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December
2007


December 27, 2007
Illinois and Kentucky amend Ohio River fishing reciprocal agreement
Sport and commercial fishermen advised to review regulations
SPRINGFIELD, IL - An amended agreement has been adopted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources outlining regulations which allow licensed sport and commercial anglers from either state to fish in the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River.


December 24, 2007
Midwest Generation to fund new First Lady’s Wildflowers of Illinois site along I-474 near Peoria
Power producer to provide $30,000 for U.S. Route 24 interchange in Bartonville
PEORIA – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announces a new landscape site for First Lady Patti Blagojevich’s Wildflowers of Illinois program at the I-474 interchange with U.S. Route 24 in Bartonville near Peoria. Chicago-based independent power producer Midwest Generation will provide $30,000 in grant funding for the beautification project at this location.


December 20, 2007
Governor Blagojevich reminds veterans, employers hiring veterans to file for new tax exemptions
New 2007 legislation encourages businesses to hire Veterans and provides returning and disabled Veterans with property tax relief
SPRINGFIELD – As a number of tax deadlines begin rapidly approaching, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded the state’s military heroes and employers who have hired them to file for new tax exemptions. Two new laws went into effect in 2007; one made more Illinois veterans and disabled persons eligible for property tax relief and the other created the Veteran’s Tax Credit - a state income tax credit available to employers for every qualified veteran they hire.


December 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $1 million hunger relief initiative to help thousands of Illinois families in need
New Food for Families program to provide assistance to food banks facing critical shortages this year because of insufficient federal support, rising prices
CHICAGO—Responding to the needs of thousands of families struggling to put food on the table this winter, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Food for Families program, a $1 million hunger relief initiative that will provide 1.5 million pounds of food for an additional 37,500 families in need this fiscal year. Through this initiative, for the first time in Illinois history, state funds will be used to help food banks purchase food and help make up for insufficient federal support. The new program will provide enough food for 3,090 meals per day for Illinois families in need.


December 19, 2007
Governor Blagojevich urges Bush Administration to keep commitment to FutureGen
Landmark clean-coal project will revolutionize nation’s energy production, create thousands of jobs and bring major outside investment to Central Illinois
CHICAGO – One day after the FutureGen Alliance selected Mattoon as the site of the $1.4 billion plant, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman urging him to follow through on the commitment to fund FutureGen -- what will be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world. After the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) raised concerns about the project in media reports late yesterday, Governor Blagojevich requested a meeting with Secretary Bodman to discuss how to move the project forward so East Central Illinois communities can benefit from the economic boost, and so the whole nation and the world can benefit from the landmark clean coal innovations.


December 18, 2007
Governor Blagojevich celebrates decision to locate FutureGen in Mattoon
Landmark clean-coal project will revolutionize nation’s energy production, create thousands of jobs and bring major outside investment to Central Illinois
MATTOON – Joined by members of the FutureGen for Illinois Taskforce, elected officials, and local residents, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today celebrated the FutureGen Industrial Alliance’s decision to build the first of its kind power plant in Mattoon. The Alliance announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. this morning that Illinois will be home to the $1.4 billion FutureGen clean coal project. The announcement follows more than four years of extensive planning and preparation in Illinois.


December 18, 2007
IDOT Gives Motorists a Break for Holiday Weekends; Reminds Drivers to Plan Ahead for Winter Travel
CHICAGO—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Milton R. Sees announced the agency will be giving motorists a break by suspending lane closures where possible over the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday weekends. Secretary Sees also urged drivers to closely monitor weather reports before beginning any long distance car trips, and to check IDOT’s web site – www.gettingaroundillinois.com - for travel directions and the latest information on winter road conditions across the state. Information is also available by phone from a toll-free hotline.


December 17, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces partnership to help residents restore heat during the winter months
Good Samaritan initiative allows affordable reconnections for those without utility service
CHICAGO – As part of his Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the start of the Good Samaritan Initiative for the 2007-2008 winter season. The initiative provides more affordable reconnection terms to Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients who have had their utility services disconnected. Nicor Gas, Peoples Energy and Ameren have agreed to again participate for the fifth straight year.


December 14, 2007
Illinois State Museum Awarded Federal Grant for Oral History of Illinois Agriculture
SPRINGFIELD. The Illinois State Museum (ISM) has received a $564,651 National Leadership Grant (NLG) from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop educational resources on the history of Illinois agriculture. The Illinois State Museum will partner with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) to record oral histories of Illinoisans with agricultural experiences and make them available worldwide on the internet.


December 14, 2007
Outstanding senior advocates recognized at 2007 Governor’s Conference on Aging
Hundreds of industry professionals gathered to learn how to better address the needs of a growing, aging population
CHICAGO – This week the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) hosted the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Aging, highlighting cutting edge developments, innovations and best practices in the aging network from novices to experts. The conference, entitled “Redefining Caregiving”, was the Department’s biggest, most comprehensive training event as well as the largest statewide meeting of professionals who work in aging fields. At the conference today, individuals and groups from around the state who have shown continued dedication and compassion for aging issues were recognized and honored during a special luncheon.


December 13, 2007
State Agriculture Employees Honored For Outstanding Service
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The creator of the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s online hay directory has been awarded the agency’s top individual honor. Jerry Millburg, a Litchfield resident who works for the Market News Service, was presented the Director’s Achievement Award today at the department’s 29th annual Employee Awards Ceremony.


December 13, 2007
State public health director warns of lead in recalled product
“SINDOOR” found to contain extremely high levels of lead
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers not to use a recalled product called “SWAD. SINDOOR. Best Taste in Town,” an orange or red powder used in some traditional Middle Eastern ceremonies that is applied to the face or scalp. Although Sindoor is never supposed to be used in food, some individuals may use it as food coloring. Testing by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has found this product contains 87 percent lead. IDPH has confirmed that two consumers who used this product as an ingredient in home cooked meals to have elevated blood lead levels.


December 13, 2007
Blagojevich Administration announces new program to help stop youth violence
"The Safety Net Works…Not One Life to Lose" will bring state and community resources together to save young lives
CHICAGO - Officials from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's Administration today joined with community leaders and state legislators to launch "The Safety Net Works…Not One Life to Lose", a multi-agency initiative designed to help stop violence and killing in communities across the state. The initiative will bring State and community resources together to help young people avoid violence and become healthy adults.


December 12, 2007
State public health director alerts consumers about Joe Caputo & Sons “Homemade Hot Giardiniera”
Jars of giardiniera recalled
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers about the recall of eight ounce and 16 ounce jars of “Homemade Hot Giardiniera” prepared and sold at Joe Caputo & Sons market. The McHenry County Department of Health is investigating a potential problem in the processing of this product.


December 12, 2007
ISAC Announces Illinois State Scholars
Agency salutes ‘the best and the brightest” of Class of 2008
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today recognized 18,178 high school students from across the state as Illinois State Scholars 2008.


December 12, 2007
2007 sees ninth warmest fall on record for Illinois
Temperatures only slightly below normal in November
SPRINGFIELD- Fall temperatures averaged 57 degrees, 2.9 degrees above normal as Illinois saw the 9th warmest fall since 1895. This was largely the result of warmer September and October temperatures that were 3.6 and 4.9 degrees above normal, respectively.


December 12, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation requiring life-saving equipment at outdoor fitness and sports facilities
HB 1279, known as the R.A.W. Initiative, also requires that defibrillator-trained staff be present during all physical fitness activities
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation requiring outdoor football stadiums, soccer fields, baseball fields and other outdoor facilities to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand to help save lives in the event of a medical emergency. House Bill 1279, sponsored by State Representative Daniel J. Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), adds outdoor physical fitness and sports facilities to the list of facilities currently required to have defibrillators.


December 11, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, December 13 until sunset, Saturday, December 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, Thursday, December 13 until sunset, Saturday, December 15, 2007.


December 10, 2007
Blagojevich Administration Officials launch Governor’s 2nd Annual Conference on Affordable Housing
More than 300 industry professionals to learn how to expand affordable housing options for seniors, working families, homeless individuals and persons with disabilities
CHICAGO – Continuing the Governor’s commitment to expand affordable housing options across the state, officials from the Blagojevich Administration today launched Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s 2nd Annual Conference on Affordable Housing. The two-day event held at McCormick Place in Chicago will allow hundreds of experts, developers, lenders and other professionals learn how to expand affordable housing opportunities for seniors, working families, homeless individuals and persons with disabilities.


December 10, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares Morgan County state disaster area following weekend ice storm
State Emergency Operations Center activated to coordinate state assistance, prepare for additional icy weather
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a state disaster proclamation for Morgan County after a weekend ice storm downed trees and power lines, blocking streets and leaving nearly 10,000 homes without power. The proclamation enables the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate state resources to support local governments in their disaster response and recovery efforts.


December 7, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $16 million financing to support updates and improvements at Holy Cross Hospital
Financing will help hospital to update aging facilities, expand emergency room, and reduce operating costs
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a major financing on behalf of Holy Cross Hospital that will be used to update aging hospital facilities and improve access to healthcare on Chicago’s Southwest side. The project includes $16 million of refunding bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), which will provide significant savings to the hospital to be used for facility and infrastructure improvements. The financing is the latest step in the State’s support for this “safety-net” hospital, a designation given to hospitals that provide a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations.


December 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces nearly $18 million in grants awarded to enhance emergency communications
Grants will help local, state public safety agencies enhance emergency communications capabilities through acquisition and deployment of new equipment
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced 10 grants totaling nearly $18 million that will help fire, police and other first responders in strategic locations throughout Illinois better communicate with other response organizations during emergencies. The grants are part of the $36.4 million Illinois received in July from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to support state interoperable communications projects. The state’s funding also included $16.2 million the federal government allocated for interoperable communications efforts in the Chicago/Cook County urban area.


December 6, 2007
IDNR asks snowmobile operators to ramp up safety efforts as snow falls
DNR Snowmobile safety classes currently being offered
SPRINGFIELD – As the snow begins to fall through out the state this winter, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding snowmobile enthusiasts keep safety in mind before, during and after a ride.


December 6, 2007
Remembering Pearl Harbor
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, Friday, December 7, 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, Friday, December 7, 2007.


December 5, 2007
2007 Illinois Firearm Deer Season harvest totals 116,708
More than 31,000 deer taken during second firearm deer season
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 116,708 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


December 4, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces $70 million financing for new world-class supercomputing facility at Argonne National Laboratory
Theory and Computing Sciences Building expected to house the world’s fastest computers
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a significant investment that will enable the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory to house the world’s most advanced supercomputers. Financed by $70 million in bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), the new Theory and Computing Sciences Building will be located on Argonne’s campus in DuPage County. The new world-class facility will allow Illinois scientists to apply breakthroughs in supercomputing and pursue advances in nanotechnology, climate change, protein modeling and more, solidifying the fastest growing research program in Argonne’s history.


December 4, 2007
Department of Revenue posts delinquent taxpayer names on-line
Posting information generates more than $7.2 million for State
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) today posted the names of 131 businesses and individuals that each owes over $1,000 in taxes on the department website tax.illinois.gov. Leading up to the posting, IDOR sent two rounds of notices to nearly 20,000 delinquent taxpayers which generated more than $7.2 million in payments. In addition to posting the names of the 130 delinquent taxpayers online, IDOR will continue to pursue those on the list until their combined debt of more than $5 million is paid.


December 4, 2007
Department on Aging Director provides seniors with tips to stay safe and warm this winter
Seniors can find more information on how to keep warm by calling Keep Warm Illinois at 1-877-411-WARM or by visiting www.keepwarm.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign, Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson is encouraging seniors to take steps that will keep them safe, healthy and warm during the winter months.


December 4, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Wednesday, December 5 until sunset, Friday, December 7, 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, Wednesday, December 5 until sunset, Friday, December 7, 2007.


December 3, 2007
Illinois EPA Offers Environmentally Friendly Holiday Tips
‘Tis the season to reduce, reuse and recycle
SPRINGFIELD – With the holidays upon us, Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott reminds people throughout Illinois when purchasing gifts to be environmentally conscious, choose sustainable gifts, and recycle whenever possible in order limit the negative impact on the environment and keep tons of potential waste out of Illinois landfills.


December 3, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Special Elections to replace retiring Congressman Dennis Hastert
Primary election on February 5th, 2008; Special General Election on March 8th, 2008
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the date for the Special Primary Election and Special General Election to replace retiring Congressman Dennis Hastert. Rep. Hastert submitted a letter to Governor Blagojevich announcing his resignation on November 26th. The Plano Republican served almost 21 years in the U.S Congress and was the longest serving Republican House Speaker.


December 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich proclaims today “University of Illinois Fighting Illini Day”
Illinois heads to Rose Bowl for first time in 24 years to take on USC Trojans in 2008 Rose Bowl
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation congratulating the University of Illinois Fighting Illini football team on their upcoming trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California where they will take on Pac-10 champions, the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans. This will be Illinois’ fifth-ever Rose Bowl appearance and first since playing UCLA in 1984.

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