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January
2007


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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