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March
2004


March 31, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH BRINGS NATIONALLY-PROVEN TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING PROGRAM TO WEST CENTRAL REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to help better prepare high school students in the West Central region for careers in science and technology, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that an innovative regional partnership has been formed to administer the dynamic, nationally recognized program known as Project Lead The Way.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $50,000 for the City of Carlinville
Funds to be used for wastewater project
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today provided $50,000 in funding to the City of Carlinville for work on the Carlinville Wastewater Treatment Plant. This is the final installment on a $100,000 grant for this project.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces over $13,000 in funding for the Colona Police Department
Grant to be used to improve communications system
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $13,822 in funding for the Colona Police Department for construction and installation of public safety communications equipment. This is the final installment on a $28,000 grant for the project.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $50,000 for the City of Darien
Funds to be used for water line project
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today provided $50,000 in funding to the City of Darien for a water line project. This is the final installment on a $100,000 grant for this project.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $500,000 in funding for the Village of Glenview
Funds to help pay for new train station
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today provided $500,000 in funding to the Village of Glenview for a new Metra train station which is being built as part of the redevelopment of the Glenview Naval Air Station. This is the final installment on a $1 million grant for the project.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $50,000 to the Village of Golf
Street lighting to improve public safety
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $50,000 in funding to the Village of Golf for a new, public street lighting system.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $50,000 to Johnston City
Funds will be used to renovate City Hall
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $50,000 to Johnston City in Williamson County for renovations to the new City Hall Building.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $25,000 to Horizon House of Illinois Valley
Grants benefit facilities in LaSalle, Mendota, Peru and Spring Valley
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $25,000 to Horizon House of Illinois Valley for capital projects at their facilities in LaSalle, Mendota, Peru and Spring Valley.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $8,000 to address housing issues in Litchfield
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $8,000 to the Litchfield Park District for a housing needs survey. The survey will provide an opportunity for the community to seek federal funding for the rehabilitation of vacant property into safe and affordable housing.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces release of $25,000 to Pulaski County
Grant to be used for courthouse renovations
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $25,000 in funding for renovations to the Pulaski County Courthouse in Mound City. This is the final installment on a $50,000 grant for this project.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $25,000 in funding for the Rural Pope County Fire Protection District
Grant to be used for new equipment
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $25,000 in funding to the Rural Pope County Fire Protection District for various firefighting equipment.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $100,000 to the Rutland Dundee Township Fire Protection District
Fire station to be expanded
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $100,000 in funding to the Rutland Dundee Township Fire Protection District. The district is constructing an addition to its Station #1 in Gilberts in order to provide living and sleeping quarters for firefighters.


March 31, 2004
Governor awards $35,000 to the Village of Tower Lakes
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $35,000 to the Village of Tower Lakes for renovations and an expansion of the Village Hall.
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $35,000 to the Village of Tower Lakes for renovations and an expansion of the Village Hall.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $15,000 in funding for the Village of Joppa
Grant to be used for new fire station
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today is providing $15,000 in funding to the Village of Joppa for construction of a new fire station. This is the final installment on a $30,000 grant for the project.


March 31, 2004
Governor announces $50,000 in funding for the Village of Wauconda
Citizens Activity Center to get wheelchair lift
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $50,000 to the Village of Wauconda for a wheelchair lift at the Citizens Activity Center at 100 North Main Street.


March 31, 2004
Lt. Gov. Quinn launches the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning
CHICAGO – Today Paul Chavez – grandson of labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez – joined Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn to launch the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning and commemorate the March 31 birthday of Cesar Chavez. Quinn and Paul Chavez highlighted the service projects of the more than 30 participating schools.


March 30, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO BRING NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER TO GLOBAL III INTERMODAL FACILITY
Toy Manufacturer’s Relocation to Rochelle Brings New Jobs to Northern Stateline Region
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of more than $1.1 million in state funding that will help a major toy manufacturer open a new distribution center in the Northern Stateline region. RC2 Corporation will open the 400,000 square foot center in Rochelle, strategically located next to the Union Pacific’s Global III Intermodal Facility, allowing the Company to significantly reduce its shipping costs and greatly improve its business efficiency. RC2’s new distribution center will create a total of 42 new jobs and retain eight.


March 30, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces plan to better protect drivers and workers in highway work zones
Outlines new legislation toughening enforcement and penalties for work zone traffic violations
CHICAGO – Because an alarming 46 drivers, passengers and workers in highway work-related accidents in last year died, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today new legislation and strategies that will make highway construction and maintenance zones safer places to travel and work. The legislation (HB 7015) more than doubles fines for speeders and beefs up law enforcement efforts in work zones. The measures are based on recommendations made by the Governor’s Work Zone Safety Task Force, appointed by Blagojevich last Fall.


March 29, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL FUND ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS TRAINING IN EAST CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
SPRINGFIELD - To help better prepare East Central Illinois high school students for careers in science and technology, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Danville High School Career Academy has been chosen as the introductory school in the region to implement the dynamic, nationally recognized program known as Project Lead The Way.


March 29, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH NAMES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR CENTRAL ILLINOIS
Governor Selects Chamber of Commerce President Julie Moore to Lead Unprecedented Plan to Create Jobs in Twelve-County Area
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today named Decatur and Macon County Chamber of Commerce President Julie Moore as the regional director of the Central region for Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development plan to spur growth and create jobs.


March 28, 2004
Governor announces additional funds for breast and cervical cancer screening
5,000 more low-income women to receive services
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois has received a special award of $1.1 million from the federal government to ensure sufficient funding will be available through the end of the state’s fiscal year to provide free breast and cervical cancer screenings to eligible women.


March 28, 2004
Victory Rally to celebrate saving Plum Island from developers
Uttica, IL-- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn lead a “Victory Rally” to celebrate the saving of Plum Island from a developer’s bulldozer which threatened eagle nests and Native American burial sites.


March 25, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS JOB TRAINING GRANT FOR BELLEVILLE COMPANY
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that he is awarding a workforce-training grant to Peerless-Premier Appliance Company in Southwest Illinois as a part of his regional economic development plan, Opportunity Returns.


March 25, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL FUND ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS TRAINING IN NORTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOLS
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to help better prepare North Central Illinois high school students for careers in science and technology, Governor Blagojevich today announced that two North Central region learning centers will receive $80,000 to administer the dynamic, nationally recognized program known as Project Lead The Way.


March 24, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH SENDS TEAM TO WASHINGTON TO PROMOTE ILLINOIS’ BID FOR FUTUREGEN
World’s First Coal-Based, Zero-Emissions Power Plant Would Protect Environment and Create Jobs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich is sending a team of coal development experts to Washington, D.C. today to help build momentum for Illinois’ bid to land FutureGen, the federal government’s ten year, $1 billion demonstration project to create the world’s first coal-based, zero-emissions power plant. U.S. Representatives Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) and John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) are co-hosting this in-depth briefing for the U.S. Department of Energy on why Illinois should be selected as the location of the FutureGen program. There will be a media availability from 3:30 – 3:50 p.m. in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.


March 24, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CRITICAL PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE NORTHERN STATELINE REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. The City of Rockford/Rock River Training will receive almost $170,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the Northern Stateline region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training. The Northern Stateline region is comprised of four counties and includes two workforce investment boards that are partnering together in this initiative: Local Workforce Investment Board 3 of Winnebago and Boone counties, and Local Workforce Investment Board 4, which covers Ogle and Stephenson counties.


March 24, 2004
Governor Blagojevich names well-respected former U.S. Justice Department official as independent Special Investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board
Eric Holder to assist Gaming Board in expanded review of issues surrounding Rosemont as location of 10th casino license
CHICAGO – One week after calling for a full and open review of concerns surrounding the location of Illinois’ 10th casino license, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced his appointment of former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as Special Investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board.


March 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich’s Fiscal Year 2005 Capital Plan to boost job creation, build schools, protect environment
Governor unveils innovative and accelerated road construction program, putting Illinoisans to work at the beginning of FY05
SPRINGFIELD – Continuing his commitment to fiscal discipline, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich unveiled his capital spending plan for Fiscal Year 2005. The Governor’s $10.1 billion capital budget for next fiscal year represents a new way of doing business that focuses resources in core areas including transportation, economic development and school construction yet reduces overall spending over Fiscal Years 2004 and 2003 budgets.


March 23, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces $28.7 million in construction projects for the Illinois Department of Human Services
Renovations and improvements to increase safety and energy efficiency at state-operated facilities
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $28.7 million in new capital projects for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The funds are for construction work to be done at ten state operated facilities serving persons with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The projects involve making improvements and repairs to both the buildings and their systems.


March 23, 2004
FY 05 capital budget includes funding for community drinking water and sewage treatment infrastructure
$19 million in state funds to Illinois EPA will match $95 million in federal funds for low-interest loan programs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the FY05 Capital Budget includes $19 million in state funds to provide the match to obtain $95 million in additional federal funds for the popular low-interest revolving loan programs that assist local communities to upgrade and expand wastewater and drinking water facilities.


March 23, 2004
IDOT Fiscal Year 2005 capital budget focuses on system preservation and economic development
Opportunity Returns Brings Infrastructure Infusion
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today presented a $5.7 billion Fiscal Year 2005 Capital Budget for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) that emphasizes system preservation and maintenance. The FY05 capital budget also lays the groundwork for the state’s economic recovery through infrastructure projects included under Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns.


March 23, 2004
Governor announces new forensic lab
Metro East area to house new lab
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $2.5 million Fiscal Year 2005 appropriation to plan and design a state-of-the-art Forensic Science Laboratory for the Illinois State Police (ISP) in Belleville. This new lab will serve not only those in the Metro-East area, but also law enforcement personnel in eight Illinois counties totaling over 150 agencies with a population of approximately 675,000. The new lab will affirm the ISP as the second largest network of criminal forensic labs in the country next to the FBI.


March 23, 2004
Blagojevich reaffirms financial commitment to Opportunity Returns for Fiscal Year 2005 and beyond
SPRINGFIELD – After closing a multi-billion dollar deficit with his recently proposed state budget, Governor Rod Blagojevich today reaffirmed his commitment to his innovative economic development plan that is successfully spurring economic growth from Boone to Alexander County, Opportunity Returns.


March 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich's Capital Budget helps meet demand of aging veteran’s population
Budget proposals allow for long-term care expansion and improvement for Illinois Veterans' Homes
SPRINGFIELD - To meet the growing population of aging veterans, Governor Blagojevich today unveiled plans for an 80-bed expansion at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle. A major project to upgrade the fire detection and alarm system to one standard and uniform system throughout the 13 active buildings has also been slated for the Manteno Veterans Home.


March 23, 2004
LT. GOV. QUINN HONORS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
CHICAGO - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Women’s Self-Employment Project (WSEP) honored Women’s History Month and announced Celebrate Women Expo, a 3-day event highlighting women’s economic self-sufficiency.


March 22, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich earmarks $550 million for school construction and upkeep in 2005
School construction and maintenance key components of Governor’s 2005 capital spending plan
CHICAGO – Building on his effort to reform education in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today he is dedicating $2.2 billion dollars over four years to school construction and maintenance, starting with $550 million in his capital spending plan for Fiscal Year 2005. Governor Blagojevich is not only renewing Illinois’ commitment to rebuilding and rehabilitating deteriorating schools, he is strengthening the state’s commitment despite facing ongoing fiscal challenges. At schools in Chicago, the MetroEast and Rock Island, the Governor explained how his capital spending plan will give every school district in Illinois the opportunity to capture dollars to improve buildings in need of repair.


March 19, 2004
GOVERNOR AWARDS $440,000 TRAINING GRANT TO MCHENRY COUNTY COLLEGE
Grant is Largest Ever Awarded to an Illinois Community College
CRYSTAL LAKE – Governor Rod Blagojevich today awarded a $440,000 Opportunity Returns workforce training grant to McHenry County College’s Center for Commerce and Economic Development (CCED). The grant is the largest of its kind ever awarded to an Illinois community college. Opportunity Returns is Governor Blagojevich’s pro-active, comprehensive plan to restoring economic opportunity throughout Illinois. Developed largely from the input of local business, labor and public sector leaders, Opportunity Returns delivers services on a regional basis and contains tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. McHenry County College is part of the Northeast region and more grants like these will be part of the Northeast plan when it is announced later this spring.


March 18, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CRITICAL PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE SOUTHWEST REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. Madison County will receive $172,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the Southwest region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training. The Southwest region is comprised of nine counties and includes three workforce investment boards that are partnering together in this initiative: the Mid America Workforce Investment Board, the Madison Bond Workforce Investment Board, and the West Central Job Center Board.


March 17, 2004
BLAGOJEVICH CALLS FOR FULL PUBLIC REVIEW OF CONCERNS SURROUNDING THE 10TH CASINO LICENSE LOCATION
Governor to Appoint a Special Investigator to Assist the Gaming Board with Suitability Analysis
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich today called on the Gaming Board to conduct a full, open and public review of all of the facts, problems and concerns surrounding gaming in the Village of Rosemont, including the problems associated with Emerald Casino, the previous owner of the 10th license. The Governor also said he will appoint a special investigator to work with the Gaming Board to assist with the review and help oversee the process.


March 16, 2004
QUINN DISCUSSES AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE PROPERTY TAX RELIEF AND SOLVE PROBLEM OF INADEQUATE SCHOOL FUNDING
BLOOMINGTON—Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn spoke with more than 150 school principals and administrators at the 72nd Annual Administrators Round-up to discuss the Taxpayer Action Amendment, which would guarantee property tax relief to homeowners and increase school funding for every student in the state.


March 16, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES IMPORTANT FUNDING FOR PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE NORTHWEST REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. Rock Island County will receive $180,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component in the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the Northwest region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training. The Northwest region is comprised of ten counties and three different workforce investment boards: the Northwest Illinois Workforce Investment Board (4), the North Central Illinois Works (12), and the Workforce Investment Board of Rock Island, Henry and Mercer Counties (13).


March 15, 2004
I-PASS Sales at Jewel-Osco Top 100,000 in Less than Four Months
Record 30 Percent Increase in Year-Over-Year Sales Retail Sales Capturing Pent-Up Demand for I-PASS
DOWNERS GROVE –I-PASS sales at Jewel-Osco have reached the 100,000 mark less than four months after the Illinois Tollway launched its I-PASS retail initiative. Purchasing I-PASS at nearly 200 Jewel-Osco stores has proven to be the most popular and easiest way for Tollway customers to get a transponder. I-PASS sales have averaged over 500 transponders per day since Jewel-Osco began selling them at the start of the 2003 holiday season.


March 15, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES IMPORTANT PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE SOUTHERN REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers in the Southern region with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. MAN-TRA-CON in Marion will receive close to $157,000 through the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component in the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the Southern region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training. The Southern region is comprised of nineteen counties and includes two workforce investment boards that are partnering together in this initiative: Southern Illinois Workforce Investment Board 25 and Southern 14 Workforce Investment Board 26.


March 15, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH NAMES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR SOUTHEASTERN REGION
Former Effingham Economic Development Leader Henry Stephens to Head Unprecedented Effort to Create Jobs for Thirteen-County Area
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today named former Effingham City Attorney Henry Stephens as the regional director of the Southeastern region for Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development plan to spur growth and create jobs. Stephens served as the City Attorney of Effingham for 19 years, all of which were spent working in economic development efforts for the city. He will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Opportunity Returns plan for the Southeastern region.


March 15, 2004
Governor recognizes public water systems for maintaining fluoride levels
Nearly 400 communities receive perfect scores
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today recognized 391 community water systems for maintaining optimal fluoride levels in drinking water for each month in 2003.


March 15, 2004
STATE AGENCIES WILL PARTICIPATE IN SEMINARS TO ASSIST BUSINESSES IN MEETING ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
BENEFITS BOTH ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY Series starts on March 16
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --- Governor Rod Blagojevich announced the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will team up with the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group for a series of seminars to assist Illinois business in complying with environmental requirements.


March 14, 2004
Blagojevich remains aggressive in protecting Illinois food supply
Governor introduces plan to expand surveillance for BSE and reminds farmers to be vigilant against the threat of Avian flu
SPRINGFIELD, ILL – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich unveiled a plan today to expand on-the-farm surveillance for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and ensure monitoring for the fatal brain-wasting disease is maintained in wake of a federal ban on the slaughter of downed cattle.


March 11, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CRITICAL PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE WEST CENTRAL REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. The Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois will receive $170,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the West Central region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training.


March 11, 2004
Governor Awards Grant To Expand Recreational Trail
Funds for Off-Highway Recreational Trails in Christian County
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich today awarded a $360,300 grant from the state’s Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreational Trails Program to Triple H, Inc. of Christian County for expansion of the South Fork Dirt Riders OHV Park located near Taylorville.


March 11, 2004
Governor announces new site for State Emergency Operations Center selected
New facility allows for faster emergency response to every corner of the state Blagojevich continues commitment to readying state for any emergency
SPRINGFIELD, Il – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today continued his commitment towards strengthening the state’s defenses to terrorist attacks and other disasters with the announcement of the site for the new state-of-the-art State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) on Springfield’s East Side. The center is set to be operational by Fall 2005. The new SEOC will replace the outdated State Emergency Operations Center near the Capitol complex.


March 11, 2004
QUINN SURPRISES TEACHER WITH GOLDEN APPLE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
CHICAGO- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and the Golden Apple Foundation surprised and honored Elena Diadenko-Hunter, an art teacher at Clemente Community Academy High School, with the announcement that she is among the 10 recipients of the 2004 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. This year’s 10 Golden Apple Award winners were surprised in their classrooms with the news that they have won.


March 10, 2004
Governor announces $1.6 million to domestic violence programs
Funds for innovative programs in McLean, Peoria and St. Clair Counties
CHICAGO — Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJA) will provide more than $1.6 million in federal funds to three counties for innovative programs that will enhance their response to domestic violence through law enforcement, prosecution, court, probation, and victim service efforts.


March 8, 2004
Blagojevich announces deployment of new electronic disease reporting
Internet-based system part of state’s defense against terrorism
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help protect against the threat of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state has begun deploying an electronic disease reporting system that dramatically improves the way public health surveillance is conducted.


March 7, 2004
Blagojevich announces Passport Denial Program nets $89,000 for mother of four from Deadbeat parent in Germany
Largest Illinois payment ever from partnership with Feds
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA) recovered an $89,000 windfall – the largest collection in the state’s history -- for a Jackson County mother of four children through the Passport Denial Program, a successful partnership with the U.S. State Department.


March 7, 2004
ILLINOIS LT. GOV. PAT QUINN JOINS RHODE ISLAND LT. GOV. CHARLES FOGARTY TO AID MILITARY FAMILIES Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn travels east to help launch a drive to create a Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund modeled on Illinois’ successful program
CRANSTON – Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty to launch a drive to create a Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund modeled on Illinois’ successful program to help families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty.


March 5, 2004
QUINN, COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS URGE FEDERAL RESERVE TO GIVE CONSUMERS A VOICE ON PROPOSED $1.1 TRILLION MERGER OF BANK ONE, JP MORGAN CHASE
CHICAGO -- Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and community leaders today urged the Federal Reserve Bank to give consumers a voice in the proposed $1.1 trillion merger of JP Morgan Chase and Chicago-based Bank One, the largest bank merger in American history.


March 4, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES VITAL PLANNING GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE NORTH CENTRAL REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of an Opportunity Returns planning grant as a part of a program designed to arm workers with new skills and prepare them to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. The United Workforce Development Board in Peoria will receive over $150,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative is a vital component in the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the North Central region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training.


March 4, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL SPARK INNOVATIVE REDEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION IN ROCK ISLAND AND EAST MOLINE
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the Northwest region cities of Rock Island and East Moline will receive additional Brownfields Redevelopment funding to perform crucial environmental cleanup work.


March 4, 2004
GOVERNOR LAUNCHES CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP
Appoints Twenty-five to Create Strategic Plan
CHICAGO – Governor Blagojevich today named twenty-five members to the Children’s Mental Health Partnership, a planning committee established by the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, signed by the Governor last August.


March 3, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich makes strong case for education reform in the Illinois Senate
Governor testifies during rare Senate Committee of the Whole; champions new Department of Education
SPRINGFIELD – Further demonstrating his commitment and resolve to education reform, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged members of the Illinois Senate to approve his proposal to bring accountability to Illinois’ system of education. Becoming only the second governor to testify before a rare Senate Committee of the Whole, Governor Blagojevich challenged lawmakers to embrace the unique opportunity to make sweeping change and improve Illinois schools.


March 3, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CREATIVE MARKETING TOOL TO FUEL BUSINESS GROWTH THROUGHOUT ILLINOIS
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced an innovative new marketing tool designed to promote local business growth and job retention by enabling community economic development agencies to promote, through a state website, available properties in their area for business relocation. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) website now has a listing of community profiles and available real estate sites throughout the state, vastly increasing a community’s exposure to site selectors seeking industrial and commercial real estate opportunities. Location One, which is aimed at helping business creation and retention, is the newest innovation from Opportunity Returns, the historic, comprehensive plan designed to spur economic growth and create jobs.


March 2, 2004
Mayor Daley backs Gov. Blagojevich’s education accountability reform plan
Governor points to Chicago Schools’ improvement since 1995 restructuring as evidence for potential success of his state education reform proposal Daley voices support for Governor’s proposal one day before Illinois State Senate convenes committee of the whole to consider plan
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s efforts to bring accountability to Illinois education won key support from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who implemented a successful takeover and aggressive reforms of the City’s schools in the mid-1990’s.


March 2, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL SPARK DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT AT QUINCY BROWNFIELD SITE
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns commitment to transform brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the City of Quincy has been awarded almost $42,000 in Brownfield Redevelopment funds that will be used to assess a large parcel in downtown Quincy for future redevelopment.


March 2, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT FOSTERS KEY IMPROVEMENTS TO SOUTHERN REGION WATERWAYS
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a $50,000 grant to Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) that will pave the way for important water improvements in Jefferson County’s Big Muddy River Basin. The grant funding will come from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as a part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan, his comprehensive, economic development package for the Southern region.


March 2, 2004
Lt. Gov. Quinn celebrates Dr. Seuss’s 100th Birthday and participates in “Read Across America Day” with 2nd Grade Students
CHICAGO- Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of literary genius Theodor S. Geisel (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss) and “Read Across America Day” by reading aloud and handing out 50 copies of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ to 2nd Graders at the Chicago International Charter School.


March 1, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH NAMES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR EAST CENTRAL REGION
Vermilion County Board Chairman Todd Lee to Lead Unprecedented Economic Development Plan for Six-County Area
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today named Vermilion County Board Chairman Todd Lee as the regional director of the East Central region for Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development plan to spur growth and create jobs. Lee will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Opportunity Returns plan for the East Central region, which encompasses the counties of Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt and Vermilion.


March 1, 2004
GOVERNOR EXPANDS HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTIONS PROGRAM
Twenty Collections Around the State to Rid Homes of Household Chemicals Donations of Eyeglasses and Cell Phones to Be Accepted for Charitable Groups
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that an additional eight hazardous waste collection events, for a total of 20 events, will be held around the state starting on March 20.


March 1, 2004
Lt. Governor Pat Quinn joined with the “Monsignor John Egan Campaign for Payday Loan Reform” to stop the payday loan industry from driving hardworking people into an endless cycle of debt
CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined with the “Monsignor John Egan Campaign for Payday Loan Reform” to stop the payday loan industry from driving hardworking people into an endless cycle of dept by pushing for approval of House Bill 4876 and Senate Bill 1048 -- legislation to regulate the Illinois payday loan industry.

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