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April
2004


April 30, 2004
LT.GOV. QUINN CELEBRATES ARBOR DAY Quinn joins in a public tree planting ceremony to promote environmental stewardship throughout Illinois
LISLE,IL - Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and the Morton Arboretum commemorated Arbor Day in Illinois by encouraging tree planting and care, emphasizing the benefits of trees in our communities and planting the official 2004 Morton Arboretum Day Tree.


April 29, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES KEY OPPORTUNITY RETURNS EMPLOYER TRAINING GRANT TO SOUTHERN REGION COMPANY
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today a $48,000 Opportunity Returns Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) grant to Maytag Herrin Laundry Products for its Herrin facility. Maytag Herrin will use this grant to provide critical workforce training to 100 new employees and 500 existing employees.


April 29, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE EFFORT TO TRY AND PREVENT BUTLER MANUFACTURING FROM CLOSING GALESBURG PLANT
SPRINGFIELD – Responding to yesterday’s disheartening news issued by BlueScope Steel that it plans on closing its Butler Manufacturing plant in Galesburg next year, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced an immediate course of action to save these hundreds of jobs. Governor Blagojevich has directed the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to lead the state’s effort to prevent the plant’s closure and will deploy the state’s Rapid Response Team to support these workers in Galesburg in the event it does close.


April 29, 2004
Blagojevich announces $5 million for Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the release of $5 million for conservation projects on floodplain and other highly erodible land as part of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).


April 28, 2004
Blagojevich calls on Speaker Madigan to hold hearing on Balanced Budget Act
Governor wants full discussion of state spending and revenues
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called House Speaker Mike Madigan to hold a hearing on the Balanced Budget Act, in addition to already planned hearings on state borrowing. The Balanced Budget Act, proposed by Governor Blagojevich in February, takes aim at past budget and spending practices that caused the budget deficit.


April 27, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $100,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR NORTHERN STATELINE BIKE TRAILS
Funds will Enhance Safety and Functionality of Trails in Boone and Winnebago Counties
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced more than $100,000 in construction grants to Boone County and Roscoe Township through his innovative Opportunity Returns program for the Northern Stateline region. These two grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will support construction of regional bike trails, which will benefit local residents and increase tourism opportunities.


April 27, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $92,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT FOR NORTH CENTRAL BIKE TRAIL
Funds will Enhance Safety and Functionality of Trail in Tazewell County
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a more than $92,000 construction grant to a Tazewell County park district through his innovative Opportunity Returns program for the North Central region. This grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will support construction of regional bike trails, which will benefit local residents and increase tourism opportunities.


April 27, 2004
Blagojevich calls on legislature to protect Medicaid, continue funding health care for people in need
Governor’s budget includes $600 million in new funding to avoid kicking people off of Medicaid rolls and to provide new coverage for children, families and senior citizens Illinois one of only three states to increase funding for Medicaid in FY 2004; FY2005 in doubt unless legislature is willing to make tough spending cuts and revenue enhancements
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on members of the General Assembly to protect Illinois’ investment in health care by approving funding slated to provide health care for children, adults and senior citizens who need it, and avoid having to remove people from the Medicaid rolls. At Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, the Governor explained that in the upcoming budget, the legislature faces choices like closing corporate loopholes in order to protect programs like Medicaid, Kid Care, Family Care and Senior Care, and the 2 million people who benefit from them.


April 27, 2004
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the passing of state Senator Vince Demuzio
CHICAGO – “Today we mourn the loss of a diligent public servant and a generous friend.


April 27, 2004
Top federal child support official certifies that Illinois’ child support database meets federal standards
Gov. Blagojevich says award signals Illinois child support enforcement is on the upswing
SPRINGFIELD - The top U.S. Child Support official in the nation visited Illinois today to deliver the official federal seal of approval for the computer database maintained by the Department of Public Aid (IDPA)’s Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE).


April 26, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $11.5 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS IN THE NORTHWEST REGION
SPRINGFIELD –Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that an additional $11.5 million in state funding is being dedicated to new capital road improvement projects in the Northwest region. The key improvements, which will begin this summer, will help spur the local economy and create construction jobs. The aggressive campaign to enhance the quality of roads in the Northwest region is a major theme of the Governor's Opportunity Returns initiative, his pro-active, comprehensive plan for restoring economic opportunity in the Northwest region and throughout Illinois.


April 26, 2004
Governor announces launch of Web-based hospital resource reporting system
Hospital beds and other health care services to be monitored
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the launch of a $450,000 Web-based system that provides the state with up-to-the-minute information from more than 200 hospitals in Illinois on the availability of beds and other critical health care services necessary to guide the response to an act of terrorism or other public health emergency.


April 26, 2004
Governor announces grant for new computer lab for physically challenged
Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center will be state-of-the-art
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $62,500 in funding for the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center for a new state-of-the-art computer lab designed to meet the needs of the physically challenged.


April 26, 2004
Blagojevich announces $5,900 in funding for the Chinese American Service League
New Community Service Center in Chicago’s Chinatown
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $5,900 in funding to the Chinese American Service League for a new Community Service Center in Chicago’s Chinatown community. This is the final installment on a $50,000 grant for the project.


April 26, 2004
Governor Awards $37,500 to Spring Creek Fire District
Funds will be used to purchase new fire truck
CHICAGO - Governor Blagojevich today announced $37,500 to the Spring Creek Fire District for the purchase of a new fire truck.


April 26, 2004
Governor Awards $60,000 to the Village of Virgil
Funds will go towards energy efficient natural gas hookup
CHICAGO - Governor Blagojevich today announced $60,000 in funding to the Village of Virgil for costs associated with the installation of a gas main to connect the Village of Virgil to the natural gas pipeline outside of Virgil on IC Trail Road.


April 26, 2004
Governor awards $726,000 to the Field Museum of Natural History
Museum getting upgraded heating and cooling system
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $726,000 to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago for renovations to the museum’s central heating and cooling plant. The Governor also recently announced a $5 million grant to the Field Museum for a 200,000 square foot expansion and renovation project.


April 26, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $4.6 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING FOR EAST CENTRAL ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced $4.6 million in state funding for new capital road improvement projects in the East Central region. These key improvements, which will begin this summer, will help spur the local economy and create construction jobs. An aggressive campaign to enhance the quality of roads in East Central Illinois will be a major theme of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the East Central region, his pro-active, comprehensive plan for restoring economic opportunity to the area and throughout the state, when the region’s plan is announced.


April 26, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $10.3 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING FOR SOUTHWEST REGION ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced $10.3 million in additional state funding for capital road improvement projects in the Southwest region. These key improvements, which will begin this summer, will help spur the local economy and create construction jobs. An aggressive campaign to enhance the quality of roads in Southwestern Illinois is a major component of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the Southwest region, his pro-active, comprehensive plan for restoring economic opportunity to the area and throughout the state.


April 26, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $13.2 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS IN THE NORTHERN STATELINE REGION
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that an additional $13.2 million in state funding is being dedicated to new capital road improvement projects in the Northern Stateline region. The key improvements, which will begin this summer, will help spur the local economy and create construction jobs. The aggressive campaign to enhance the quality of roads in the Northern Stateline region is a major theme of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his pro-active, comprehensive plan for restoring economic opportunity in the Northern Stateline region and throughout Illinois.


April 26, 2004
Governor Announces $17.3 Million in Additional Opportunity Returns Funding for Road Improvement Projects in the North Central Region
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that an additional $17.3 million in state funding is being dedicated to new capital road improvement projects in the North Central region. The key improvements, which will begin this summer, will help spur the local economy and create construction jobs. The aggressive campaign to enhance the quality of roads in the North Central region is a major theme of the Governor's Opportunity Returns initiative, his pro-active, comprehensive plan for restoring economic opportunity in the North Central region and throughout Illinois.


April 25, 2004
Governor Blagojevich launches Equal Pay Campaign
Aggressive awareness campaign to educate employers of Illinois equal pay laws and women of their legal right to pay equity
CHICAGO - Because the average woman in Illinois still earns hundreds of dollars less each week than the average man, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today warned employers that the state is serious about protecting the rights of women in the workplace. At Exelon Corporation in Chicago, the Governor launched the state’s Equal Pay Awareness Campaign. The campaign will help employers understand and follow equal pay laws and it will let women know how to file a complaint if the law is not being followed.


April 24, 2004
Statement from Gov. Blagojevich
CHICAGO – “Late last evening, a devastating explosion occurred at the Formosa Plastics plant in the central Illinois town of Illiopolis.”


April 23, 2004
Jim Edgar elected president of Lincoln Library Foundation
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Former Governor Jim Edgar will serve as president of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation Board. The board oversees the planning, fundraising and policy-making efforts of the Foundation. Edgar, the Governor’s nominee, was formally elected at the Foundation’s Wednesday meeting.


April 23, 2004
Jim Edgar elected president of Lincoln Library Foundation
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Former Governor Jim Edgar will serve as president of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation Board. The board oversees the planning, fundraising and policy-making efforts of the Foundation. Edgar, the Governor’s nominee, was formally elected at the Foundation’s Wednesday meeting.


April 23, 2004
President Bush grants Governor Blagojevich’s request for federal disaster declaration for four Illinois counties
Governor returned to tornado-ravaged Utica with Undersecretary of Department of Homeland Security
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today thanked President Bush for the federal government’s quick review and approval of his request Thursday to declare LaSalle, Putnam, Kankakee and Will Counties as federal disaster areas. The declaration opens the door to federal assistance for residents and businesses struggling to recover from Tuesday’s tornadoes.


April 23, 2004
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joins Reverend Jesse Jackson and other community leaders to sound alarm on pending $1.1 TRILLION merger of Bank One and JP Morgan Chase Public hearing and press conference held at Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined community leaders and concerned citizens from across the nation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago public hearing and press conference to voice objections to the proposed $1.1 trillion Bank One and JP Morgan Chase merger.


April 22, 2004
BLAGOJEVICH URGES BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO DEVELOP STRONGER MERCURY REGULATIONS WITHOUT HURTING ILLINOIS’ COAL INDUSTRY
U.S. EPA Proposed Mercury Rules Could Threaten Public Health and The Environment Governor Will Ask Other Unfairly Impacted States to Join Protest
SPRINGFIELD Governor Rod Blagojevich called on President George W. Bush today to reconsider a U.S. EPA proposal on mercury from coal fired power plants that will have a negative impact on the environment, public health and Illinois’ coal industry.


April 22, 2004
Blagojevich announces $8.3 billion multi-year road program
Opportunity Returns boosts highway improvements to $1.75 billion for FY05 Federal funding uncertainty leads IDOT to change from five to seven-year plan
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state’s highway improvement program, for Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011. The $8.3 billion comprehensive Multi-Year Program (MYP) focuses on preserving and modernizing existing roads, as well as reducing congestion. Governor Blagojevich’s aggressive plan to create jobs in Illinois, Opportunity Returns, will mean at least an additional $1 billion in highway improvements during the Multi-Year Program.


April 22, 2004
Governor Blagojevich sends letter to President Bush asking for Federal Disaster Declaration
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to declare several tornado-ravaged Illinois counties a federal disaster area. The counties, LaSalle, Putnam, Will, Kankakee and the contiguous county of Grundy, suffered extensive damage and loss after tornadoes and severe storms swept through the region Tuesday evening.


April 21, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ALMOST $450,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS BIKE TRAILS
Funds will Enhance Safety and Functionality of Trails in Jo Daviess, Whiteside, and Rock Island Counties
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns commitment to support the development of bicycle trails in Northwestern Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced nearly $450,000 in construction grants to the City of Galena, Sterling Park District, and the Village of Milan. These three grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will support construction of regional bike trails, which will benefit local residents and increase tourism opportunities.


April 21, 2004
Patti Blagojevich announces pediatric vision awareness campaign
First Lady launches first awareness initiative in the nation specifically aimed at diagnosing and treating Amblyopia
CHICAGO – Taking a significant step in the fight to protect children’s vision, Illinois First Lady Patti Blagojevich today launched a new statewide awareness campaign to educate parents about Amblyopia. Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is the most common cause of serious vision impairment in children. At the Chicago Children’s Museum, Mrs. Blagojevich announced Illinois is the first state in the nation to launch an awareness campaign that specifically targets Amblyopia.


April 21, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Declares State of Disaster for LaSalle, Putnam, Will and Kankakee Counties
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today declared four Illinois counties state disaster areas based on damages resulting from the tornadoes and severe storms in LaSalle, Putnam, Will and Kankakee counties.


April 20, 2004
QUINN OBSERVES EARTH WEEK 2004 BY CALLING FOR “FISHABLE AND SWIMMABLE” ILLINOIS RIVERS BY 2020 Clean Water Initiative, Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act needed to accomplish long-range goal
ON THE BANKS OF THE CHICAGO RIVER-- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and Laurene von Klan (Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director) today observed Earth Week by touting the landmark “Illinois Clean Water Initiative” to clean-up and restore Illinois waterways with the goal of making all Illinois rivers “swimmable and fishable” by the year 2020.


April 20, 2004
Governor Blagojevich and Congressman Emanuel Look to Europe As Possible Source of Prescription Drug Importation
Governor Launches Review of Prices and Safety of European Prescription Drug Market Blagojevich increases pressure on drug companies to stop price gouging Americans
CHICAGO – As the pharmaceutical industry pushes forward with efforts to shut off Americans’ access to less expensive prescription drugs from Canada, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois will look beyond Canada and investigate the possibility of importing prescription drugs from Europe. The state will launch a study comparing the safety and cost of prescription drugs in Europe with those available in Illinois.


April 20, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH HIRES PUBLIC AFFAIRS FIRM TO JOIN THE FIGHT TO SAVE SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that the state has hired Fleishman-Hillard International Communications and its government consulting entity, Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations, to assist in efforts to protect Scott Air Force Base, which is the largest employer in Southern Illinois, from potential closure by the federal government. Through Opportunity Returns, his comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and create more jobs for the Southwest region, the Governor is leading a coordinated effort with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent Scott Air Force Base from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. Scott Air Force Base contributes more than $1.5 billion to the state’s economy every year and supports nearly 50,000 jobs.


April 20, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH HIRES MILITARY AFFAIRS FIRM TO JOIN THE FIGHT TO SAVE ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL AND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASES IN PEORIA AND SPRINGFIELD
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that the state has hired The PMA Group to assist in efforts to protect the Rock Island Arsenal and Air National Guard Bases in Peoria and Springfield. Through Opportunity Returns, his comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the state, the Governor is leading a coordinated effort with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent these three bases from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. The Rock Island Arsenal and both Air National Guard Bases contribute almost $1 billion to the state’s economy every year and support more than 20,000 jobs.


April 19, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces new effort to deliver family planning services for low income women
Illinois Healthy Women is designed to promote healthy births and allow women to time pregnancies Innovative program offers reproductive health care, contraceptives to 70,000 women leaving Medicaid each year
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced that an ambitious new state program will be launched Monday, April 19, 2004 aimed at helping women who are leaving the Medicaid program to avoid unplanned pregnancies and providing them with reproductive health care.


April 19, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $600,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR SOUTHWESTERN ILLINOIS BIKE TRAILS
Funds will Enhance Safety and Functionality of Trails in Madison and St. Clair Counties
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced $600,000 in construction grants to Madison County, St. Clair County and the City of Madison through his innovative Opportunity Returns program. These three grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will support construction of regional bike trails, which will benefit local residents and increase tourism opportunities.


April 19, 2004
Blagojevich appoints new membership to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board
Governor continues commitment to reform state boards and commissions Jorge Montes to become first Latino chairman of the Prisoner Review Board
SPRINGFIELD – Following through on his commitment to reform the state’s full-time boards and commissions, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today filed papers reconstituting the Prisoner Review Board. The Governor appointed five new members to the Prisoner Review Board and reappointed ten members. As a result of the Governor's reform, members of the Prisoner Review Board will not be permitted to hold outside employment, therefore re-enforcing their commitment to the board's responsibilities.


April 19, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Announces Initiative to Help New Immigrants Become Citizens
Illinois Launches Comprehensive Strategy for Immigrant Integration
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the “New Americans Initiative,” a state program that will provide $3 million for services that help new immigrants become active and engaged new citizens.


April 18, 2004
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined Sen. Barack Obama chief sponsor of House Bill 4371 (“The Citizen Soldier Initiative”) to protect Illinois National Guard members and reservists from discrimination in hiring practices, job promotions, housing opportunities and financial lending
Today Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) Senate sponsors of House Bill 4371 (“Citizen Soldiers Initiative”) to protect Illinois’ citizen soldiers from discrimination in hiring practices, job promotions, housing opportunities and financial lending. Just this week, four Illinois National Guard units – based in Chicago, North Riverside, Freeport and Peoria – were notified their tours of duty had been extended another 90 days.


April 15, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES INNOVATIVE GRANT TO STRENGTHEN TECHNOLOGY LITERACY IN NORTHERN STATELINE REGION
‘Eliminate the Digital Divide’ Grant Will Prepare Workers for Better Jobs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Northern Illinois University has been awarded an innovative technology grant under his Opportunity Returns program that will allow hundreds of Rockford residents to receive critical training in technology literacy. The grant program, known as Eliminate the Digital Divide, provides funding to local community technology centers in low-income communities to provide technology skills training and access to computers and the Internet. Since technology literacy today is a necessity to competing for and succeeding in well-paying jobs, this critical program teaches essential skills to people whom often lack access to important educational opportunities that will help prepare them for a 21st Century job.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich announces 461 units of affordable housing preserved in Chicago and Decatur
Illinois Housing Development Authority issues successful $35 million bond offering; $92 million in private placements since December have financed more than 1,200 units Offering further realizes Governor Blagojevich’s priority to preserve existing units across Illinois without increasing the debt obligation of the State
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has successfully issued $35 million of fixed and variable rate bonds to preserve 461 units of affordable housing in Chicago and Decatur. Twenty five million dollars in fixed rate bonds will finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of Campbell Terrace Apartments, a 249 unit high-rise for elderly residents in Chicago’s fast gentrifying Logan Square neighborhood. In Decatur, $10 million in variable rate bonds will finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of two developments that total an additional 212 units for low-income families and elderly.


April 15, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich releases grant for smoking cessation training program
Program to outline smoking cessation education curriculum Expert panel to be convened to create training program
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod Blagojevich released today $125,000 through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) to develop an educational program on adult smoking cessation strategies and to train primary care physicians on how to utilize the strategies to help their patients quit smoking.


April 15, 2004
Governor expands REALITY Illinois to help curb teen smoking
Money will lead to more teen-to-teen anti-tobacco outreach
SPRINGFIELD, – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, today, along with the Illinois Department of Public Health, announced the awarding of grants totaling $92,000 to 10 local health departments and an education center to support the establishment of new chapters of a youth-driven anti-tobacco campaign.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich announces $25,000 for Colona Grade School
Funds help pay for new science lab
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $25,000 in funding to Colona Grade School District 190 for a new science lab at Colona Grade School. This is the final installment on a $50,000 grant to the school district.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich awards $300,000 for Joliet Area Community Hospice
Funds support the first Hospice Home in Illinois
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $300,000 in funding to the Joliet Area Community Hospice for its new Hospice Home, which opened in January. The Hospice Home at 4201 McDonough Street in Joliet was the first hospice facility of its kind in the State of Illinois.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich announces $350,000 for the City of Northlake
Funds for North Avenue frontage road project
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today provided $350,000 in funding to the City of Northlake for a project along North Avenue (Route 64). The work includes relocation of a frontage road and development of a parking area along the north side of North Avenue from Prater Avenue to Wolf Road.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich announces $22,900 in funding for Rainbow House
Repairs and improvements made to Residential Services facility
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today provided $22,900 in funding to Rainbow House for work on the organization’s Residential Services Program facility in Chicago. This is the final installment on a $50,000 grant for the project.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich announces $80,000 grant to Scott County
Grant to be used for new health department building
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded an $80,000 state grant to Scott County for a new health department building at 335 West Cherry Street in Winchester.


April 15, 2004
Blagojevich awards $100,000 to the WINGS Program
Funds for new domestic violence emergency facility
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $100,000 in funding to the WINGS Program for a new domestic violence emergency facility in the City of Rolling Meadows.


April 14, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES CREATION OF ENTERPRISE ZONE TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH IN FORMER SAVANNA ARMY DEPOT AREA
SPRINGFIELD – In an aggressive effort to restore economic opportunity and promote job creation in and around the former Savanna Army Depot, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that a section of the Depot currently housing new businesses is being designated as an Enterprise Zone. The Enterprise Zone distinction will lend critical income and job creation tax credits to companies located within the zone and immediately increase the competitiveness of the emerging businesses located there.


April 14, 2004
Governor announces new around-the-clock phone access to I-Pass account information
New voice response system lets I-PASS users connect to customer representatives, check account balances, and add account information anytime, anyplace
DOWNERS GROVE – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, continuing to make it easier for drivers to manage their I-PASS accounts, announced, today, a new phone system giving I-PASS users instant phone access to their account information 24-hours-a-day. With its new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, one phone call to 1-800-UC-IPASS (1-800-824-7277) will allow people without access to a computer to easily maintain their I-PASS accounts anytime, anyplace.


April 14, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces record number of used tire collection opportunities in 2004
New schedule includes 32 counties, up from 15 last year Waste tires can be used as fuel, landscape mulch, automotive products
SPRINGFIELD—Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the state will team up with various county health departments and local governments to hold a record number of countywide used tire collections in 2004. The increased number of opportunities to collect used tires will help to eliminate environmental and health hazards and recycle and reuse the tires in a variety of products and for fuel.


April 14, 2004
Governor awards $650,000 for education projects in Urbana
Library and elementary school to benefit from funds
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $150,000 to the City of Urbana for the expansion of the Urbana Free Library, and $500,000 to Urbana School District 116 for classroom additions to Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School at 1108 West Fairview Drive.


April 13, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES KEY EMPLOYER TRAINING GRANT FOR CRAWFORD COUNTY OIL REFINERY
Grant Will Retain 575 Jobs and Help Control Gasoline and Oil Prices
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today a $475,000 Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) grant to Marathon Ashland Petroleum in Crawford County as part of his Opportunity Returns initiative for Southeastern Illinois. The grant, distributed in equal portions for Fiscal Years 2004, 2005 and 2006, will ensure that Marathon’s Robinson refinery remains open, retaining at least 575 jobs in the Southeast region. Marathon Ashland Petroleum will use the Opportunity Returns grant to train all 608 of their employees in new clean-fuel technologies in which the company has invested more than $90 million. More of these types of grants will be a part of his Opportunity Returns program for the Southeast region – the Governor’s pro-active, comprehensive plan that will be unveiled later this spring to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the region.


April 13, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES OPENING OF GALESBURG TRAINING CENTER TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
SPRINGFIELD – In an unprecedented, pro-active effort to ensure that quality employment opportunities promptly return to the 2,000 men and women being laid off at the Maytag Galesburg refrigeration plant, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the opening of the Galesburg Transition Training Center, which is part of his Opportunity Returns plan for West Central Illinois. The center will provide comprehensive transition assistance to the workers and their families displaced by the upcoming plant closings in the Galesburg area and other workers in the community needing transition assistance.


April 12, 2004
GOVERNOR CALLS ON BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION TO INVESTIGATE OUT OF CONTROL PRICES OF COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS
Over Last 6 Years, College Textbooks Have Risen 17% More Than Other Books
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is calling on the Illinois Board of Higher Education to immediately investigate why Illinois college students are forced to pay outrageous amounts of money for their required reading. College textbooks are significantly more expensive than regular books. Recent studies have also shown that many students across the country are paying more than $900 a year on college textbooks.


April 12, 2004
Blagojevich announces comprehensive plan to address rising gasoline prices in Illinois
Calls for combination of state and federal action to prevent price gouging, reduce reliance on erratic foreign oil supplies and promote mass transit
CHICAGO – At a Marathon gas station in Chicago’s south loop neighborhood, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a comprehensive plan to help stem skyrocketing gas prices in Illinois. His plan involves a combination of action at both the state and federal levels to guard against price gouging while reducing the country’s reliance on unpredictable and expensive foreign oil supplies.


April 11, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH URGES PRESIDENT BUSH TO PROMOTE RENEWABLE FUELS LEGISLATION
Initiatives Would Create Jobs, Lower Fuel Prices, and Improve Illinois’ Economy
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich sent a letter Friday with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) on behalf of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition urging President Bush to support new ethanol requirements and ethanol tax credits as a part of any new energy legislation this year. Governor Blagojevich serves as chairman of the national Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, which represents America’s thirty ethanol producing states, while Governor Pawlenty is vice-chairman. Governor Blagojevich stressed his support for two specific proposals.


April 9, 2004
Health Care Advocates Laud Gov. Blagojevich’s Expansion Of KidCare and FamilyCare programs
4th Annual Covering Kids & Families Statewide Conference Focuses on health coverage for uninsured children and families
SPRINGFIELD -- Health care providers and advocates and KidCare Application Agents from around the state gathered in Oak Brook to celebrate the Blagojevich Administration’s expansion of health care access for children and families and to ramp up their efforts to identify and enroll the thousands of more Illinoisans who are now eligible for coverage.


April 9, 2004
Governor’s Office sends strong message to Illinois Gaming Board: Stop impeding independent investigation
CHICAGO – In response to the Gaming Board’s refusal to provide information and documents to Eric Holder, the independent investigator appointed last month by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to look into issues surrounding the location and awarding of the 10th casino license, the Governor’s general counsel Susan Lichtenstein today sent a letter to Gaming Board Chairman Elzie Higginbottom demanding cooperation.


April 8, 2004
GOVERNOR’S OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL SPARK INNOVATIVE REDEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION IN SOUTHERN REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform Brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the city of DuQuoin, in Perry County, will be awarded $30,000 to conduct site assessment work at a former gas station at 300 South Washington in preparation for redevelopment.


April 8, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO SOUTH BELOIT WILL SPARK IMPORTANT REDEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform Brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the city of South Beloit, in Winnebago County, will be awarded $120,000 to conduct site assessment work at the former Beloit and Goodall Oil Foundry sites at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 75.


April 8, 2004
Governor Blagojevich's Letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft Asking for New Regulations in United State House Resolution 2763 Regarding Setting Background Check Record Retention to 24 Hours to be Repealed
The State of Illinois is committed to continuing our partnership with your office and-the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the fight against domestic terrorism and street crime. The Illinois State Police has been a Point of Contact state with the National Instant Check System (NICS) since the system's inception in 1998, providing background checks for licensed firearm dealers on every gun transaction in Illinois. We look forward to continuing that role into the future, but warn that recent changes to the system could have grave consequences when it comes to our statewide efforts to combat crime.


April 8, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich and Attorney General Madigan file Citizen’s Petition with FDA on behalf of Illinois prescription drug consumers, Demands response on drug importation
Health experts support Governor’s action Illinois Special Advocates for Prescription Drugs scheduled to testify before FDA taskforce next week
CHICAGO – Growing frustrated with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) failure to respond to Illinois’ request for permission to conduct a prescription drug importation pilot program, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that Attorney General Lisa Madigan, today, will file a Citizen’s Petition with the FDA demanding a response within six months. The Governor’s petition is accompanied by affidavits from two health experts who have studied the safety of importing drugs from Canada.


April 8, 2004
Quinn urges trustees of Illinois’ three largest public pension funds to use their shareholders’ voting power to limit runaway CEO pay
CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn urged the chairmen and executive directors of Illinois’ three largest public pension funds to support shareholder resolutions to rein in extravagant CEO pay practices at major American corporations, including Cendant, MetLife and International Paper.


April 7, 2004
Blagojevich awards HIV/AIDS housing grants
Funds provide assistance to hundreds
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of 12 grants totaling nearly $500,000 to provide housing and support services to low-income persons living with HIV or AIDS in Chicago, Belleville and Rock Island.


April 7, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING FOR MANUFACTURING PLANT EXPANSION BACKED BY OVER $7.7 MILLION IN STATE FUNDING
SPRINGFIELD – As a part of his historic, regional plan to spur economic growth and create jobs throughout the West Central region known as Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that groundbreaking will commence today on a major plant expansion of a prominent Macomb manufacturer, NTN-Bower. The 290,000 square foot expansion, which will double the company’s workforce, is being made possible by over $7.7 million in state funding. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 11:00 am at the NTN-Bower facility at 711 North Bower Road.


April 7, 2004
QUINN, DELEGATION OFFER “OFFICIAL REGRET” FOR PERSECUTION OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn led a delegation of Illinois public officials today to offer official regrets to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Gordon B. Hinckley and 12 million church members for the 1840’s persecution of Latter-day Saints in Illinois. The visit, hosted by Utah Governor Olene Walker, occurs one day after the 174th anniversary of the church’s founding.


April 7, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich heads-off potential gasoline shortage by authorizing ConocoPhillips temporary permit to operate former Premcor unit
Using vacant facility in Hartford will avert potential shortage of gasoline supplies
SPRINGFIELD --- In an effort to avoid additional pressures on already high gasoline prices in St. Louis and metropolitan Chicago, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich yesterday instructed the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to authorize a contingent construction permit to the ConocoPhillips Wood River Refinery. The permit allows the company to begin operating a crude oil refining unit at the now closed Premcor refinery adjacent to the Wood River Refinery in Hartford.


April 7, 2004
Blagojevich authorizes over $25 million in school, parks and military capital projects
Work to begin on FY02 and FY03 Capital Projects immediately
SPRINGFIELD, IL Building on efforts to compliment education and infrastructure initiatives, Governor Rod Blagojevich approved today the release of over $25 million in FY02 and FY03 capital projects throughout Illinois. Work will begin on the 21 schools, parks, and military’s capital projects immediately.


April 7, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces $6.7 million to the Illinois School for the Deaf
Renovations to increase safety at facility
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich released today $6.7 million from the 2002 and 2003 capital budget for the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. The capital projects improves and repairs three buildings and upgrades the visual fire alarm system.


April 7, 2004
Governor Blagojevich authorizes over $7.7 million for capital improvements at Illinois State Parks
Projects focus on visitor convenience and safetydlo
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the release of more than $7.7 million in state funds from 2002 and 2003 Capital funds for a series of improvement projects at state parks and facilities managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


April 7, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH APPROVES $1 MILLION FOR BISHOP HILL’S OLD COLONY CHURCH
BISHOP HILL, IL – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that the state will provide $1 million dollars in capital funds from 2002 and 2003 fiscal years to rehabilitate the 1848 Old Colony Church at Bishop Hill State Historic Site. The funds will finish the renovation of one of the state’s most significant heritage tourism attractions in a largely intact historic community.


April 7, 2004
Governor Blagojevich calls for more federal funding to prevent the dangers of binge drinking
Study shows heavy drinking isn’t just on college campuses
CHICAGO – Citing an important Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on the dangers of binge drinking, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called for more federal money for alcohol prevention and education programs that will help address the serious public health problem. The study, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health, reported that binge drinking and its related health consequences are on the rise, particularly in suburban and metropolitan areas.


April 6, 2004
INNOVATIVE “MUD-TO-PARKS PROJECT” BEGINS IN ILLINOIS RIVER Sediment removal will deepen Peoria Lake, become topsoil for Lake Michigan park
EAST PEORIA, IL -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Peoria) and others celebrated today as the first scoop of sediment was dredged from the Illinois River at Peoria Lake destined for Chicago as part of the innovative “Mud-to-Parks” project.


April 5, 2004
Governor Blagojevich calls for more federal money to help solve thousands of Illinois crimes using DNA technology
CHICAGO – On the heels of a new study released today by the U.S. Department of Justice highlighting the drastic need for more funding that could help solve thousands of old and new cases in states like Illinois using DNA technology, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is calling on the federal government to provide desperately needed dollars that could save lives by taking violent criminals off the streets. A person’s DNA is a genetic fingerprint that can be used to solve crimes such as rape and murder when biological evidence is left on the crime scene. Illinois is one of more than 30 states that collect DNA samples from all convicted felons.


April 5, 2004
Pat Quinn joined Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Senator Martin Sandoval, Representative William Delgado and Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado to promote the passage of a consumer protection bill to stop prepaid calling card providers from selling deceptive calling cards.
CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Senator Martin Sandoval, Representative William Delgado and Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado to promote the passage of a consumer protection bill that would stop prepaid calling card providers from selling deceptive calling cards.


April 4, 2004
LT. GOV. QUINN URGES TAXPAYERS TO MAKE A CHECK OFF CONTRIBUTION TO 12 GREAT CAUSES Taxpayers asked to be generous to check off causes as April 15 tax return deadline approaches
CHICAGO - Surrounded by a sea of banners, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined with contributors and recipients from each of 12 Great Causes to urge citizens to make a check off donation to the voluntary contribution funds included on this year’s Illinois income tax form. Illinois taxpayers have the opportunity to contribute to a dozen charitable causes this year, the highest number of check off options in the state’s history.


April 2, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH WELCOMES NEW COMMUNITIES TO ILLINOIS MAIN STREET PROGRAM
Four West Central Communities are Put on Path to Downtown Revitalization and Economic Growth
SPRINGFIELD – Delivering on an Opportunity Returns promise to support the rejuvenation of Illinois Main Street, the innovative program that helps local towns and cities revitalize their downtown districts and return them to the centers of cultural and economic activity they once were, Governor Rod Blagojevich today welcomed in four new West Central region communities. Hamilton, Monmouth, Mount Sterling and Nauvoo will all be announced as Introductory Tier members of the Main Street program this afternoon at 1:30pm at the John Wood Community College – Mount Sterling in the DOT Foods Learning Center.


April 2, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law protecting Illinois workers’ overtime compensation
Illinois becomes first state to decouple from new federal overtime rules
CHICAGO – Just two days after the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation protecting hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers from new federal rules that would strip them of their right to overtime pay, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the measure into law.


April 1, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES EFFORT TO TRY AND SAVE EMI MANUFACTURING PLANT IN JACKSONVILLE
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that he is directing the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to work with EMI Manufacturing in Jacksonville in an attempt to avoid its recently announced plant closure. Since 1965, EMI Manufacturing has produced records, cassettes, and, today, CDs and DVDs at its Jacksonville facility. Today, EMI employs more than 430 Central Illinois residents, and is an integral part of Jacksonville’s economy.


April 1, 2004
State’s new discount drug card program building steam
Gov. Blagojevich announces partnership with Walgreens to provide better discounts and promote Rx Buying Club for seniors Direct negotiations lead to rebate deal with Merck
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today visited the Walgreens pharmacy at 111 South Halsted on Chicago’s near west side to announce significant developments in the state’s effort to help seniors save money on the cost of their prescription medications. The state is launching a partnership with the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain to promote and expand Illinois’ new Rx Buying Club, and it just signed a new rebate agreement with drug-maker Merck that will go into effect today.

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