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February
2008


February 28, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich, Gov. Blunt announce agreement to construct a new Mississippi River Bridge in Metro East
Illinois and Missouri agree to a $640 million project that will not require tolls and will enhance traffic safety, reduce congestion and spur job creation; A portion of Illinois' funding is contingent on passage of Illinois Works
ST. LOUIS – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri announced an agreement to construct a new four-lane bridge across the Mississippi River from East St. Louis to St. Louis that will improve traffic safety and reduce congestion across the region.


February 27, 2008
Governor Blagojevich joins NIU officials to announce plans for memorial and new classroom building to replace Cole Hall, site of Feb. 14 shootings
Governor and local legislators to push for $40 million in emergency state assistance to help NIU rebuild and heal
DEKALB – To honor the victims and help the student body move forward, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined NIU President John G. Peters, legislators and students today at Northern Illinois University (NIU) to announce new plans for Cole Hall, the scene of the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of five students and injured 17 more. Gov. Blagojevich said that he will introduce emergency funding legislation and work with state Sen. J. Bradley Burzynski (R-Sycamore) and state Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Sycamore) to provide the University with $40 million for the project. Cole Hall will be demolished and replaced with a state-of-the-art classroom building to be named “Memorial Hall”.


February 26, 2008
Governor Blagojevich declares eight northern Illinois counties state disaster areas for heavy snowfalls in early February, seeks federal assistance for local governments
Federal declaration would enable local governments to receive reimbursement for 75 percent of snow removal-related costs
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared eight northern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to a heavy snowfall in early February. He also submitted a request to President Bush to declare those counties snow emergency areas, a move that would enable local governments in those counties to receive reimbursement for a portion of their overtime costs for storm-related snow removal and protective measures. Counties included in the Governor’s request include Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago.


February 25, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces state deploying 22 mass decontamination vehicles to increase disaster preparedness throughout Illinois
Vehicles will ensure rapid response to hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction incidents
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the State of Illinois is deploying 22 mass decontamination vehicles to communities throughout the state to ensure rapid response to hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction incidents. The specially-outfitted decontamination trucks will allow local fire departments to provide quick mass decontamination of victims at the scene of a hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction incident.


February 25, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff until sunset, Wednesday, February 27, 2008.
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 until sunset, Wednesday, February 27, 2008.


February 24, 2008
Governor Blagojevich honors victims at NIU memorial service
DEKALB - As students and faculty prepare to return to classes tomorrow, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined NIU President John G. Peters, NIU Board of Trustees Chair Cherilyn Murer, DeKalb Mayor Frank Van Buer, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and U.S. Senator Barack Obama at a memorial service on NIU's campus tonight to honor the victims of last week's tragic shooting.


February 21, 2008
Governor Blagojevich appeals federal decision not to provide assistance for flood victims in Iroquois, Livingston
Nearly 120 additional homes in two-county area found to have suffered major damage from January
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to reconsider the federal government’s denial of federal disaster assistance for people and businesses in Iroquois and Livingston counties affected by severe flooding in January. The Governor had requested a federal disaster declaration for the two-county area on Jan. 18 to give flood victims access to federal grants and low-interest loans to help with home repairs and other flood-related losses. On Feb. 7, the federal government informed the state that the request had been denied.


February 21, 2008
Business and Labor leaders voice support for Gov. Blagojevich's plan to boost Illinois' economy
"Strengthen Illinois" stimulus package provides tax credits for working parents, tax cuts for businesses, and statewide infrastructure and job-creation plan
CHICAGO -- Chicago area business and labor leaders today stood with Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to voice their support for his Strengthen Illinois economic package and the immediate benefits it would bring for both businesses and workers facing a slowing national economy. As part of his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal, the Governor yesterday announced a comprehensive stimulus package that offers relief for families and businesses, invests in the state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and puts people to work.


February 20, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich proposes Fiscal Year 2009 budget focused on boosting Illinois' economy and helping working families
In face of national economic slowdown, Governor seeks immediate stimulus package to help business, protect jobs and put more money in Illinois families' pockets
Continues progress toward long-term goals of expanding access to affordable healthcare and quality education SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today delivered his fiscal year 2009 Budget Address, which focused on boosting Illinois’ economy through a comprehensive stimulus package that offers relief for families and businesses, invests in the state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and puts people to work.


February 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich directs flags to be flown at half staff to honor victims of NIU tragedy
Governor to visit NIU campus to meet with University officials, state and local responders
DEKALB – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today ordered all state facilities to lower the U.S. and Illinois state flags to half staff in memory of the victims of yesterday’s tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University (NIU). In wake of the tragedy, the Governor will travel to NIU’s campus today to meet with University officials and emergency responders.


February 15, 2008
Honoring Victims of the Tragedy at Northern Illinois University
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff until Sunset, Saturday, February 23, 2008.
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 until Sunset, Saturday, February 23, 2008.


February 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich visits NIU campus to meet with University officials, state and local responders
Governor commends NIU community for support and immediate emergency response; pledges to provide continued state resources
DEKALB – In the wake of yesterday’s tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University (NIU), Governor Rod R. Blagojevich traveled today to NIU’s campus to meet with University officials, as well as state and local authorities who responded to the scene of the tragedy. While meeting with NIU officials and emergency responders, the Governor expressed his gratitude for their hard work and quick response time in reacting to the scene. The Governor told NIU officials that the state is committed to providing the campus and community with any additional and continued support that is needed to repair the community.


February 14, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces new Homeowner’s Assistance Initiative, nation’s most comprehensive statewide program to prevent foreclosures
Illinois mortgage lenders agree to provide $200 million pool to refinance sub-prime loans with fixed rate mortgages
Statewide counseling network launched, homeowners at risk of foreclosure can call 1-888-995-HOPE to get connected to local counseling services CHICAGO–Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Homeowner’s Assistance Initiative, the most comprehensive statewide plan in the nation designed to provide immediate assistance to Illinois homebuyers at risk of losing their homes in the face of the nation’s sub-prime mortgage crisis. The package helps Illinois homeowners in several ways:


February 14, 2008
Honoring Adeline Geo-Karis, Former State Senator
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Friday, February 15 until sunset, Saturday, February 16, 2008.
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, Friday, February 15 until sunset, Saturday, February 16, 2008.


February 14, 2008
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich activates SEOC to coordinate state support in response to NIU shooting; State Police Tactical Response team sent to assist
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich this afternoon activated the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) to coordinate the State’s assistance in responding to today’s shooting at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. The Illinois State Police Northern Tactical Response Team is on location at the university to aid local law enforcement.


February 14, 2008
Governor Blagojevich declares state of emergency following NIU shootings
IEMA personnel dispatched to DeKalb to provide state assistance to university and local law enforcement teams
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of today’s shootings at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. The declaration will open the Governor’s disaster relief fund for local units of government to reimburse them for their extraordinary expenses related to the response in NIU DeKalb, and will facilitate the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) in providing assistance to local units of government in responding to and recovering from this event.


February 12, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces grants to local governments for historic preservation projects
Funds will help communities that place a priority on local history
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Aurora, Belleville, Carbondale, Chicago, Glen Ellyn, Glenview, Ottawa, Quincy, Rock Island, Rockford, Urbana and Will County have been selected to receive Certified Local Government grants from federal funds made available through the state for local historic preservation projects.


February 12, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces more than $100,000 in child support collected in first three months of Department of Natural Resources partnership
New point-of-sale technology for hunting and fishing licenses identifies those parents required to pay child support; will be enforced for the 2008 license year
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Division of Child Support Enforcement collected $109,000 during the first three months of a new partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The funds were collected from Sept. to Dec. 2007 from 171 individuals. This innovative collaboration utilizes IDNR’s new point of sale hunting/fishing license technology to identify deadbeat parents who apply for hunting or fishing licenses. Parents interested in applying for licenses for the 2008 season are encouraged to review and meet any child support obligations they may have before the new IDNR license year begins April 1.


February 11, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Appoints William A. Brandt, Jr., as Chair of the Illinois Finance Authority
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the appointment of William (Bill) A. Brandt, Jr., as Chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority. Mr. Brandt’s appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Illinois Senate. Mr. Brandt will serve in a term that runs through January 1, 2010.


February 11, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich launches nation's first Lottery ticket to benefit HIV/AIDS prevention and education
Top political figures and HIV/AIDS survivors unveil the Quality of Life Illinois Lottery game
CHICAGO – Continuing his ongoing support for HIV/AIDS prevention and education, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the launch of the nation’s first instant Lottery ticket in the nation where 100 percent of net proceeds will support the fight against HIV/AIDS. Deputy Governor Louanner Peters joined Illinois Lottery Acting Superintendent Jodie Winnett, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold, legislative sponsors and HIV/AIDS advocates to unveil a new "Quality of Life" Illinois Lottery game called Red Ribbon Cash. Proceeds generated from the game will fund grants to public and private entities with HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Illinois.


February 10, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich honors state's military heroes; declares February 10-16 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois
Encourages all Illinois residents to visit hospitalized veterans and learn about volunteer opportunities
CHICAGO – In conjunction with the 30th 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 10-16, 2008 as National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in Illinois. The Governor encourages Illinoisans to visit local hospitalized veterans this week to say thank you for the sacrifices they made for our country. The Governor also urges Illinoisans to learn about volunteer opportunities at medical facilities around the state.


February 8, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich awards $1.5 million in Ticket for the Cure grants for breast cancer research
Research aimed at advancing detection, prevention, screening and treatment techniques for breast cancer
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded Ticket for the Cure grants totaling $1.5 million to researchers at five Illinois universities. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold made the announcement at the University of Chicago, which is receiving a total of $425,000 to four researchers to find new methods to detect, prevent, screen and treat breast cancer.


February 8, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Saturday, February 9 until sunset, Monday, February 11, 2008.
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, Saturday, February 9 until sunset, Monday, February 11, 2008.


February 8, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Monday, February 11 until sunset, Wednesday, February 13, 2008.
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, Monday, February 11 until sunset, Wednesday, February 13, 2008.


February 7, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Monday, February 11 until sunset, Wednesday, February 13, 2008.
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, Monday, February 11 until sunset, Wednesday, February 13, 2008.


February 7, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces more than 50,000 seniors pre-register for free mass transit
Seniors aged 65 and older will be able to ride mass transit for free beginning March 17
Call 1-800-252-8966 or 1-800-447-4278 or go online to www.illinois.gov/transit to pre-register CHICAGO – Governor Blagojevich today announced that more than 50,000 seniors across Illinois have pre-registered to receive free public transportation since he first launched the toll-free hotline and website two weeks ago. The Governor again encouraged those 65 and older that haven’t done so to pre-register by going online to www.illinois.gov/transit, or by calling 1-800-252-8966 or 1-800-447-4278. The Governor also reminded seniors living in the Chicagoland area to sign up today for the current reduced fare program by calling 836-7000 from any area code so they can promptly receive free transit services on the first day the program is available.


February 7, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich reports state coordinating with local emergency officials as floodwaters rise once again in eastern Illinois
IEMA sends personnel to Watseka as community faces second flood in less than a month
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that state emergency management officials are working closely with officials in parts of eastern Illinois where recent heavy snowfall and rain are causing rivers and streams to begin to overflow their banks.


February 6, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges Congress to advance landmark clean-coal project after two-day meeting with FutureGen Alliance Board
Sends letter to Chair of House Energy and Commerce Committee ahead of tomorrow’s hearing with USDOE Sec. Bodman Alliance Board concludes two-day board meeting in Mattoon; vows to continue moving project forward
CHICAGO – As Blagojevich Administration officials wrap up a two-day meeting with members of the FutureGen Alliance Board of Directors regarding plans to advance the landmark FutureGen clean-coal project, Governor Blagojevich sent a letter to Congressman John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, urging him to stand by the FutureGen project and proceed with the original plans to bring FutureGen to Illinois. The Committee is scheduled to hear testimony tomorrow from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman on the Department’s 2009 budget proposal. Last week Bodman announced his intention to try to dismantle the $1.5 billion FutureGen clean coal project.


February 6, 2008
IDOT and Illinois State Police battle snow storm; Motorists urged to drive with extreme caution
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are responding in full force to the latest round of severe winter weather. Heavy snow blanketed Illinois - including more than five inches of snow falling in Chicago and more than 12 inches in Springfield – making for treacherous driving conditions. Governor Blagojevich, IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees and ISP Director Larry Trent urge drivers to delay travel plans when possible but if they must drive to use extreme caution and allow for plenty of extra time.


February 6, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges seniors and disabled persons to sign-up for Illinois Cares Rx and Circuit Breaker online now to avoid break in coverage
Apply online at www.cbrx.il.gov for faster processing or call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-252-8966 or Circuit Breaker at 1-800-624-2459 for more information
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today is urging older adults and people with disabilities to apply for Illinois Cares Rx and Circuit Breaker benefits over the Internet now to get their benefits faster and to avoid any possible break in coverage next year. The Governor is encouraging individuals to use the online application at www.cbrx.il.gov because it is the fastest way to get approved for the state’s prescription drug assistance program, Circuit Breaker property tax grants and $54.00 license plate discount.


February 4, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces State's first court victory for equal pay
Illinois Department of Labor's Equal Pay Act enforcement efforts lead to court's decision resulting in more than $12,000 for female employee Governor championed passage of Equal Pay Act to ensure women and men paid equal wages for equal work
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois has won its first Equal Pay Act case in court resulting in thousands of dollars in owed wages for a female employee. The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) found that Main Street Liquors located at 2000 W. Madison Street in Chicago violated the Act by paying a male clerk a higher wage for performing the same work as a female clerk formerly employed at the store. On Jan. 17, 2007, a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the State and ordered the employer to pay $4,061 in backwages and $8,122 in penalties to the employee, making this the State’s first equal pay case won in court since the law went into effect in 2004.


February 1, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges women to make heart health a priority and lower their risk of heart disease
The number one killer of women – heart disease took the lives of more than 14,300 Illinois women in 2005
SPRINGFIELD – In honor of National Wear Red Day today, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich urged women today to take control of their health and lower their risk of heart disease – the number one killer of American women. In fact, one in every four women dies of heart disease. The latest statistics show that more than 14,300 women in Illinois died from heart disease in 2005. National Wear Red Day is a day when women and men across the country wear red to show their support for this life-saving women’s heart disease awareness campaign. To help increase awareness in Illinois of women’s heart disease, Gov. Blagojevich proclaimed February “Women’s Healthy Heart Month.”

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