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May
2004


May 31, 2004
Governor and Senate President hold press conference
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones held a press conference Monday night to discuss a proposed budget that does not sacrifice education or health care and that strengthens and funds health care, education, and public safety priorities.


May 31, 2004
“CHALLENGER” SOARS OVER WRIGLEY FIELD TO SALUTE THE TROOPS ON MEMORIAL DAY BALD EAGLE’S INSPIRING FLIGHT AIDS “ILLINOIS MILITARY FAMILY RELIEF FUND”
CHICAGO – “Challenger” - a 16 year- old Bald Eagle - soared through the skies over Wrigley Field during Wayne Mesmer’s singing of the National Anthem before the Cubs vs. Astros game to raise further awareness of the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.”


May 28, 2004
Governor announces mosquito control help for communities affected by floods
Emergency purchase of larvicide for Chicago-area suburbs
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state will spend $105,000 on the emergency purchase of larvicide to help control mosquitoes in the Chicago suburbs that recently experienced severe flooding along the Des Plaines River.


May 28, 2004
QUINN, OBAMA AND CHAPA LAVIA JOIN TO CELEBRATE LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF “ILLINOIS CITIZEN SOLDIER INITIATIVE” “Illinois Citizen Soldier Initiative” would act to protect Illinois National Guard members and reservists from employment, housing or lending discrimination
SPRINGFIELD—On the eve of Memorial Day Weekend - Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) and Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), to celebrate legislative approval of the landmark “Illinois Citizen Soldier Initiative” to protect Illinois’ citizen soldiers from discrimination in hiring practices, job promotions, housing opportunities and financial lending.


May 28, 2004
Governor Blagojevich and legislative leaders announce sweeping education reform agreement
Bipartisan effort leads to major overhaul of Illinois State Board of Education
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and representatives from all four legislative caucuses, led by Senate President Emil Jones, House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson, announced today they have reached an agreement to make the Illinois State Board of Education accountable to the Governor, legislators, school districts and school children.


May 27, 2004
Blagojevich announces grants for volunteer fire assistance programs
Funds will help rural communities purchase equipment, increase public safety training
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that residents and property owners in 50 Illinois communities will benefit from $302,865 in matching grants to rural fire protection districts and fire departments. The funds will go towards acquiring equipment and paying for training through the federal Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program.


May 27, 2004
Governor announces minority HIV/AIDS grants
Fulfills commitment to make AIDS funding a budget priority
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Fulfilling a pledge and a top budget priority, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that $2 million has been awarded to organizations throughout the state to fund HIV/AIDS prevention efforts targeting minority communities.


May 27, 2004
Governor Blagojevich declares Morgan, Pike, Scott and Hardin counties state disaster areas
SPRINGFIELD, Il – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared the west central Illinois counties of Morgan, Pike and Scott, and Hardin County in southern Illinois state disaster areas after the four counties suffered extensive damage from severe storms and tornadoes that hit the areas this week.


May 26, 2004
Governor Blagojevich praises General Assembly for passing mercury reduction legislation
Legislation will further reduce hazardous chemical in Illinois’ environment
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today praised state legislators for approving his initiative to further reduce mercury-containing products that pose a potential health hazard to Illinois residents.


May 26, 2004
Governor Visits Flooded Communities in Northeastern Illinois
Declares Lake County and Parts of Cook County State Disaster Areas
GURNEE, IL – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took an aerial tour of flooded communities along the Des Plaines River, meeting with local elected officials and community leaders in Gurnee to declare Lake County and six townships in Cook County state disaster areas.


May 26, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS HELPS CREATE AND RETAIN ROCKFORD JOBS AND BUILDS A STRONGER REGIONAL WORKFORCE IN NORTHERN STATELINE
ROCKFORD – As part of his comprehensive plan to strengthen worker skills and increase business productivity and competitiveness in the Northern Stateline region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of $161,000 in Opportunity Returns workforce training grants to Cadbury Adams, a confectionery manufacturer that has operated a plant in Rockford for 48 years. The training grants will be used to develop and upgrade training programs to benefit approximately 90 new employees and more than 500 current workers. The financial support being provided to Cadbury Adams, and other similar companies in the region, is one component of an aggressive outreach effort the Governor has launched to ensure that the evolving needs of business are being met in the 21st Century economy. Also vital to that outreach are personal visits from state officials to gain a more intimate understanding of key challenges facing management and operations and ensure that the most effective means of assistance is provided. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin visited Cadbury Adams today for a first hand look at its operations and to meet with company management.


May 26, 2004
OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDS RESEARCH CENTER DESIGNED TO REVITALIZE MANUFACTURING IN NORTHERN STATELINE REGION
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin Attends EIGERlab Kickoff in Rockford
ROCKFORD – Representing Governor Rod Blagojevich’s comprehensive, aggressive economic development plan to spur growth and create jobs on a regional level, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin today joined with Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL), state and community leaders in attending a kickoff ceremony for the EIGERlab research and development center in Rockford.


May 25, 2004
Governor announces completion of new bridge at Frank Holten State Park in St. Clair County
Bridge to increase safety of park visitors
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the completion of a new bridge crossing Whispering Willow Lake at Frank Holten State Park in East St. Louis. The bridge is located near the main entrance to the park, providing access to day use areas, picnic shelters, the park office, and the park’s Grand Marais Golf Course and clubhouse.


May 25, 2004
Prairie State water quality initiative launched: Illinois EPA proposes Phosphorous discharge limit
Blagojevich fulfills commitment to address issue
SPRINGFIELD --- Fulfilling Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pledge to address the impact of phosphorus in sewage plant discharges, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Illinois Pollution Control Board to adopt interim standards applying to new and expanding larger municipal and industrial wastewater/sewage treatment plants.


May 25, 2004
LT. GOV. QUINN JOINS OTHERS IN PUTTING AN END TO TOBACCO COMPANY’S ATTEMPTS AT TARGETING AMERICA’S YOUTH
Chicago – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined by Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Sec. of State Jesse White, Ck. Cty. Pres. John Stroger and Ald. Todd Stroger on Tuesday, May 25, 2004, to call on Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. to immediately halt their KOOL MIXX Campaign that targets inner-city youth to smoke cigarettes.


May 25, 2004
GOVERNOR CONTINUES FIGHT TO SAVE PEORIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE
Rally with State and Local Leaders Highlights Base’s Enormous Contributions to National Security and Local Economy
PEORIA – Governor Rod Blagojevich is continuing his comprehensive campaign to protect the Peoria Air National Guard Base from closing. Through Opportunity Returns, his extensive plan to promote economic growth and create more jobs in the North Central region, the Governor is leading a coordinated effort with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent the Peoria Air National Guard Base, and three other Illinois bases, from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list that will be announced next year. The Governor recently traveled again to Washington, DC to make Illinois’ case for why the Air National Guard Bases in Peoria and Springfield, the Rock Island Arsenal and Scott Air Force Base should remain open.


May 25, 2004
GOVERNOR CONTINUES FIGHT TO SAVE SPRINGFIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE
Rally with State and Local Leaders Highlights Base’s Enormous Contributions to National Security and Local Economy
PEORIA – Governor Rod Blagojevich is continuing his comprehensive campaign to protect the Peoria Air National Guard Base from closing. Through Opportunity Returns, his extensive plan to promote economic growth and create more jobs in the North Central region, the Governor is leading a coordinated effort with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent the Peoria Air National Guard Base, and three other Illinois bases, from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list that will be announced next year. The Governor recently traveled again to Washington, DC to make Illinois’ case for why the Air National Guard Bases in Peoria and Springfield, the Rock Island Arsenal and Scott Air Force Base should remain open.


May 24, 2004
Blagojevich announces EPA is accepting applications for Governor’s Green Youth Awards
Awards recognize outstanding environmental protection and consevation projects by Illinois’ youth
SPRINGFIELD —Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced that applications are now being accepted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the Governor’s Green Youth Awards. The awards recognize outstanding environmental protection and conservation projects by Illinois’ young people.


May 24, 2004
State readies response capabilities to assist with flooding
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today said the state of Illinois is providing needed assistance to communities in Lake and Cook counties battling floods on the Des Plaines and Fox rivers.


May 23, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Sheds Light on Devastating Impact of Alternative Budget Proposal Being Pushed in Springfield
Senate President Jones, Concerned Lawmakers and Advocacy Groups Join Governor in Opposing No-Growth Budget
CHICAGO – At a press conference today at LaRabida Children’s Hospital, one of Chicago’s largest health care facilities serving low-income children and their families, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich outlined the devastation Illinois families and communities would suffer under an alternative budget proposal quietly being pushed in Springfield during the final week of the legislative session. Under the so-called “no growth” budget, every region of the state would experience significant cuts in health care, education and economic development, including $400 million taken away from local schools, and 150,000 men, women and children losing their health care.


May 21, 2004
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn served as keynote speaker at an asthma summit where he discussed the many avenues to prevent and stem asthma in Illinois
CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois at the Community Asthma Summit where he served as keynote speaker. Quinn discussed the many avenues to preventing asthma in Illinois where it is reaching epidemic proportions.


May 20, 2004
Blagojevich approves changes in unemployment insurance checks to protect against identity theft
Department of Employment Security devises new identification number
CHICAGO – In an effort to protect Illinoisans from identity theft, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today approved plans by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) to discontinue printing social security numbers on Illinois unemployment insurance benefit checks. The move offers recipients another element of protection from identity theft.


May 20, 2004
Blagojevich announces $1.3 million for sexual assault and domestic violence victim services programs
Programs serve minority and underserved populations across the state
CHICAGO — Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that more than $1.3 million in federal funds will be used to support domestic violence and sexual assault victim services programs in underserved communities for populations in need of language and other specialized services.


May 20, 2004
QUINN SALUTES ST. LEANORD SCHOOL FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF ILLINOIS TROOPS St. Leonard School in Berwyn sells red, white and blue lollipops and donates proceeds to Illinois Military Family Relief Fund
BERWYN—Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn accepted a donation on behalf of the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” from St. Leonard School in Berwyn, and presented the school with an award and state flag for their two-year drive to send care packages and letters to Illinois troops overseas.


May 19, 2004
GOVERNOR AGRESSIVELY PURSUES NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR NORTHERN STATELINE REGION BY BRINGING FOREIGN TRADE REPRESENTATIVES TO ROCKFORD
SPRINGFIELD – Delivering on an Opportunity Returns promise to increase direct foreign investment in the Northern Stateline region, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that the state is escorting a delegation of Chicago-based, foreign trade commissioners representing 23 countries across the world to Rockford today. The reverse foreign trade mission, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), is designed to capitalize on the presence of foreign trade offices in Chicago and Illinois’ status as a world-class, strategic location to promote the region as a great place for direct foreign investment and to provide the strategic link needed to increase exports from the Rock River Valley.


May 19, 2004
QUINN UNVEILS ALTERNATIVE “PRO-CONSUMER PAYDAY LOAN” AIMS TO CURB PAYDAY LOAN ABUSES AND PREVENT MOUNTING DEBT
CHICAGO - On the third anniversary of the death of Monsignor John Egan, the legendary social-justice priest who took on the giant payday loan industry, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joins with Chicago Aldermen and community and religious leaders to unveil a model “Pro-Consumer Payday Loan,” which is aimed at curbing payday loan abuses.


May 19, 2004
Governor announces $76,000 for urban forestry grants
Funding will go towards education efforts and disaster recovery planning
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced 15 grants totaling more than $76,000 to communities to support their urban forestry efforts.


May 19, 2004
Governor honors individuals for heroic acts
Part of Emergency Medical Services Week observance
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined the Illinois Department of Public Health in recognizing 22 Illinois citizens, including state Senate President Emil Jones, for acts of courage as part of the state’s 17th Annual Emergency Medical Services Awards.


May 18, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN EAST 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. Danville Area Community College will receive $158,000 under the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative (CSSI). The Critical Skills Shortage Initiative will be a vital component of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan for the East Central region: to build a more dynamic and highly skilled workforce by strengthening education and job training. The region is comprised of six counties and includes three workforce investment boards that are partnering together in this initiative: the Vermilion County Workforce Investment Board, the East Central Illinois Workforce Investment Board, and the Crossroads Investment Board (Douglas County). The Governor’s pro-active, comprehensive plan will be unveiled shortly to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the region.


May 18, 2004
Blagojevich announces successes of the Illinois Earned Income Credit
More than $61 million returned to nearly 660,000 families so far Program has already generated millions more for thousands more families than last year
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich, today, announced that the Illinois Earned Income Credit (EIC) has returned more than $61 million to nearly 660,000 low-income working families so far this year.


May 18, 2004
Blagojevich, Jones and legislators urge General Assembly to make tough budget choices to support education
Governor asks lawmakers to make choice: schools vs. prisons
SPRINGFIELD – Because members of the General Assembly face critical choices in the days ahead, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones and other legislators today urged their colleagues to choose building schools over keeping prisons open and saving corporate loopholes. The Governor and lawmakers reacted to today’s published criticisms against funding for the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy on Chicago’s south side.


May 17, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES CRITICAL OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE CENTRAL REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the that he is awarding an Opportunity Returns planning grant to the Central region as part of a program designed to prepare workers with the training necessary to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. This grant will be a part of his Opportunity Returns program for Central Illinois – the Governor’s pro-active, comprehensive plan that will be unveiled shortly to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the region.


May 17, 2004
Illinois honors Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator, and Forensic Scientist of the Year award winners. During the Department’s annual awards ceremony, Trooper Joseph J. Savitch of District 17, LaSalle, was named Officer of the Year and Ms. Jennifer L. Dixon of District 7, Rock Island, was named Telecommunicator of the Year. Mr. Timothy A. Tripp, of the Forensic Science Center at Chicago, was presented with the first-ever Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.


May 16, 2004
Governor Announces Phase Two of I-PASS Expansion Project on Illinois Tollway
2004 Improvements Should Further Reduce Travel Times for I-PASS Customers
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Following the overwhelming success of the 2003 I-PASS Expansion Project, which reduced congestion at 37 toll plazas on the Illinois Tollway, Gov. Rod. R. Blagojevich today announced plans to reduce travel times for Illinois Tollway customers in 2004 with 69 new and improved I-PASS lanes at 40 toll plazas systemwide.


May 16, 2004
Governor Announces $1.1 million grant to continue and expand the “CEASEFIRE” violence reduction project in Illinois
Project works with community leaders to combat gang violence in Illinois’ neighborhoods
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to help expand the “CeaseFire” gang violence prevention project to 15 Illinois communities.


May 14, 2004
Governor announces $250,000 to the City of Danville
Electrical Substation built to support industrial growth
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $250,000 to the City of Danville for construction of a new electrical substation adjacent to the existing power lines in Eastgate Industrial Park.


May 14, 2004
Governor Blagojevich makes appointments to Executive Ethics Commission
With quorum in place, new commission can begin work
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Father John Cusick and Ellen Craig to the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission. Craig and Cusick join Scott Turow as the Governor’s appointments to the commission.


May 14, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING AT NEW MANUFACTURING PLANT CREATING MORE JOBS IN PEKIN THANKS TO OPPORTUNITY RETURNS
SPRINGFIELD - As a part of his historic, regional plan to spur economic growth and create jobs throughout the North Central region known as Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that groundbreaking will begin today on the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Pekin for a familiar company launching a new venture. Excel Crusher Technologies, LLC, will focus on the design and manufacturing of a new line of heavy duty rock crushers. The new plant will be located adjacent to the site of Excel Foundry, which makes replacement parts for numerous heavy equipment industries. The 40,000 square foot production facility is being made possible in part by close to $150,000 in state income tax credits that will create at least 15 new jobs, and help leverage a $3 million company investment. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 1:00 pm at 14463 Wagonseller Road in Pekin.


May 14, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES $95,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS TO TRANSFORM BROWNFIELDS IN EAST CENTRAL REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Making a commitment to transform brownfields sites into new business and job opportunities through his Opportunity Returns initiative in the East Central region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Monticello and Rossville have been awarded brownfields grants to conduct environmental investigations and cleanups. These grants will be a part of his Opportunity Returns program for East Central Illinois – the Governor’s pro-active, comprehensive plan that will be unveiled shortly to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the region.


May 14, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE EFFORT TO TRY AND PREVENT QUEBECOR FROM CLOSING EFFINGHAM PLANT
SPRINGFIELD – Responding to the disheartening news issued by Quebecor that it plans to close its Effingham printing plant later this year, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced an immediate course of action to try and save the plant and the more than 600 hundred jobs. Governor Blagojevich has directed the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to lead the state’s effort to try and prevent the plant’s closure and will deploy the state’s Rapid Response Team to support these workers in Effingham in the event it does close.


May 13, 2004
Lt. Gov. Quinn honors fallen firefighters and others who went beyond the call of duty at the Eleventh Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony
SPRINGFIELD,IL. – Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn joined with thousands of Illinois firefighters to honor four firefighters who lost their lives and salute those who went beyond the call of duty at the Eleventh Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony.


May 13, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ALMOST $320,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO CLEAN UP BROWNFIELDS AND SPUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHEAST REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Making a commitment to transform brownfields sites into new business and job opportunities through his Opportunity Returns initiative in the Northeast region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Geneva, Morton Grove, Rosemont, Sycamore, and Wauconda have all been awarded brownfields grants to perform environmental assessment and investigation for redevelopment of abandoned businesses.


May 13, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $52,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS TO TRANSFORM SOUTHWEST REGION BROWNFIELDS
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform brownfields sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that East St. Louis and New Athens, which are both in St. Clair County, have been awarded brownfields grants to do environmental investigations for redevelopment of abandoned businesses.


May 13, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES NEARLY $150,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO TRANSFORM BROWNFIELDS IN NORTHWEST REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform brownfields sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the cities of Sterling and Princeton have been awarded brownfields grants to address environmental issues at former business locations so economic redevelopment can begin.


May 13, 2004
Blagojevich announces agreement to make Illinois education accountable and to streamline bureaucracy
Governor, Senate President Emil Jones and Senator Miguel del Valle propose full restructuring, major changes to Illinois State Board of Education
SPRINGFIELD - Paving the way for real education reform this legislative session, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones, and Senator Miguel del Valle unveiled today a new plan to make the Illinois State Board of Education accountable to the Governor, legislators, school districts and school children. The Governor, President Jones and Sen. del Valle announced they have reached an agreement to replace all members on the Illinois State Board of Education and require members to serve at the will of the governor, allowing them to be replaced if they do not achieve results.


May 13, 2004
Governor announces $10,000 to West Walker Civic Association
Funds to be used for handicap accessibility to Independence Park
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $10,000 t the West Walker Civic Association for the construction of a handicap ramp at the clubhouse building in Independence Park.


May 13, 2004
Governor announces $350,000 to Granite City
Funds to be used for heating and ventilation system
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $350,00 to the City of Granite City for replacement of the heating and ventilation systems for the City Hall building.


May 13, 2004
Governor announces $50,000 to the Calumet Park Library
Funds to be used for roof construction and repair
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $50,000 to the Calumet Park Library for roof construction and repair.


May 13, 2004
Homeownership Programs Across Illinois Receive $3.2 Million From State Additional $8 Million Allocated for Special Needs Housing
IHDA approves financing affordable housing for foster children, homeless, disabled, families and elderly at its April board meeting
CHICAGO—Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, today, announced approval of financing for four homeownership programs across the state that will help 309 new homeowners with down-payment and closing costs assistance, below-market interest rate mortgages, credit counseling and technical assistance. The Madison County Community Development Homebuyer Program, the Quad Cities Region First Time Homebuyer Program, River City Affordable Homes in East St. Louis, and Chicago’s Spanish Coalition for Housing Initiative were all awarded financing by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) from the State’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to assist first-time homebuyers in their region.


May 12, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES FOREIGN TRADE MISSION TO CHINA TO HELP ESTABLISH NEW MARKETS FOR ILLINOIS BUSINESSES
Five Northeast Region Companies Will Benefit from State-Led Trade Mission to China
SPRINGFIELD - In an innovative effort to help Illinois businesses establish new markets across the world, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the state would be escorting a delegation of Northeast region companies on a foreign trade mission to China. The Illinois Trade Office China Trade Mission, which gets underway Thursday and runs through May 22, comes as part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s soon-to-be-unveiled regional economic development plan designed to create jobs and spur economic growth in the Northeast region and throughout the state. The five Illinois companies traveling to China represent various industries, including architecture design, environmental technology, engineer services, and consulting and construction materials.


May 12, 2004
Blagojevich Calls for Tax Fairness Through Full Corporate Disclosure
Proposed reform to shed light on over $1 billion that Illinois gives to corporations in tax breaks and credits
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proposed major reforms to Illinois’ tax laws that would require corporations to publicly disclose the Illinois income taxes they pay and the loopholes they use to reduce their taxes.


May 12, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH PRAISES ARGONNE PARTNERSHIP WITH OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY AND PRIVATE SECTOR TO DEVELOP STATE-OF-THE-ART SUPERCOMPUTER
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich praised today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $25 million in funding to a project involving Argonne National Laboratory, located just outside Chicago, for the construction of a 50 teraflop (50 trillion calculations per second) science research supercomputer. Cray Corporation, IBM Corporation and Silicon Graphics, Inc. are development partners in this supercomputer that will be open to the scientific community for research. In addition to this recent award, the President’s Fiscal Year 2005 request for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science includes an additional $25 million for such a capability. Supporting the Argonne National Laboratory will be a key component of Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the Northeast region – his soon-to-be-unveiled regional economic development plan designed to create jobs and spur economic growth in the region and throughout the state.


May 12, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces more than $1.2 million in grants for bicycle trails
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced more than $1.2 million in grants to communities to help develop new bicycle trails or to widen or repair existing bicycle trails in northeastern Illinois.


May 12, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $425,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO CLEAN UP BROWNFIELDS AND SPUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns commitment to transform brownfields sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the City of Canton has been awarded a $425,000 Brownfields grant to conduct environmental cleanup activities at the former International Harvester factory.


May 12, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES $115,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO TRANSFORM SOUTHERN REGION BROWNFIELD
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 Marion will be awarded a $115,000 grant to conduct environmental cleanup activities at the former Marion Court Motel and service station located at the intersection of West Main and Court Streets. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is providing the funding through Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development initiative for the Southern region.


May 11, 2004
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn unveils and signs special mental health flag during Mental Health Rally and Lobby Day
SPRINGFIELD,IL- Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn unveiled and signed a special mental health flag during Mental Health Rally and Lobby Day to bring awareness to the importance of mental health care.


May 11, 2004
Governor awards grants for West Nile virus detection and control
Money allocated from special public health emergency fund
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state has awarded grants to local health departments totaling $2.3 million as part of this year’s efforts to detect and control mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne diseases.


May 10, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES $250,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO FUND WIND TURBINE IN PIKE COUNTY THAT BREAKS GROUND TODAY
SPRINGFIELD – As part of a comprehensive Opportunity Returns plan to invest in renewable energy in the West Central region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that groundbreaking on a major wind turbine in Pike County starts today at 1:00pm two miles west of Pittsfield. Through its Renewable Energy Resource Program, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is providing the Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative with $250,000 in grant funding to support the wind turbine project.


May 10, 2004
GOVERNOR CONTINUES FIGHT TO SAVE THE ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich is continuing his comprehensive campaign to protect the Rock Island Arsenal from closing. Through Opportunity Returns, his extensive 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 the Rock Island Arsenal, and three other Illinois bases, from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list that will be announced next year. The Governor traveled to Washington, DC just last week to make Illinois’ case for why the Arsenal, Scott Air Force Base, and the Air National Guard Bases in Peoria and Springfield should remain open. The Rock Island Arsenal contributes almost $900 million to the local economy and supports 18,000 jobs.


May 7, 2004
Blagojevich annnounces natural resource damage assessment projects in Will and Logan counties
Compensation for oil spills will finance wetland expansion and additional state park land
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that public comment will be sought on land to be acquired for natural and wildlife protection and recreational use in Will and Logan counties as a result of court settlements against firms responsible for oil releases.


May 7, 2004
LT. GOV. PAT QUINN WELCOMES TORNADO-RAVAGED UTICA INTO THE ILLINOIS MAIN STREET PROGRAM Quinn salutes Grainger for its $50,000 contribution to rebuild Utica in north-central Illinois
UTICA – Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn commended Illinois-based Grainger today for its $50,000 contribution to help repair the north-central Illinois town of Utica that was leveled by a tornado in mid-April. The tornado almost completely devastated downtown Utica and left eight people dead.


May 6, 2004
QUINN SALUTES LARGEST GATHERING OF SUB 4-MINUTE MILERS ON PLANET
CHICAGO—Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn convened the planet’s largest gathering of humans who have broken the four-minute mile barrier, an accomplishment once deemed unthinkable until Roger Bannister did it on May 6, 1954.


May 6, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ONCE AGAIN TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON, DC TO FIGHT FOR ILLINOIS’ MILITARY BASES
WASHINGTON, DC – Continuing the campaign to protect Illinois’ four major military bases, Governor Rod Blagojevich again traveled to Washington, DC today to bring the state’s case to Capitol Hill. 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 four bases from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list that will be announced next year.


May 5, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO FUND STUDY AIMED AT IDENTIFYING NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES ALONG I-88 CORRIDOR
SPRINGFIELD – Delivering on an Opportunity Returns commitment to supporting development around the new Union Pacific Global III Intermodal Facility, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a $100,000 planning grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) that will play a critical role in identifying new job opportunities created by the state-of-the-art transportation terminal across the Northwest and Northern Stateline regions. The planning grant, which is being awarded to the Greater Sterling Development Corporation, will be used to conduct an economic impact study that will identify new job growth opportunities emerging in the area and to devise a marketing strategy the intermodal facility can employ to promote usage and expansion.


May 5, 2004
Blagojevich awards four Illinois Department of Corrections front line employees with the Correctional Officer of the Year Award
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today recognized four front line employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) as recipients of the Correctional Officer of the Year Award. He also commended and thanked all corrections employees for the important work they do in protecting the public from danger.


May 4, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES INNOVATIVE OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO STRENGTHEN WORKER SKILLS IN THE SOUTHEAST REGION
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that he is awarding a $170,000 Opportunity Returns planning grant to the Southeast region as part of a program designed to prepare workers with the training necessary to fill jobs in industries facing critical shortages in skilled labor. This grant will be a part of his Opportunity Returns program for Southeastern Illinois – the Governor’s pro-active, comprehensive plan that will be unveiled shortly to promote economic growth and create more jobs throughout the region.


May 4, 2004
Governor awards funds to provide primary health care for uninsured, underserved
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of $1.2 million to five community health centers to improve the delivery of primary health care services to the state’s medically underserved or uninsured populations.


May 3, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT FOR COMPANY EXPANSION THAT IS BRINGING 30 NEW JOBS TO DUQUOIN
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a $412,000 Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) grant to MPP Management allowing the company to transfer its Kansas City, Kansas production line to DuQuoin - bringing new jobs to the area and highlighting another success story of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the Southern region of Illinois. The grant will support nearly $800,000 in private investment by the company and provide the infusion of capital needed to get the new facility up and running.


May 3, 2004
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES FOREIGN TRADE MISSION TO CANADA TO HELP ESTABLISH NEW MARKETS FOR ILLINOIS PLASTIC BUSINESSES
Eight Northeast Region Plastics Firms Will Benefit from State-Led Trade Mission to Toronto
SPRINGFIELD - In an innovative effort to help stimulate more foreign trade opportunities for Illinois businesses, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the state would be escorting eight Northeast region plastics industry companies on a foreign trade mission to Canada. The Illinois Plastics Trade Mission to Canada, which gets underway today in Toronto and will run through Wednesday, comes as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s soon-to-be-unveiled regional economic development plan designed to create jobs and spur economic growth in the Northeast region and throughout the state.


May 2, 2004
Governor announces new Illinois Rx Buying Club promotional efforts during National Senior Citizens Month
State partners with Jewel-Osco to make seniors aware of new discount program, launches public service announcement campaign
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that during the month of May, National Senior Citizens Month, the state will run an aggressive campaign alerting seniors about the Illinois Rx Buying Club which helps people over the age of 65 and the disabled save money on their prescription medications.

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