 12, 2007
Much to see and do in the Illinois outdoors
OutdoorIllinois wall calendar highlights activities from throughout the state; Magazine makes a perfect gift for outdoor enthusiasts
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ 2008 wall calendar, produced in conjunction with OutdoorIllinois magazine, once again will be available in the December issue of OI.


October 12, 2007
Defendant gets 2-year sentence for filing false tax return
CHICAGO - A Chicago man was today sentenced to two years in prison for trying to file a false tax return and get a refund of more than $6,000.


October 12, 2007
Governor Blagojevich reminds seniors and residents with disabilities about winter heating assistance grants
Priority households advised to apply now before extreme cold hits Illinois; To apply visit www.liheapillinois.com or call 1-877-411-WARM
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded seniors and residents with disabilities that winter heating grants are available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and will be available to all income-eligible households November 1. The winter heating program is expected to serve 300,000 households this winter with an estimated $150 million in state and federal funding. To apply, call 1-877-411-WARM or visit: www.liheapillinois.com.


October 12, 2007
State public health director warns consumers about recalled frozen pot pies possibly linked to salmonellosis
ConAgra Foods voluntarily recalling all varieties of frozen pot pies
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers today about frozen pot pies that could be linked to a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis. ConAgra Foods is voluntarily recalling an undetermined amount of all varieties of frozen pot pie products they produce under multiple brand names, including chicken, turkey and beef.


October 12, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the Illinois General Assembly’s vote to override Governor’s amendatory veto that strengthens property tax relief
SPRINGFIELD – “There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the legislature extended the property tax cap that Cook County homeowners have enjoyed since 2004.


October 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces nearly $2.8 million to help seniors and residents with disabilities remain independent in their own homes
Includes double state funding for Home Modification Program to $2.3 million; Additional $500,000 federal grant to help seniors stay independent
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced nearly $2.8 million in grants to help Illinois seniors and residents with disabilities live independently in their own homes and communities. Funding for the Home Modification Program has more than doubled from last year to $2.3 million and will help approximately 140 low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities across Illinois afford home accessibility improvements. The Governor also announced that Illinois will receive nearly half a million dollars in new federal funding to provide seniors with more affordable choices to enable them to remain living independently in their homes and communities. The Nursing Home Diversion Modernization (NHDM) Grants Program will serve 300 individuals in an 18 month pilot project, and increase the flexibility of service options for all Illinois seniors.


October 11, 2007
September warm and dry across Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – A uniformly warm, dry September speeded fall harvest but further increased drought conditions in southern and central Illinois. Statewide rainfall was 1.71 inches, 1.48 inches below normal, and the 12th driest September since 1895. Temperatures in Illinois averaged 69.8 degrees, 3.6 degrees above normal, and the 15th warmest September on record.


October 10, 2007
State issues reminder of workplace protections during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Illinois Department of Labor highlights law that protects victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination
CHICAGO —October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) wants to remind Illinois employees and employers about a state law that provides protections to victims of domestic or sexual violence from discrimination in the workplace.


October 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich fights to keep 55 MPH speed limit for trucks on Illinois highways
Governor and safety groups call on House members To put motorists first, sustain veto of SB 540 and save lives
CHICAGO - Joined by safety groups and the state's top law enforcement and transportation officials, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich called on Illinois House members to put the safety of motorists first and sustain his veto of Senate Bill 540. The legislation would increase the speed limit for trucks to 65 mph – a change that highway safety groups warn would lead to more fatalities. The veto was overridden by the Senate last week and is scheduled for a vote in the House this week.


October 9, 2007
Illinois Department on Aging honors all long-term care residents during Residents Rights Week in Illinois
Week highlights importance of resident-focused care
SPRINGFIELD – During National Residents’ Rights Week, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is honoring and calling attention to the state’s more than 100,000 citizens who reside in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed October 7-13, 2007, as Residents’ Rights Week in Illinois.


October 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches new statewide helpline for victims of domestic violence
Domestic Violence Helpline, 1-877-TO-END-DV to coordinate services for domestic violence victims across Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched a statewide helpline, to help victims of domestic violence get immediate access to the services they need. The new Domestic Violence Helpline was created by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), as part of October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The new statewide helpline, 1-877-TO-END-DV, offers a toll-free, 24-hour, 7- days–a-week, multi-lingual, service that links victims to domestic violence services.


October 9, 2007
Pennsylvania endorses Illinois’ bid for FutureGen
Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell points to Illinois geology and expertise to ensure success of world’s cleanest coal plant; PA one of several Midwestern coal producing states that will look at FutureGen technology for future economic development
SPRINGFIELD – Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced support to bring FutureGen, a $1.4 billion, coal-to-energy, state-of-the-art facility, to Illinois. Governor Rendell submitted a letter to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, which is developing the facility for the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), in support of locating the project in Mattoon or Tuscola, two of only four remaining sites for this public-private project. Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois Congressional delegation, and state and local partners across Illinois have been working for more than four years to bring FutureGen to Illinois. The Alliance is expected to announce its final selection from the four remaining sites by the end of the year.


October 5, 2007
State Fire Marshal urges people to develop and practice home fire escape plans during annual Fire Prevention Week
“Practice Your Escape Plan!” is theme for safety campaign October 7-13
Springfield – The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is joining with fire service organizations across the nation to encourage everyone to “Practice Your Escape Plan!” during Fire Prevention Week 2007, October 7-13. In many cases, if a fire breaks out in your home, you may have as little as two minutes before the fire turns deadly. With so little time to escape a burning home, having a family fire escape plan and regularly practicing that plan could be a real lifesaver.


October 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs Nurse Practice Act into law
SB 360 updates Nursing Act, recognizes changes in profession
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law that updates and extends the Nurse Practice Act until 2018. Recognizing the increasingly large role played by nurses in providing quality healthcare, the new law clarifies the responsibilities and requirements for Advance Practice Nurses (APN), Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). Senate Bill 360 was sponsored by State Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) and State Representative Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-River Grove). The current Nurse Practice Act sunsets January 1, 2008.


October 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to further restrict child sex offenders, methamphetamine producers
Senate Bill 1397 increases punishments for sex offenders; establishes meth ingredient sales tracking pilot program
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that puts additional restrictions on child sex offenders and producers of methamphetamine. Senate Bill 1397, sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Representative Deborah L. Graham (D-Oak Park), includes several provisions that crack down on sex offenders, including increasing maximum jail sentences for several types of sex offenses and requiring sex offenders to notify law enforcement within 72 hours of a change in address, employment or school, rather than the current five days. The law also creates a Pilot Program in Southern Illinois’ Williamson County to track the sale of ingredients used to produce methamphetamine.


October 2, 2007
Illinois Receives $13.9 Million to Expand Drug Treatment and Recovery Options
Access to Recovery Grant to Increase Client Choice in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs and Recovery Support Services
(Chicago) – Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams Ph.D today announced a $13.9 million Access to Recovery (ATR) grant that will allow DHS to expand options for over 6000 people seeking drug and alcohol treatment. The grant is part of a federal initiative to provide vouchers for substance abuse treatment and recovery services.


October 2, 2007
IEMA now accepting applications for $36.4 million in grants to public safety agencies for interoperable communications
Grants will help local, state agencies enhance emergency communications capabilities with new equipment and training
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency management agencies, public health departments and other public safety organizations to apply for funding the State of Illinois received from the National Telecommunications and Information System (NTIA) to help them improve interoperable communications.


October 1, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Disaster Unemployment Assistance for workers affected by flooding in six Northeastern Illinois counties
State continues commitment to helping area residents recover from severe flood
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that residents of DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, Lake and Will counties who lost their jobs after severe storms and flash flooding hit the area in August, may be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The assistance is available as part of the federal disaster declaration that was secured by the Governor after the storms.


October 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law encouraging land conservation stewardship
SB 17 provides tax incentives for conservation management of woodlands, prairies, wetlands and other undeveloped lands
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that encourages landowner conservation and protection of woodlands, wetlands, prairies and other undeveloped land. Senate Bill 17, sponsored by State Senator John Sullivan (D-Quincy) and State Representative Dan Reitz (D-Sparta), provides property tax incentives for landowners who develop and follow conservation management plans for woodlands, prairies, and wetlands.


October 1, 2007
Statement from Deputy Governor Sheila Nix
In response to House Committee of the Whole on Governor’s line item budget vetoes
“Governor Blagojevich believes state spending should address people's most basic needs first. Nothing is more basic than access to healthcare. Because the budget passed by lawmakers failed to adequately fund healthcare, the Governor cut funding for pork projects and other less critical needs. Some projects in the budget are worthwhile and we are interested in seeing some funded - but not at the expense of healthcare for families and mammograms for women. If legislators want to find new sources of revenue to pay for projects and programs without raising taxes, we're happy to work with them.”


September 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces a $3 million grant to help eliminate the risk of lead poisoning in children
Illinois ranks number one in the nation for identifying news cases of lead poisoning in children
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $3 million grant for the Illinois Get the Lead Out Program – Phase V to help protect children and families from dangerous lead-based paint hazards in the home. The funding will be used to reduce or remove lead-based paint in more than 200 low-income homes in seven target areas across Illinois. This latest round of funding brings the total number of homes made lead-safe by this program to 1,200.


September 28, 2007
Blagojevich administration, safety groups and law enforcement push to keep 55 MPH speed limit for trucks on Illinois highways
Governor says lives of motorists are at stake; Calls on Legislature to sustain veto of SB 540
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s top transportation officials were joined today by traffic safety and law enforcement advocates in urging legislators to sustain the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 540, which would have raised the speed limit for trucks in Illinois to 65 miles per hour. The Governor has fought to keep the 55 mph speed limit in place for trucks on Illinois highways for the safety of everyone who travels our roads. During Gov. Blagojevich's administration fatalities on state roads have dropped by 200 a year, the lowest levels since 1924.


September 28, 2007
Illinois EPA Director Scott receives 2007 Environmental Vision Award
Director awarded highest honor for environmental stewardship
CHICAGO – Douglas P. Scott, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), was awarded the 2007 Keep Illinois Beautiful Environmental Vision Award yesterday for his outstanding environmental leadership. He accepted the award at the Keep Chicago Beautiful 20th Anniversary Awards Dinner held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.


September 27, 2007
IDNR reminds hunters of new regulations in effect for 2007-08 deer hunting seasons
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters of new regulations in effect for the 2007-2008 deer hunting seasons, which are set to begin Oct. 1.


September 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces major expansion of Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program; Makes Illinois first state to ensure all women who need access to screenings and treatment can get it
With National Breast Cancer Awareness month days away, Governor launches "Take Charge, Get Screened" campaign to give more Illinois women benefits of early detection
260,000 more women will be eligible for free health screenings and treatment; expanded program begins October 1 CHICAGO – Standing with cancer survivors, doctors, advocates and legislators at Mercy Medical Center in Chicago, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a major expansion of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), which makes Illinois the first state in the nation to make sure all women who need access to potentially life-saving cancer screenings and treatment can get it. By expanding the program to all uninsured women, Gov. Blagojevich makes it possible for 260,000 more women to qualify for free cancer screenings and treatment regardless of income. As part of his new Take Charge, Get Screened campaign, the Governor today made stops throughout the state to urge women to take advantage of the newly available free screenings and treatments to reduce breast and cervical cancer mortalities through early detection and prompt treatment.


September 26, 2007
Fourth West Nile death and 13 additional human cases bring the total in Illinois to 48
Two new counties reporting West Nile virus in birds
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting today 14 additional human cases of West Nile virus including a Gallatin County woman in her 80’s who died on September 12. The woman is reported to have become ill in early September. This newly reported case in addition to the 13 cases listed below brings the total this year to 48.


September 26, 2007
IDNR’s Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Program accepting applications
Application deadline is November 30
SPRINGFIELD – Butterfly gardens, prairie plots and wetland study areas are just some of the projects students have developed through the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The IDNR is accepting applications for the 2007 grant program now through Friday, November 30.


September 25, 2007
Blagojevich administration officials join lawmakers, labor and business leaders in Rockford to build support for Illinois Works
Plan supports 725,000 jobs statewide; delivers more than $260 million in capital funds for Rockford schools and roads and bridges, including widening IL Rt. 2 and the Freeport Bypass; New revenue stream also provides $30 million more in annual funding for Rockford schools
ROCKFORD – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin was joined today by Rockford area legislators, labor and business leaders today in Rockford to build support for Illinois Works, the $25.4 billion capital plan approved unanimously on September 18th by the Illinois State Senate. For the Rockford area, that means $260 million for critical local projects. The bill will head to the Illinois House of Representatives when they reconvene for the fall legislative session beginning October 2nd. Gov. Blagojevich is urging members to work across party lines and pass the legislation, which will fund projects that are vital to keeping Illinois families safe and helping communities thrive.


September 25, 2007
Blagojevich administration officials, lawmakers, labor and business leaders visit Champaign to build support for Illinois Works
Plan will support 725,000 jobs statewide; provide $209 million for Champaign area schools, roads, bridges, and economic development projects; New revenue stream also provides $19.6 million more in annual funding for Champaign area schools
CHAMPAIGN – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Deputy Governor Louanner Peters today joined legislators, labor and business leaders at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to build support for Illinois Works, the $25.4 billion capital plan approved unanimously on September 18th by the Illinois State Senate. For the Champaign area, that means $209 million for critical local projects. The bill will head to the Illinois House of Representatives when they reconvene for the fall legislative session beginning October 2nd. Gov. Blagojevich is urging members to work across party lines and pass the legislation, which will fund projects that are vital to keeping Illinois families safe and helping communities thrive.


September 25, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to provide better coordination of State’s education systems
HB 1648 will help align state’s educational focus from preschool through graduate school
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will help provide better coordination of the State’s education systems. House Bill 1648 creates the Illinois P-20 Council which will advise leaders in State government and education stakeholders on how to better align Illinois’ education systems – from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education.


September 25, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to give the State increased powers to enforce DUI laws
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will give the State increased powers to enforce DUI laws. Senate Bill 577, sponsored by State Senator John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) and State Representative Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan), gives more power and opportunity to the Secretary of State to penalize drivers who are arrested or stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.


September 24, 2007
Illinois Department on Aging hosts 23rd Annual Older Workers Luncheon and Awards Ceremony during National Employ the Older Worker Week
Outstanding workers & employers recognized at luncheon in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – In conjunction with National Employ the Older Worker Week, Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson will host the 23rd Annual Older Workers Luncheon and Awards Ceremony to honor the state’s outstanding older workers and their employers. Individuals from around the state will be recognized and honored by IDoA for their continued dedication and passion for serving the state of Illinois. The noon luncheon will take place on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.


September 24, 2007
Illinois fall trout season begins Oct. 20
Trout to be stocked at 36 locations
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today that the 2007 Illinois fall trout fishing season opens on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 36 ponds and lakes throughout the state.


September 20, 2007
Illinois Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers extended tax filing deadline October 15
IDOR encourages taxpayers to use electronic filing to receive refunds quickly
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Revenue today reminded taxpayers who utilized an extension on their 2006 individual income tax return to file by the extended deadline, Oct. 15, 2007. By filing these returns electronically, taxpayers awaiting tax refunds can look forward to receiving that refund in about a week.


September 20, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 22, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 22, 2007.


September 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Provides Expanded, Permanent Property Tax Relief to Benefit 76% of Cook County Homeowners
Governor uses amendatory veto to permanently extend and expand the 7% solution
CHICAGO – Standing with Cook County Assessor James Houlihan in front of the home of Mike and Linda Vacala, a Cook County family hit hard by skyrocketing property assessments, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the permanent extension and enhancement of the 7% property tax solution. These changes will result in significant property tax relief for the vast majority of Cook County homeowners.


September 19, 2007
Poetry Out Loud Looks For Participating Illinois Schools
More than $100,000 awarded nationally to students and schools in 2007
The Illinois Arts Council invites Illinois high schools to participate in the 2008 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a free national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage.


September 19, 2007
ISBE announces earliest release of Report Card data to schools in more than 20 years
Spring testing data shows ISAT, IMAGE scores are up
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today the release of the 2007 School Report Card to schools and districts statewide – the earliest release in the 21-years of producing school report cards. Analysis of the 2007 statewide testing data also shows improvement and ongoing progress for Illinois’ students.


September 19, 2007
Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program accepting donations for 2007 deer season
More than 1.4 million meals provided to needy families thanks to hunters donating deer
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is again encouraging deer hunters in Illinois to consider donating whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) program in 2007. ISAH coordinates the donation and processing of venison providing meals to food banks, food pantries and charitable organizations throughout the state. Started in 1989, the ISAH program has coordinated the donation of more than 359,000 pounds of venison, providing more than 1.4 million meals for those in need.


September 18, 2007
State Public Health Director encourages regularly scheduled checkups
Extend the lives of family as part of Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today stressed the importance of regularly scheduled checkups, as part of an annual awareness campaign.


September 18, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, September 21, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, September 21, 2007.


September 18, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to further protect children from sexual predators
HB 1979 also increases penalties for impersonating public officers for identity theft
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law that will increase protections for children against sexual predators, by making it a criminal offense for someone to intentionally lure a minor through electronic media, and classifying an individual as a sexual predator if they have been convicted of two or more offenses of luring a minor.


September 17, 2007
Governor Blagojevich joins 29 other governors in calling on Bush Administration to repeal proposed rules that limit states' flexibility in covering children
Governors reiterate need for reauthorization of State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
SPRINGFIELD - Continuing his push for reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined governors from across the country in calling on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to immediately reverse proposed mandates it announced last month that will fundamentally alter the authority given to states under SCHIP to craft and operate health care programs that best serve their constituents. In a bipartisan letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, Gov. Blagojevich and 29 other governors from around the nation urged CMS to reiterate its commitment to the state-federal partnership under SCHIP and join the governors in advocating the reauthorization of SCHIP this year.


September 17, 2007
Illinois will celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Days Sept. 22-23
Festivals planned for Silver Springs SFWA, John A. Logan College
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois will celebrate the annual National Hunting and Fishing Days September 22-23 with two festival events. The Northern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days event will be held at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area near Yorkville and the Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days event will be at John A. Logan College in Carterville.


September 17, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to protect and promote the rights of residents of all ages living in long term care facilities
Legislation gives Long Term Care Ombudsmen the option to advocate for residents under age 60
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law to protect and promote the rights of residents of all ages living in long term care facilities. House Bill 1301, sponsored by State Representative Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago) and State Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville), gives the state’s Long Term Care Ombudsmen the option to serve residents under 60 years of age, helping to ensure all residents are receiving the highest quality of care possible.


September 15, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces more than $2.5 million to provide housing services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS
Grants help low income residents living with HIV/AIDS obtain affordable housing, counseling and nutritional services
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $2.55 million in grants to 17 community based organizations across Illinois to provide housing services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. This is an increase of $125,000 from grants awarded last year. The grants will be used to provide lodging and meals to residents; rehabilitation and facility repair; operating costs including maintenance, security, insurance, utility, furnishings, equipment and supplies; and supportive services such as case management, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment.


September 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich asks President Bush for federal disaster declaration for nine Northern Illinois counties ravaged by flooding in August
Federal disaster declaration would help people, businesses and local governments recover from losses
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare nine Northern Illinois counties major disaster areas as a result of flooding and severe storms in late August that damaged thousands of homes and businesses. A federal disaster declaration would enable people, businesses and local governments to apply for grants and loans to help with flood and storm-related losses. Counties included in the federal disaster declaration request include Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry and Will.


September 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect teens from ‘alcopop’ advertising
Legislation prohibits marketing of flavored alcoholic beverages to minors
SPRINGFIELD – Representatives from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration joined today with the legislative sponsors of Senate Bill 1625 and alcohol prevention advocates to announce how the new law will protect Illinois minors. The Governor signed SB 1625 into law today to prevent the advertisement or promotion of flavored alcoholic beverages, or ‘alcopops’, to children. ‘Alcopops’ are alcoholic beverages that are blended with fruit juice, lemonade or other flavorings. Examples include ‘hard lemonade’ and ‘twisted tea’. SB 1625, sponsored by State Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) and State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), will fine companies that promote ‘alcopops’ to minors $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for a second offense.


September 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $10 million grant for alcohol prevention programs
Eighteen communities across the state to receive funds to develop plans to reduce underage and binge drinking
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a five-year, $10 million grant from the federal government to bolster the state’s alcohol prevention efforts. The funds will be distributed by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), to 18 organizations across the state for programs created to reduce risky use of alcohol, underage and childhood drinking, binge drinking, and deaths from alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes.


September 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich officially names Milt Sees as Illinois Secretary of Transportation
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today officially named Milt Sees as Secretary to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Milt Sees has been the Acting Secretary of IDOT since earlier this year.


September 14, 2007
Governor Blagojevich appoints new director of Public Health
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Dr. Damon Arnold as the State’s new Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The Governor accepted the resignation of Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, the State’s public health director since 2003. Dr. Whitaker is leaving to pursue a position in the private sector.


September 13, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces distribution of STARCOM21 radios to colleges for state’s campus security effort
More than 300 radios distributed to nearly 70 colleges will increase emergency communications capabilities between campus security forces and other response organizations
SPRINGFIELD – Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration today announced that the State will complete the distribution of more than 300 radios to 70 Illinois colleges and universities as part of his initiative to strengthen safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors at Illinois institutions of higher education. The STARCOM 21 radios will help campus security officials communicate with other response agencies during emergencies on or near their campuses. Representatives from more than 20 colleges are meeting at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield today to pick up their radios and receive training on how to operate them. Forty-six colleges have already received their STARCOM radios and completed hands-on training during a similar session on August 28 at the University of Illinois-Chicago.


September 13, 2007
Illinois EPA announces fall 2007 Household Hazardous Waste collection schedule
Collections planned for ten Illinois communities in September and October, IEPA also collecting unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott announced today that the Illinois EPA will host ten household hazardous waste collections, to be held across the state, starting Saturday, September 22.


September 13, 2007
State employees begin 25th annual campaign to meet important social service needs statewide
Employees contribute millions of dollars each year through SECA campaign; support helps Illinois’ most vulnerable
SPRINGFIELD – Highlighting both the current effectiveness and future needs of Illinois’ social service agencies, state leaders today launched the State and University Employee Combined Appeal (SECA) campaign that raises millions of dollars each year to support efforts to help some of Illinois’ most vulnerable people statewide.


September 12, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing from unskilled interpreters
State to set standards to license and regulate sign language interpreters
SPRINGFIELD — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law that protects people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing from unqualified and unskilled sign language interpreters. Senate Bill 259, the Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007, establishes statewide licensing standards for registered interpreters. Sponsored by State Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), the legislation ensures those individuals who are in need of interpretive services will be paired with qualified interpreters who are subject to professional standards.


September 12, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 15, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 15, 2007.


September 11, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, September 13, 2007.


September 11, 2007
Blagojevich administration marks 9/11 anniversary by honoring sacrifices made during and after the 2001 terror attacks
Governor signs HB3618 to make sure flags are lowered at half staff upon the death of an Illinois service member or law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Administration today honored the memory of those lost in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 and recognized Illinois' brave law enforcement officers and service members.


September 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to help educate veterans and National Guardsmen about potential risks of exposure to depleted uranium while serving overseas
SB 597 creates task force to study effects of hazardous materials found in combat during Persian Gulf War, OEF, and OIF
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will help educate veterans and Illinois National Guardsmen about the possible risks of exposure to toxic materials, particularly depleted uranium, while serving overseas. Senate Bill 597, sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), will assist Persian Gulf veterans and National Guardsmen in finding information on available treatment for exposure to depleted uranium and will establish a task force within the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) to study the health effects of exposure to hazardous materials.


September 10, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces $18.8 million in grants to help Illinois victims of violent crime
Funding will support direct services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and those with special needs
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois will receive $18.8 million in federal funding that will provide crisis intervention, counseling, and emergency shelter to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes, and support victim advocacy initiatives throughout the state.


September 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to allow rape victims more time to file civil lawsuits
HB 1462 suspends the two-year statute of limitations to file civil action if the victim is being threatened or intimidated
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that gives sexual assault and rape victims more time to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrator. House Bill 1462 suspends the current two-year statute of limitations in the state of Illinois if the victim is threatened, intimidated or manipulated by the perpetrator or another person acting in the perpetrator’s interest.


September 10, 2007
"Day of Remembrance"
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff in honor of the: Day of Remembrance for September 11


September 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois Child Support Program to receive national award for excellence
Award recognizes state’s efforts to ensure children receive the financial support they’re entitled to through child support assistance
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the State of Illinois’ child support program is being recognized for high performance by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). On September 11, Illinois will be awarded a Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for High Performance at the 17th National Child Support Enforcement Training Conference in Washington, DC. This award recognizes Illinois for performance in all areas of the national strategic plan for child support. Just seven years ago, Illinois’ child support system was ranked among the worst in that nation.


September 9, 2007
State Fire Marshal and Department on Aging highlight senior safety and support programs on Grandparents Day
OSFM’s “Grandparents Fire and Fall Safety Campaign” focuses on senior citizen safety, Aging reminds families about state’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program
SPRINGFIELD, IL – In honor of Grandparents Day, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) are highlighting the state’s efforts to keep senior citizens safe and support those who are shouldering the responsibility for raising their grandchildren.


September 8, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Chicago Park District host first “Veterans Adaptive Activities Day”
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and Chicago Park District hosted the first “Veterans’ Adaptive Activities Day” at Northerly Island in Chicago today. The event gave Veterans with disabilities the opportunity to try a wide variety of sports equipment with adaptive fitness specialists from across the region.


September 7, 2007
State public health department promotes rabies prevention awareness for the first annual World Rabies Day
55,000 people die worldwide from rabies each year
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is promoting rabies prevention awareness and education by celebrating the first annual World Rabies Day, tomorrow, September 8, 2007. This year IDPH is seeing more bats with rabies. Bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Illinois.


September 7, 2007
Virus Detected In Illinois' White-Tailed Deer Population
Animal health officials say Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is deadly to deer, but poses no risk to humans
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An outbreak of an acute, infectious virus that kills white-tailed deer has been detected in Illinois, the state Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources reported today.


September 6, 2007
Blagojevich administration unveils Ready Illinois disaster preparedness Web site
New Web site provides easy access to comprehensive information about what to do before, during and after disasters
SPRINGFIELD – Disaster preparedness information is just a mouse click away with a new state Web site unveiled by the Blagojevich administration during a statewide emergency management conference today in Springfield. The Ready Illinois Web site (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) offers comprehensive information on steps people can take before emergencies happen, what to do once a disaster has occurred, and tips for recovery after the event. In addition, during a large-scale disaster, current information about the situation and details about such things as shelters and road closures can be posted on the site to help people access needed information.


September 6, 2007
Honoring Ohio Congressman Paul Gillmor
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, September 6, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, September 6, 2007.


September 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches innovative program to help Illinois residents buy their first homes
Assets Illinois Homeownership Project will offer dollar for dollar match for up to 850 participants statewide
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched an innovative program that could help up to 850 people across the state become first time homeowners. The Assets Illinois Homeownership Project funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will offer a dollar for dollar up to $2,000 match in a structured savings account to help individuals save for the purchase of their first homes and build equity for the future. The program's free homeownership counseling will also educate participants about the financial obligations of homeownership and help homebuyers avoid the dangers of predatory lending.


September 5, 2007
State public health director warns parents to beware of lead paint in toys
Numerous toys manufactured in China are recalled
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, is warning parents to watch out for possible lead paint on their children’s toys after numerous manufactures, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), recently issued voluntary recalls for children’s toys and jewelry, all manufactured in China, due to lead paint. In many cases, surface paints on these recalled items contain excessive levels of lead which is prohibited under federal law. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause serious health problems.


September 5, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs presents $100,000 Veterans Cash grant to help establish The John Marshall Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic
100 percent of proceeds from the Veterans Cash lottery ticket go to help provide wide range of services for Illinois Veterans
CHICAGO – Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) presented The John Marshall Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic with a $100,000 Veterans Cash grant today. The grant will go towards the establishment of the Center, which will be dedicated to serving the legal needs of Veterans and current service men and women.


September 5, 2007
Illinois Landowner Incentive Program Accepting Applications In Alton Bluffs Area For Habitat Restoration And Enhancement Projects
LIP open enrollment period Sept 10 – Oct 31
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) will begin accepting applications for habitat restoration and enhancement projects in the Alton Bluffs area on September 10. Applications will be accepted at 10 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), including Adams, Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Pike, Randolph, St. Clair, Union through October 31.


September 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich expands I-Loan Mortgage program to offer 40-year loans for first-time homebuyers
New pilot loan offers safe, below-market rate, fixed mortgages that will help lower monthly payments for Illinois residents
CHICAGO – As the nation’s foreclosure rate continues to rise, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today expanded the state’s I-Loan Mortgage program to offer 40-year loans to help first-time homebuyers in Illinois achieve the dream of homeownership. The new I-Loan 40 Mortgage pilot program provides one more safe and affordable option for an estimated 150 low- and moderate-income residents who want to purchase their first home. As with the pre-existing 30-year I-Loan Mortgage program, the I-Loan 40 offers first-time homebuyers a below-market interest rate that is fixed.


September 4, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich kicks off statewide Back-to-School All Kids campaign
Staples joins schools and health care organizations to educate parents about Governor’s affordable, comprehensive health care program for children
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today kicked off a statewide Back-to-School All Kids outreach campaign to help every family in Illinois get healthcare for their children before the new school year begins. This year, Staples, the world’s largest office products company, will join hundreds of schools, healthcare providers, and community organizations in supporting the Governor’s efforts to ensure every child in Illinois has access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare as families visit the retailer to buy back-to-school supplies. All Kids makes Illinois the first state in the nation to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child.


September 4, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich expands the G-I Loan for Heroes program to help more veterans and active duty personnel afford homes
$15 million in additional funding follows program's success; more than 100 veterans and active duty members helped in first four months
NORMAL – Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Administration today announced $15 million in additional funds to support the G-I Loan for Heroes program that helps qualified veterans and active duty personnel afford to buy a home. Launched last May as a $15 million pilot mortgage program, the G-I Loan for Heroes has already helped 115 Illinois veterans and active duty members secure low-interest mortgages and closing cost assistance during the program's first four months.


September 4, 2007
Blagojevich Administration announces more than $1.5 million in Women's Health Initiative Grants for Illinois
Grants to raise awareness and educate women and young girls about the health risks associated with common disease and health conditions
Awards reinforce Governor's commitment to healthcare; every uninsured woman in Illinois to have access to breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment SHERMAN- Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Administration today announced more than $1.5 million in Women's Health Initiative Grants for non-profit organizations, health departments and service agencies in Illinois. The grants will help institute educational programs about menopause, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. This latest grant announcement continues to strengthen the Governor's commitment to improving the overall picture of healthcare in Illinois.


September 4, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On failed House vote on SB 572, sales tax for mass transit
CHICAGO - "I believe a tax on working families for transportation is a backdoor fare hike, and I believe the legislature was correct in rejecting that approach. For months I have urged the leadership in the House to consider alternatives, but unfortunately no progress has been made. Now, after the legislature's rejection of Speaker Madigan's tax increase, we are in early September without a resolution and the clock still ticking. This has never been a question of whether we should fund mass transit - that is essential. It is a question of how. I will continue to push to close corporate loopholes and to find other sources of revenue to help fund the CTA and RTA without raising taxes on people."


September 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs "Jeff’s Law," legislation that cracks down on reckless and drunk drivers
SB 363 makes it easier to convict reckless drivers when they kill people in work and school zones and are excessively speeding or under the influence
SPRINGFIELD– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed "Jeff’s Law" today, making it easier to convict speeding or impaired drivers who kill people in work or school zones. The bill is in response to the tragic death of Jeff Heath, 58, a five year IDOT employee killed on April 26, 2006 while directing traffic in a construction zone. Heath was struck and killed by a speeding vehicle trying to avoid an accident on Route 162 near Pontoon Beach. Heath left behind a wife, two children and six grandchildren.


September 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich creates loan program to replace ash trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer
Communities eligible for low interest loans for reforestation projects
SPRINGFIELD– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today to help Northern Illinois communities infested with the tree-killing emerald ash borer finance potentially expensive reforestation projects. Senate Bill 1617, sponsored by State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and State Representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), creates the Emerald Ash Borer Revolving Loan Program, which will provide low-cost loans to local governments for replanting trees on public lands within the boundaries of the state's emerald ash borer quarantine area.


September 1, 2007
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich leads effort to help boost blood supply in downstate Illinois at an American Red Cross blood drive
Hospitals recently reached an all-time low supply in blood donations and are in crucial need
DuQUOIN - First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today joined the American Red Cross, one of the nation's largest blood collection organizations at the Senior Citizen Building at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds to help local area hospitals boost their blood supplies and provide hundreds of lifesaving blood transfusions. Blood supply has reached a critical low in Downstate Illinois. The American Red Cross blood drive will take place over the Labor Day weekend and is expected to increase the current on hand blood supply, which is at a critical level, from a one day supply to five days.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation increasing background checks for the sale of guns in Illinois
SB 940 ensures mental health history is added to background checks, purchase information is shared with federal authorities
SPRINGFIELD– In response to recent nationwide efforts to toughen gun laws following the Virginia Tech tragedy last April, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation designed to prevent the sale of guns to individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety. Senate Bill 940, sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Mt. Prospect) and State Representative Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), will help make sure that gun purchaser/owner information is shared with federal authorities and will add mental health history to background checks for gun purchases in Illinois.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs "Truth in Towing" law for Illinois motorists
SB 435 will strengthen motorists' rights and protect from fraudulent "safety relocators"
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation designed to protect Illinois motorists from excessive fees and other abuses from unlawful towing companies. Senate Bill 435, sponsored by State Senator Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kevin A. McCarthy (D-Orland Park), protects consumers by regulating the towing of damaged or disabled vehicles from public streets and highways.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation cracking down on parents that permit underage drinking at home
SB 158 increases penalties for parents who knowingly allow underage drinking that results in injury or death
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that underscores adults' responsibility for preventing underage drinking. Senate Bill 158, sponsored by State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and State Representative Karen May (D-Highland Park), increases the penalty to 1-3 years in prison and up to a $125,000 fine for parents who knowingly allow underage alcohol consumption in their home and the drinking leads to serious injuries or death. This bill is in response to a tragic car accident that killed two Deerfield teens and injured three others who had been drinking at a house party last October.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints Brigadier General William L. Enyart as 37th Adjutant General; will lead Illinois Department of Military Affairs
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Brigadier General William L. Enyart as the new 37th Adjutant General of Illinois. Enyart will command more than 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Illinois National Guard. He will also serve as the Governor's principal advisor on military matters and function as the director of the Department of Military Affairs. Enyart will assume command from Maj. Gen. Randal E. Thomas, who retires in September.


August 30, 2007
IDOT Highlights Blagojevich Administration Efforts to Promote E-85 and Biofuels at Farm Progress Show
DECATUR - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has showcased its efforts to promote the use of home grown fuels at the 54th Annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, which wraps up today. IDOT featured its E-85/Biodiesel Project with an exhibit (Use Your Home Grown Fuels) in the Varied Industries Tent, an effort that highlights Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s plan for energy independence by supplying 50% of our motor fuel needs from Illinois crops by 2017 and create universal availability of E-85 at fuel stations statewide. The show, recognized world wide as the “Super Bowl of Agriculture,” has exhibits covering over 75 acres and attracts a national and international audience.


August 30, 2007
Regulation changes adopted regarding commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fish species in Illinois
IDNR Works With Illinois Commercial Fishing Association To Protect Paddlefish, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Bowfin
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Several changes in the regulations regarding the commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fishes in Illinois have been adopted effective Oct. 1, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


August 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces All Kids Bridge, an expansion of healthcare for young adults who otherwise would not be able to get coverage
Plan expands access to affordable, quality healthcare for seriously ill teens or those with pre-existing conditions when they get too old for All Kids
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an expansion of healthcare coverage to assist seriously ill or injured teens or those with pre-existing conditions transition from All Kids to the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (ICHIP). This new All Kids Bridge Program will prevent a lapse in healthcare and ensure premiums stay affordable for young people when All Kids coverage ends on their 19th birthdays.


August 29, 2007
IDHS marks second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with renewed assistance for evacuees living in Illinois
State assistance still available through I-KARE program to victims of Katrina trying to get back on their feet
CHICAGO – Marking the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. announced that state assistance is still available to help thousands of Katrina evacuees living in Illinois. IDHS has extended the Illinois Katrina Assistance and Relief Effort (I-KARE) that offers evacuees help to pay their rent, security deposits, utilities, medical bills, transportation, education and helps them with job training and placement through 2009.


August 29, 2007
Department of Transportation to Suspend Lane Closures Over Labor Day Weekend to Give Motorists a Break
ISP, Secretary of State Police and local police agencies Announce Labor Day Impaired Driving Crackdown
SPRINGFIELD, IL- With thousands of people traveling over the upcoming holiday weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced they will be suspending roadwork where possible to make for a smoother drive this Labor Day weekend. IDOT, Illinois State Police (ISP) and Secretary of State Police also want to remind motorists they are teaming up with 350 local law enforcement agencies to launch a statewide impaired driving crackdown running from Aug. 17 through the Labor Day Holiday.


August 29, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law providing individuals with disabilities and CHIP participants with greater access to healthcare services and insurance
Legislation will help make sure that CHIP members who are close to reaching maximum benefits do not lose their insurance
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed two pieces of legislation that will help make healthcare more accessible for people with disabilities and provide deeper coverage for Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) participants in Illinois. The Governor signed into law House Bill 1256, which expands the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (HBWD) program, and Senate Bill 144, which increases the lifetime benefit limitation for CHIP to $2 million for the next three years.


August 28, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law reaffirming Illinois' commitment to stem cell research
Legislation permits embryonic stem cell researchers to receive state funds
Researchers better able to find cures for debilitating diseases - cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law permanently allowing state money to fund embryonic stem cell research in Illinois. Senate Bill 4, the Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning Prohibition Act, sponsored by State Senator Jeffrey M. Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and State Representative Tom Cross (R-Plainfield), permits embryonic stem cell researchers to receive state funds and prohibits cloning or the attempt to clone a human being. The legislation comes after the Governor created by Executive Order in 2005 the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute (IRMI) Program two years ago, and allocating $15 million for stem cell research.


August 28, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help children with life-threatening allergies get coverage for least invasive treatments
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of amino acid-based formulas used to treat infants and children with life-threatening allergies. Senate Bill 935 requires amino acid-based formulas to be covered by Illinois-regulated insurance companies whether delivered orally or through invasive surgery.


August 28, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to provide Illinoisans relief from electric rate increases; Urges lawmakers to keep working on additional consumer protections
Legislation provides $1 billion in rate relief to Illinois consumers, ends the power auction and creates the Illinois Power Agency to oversee electricity procurement
DU QUOIN - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to provide relief to Illinoisans faced with skyrocketing electric rates. Senate Bill 1592 directs $1 billion in credits to electricity consumers across the state to help alleviate some of the burden of higher costs that came when utility and power companies began buying power through an auction process after a ten-year rate freeze expired at the beginning of the year. The new law eliminates the auction process and establishes a new state agency, the Illinois Power Agency, to plan for Illinois' energy future and stabilize electric rates.


August 28, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, August 31, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, August 31, 2007.


August 28, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 1, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 1, 2007.


August 28, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law prohibiting Illinois pension funds from investing in companies that are associated with the Republic of Sudan
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law barring Illinois from investing money in the Republic of Sudan and divests any current investments linked to Sudan. Senate Bill 1169, sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D - Chicago) and State Representative David Miller (D - Dolton), prohibits state pension funds from investing in companies that are associated with the Republic of Sudan.


August 27, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help provide disabled individuals more options in long-term care
Illinois successfully secures highly competitive federal grant to rebalance long-term care system for disabled individuals
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to help provide disabled individuals more options in long-term care. Senate Bill 765 reinforces the State's commitment to enhancing long-term care options for disabled individuals. The "Money Follows the Person" initiative allows the State to receive federal funding to pay for more home and community-based care for those in need of long-term care support. Illinois was successful in securing a highly competitive federal grant to continue its efforts in rebalancing the long-term care system for people with disabilities.


August 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to help protect disabled Medicare beneficiaries from being overcharged by insurers
Governor also signs laws creating new tax check-offs for lung cancer and autoimmune diseases research
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to protect disabled individuals under Medicare from being overcharged by insurers. Senate Bill 873 will end insurance discrimination against disabled patients by ensuring this population has more options to choose from while dramatically lowering the cost of policies. Medicare supplemental insurance policies provide much needed wrap-around coverage for beneficiaries with disabilities.


August 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law banning harassment by debt collectors
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to help protect Illinoisans from harassment and inappropriate calls from debt collectors. Senate Bill 1398 limits the amount and type of contact debt collectors may have with residents who have unpaid debts, and is in direct response to numerous complaints from individuals about embarrassing communications and inappropriate harassment by collection agencies.


August 27, 2007
ISBE, IDOT urge drivers to give students a brake as more than 2 million Illinois kids head back to the classroom
Electronic message boards programmed to remind motorists school is back in session; use extra caution around school zones and buses
Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today reminded drivers to be extra cautious on the roadways as more than 2 million students head back to school. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be flashing messages on its changeable message boards reminding drivers that school is back in session. Last year, nearly 100 children between the age of 5 and 18 were killed and nearly 12,000, mostly within the same age range were injured in crashes in which they were either passengers, a pedestrian or on a bike.


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to keep impaired drivers off the road
Legislation requires ignition interlock device on cars of first-time DUI offenders
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law designed to reduce the number of drunk drivers on Illinois’ roads by requiring first time DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed on their cars. The law also provides jail time for offenders who try to evade the devices by driving someone else’s vehicle. The Governor also signed “Tina’s Law,” which allows relatives of DUI victims to request a roadside memorial to honor their loved ones. Tina Bell, who inspired the legislation, was killed by a drunk driver while working as a flagger on an Illinois Department of Transportation construction project in 2003.


August 24, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law requiring carnival owners to conduct background checks on carnival ride operators
Law will help protect millions of Illinois children and fairgoers
SPRINGFIELD - As the Du Quoin State Fair kicks off in Southern Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a new law to help protect millions of children and fairgoers in Illinois. House Bill 820 requires carnival owners and operators to conduct background checks on workers to prohibit convicted sex offenders from operating carnival rides at amusement parks, fairs and other attractions.


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law requiring nurse staffing plans in hospitals
Legislation mandates staffing plans to be based on the critical needs of patients
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law mandating staffing plans to help make sure hospitals maintain appropriate nursing care for all Illinois patients. Senate Bill 867 requires hospitals to have hospital-wide staffing plans that outline the minimum nurse-to-patient staffing needs for each inpatient care unit. The measure was sponsored by Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) and Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago).


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect patients during dental procedures
Legislation includes new requirements for dentists who practice sedation
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that will help protect patients during dental procedures, by establishing strict requirements for dental offices that use anesthesia and sedation. Senate Bill 214 comes in response to the tragic death of five-year-old Diamond Brownridge last September who fell into a coma while under deep sedation during a routine dental procedure in Chicago.


August 23, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On BP's pledge not to dump more pollution into Lake Michigan
CHICAGO - "This is certainly a major victory for one of our greatest natural assets. We all will pay the price for sacrificing our environment for short-term economic gains. We are very pleased and thank BP for realizing that its plan to dump more pollutants into Lake Michigan was unacceptable and can't move forward. We can expand our economy while protecting our environment, and we will continue to work with BP and other companies across the state to show them how to accomplish both of these very important goals. By working with our partners across the Midwest, we will also continue to explore ways to strengthen requirements and standards for emissions into the Great Lakes."


August 23, 2007
IDOT and DHS Expand Program to Help People With Disabilities Overcome Workplace Barriers
Student Professionals with Disabilities program to go statewide
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today that the Student Professionals with Disabilities program will be expanded statewide. The program, which gives high school students with disabilities the opportunity to gain on the job experience, began in 2006 but has been limited to the Springfield area. The expansion will ensure more people have the chance to gain valuable job skills and succeed in the workplace.


August 23, 2007
State Regulators Crack Down on Flea Market Sales of Colored Contact Lenses
Lenses sold without a prescription and fitting could be dangerous to consumers
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is serving Cease and Desist orders to beauty supply stores and flea market vendors selling cosmetic, colored contact lenses without a prescription. The orders immediately stop the vendors from selling the lenses and could subject them to civil penalties of $10,000. Colored lenses purchased without proper examinations and fittings put thousands of Illinois customers at risk of scratches, infections and potential blindness.


August 23, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs FY08 budget; cuts nearly $500 million in 'pork' and non-essential spending
State will make record investment in education and increase access to healthcare to 500,000 more people
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the state's Fiscal Year 2008 budget, and exercised his veto authority to remove nearly $500 million in 'pork' projects and other spending the state cannot afford from the operating budget approved August 10 by the General Assembly. With the Governor's vetoes and reductions, general revenue spending in the FY08 budget reflects a 5.9 percent increase over FY07.


August 22, 2007
State waterfowl public hunting areas report encouraging for upcoming season
Habitat conditions, weather will be among keys to hunter success
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Generally good habitat conditions and the forecast of a very good migration of ducks from breeding grounds into Illinois this fall highlight the latest Illinois Waterfowl Public Hunting Areas Report from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


August 22, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints Sergio Estrada Jr. as new Acting Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Retired Marine Sergeant Major and OEF and OIF Veteran will join Director Tammy Duckworth to lead the ongoing effort to improve the services to Illinois Veterans
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Chicago native and Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Sergeant Major (Ret) Sergio Estrada Jr. as the new Acting Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). Mr. Estrada’s appointment requires State Senate confirmation.


August 22, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs' Kane County Aurora Veteran Service Office moves to new location
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced the Kane County Veteran Service Office in Aurora has moved to a new location. The Veteran Service Office's new location is 900 N. Lake Street in Aurora and it will assist the over 27,000 Veterans who live in Kane County in applying for benefits from both the state and federal governments.


August 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law expanding Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit to 100,000 more Illinoisans
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today expanding eligibility for the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund to an additional 100,000 Illinoisans. Senate Bill 338, sponsored by State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago), ends the provision in current law that requires individuals to qualify for federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money in order to receive an Illinois EITC refund.


August 21, 2007
State public health department reports NO Mad Cow Disease cases in Illinois
Cases of human brain-wasting disease often confused and misreported as BSE, more commonly referred to as Mad Cow Disease
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials report today there are no confirmed or suspected cases of a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in Illinois, commonly referred to as human mad cow disease. CJD is a rare, fatal brain disorder that causes mental deterioration and a variety of neurological symptoms, which usually leads to death within a year of onset.


August 20, 2007
IEMA joins with Illinois Broadcasters Association to encourage people to test homes for radon
TV, radio messages start airing in Illinois to increase awareness of radon health risks and importance of home tests
SPRINGFIELD – You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) are joining together to make people in Illinois more aware of the hidden health hazard that could be in their homes. Radio and TV messages that recently began airing across the state highlight the fact that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and encourage people to contact IEMA for free home test kits.


August 20, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, August 25, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, August 25, 2007.


August 18, 2007
Illinois Department Of Agriculture Inaugural "Breakfast On A Stick" Competition Offers Unique Dishes
SPRINGFIELD, IL –Taking the cake (or egg) for the most unique food contest at the Illinois State Fair, the inaugural “Breakfast on a Stick” competition, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the American Egg Board, featured 14 fairgoers pitted against one another for this year’s most outrageous breakfast dish.


August 17, 2007
Former Heavyweight Champion Makes First Trip To Illinois State Fair
Jacksonville native Ken Norton returns to Central Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Former world heavyweight champion boxer Ken Norton, a Jacksonville native, took advantage of his time back home in Illinois and made a trip to the Illinois State Fair Friday where he signed autographs and took pictures with fairgoers.


August 17, 2007
IDNR announces 2007 Volunteers of the Year
Annual awards honor individuals and organizations for exceptional volunteer service
SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is recognizing seven individuals and five organizations as 2007 Volunteers of the Year (including one nomination for Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year). The IDNR Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Awards are presented each year to individuals and organizations for exceptional volunteer service to the department and the people of the state of Illinois.


August 17, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs celebrates groundbreaking of Lile Lake at Manteno Veterans Home
Fishing pond fulfills dream for longtime Marine, teacher and former Veterans Home Assistant Superintendent
MANTENO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today joined local elected officials, President of the Kankakee-Iroquois County Building and Construction Trades Steve Magruder, local Veterans organizations, and the family of Mickey Lile to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Lile Lake at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno. When completed, the Lile Lake will be a 1.75 acre fishing pond for the Veterans Home residents and their families to enjoy.


August 17, 2007
Governor Blagojevich urges President Bush to reconsider his threat to veto State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
SCHIP has helped to provide healthcare for over 316,000 Illinois children
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to put the well being of hundreds of thousands of Illinois children first, and reconsider his threat to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill currently being considered by the U.S. Congress.


August 16, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, August 19, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, August 19, 2007.


August 16, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law closing corporate tax loopholes that only benefit special interests
Move would generate an additional $250 million in state revenue to fund important priorities including education and healthcare
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation closing corporate tax loopholes that only benefit business and special interests in order to invest the revenue generated in priorities that help working families – including expanded access to healthcare and education. Closing the tax loopholes is expected to generate an estimated $250 million. During his 2007 budget address in March, Gov. Blagojevich argued that the Illinois tax code is riddled with loopholes that allowed major corporations to pay little or nothing to the state for the money they earn from Illinois business.


August 16, 2007
Heartland Area At Illinois State Fair Celebrates Illinois Producers
Wine garden and farmer’s market offer alternative fair foods and beverages
SPRINGFIELD, IL. - Wine and air conditioning create a relaxing combination, making the Illinois Wine Tent, located in the Heartland area at the Illinois State Fair, a popular location for fairgoers old enough to partake.


August 15, 2007
Illinois EPA issues Annual Compliance Report for public water supplies
Community water supplies continue to deliver safe drinking water to over 11 million Illinois consumers
SPRINGFIELD—Illinois community water supplies met all state and federal health requirements during calendar year 2006. This is the conclusion from information recently provided to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Illinois EPA in its Annual Compliance Report.


August 15, 2007
Illinois Department of Revenue warns businesses about tax ID website rip-off
Sites charge fee for connecting users to free services on IDOR website tax.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD – In a letter to the state’s top business associations, Department of Revenue Director Brian Hamer warned businesses today about websites that charge money to connect users to services the IDOR offers for free. The Director asked the Better Business Bureau of Illinois, the Illinois Retailers Association, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to pass along information about these websites to their members and new entrepreneurs.


August 15, 2007
Three new human cases and Jackson and St. Clair counties reporting West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today three more confirmed human cases of West Nile virus, bringing the total to eleven in Illinois for 2007. The latest cases involve a 56 year old Chicago man who became ill in mid-July, an 88 year old Chicago man who became ill in late-July, and a 59 year old Pike County woman who became ill in early July. The first human case of West Nile virus for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15.


August 15, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs' announces Wabash County Veteran Service Office
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced Wabash County now has an itinerant Veteran Service Office located at 115 East 3rd Street in Mt. Carmel. The office will assist the over 1,500 Veterans who live in Wabash County this year in applying for benefits from both the state and federal governments.


August 14, 2007
Governor Blagojevich uses executive authority to bolster healthcare security for half a million people Governor vetoes $500 million in ‘pork’ and other special interest spending from budget passed by
Sen. Pres. Jones voices support for Governor’s changes
SPRINGFIELD – Joined by Senate President Emil Jones, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that his administration will pursue administrative changes to dramatically improve healthcare security for thousands of Illinois families – a critical need not addressed in the budget passed by lawmakers last week. The Governor has expressed concern that the spending plan passed in haste by the legislature failed to address some of the most serious problems facing the people of Illinois. The Governor also announced today he will use his veto authority to remove approximately $500 million in special ‘pork’ projects and other unnecessary spending from the $59 billion operating budget approved late last week by the General Assembly.


August 14, 2007
Governor's Sale of Champions Sets New Record With Steer Sale
One of Two Records Broken
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The 2007 Illinois State Fair Governor’s Sale of Champions was a success yet again, with a record purse collected for the Grand Champion Steer. “Yahtzee,” a 1,344-pound crossbred steer owned by Nicholas Day of Lovington, Ill., sold for $45,000. The sale price eclipsed the record $41,000 purchase price of the champion in 2006. The buyers were DeKalb Asgro Corporation, Simmons and Cooper Law offices, Battery Specialists and the State Bank of Monticello.


August 13, 2007
Grand Funk Railroad Cancels Illinois State Fair Performance
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Grand Funk Railroad has canceled its appearance at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. The 70s rock band was supposed to open the Joe Walsh concert Saturday, Aug. 18, but will not be able to perform because of a scheduling conflict.


August 13, 2007
Seniors educated on various services available to them during Senior Day at the Illinois State Fair
Red Hat Society paints Director’s Lawn purple and red
SPRINGFIELD, IL – A sea of purple t-shirts and red hats flooded the Director’s Lawn today during a luncheon hosted by the Red Hat Society to celebrate the state fair’s Senior Citizens’ Day.


August 12, 2007
Hog and Husband Calling Contests A State Fair Favorite
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Despite blazing heat, a sizable crowd gathered for this year’s renditions of two of the Illinois State Fair’s most unique events: the hog and husband calling contests.


August 11, 2007
IDOT Teams Up With Best Western Hotels of Illinois to Create New State Highway Map
Maps developed through corporate sponsorship save taxpayers more than $100,000
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Milt Sees today announced new state highway maps are available, free of charge, at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. This is the second time IDOT has worked with corporate sponsor Best Western Hotels of Illinois to develop new highway maps for the state. The sponsorship offsets the cost of the project to taxpayers by more than $100,000.


August 11, 2007
Illinois Department of Human Services Speaks Out Against Youth Violence at the 78th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade
Parade participants represented those disabled by gun violence
CHICAGO – Flanked by more than 70 wheelchair users, most of whom were disabled by gun violence, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams Ph.D. encouraged youth and adults to speak out for “Safe Schools and Safe Communities” during the 78th annual Bud Billiken parade.


August 11, 2007
Nickelodeon's Slime Plays 2007 Illinois State Fair
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Nickelodeon has “slimed” numerous celebrities, game show contestants and kids in its 28-year history. Now, around 15 kids in attendance at the 2007 Illinois State Fair can count themselves among the ranks of Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Jack Black and P. Diddy as people who have had the green concoction dumped on them. As part of the station’s Slime Across America Tour, kids had the chance to be slimed, sing karaoke and give shout-outs to their favorite Nickelodeon shows during three performances Saturday.


August 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces child safety seat check effort at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
Several agencies join forces to educate parents on proper safety seat use to keep kids safe
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that state, corporate and community leaders are teaming up to promote the proper use of child safety seats during a large-scale Child Seat Safety Check at the Illinois State Fair. In 2003, the Governor signed a law requiring all children up to age eight to be properly secured in a safety seat. Today, to ensure all child safety seats are installed properly, over 40 certified child passenger safety technicians from around the state will check child safety seats from 9:00 a.m. to noon inside gates 6& 7 on the Fairgrounds.


August 10, 2007
County Fair Volunteers and Queens Recognized At County Fair Day
Mendota resident named County Fair Person of the Year
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois county fair volunteers and county fair queens were honored today on opening day of the 2007 Illinois State Fair.


August 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich opens 2007 Illinois State Fair
Governor’s and First Lady’s tents open today
SPRINGFIELD – Keeping up with Illinois State Fair tradition, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, along with First Lady Patricia Blagojevich, today cut the ribbon at the Main Gate of the Fairgrounds to officially open the 10-day event. The 155th Illinois State Fair began today and runs through Sunday, August 19th. The theme of this year’s Illinois State Fair is “Celebrate and Educate.”


August 9, 2007
IDOT announces enhanced inspections for bridges under construction to ensure they are safe for traffic
New precaution follows MN bridge collapse, Governor’s instruction to review all similar bridges
GLENVIEW – In response to the collapse of the bridge that was under construction in Minnesota last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced it will take additional steps in advance of bridge rehabilitation projects to ensure that the structures can safely carry traffic while they are under construction. This will require the temporary closure of these structures before the projects can proceed. The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minnesota had been deemed structurally deficient and was under construction at the time of the collapse.


August 9, 2007
Illinois Department of Revenue collects millions from Illinois businesses through new federal/state online payment system
Pilot program proves more convenient for employers to pay withholding taxes
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois employers have flocked to a pilot program that allows them to pay, without charge, both their federal and state withholding taxes using an online federal payment system, Illinois Department of Revenue Director (IDOR) Brian Hamer announced today. Illinois was the only state chosen by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2006 to test the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Since IDOR launched the program in December, more than 105,000 state withholding tax payments for more than $225 million have been collected.


August 9, 2007
First West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2007
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today the first death related to West Nile virus in Illinois for 2007. A 77-year-old Ogle County man died yesterday after becoming ill from West Nile virus earlier this month. The first human case was reported in DuPage County on June 15. A total of eight human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this summer have been reported in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Madison, Ogle and Tazewell counties.


August 9, 2007
The Illinois State Fair Butter Cow Has Moooooved
85-year old fair tradition has a new home
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Quite a bit has changed since 1922: this nation has seen two new states added to the union, four wars, 12 presidents, eight generations, the beginning and the end of the Great Depression, the demise of Prohibition, a man walking on the moon, the rise of rock-n-roll and technological, scientific, and medical advances no one could have never dreamed of. One tradition at the Illinois State Fair hasn’t changed through the years and that is the Butter Cow.


August 8, 2007
State public health director warns people to avoid contact with bats
Dozens of bat exposures already documented as we enter busy bat season
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is reminding everyone to avoid contact with bats as we approach the time of year when bats are the most active and health officials see the most bat exposures. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois and already this year, 42 bats have tested positive for rabies in 22 counties.


August 8, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's Keep Cool Illinois Campaign To Provide Cooling Centers During Illinois State Fair
Fairgoers encouraged to take precautions to ensure their visit is safe and enjoyable
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois program, State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick today announced ten cooling centers will be open during the 2007 Illinois State Fair to help prevent heat-related illnesses.


August 8, 2007
State Fire Marshal kicks off “LOOK UP!” campus fire safety campaign at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Safety posters being offered to all colleges to encourage students to “look up” and make sure they have working smoke alarms in living quarters
SPRINGFIELD, IL – With students set to return to college campuses within the next few weeks, State Fire Marshal Dave Foreman today kicked off the “LOOK UP!” fire safety campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of working smoke alarms in both on- and off-campus housing. Foreman joined staff and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus Wednesday to begin putting up the safety posters around the campus.


August 8, 2007
Another human case and Macoupin and Saline counties reporting West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today another confirmed human case of West Nile virus, bringing the total to seven in Illinois for 2007. The latest case involves a 50-year-old Cook County woman who became ill in early July. The first human case of West Nile virus for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15. Human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this summer have been reported in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Madison and Tazewell counties.


August 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs new laws to improve public safety and protect law enforcement agencies
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that helps law enforcement agencies better protect Illinoisans. Senate Bill 585, Senate Bill 639 and Senate Bill 1265, allow law enforcement agencies to equip their bicycles with sirens, prohibit vehicles from having tainted or clear license plate covers and increase penalties for individuals who try to bypass interlock devices.


August 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares Rockford, Winnebago state disaster area following flooding
State committed to helping area recover from severe flood
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared Rockford and Winnebago County a state disaster area for damage caused by flooding early Tuesday morning, and said the state will continue to work closely with local officials to ensure the area recovers from this event as quickly as possible.


August 7, 2007
IDNR works with Central Management Services to recycle used motor oil
Program will save state money and promote cleaner facilities
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is going even greener today by joining a state oil recycling program, Acting IDNR Director Sam Flood announced.


August 6, 2007
Cooler than normal July prevails
SPRINGFIELD – While there were some hot days, Illinois generally managed to avoid the heat wave experienced out West during July. Statewide July temperatures averaged 73.5°F, 2.3°F below normal, and the 20th coolest July since 1895. In fact, most Illinois locations had many fewer 90-degree days than normal. Chicago hit the 90-degree mark four times (three less than normal); Rockford, four times (two less); Moline, four times (five less); Peoria twice (seven less); Springfield once (10 less); Quincy five times (five less); and Carbondale only nine times (five less).


August 6, 2007
Governor Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign offers tips to protect against heat-related health problems during this week’s hot weather
Department of Public Health encourages preventive action
SPRINGFIELD – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is urging Illinoisans this week to take preventive actions during this extremely hot weather. The Governor has also made 130 state facilities available as cooling centers. The mission of the Keep Cool Illinois campaign is to inform Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children and persons with disabilities, on how to prevent heat-related health problems and participate in summer activities safely.


August 6, 2007
Going To State Fair? Want To Save A Bundle On College?
Financial and academic preparation for college is focus of ISAC booth
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Visitors to the 2007 Illinois State Fair will be able to find more than corn dogs, the Giant Slide and a butter cow at this year’s event.


August 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs new laws protecting Illinois law enforcement rights, expands arrest powers of federal agents
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that increases protection for Illinois law enforcement officers. House Bill 162 and House Bill 166 protect the rights of pregnant law enforcement officials and expand the arrest powers of federal agents in Illinois.


August 4, 2007
Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Week Walk at the Zoo encourages moms to breastfeed, resulting in healthier babies
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims August Breastfeeding Promotion Month, Human Services Agency participates in statewide activities
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today joined mothers, families, healthcare workers and public officials for the Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Walk at the Henson Robinson Zoo. The event, co-sponsored by St. John’s Hospital, is held each year to support and promote breastfeeding and kicks off a month of activities throughout the state in support of breastfeeding.


August 3, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, August 7, 2007.


August 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich renews call for Legislature to approve $10 billion capital plan to upgrade infrastructure
Illinois bridge system ranked 5th safest in nation by Federal Highway Administration; Governor says capital investment in bridges and roads needed to create jobs, boost economic development and improve public safety
QUINCY – Standing in front of Quincy Memorial Bridge in Clat Adams Bicentennial Park, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today renewed his call to the Illinois General Assembly to put partisan differences aside and approve a $10 billion state capital investment plan. In the wake of the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Governor called on lawmakers to make needed investments to keep Illinois’ infrastructure system sound.


August 2, 2007
Celebrate the great outdoors at Conservation World during the 2007 Illinois State Fair
Scheer’s Lumberjacks, Cool Dog Thrill Show, fishing and hunting clinics among the activities featured
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Traditional favorites including the Scheer’s Lumberjack Show and the Cool Dog High Performance Trick Dog Thrill Show anchor a full schedule of family-oriented entertainment and activities at Conservation World during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 10-19, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


August 2, 2007
Illinois Product Demonstrations to be Held at the 2007 Illinois State Fair
Items from homemade jams and jellies to spices and seasonings to be featured in showcase of Illinois-made products
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Marketing and Promotion will highlight Illinois companies and products in the Heartland area at the 2007 Illinois State Fair.


August 2, 2007
Grand Marshals Announced for 2007 Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In keeping with its theme, “Celebrate and Educate,” the Illinois State Fair has selected five individuals in the field of education as this year’s Twilight Parade grand marshals. State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick made the announcement today during Press Preview Day at the fairgrounds.


August 2, 2007
Illinois' war heroes to be honored during Veterans' Day at the Illinois State Fair
Day includes memorial services honoring Illinois’ fallen service members, "Supermarket of Veterans' Benefits", and a special performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) will host "Veterans' Day" at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, August 12, 2007. The special day will be held at the Lincoln Stage from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission to the Fair will be free for Illinois Veterans and their families all day. The fun-filled day will include entertainment by the world famous United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the Springfield Municipal Band, and the 144th Army National Guard Band. Memorial services will be held honoring Illinois' fallen service members of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and for all service members. There will also be a "Supermarket of Veterans Benefits" held close to the Lincoln Stage and a parade through the fairgrounds.


August 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs groundbreaking dam safety legislation
New law creates warning and enforcement standards at publicly owned dams throughout the state
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed first-of-its-kind legislation today that focuses on improving public safety on rivers throughout the state. House Bill 33, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) and State Sen. Arthur Wilhelmi (D-Crest Hill), creates new warning and enforcement standards on public waterways near dams. The law gives the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) the ability to establish guidelines for the placement of signs and buoys around 32 publicly-owned dams on navigable waterways such as the Fox, Rock and Kankakee rivers.


August 1, 2007
Three New Cases of West Nile virus in Illinois bring total number of human cases to six
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed 3 new cases of people with West Nile virus, bringing the total to six human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois for 2007.


August 1, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the federal decision not to stop BP from dumping pollutants into Lake Michigan
SPRINGFIELD – “I am deeply disappointed by today’s U.S. EPA’s decision to allow the BP refinery in Northwest Indiana to increase the level of pollution they dump into Lake Michigan.”


July 30, 2007
$1.38 Billion Sale of State's Student Loan Portfolio Complete
ISAC deal will help agency pay off debt, focus on making college more affordable for Illinois students
DEERFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today closed the sale of $1.38 billion in student loans to two not-for-profit agencies. The transaction will help ISAC pay down its debt, exit the increasingly unprofitable business of holding loans made to non-Illinois students, and focus on making college more affordable for Illinois students.


July 30, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs important legislation as part of Illinois’ strong bipartisan push to bring FutureGen to Illinois
Part of coordinated campaign to bring world’s cleanest coal plant to Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich took another important step today in demonstrating why Illinois is the natural location for FutureGen, a $1.4 billion, coal-to-energy, state-of-the-art facility. By signing Senate Bill 1704, the Governor is giving Illinois an even greater chance of landing FutureGen. Mattoon and Tuscola are two of only four remaining sites for this public-private project, which would have a major economic impact statewide, in addition to demonstrating breakthroughs in clean coal technology. The Governor, the Illinois Congressional delegation, and state and local partners across Illinois have been working for more than four years to bring FutureGen to Illinois. The FutureGen Industrial Alliance, which is developing the facility for the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), is expected to announce its final selection from the four remaining sites this fall. State Senators Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Dale Righter (R-Matoon) and State Representatives Kurt Granberg


July 25, 2007
State officials announce $1 million to help low income families and senior citizens afford locally grown fruits and vegetables
Farmers in 24 counties to accept coupons for the Illinois WIC and Senior Farmers Market programs
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. and Department on Aging Director Charles Johnson today announced $1million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2007 Women Infant and Childrens (WIC) and Senior Farmers Market programs. The money will be distributed in the form of coupons to eligible persons to buy produce at the markets.


July 25, 2007
7 Illinois counties now reporting West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD - Three additional counties have reported positive West Nile virus mosquito batches to the Illinois Department of Public Health this week bringing the total number of counties reporting West Nile virus to seven. A positive mosquito batch was collected in rural south-west Lake County on July 6, another was collected in Springfield in Sangamon County on July 19 and the final positive batch was collected in Amboy in Lee County on July 24, 2007.


July 24, 2007
Blagojevich Administration Partners with UAW Leadership to Offer Consumer Protection Training
SPRINGFIELD - Representatives of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) today met with leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) retiree chapters from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, to train them to help their members deal with financial planning, health care quality, and other consumer issues.


July 24, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Calls For Artists Fellowship Applications
Fellowship Grants Promote Excellence in the Arts Deadline September 1st, 2007
Chicago – Applications are now available for the Illinois Arts Council’s (IAC) Artists Fellowship Program. These highly competitive grants honor artists of exceptional talent and enable them to pursue their artistic goals. Fellowships are a fixed amount of $7,000. A limited number of Finalist awards will also be given. These $700 awards are intended to recognize additional applicants who demonstrate considerable talent. All Illinois residents are eligible and encouraged to apply.


July 24, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Calls For Ethnic & Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Applications
Master Artist/Apprentice Relationship Preserves Illinois’ Cultural Heritage Deadline September 1st, 2007
Chicago – Applications are now available online for the Illinois Arts Council’s (IAC) Ethnic & Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program. This program recognizes the vital role of the master artist/apprentice relationship in the preservation of Illinois’ cultural heritage. Master/Apprentice awards are $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.


July 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich reminds Illinoisans to apply online for Illinois Cares Rx
Urges all seniors to sign up now to avoid interruption in wrap-around prescription drug coverage and lower costs; For more information on Illinois Cares Rx, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged all Illinois Cares Rx members to reapply for Illinois Cares Rx now in order to avoid a break in coverage, including seniors who have not yet reapplied because they thought their income was over the limit. The Governor also reminded Illinois citizens who are newly eligible for Medicare Part D to go online and apply for Illinois Cares Rx – the state’s prescription drug assistance program that provides wrap-around prescription drug coverage to fill in the gaps created by Medicare Part D. Seniors and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply online because it is the fastest way to get approved for the program. Seniors with questions about Illinois Cares Rx can call the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org.


July 23, 2007
State health director warns consumers of food borne illness after company expands recalled foods
Recall now includes almost 100 varieties of canned goods
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is warning consumers again today not to eat certain canned products after Castleberry’s Food Company, owned by Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, voluntarily expanded its recall from last week due to possible botulism contamination.


July 23, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation making Illinois smoke-free; drastically reduces the risk of second-hand smoke for workers and the public
Senate Bill 500 bans smoking in public places statewide
CHICAGO – Surrounded by cancer survivors, healthcare professionals and clean air advocates at Northwestern University’s Feinberg Pavillion, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took steps to protect millions of Illinoisans from the dangers of lung cancer by signing important legislation that will impose a statewide ban on smoking in all public places, including bars, restaurants, public buildings and work places. Senate Bill 500, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, was sponsored by State Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough (D-Broadview) and State Sen. Terry Link (D-Lake Bluff).


July 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces recommendations to improve safety at Illinois dams
Input will be sought on report recommendations from communities near dams
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today released a new state-funded report by a private engineering firm that examines the current condition of 25 publicly owned dams on Illinois rivers and makes recommendations on specific safety improvements.


July 20, 2007
"Breakfast On A Stick" Competition To Debut At 2007 State Fair
Prizes to be awarded for best stick-meal creation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Do you have what it takes to create the next, great “on-a-stick” concoction? At the 2007 Illinois State Fair, creative cooks will have their chance to do just that.


July 19, 2007
Department on Aging hosts 21st Annual Elder Rights Conference during Elder Abuse Awareness Month
Outstanding workers & volunteers recognized at conference in Lincolnshire
SPRINGFIELD – Continuing the state’s effort to increase awareness and visibility of elder abuse during Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) hosted the 21st Annual Elder Rights Conference in Lincolnshire this week. The conference, entitled “Elder Rights... Family Matters,” educated providers and professionals on an array of topics including how to work towards elder abuse prevention. At the conference today, individuals from around the state were recognized and honored by IDoA for their continued dedication and passion for elder rights.


July 18, 2007
IDNR announces proposed waterfowl season dates for 2007-08
Proposals sent to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for concurrence
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced the state’s recommendations for 2007-08 waterfowl hunting season dates and regulations. The recommendations include 60-day duck seasons in all zones, 85-day Canada goose seasons in the North and Central zones, and a 66-day Canada goose season in the South Zone.


July 18, 2007
Illinois Department Of Agriculture To Offer Free Recycling Program For Agrichemical Containers
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois farmers soon will have a cheap and convenient opportunity to dispose of their empty agrichemical containers.


July 18, 2007
Illinois State Fair Searching For Volunteers
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois State Fair still is looking for volunteers to help in a number of areas throughout the 10 days of this year’s fair. These areas include information booths, various buildings and gates and at the Illinois State Fair Museum under the Grandstand.


July 18, 2007
Third human case of West Nile virus identified in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed the third human West Nile virus case in Illinois for 2007. A Madison County man in his 60s, who reportedly traveled within Illinois and other states during his incubation period, has West Nile neuroinvasive disease. Neuroinvasive disease is the most severe form of the West Nile virus and affects a person’s nervous system.


July 17, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $12.5 million for anti-drug, prosecution, and victims’ assistance programs throughout Illinois
More than $1 million will be used for crime victims’ assistance in Cook County
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced nearly $12.5 million in federal funding for programs to help fight the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs, prosecute drug offenders, provide victims assistance, and support other state, county and local programs to enhance public safety throughout Illinois.


July 17, 2007
Red Hats To Be Celebrated With Day At The Illinois State Fair
Live entertainment and contest highlight events
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – On Aug. 13, the Springfield chapter of the Red Hat Society will host “Red Hat Day and Lunch” at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. All Red Hat Chapters in Illinois are welcome to attend. The activities will occur on Senior Citizen’s Day, when admission for persons 60 and older is free.


July 16, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to extend special education services for students with disabilities
Law helps young people with disabilities transition into adulthood
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that allows young people with disabilities to continue receiving the services necessary to help them transition smoothly into adulthood. House Bill 817, sponsored by State Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) and State Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) clarifies the definition of “children with disabilities” to include students through age 21.


July 11, 2007
Free Trade Show Part Of National High School Finals Rodeo
Dozens of exhibitors to have booths in Orr Building
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – More than 60 exhibitors will set up shop in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds during the 2007 National High School Finals Rodeo, selling items from Western wear and jewelry to saddles and horse trailers.


July 11, 2007
Illinois Department of Agriculture Finds New Emerald Ash Borer Infestation
Three counties, including LaSalle, now known to harbor the pest
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A destructive, non-native pest that feasts on ash trees has been confirmed in LaSalle County. The emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered just north of Peru at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Route 251, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced today.


July 10, 2007
Illinois State Fair Arena To Showcase Fan Favorites
Professional bullriders, truck and tractor pull and freestyle motocross to return in 2007
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Arena will, once again, offer spectators unique, competitive and popular entertainment options at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. The fair announced today that Pro-Am arena cross and freestyle motocross, the Illinois Tractor Pullers Association’s (ITPA) truck and tractor pull, and the Professional Championship Bullriders tour all will return this year.


July 9, 2007
Governor Blagojevich, victims’ families, advocates urge lawmakers in Springfield to take action against assault weapons during overtime session
Governor will call Special Session so lawmakers can consider and pass ban on large capacity ammunition clips
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined the families of gun violence victims, legislators, the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other gun safety advocates today to call on the Illinois General Assembly to pass a ban on the high capacity ammunition clips that are needed to operate assault weapons and make semi-automatic handguns more deadly. At a press conference in front of the emergency room at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the Governor urged the House of Representatives to support SB1007 which would ban the delivery, sale, purchase, or possession of ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The Governor also announced that he will call a special session so lawmakers can consider and pass the bill. The Illinois Senate already approved the legislation in May.


July 6, 2007
Grand Funk Railroad to Open for Joe Walsh
Classic rock act kicks off Aug. 18 show
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – If guitarist Joe Walsh wasn’t enough of a draw in his own right, legendary rock band Grand Funk Railroad has been signed to open the Aug. 18 show at the Illinois State Fair Grandstand.


July 6, 2007
Illinois Department of Natural Resources announces graduation of 19 new cadets from Conservation Police Academy
New class expected to be on patrol beginning December 2007
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced the graduation of 19 Conservation Police Officer (CPO) cadets, who just completed 12 weeks of CPO training at the Conservation Police Academy in Springfield.


July 6, 2007
End-of-June Rainfall Provides Remarkable Transformation
State wide precipitation above normal for month thanks to second half rainfall
SPRINGFIELD – The most outstanding feature of June weather was the change from very dry conditions the first 18 days to very wet ones the rest of the month. As a result, crops, lawns, and gardens recovered quickly from abnormally dry conditions that began in May.


July 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich congratulates Illinois Senate for passing resolution affirming its commitment to shoring up State’s decades-old pension debt
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today congratulated members of the Illinois Senate for passing a resolution affirming members’ commitment to solve the state’s mounting pension crisis so future generations will not be burdened by mounting deficits. Without action, the retirement of state and university employees, teachers, judges, members of the Illinois General Assembly, and anyone who depends on a state pension would be jeopardized.


July 5, 2007
State seeks information from Illinois’ nurses in continued effort to address workforce shortage
Nursing Center Survey responses due July 17
SPRINGFIELD – To better estimate the impact of the projected nursing shortage across Illinois, the state is collecting information from nurses to help develop recruitment, retention and training strategies. The Illinois Center for Nursing, created by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich in 2006, will analyze the survey’s findings. Current forecasts indicate that Illinois will be facing a shortage of more than 21,000 nurses by 2020.


July 5, 2007
State public health director reminds of Salmonella linked to Veggie snacks
Robert’s American Gourmet Food, Inc. recalls Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks
SPRINGFIELD - Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is warning people of Salmonella linked to Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings Crunch Corn Sticks Snack Food. The products have been voluntarily recalled by Robert’s American Gourmet Food, Inc. Currently there are 57 cases of the Salmonella ser. Wandsworth strain from 17 states, including one from Illinois.


July 5, 2007
Second human West Nile virus case identified in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed through laboratory tests the second human West Nile virus case in Illinois for 2007. The Cook County woman is in her 50s and became ill in the latter part of June.


July 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign reminds you to be safe and stay healthy this July 4th
Department of Public Health encourages safe food handling, swimming safety and West Nile virus prevention this holiday
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health wants to remind you of some steps you can take to ensure a safe and healthy Fourth of July. This effort is part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign, established to help keep Illinois families cool and safe this summer.


July 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces landmark Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder program for Illinois Veterans
First in the nation program to provide TBI screening for state’s returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, mandatory screening for returning Guard members and 24-hour PTSD helpline
CHICAGO – On the eve of Independence Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was joined by Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) to announce a first-of-its-kind program to screen every returning Illinois National Guard member for traumatic brain injury (TBI), offer TBI screening to Illinois Veterans, and 24-hour toll-free psychological assistance for Veterans suffering from PTSD. The program increases health care benefits for Veterans and will later become part of the Governor’s Illinois Covered insurance plan.


July 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich launches annual “Break the Silence” campaign to increase awareness about Elder Abuse
Proclaims July Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) today launched the 3rd annual statewide “Break the Silence” campaign and proclaimed July Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois. The Governor and the Department are encouraging those who are victims or suspect abuse to call the state’s 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 800-1409, where trained professionals are prepared to take reports of elder abuse and forward them promptly to local service agencies or law enforcement.


July 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs one-month budget bill to meet state’s needs through July
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a one-month budget bill that will ensure critical government services are provided to the people of Illinois through the month of July as fiscal year 2008 budget negotiations continue. The interim budget, passed by the Illinois General Assembly as HB3920, largely funds state operations consistent with fiscal year 2007 levels and sunsets on July 31.


July 2, 2007
National High School Rodeo In Search Of Volunteers For Finals In Springfield
At least 500 Volunteers needed for July event
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Non-Fair Events is beginning its search for volunteers for this years’ National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) Finals, which will be held on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield July 22-28. About 500 volunteers will be needed to staff the event.


July 2, 2007
IDNR announces schedule of waterfowl blind site drawings
Drawings to be held for public hunting area waterfowl blind sites
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to mark their calendars for upcoming waterfowl hunting blind site random drawings to be held at several public hunting areas in Illinois this summer.


July 1, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Illinois minimum wage increases to $7.50 an hour
Statewide minimum wage hike to benefit nearly 650,000 hardworking Illinoisans
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that the state’s new minimum wage of $7.50 an hour took effect today, helping nearly 650,000 workers pay for basic necessities like groceries, rent, gas, childcare or medicines. The Governor also reminded Illinoisans that if they work for the minimum wage and are not receiving it, they should call the Illinois Department of Labor’s hotline at 1-800-478-3998 so the State can help them get the wages they’re owed.


June 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to increase competition in cable TV industry so consumers have more choices and better service
Consumers will enjoy added protections under new law
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will encourage cable TV competition by allowing new video service providers to enter the Illinois market without having to negotiate separate franchise agreements with each municipality. Senate Bill 678, sponsored by State Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville) and State Rep. James Brosnahan (D-Oak Lawn), includes more consumer protections than in any other state that has enacted similar legislation, including California, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas.


June 29, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich reminds Illinois workers minimum wage increasing to $7.50 an hour on July 1
Statewide minimum wage hike will benefit nearly 650,000 hardworking Illinoisans
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded Illinois workers that the state’s minimum wage will increase to $7.50 an hour starting this Sunday, July 1, helping nearly 650,000 workers pay for basic necessities like groceries, rent, gas, childcare or medicines. The Governor also reminded Illinoisans that if they work for the minimum wage and are not receiving it, they should call the Illinois Department of Labor’s hotline at 1-800-478-3998 so the State can help them get the wages they’re owed.


June 28, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, June 30, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, June 30, 2007.


June 28, 2007
Mega Passes for the 2007 Illinois State Fair Now Available
Discount price to be offered through mid-July
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Mega passes for the 2007 Illinois State Fair are now available for purchase.


June 28, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces $2.2 million to help low-income homeowners preserve and remain in their homes
Rehabilitation grants will help 386 families across Illinois lower their utility bills and improve the safety and quality of their homes
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $2.2 million in rehabilitation grants to help 386 low-income homeowners in Illinois, including seniors and disabled individuals, pay for home repairs, lower their utility bills and continue to afford their homes. The funds will be used to finance the statewide Energy Conservation and Home Repair Program and the Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative.


June 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law making HIV testing a routine part of medical care in Illinois
Legislation removes the stigma from getting an HIV test, preserves informed consent for patients and promotes early detection
SPRINGFIELD – On National HIV Testing Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a new law making HIV testing a routine part of general medical care. Senate Bill 929 allows medical providers to proceed with a test once they have secured verbal informed consent, instead of written consent, from a patient clearly acknowledging that a test will be administered as part of their check-up or routine blood work. This change in the law will increase the number of Illinoisans who are tested for HIV/AIDS and increase awareness regarding individual knowledge of HIV status. Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation.


June 22, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Wildlife Preservation Fund Grants
Voluntary donations of nearly $200,000 from Illinois residents help protect and enhance wildlife habitat
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to support 51 projects throughout Illinois that will enhance habitat for wildlife, including the restoration and protection of threatened and endangered species. Funding for the projects comes from Illinois citizens through donations to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


June 21, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 22, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 22, 2007.


June 21, 2007
Governor’s Campus Security Task Force launches comprehensive effort to enhance campus safety
Group will work on ways to prevent, respond to and recover from campus security incidents
SPRINGFIELD– Under the direction of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, the members of the Illinois Campus Security Task Force will meet for the first time today at the State Emergency Response Center in Springfield, to begin working on a comprehensive initiative to enhance the State’s ability to prevent, respond to and recover from events such as the tragic shootings that occurred at Virginia Tech this spring


June 21, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, June 25, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, June 25, 2007.


June 21, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 27, 2007.


June 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces Grandstand concert lineup for DuQuoin State Fair
Southern Illinois fair also features several days of motorized/horse racing on world-famous "Magic Mile" track
DUQUOIN – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the grandstand lineup for the 85th annual DuQuoin State Fair. The lineup will feature rock super-star Alice Cooper along with current country music standouts Gary Allan and Joe Nichols. In addition, Chicago-based rock group Chevelle, and the 26th annual Colgate Country Showdown featuring Lorrie Morgan, will be major attractions, along with a gospel music show and the big band sounds of Jerry Ford and his Orchestra.


June 18, 2007
State Fire Marshal urges fireworks safety as part of Governor’s campaign to keep families cool and safe this summer
More than 150 people reported injured by fireworks around July 4th last year
SPRINGFIELD – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s efforts to keep Illinois families cool and safe this summer through his Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Illinois State Fire Marshal Dave Foreman is urging Illinois residents to play it safe this Fourth of July by leaving dangerous fireworks to the professionals. Although state law prohibits their use by consumers, bottle rockets caused nearly 40 injuries reported in Illinois around the July 4th holiday last year, with nearly 20 additional injuries reportedly caused by firecrackers.


June 17, 2007
On Father’s Day, Gov. Blagojevich encourages men to take advantage of state efforts to improve their health and well being
Health screenings and “Boot Camp for New Dads” available
CHICAGO – Wishing dads a happy Father’s Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich encouraged men to improve their health and well being by taking advantage of various state programs – including health screenings, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative Boot Camp for New Dads and the Teen Parent Family Services program.


June 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces new funding to expand services for children with developmental disabilities
State to receive federal matching funds for programs that prevent or delay the need for institutional care for up to 800 children
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois will receive $8.6 million in federal matching funds to provide a range of specialized services to almost 800 children with developmental disabilities. The funds, administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program, will allow more families to keep their children at home and still be able to provide them the specialized care they need. By establishing Medicaid waivers, Illinois is able to waive regular Medicaid rules and create this new funding source for Fiscal Year 2008.


June 14, 2007
State public health director warns of Salmonella contamination when handling birds
Two Illinois cases match a multi-state outbreak pattern linked to direct contact with birds
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is warning the public today about handling birds, such as baby chicks and ducks, and the risk of disease. Two Illinois Salmonella ser. Montevideo cases from separate households in Madison County match a multi-state outbreak pattern linked to contact with birds (ducklings and chicks). Both cases have reported contact with birds purchased from the same local chain feed store and both have onset of illness in May 2007. It is not yet known how many locations across Illinois have received infected birds so anyone purchasing animals needs to be cautious.


June 14, 2007
IDNR completes construction of new skeet fields at WSRC
Visitors to complex can now enjoy expanded recreation options and new restaurant
SPRINGFIELD –Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced construction has been completed on 24 new skeet fields at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC). Inclusion of skeet shooting at the complex expands the recreational options at the venue, which already boasts over three and half miles of trap fields, two sporting clay courses, and a cowboy shooting area. The director also announced regional favorite and nationally acclaimed 17th Street Bar & Grill will serve as the new restaurateur at the Sparta complex on an interim basis.


June 14, 2007
State Fire Marshal’s Office hosts symposium in Springfield on childhood injury prevention program
Risk Watch program brings community public safety and education officials together to teach children how to prevent injuries
Springfield – Nearly 40 participants from 12 communities will be in Springfield Thursday and Friday to learn more about how they can help prevent unintentional childhood injuries that are the number-one health risk for children ages 14 and under. The participants are part of the Illinois Risk Watch program and will be attending the two-day symposium hosted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM).


June 13, 2007
Blagojevich Administration Officials Launch 2007 Keep Cool Illinois Campaign to help families stay safe, healthy and cool this summer
$6 million available this summer for energy assistance program; Multiple State Agencies, and the National Weather Service work together to prevent heat-related health problems, reduce utility bills and promote safe summer fun
CHICAGO - Blagojevich Administration officials launched the 2007 Keep Cool Illinois campaign and Web site today to help families stay cool, healthy and safe this summer. A comprehensive, statewide effort, Keep Cool Illinois, seeks again this year to inform Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children and persons with disabilities, how to prevent heat-related health problems, reduce their utility bills and participate in summer activities safely. Also, as part of the campaign, low income residents can apply for assistance with their summer energy bills starting July 9.


June 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches Men’s Health Week in Illinois by encouraging men to take an active role in their health
State grants $1.2 million for prostate cancer awareness and education grants
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase awareness of the medical conditions affecting men and the need to live a health lifestyle, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed June 11-17, 2007 Men’s Health Week in Illinois. Men's Health Week is celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father's Day with the goal of raising awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.


June 8, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, June 11, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, June 11, 2007.


June 8, 2007
IDNR announces 2007 Controlled Pheasant Hunting Program
Online applications open July 1 for public/private sites, August 6 for IDNR sites
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Permit reservation information and season dates for the 2007 Controlled Pheasant Hunting program at 14 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites are available online for the start of permit reservation applications this summer.


June 8, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces 10,000 Illinois seniors are living safer at home thanks to the Emergency Home Response Service
Service provides 24-hour monitoring for those in need of assistance at home
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded eligible seniors living independently to sign up for the Emergency Home Response Service, a home-monitoring service launched in October and run by the Illinois Department of Aging (IDoA). The service provides two-way voice pagers that automatically link seniors to a support center that can quickly send help in case of an emergency. This week, IDoA delivered its 10,000 thousandth monitor.


June 7, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces conference to address the affordable housing needs of Illinois residents
Top housing experts will discuss how to increase affordable housing during the State's Summer Affordable Housing Conference and mark the Illinois Housing Development Authority's 40th anniversary
SPRINGFIELD – Building on his commitment to help working families, seniors and the disabled have expanded access to decent, affordable housing, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the opening of the State's Summer Affordable Housing Conference in Springfield. The State's top affordable housing experts, developers, lenders and other housing practitioners gathered at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center to explore how to increase affordable housing options for Illinois residents and learn about the State's existing affordable housing resources.


June 7, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich’s Request for Agricultural Disaster Declaration Approved
Declaration will assist farmers in 81 Illinois counties
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced federal disaster assistance is available to help farmers recover from an April freeze that wiped-out much of their crops, especially in southern Illinois.


June 6, 2007
2007 Summer Job Central: Opportunities for Teens and Young Adults to Gain Valuable Work Experience
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Employment Security is announcing the 2007 Career Information System (CIS) Summer Job Central at www.ILWorkInfo.com/icrn. The website directs teens and young adults to useful hints for their job search and has links to additional sites for finding summer job openings. Job opportunities range from internships and summer camps to part-time positions, government jobs and international opportunities. Summer employment is a way for high school and college students to explore different work settings, and is beneficial as they explore future career possibilities.


June 6, 2007
Very dry May, 8th warmest on record
Short-term impacts of dry weather minimal
SPRINGFIELD – May 2007 was the 8th warmest and 23rd driest May since 1895. Statewide May precipitation in Illinois was 2.62 inches (1.65 inches below normal), and statewide temperatures were 67.3°F degrees (4.5°F above normal). Fortunately, short-term impacts of the dry weather were minimal because of abundant soil moisture from rainfall in previous months. Timely and widespread rains across northern and central Illinois over the Memorial Day weekend also provided relief for shallow-rooted corn and soybeans in those areas.


June 6, 2007
College students begin Governor’s Environmental Corps Summer Internship at Illinois EPA
“Hands on” environmental program is funded by Illinois companies
SPRINGFIELD—In a unique collaboration between state government and Illinois corporations, 34 undergraduate or graduate students from colleges and universities across the state reported to their Illinois EPA mentors today to begin their summer internships at the state environmental agency.


June 6, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces national recognition for Illinois’ seven Scenic Byways
Alliance of Illinois Byways is praised for teaming up to promote tourism and the state’s heritage
SPRINGFIELD – Just as the summer vacation season is getting underway, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Alliance of Byways, a collection of seven nationally recognized historic roadways in Illinois, has been cited by a national transportation group for serving as a model for cooperation among byways.


June 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces landmark air permit for clean-coal gasification power plant in Taylorville
Construction authorized for innovative low emissions facility that will create jobs, revitalize Illinois coal industry as part of Governor’s Energy Independence Plan
TAYLORVILLE – Taking a bold step toward putting Illinois on a path toward a cleaner, more energy independent future, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois EPA has issued an Air Construction Permit to Christian County Generation, LLC. The permit, the first issued in the U.S. for a commercially-sized Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power generating plant, authorizes Christian County Generation to build the $2 billion gasification plant known as the Taylorville Energy Center (TEC).


June 4, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces grant awards to 54 fire departments for small equipment to improve response capabilities
Nearly $1 million provided to help departments purchase small equipment, protective clothing, tools and more
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that 54 fire departments throughout the state will receive nearly $1 million in grants to help them purchase small equipment and protective clothing that will enable them to better serve their communities.


June 4, 2007
Illinois Department of Labor issues guidelines to employers and teenage summer job seekers
Department outlines requirements under Illinois Child Labor law for thousands of teenagers planning to work statewide over the summer
CHICAGO –Thousands of Illinois teenagers will soon be on summer break and heading out to find jobs, and the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) is reminding students and employers about Illinois’ law that provides protections for children in the workplace.


June 4, 2007
Wet a line for summer fishing fun
Special events planned for Illinois Free Fishing Days June 8-11
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Recreation agencies, park districts, youth groups, civic organizations and fishing clubs throughout Illinois will host a wide variety of fishing derbies, how-to clinics and other special activities as part of the 2007 celebration of Illinois Free Fishing Days, June 8-11. Free Fishing Days allows anyone to fish without a fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp during the four-day event each June.


June 4, 2007
Blagojevich administration outlines steps to help keep budget process moving forward
Entering new phase of the budget process, top Blagojevich officials lay out Governor's goals to help General Assembly reach budget agreement by end of the fiscal year in order to avoid potential government shutdown; Governor calls for meeting with leaders at the beginning of each week, meetings with caucuses at the end of each week and regular budgeteer meetings
SPRINGFIELD - Deputy Governor Sheila Nix stood with other top gubernatorial staff today to announce next steps the Blagojevich Administration will take to work with the General Assembly and leaders in order to reach a budget by the end of the state's fiscal year, June 30th. The Governor wants to avoid relying on last minute budget negotiations, such as those that took place in the end of May that resulted in no budget bills reaching his desk by the end of session.


June 4, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 6, 2007.


June 1, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 6, 2007.


June 1, 2007
Illinois honors Illinois State Police Officers, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year
SPRINGFIELD - On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent today announced the Illinois State Police Officers of the Year, as well as the Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year award winners. During this year's annual awards ceremony held in Springfield, Trooper Brian K. Ingram of District 10, Pesotum, and Special Agent David T. Bivens of Zone 6, Collinsville, were named Officers of the Year. Mr. David C. Melvin of District 6, Pontiac, was named Telecommunicator of the Year. Mr. Brian T. Trost of the Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory was presented with the Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.


June 1, 2007
Joe Walsh TO Perform At Illinois State Fair
Tickets go on sale Saturday, the same day the Grandstand ticket office opens
SPRINGFIELD – Beginning tomorrow fairgoers can purchase tickets for 2007 Illinois State Fair concerts at the Grandstand box office on the fairgrounds, including an Aug. 18 performance by legendary rock guitarist Joe Walsh.


May 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act providing children a safer learning environment
Illinois becomes first state in the nation to offer FBI criminal history information to private schools for employment screening
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 across Illinois, allowing private schools to have access to national criminal records and information of potential employees. Until now, only Illinois Public schools had been allowed to receive this information from the FBI. This act makes Illinois the first state in the nation to offer federal criminal history information to private schools for the purpose of employment screening.


May 30, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 1, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 1, 2007.


May 30, 2007
Internet Payday Lender Fined More Than $230,000 for Unlicensed Lending In Illinois
Payday-Loans-Yes.com issued largest fine in Illinois history against payday lender
CHICAGO – In its ongoing effort to protect consumers from unscrupulous lenders, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) today filed an order against Global Payday Loan, LLC, d/b/a/Payday-Loans-Yes.com, ordering them to stop issuing loans to Illinois residents.


May 26, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich applauds U.S. Congress for addressing SCHIP shortfall; Illinois to receive an estimated $181 million in additional federal SCHIP dollars
Governor continues to push for Congress to reauthorize SCHIP and change out-of-date funding formulas that punish states that work aggressively to expand access to healthcare
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded the United States Congress for including $650 million in the Iraq War spending bill to cover federal funding shortfalls for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Illinois will receive an estimated $181 million in additional SCHIP dollars to supplement the state’s nationally-recognized efforts to help children and working parents get access to healthcare.


May 25, 2007
State provides safety tips for families visiting amusement parks, street festivals and carnivals this summer
Illinois Department of Labor conducts safety inspections to ensure rides and attractions are safe for families expected during the Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the summer
CHICAGO -- With summer just around the corner and millions of people expected to make their way to popular amusement parks, festivals, street fairs and carnivals across Illinois, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) is offering families tips on how to stay safe while enjoying amusement rides and attractions. IDOL inspects rides that are open to the public - before they are permitted to operate - to ensure that families are safe.


May 25, 2007
Governor Blagojevich Encourages Illinoisans to "Light The Way Home" for Missing Children
Proclaims May 25 Missing Children's Day in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, along with members of the Illinois AMBER Alert Task Force, joined people throughout the state in observing today, May 25, Missing Children's Day in Illinois. "Light the Way Home" is an opportunity for family and friends to plan events in their communities to raise public awareness about missing children.


May 25, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich awards $535,000 in Anhydrous Ammonia Security Grants to fight meth production
Grants will help agrichemical dealers protect their facilities from theft
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $535,000 in Anhydrous Ammonia Security Grants to 50 Illinois agrichemical dealers throughout the state. The funding will help these businesses secure their facilities to prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer and key ingredient used to manufacture methamphetamine. This is the second installment of grants since the Governor created the Anhydrous Ammonia Grant Program in August 2006, and furthers the Governor’s efforts to reduce the production and manufacture of the illicit drug.


May 24, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Announces FY07 Literary Awards
Quality New Writing by Illinois Writers in Illinois Not-for-Profit Literary Magazines
Chicago – The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is pleased to announce the writers and literary publications selected to receive IAC Literary Awards in 2007. IAC Literary Awards recognize the creative excellence of Illinois writers and promote awareness of non-commercial publishing in the state. Companion awards of $1,000 each are given to the writer and publication in which the writer’s work was published.


May 24, 2007
IDNR announces summer Urban Fishing clinics schedule
Clinics provide free fun and fishing instruction, access to fishing gear also available
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Youngsters can learn to fish and enjoy their time outdoors this summer by attending a free Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban Fishing Clinic, scheduled for 40 locations throughout the state. The IDNR also provides fishing opportunities to anglers of all ages through the popular Access to Fishing Initiative in which fishing gear can be borrowed at dozens of locations statewide.


May 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation banning the slaughter of horses in Illinois for human consumption
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that bans the slaughter of horses in Illinois for human consumption. House Bill 1711, sponsored by State Representative Robert S. Molaro (D-Chicago) and State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago), bans importing or exporting horsemeat if any horsemeat will be used for human consumption.


May 24, 2007
Dr. Riba’s Dental Licenses Remain Suspended
Sedation Permit to be revoked
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) today issued its final order on the matter of the dental, controlled substance, and specialty licenses, as well as the sedation permit of Hicham Riba, D.D.S. Daniel E. Bluthardt, Director of the Division of Professional Regulation signed an order indefinitely suspending the general dentistry license of Dr. Riba for a minimum of 18 months, the pediatric dentistry specialty license for at least three years, controlled substance license for at least five years and revoked the permit for Dr. Riba to sedate patients.


May 23, 2007
State Fire Marshal’s Office offers summer safety tips for outdoor grilling, camping
Following safety guidelines can help make summer activities enjoyable
Springfield – Warm weather is finally here and people throughout Illinois are busy make plans to enjoy outdoor activities during the summer months. To help people enjoy a safe summer this year, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is working to increase awareness of summer fire safety tips.


May 23, 2007
Department of Transportation to Suspend Lane Closures Over Memorial Day Weekend to Give Motorists a Break
Illinois State Police and agencies urge drivers to buckle up in the midst of the 2007 “Click It or Ticket” Campaign
SPRINGFIELD– With thousands of people traveling over the upcoming holiday weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced they will be suspending roadwork where possible to make for a smoother drive this Memorial Day weekend. IDOT also wants to remind folks to buckle up in the midst of Illinois State Police’s 2007 “Click It or Ticket” campaign.


May 23, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich honors Illinois heroes for response in emergency situations
Awards given for heroic behavior in recognition of Emergency Medical Services Week
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today honored 14 people and organizations from around the state for their heroic acts of courage as part of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 20th Annual Emergency Medical Services Awards. Gov. Blagojevich proclaimed May 20th – 26th Emergency Medical Services Week.


May 22, 2007
ISAC Announces Byrd Honors Scholars
1,150 Illinois students to receive $1,500 scholarship each
DEERFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has announced the Illinois 2007-08 Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholars. This year’s honorees include 1,150 students selected from across the state, including 288 new scholars and 862 renewal scholars.


May 22, 2007
Bike Historic Route 66 on June 2
IDNR, League of Illinois Bicyclists, Route 66 Trail Council Host Trail Event. Stops Include Joliet, Pontiac, Bloomington, Springfield, Staunton, Edwardsville
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois’ Mother Road, historic Route 66 running from Chicago to the Missouri border, beckons trailblazers on two wheels.


May 22, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed May 20-26 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Illinois to help make sure people know how to prevent the spread of the tree-killing beetle. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is only capable of flying short distances on its own, so limiting the movement of firewood and other potentially-infested wood products is the single most important step individuals can take to prevent the spread of this destructive pest and save our ash trees.


May 22, 2007
Blagojevich Administration unveils new Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket
Encourages veterans’ organizations to apply for available Veterans Cash grants
MACHESNEY PARK– As the nation prepares to honor veterans this coming Memorial Day Weekend, Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today joined Jodie Winnett, Acting Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery outside Rockford to unveil the new Veterans Cash lottery ticket on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Director Duckworth and the Illinois Lottery also encouraged veterans’ organizations to apply for Veterans Cash grants.


May 21, 2007
Nursing Home Violations for the Month of November and December
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced the following type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act were cited during the months of November and December. An “A” violation, which is the most serious licensure violation imposed by the state, pertains to a condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result.


May 21, 2007
State public health director encourages healthy swimming practices and warns of water illness
May 21-27, 2007 National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week
SPRINGFIELD – As swimming pools, water parks and beaches prepare to open for the season during the Memorial Day weekend, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, is encouraging healthy swimming behaviors to prevent water illnesses during National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week.


May 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces expanded State Police website to help parents protect kids against violent offenders
Mapping capabilities help parents get more information about sex offenders, child murderers and violent offenders
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled two new features to the ISP's website which will provide communities with more information about convicted of sex offenses, child murderers, and violent offenders who have harmed children. The enhancements are the result of legislation signed by the governor to protect communities from sexual predators.


May 18, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $55.7 million to help more long term care residents return to their homes or community residence
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides new federal matching funds to be distributed over five years
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois will receive an estimated $55.7 million in new federal funding over five years to help people living in nursing facilities return to their homes or a community residence. The "Money Follows the Person (MFP)" initiative will increase the number of patients able to make the transition back into their communities by approximately 3,500 over the course of five years. In addition to the federal award, the state has also committed $23.8 million to this expansion of home and community based services.


May 18, 2007
IDNR observes National Safe Boating Week, urges boaters and anglers to be safe while on the water
Governor Blagojevich proclaims May 19-25, 2007 National Safe Boating Week in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – In observance of National Safe Boating Week (NSBW) and with the Memorial Day weekend approaching, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today urged boaters and anglers to be safe while on the water. In honor of NSBW, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich also issued a proclamation recognizing May 19-25, 2007 as National Safe Boating Week in Illinois.


May 17, 2007
Ceremony honors fallen firefighters, recognizes 27 others for life-saving acts of bravery
Hundreds of firefighters gather in Springfield for 14th annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial, Firefighter Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony
SPRINGFIELD – Firefighters from across the state gathered in Springfield today to remember four firefighters who died in service and honor 27 other firefighters for their outstanding bravery and service to their communities during the 14th annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Ceremony.


May 17, 2007
Tazewell County - second Illinois county testing positive for West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today a mosquito sample collected in Tazewell County has been confirmed as positive for West Nile virus.


May 17, 2007
Police Target Nighttime Drivers During 2007 Memorial Day “Click it or Ticket” Safety Belt Campaign
IDOT, ISP and local Police plan largest ever after dark enforcement effort as part of bid to reach 90% safety belt compliance statewide
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) are teaming up with more than 300 local police agencies to mount the largest ever nighttime safety belt enforcement effort in Illinois. During the Memorial Day “Click it or Ticket” mobilization, motorists can expect more than 3,600 safety belt enforcement zones statewide, with almost 700 enforcement zones planned for after dark, the time when surveys show more drivers fail to buckle up.


May 17, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces expansion of the Illinois Healthy Women program to cover 45,000 more women
Illinois Healthy Women promotes healthy births and economic independence through reproductive health and family planning services
To apply visit www.illinoishealthywomen.com or call 1-800-226-0768 CHICAGO - Continuing the celebration of Women's Health Week in Illinois, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an expansion of the Illinois Healthy Women program to cover 45,000 more women each year. The Illinois Healthy Women program, created by Gov. Blagojevich in 2004, promotes healthy births and economic independence by providing reproductive health and family planning services to low-income women, free of charge. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram joined advocates, healthcare providers, and families at Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area today to celebrate the expansion. To apply for the program, visit www.illinoishealthywomen.com or call toll-free at 1-800-226-0768.


May 16, 2007
Director challenges employees statewide to get fit as part of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 13th annual Fitness Day
More than half of Illinois employees say they are not getting enough exercise
SPRINGFIELD – Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), held its 13th annual Fitness Day to encourage employees who spend most of their day in the workplace, to be more physically active. Fitness Day is part of National Employee Health & Fitness Day™ held every third Wednesday in May.


May 15, 2007
State Public Health Director extends an alert after last week’s warning about food borne illness linked to ground beef consumption
2nd recall - still no Illinois cases of E. coli from consumption of recalled beef in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today issued an alert expanding last week’s warning about E. coli O157:H7, a specific strain of E. coli, which can be associated with the consumption of some ground beef products.


May 15, 2007
State public health director warns residents to protect themselves against ticks and disease
Increased reports of ticks this season
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is warning residents to take precautions against ticks and the diseases they carry after an increased number of reports from the public to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).


May 15, 2007
Governor Blagojevich names new head of Division of Banking
Jorge Solis to serve as top banking official in the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the appointment of Jorge Solis as the new director of the Illinois Division of Banking, within the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Solis will oversee the division responsible for regulating the banking and residential mortgage industries.


May 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $15 million program to help Veterans and active duty personnel afford homes
G-I Loan program makes Illinois first state in the nation to offer comprehensive homeownership package to those serving their country
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched a new $15 million pilot mortgage program to help Illinois Veterans and active duty personnel afford their own homes. On behalf of the Governor, housing and Veterans officials announced the program, called the G-I Loan for Heroes, designed to help more than 100 qualified Veterans and service men and women secure low-interest mortgages and closing cost assistance. The announcement makes Illinois the first state in the nation to provide significantly below-market interest, 30-year fixed rate mortgages to qualifying former and current service men and women who are working hard to provide for themselves and their families.


May 14, 2007
Illinois Pharmacists Association endorses Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered plan
Pharmacists support Illinois Covered and Gross Receipts Tax proposals to ensure that all Illinoisans get the healthcare they need and the care that patients deserve
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Pharmacists Association today endorsed Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's historic Illinois Covered plan that will provide affordable healthcare coverage to the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois and will also help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. The Pharmacists Association also endorsed the Governor's Gross Receipts Tax proposal, citing that this funding source is currently the only one advanced that would support Illinois Covered. The Illinois Pharmacists Association, with nearly 2,000 members, is Illinois' leading professional organization for pharmacists.


May 13, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches Women's Health Week in Illinois on Mother's Day
Health fairs, workshops, seminars, speakers and screenings held across the state to help improve women's health
SPRINGFIELD - Wishing moms a happy Mother's Day and encouraging women to take simple steps to improve their health and live healthier, longer and happier lives, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed May 13 through May 19th Women's Health Week in Illinois. The state declaration was made in conjunction with the 8th annual National Women's Health Week themed "It's Your Time: Pamper Your Mind, Body and Spirit." The Governor also announced $44,000 in grants to local health departments to help sponsor women's health events across Illinois.


May 11, 2007
Illinois Department of Agriculture Advises Horse Owners to Take Precaution Against West Nile Virus
Vaccination recommended to protect horses from potentially deadly virus
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is reminding horse owners to vaccinate their animals before the onset of mosquito season to protect against West Nile virus (WNV).


May 10, 2007
Tammy Duckworth, Director of Illinois Veterans’ Affairs honored by Nation’s Largest Civil Rights Coalition
Duckworth receives 2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award for long-standing public service and leadership; honored alongside President Bill Clinton and Scholar John Hope Franklin
CHICAGO – Governor Blagojevich’s Director of Veteran’s Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth was honored this evening in Washington D.C. with the 2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award – the civil rights community’s highest honor – for her long-standing public service, outstanding leadership and dedication to serving the country.


May 10, 2007
Labor unions and healthcare advocates unite to rally for Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered plan
Governor urges workers to let legislators know how critical affordable healthcare is to their quality of life
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today addressed a crowd of hundreds of union workers and healthcare advocates at a downtown Chicago rally calling for lawmakers to pass the Governor's Illinois Covered proposal and give every Illinoisan access to affordable health coverage. The legislation will make sure all 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois have access to quality, affordable health insurance, and will help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. The plan will also reform the existing healthcare system to improve quality and enhance accountability.


May 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich challenges lawmakers to seize the moment and approve his Tax Fairness Plan
Governor presents his plan that shifts tax burden away from middle class families to create affordable health insurance options for 1.4 million uninsured adults and to fund record investments in education
SPRINGFIELD - During a meeting of the Illinois House of Representatives Committee of the Whole, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich challenged lawmakers to approve his Tax Fairness Plan - his ambitious proposal to reform Illinois' tax system, which closes corporate loopholes and brings greater stability to the state's fiscal future to fund record investments in education and healthcare.


May 8, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois enrollment in landmark 30 state effort to address climate change
The Climate Registry to serve as North American system to track greenhouse gas emissions
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois joined 30 states as charter members of The Climate Registry, marking the largest multi-state effort to address climate change. The newly formed organization, which Illinois helped develop, creates national standards that businesses and governments can use to document their current levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and track progress over time. Currently in the U.S., there is no common set of standards for measuring and reporting GHG emissions.


May 8, 2007
Governor Blagojevich applauds Senate committee for passing historic Tax Fairness Plan that will invest record new funding for education; also will expand healthcare and provide property tax relief
Plan amended to provide even more protection for small businesses; new tax credit means more than 90% of businesses exempt from GRT
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today commended the Senate Executive Committee for passing historic Tax Fairness Plan that will invest record new funding for education over the next four years and help relieve the tax burden of hardworking families. Senate Bill 1 would usher in a sweeping transformation of the state's tax system to shift the burden away from middle class families who have shouldered an increasing share of taxes over the past thirty years, while many of Illinois' largest corporations have paid little to no income tax. The Senate included an amendment that provides a tax credit for businesses that employ workers in Illinois, further protecting small businesses that fuel the state's economy.


May 8, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered plan wins approval from Senate Committee; moves to full Senate for vote
Illinois Covered would bring down healthcare costs for all by creating affordable health insurance options for 1.4 million uninsured adults, helping small businesses and middle class families save thousands on insurance premiums, and improving the healthcare delivery system
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee approved Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's "Illinois Covered" proposal to give every Illinoisan access to affordable and quality health coverage. The Governor's plan will provide affordable coverage to the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois and will also help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs.


May 7, 2007
State Fire Marshal seeks to reduce arson fires through public awareness during Arson Awareness Week May 6-12
National theme for awareness week is “Vehicle Arson: Who Pays for this Crime?”
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Each year, vehicle arsons account for nearly 20 percent of all arson cases nationwide, making arson the second-highest cause of vehicle fires. Illinois’ State Fire Marshal Dave Foreman says his office is joining with organizations across the state to increase public awareness of arson prevention during Arson Awareness Week May 6-12. This year’s awareness week theme is, “Vehicle Arson: Who Pays for this Crime?”


May 7, 2007
IDOT Looks to Build on Illinois’ Traffic Safety Success In 2006, Seeks Public Input into Safety Planning
Safety hearings this week in Carterville and Collinsville
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is hosting a series of eight meetings around the state this month looking for the public’s assistance in developing the Fiscal Year 2008 Highway Safety Plan. The first two meetings are this week: Tuesday, May 8, in Carterville and Wednesday, May 9, in Collinsville.


May 7, 2007
IDOT, League of Illinois Bicyclists Launch Share the Road Campaign for National Bike Month
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) and Illinois State Police have launched a statewide campaign to urge motorists and bicyclists to share the road to reduce crashes, prevent injuries and end fatalities on our streets.


May 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich offers condolences, support to Kansas Governor in response to Greensburg tornado
CHICAGO - Responding to the devastation caused by last weekend's tornadoes that ravaged through Kansas, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, offering condolences for the loss of lives and the devastation suffered by the state, and by the town of Greensburg. The Governor also offered assistance to help the State of Kansas restore order to the community, keep thousands of residents safe from harm, and participate in the rescue and recovery efforts.


May 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces landmark Illinois Health Connect program has enrolled more than 4,000 doctors statewide; far surpassing original goal of 3,000 doctors
Illinois Health Connect guarantees a medical home for every child in All Kids and every parent in FamilyCare
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the landmark Illinois Health Connect program, which guarantees a medical home for every child in the Governor's All Kids program and every parent in FamilyCare, has enrolled more than 4,000 doctors statewide - far surpassing the original goal to enroll 3,000 doctors. Even more doctors are expected to enroll as the program, which was launched in Chicagoland in March, continues to roll out in Central and Southern Illinois this summer. Illinois Health Connect is a continuation of Governor Blagojevich's nationally recognized efforts to ensure that every family in Illinois gets the healthcare they need.


May 4, 2007
Advocates call women to action to support Governor's Illinois Covered plan
Study by The Commonwealth Fund shows women face higher insurance costs, more cost-related access issues
CHICAGO - Following a policy briefing on the high female need for health insurance hosted by the Chicago Foundation for Women in Chicago, women advocate groups called on their members to support Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Illinois Covered plan which will benefit the more than 600,000 uninsured women throughout the state. Panelists from Chicago Foundation for Women, Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area, Health and Disability Advocates, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), and Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition examined the barriers that uninsured women face and how the Governor's Illinois Covered plan would bring help to those in need. In addition, Blagojevich administration official Krista Donahue highlighted The Commonwealth Fund study, "Women and Health Coverage: The Affordability Gap," which was released in April and shows how healthcare coverage issues disproportionately impact women over men.


May 4, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, May 7, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, May 7, 2007.


May 4, 2007
Cool, wet April leads to delays for some Illinois farmers
Early April freeze considered a “once in a decade event”
SPRINGFIELD,IL – Combined with cooler temperatures, wet April conditions led to widespread corn planting delays in the northern two-thirds of the state, where precipitation averaged 4.05 inches (0.46 inches above normal) and up to 5–7 inches at some locations. April temperatures averaged 49.5°F statewide (2.7°F below normal), and statewide precipitation was 3.75 inches (just 0.05 inches below normal), based on preliminary data. Southern Illinois was drier, averaging 3.38 inches (0.74 inches below normal), and planting there is further along.


May 4, 2007
ISAC Salutes Six Illinois Presidential Scholars
Agency cites high school students for “highest academic achievement”
CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today saluted the six high school students from Illinois who were named 2007 Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education this week.


May 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces U of I’s historic Lincoln Hall project will be “green”
Work on the campus structure will qualify for official national designation for energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly design
URBANA – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the planned $66.4 million rehabilitation of the University of Illinois’ historic Lincoln Hall will be a model “green” project, and will be submitted for an official national designation of projects that place an emphasis energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly design.


May 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich encourages law enforcement, fire and emergency response agencies to apply for response equipment through federal program
Response agencies outside Cook County eligible to apply for part of $33.7 million in response equipment
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged law enforcement, fire and emergency response agencies to apply for a direct federal assistance program that could provide tools to better protect and respond to their citizens in the event of a disaster. The program offers local responders, outside Cook County, the opportunity to compete for approximately $33.7 million in equipment and related training and technical assistance, which can improve their ability and capacity to respond to a major critical incident or to work with other first responders.


May 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims Childhood Drowning Prevention Month in Illinois; Initiative calls for public awareness to safeguard children
Leading cause of accidental death for young children can be prevented; Careful supervision of children near water saves lives
CHICAGO – Calling on caring citizens across the state to join a campaign to help keep children safe near water, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed May as Childhood Drowning Prevention Month in Illinois.


May 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Expands Illinois' Presence at Major Food Industry Trade Show
Additional pavilion will increase opportunities for Illinois food companies to pitch their products around the world
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the Illinois Department of Agriculture has expanded its presence at North America’s biggest supermarket convention.


May 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich congratulates 34 Illinois officers awarded with the prestigious Law Enforcement Medal of Honor
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Thirty-four Illinois law enforcement officers were awarded the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor today during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Springfield. Three of the medals were awarded to the families of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The annual awards ceremony honors law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves by exhibiting bravery at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty.


May 1, 2007
AARP ILLINOIS JOINS GOVERNOR IN FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM
Would Establish Nation’s Most Comprehensive Plan – Helping Over 1 Million Illinoisans Access Health Care
CHICAGO - With health care costs soaring and the number of uninsured people in Illinois climbing to nearly 1.5 million, AARP says enough is enough, things have to change. Today, AARP Illinois joined Governor Rod R. Blagojevich in pressing for what is the nation’s most comprehensive health care reform initiative.


April 29, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces new initiatives to increase safety on more than 180 college campuses throughout Illinois
Plan builds on Governor’s school security initiatives for K-12; includes task force to develop campus security strategies, new grants for interoperable communications equipment, and college representation on Illinois Terrorism Task Force
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced three initiatives to enhance safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors at Illinois institutions of higher education. The Governor’s initiatives, which build upon his K-12 school security initiatives instituted in 2005, include creation of a task force charged with developing training to help colleges prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies; over $300,000 in grants to improve interoperable communications capabilities on campuses; and the addition of college officials and campus security representatives to the multi-agency Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF), which develops and implements the state’s homeland security strategy.


April 26, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich marks anniversary of Illinois' Equal Pay Act by highlighting enforcement successes since law went into effect in 2004
Illinois Department of Labor has received over 3,500 calls, handled nearly 250 cases, and recovered thousands of dollars in back wages
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich marked the fourth anniversary of signing into law of the Equal Pay Act in Illinois this week, highlighting the state's successes in eliminating gender-based wage discrimination in the workplace and ensuring female workers receive equal pay for equal work. The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has responded to approximately 3,500 calls on the Equal Pay Hotline, handled 249 cases, prompted 10 private settlements between employees and employers, and recovered almost $30,000 in back wages since the Illinois' Equal Pay Act went into effect in January 2004.


April 26, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces former lottery superintendent memorialized with Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure Grant Fund
Money raised through breast cancer lottery ticket sales will fund the fight against breast cancer in Carolyn Adams’ name
SPRINGFIELD – In memory of former Illinois lottery superintendent Carolyn Adams who recently lost her battle with breast cancer, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced he will introduce legislation renaming the Ticket for the Cure Fund from which grants are awarded for breast cancer education efforts, research and supportive services for breast cancer victims, the Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure Grant Fund.


April 25, 2007
CHAMPION COLT HEADS WORLD TROTTING DERBY ELIGIBLES
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Donato Hanover, the champion 2-year-old trotter of last season, heads a list of 37 eligibles to the $550,000 (est.) World Trotting Derby to be contested on Sept. 1 at the Du Quoin State Fair.
CHAMPION COLT HEADS WORLD TROTTING DERBY ELIGIBLES SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Donato Hanover, the champion 2-year-old trotter of last season, heads a list of 37 eligibles to the $550,000 (est.) World Trotting Derby to be contested on Sept. 1 at the Du Quoin State Fair.


April 25, 2007
Possess The Magic Tops World Trotting Derby Filly Eligibles
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The richest 2-year-old trotter of 2006, the filly Possess The Magic, leads a list of 40 eligibles to the World Trotting Derby filly division to be contested on Aug. 31 at the Du Quoin State Fair.
Possess The Magic Tops World Trotting Derby Filly Eligibles SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The richest 2-year-old trotter of 2006, the filly Possess The Magic, leads a list of 40 eligibles to the World Trotting Derby filly division to be contested on Aug. 31 at the Du Quoin State Fair.


April 25, 2007
800 teachers from throughout Illinois rally in support of increasing state funding for colleges and universities
Governor's Tax Fairness Plan will allow state to invest $300 million in higher education through next four years; schools to build and renovate facilities with over $600 million in much-needed capital projects
SPRINGFIELD - More than 800 teachers today rallied in Springfield support of legislative efforts to provide new state funding for the state's beleaguered colleges and universities. At the rally, Judy Erwin, Chairman of the Board of Higher Education, highlighted Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Investing in Families plan that will provide $300 million in new support for the state's community colleges and universities over the next four years.


April 25, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces 2007 Student Historians of the Year
15 junior and senior high school students have best essays published in a statewide history magazine
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the 2007 Student Historians of the Year. Fifteen student historians are being recognized for their outstanding essays published in Illinois History magazine, the nation’s oldest history magazine written by and for junior and senior high school students. The students published the essays during the past year in Illinois History magazine on topics ranging from segregation to parks to Abraham Lincoln’s family life.


April 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces more than $2.4 million to provide housing services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS
Housing grants help reduce health disparities
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today $2,425,000 in housing grants to 16 community based organizations across Illinois to provide housing services for individuals living with HIV or AIDS. The grants will be used to provide lodging and meals to residents; rehabilitation and facility repair; operating costs including maintenance, security, insurance, utility, furnishings, equipment and supplies; and supportive services such as case management, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment.


April 24, 2007
Illinois State Fair announces its 2007 theme
“Celebrate and Educate” selected as slogan of Illinois’ premier agriculture showcase
SPRINGFIELD– “Celebrate and Educate” has been chosen as the theme of the 2007 Illinois State Fair and Twilight Parade. Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke and State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick announced the selection on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today during a fairgrounds press conference to discuss preparations for this year’s event.


April 24, 2007
Governor Blagojevich Announces Illinois State Fair Grandstand Lineup
Entertainers include country music stars Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride and Sugarland, rock newcomer Chris Daughtry and “High School Musical” co-star Corbin Bleu
SPRINGFIELD-- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois native and country music superstar Gretchen Wilson, four-time Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Martina McBride and rock newcomer Chris Daughtry will perform during the 2007 Illinois State Fair. The star-studded Grandstand line-up also features Grammy Award-winning band Sugarland and a teen-pop show featuring Corbin Bleu, co-star of the hit Disney Channel Original Movie “High School Musical,” and Drake Bell of Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh.”


April 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich rallies with Illinois nurses to call on lawmakers to pass historic Illinois Covered plan
Governor addresses 1,500 nursing students at Student Nurse Political Action Day; April 23-29 proclaimed as Cover the Uninsured Week in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - As cities and states across the country observe "Cover the Uninsured Week," Governor Rod R. Blagojevich rallied with more than 1,500 student nurses today in Springfield to call on the legislature to pass his historic Illinois Covered plan. The Governor's proposal would provide access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance to the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois and would help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. It would also mean nearly $1.7 billion in new funding for hospitals and healthcare providers around the state. The student nurses were in the capital city for the Illinois Nurses Association's (INA) annual lobby day.


April 24, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, April 26, 2007.


April 24, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, April 27, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, April 27, 2007.


April 24, 2007
Illinois Landowner Incentive Program accepting applications for habitat restoration and enhancement projects
LIP open enrollment period May 1 – June 1
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) will be accepting applications for habitat restoration and enhancement projects in the Lower Sangamon River Watershed through June 1. Applications will be accepted at 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), including Cass, Christian, DeWitt, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, McLean, Piatt, Sangamon and Tazewell.


April 23, 2007
IDOT announces new program that encourages safe environment for kids that walk or bike to school
$23 million available to fund Safe Routes to School
SPRINGFIELD—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Acting Secretary Milton R. Sees announced today $23 million is available to fund projects that encourage and enable students to safely walk and bike to school. The new Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) is a federally funded initiative that will fund projects in Illinois schools and communities over the next three years.


April 23, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims Cover the Uninsured Week in Illinois; Top officials join families and healthcare providers in Rockford to highlight urgent need for the Governor's Illinois Covered plan
15% of adults in Winnebago County are uninsured; thousands more struggle to pay skyrocketing health insurance costs
ROCKFORD - Continuing his fight to ensure access to healthcare for all Illinoisans, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed April 23 to 29 Cover the Uninsured Week in Illinois to highlight the struggle of the 1.4 million adults in Illinois who are uninsured. The Governor's Illinois Covered plan will provide access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance to those uninsured adults and will help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. It would also mean nearly $1.7 billion in new funding for hospitals and healthcare providers around the state. Top Blagojevich officials joined families and healthcare providers in Rockford today to stress the urgent need for the Governor's Illinois Covered plan.


April 22, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Replanting the Prairie State initiative to plant trees, restore native habitats and cut greenhouse gases
New efforts to plant native trees and grasses, restore natural beauty and create Youth Conservation Corps will address climate change
SPRINGFIELD – In honor of Earth Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a new Replanting the Prairie State initiative to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The effort, which will plant more than two million more trees throughout the state in the next year and engage young people in conservation efforts, builds on steps the Governor has already taken to address the threat of global climate change.


April 20, 2007
Illinois Youth Mobilize for 19TH annual National & Global Youth Service Days
Youth volunteers to spend weekend serving their communities
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (ICVCS), through its AmeriCorps*State programs across the state, will mobilize at least 750 young people to participate in the 19th Annual National & Global Youth Service Days on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. Volunteers of all ages throughout Illinois and millions of youth in the United States and in 116 other countries are planning community service projects and special events to celebrate the 19th annual National and Global Youth Service Days.


April 19, 2007
Illinois Commodity Boards to Elect New Members
Nominating petitions now available
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Eligible producers who would like to run for a three-year term on either the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board (d/b/a Illinois Soybean Association), the Illinois Sheep and Wool Marketing Board or the Check Off Division of the Illinois Beef Association Board of Governors now can pick-up nominating petitions.


April 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich proposes $10.9 billion multiyear Highway Improvement Program
Approval of Governor's Tax Fairness Plan would allow for expansion of the road system and economic development
SPRINGFIELD – Acting Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milt Sees today unveiled Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's $10.9 billion multiyear Highway Improvement Program (MYP) for the Fiscal Years 2008 through 2013. The Multiyear Plan (MYP) focuses on maintenance of the current road system. The MYP complements $3 billion in capital road projects included in Governor Blagojevich's Tax Fairness Plan proposed in Senate Bill 1. The MYP and the bonded capital program would result in nearly $13.9 billion of highway investments over the next six years.


April 19, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich lauds success of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on its two-year anniversary
Museum prepares for a busy tourist season, blockbuster exhibit
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today praised the overwhelming success of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on its two-year anniversary. The museum has already welcomed more than 1 million visitors and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which the Governor created by executive order in February of 2006, has begun planning for Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in 2009.


April 19, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Dr. Christopher Koch as new State School Superintendent
Interim superintendent selected to lead agency after nationwide search; Governor reappoints five board members
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) named Dr. Christopher Koch to serve as the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Koch, who has been with ISBE since 1994, served as Interim Superintendent since December 2006, and was selected to lead the agency after a national search. The State Superintendent serves as the chief education officer in Illinois for elementary and secondary schools.


April 19, 2007
IDVA announces annual hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans now permanent
Annual recertification becomes one-time issue
SPRINGFIELD – In light of a recent letter received by Lake County Vietnam veteran Ray G. Canaday, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced that the annual free hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans issued by IDVA will now be a one-time, permanent issue. The new policy will save disabled veterans throughout the state the inconvenience of a yearly trip to renew their license, which includes transportation costs and time.


April 19, 2007
State employees donate more than $3 million to meet social service needs
Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth to be 2007 SECA Honorary Chair
SPRINGFIELD –The generosity of State employees was recognized at a luncheon at the Executive Mansion today as SECA Chair Maureen O’Donnell announced that the State and University Employees Combined Appeal (SECA) campaign raised more than $3 million in 2006 for the second year in a row. The funds will be disbursed through member charities to provide health and human services to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


April 19, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims Friday, April 20, 2007 as Day of Mourning for the Virginia Tech Victims
Governor Blagojevich joins Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine and other governors in ringing bells to remember victims; asks Illinoisans to participate
CHICAGO - In remembrance of the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring April 20, 2007 as A Day of Mourning for the Virginia Tech Victims. At the request of Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Governor Blagojevich is encouraging all churches, schools, and government entities to join in the ringing of bells tomorrow at 11 am (central time) for those who lost their lives on Monday.


April 18, 2007
Illinois Departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice name 2007 Volunteers of the Yea
“Together We Create a Better Tomorrow” ceremony recognizes volunteers
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Departments of Corrections (IDOC) and Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) announced the recipients of the 2007 Volunteer of the Year awards at a recognition ceremony held today in Springfield. Phillip L. McLaurin was named IDOC 2007 Volunteer of the Year and Tim Tomlinson at Illinois Youth Center – Pere Marquette was named as the 2007 Volunteer of the Year for IDJJ.


April 18, 2007
Education advocates, economists and experts voice support for Gov. Blagojevich's plan for record investment in education
Joint Senate committee hearing gathers information on Governor's historic plan for long-term boost in education funding and property tax relief
SPRINGFIELD - Education advocates, economists and tax experts today testified before a joint session of the Senate Revenue and Education Committees about Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Investing in Families plan that has been submitted to the General Assembly as Senate Bill 1. The experts testified about how the Governor's plan would pay for an unprecedented investment in education and much-needed property tax relief by correcting the inequities of the state's tax system. The Governor proposes ushering in sweeping transformation that would shift the tax burden away from individuals, who have been carrying an increasing share of the burden over the past thirty years, to large businesses, which have paid little to no income tax.


April 18, 2007
Top healthcare officials testify before Senate Public Health and Human Services Committee on the urgent need for Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered plan
Historic Illinois Covered plan would bring down healthcare costs for all by creating affordable health insurance options for 1.4 million uninsured adults, helping small businesses and middle-class families save thousands on insurance premiums, and reforming the healthcare delivery system
SPRINGFIELD – The Senate Public Health and Human Services Committee today heard testimony from top healthcare officials from around the state on the urgent need for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's historic "Illinois Covered" plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable and quality health coverage. The Governor's plan will provide affordable coverage to the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois and will also help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. It would also mean nearly $1.7 billion in new funding for hospitals and healthcare providers around the state. The Governor's plan has been endorsed by the Illinois Hospital Association and numerous other medical provider organizations.


April 18, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich honors victims of the Holocaust
Remembrance Day ceremony held at Old State Capitol
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today honored victims of the Holocaust at the 27th annual State of Illinois Holocaust Memorial Observance. The Holocaust resulted in the deaths of an estimated 6 million Jews, and it continues to be the world's worst example of intolerance, hatred and violence in human history.


April 17, 2007
Honoring Virginia Tech Victims
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Tuesday, April 17, 2007 through sunset on Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from Tuesday, April 17, 2007 through sunset on Sunday, April 22, 2007


April 16, 2007
Blagojevich administration announces the return of expanded seven-day schedule for many of Illinois' historic sites during tourist season
The return of daily operations attracts more visitors, generates more revenue for local economies
PETERSBURG – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Director Robert Coomer stood at the entrance to the log village where Abraham Lincoln lived for six years and announced that many of the state’s historic sites will be open seven days a week starting today and continuing through Labor Day. This successful move began last year and is included in the Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget. Expanding site operations during the busy tourism season attracts more visitors to Illinois and generates additional dollars for many communities.


April 16, 2007
Governor Blagojevich continues his Investing in Families tour visiting ministers, business owners and local leaders in Harvey
Governor continues tour promoting his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
HARVEY - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich continued his Investing in Families tour today in Harvey where he visited ministers, business owners and local leaders during a forum sponsored by Bishop Willie Jordan, the South Suburban Concerned Pastors and the St. Mark Covenant Churches Pastors, which consists of over 200 pastors. The Governor explained his Fiscal Year 2008 budget, which includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable and comprehensive health insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 16, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces newly expanded income limits for Illinois Cares Rx
Reminder to file applications over the Internet to get benefits faster
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the income guidelines for the Illinois Cares Rx prescription drug program have increased so that even more seniors and the disabled can be eligible for the state prescription drug assistance program. The Governor also reminded seniors to file the 2007 Illinois Cares Rx application online because it is the fastest way to get approved for the program. Illinois Cares Rx provides wrap-around prescription drug coverage to fill in the gaps created by Medicare Part D. Illinois Cares Rx also offers drug coverage for people who don’t have Medicare. Seniors with questions about Illinois Cares Rx can call the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org.


April 16, 2007
State above national average in volunteerism
Illinoisans contribute millions of hours to improving their communities
SPRINGFIELD – According to a federal report released today, 2.75 million Illinois volunteers dedicated 311.1 million hours of service in 2006. Illinois ranked 29th among other states with a three-year average volunteer rate of 29 percent, higher than the national volunteer rate of 26.7 percent. Participation with education or youth-service organizations more than doubled from a rate of 13.5 percent in 1989 to 28.4 percent in 2006.


April 15, 2007
Chicago Cubs Legend Ron Santo backs Gov. Blagojevich’s historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today welcomed the support of Chicago Cubs legend and broadcaster Ron Santo for his historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Santo stood with the Governor in front of Wrigley Field to voice his support of the Governor’s “Illinois Covered” proposal to make sure Illinois’ 1.4 million currently uninsured adults have access to affordable health coverage – and to help millions of middle-class families who already have insurance afford the high cost of premiums.


April 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois’ coal mine industry achieves record fourth consecutive year without a fatality
Governor proclaims April 15, 2007 Mine Safety Day in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois’ coal mine industry achieved a record fourth consecutive year without a fatality, a milestone never before achieved in Illinois. This achievement is a testament to increased safety measures over the last several years and the diligence of mine workers in Illinois to follow safety procedures. The Governor also proclaimed April 15, 2007 as Mine Safety Day in Illinois.


April 14, 2007
IDOT Announces Second Annual Work Zone Safety Statewide Calendar Contest
Work to be shown in 10,000 Work Zone Safety Calendars Across Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, IL-The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is honoring 12 students from across the state that participated in the 2007 Illinois Work Zone Safety Calendar Contest. This is the second year that IDOT is holding a work zone safety calendar contest.


April 13, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces new partnership with CVS/Pharmacy to help families sign up for the Governor’s "All Kids Program"
CVS/Pharmacy has trained pharmacists on the All Kids program in order to help families sign their kids up for affordable healthcare; distributing All Kids applications to customers
BARTONVILLE - In his continued effort to ensure every child in Illinois has access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a new partnership with CVS/Pharmacy in Illinois to help families learn about the Governor's All Kids program. CVS/Pharmacy, which has over 225 locations in Illinois, has already trained their Illinois pharmacists on the All Kids program to help families learn how to sign their kids up for healthcare. CVS/Pharmacy will also make applications and bag stuffers available at pharmacy counters and will promote the All Kids program on large pharmacy signs and window banners.


April 13, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces new partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to better prepare students for college and workplace
Partnership will focus on developing state policies and programs to better prepare all students for success
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Illinois College and Work Readiness Partnership, which will focus on developing policies and programs to better prepare Illinois students for success in the workforce and in continuing their education after high school. Partners include the Office of the Governor, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


April 12, 2007
Illinois Department of Agriculture Amends Gypsy Moth Quarantine
New boundaries include Cook, DuPage and McHenry counties
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Three additional northern Illinois counties have been placed under quarantine to control the spread of the gypsy moth.


April 12, 2007
Governor Blagojevich continues his Investing in Families tour visiting working families in Olympia Fields
Governor continues tour promoting his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
OLYMPIA FIELDS - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich continued his Investing in Families tour today in Olympia Fields where he visited working families during a forum sponsored by the Illinois Healthcare Consortium at St. James Hospital. The Governor explained his Fiscal Year 2008 budget, which includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable and comprehensive health insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 11, 2007
IDNR awards 14 additional Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants
Over $39,000 awarded for Fiscal Year 2007, the largest amount of funding ever awarded for the program
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today awarded 14 additional Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants totaling more than $13,500. The grants announced today are in addition to 32 grants totaling more than $25,700 awarded last month.


April 11, 2007
Corn Growers Vote To Increase Checkoff Provision of the Illinois Corn Marketing Act
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois corn producers voted in favor of increasing the corn checkoff rate established in the Illinois Corn Marketing Act in a referendum held March 29, 2007, according to Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke.


April 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Encourages Communities Across Illinois to Nominate Outstanding Volunteer Efforts for the 26th Annual Home Town Awards
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today invited Illinois’ cities, towns and villages to proudly recognize the outstanding contributions of their communities by nominating their distinguished volunteer efforts and accomplishments for the 26th Annual Home Town Awards. Each year, the Governor’s Home Town Awards recognizes Illinois’ hardworking and committed volunteers who greatly improve the communities in which they live.


April 10, 2007
AFSCME backs Gov. Blagojevich's plan for tax fairness
Governor welcomes support from largest union of public service workers
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today welcomed the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for his ambitious proposal to reform Illinois' tax system, which closes corporate loopholes and brings greater stability to the state's fiscal future. The Governor's plan to establish a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) on commercial activity has been embraced by many economists because of its broad base and low rates.


April 10, 2007
Sixth warmest March on record in Illinois
State averaged over six degrees above normal
SPRINGFIELD – After a cold February, the pendulum swung the other way, giving Illinois March temperatures averaging 47.6°F statewide, 6.5°F above normal and the 6th warmest March on record since 1895. Several cities, particularly Champaign-Urbana, set or tied daily high temperature records.


April 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces State of Illinois’ April “Veteran of the Month”
Auburn man honored for continued commitment and dedication to the veteran community at American Ex-Prisoners of War ceremony
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Robert E. Foster as the State of Illinois’ April “Veteran of the Month” for his longtime commitment and dedication to helping veterans throughout the state. Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director L. Tammy Duckworth presented the award to Mr. Foster during the annual American Ex-Prisoners of War recognition ceremony outside the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.


April 6, 2007
Illinois Department of Natural Resources welcomes 20 new cadets to Conservation Police force
New class graduates from Illinois State Police Academy; expected to be on patrol beginning December 2007
SPRINGFIELD – The Blagojevich Administration today announced the graduation of 20 Conservation Police Officer cadets, who have completed a 12 week Basic Law Enforcement Training Class at the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield. Acting Conservation Police Director Rafael Gutierrez congratulated the new recruits on behalf of Gov. Blagojevich today during a graduation ceremony held at the Academy.


April 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's "Investing in Families" bus tour stops in Decatur; Visits Barry's American Cycles to explain benefits of his budget for small business owners
Governor spends week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
DECATUR – On the fourth day of his "Investing in Families" bus tour, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with owners of small businesses at Barry's American Cycles in Decatur to talk about how his ambitious budget proposal will benefit small businesses. The Governor's plan would give every Illinoisan access to affordable health coverage, would dramatically increase the state's investment in education and provide tax relief for working families by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. Barry Geogehegan, owner of Barry's American Cycles, told the Governor about how he struggles to afford healthcare for his son, his employees and himself.


April 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's "Investing in Families" bus tour stops in Champaign; visits with families and physicians at Christie Clinic to explain benefits of his historic Illinois Covered plan
Governor spends week traveling Illinois to promote Illinois Covered, Helping Kids Learn, Tax Fairness
CHAMPAIGN – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with families, physicians, and healthcare officials at Christie Clinic in Champaign to discuss his historic Illinois Covered plan, which will provide access to affordable healthcare to the 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois. In addition to Illinois Covered, the Governor's proposed budget includes the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers. Today’s stop in Champaign was part of the Governor's Investing in Families Bus Tour, a four-day tour across Illinois to promote his budget plan.


April 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich rallies with hundreds in Danville in support of his Investing in Families budget plan
Governor continues traveling through Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
DANVILLE – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined community leaders, business owners, healthcare advocates, families, and community members to rally support for his Investing in Families budget plan in Danville. The crowd of supporters gathered together at the Laura Lee Fellowship House in Danville on the last evening of the Governor's Investing in Families bus tour, a four-day tour across Illinois to promote his budget plan. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable and comprehensive health insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 4, 2007
Governor Blagojevich rallies with hundreds in Marion in support of his Investing in Families budget plan
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
MARION - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined community leaders, business owners, healthcare advocates, families, and community members to rally support for his Investing in Families budget plan in Marion. The crowd of supporters gathered together at the Marion Civic Center in Marion on the third night of the Governor's Investing in Families bus tour, a four-day tour across Illinois to promote his budget plan. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich "Investing in Families" bus tour stops in Avon; visits with local family to explain how his budget can help family farmers
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
AVON – On the second day of his "Investing in Families" bus tour, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich visited the Buchen family farm in Avon to talk about how his ambitious budget proposal will benefit small businesses and farmers. Mary Jane and Phil Buchen have spent their entire lives living on their 700-acre farm that has been in the family since the 1860s, and they raised seven children there. Mary Jane and Phil have health insurance through Medicare, but their son, Denis Buchen, is one of the millions of Illinoisans struggling to pay the high costs of health insurance. Denis lives just down the street and works on the family farm. He currently spends 20 percent of his income to pay for insurance coverage for himself and his 19-year-old daughter.


April 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $2.5 million in grants to combat West Nile virus
87 local health departments receive grants to enhance West Nile virus prevention programs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today $2.5 million in grants to local health departments for surveillance and control efforts of mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne diseases. In 2006, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received reports of 215 human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois and ten deaths due to West Nile virus related illness.


April 3, 2007
IDNR announces 2007 Firearm Deer Season Permit online applications available today
Online application will expedite permit process
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced that the online application system for 2007 Resident Firearm and Muzzleloader-only Deer Season Permits is now available. The online system expedites the application process, allowing resident hunters to more efficiently apply for their firearm deer hunting permit.


April 3, 2007
Motorists Urged to Slow Down in Work Zones As 2007 Highway Construction Season Kicks Off
Photo enforcement vans on Illinois roads for second year As nation marks work zone safety week
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Acting Secretary Milt Sees and Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry Trent are warning drivers to be alert and slow down in work zones as the 2007 highway construction season kicks off. For the second year, State Troopers will be enforcing Illinois’ tough work zone speeding law with photo enforcement vans that snap photos of speeding cars.


April 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich kicks off Investing in Families Bus Tour from Chicago's Navy Pier; more than 250 organizations show support for Governor's budget plan
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich received support from more than 250 healthcare, education, business, religious, government and labor organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people across the state as he kicked off the Investing in Families Bus Tour at a Chicago Navy Pier rally with many of those groups today. This week, the Governor will travel Illinois to discuss how his Fiscal Year 2008 budget plan helps working families and to continue to generate support for his plan. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families bus tour stops in Elgin; Visits local eatery to explain benefits of his budget for small business owners
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
ELGIN - During the second stop of his weeklong Investing in Families bus tour, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich visited Cafe Magdalena in Elgin today to talk about how his ambitious budget proposal will benefit small businesses. The Governor's plan would give every Illinoisan access to affordable health coverage, would dramatically increase the state's investment in education and provide tax relief for working families by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. Fred Stefan, owner of Cafe Magdalena, told the Governor about his struggles with healthcare. Stefan employs ten workers and believes that the Governor's proposed Illinois Covered healthcare plan will bring about tremendous relief to small business owners like himself, who are struggling to pay their bills as well as maintain a healthy, productive workforce.


April 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families bus tour stops in Rock River Valley; visits local manufacturer to explain benefits of budget for small businesses
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
ROCKFORD - On the third stop of his weeklong "Investing in Families" bus tour, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich visited DLM Manufacturing in Rockford to talk about the benefits of his ambitious proposal to help small businesses. The Governor's plan would give every Illinoisan access to affordable health coverage, would dramatically increase the state's investment in education and provide tax relief for working families by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. Duntai Mathews, owner of DLM Manufacturing, told the Governor about his struggles with healthcare. Mathews believes that the Governor's proposed Illinois Covered healthcare plan will provide relief for small business owners like himself, who are struggling to pay their bills as well as maintain a healthy, productive workforce.


April 2, 2007
Governor Blagojevich rallies with hundreds in Moline in support of his Investing in Families budget plan
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system
MOLINE - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined community leaders, business owners, healthcare advocates, families, and community members to rally support for his Investing in Families budget plan in Moline. The crowd of supporters gathered together at The Mark of the Quad Cities in Moline on the first night of the Governor's Investing in Families bus tour, a four-day tour across Illinois to promote his budget plan. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


April 1, 2007
Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Endorses Governor Blagojevich's Tax Fairness Plan
The Governor accepts the endorsement of plan that builds on continued efforts to support small businesses across Illinois
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich accepted the endorsement today from the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) for his Tax Fairness Plan, which is an ambitious proposal to help small businesses by providing greater access to affordable healthcare, improving education and relieving their tax burden by asking everybody to pay their fair share. This innovative plan gives working families the relief they deserve, while helping small business owners have better access to quality healthcare for their employees and themselves. The IHCC's endorsement comes the day before Gov. Blagojevich sets off on a four-day tour of the state to build support for his budget plan.


April 1, 2007
Director of Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Lt. Governor announce plan to immediately compensate the families of Illinois heroes killed in the line of duty
Immediate action taken to address the 22 families awaiting their benefits
CHICAGO – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth joined Lt. Governor Pat Quinn at a press conference in the James R. Thompson Center today, where they announced the steps that are being taken to pay the families who have lost loved ones in the war.


April 1, 2007
Director of Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Lt. Governor announce plan to immediately compensate the families of Illinois heroes killed in the line of duty
Immediate action taken to address the 22 families awaiting their benefits
CHICAGO – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth joined Lt. Governor Pat Quinn at a press conference in the James R. Thompson Center today, where they announced the steps that are being taken to pay the families who have lost loved ones in the war.


March 30, 2007
Blagojevich Administration unveils new Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket, Two for the Dough
Over $380,000 in Veterans Cash grants awarded to help provide wide range of services for Illinois Veterans
CHICAGO –Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) L. Tammy Duckworth and Lt. Governor Pat Quinn joined the Illinois Lottery today to unveil the new face of the Veterans Cash lottery ticket, Two for the Dough.


March 28, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Announces $240,000 for Innovative Agribusiness Ventures That Will Help Put More People to Work
Nine projects approved to advance “value-added” agriculture
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich awarded $240,000 in Opportunity Returns grants today to promote agricultural innovation and help create new jobs in rural communities across Illinois. The projects, funded through the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s AgriFIRST program, include a feasibility study to find new uses for a by-product of biodiesel production, the construction of a greenhouse to launch an organic, hydroponic tomato operation and the expansion of a livestock processing facility.


March 28, 2007
IDNR urges boaters and anglers to enroll in a free boating safety course before heading out on the water
Courses provide review of boating laws, tips for staying safe
SPRINGFIELD, IL – With spring underway, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today urged individuals planning to spend time out on the water to participate in one of the department’s free boating safety education courses. The free courses provide an important and potentially life-saving review of boating laws and regulations and instruction on safe and attentive boating.


March 27, 2007
Governor Blagojevich assails Big Business' efforts to retain special tax loopholes by distorting truth about his Tax Fairness Plan
Governor launches website to serve as one-stop information shop on tax fairness plan; educate the public and give them the tools they need to lend their support
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today criticized the sponsors of a new television ad that misinforms the public about his proposed Tax Fairness plan that would ensure businesses are paying their fair share of state taxes to support important services like public education and healthcare. The Governor also launched a new website to educate Illinoisans about the growing need to change the state's tax system. The new website, www.illinois.gov/taxfairness, provides the public with facts about the existing tax system that requires working people to shoulder most of the tax burden at a time when corporations are enjoying record profits.


March 27, 2007
Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce Endorses Governor Blagojevich's Tax Fairness Plan
The Governor accepts the endorsement of plan that builds on continued efforts to support small businesses across Illinois
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich accepted the endorsement today from the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce for his Tax Fairness Plan, which is an ambitious proposal to help small businesses by providing greater access to affordable healthcare, improving education and relieving their tax burden by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. This innovative plan closes corporate loopholes and gives working families the relief they deserve, while helping small business owners have better access to quality healthcare for their employees and themselves.


March 26, 2007
186 Illinois communities honored with Tree City USA designation
Tree City USA communities to be recognized at the 2007 Tree City USA Conference and Awards Ceremony
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced that 186 Illinois communities have received the Tree City USA designation for managing their local community forest resources in an effort to enhance citizen safety and welfare. These communities will be presented with awards on March 27 at Morton Arboretum, Lisle, and at the Northfield Center in Springfield on March 29.


March 24, 2007
Illinois matches a record low for tuberculosis cases
First time foreign-born tuberculosis cases outnumber U.S.-born cases
SPRINGFIELD – In conjunction with World TB day, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced the number of tuberculosis cases in Illinois decreased in 2006, matching the state record low in 2004. A total of 569 tuberculosis cases were reported in 2006, compared with 596 in 2005. The City of Chicago observed the largest decrease of 11.2 percent, from 329 cases in 2005 to 292 cases in 2006. This decrease was largely among U.S.-born African Americans.


March 23, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Decatur area Schools to see increase of $16.9 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $16.9 million for students in Decatur area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 22, 2007
Over 50 Rockford business groups, advocate organizations, individuals endorse Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families Initiatives
Governor's top environmental aide Doug Scott accepts more than 50 endorsements for the Governor's budget priorities
ROCKFORD - Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott joined over 50 Rockford organizations and individuals, including healthcare providers and advocates, business owners, education supporters, and other nonprofit organizations, where he accepted endorsements for the Governor's Investing in Families Initiatives, the Governor's proposed budget for FY08. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


March 22, 2007
Decatur area community leaders gather to discuss Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families Initiatives
Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth visits Decatur labor groups, social service organizations, individuals to advocate for Governor's budget priorities
DECATUR - Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth joined more than two dozen Decatur organizations and individuals, including healthcare providers and advocates, education supporters, churches, and other nonprofit organizations, to advocate for the Governor's Investing in Families Initiatives, the Governor's proposed budget for FY08. The plan includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


March 22, 2007
State Public Health Director issues consumer warning
Illegally manufactured Mexican-style cheese can lead to food borne illness such as Salmonella
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today issued a warning about the dangers of consuming illegally manufactured Mexican-style cheeses, such as queso fresco or queso cotija. The warning came after a sample of Mexican-style cheeses from a grocery store in Kane County tested positive for Salmonella. The manufacturer of the Salmonella-contaminated cheese in Kane County has not been clearly identified.


March 21, 2007
Glenn Poshard, Bob Arya join more than 25 organizations and individuals supporting Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families Initiatives
DU QUOIN - Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard and Governor Blagojevich's senior Policy Advisor Bob Arya today joined more than 25 organizations and individuals, including healthcare providers, education supporters, local government officials, and other nonprofit organizations in Southern Illinois, who are expressing their support for the Governor's Investing in Families Initiatives, the Governor's proposed budget for FY08. The initiatives include the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable, comprehensive healthcare coverage to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


March 21, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, March 26, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, March 26, 2007.


March 21, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces new rules to help protect homebuyers in Cook County
New consumer protections to predatory lending pilot program will reduce foreclosures countywide
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today directed the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to increase protections to homebuyers and more effectively fight predatory lending by filing new rules to the Illinois Predatory Lending Database Pilot Program, also known as HB 4050. The new rules will help protect consumers by focusing scrutiny on the lenders and their loans rather than consumers and their credit history. These rules will provide first time homebuyers and homeowners who are refinancing their homes with counseling to protect them against predatory or other non-traditional types of loans.


March 21, 2007
AIDS Foundation of Chicago endorses Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered at "Super Heroes" Rally at State Capitol
Healthcare plan could help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) today rallied at the State Capitol to support Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's "Illinois Covered" healthcare plan. Over 150 AIDS advocates gathered at the State Capitol wearing "Super Hero" t-shirts in an effort to encourage legislators to be "super heroes" by passing the Governor's plan to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare to all Illinoisans during the group's Seventh Annual Illinois HIV/AIDS Lobby Day.


March 20, 2007
Dozens of African-American ministers endorse Governor Blagojevich's plan to expand access to healthcare, invest more money in schools, bring about tax fairness
Ministers will reach out to members of the Illinois General Assembly and urge them to approve the Governor's plan to "Invest in Illinois Families"
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today received the support of dozens of African American ministers, who met with him at First Church of Deliverance on Chicago's Southside to endorse the Governor's FY2008 budget proposal, Invest in Illinois Families. To further underline their support, the ministers will reach out to members of the Illinois General Assembly and urge them to approve the Governor's proposed budget. The group is one of several that have come out in recent weeks to endorse the Governor's plan to provide affordable access to healthcare for all, make a historic investment in public schools, and relieve the tax burden on individuals by asking big businesses to pay their fair share.


March 20, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces launch of Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Web site
www.Lincoln200.net promotes activities, generates enthusiasm for the February 2009 celebration of Lincoln’s 200th birthday
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission has launched a website to promote activities and events leading to the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The Web site, www.lincoln200.net, provides an online resource to build enthusiasm and support for the February 2009 observance in Illinois.


March 19, 2007
Momentum for Gov. Blagojevich's FY2008 budget proposal continues to build
Community groups and individuals in Peoria and Danville voice support for "Investing in Illinois Families" at endorsement events today
CHICAGO - The Governor's Chief Operating Officer John Filan spoke to the City Club in Chicago today about Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposal, "Investing in Illinois Families," as momentum builds throughout the state for support of the plan. As groups across the state continue to voice support for the Governor's budget proposal, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley over the weekend urged the Illinois General Assembly to carefully look at the Governor's proposed budget. Mayor Daley said the plan warrants close examination and that he supports the Governor's proposal to increase education funding.


March 19, 2007
Peoria business groups, advocate organizations, individuals endorse Governor Blagojevich's Investing in Families Initiatives
HFS Director Barry Maram accepts more than two dozen endorsements for the Governor's budget priorities
PEORIA - Illinois Health and Family Services Director Barry Maram joined more than two dozen Peoria organizations and individuals, including healthcare providers and advocates, education supporters, churches, and other nonprofit organizations, where he accepted endorsements for the Governor's Investing in Families Initiatives, the Governor's proposed budget for FY08. The plan includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state's long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.


March 16, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich kicks off TrAIL, Don’t Be Sorry programs in Kendall County
TrAIL program assists law enforcement in identifying people who sell alcohol to minors
CHICAGO—In response to the tragedy that took five young lives in Oswego last month, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced today he will expand the state's effort in cracking down on those who provide alcohol to minors by introducing the TrAIL (Tracking Alcohol in IL) and Don't Be Sorry programs to Kendall County.


March 16, 2007
Top Blagojevich Administration healthcare official addresses Latino community leaders on Illinois' healthcare achievements and Governor's historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to healthcare
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram speaks at Entre Nosotros: A Summit on Diabetes and Latino Healthcare
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram today joined Latino community leaders and healthcare providers at Entre Nosotros: A Summit on Diabetes and Latino Healthcare to discuss Illinois' strategies to help fight diabetes, the state's healthcare achievements for the Latino community, and Gov. Blagojevich's historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. The Governor's "Illinois Covered" proposal, announced in his 2007 Budget Address, would continue the state's nationally-recognized efforts to expand access to healthcare by helping Illinois' 1.4 million currently uninsured adults - 23% of whom are Latino - get access to quality health coverage at affordable rates.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Chicago Public Schools to see increase of $185 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $185 million for students in the Chicago Public Schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Champaign area Schools to see increase of $25 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $25 million for students in Champaign area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Peoria, Bloomington-Normal area Schools to see increase of $58 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $58 million for students in the Peoria and Bloomington-Normal area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Southern Illinois schools to see increase of $23.5 million in General State Aid; per pupil spending to reach $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $23.5 million dollars for students in southern Illinois public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget would increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Rockford area Schools to see increase of $73.5 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $73.5 million for students in Rockford area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Quincy area Schools to see increase of $6.3 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $6.3 million for students in the Quincy area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history.


March 16, 2007
Illinois Federation of Teachers endorses Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor's plan has backing of both state teachers unions; Metro East Schools to see increase of $38 million in General State Aid; revised estimates increase proposed foundation level to $6,058
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. The Governor's plan means an additional $38 million for students in Metro East area public schools. In addition, new estimates by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) indicate the foundation level, or guaranteed minimum amount of state and local funding to schools, in the Governor's proposed budget increase to $6,058.


March 15, 2007
Blagojevich Administration healthcare official addresses civic leaders and healthcare officials on healthcare achievements and Governor's historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to healthcare
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram speaks at Civic Federation and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago forum on Medicaid
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram today addressed national civic leaders and healthcare officials on Illinois' healthcare achievements and Governor Blagojevich's historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Over the last four years, Illinois has expanded access to healthcare to more than 560,000 more people without raising taxes and while cutting the Medicaid backlog in half, reining in growth of the Medicaid program, and setting a guaranteed payment cycle for doctors. Governor Blagojevich's "Illinois Covered" proposal, announced in last week's 2007 Budget Address, would continue that progress by helping Illinois' 1.4 million currently uninsured adults get access to quality health coverage at affordable rates. Director Maram made his presentation today at the Civic Federation and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Medicaid forum.


March 15, 2007
IDOT, ISP, Secretary of State Police team with local police To Step up alcohol enforcement for St. Patrick’s Day
100 details planned to curb impaired driving for third year in a row
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Acting Secretary Milt Sees and Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry Trent announced that IDOT, ISP and the Secretary of State Police are teaming up with local police agencies throughout the state to urge the public to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day safely this weekend. The agencies issued the notice today as they gear up for a major enforcement effort for the third year in a row.


March 15, 2007
2007 spring trout fishing season opens April 7
Rainbow Trout stocked at 42 locations in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2007 spring trout fishing season in Illinois begins at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


March 14, 2007
Illinois recognized as national leader for commitment to early childhood education
National report ranks state second in the nation for preschool accessibility for 3 year olds; Illinois State Board of Education accepting applications from preschool providers for 2007-2008 school year
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois is being recognized as a national leader for its commitment to making quality preschool available to all three- and four-year olds according to a report published by the National Institute for Early Education Research of Rutgers University. Unlike other states, Illinois has increased its funding for early childhood education through Gov. Blagojevich’s Preschool for All, which the report says will continue to increase access in the future.


March 14, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich Announces $270,000 In Sustainable Agriculture Grants To Encourage Enviromentally-Friendly Agricultural Innovation
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $270,000 in grants to promote the development of innovative farming practices that are profitable and conserve natural resources. The grants, which are part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy, will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program.


March 14, 2007
State to auction surplus property next week
Auctions enable bidding online via www.proxibid.com and at state warehouse in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Central Management Service (CMS) will host public surplus property auctions as it continues to sell items no longer needed by state government. The first auction – with real-time online bidding – will start at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at www.proxibid.com. The traditional live auction in the state’s Surplus Property Warehouse will be on Wednesday, March 21, starting at 8 a.m.


March 13, 2007
Veterans’ Affairs Director reminds residents of easy way to assist state’s war heroes
Money raised through tax check-off helps residents at state’s four veterans’ homes
CHICAGO – As taxpayers begin to fill out their IL-1040 tax forms, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth is reminding residents about an easy way to help the state’s military heroes.


March 13, 2007
IDNR awards Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants
Funds to assist more than 2,000 students in learning about nature and conservation
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today announced more than $25,000 in Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants. The grants will assist more than 2,000 students from more than 30 classrooms statewide in visiting Illinois state parks, museums and other natural resources sites to learn about nature and conservation.


March 13, 2007
Partnership for a Drug-Free Illinois calls on media, parents to unite in preventing illegal drug use
New release of public service announcements includes messages about heroin, meth and prescription drugs
CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. today urged radio and TV stations to air new public service messages from the Partnership for a Drug-Free Illinois aimed at educating parents on the newest dangers of illegal and prescription drug abuse and what they can do to protect teens.


March 13, 2007
IDOT Appoints Veteran Engineer to Lead Highway Region 2 Covering Northern Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Acting Secretary Milt Sees today appointed George F. Ryan, a 28-year veteran of the Department, to serve as Deputy Director of Highways and Region 2 Engineer in charge of two Highway Districts in northern Illinois that stretch from Indiana to the Mississippi River.


March 10, 2007
Illinois Education Association backs Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor announced plan to boost school funding by $10 billion over four years; three times larger than any increase in state history
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association (IEA) for the Helping Kids Learn plan, which will invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. In the past four years, Governor Blagojevich has provided $3.8 billion in new education dollars to Illinois schools, which had been chronically neglected and under-funded for decades before. Speaking before the IEA at their annual meeting attended by more than 1200 delegates, the Governor explained that under the new plan, Illinois students will be sure to have a good place to learn, strong teachers and administrators, quality materials, enough time to learn, and the financial resources to get it done.


March 9, 2007
Governor Blagojevich visits Quad Cities to continue his fight for small business owners and working families
The Governor's Tax Fairness plan builds on continued efforts to support small businesses across Illinois
CORDOVA - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today traveled to Bob's Blacktop in the Quad Cities to talk about the benefits of his ambitious proposal to help small businesses, which includes providing greater access to affordable healthcare, improving education and relieving their tax burden by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. As part of this proposal, the Governor unveiled an historic Tax Fairness Plan that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families the relief they deserve, while helping small business owners have better access to quality healthcare for their employees and themselves.


March 9, 2007
Governor Blagojevich visits Southern Illinois to continue his fight for small business owners and working families
The Governor's Tax Fairness Plan builds on continued efforts to support small businesses across Illinois
HARRISBURG - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today traveled to Midwest Fabrication & Repair, Inc. to talk about the benefits of his ambitious proposal to help small businesses, which includes providing greater access to affordable healthcare, improving education and relieving their tax burden by asking big businesses to pay their fair share. As part of this proposal, the Governor unveiled an historic Tax Fairness Plan that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families the relief they deserve, while helping small business owners have better access to quality healthcare for their employees and themselves.


March 8, 2007
Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan and Chicago Teachers Union Back Governor Blagojevich's Helping Kids Learn plan
Governor announced plan to boost school funding by $10 billion over four years in yesterday’s Budget Address; three times larger than any increase in state history
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was joined today by Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Arne Duncan and Chicago Teacher's Union President Marilyn Stewart at Nettelhorst Elementary to build support for Helping Kids Learn plan, the Governor's plan to invest an unprecedented $10 billion in schools over the next four years - nearly three times bigger than any increase in state history. Duncan endorsed the Governor's education proposal, which would provide more than $395 million in new capital and operating funds to the Chicago Public School system in Fiscal Year 2008. In past decades, Illinois schools have been chronically neglected and consistently under-funded, but in the past four years, Governor Blagojevich provided $3.8 billion in new dollars to Illinois schools which boosted education funding to record levels.


March 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich continues his fight for middle class families in his Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Address
Governor proposes Tax Fairness plan to shift tax burden away from middle class families; record new investment of $10 billion for Illinois schools over next four years; and historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to quality affordable health insurance
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today delivered his Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Address, launching his second term with a bold agenda for Illinois’ middle class families that will give everyone access to affordable healthcare, improve education, and relieve the tax burden on individuals by asking big businesses to pay their fair share.


March 7, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.


March 6, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, March 8, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, March 8, 2007.


March 5, 2007
Illinois EPA announces spring 2007 Household Hazardous Waste collection schedule
Collections planned for 10 Illinois communities March through June
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott announced today that 10 household hazardous waste collection events have been scheduled to be held across the state, starting Saturday, March 17.


March 5, 2007
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Newsbits
Highlighting IDNR programs and upcoming events for the month of March
New License Year Begins April 1: Hunters and anglers are reminded to purchase their 2007 Illinois hunting, fishing and sportsmen combination licenses prior to April 1 when the new IDNR license year begins. The 2007 Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsmen combination licenses are available from hundreds of DNR Direct license and permit vendor locations - and online through the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us. The online system is available 24 hours a day using American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. Licenses are also available by phone through DNR Direct by calling toll-free 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).


March 4, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to quality affordable health insurance
Comprehensive “Illinois Covered” plan to bring down healthcare costs for all by creating affordable health insurance options for 1.4 million uninsured adults, helping small businesses and middle-class families save thousands on insurance premiums, and reforming the healthcare delivery system
CHICAGO – Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich today announced “Illinois Covered,” his historic and comprehensive plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable and quality health coverage. While the Governor’s “All Kids” plan, which took effect last year, extended coverage to all children in the state, approximately 1.4 million adults in Illinois are currently uninsured. A majority, roughly 75 percent, are from families with moderate incomes or higher. The Governor’s plan will provide affordable coverage to the uninsured and will also help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands a year on healthcare costs. The plan will also reform the existing healthcare system to improve quality and require more accountability.


March 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges people to prepare for severe weather as first anniversary of Central Illinois tornado approaches
Illinois saw record number of tornadoes in 2006
SPRINGFIELD– With the one-year anniversary of a major tornado in Central Illinois just days away, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged people to prepare now for severe spring weather. The Governor proclaimed March 4-10 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois, and urged Illinois residents to learn more about the weather hazards that can threaten during the spring and summer months.


March 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces 2006 attendance at Illinois state parks the largest since 2002
Over 44 million visitors enjoyed state parks throughout Illinois last year
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that attendance figures at Illinois’ more than 120 state parks and natural areas in 2006 were the largest they have been since 2002. Attendance figures for 2006 show 44,482,810 people visited a state park last year, eclipsing 2005 attendance figures by 316,429.


March 2, 2007
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich celebrates 10th Anniversary of NEA’s Read Across America Day by announcing March selections for her Children’s Reading Club
March selections are: Eric Carle’s ‘The Grouchy Ladybug’ and Shel Silverstein’s ‘A Light in the Attic’
CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today celebrated the National Read Across America Day by announcing the March selections for her Children’s Reading Club – Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug and Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. The Children’s Reading Club, a recommended reading list made up of books the First Lady and her daughters enjoy at home, encourages parents to read with their children and engage in early development of reading skills.


March 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich launches “Illinois Covered” Web site
Underscores critical need for healthcare reform and engages the public in effort to guarantee every Illinoisan has access to affordable quality health coverage
CHICAGO – Underscoring the critical need for major healthcare reform, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched a new Web site, http://www.illinoiscovered.com. At this site, the public can learn about the healthcare crisis and its impact here in Illinois. Calling health insurance for all a “fundamental civil right,” Gov. Blagojevich has made healthcare his top priority.


March 1, 2007
IDVA announces free annual hunting and fishing licenses available for disabled veterans
Reminder to veterans with the 2006 license to reissue; expires March 31st
CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Acting Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced that the annual free hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans are available. IDVA is reminding disabled veterans that the 2006 Illinois issued hunting and fishing license will expire on March 31st. Disabled veterans must visit one of the state’s 51 Veteran Service Offices to renew or obtain the free hunting and fishing license.


February 28, 2007
Deer hunters donate 72,000 pounds of venison to food banks, charities during 2006-07 Deer Season
Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program helps provide meals for thousands of people
SPRINGFIELD – Deer hunters in Illinois donated more than 72,000 pounds of venison to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) Program during the 2006-07 deer season, providing more than 280,000 meals to needy people in the state.


February 28, 2007
State Fire Marshal’s Office strives to ensure safety of elevators, other conveyances in Illinois
OSFM enforces law to ensure elevators, escalators and other conveyance devices are installed and operated safely
Springfield – In an effort to make elevators, escalators and other conveyance devices in Illinois safer, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is working to ensure that people who inspect, install and perform maintenance on such devices are properly trained and have the necessary skills. About 30 people are killed and approximately 17,000 others are injured each year in the United States in incidents involving elevators and escalators.


February 27, 2007
Nursing Home Violations For The Month Of September
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced the following type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act were cited during the month of September. An “A” violation, which is the most serious licensure violation imposed by the state, pertains to a condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result.


February 26, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, March 2, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, March 2, 2007.


February 26, 2007
Illinois Products Expo To Feature Homemade Foods and Wine From Illinois Companies
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Eighteen new exhibitors will be among the more than 70 Illinois food companies that give away samples of their products during the ninth annual Illinois Products Expo, Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke announced today.


February 23, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, February 27, 2007.


February 22, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces state’s acquisition of Franklin Life complex in Springfield
$2.8 million investment package to help leading life insurance company construct new facility and retain 400 Illinois jobs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state has reached a landmark agreement with American General Life Insurance Co. (AIG American General), a member company of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), to acquire its current office buildings and to retain the company’s operations and at least 400 jobs in Springfield. In the coming months, AIG will invest $25 million as it constructs a new facility that will serve as a life insurance processing and service center.


February 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois preparedness team receives national honors
State’s Strategic National Stockpile team to demonstrate coordinated statewide effort lauded as national model
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the Illinois Strategic National Stockpile team will speak tomorrow at the Local, State and Federal Public Health Preparedness Summit in Washington, D.C. Illinois’ SNS team, selected from more than 300 submissions from public health officials nationwide, will provide insight on the state’s coordinated preparedness efforts in a presentation entitled, The Amazing SNS Race: Collaboration Between State Agencies to Get to the Finish. Illinois was selected to highlight its efforts because the state has achieved the highest ranking the past three years for its plan to use local health departments to dispense medications and supplies.


February 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich applauds East West Gateway vote in favor of building new lanes across Mississippi River without imposing tolls
Illinois Governor reaches out to his Missouri counterpart And says two sides should meet and resolve differences
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded a vote by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments in favor of the Martin Luther King Bridge coupler plan that will provide four additional lanes of traffic across the Mississippi River.


February 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois a national leader in child support collections through passport denial
Passport denial collections in Illinois jump by 43% in 2006; increased collections allowing children to get the financial support that they are entitled to
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois’ Division of Child Support Enforcement is one of the nation’s leaders in child support collected through the federal Passport Denial program. In 2006, Illinois was one of only six states to collect over $1 million through passport denial, netting $1.14 million for Illinois children. In addition, passport denial collections in Illinois jumped by 43% in 2006, surpassing the national increase of 33%. The State of Illinois’ child support collection reached a record breaking high of $1.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2006.


February 19, 2007
Dick Kay joins Governor’s Administration to assist with healthcare access campaign
Respected newscaster leaves retirement to join the fight to guarantee access to healthcare for every person in Illinois
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Dick Kay, retired TV newscaster from NBC 5 Chicago, will be working with his administration to advocate for increased access to healthcare for all Illinoisans. This spring Governor Blagojevich will announce a plan to guarantee the estimated 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois have access to affordable health insurance.


February 18, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces sharp increase in passengers on state-sponsored Amtrak trains
Ridership on Chicago-St. Louis line up 95 % in first three months; Illinois doubled rail support while Pres. Bush proposes to slash funding
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that ridership surged by 69 percent on state supported Amtrak routes during the first three months of new expanded service between Chicago and St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy.


February 15, 2007
Illinois taxpayers may once again contribute to diabetes research through the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund
Fund received more than $100,000 in 2005
Springfield – Illinoisans can help fund research for diabetes through contributions on their 2006 Illinois income tax returns. This is the second year for the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund, signed into law by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in 2005. The fund is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), which makes grants to public or private entities in Illinois for research.


February 15, 2007
IDNR encourages students to participate in 2007 Junior Duck Stamp contest
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program celebrates 15 years of conservation through the arts
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Students in grades kindergarten through 12 can learn about waterfowl, wetlands and conservation, and put their art skills to use while participating in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (JDS). The goal of the Junior Duck Stamp Program is to teach environmental science through the arts. Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today encouraged Illinois students to participate in the 2007 program, currently in its 15th year.


February 15, 2007
Five Illinois cases of Salmonella possibly related to multi-state peanut butter contamination
All five cases match the national outbreak pattern
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, warns consumers not to eat Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter with product code beginning with numbers “2111” purchased since May 2006. This warning comes after a multi-state outbreak of S. ser. Tennessee, a specific strain of Salmonella that may be associated with the consumption of certain brands of peanut butter.


February 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich continues efforts to teach kids and teens about Internet safety; nearly 1,500 students, teachers, and parents trained to stay safe online
Training part of Governor’s aggressive plan to fight Internet crime
MORTON – As part of his ongoing efforts to fight Internet crime and protect children from online predators, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that nearly 1,500 students, teachers and parents have received NetSmartz training – workshops that combine the newest technologies and the most current research in high-impact educational activities to teach kids and teens how to stay safe online. The workshops began in October and will continue throughout the year in schools and community organizations around the state. Today, Illinois State Police officers trained students at Morton Junior High School in Central Illinois.


February 15, 2007
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich announces February selections for Children’s Reading Club: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today announced the February book selections for her Children’s Reading Club – Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. The Children’s Reading Club, a recommended reading list made up of books the First Lady and her daughters Amy and Annie enjoy at home, encourages parents to read with their children and engage in early development of reading skills.


February 13, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges Department of Labor to keep Family and Medical Leave Act Strong
Special interests are lobbying the Department of Labor to weaken the law – Governor Blagojevich speaks up for workers’ rights
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged the U.S. Department of Labor not to weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as the agency revisits facets of the law this month. In a letter to Senior Regulatory Officer Richard M. Brennan at the Department of Labor, Governor Blagojevich advocated for the people who have medical issues or family situations that require they take unpaid leave from work.


February 13, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich sets goal to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois
Climate Change Advisory Group meets to address the serious and urgent issue of global climate change
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The GHG goals are part of a long-term strategy by the state to combat global climate change and builds on steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the environment and public health.


February 12, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares February 12-18 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois
Encourages Illinoisans to visit hospitalized veterans and learn about volunteer opportunities
SPRINGFIELD – In conjunction with the 29th annual observance of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring February 12-18, 2007 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois. The Governor encouraged Illinoisans to visit local hospitalized veterans this week to say thank you for the sacrifices they made for our country. The Governor also urged Illinoisans to learn about volunteer opportunities at medical facilities around the state.


February 10, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
“On this historic day, I am pleased to join many Illinoisans who are excited and proud to support Senator Obama in his bid for the Presidency. I know that Senator Obama will fight to make sure that working families have access to health care, good paying jobs, and opportunities to provide for their children. Senator Obama supports the very best of these Democratic values; they are values that he and I share, values I know he will fight for.


February 9, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, February 12, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, February 12, 2007.


February 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces grant for additional monitoring of avian influenza
Illinois enters into intergovernmental agreement with USDA to conduct surveillance of game bird and poultry farms
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state would begin surveillance for avian influenza among Illinois wild game bird and poultry breeders. Through an intergovernmental agreement with the USDA, the state has been awarded $165,000 in funding to work with game bird and poultry producers to provide free testing for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in captive-reared game birds and poultry.


February 8, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces new Abraham Lincoln exhibit on display this weekend; Encourages visitors to sample city’s attractions on the weekend before Lincoln’s Birthday
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the opening of a new temporary Abraham Lincoln exhibit and encouraged the community and visitors to Springfield to view the display and visit the capital city’s numerous historic attractions during this weekend before Lincoln’s birthday.


February 7, 2007
State human service agency saves more than $1 million annually by reducing dependence on paper forms
Electronic forms also improve staff efficiency and services to IDHS customers
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is saving at least $100,000 a month in printing costs through the use of electronic “E-forms.” E-forms are electronic versions of forms enabling IDHS to drastically reduce the amount of paper it uses while at the same time cutting costs for storage and shipping.


February 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich unveils new Internet Crimes Unit Web site dedicated to combating online crime
Builds on efforts to crack down on criminals and sexual predators, key component of the Governor’s comprehensive plan to fight Internet crime
CHICAGO – As part of his aggressive plan to fight Internet crime and protect families and communities from sexual predators, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the new Illinois State Police (ISP) Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) Web site, www.isp.state.il.us/icu. The Web site will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for answers to questions or concerns regarding Internet safety or crime. The new site also provides law enforcement the tools and resources needed to fight Internet crime. While the Internet has many useful applications, it has also affords new opportunities for criminals and sexual predators.


February 6, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Announces Strategic Directions 2007-2012
Goal to build public will for the important role and value of the arts and creativity in building vital, prosperous, livable communities.
Chicago – The Illinois Art Council (IAC) will work over the next five years to educate a growing number of people in the state about the value of the arts and the role art and creativity can play to strengthen communities and contribute to the education of thousands of Illinois children, according to IAC’s Strategic Directions submitted to Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the General Assembly.


February 6, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in response to President Bush’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget
CHICAGO – “The proposed federal budget unveiled today by President Bush would seriously hamper the efforts of Illinois and other states across the country as we try to help working and middle class families get ahead. At a time when Illinois is making great progress in expanding access to healthcare, making our communities safer and investing more in our public schools, President Bush is proposing a budget that cuts funding for these critical areas so that he can provide permanent tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and invest more in the escalating war in Iraq.


February 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces more high school students succeeding on college-level AP Exams
State sees dramatic increase in participation among at-risk student population
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that more Illinois high school students than ever are succeeding on college-level Advanced Placement Program® (AP) Exams according to the College Board’s third annual Advanced Placement Report to the Nation. The Advanced Placement Program® is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. Participating students gain college-level skills and in many cases earn college credit while they are still in high school.


February 6, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces statewide effort to teach drivers proper use of child safety seats
ISP steps up child passenger patrols, IDOT sponsors 33 safety seat checkpoints across the state to educate parents on proper safety seat use
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) are teaming up to increase compliance with child safety seat laws and teach motorists about the proper use of child safety seats during the nationwide Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from February 11-17.


February 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich calls on universities and students to join the fight against HIV/AIDS
February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration will again join forces with students at the University of Illinois at Springfield, as part of his BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) Project, during the university’s event tomorrow in observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. February 7 is recognized each year as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to increase awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among African Americans. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will attend the event and encourage students to become BASUAH ambassadors.


February 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich calls on U.S. Congress to release additional funds for energy assistance and block proposed federal cuts to LIHEAP funding
Governor reminds Illinoisans to take advantage of statewide warming centers and to apply for energy assistance; For energy assistance and weatherization tips visit www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call toll-free 1-877-411-WARM
CHICAGO – As freezing temperatures continue throughout the Midwest, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on the United States Congress to release $1 billion in additional funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to match the level of funding allocated last year and to block President Bush’s proposed cuts to LIHEAP funding. The Governor also urged Illinoisans to apply for energy assistance if they have not already, and to take advantage of warming centers in 122 state buildings around the state. For information on finding a warming center, energy assistance or weatherization tips, families can visit the Keep Warm Illinois website at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call the toll-free Keep Warm Illinois hotline at 1-877-411-WARM.


February 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces 2007 application for Illinois Cares Rx now available online
Applications filed over the Internet are processed faster; To find out more about Illinois Cares Rx, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that older adults and the disabled can now apply and file the 2007 Illinois Cares Rx application over the Internet. The Governor is encouraging seniors to use the online application because it is the fastest way to get approved for state prescription drug assistance. Illinois Cares Rx provides wrap-around prescription drug coverage to fill in the gaps created by Medicare Part D. Seniors with questions about Illinois Cares Rx can call Governor Blagojevich’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org.


February 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich declares February 5-11 as Chicago Bears Week in tribute to their remarkable season
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring the week of February 5th as Chicago Bears Week in recognition of their spectacular season. The Governor also commemorated Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith on his remarkable achievement as the first African-American NFL head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.


February 2, 2007
Blagojevich Administration officials announce 51 new officers join State Police frontline with Cadet Class 113 graduation
Graduation brings the number of Troopers to join the ranks of the ISP to 319 under Gov. Blagojevich’s administration
SPRINGFIELD – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry G. Trent today announced the graduation of Cadet Class 113. The 51 new Troopers join 268 other officers who have graduated from the Illinois State Police Academy under Gov. Blagojevich’s administration.


February 2, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich on new Global Warming report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
SPRINGFIELD - “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations has just reconfirmed what we already know – that global warming is upon us. The global community is acknowledging the problem and here in Illinois, despite inaction by President Bush, we have begun to address it.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich joins Gov. Schwarzenegger, top BP executives to celebrate launch of $500 million biosciences energy research partnership with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, UC-Berkeley
First of its kind Energy Biosciences Institute will help transform the global energy economy; builds on Gov. Blagojevich’s bold Energy Independence Plan
Berkeley, CA – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and top executives from BP at the University of California, Berkeley to celebrate a new, innovative partnership through which BP will be investing $500 million over the next ten years to establish an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), the first of its kind facility in the world, to expand the energy supply and reduce the impact of energy use on the environment.


February 1, 2007
Illinois Gov. Blagojevich and California Gov. Schwarzenegger come together to discuss top issue facing states across the country: access to affordable healthcare
Both states are national leaders in expanding access to healthcare
Berkley, CA – Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California to discuss an issue at the top of priority lists for leaders across the country: expanding access to affordable healthcare. Both governors have taken innovative steps to move their states forward in this critical area while progress at the federal level has been minimal in recent years. The two leaders were together at the University of California, Berkley to announce an unprecedented partnership with BP that will create the first of its kind Energy Bioscience Institute to be housed on the campuses of UC-Berkley and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois receives an ‘A’ in the fight against childhood obesity
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today Illinois received the highest grade possible in a University of Baltimore Obesity Report Card for the state’s efforts to control and lower childhood obesity rates. Illinois received the high mark as a result of the Governor’s efforts to ban junk food in elementary and middle schools in the state. Illinois has also passed legislation for the collection of information relating to obesity including Body Mass Index (BMI) for their students. Illinois one of only six states to receive the high grade.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement Following Private Meeting Regarding Health Care with Illinois Gov. Blagojevich
Gov. Blagojevich met with Gov. Schwarzenegger in California to discuss solutions to the need for immediate health care reform.


January 31, 2007
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich urges women to get the facts about heart disease during Women’s Healthy Heart Month in Illinois
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Illinois women
SPRINGFIELD – In anticipation of National Wear Red Day on February 2, First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today urged people, especially women, to learn about the signs, symptoms and treatments for heart disease, as well as the steps they can take to ensure good heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women and claims the lives of almost 500,000 women a year, or about one woman every minute. The latest statistics show that more than 14,500 women in Illinois died from heart disease in 2004. National Wear Red Day is a day when Americans nationwide should wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed February “Women’s Healthy Heart Month.”


January 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Super Bowl Blitz on Drinking and Driving
IDOT funds patrols by ISP and local police on Super Bowl Sunday to crack down on impaired drivers
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois State Police (ISP) and 41 local police agencies are teaming up this coming weekend to mount an all-out blitz against drinking and driving. The effort is paid for by Traffic Safety funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).


January 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $100,000 grant to help Citizen Corps Councils prepare communities for emergencies
More than 60 local Citizen Corps Councils in Springfield this week for statewide workshop
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $100,000 grant to help local Citizen Corps Councils throughout the state better prepare their communities for disasters. Funds for the grant come from fees paid for special “America Remembers” vehicle license plates, which pay tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


January 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints labor policy advisor Catherine Shannon as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named longtime labor activist and policy advisor Catherine Shannon as his new Director of the Illinois Department of Labor. Her appointment is effective immediately and requires Senate confirmation. Ms. Shannon is currently Acting Director as well as Legislative Director of the Department.


January 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich joins in friendly wager with Indiana Governor Daniels
Winner depends on outcome of Super Bowl 2007
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined in a friendly wager with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, as the Chicago Bears take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.


January 29, 2007
Department on Aging seeks nominations for 2007 Illinois Senior Hall of Fame
CHICAGO – Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson today announced that the Department is seeking nominations for the 2007 Illinois Senior Hall of Fame, an honor that recognizes contributions made by older persons in the state.


January 29, 2007
Governor Blagojevich asks President Bush for federal assistance for 26 counties hit hard by December ice storm
Federal disaster declaration would help state and local governments, municipally-owned utilities and electric co-ops with storm-related costs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare 26 Illinois counties federal disaster areas, an action that could help the state, local governments, municipally-owned utilities and electric power cooperatives in areas hard-hit by the Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2006, ice storm recover 75 percent of their extraordinary storm-recovery costs. The state estimates that recovery costs to these entities will total more than $19.5 million.


January 29, 2007
Illinois Dept. of Revenue encourages people to file taxes for free online
People who file taxes electronically can receive their refund within one week
SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 300,000 Illinois taxpayers have already simplified their lives this year by filing their state taxes electronically, including more than 21,000 who used the department’s free online WebFile program.


January 28, 2007
Blagojevich Administration announces effort to encourage businesses to hire veterans
Employers will receive a tax credit of up to $600 for each veteran hired
CHICAGO – Building on Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s commitment to help Illinois’ veterans get the opportunities they have bravely earned, the State of Illinois is promoting the hiring of the state’s military heroes with a new tax incentive for businesses. Employers can now earn income tax credit of up to $600 for every qualified veteran they hire. The departments of Veterans’ Affairs, Revenue, Employment Security, Transportation, Central Management Services, and Commerce and Economic Opportunity will promote the tax credit in a variety of ways through their agency services.


January 26, 2007
Governor Blagojevich names Milt Sees acting Secretary of Transportation
Accepts resignation of Secretary Timothy W. Martin
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted the resignation of Timothy W. Martin, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) since 2003. The Governor named IDOT’s current Director of Highways, Milt Sees, as acting secretary until the he nominates a permanent secretary.


January 26, 2007
Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame supports programs, scholarships for youth
Tickets still available for February 3 banquet
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Tickets are still available for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on Sat., Feb. 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, benefitting youth hunting, fishing, safety education and scholarship programs.


January 26, 2007
Partial Sale of State's Student Loan Portfolio Complete
ISAC deal will make college more affordable for 70,000 Illinois students through Governor Blagojevich’s MAP Plus program
DEERFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission today unanimously approved a deal with two private firms to sell student loans totaling $648 million - or about 15 percent of ISAC’s student loan portfolio.


January 25, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law extending “Good Samaritan” protection to people trained in first aid by National Safety Council
Law protects those who help seriously injured from being sued
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to protect those who attempt to help injured people from lawsuits. Last June, the Governor signed a law protecting “Good Samaritans” trained in first aid by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association from being sued for helping someone who is seriously injured. The law he signed today extends that same protection to people who received such training from the National Safety Council.


January 25, 2007
Illinois landowners, wildlife groups encouraged to apply for Wildlife Conservation Grants
Funding intended for protection of non-game species
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is encouraging Illinois wildlife groups and individuals interested in wildlife conservation to apply for financial assistance for projects that protect and manage non-game species in Illinois through the State Wildlife Grant program.


January 24, 2007
Illinois Deer Hunters harvest nearly 200,000 in 2006-07 according to preliminary data
Deer hunting concludes with Late-Winter, Special CWD Seasons
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2006-07 Illinois deer seasons have concluded with hunters taking a preliminary total of 197,287 deer.


January 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces new IDOT effort to create more opportunities for small and minority road contractors
Mentor-Protégé Program matches big contractors with small firms; Goal to increase percentage of road contracts that go to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) launched a groundbreaking new Mentor-Protégé Program designed to help disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE), small and minority owned companies, to succeed and compete for larger road construction projects.


January 24, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Announces FY07 Artists Fellowship Award Recipients
Chicago ---The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is pleased to announce the fiscal year 2007 Artists Fellowship Award recipients. Non-matching fellowships in fixed amounts of $7,000 are awarded to Illinois artists in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment within the arts. This year 49 Illinois artists will receive Fellowships totaling $343,000. Finalist Awards of $700 were also awarded to 26 Illinois artists for a total of $18,200. The Finalist Award category recognizes and encourages additional applicants who demonstrate considerable talent.


January 23, 2007
Illinois State Water Survey/National Weather Service asks volunteers to keep an eye to the sky
Grassroots volunteer program wants weather watchers in Illinois
Champaign, IL – Weather affects all of us and can vary greatly even over short distances. In an effort to increase the density of rainfall observations over the United States, a fast-growing, volunteer program needs weather observers in Illinois.


January 23, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, January 25, 2007.


January 23, 2007
Honoring Former President Gerald R. Ford
United States and Illinois flags to return back to normal operation at sunset on Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to return the flags at State occupied buildings to full-staff at sunset on January 25, 2007.


January 22, 2007
State to auction surplus property this week
Auctions enable bidding online via www.proxibid.com, state warehouse in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Central Management Service (CMS) will host public surplus property auctions as it continues to sell items no longer needed by state government. The first auction – with real-time online bidding – will take place on Tuesday, January 23 beginning at 4 p.m. at www.proxibid.com. The traditional live auction in the state’s Surplus Property Warehouse will be on Wednesday, January 24, starting at 8 a.m.


January 22, 2007
Miss Lake County Crowned 2007 Miss Illinois County Fair
Ashley Willner will reign over 2007 Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairs
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke joined Heather Miller, the 2006 Miss McLean County and Miss Illinois County Fair, in crowning Ashley Willner, Miss Lake County, the 2007 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Sunday evening.


January 19, 2007
Lt. Governor Quinn, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Forest Preserve District secure $350,000 federal grant for management of coastal habitat along Lake Michigan
Grant will help agencies to more aggressively manage invasive plant species, and educate public about Great Lakes coastal ecology, management
CHICAGO – Joined by officials with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD), Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn today announced the state has secured a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).


January 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces $1.9 million in no-interest loans available for fire trucks
Loans will help fire departments purchase needed response vehicles
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $1.9 million in no-interest loans to help fire departments and fire protection districts purchase much-needed fire trucks. This is the second phase of a loan program that has already helped 63 fire departments obtain new fire trucks.


January 18, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces 2006 safest year on Illinois roadways in more than 80 years
Traffic deaths drop below 1,300 for first time since 1924
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that 2006 was the safest year on Illinois roadways in more than 80 years as traffic fatality numbers dropped below 1,300 for the first time since 1924. Nearly 100 fewer people were killed on Illinois highways during 2006 than 2005, while at the same time safety belt usage neared 90 percent.


January 17, 2007
Blagojevich Administration announces move to new electronic hiring system
Web-based application system to increase transparency and access to state jobs, reduce potential for manipulation or special treatment
CHICAGO – Top officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s office and the state’s Department of Central Management Services (CMS) today announced the State will move to a web-based electronic hiring system that will significantly expand access to state employment while increasing transparency and consistency in the state hiring process. Upon completion, all state agencies under the Governor’s authority will convert to a centralized, electronic system for posting job openings, accepting applications and tracking status. Processing all job applications through a uniform electronic system will reduce the potential for human error as well as intentional manipulation.


January 17, 2007
Snowmobile operators reminded to put safety first
Illinois observes International Snowmobile Safety Week
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Though significant snowfall has not yet been a constant feature on the Illinois landscape this winter, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding snowmobile operators to focus on safety when conditions allow for snowmobiling this season and in the years ahead.


January 16, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, January 17, 2007.


January 16, 2007
IEMA sponsors Radon Networking Day in Normal to increase public awareness of radon health hazards
Nearly 50 public health officials, educators and government officials from around the state attending to learn how to enhance local radon programs; Excellence in Radon Award to be presented
SPRINGFIELD – Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the country, second only to smoking. To learn more about how to increase public awareness of this health hazard, nearly 50 public health officials, educators and governmental officials will gather in Normal Wednesday for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) annual Radon Networking Day at Illinois State University.


January 16, 2007
Governor’s Environmental Corps Summer Internship Applications Now Being Accepted
IEPA “hands on” program is funded by Illinois companies
SPRINGFIELD --- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced today that applications will now be accepted, through March 30, for this summer’s 2007 Governor’s Environmental Corps (GEC) internship program. The application can be downloaded from the Internet at www.epa.state.il.us/gec.


January 16, 2007
Regional Tillage Seminars Scheduled
Topics to include carbon trading for Illinois farmers
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is co-sponsoring a series of five regional tillage seminars to provide farmers the latest research on soil conservation practices that not only protect the environment, but also could earn them extra money.


January 12, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich accepts friendly wager with Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire
Winner depends on outcome of NFL Playoff Game
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today accepted a friendly bet with Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, as the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks prepare to go head-to-head Sunday at Chicago’s Soldier Field in the National Football League (NFL) Divisional Playoffs.


January 12, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to increase environmental performance of state’s vehicle fleet
Bill requires state agencies to purchase hybrids and vehicles that run on cleaner-burning biofuels; New law complements Governor’s effort to boost energy independence
SPRINGFIELD – Building on his efforts to support Illinois farmers and expand the use of clean and renewable energy, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation requiring state agencies to purchase Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can run on E-85, an 85 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline, and diesel-powered vehicles that run on B-5, a blend of 5 percent biodiesel and regular diesel fuel.


January 12, 2007
Planning moves forward to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in 2009
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum hires coordinator to oversee planning efforts for Lincoln Bicentennial
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) hired a Lincoln Bicentennial Coordinator who will be responsible for overseeing Illinois’ efforts to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday in February 2009. The ALPLM tapped Kay Smith, who has vast experience in management, event planning, and serving as a liaison between large and diverse groups.


January 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich reaches out to Illinois’ Congressional Delegation urging them to help bring more federal SCHIP funding to Illinois
Current funding formulas out-of-date and punish states that have worked aggressively to expand access to healthcare
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on Illinois’ Congressional Delegation to work with his Administration to bring more federal funding to state healthcare programs by revising the formulas used to allocate the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds. The current formulas punish states like Illinois that have worked aggressively to expand access to healthcare to more citizens, and instead prioritize funding based on which states have the highest uninsured populations. The Governor’s announcement today came as healthcare leaders and state officials around the nation discussed the importance of the SCHIP program during the Campaign for Children’s Health Care’s National Town Hall Meeting on Children’s Health Coverage, held at 35 locations nationwide, including Springfield and Chicago in Illinois.


January 10, 2007
Governor’s Request for Agricultural Disaster Declaration Approved
Declaration will assist drought-stricken farmers in 44 Illinois counties
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that federal disaster assistance is now available to help farmers in 44 Illinois counties who suffered crop losses last year because of drought.


January 10, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, January 15, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, January 15, 2007.


January 9, 2007
Late-Winter Firearm Deer Season set to begin Jan. 12-14
Hunters are reminded of new regulations in effect for 2007 Late-Winter Season
SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday, hunters will have one final opportunity to participate in the 2006 deer hunting season. The Late-Winter Firearm Deer Season, open Jan. 12-14, 2007, is an antlerless-only season designed to help increase the harvest of female deer, thus helping to better manage the state’s deer population.


January 9, 2007
Kaiser Foundation credits Gov. Blagojevich’s administration for sparking national movement to provide healthcare to all children
Kaiser Foundation also ranks Illinois #1 in the nation for providing healthcare to working parents who need it for the 3rd year in a row
CHICAGO –The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, one of the nation’s most respected independent health policy research organizations, released a new report today crediting Governor Blagojevich’s administration for sparking a national movement to provide healthcare to all children. Over the last year, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have moved to provide healthcare to all uninsured children, and just yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his proposal to do the same. The Kaiser Commission also found that Illinois, for the third year in a row, ranks #1 in the nation for providing healthcare to working parents who need it. Illinois’ ranking comes as a result of Governor Rod Blagojevich’s continued efforts to expand access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare to working men and women and their children.


January 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to help promote intercity train travel throughout the Midwest
Illinois joins association to promote regional intercity passenger rail service
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to add Illinois to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact (MIPRC), a regional association that promotes the development of intercity rail. House Bill 4344 adds Illinois to the number of Midwestern states working to promote and advocate for passenger rail service on a federal, regional and local level. Last year, Gov. Blagojevich doubled funding for state sponsored passenger rail in Illinois’ partnership with Amtrak, more than doubling the number of daily round-trips on downstate routes.


January 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints film production veteran as new Illinois Film Office Director
Will continue aggressive efforts to revitalize the film and television industry in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today named a new Managing Director for the Illinois Film Office to continue to advance the state’s aggressive efforts in support of the film industry in Illinois. The Governor tapped Betsy Steinberg, an industry veteran with vast experience in television and filmmaking production, who will work to attract more film and television projects to Illinois, which will help bring even more jobs and revenue to the state. Steinberg replaces Brenda Sexton, who is leaving the Administration after a successful tenure, which saw the start the film industry’s revival in Illinois. The Illinois Film Office is part of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Governor’s lead economic development agency.


January 8, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich sworn in for second term at Inauguration Ceremony in Springfield
People mandate action, Governor intends to act; Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer also take Oaths of Office
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois’ 40th Governor, took his Oath of Office today during a ceremony at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center in Springfield. The Governor was joined at the ceremony by his wife Patricia and his two daughters, Amy and Annie. During his inaugural address, Gov. Blagojevich pledged to continue the work he began four years ago – changing the priorities of state government so it works for people.


January 3, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, January 6, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, January 6, 2007.


January 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces tickets now available for “Celebrate! Illinois 2007” Inaugural Ball
Tickets available to public for Inaugural ceremony and ball through Ticketmaster while supplies last Inaugural Ball to showcase Illinois communities, traditions; Visit www.celebrateillinois2007.com for up to date information
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that tickets are now available for the “Celebrate! Illinois 2007” Inaugural Ball on January 8th. The Ball, an Inaugural tradition, will highlight the people, communities, traditions, inventions and resources that make Illinois so unique. The Ball will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Exposition Building in Springfield. The Governor, First Lady and Constitutional Officers will join together to celebrate Illinois’ rich heritage. Tickets are available to the public for the Inaugural Ball, as well as the Inaugural Swearing-In ceremony, through Ticketmaster. People can visit www.celebrateillinois2007.com for the latest information including a schedule of the day’s events.


January 2, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, January 5, 2007
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich’s Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, January 5, 2007.


January 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich names Illinois business leader Juan Ochoa as new CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Juan Ochoa as CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) effective today. He will replace Leticia Peralta Davis.

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