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November
2005


November 30, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich convenes Keep Warm Illinois Leadership Summit
United Way and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce announce partnership with Keep Warm Illinois campaign
CHICAGO – Leaders from nearly 50 Illinois businesses, social service agencies and non-profit organizations joined Blagojevich administration officials and Lt. Governor Pat Quinn for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois Leadership Summit in Chicago today. The Governor organized today’s summit to encourage private sector organizations - both non-profit and for-profit - to do their part in helping Illinois families make it through this winter's home heating crisis, which has been triggered by record-high energy prices. Joining the efforts, the United Way of Illinois and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce announced they are partnering with the state of Illinois to identify and assist other businesses and social service organizations willing to commit resources to the Keep Warm Illinois campaign’s energy conservation and assistance efforts.


November 29, 2005
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, November 29, 2005


November 27, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich to Make Over 120 State Facilities Available as Warming Centers to Help Illinoisans Stay Warm, Lower Heating Bills
Governor reaching out to more than 1,100 mayors through Illinois Municipal League asking them to help identify additional safe warming locations
CHICAGO – As part of his Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that he will make 122 state facilities available as Warming Centers starting December 1, 2005. The Warming Centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay warm and comfortable if they turn down their thermostats during the day to lower their heating bills. Gov. Blagojevich will also send a letter tomorrow to all 1,116 mayors in the Illinois Municipal League asking them to assist in this important effort by identifying suitable buildings that can serve as additional Warming Centers in their communities.


November 25, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces Volunteer Fire Assistance Program grants
52 communities to benefit from assistance to small fire departments
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today grants totaling $310,000 for rural fire protection districts and fire departments in 52 Illinois communities. The grants are made possible by the federal Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grant program.


November 22, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign urges people to use caution when heating homes this winter
Heating equipment leading cause of home fires during December, January and February
SPRINGFIELD – Heating costs are expected to rise dramatically this winter, raising concerns that home fires also may increase as people try alternative – and sometimes more dangerous – ways of heating their homes.


November 22, 2005
Illinois Soybean Association awards Gov. Blagojevich for continued support of biofuels
BLOOMINGTON – The Illinois Soybean Association today recognized Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s continued efforts to promote the biofuels industry in Illinois, including ethanol and biodiesel. At their annual meeting in Bloomington, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) honored the Governor as a friend to soybean farmers and to biodiesel, recognizing his accomplishments such as the biodiesel tax exemption he signed in 2003 that requires school districts and local governments across the state to use biodiesel blends of at least 2 percent for their government fleets. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke accepted the award on the Governor’s behalf.


November 22, 2005
Governor Blagojevich Helps Holiday Travelers & Shoppers by Opening More Non-Stop Toll Lanes
Edens Spur Toll Plaza on I-94 is the third plaza converted on the Illinois Tollway so drivers with I-PASS no longer have to stop at tollbooths; Most Tollway Construction Closures on Hold for Thanksgiving Holiday
CHICAGO – With increased travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, those who use the Edens Spur Toll Plaza can now arrive at their destinations sooner than planned thanks to the completion of Open Road Tolling lanes for I-PASS users. On Tuesday, Governor Rod Blagojevich opened new non-stop toll lanes at the third toll plaza to be converted in just over a week, which means that drivers with I-PASS transponders will get places faster, because they will no longer have to slow down or stop to go through tollbooths.


November 21, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich opens more non-stop toll lanes to ease Thanksgiving holiday travel
Boughton Road Plaza on I-355 is the second converted on Illinois Tollway so drivers with I-PASS no longer have to stop at tollbooths
CHICAGO – Commuters and holiday travelers who use the Boughton Road Toll Plaza on the North-South Tollway should arrive at their destinations sooner than planned beginning today with the completion of Open Road Tolling lanes for I-PASS users. On Monday, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich opened new non-stop toll lanes at the second toll plaza to be converted in just over a week, which means that drivers with I-PASS transponders will get places faster, because they will no longer have to slow down or stop to go through tollbooths.


November 21, 2005
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, November 21, 2005
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, November 21, 2005


November 18, 2005
First Lady promotes breast cancer awareness in Chicago’s western suburbs
Patti Blagojevich speaks out to African American women at “Pink Potluck” event in Aurora
AURORA – Building on her ongoing efforts to promote breast cancer awareness in Illinois, First Lady Patti Blagojevich today joined State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) at the Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ’s “Pink Potluck” event in Aurora. The First Lady highlighted the importance of early detection and urged women to get annual breast cancer screenings and mammograms.


November 18, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES NEARLY $1 MILLION IN FUNDING TO LAUNCH ELECTRONICS RECYCLING PARTNERSHIP WITH CITY OF CHICAGO
TO DIVERT UP TO ONE MILLION POUNDS OF ELECTRONIC WASTE AND SUPPORT NEW JOBS IN GROWING INDUSTRY
CHICAGO – As part of a continuing effort to promote environmentally-friendly ways of growing the Chicagoland area economy, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a $975,000 Opportunity Returns grant to the City of Chicago to develop a comprehensive electronics-recycling program and construct a permanent drop-off facility located at Goose Island on the city’s north side.


November 17, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law creating new Illinois Juvenile Justice Department
Law creates separate agency to provide juvenile offenders treatment and services they need
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation creating a new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The new department will provide treatment and educational, vocational, social and emotional services to the state’s young offenders to help them get on the right track.


November 17, 2005
Governor’s landmark HIV/AIDS awareness initiative endorsed by national teen health organization
Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications addresses Healthy Teen Network 26th Annual National Conference on BASUAH; BASUAH Campaign increases spending ten-fold to focus on population with largest increase in HIV cases; files emergency rules for statewide rapid HIV testing; establishes partnerships with media, churches and colleges
CHICAGO– The Healthy Teen Network today endorsed Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s landmark BASUAH (Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) project, a social marketing effort designed to reach the African-American community with education, prevention and testing. Healthy Teen Network, formerly the National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention (NOAPPP), is a national membership organization that serves as a leader, an educator and a comprehensive resource to professional individuals and organizations in the fields of teen sexuality and reproductive health. Cheryle Jackson, Gov. Blagojevich’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, addressed today’s Healthy Teen Network 26th Annual National Conference on behalf of the governor.


November 17, 2005
First Lady Patti Blagojevich joins civil rights group to honor first recipient of the Women’s Advocate for Illinois Award
First Lady celebrates Chicago Rainbow Listserv’s achievements in mobilizing the gay, lesbian, and bisexual and transgender community
CHICAGO- First Lady Patti Blagojevich today joined the civil rights organization Equality Illinois to honor the Chicago Rainbow Listserv as the first recipient of the Women’s Advocate for Illinois Award and encouraged all women to become politically active in the pursuit of equal rights for all Americans.


November 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to help prevent meth-manufacturers from shopping for ingredients in Illinois
Governor signs Attorney General Lisa Madigan initiative restricting access to pseudoephedrine and ephedrine – common ingredients in cold medicine and meth; New law requires identification to purchase ingredients used in meth
CHICAGO – Taking another major step to protect Illinois communities from a dangerous and highly addictive drug, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law further restricting the availability of the main ingredient used to make Methamphetamine, or meth. Senate Bill 273, initiated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, places more controls on the sale of products like pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, commonly used in cold medicines, which are the essential ingredients in meth.


November 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign announces energy workshops will be held at Menards statewide on Saturday
Workshops will offer consumers tips to weatherize their homes and will give away 10,000 free ENERGY STAR thermostats to help reduce energy costs ; Keep Warm Illinois Toll-Free Hotline 1-877-411-WARM now available
CHICAGO – Continuing his efforts to inform and educate Illinois residents about rapidly rising energy prices, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an important partnership that will provide vital home weatherization and energy conservation information at hardware stores throughout the state. On Saturday, November 19th, Menards retail stores will host Keep Warm Illinois Day where, throughout the day, consumers can ask the experts how they can utilize many readily available practices and products to reduce their home energy bills. People can now also call the Keep Warm Illinois hotline, 1-877-411-WARM, for information about energy conservation, energy assistance or to find a home energy savings workshop near them. The hotline is available Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.


November 16, 2005
National early childhood education organization recognizes Illinois for efforts to expand access to preschool
Pre-K Now report shows Illinois tops Midwest when it comes to investing more in early childhood education
SPRINGFIELD – A report released today by Pre-K Now, a national early childhood education policy organization, praises Illinois for its continued achievements in the area of early childhood education. According to the Pre-K Now report, Illinois’ $30 million increase to early childhood programs in Fiscal Year 2006 is the largest in the Midwest, and fourth largest in the nation.


November 15, 2005
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, November 15, 2005


November 15, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs landmark legislation to provide comprehensive health coverage for every uninsured child in Illinois
“All Kids” plan gives parents of the 253,000 uninsured children in Illinois access to affordable health coverage; Illinois becomes only state in the nation to offer comprehensive health coverage to every child; Parents can now request enrollment information on www.allkidscovered.com
CHICAGO –Surrounded by elementary students and parents, lawmakers, health care providers and children’s advocates at Nathan Hale School in Chicago, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the landmark All Kids plan into law, making Illinois the only state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every child in the state. House Bill 806 won final legislative approval from the General Assembly in late October.


November 14, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces Keep Warm Illinois home energy workshops to be held at community colleges statewide
Illinois residents invited to learn important tips to conserve energy and weatherize their homes this winter
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today urged Illinois residents to participate in the upcoming Keep Warm Illinois workshops scheduled at community colleges across Illinois. With record natural gas prices anticipated for this winter’s heating season, Illinois households will face significantly higher utility bills, with costs up to 70 percent higher than last winter. While every family in Illinois will be affected, higher home heating costs will create a particular hardship for senior citizens and families already struggling to get by. These workshops will educate Illinoisans about do-it-yourself energy-saving strategies to help reduce the cost of this winter’s heating bills through conservation and weatherization techniques.


November 13, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich debuts Open Road Tolling
Irving Park Road Plaza first of eight plazas on Illinois Tollway being converted for non-stop toll collection in 2005; Major step in $5.3 billion Congestion-Relief Plan for easier travel
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today debuted the first conversion of a traditional barrier plaza to Open Road Tolling, which is the cornerstone of his $5.3 billion Congestion-Relief Plan to rebuild the Illinois Tollway and reduce travel times. The Governor and Tollway officials removed the last construction barrels and waved in the first round of vehicles to use the four new, Open Road Tolling lanes that now offer non-stop toll collection for I-PASS users at Irving Park Road Plaza.


November 11, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich commemorates Veterans’ Day at Chicago plaza honoring local Hispanic vet
Governor underscores his commitment to help the state’s veterans collect the federal benefits they have earned
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked Illinoisans to remember and appreciate the service veterans have given to our nation and to the state, and underscored his administration’s commitment to make sure veterans get their fair share of the federal benefits they’re entitled to, as he joined dozens of Hispanic former servicemen and servicewomen on Veterans’ Day in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.


November 10, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces the winners of the 2005 annual Governor’s Home Town awards
SPRINGFIELD – The hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers across Illinois whose efforts have greatly improved the communities in which they live were acknowledged today at the 24th annual Governor’s Home Town Awards in Springfield. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin, who represented the Governor, was joined by a host of other state and local leaders to recognize their outstanding achievements and to present one winner with the celebrated Governor’s Cup award.


November 10, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich named Outstanding Elected Official of the Year by Illinois Campaign for Better Healthcare
Governor honored for success in expanding access to health care through All Kids plan, FamilyCare expansion, No Senior Left Behind, and I-SaveRx
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today addressed leaders, advocates, and healthcare providers, community organizers at the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care Annual Meeting, where he was presented with the 2005 Outstanding Elected Official of the Year Award. This award is presented annually to an elected official who is judged to have done the most to advance the fight for healthcare justice in the past year. The Governor was honored for his landmark All Kids plan that will provide every uninsured child in Illinois with affordable comprehensive health coverage, as well as his commitment to affordable healthcare and prescription drugs for working families, children, and senior citizens.


November 10, 2005
First Lady Patti Blagojevich honors women business leaders in Illinois
First Lady delivers keynote address at Biennial Athena Awards Luncheon
RIVER GROVE – First Lady Patti Blagojevich today joined dozens of local women entrepreneurs to honor successful women business leaders, and emphasized Illinois has a business friendly and equality oriented environment that helps further empower women to develop and run their own businesses. Mrs. Blagojevich, who is the first sitting First Lady in Illinois to own a business, discussed her personal experiences as a working mother and highlighted available state resources to aid businesswomen while delivering the keynote address at the Biennial Athena Awards Luncheon.


November 9, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich eliminates statute of limitations on hit-and-run accidents starting today
Law named after 6-year-old hit-and-run victim Patrick Leahy
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that immediately gives prosecutors the authority they need to go after hit and run drivers. Senate Bill 1943 makes a law eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecuting drivers involved in hit and run accidents effective immediately. The original legislation, House Bill 885 sponsored by Rep. Susana A. Mendoza (D-Chicago) and Sen. Dan Cronin (R-Lombard) and signed by Gov. Blagojevich in August, gave investigators and prosecutors more time to find and bring to justice drivers who leave the scene of an accident. But, that law wasn’t to go into effect until January 1st, 2006.


November 9, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $250,000 IN FUNDING TO EXPAND VITAL SERVICES PROVIDED TO FARMERS REELING FROM THE SUMMER’S TERRIBLE DROUGHT
CHICAGO – In an innovative effort to lend a helping hand to thousands of farmers across Illinois hit hard by last summer’s drought and its devastating effects, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $250,000 grant to the Farm Resource Center, a not-for profit community group, that will allow the organization to provide vital job training, business development and referral services to at least 200 additional farm families in 20 more counties across Illinois.


November 7, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $4 MILLION RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT FUND TO PROMOTE COMMUNITY-SCALE WIND ENERGY PROJECTS ACROSS ILLINOIS
CHICAGO - In another example of his ongoing commitment to promoting homegrown and renewable energy sources, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced the launch of the $4 million Renewable Energy Development (RED) Fund that will support community-scale wind energy projects throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will work with community banks and lenders to provide loans and loan guarantees to qualified farmers and farmer co-operatives who construct wind turbines for use as alternative energy. The program begins immediately with a goal to launch community-scale projects by the end of 2006 that will generate new wind-to-energy market capacity across the state. This aggressive effort to promote the use of wind energy in Illinois is part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.


November 6, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $100,000 GRANT TO FUND STUDY AIMED AT REDUCING ASIAN CARP POPULATION AND SUPPORTING NEW BUSINESS GROWTH IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that $100,000 in Opportunity Returns funding has been provided to conduct a survey designed to find solutions for managing the invasive Asian carp population, a nuisance fish that is highly disruptive to the Illinois River’s ecosystem, by harvesting the fish and processing it into a marketable good. Carp Protein Products, LTD of Havana is conducting the study. Havana is an Illinois River community located close to the Asian carp epicenter and adjacent to critical Illinois research facilities.


November 6, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich urges President Bush to replace basic Illinois Army National Guard equipment necessary to fulfill vital homeland security mission
CHICAGO – In the wake of a recent federal report highlighting that National Guard units’ supplies are well below full strength and the critical role the Illinois Army National Guard is playing at home and overseas, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich called on President Bush to replace essential equipment needed to fulfill a variety of emergency missions.


November 6, 2005
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, November 6, 2005
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, November 6, 2005


November 4, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich to sign legislation creating new Illinois Juvenile Justice Department
New agency to oversee juvenile offenders
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded members of the Illinois General Assembly for passing legislation creating a new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The new department will provide treatment and services including education, vocational, social and emotional services to the state’s youngest offenders.


November 3, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich applauds members of the Illinois House for upholding his veto of dangerous legislation that would undermine local gun laws
Illinois House upholds Governor’s veto of NRA backed bill
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded members of the Illinois House of Representatives for upholding his veto of legislation that would have weakened gun restrictions across the state. The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2104 allows Illinois municipalities to continue regulating their own gun transport laws. Many cities across Illinois, including Chicago, have stricter firearm laws to keep their communities safe by enforcing laws that they deem appropriate. The Governor’s veto, and the House’s action today, keeps those laws in tact.


November 1, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS INVESTMENT PACKAGE TO BRING CABINETRY MANUFACTURING PLANT AND UP TO 250 NEW JOBS TO CARROLL COUNTY
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of more than $630,000 in grants and credits to Medallion Cabinetry, a leader in the semi-custom cabinetry industry for residential remodeling and building, that will allow the Minnesota-based company to open a new manufacturing plant in Lanark within the next several months. The plant, which will produce kitchen and bath cabinetry, parts and accessories, is expected to employ up to 250 people by its third year of operation.


November 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich Makes Winter Heating Grants Available Today; Urges Eligible Households to Apply Early
Households Advised to Take Steps Before Extreme Cold Hits Illinois
CHICAGO – Following the launch of the Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that winter heating grants are now available for all income-eligible households through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Illinoisans meet their winter heating needs. He urged families who may be eligible for LIHEAP to apply early given the anticipated rise in heating bills this winter and to take steps now to conserve energy by weatherizing their homes.


November 1, 2005
Law enforcement agencies, safety advocates urge lawmakers to uphold Governor’s key gun control vetoes
Overriding vetoes would place police and the public safety at risk
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry G. Trent was joined today by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and gun safety advocates seeking to uphold Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s vetoes of Senate Bill 57, Senate Bill 2104 and House Bill 340. Backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), these bills, if enacted, would have mandated the destruction of all gun purchase records, eliminated the waiting-period for gun owners trading in weapons, and overridden laws dealing with transportation of firearms in local communities.

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