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February
2007


February 28, 2007
Deer hunters donate 72,000 pounds of venison to food banks, charities during 2006-07 Deer Season
Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program helps provide meals for thousands of people
SPRINGFIELD – Deer hunters in Illinois donated more than 72,000 pounds of venison to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) Program during the 2006-07 deer season, providing more than 280,000 meals to needy people in the state.


February 28, 2007
State Fire Marshal’s Office strives to ensure safety of elevators, other conveyances in Illinois
OSFM enforces law to ensure elevators, escalators and other conveyance devices are installed and operated safely
Springfield – In an effort to make elevators, escalators and other conveyance devices in Illinois safer, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is working to ensure that people who inspect, install and perform maintenance on such devices are properly trained and have the necessary skills. About 30 people are killed and approximately 17,000 others are injured each year in the United States in incidents involving elevators and escalators.


February 27, 2007
Nursing Home Violations For The Month Of September
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced the following type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act were cited during the month of September. An “A” violation, which is the most serious licensure violation imposed by the state, pertains to a condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result.


February 26, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, March 2, 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, March 2, 2007.


February 26, 2007
Illinois Products Expo To Feature Homemade Foods and Wine From Illinois Companies
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Eighteen new exhibitors will be among the more than 70 Illinois food companies that give away samples of their products during the ninth annual Illinois Products Expo, Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke announced today.


February 23, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, February 27, 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 Tuesday, February 27, 2007.


February 22, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces state’s acquisition of Franklin Life complex in Springfield
$2.8 million investment package to help leading life insurance company construct new facility and retain 400 Illinois jobs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state has reached a landmark agreement with American General Life Insurance Co. (AIG American General), a member company of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), to acquire its current office buildings and to retain the company’s operations and at least 400 jobs in Springfield. In the coming months, AIG will invest $25 million as it constructs a new facility that will serve as a life insurance processing and service center.


February 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois preparedness team receives national honors
State’s Strategic National Stockpile team to demonstrate coordinated statewide effort lauded as national model
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the Illinois Strategic National Stockpile team will speak tomorrow at the Local, State and Federal Public Health Preparedness Summit in Washington, D.C. Illinois’ SNS team, selected from more than 300 submissions from public health officials nationwide, will provide insight on the state’s coordinated preparedness efforts in a presentation entitled, The Amazing SNS Race: Collaboration Between State Agencies to Get to the Finish. Illinois was selected to highlight its efforts because the state has achieved the highest ranking the past three years for its plan to use local health departments to dispense medications and supplies.


February 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich applauds East West Gateway vote in favor of building new lanes across Mississippi River without imposing tolls
Illinois Governor reaches out to his Missouri counterpart And says two sides should meet and resolve differences
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded a vote by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments in favor of the Martin Luther King Bridge coupler plan that will provide four additional lanes of traffic across the Mississippi River.


February 20, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois a national leader in child support collections through passport denial
Passport denial collections in Illinois jump by 43% in 2006; increased collections allowing children to get the financial support that they are entitled to
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois’ Division of Child Support Enforcement is one of the nation’s leaders in child support collected through the federal Passport Denial program. In 2006, Illinois was one of only six states to collect over $1 million through passport denial, netting $1.14 million for Illinois children. In addition, passport denial collections in Illinois jumped by 43% in 2006, surpassing the national increase of 33%. The State of Illinois’ child support collection reached a record breaking high of $1.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2006.


February 19, 2007
Dick Kay joins Governor’s Administration to assist with healthcare access campaign
Respected newscaster leaves retirement to join the fight to guarantee access to healthcare for every person in Illinois
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Dick Kay, retired TV newscaster from NBC 5 Chicago, will be working with his administration to advocate for increased access to healthcare for all Illinoisans. This spring Governor Blagojevich will announce a plan to guarantee the estimated 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois have access to affordable health insurance.


February 18, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces sharp increase in passengers on state-sponsored Amtrak trains
Ridership on Chicago-St. Louis line up 95 % in first three months; Illinois doubled rail support while Pres. Bush proposes to slash funding
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that ridership surged by 69 percent on state supported Amtrak routes during the first three months of new expanded service between Chicago and St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy.


February 15, 2007
Illinois taxpayers may once again contribute to diabetes research through the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund
Fund received more than $100,000 in 2005
Springfield – Illinoisans can help fund research for diabetes through contributions on their 2006 Illinois income tax returns. This is the second year for the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund, signed into law by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in 2005. The fund is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), which makes grants to public or private entities in Illinois for research.


February 15, 2007
IDNR encourages students to participate in 2007 Junior Duck Stamp contest
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program celebrates 15 years of conservation through the arts
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Students in grades kindergarten through 12 can learn about waterfowl, wetlands and conservation, and put their art skills to use while participating in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (JDS). The goal of the Junior Duck Stamp Program is to teach environmental science through the arts. Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood today encouraged Illinois students to participate in the 2007 program, currently in its 15th year.


February 15, 2007
Five Illinois cases of Salmonella possibly related to multi-state peanut butter contamination
All five cases match the national outbreak pattern
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, warns consumers not to eat Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter with product code beginning with numbers “2111” purchased since May 2006. This warning comes after a multi-state outbreak of S. ser. Tennessee, a specific strain of Salmonella that may be associated with the consumption of certain brands of peanut butter.


February 15, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich continues efforts to teach kids and teens about Internet safety; nearly 1,500 students, teachers, and parents trained to stay safe online
Training part of Governor’s aggressive plan to fight Internet crime
MORTON – As part of his ongoing efforts to fight Internet crime and protect children from online predators, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that nearly 1,500 students, teachers and parents have received NetSmartz training – workshops that combine the newest technologies and the most current research in high-impact educational activities to teach kids and teens how to stay safe online. The workshops began in October and will continue throughout the year in schools and community organizations around the state. Today, Illinois State Police officers trained students at Morton Junior High School in Central Illinois.


February 15, 2007
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich announces February selections for Children’s Reading Club: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today announced the February book selections for her Children’s Reading Club – Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. The Children’s Reading Club, a recommended reading list made up of books the First Lady and her daughters Amy and Annie enjoy at home, encourages parents to read with their children and engage in early development of reading skills.


February 13, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich urges Department of Labor to keep Family and Medical Leave Act Strong
Special interests are lobbying the Department of Labor to weaken the law – Governor Blagojevich speaks up for workers’ rights
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged the U.S. Department of Labor not to weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as the agency revisits facets of the law this month. In a letter to Senior Regulatory Officer Richard M. Brennan at the Department of Labor, Governor Blagojevich advocated for the people who have medical issues or family situations that require they take unpaid leave from work.


February 13, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich sets goal to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois
Climate Change Advisory Group meets to address the serious and urgent issue of global climate change
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The GHG goals are part of a long-term strategy by the state to combat global climate change and builds on steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the environment and public health.


February 12, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares February 12-18 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois
Encourages Illinoisans to visit hospitalized veterans and learn about volunteer opportunities
SPRINGFIELD – In conjunction with the 29th annual observance of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring February 12-18, 2007 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois. The Governor encouraged Illinoisans to visit local hospitalized veterans this week to say thank you for the sacrifices they made for our country. The Governor also urged Illinoisans to learn about volunteer opportunities at medical facilities around the state.


February 10, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
“On this historic day, I am pleased to join many Illinoisans who are excited and proud to support Senator Obama in his bid for the Presidency. I know that Senator Obama will fight to make sure that working families have access to health care, good paying jobs, and opportunities to provide for their children. Senator Obama supports the very best of these Democratic values; they are values that he and I share, values I know he will fight for.


February 9, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, February 12, 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, February 12, 2007.


February 9, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces grant for additional monitoring of avian influenza
Illinois enters into intergovernmental agreement with USDA to conduct surveillance of game bird and poultry farms
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the state would begin surveillance for avian influenza among Illinois wild game bird and poultry breeders. Through an intergovernmental agreement with the USDA, the state has been awarded $165,000 in funding to work with game bird and poultry producers to provide free testing for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in captive-reared game birds and poultry.


February 8, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces new Abraham Lincoln exhibit on display this weekend; Encourages visitors to sample city’s attractions on the weekend before Lincoln’s Birthday
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the opening of a new temporary Abraham Lincoln exhibit and encouraged the community and visitors to Springfield to view the display and visit the capital city’s numerous historic attractions during this weekend before Lincoln’s birthday.


February 7, 2007
State human service agency saves more than $1 million annually by reducing dependence on paper forms
Electronic forms also improve staff efficiency and services to IDHS customers
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is saving at least $100,000 a month in printing costs through the use of electronic “E-forms.” E-forms are electronic versions of forms enabling IDHS to drastically reduce the amount of paper it uses while at the same time cutting costs for storage and shipping.


February 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich unveils new Internet Crimes Unit Web site dedicated to combating online crime
Builds on efforts to crack down on criminals and sexual predators, key component of the Governor’s comprehensive plan to fight Internet crime
CHICAGO – As part of his aggressive plan to fight Internet crime and protect families and communities from sexual predators, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the new Illinois State Police (ISP) Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) Web site, www.isp.state.il.us/icu. The Web site will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for answers to questions or concerns regarding Internet safety or crime. The new site also provides law enforcement the tools and resources needed to fight Internet crime. While the Internet has many useful applications, it has also affords new opportunities for criminals and sexual predators.


February 6, 2007
Illinois Arts Council Announces Strategic Directions 2007-2012
Goal to build public will for the important role and value of the arts and creativity in building vital, prosperous, livable communities.
Chicago – The Illinois Art Council (IAC) will work over the next five years to educate a growing number of people in the state about the value of the arts and the role art and creativity can play to strengthen communities and contribute to the education of thousands of Illinois children, according to IAC’s Strategic Directions submitted to Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the General Assembly.


February 6, 2007
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in response to President Bush’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget
CHICAGO – “The proposed federal budget unveiled today by President Bush would seriously hamper the efforts of Illinois and other states across the country as we try to help working and middle class families get ahead. At a time when Illinois is making great progress in expanding access to healthcare, making our communities safer and investing more in our public schools, President Bush is proposing a budget that cuts funding for these critical areas so that he can provide permanent tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and invest more in the escalating war in Iraq.


February 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces more high school students succeeding on college-level AP Exams
State sees dramatic increase in participation among at-risk student population
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that more Illinois high school students than ever are succeeding on college-level Advanced Placement Program® (AP) Exams according to the College Board’s third annual Advanced Placement Report to the Nation. The Advanced Placement Program® is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. Participating students gain college-level skills and in many cases earn college credit while they are still in high school.


February 6, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces statewide effort to teach drivers proper use of child safety seats
ISP steps up child passenger patrols, IDOT sponsors 33 safety seat checkpoints across the state to educate parents on proper safety seat use
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) are teaming up to increase compliance with child safety seat laws and teach motorists about the proper use of child safety seats during the nationwide Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from February 11-17.


February 6, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich calls on universities and students to join the fight against HIV/AIDS
February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration will again join forces with students at the University of Illinois at Springfield, as part of his BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) Project, during the university’s event tomorrow in observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. February 7 is recognized each year as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to increase awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among African Americans. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will attend the event and encourage students to become BASUAH ambassadors.


February 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich calls on U.S. Congress to release additional funds for energy assistance and block proposed federal cuts to LIHEAP funding
Governor reminds Illinoisans to take advantage of statewide warming centers and to apply for energy assistance; For energy assistance and weatherization tips visit www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call toll-free 1-877-411-WARM
CHICAGO – As freezing temperatures continue throughout the Midwest, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on the United States Congress to release $1 billion in additional funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to match the level of funding allocated last year and to block President Bush’s proposed cuts to LIHEAP funding. The Governor also urged Illinoisans to apply for energy assistance if they have not already, and to take advantage of warming centers in 122 state buildings around the state. For information on finding a warming center, energy assistance or weatherization tips, families can visit the Keep Warm Illinois website at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call the toll-free Keep Warm Illinois hotline at 1-877-411-WARM.


February 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces 2007 application for Illinois Cares Rx now available online
Applications filed over the Internet are processed faster; To find out more about Illinois Cares Rx, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that older adults and the disabled can now apply and file the 2007 Illinois Cares Rx application over the Internet. The Governor is encouraging seniors to use the online application because it is the fastest way to get approved for state prescription drug assistance. Illinois Cares Rx provides wrap-around prescription drug coverage to fill in the gaps created by Medicare Part D. Seniors with questions about Illinois Cares Rx can call Governor Blagojevich’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or visit www.illinoisbenefits.org.


February 5, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich declares February 5-11 as Chicago Bears Week in tribute to their remarkable season
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring the week of February 5th as Chicago Bears Week in recognition of their spectacular season. The Governor also commemorated Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith on his remarkable achievement as the first African-American NFL head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.


February 2, 2007
Blagojevich Administration officials announce 51 new officers join State Police frontline with Cadet Class 113 graduation
Graduation brings the number of Troopers to join the ranks of the ISP to 319 under Gov. Blagojevich’s administration
SPRINGFIELD – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry G. Trent today announced the graduation of Cadet Class 113. The 51 new Troopers join 268 other officers who have graduated from the Illinois State Police Academy under Gov. Blagojevich’s administration.


February 2, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich on new Global Warming report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
SPRINGFIELD - “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations has just reconfirmed what we already know – that global warming is upon us. The global community is acknowledging the problem and here in Illinois, despite inaction by President Bush, we have begun to address it.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich joins Gov. Schwarzenegger, top BP executives to celebrate launch of $500 million biosciences energy research partnership with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, UC-Berkeley
First of its kind Energy Biosciences Institute will help transform the global energy economy; builds on Gov. Blagojevich’s bold Energy Independence Plan
Berkeley, CA – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and top executives from BP at the University of California, Berkeley to celebrate a new, innovative partnership through which BP will be investing $500 million over the next ten years to establish an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), the first of its kind facility in the world, to expand the energy supply and reduce the impact of energy use on the environment.


February 1, 2007
Illinois Gov. Blagojevich and California Gov. Schwarzenegger come together to discuss top issue facing states across the country: access to affordable healthcare
Both states are national leaders in expanding access to healthcare
Berkley, CA – Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California to discuss an issue at the top of priority lists for leaders across the country: expanding access to affordable healthcare. Both governors have taken innovative steps to move their states forward in this critical area while progress at the federal level has been minimal in recent years. The two leaders were together at the University of California, Berkley to announce an unprecedented partnership with BP that will create the first of its kind Energy Bioscience Institute to be housed on the campuses of UC-Berkley and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois receives an ‘A’ in the fight against childhood obesity
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today Illinois received the highest grade possible in a University of Baltimore Obesity Report Card for the state’s efforts to control and lower childhood obesity rates. Illinois received the high mark as a result of the Governor’s efforts to ban junk food in elementary and middle schools in the state. Illinois has also passed legislation for the collection of information relating to obesity including Body Mass Index (BMI) for their students. Illinois one of only six states to receive the high grade.


February 1, 2007
Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement Following Private Meeting Regarding Health Care with Illinois Gov. Blagojevich
Gov. Blagojevich met with Gov. Schwarzenegger in California to discuss solutions to the need for immediate health care reform.

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