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March
2008


March 31, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces statewide town hall meetings to address underage drinking
Department of Human Services to organize events to raise awareness, mobilize communities and initiate plans to address teen drinking
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. today announced the commencement of a second series of community forums on teen alcohol use in more than 50 Illinois communities. The forums will be held through April 4.


March 31, 2008
First Lady Patricia Blagojevich launches Child Abuse Prevention Month in Illinois
Working together the key to strengthening families and protecting children
CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today applauded the collaboration of state and community-based initiatives as the key to supporting families and preventing child abuse, as Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Illinois. In partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, over 100 events throughout April will call attention to effective prevention efforts in communities across the state.


March 31, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces record profits for the Illinois film industry in 2007
Since the Governor's signing of the Film Tax Credit in 2003, Illinois' film industry has rebounded sevenfold to an all-time record of $155 million last year
CHICAGO – Highlighting the success of the Illinois film industry since the enactment of the Film Tax Credit in 2003, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the film industry has reached an all-time record of nearly $155 million in 2007. This represents the single best year in the state's history - and an 80 percent increase over 2006. In 2000, Illinois began suffering a mass exodus of the film industry as other states began enacting film incentives. By 2003, the Illinois film industry had fallen to an all-time low of $23 million. In response, Gov. Blagojevich enacted the Illinois Film Tax Credit. Since its passage, the film industry has rebounded dramatically.


March 31, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich promotes state health programs for minorities in observance of National Minority Health Awareness Month
Governor fights against health disparities cited in recent national survey
SPRINGFIELD – In advance of the April observance of Minority Health Awareness Month, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded people to take advantage of several successful state programs which help minorities take better care of themselves and their families.


March 28, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges public to join State of Illinois in observing Earth Hour from 8 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 29
Governor joins climate change initiative, encourages all Illinoisans to join effort and turn off lights for one hour
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the State of Illinois will participate in Earth Hour from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Earth Hour is a public awareness event created by World Wildlife Fund that encourages businesses and residents to join in turning off the lights for one hour on March 29th, 2008, to demonstrate that “individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better.” More than 30 cities on six continents around the world are participating in Earth Hour. Chicago was chosen as the flagship Earth Hour city in the United States, and we will be joined by Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco, as well as Copenhagen, Toronto, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bangkok, Dubai, Dublin, Christchurch and Tel Aviv globally.


March 28, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces partnership with Center for Economic Progress to help seniors, veterans get their federal economic stimulus payments
Provides up to $240 million to help jump start the Illinois economy
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a partnership with the Center for Economic Progress to assist Illinois seniors and veterans, who often are not required to file federal returns, file income tax forms to receive their federal economic stimulus payments. Seniors and veterans are seldom required to file tax returns because income from social security and veterans benefits is not taxable.


March 28, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich recognizes women advocates with PATH Awards in honor of Women's History Month
State officials present awards to several women for their outstanding contributions and efforts to help members of Illinois' communities
CHICAGO – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and in commemoration of Women’s History Month, administration officials today honored several women with the Governor’s “People Are Today’s Heroes” (PATH) Awards in recognition of their tireless efforts to help people in their community. Deputy Governor Sheila Nix presented the awards during an event held at James R. Thompson Center, Chicago.


March 28, 2008
Bidders can buy cars, trucks and vans from the State of Illinois from the comfort of their own homes
The State of Illinois auctions off nearly 100 vehicles online this weekend
Springfield – Bidders from all over the country can log-on this weekend to find a bargain vehicle from the State of Illinois.


March 27, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces expansion of Illinois’ Homeowner Assistance Initiative to help more families access affordable refinancing, avoid foreclosure
Governor pushes new legislation to give homeowners grace period to negotiate with lenders before being sent to foreclosure
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an expansion of the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Initiative, the nation’s most comprehensive state approach to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. Surrounded by partners from the lending and counseling communities and homeowners who have benefited from the state’s initiative, the Governor announced that four more lenders have joined the Homeowner Assistance Pool, bringing the total amount of refinancing funds available to $310 million. The Governor also announced that he is working with state Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) to introduce legislation that will make sure borrowers are notified when they’re at risk of losing their homes, and given a grace period of up to 60 days to work with counselors on payment or refinancing options before a lender can move to foreclosure.


March 24, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces record low in Illinois for new tuberculosis cases
State follows national trend, but health officials urge vigilance as drug resistant cases increase nationwide
SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of World Tuberculosis Day, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced today a record low for the number of new tuberculosis cases in Illinois. Governor Blagojevich is joining in the World Tuberculosis Day global campaign, “I Am Stopping TB” and issued a proclamation declaring March 24, 2008 as World TB Day in Illinois to raise awareness that the fight against tuberculosis is not over.


March 21, 2008
GOV BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ILLINOIS' THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR FOR RECORD EXPORT GROWTH
Illinois' $48.73 billion in exports in 2007 is a nearly 16% increase over 2006
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois achieved record export growth for the third consecutive year. Illinois exports totaled more than $48.73 billion worth of goods and services in 2007, an increase of 15.79 percent from 2006, according to data released from WISER, the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, who compiles its information from the US Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division. This record growth maintains Illinois’ place as the fifth largest exporting state in the nation, up from seventh in 2005.


March 20, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich and State of Illinois employees will participate in Earth Hour on March 29th
Governor joins climate change initiative, encourages all Illinoisans to pledge to turn off lights for one hour from 8 to 9 pm
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the State of Illinois will participate in Earth Hour, a climate change awareness event created by World Wildlife Fund where businesses and residents will turn off the lights in their buildings for one hour on March 29th, 2008 to symbolize the need to take action on this global issue. More than 30 cities on six continents around the world are participating in Earth Hour. Chicago was chosen as the flagship Earth Hour city in the United States, and we will be joined by Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco, as well as Copenhagen, Toronto, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bangkok, Dubai, Dublin, Christchurch and Tel Aviv globally.


March 20, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces electronic filing up almost 15% from last tax season
Illinois Department of Revenue forecasts that for the first time more than half of individual filers will E-File
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that this tax season almost 15% percent more taxpayers have chosen to file their state income taxes electronically than this time last year. The Illinois Department of Revenue projects that for the first time ever, more filers will chose to file electronically than file by paper. In addition to making the filing process faster and more convenient for taxpayers, the E-filing option provides a significant cost savings to the state. Since the beginning of the 2008 tax season, electronic filers have saved the state $2.4 million in paper processing costs and postage.


March 20, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich issues state disaster declaration for 19 southern Illinois counties hit by flooding
State disaster declaration will help area get state assets and personnel for response and recovery efforts
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared nineteen southern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to widespread flooding that has covered roadways, closed numerous businesses, forced people to evacuate their homes and caused two deaths. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities recover from flood and storm-related damage. Counties included in the Governor’s declaration are: Alexander, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, White and Williamson.


March 20, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich meets with Illinois Works Coalition
Illinois Works Coalition launches statewide listening tour to build support for capital program
Illinois Works plan to build and rebuild roads, bridges, schools and other critical infrastructure and will support more than 700,000 jobs statewide SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with members of the Illinois Works Coalition, co-chaired by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, at the Executive Mansion in Springfield following the launch of the coalition’s statewide listening tour. The Illinois Works Coalition is hosting informal discussions around the state to draw expertise from business, labor and local leaders in an effort to pass Illinois Works - Governor Blagojevich's $25 billion capital program to build or rebuild critical infrastructure that would support 700,000 jobs statewide.


March 19, 2008
SIU President Glenn Poshard kick-offs statewide listening tour in Decatur to support Gov. Blagojevich's Illinois Works capital program
DECATUR- Co-Chair of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Illinois Works Coalition and President of Southern Illinois University Glenn Poshard kicked-off a statewide listening tour tonight in Decatur where he heard from area families, business owners and labor leaders about how a comprehensive capital bill will benefit their community. Poshard led the discussion about Illinois Works, Governor Blagojevich's $25 billion capital program to build or rebuild critical infrastructure that would support 700,000 jobs and spur the economy in communities across the state.


March 19, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois leads nation in providing early childhood education through Preschool for All
National report applauds Illinois effort to provide 3-and 4-year-olds with access to high quality education Illinois State Board of Education accepting applications from preschool providers for 2008-2009 school year
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois is being recognized as a national leader for being the first state committed to serving all three-year olds with quality preschool, according to a report published by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) of Rutgers University. Unlike other states, Illinois continues to demonstrate its commitment to providing high-quality preschool through Gov. Blagojevich’s Preschool for All program by expanding to serve more children.


March 19, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims March Nutrition Month, recognizes organizations dedicated to improving the health of Illinoisans
Department of Human Services and the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council honor sixteen organizations statewide that promote nutrition and healthy living in their communities
SPRINGFIELD - Stressing the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, fighting obesity and improving food security for Illinois families, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has declared March Nutrition Month in Illinois. The Governor joins the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council (INC) to recognize community programs and partnerships that have demonstrated a commitment to their communities by implementing programs geared towards leading a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.


March 18, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces 2008 State Fair theme: “A Family Tradition”
Theme and contest inspired by 1950s “Burma Shave” campaign
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick today announced the theme for the 2008 Illinois State Fair will be “A Family Tradition” and feature a contest inspired by the well-known 1950s advertising campaign for Burma Shave. A brand of brushless shaving cream, Burma Shave was made famous by their catchy rhymes on small highway billboards across the U.S. As part of the 2008 State Fair, the Governor and Bliefnick are launching a contest modeled after Burma Shave’s advertising campaign encouraging children statewide to submit five-line rhymes that reflect the theme. Winners will be featured on State Fair promotional materials and signs.


March 18, 2008
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, SIU President Glenn Poshard launch listening tour in support of Gov. Blagojevich’s Illinois Works plan
“Illinois Works” statewide listening tour begins tomorrow in Decatur Illinois Works plan to build and rebuild roads, bridges, schools and other critical infrastructure and will support more than 700,000 jobs statewide
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, co-chairs of the newly-formed Illinois Works Coalition, will launch a statewide listening tour tomorrow in Decatur. Former Speaker Hastert and President Poshard will join families, businesses and labor leaders to discuss how the Governor’s Illinois Works plan, a $25 billion capital program to build or rebuild critical infrastructure, would support hundreds of thousands of jobs and spur the economy in communities across the state. The listening tour will begin on Wednesday, March 19 in Decatur.


March 12, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces Illinois Environmental Protect Agency to strengthen drinking water protections
Illinois EPA to assess presence of pharmaceuticals in water supplies and to promote disposal alternatives
CHICAGO – Following reports that found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in the nation's drinking water, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is expanding its current monitoring of water quality to include sampling to determine levels of pharmaceuticals that may be in Illinois waterways. The Illinois EPA also will promote additional alternatives to dispose of over-the-counter, prescription drugs and personal care products to ultimately reduce the amount of unregulated chemicals in drinking water systems.


March 10, 2008
Blagojevich administration announces 1.5 million pounds of food delivered for 37,500 families in Illinois
Governor proposes additional $5 million for Food for Families in FY09 to help families offset rising food costs
CHICAGO —Blagojevich officials today announced that truckloads of food are being delivered to Illinois food banks and pantries through the Food for Families program. Throughout the month of March, nearly 1.5 millions pounds of food will be delivered to the Illinois Food Bank Association (IFBA) to feed 37,500 families in need. Last December, responding to the needs of thousands of families struggling to put food on the table, Gov. Blagojevich announced the Food for Families program, a $1 million hunger relief initiative. Through this initiative state funds were used to help food banks purchase food and help make up for limited federal support, for the first time in Illinois history. The new program will provide enough food for 3,090 meals per day for Illinois families in need.


March 9, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces traffic safety partnership with NASCAR as 2008 Sprint Cup season picks up speed
Joint traffic safety outreach program to include two high-profile national campaigns; will be promoted at Chicagoland Speedway this summer
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a unique, first of its kind, traffic safety partnership between NASCAR and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Through this partnership, IDOT will promote safe driving at the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, this July. IDOT will team with Chicagoland Speedway and NASCAR to establish a pilot program that will promote the Buckle Up America campaign and the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk campaign, as part of the annual weekend of racing.


March 7, 2008
Blagojevich Administration submits layout plan to FAA for South Suburban Airport
Submission is major step forward for third major airport that will serve as an economic engine for Chicago's Southland region
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's administration today submitted an updated airport layout plan for the South Suburban Airport in Will County to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


March 7, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces Iroquois, Livingston counties approved for federal disaster assistance for people and businesses affected by January flooding
People in approved counties can apply for grants and loans; low-interest loans available for businesses
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the federal government approved his recent appeal seeking federal assistance for people and businesses in Iroquois and Livingston counties affected by severe flooding in January. The federal disaster declaration will enable affected people in the area to apply for grants and loans to help with flood-related losses, while businesses will be eligible to apply for low-interest loans.


March 6, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces $8.3 million for communities to create Safe Routes to School
Program is designed to encourage walking and biking; promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle for children in grades K-8
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $8.3 million for 112 projects across the state as part of a new federally funded program designed to make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school. The funding will be used for engineering improvements as well as enforcement, encouragement, evaluation and education efforts.


March 5, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich taps former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and SIU Pres. Glenn Poshard to lead coalition aimed at passing capital plan in Illinois
"Illinois Works Coalition" to focus on urging legislators to pass statewide infrastructure plan, providing statewide infrastructure and job-creation
CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named two of the state’s most influential leaders, former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert and Southern Illinois University (SIU) President and former U.S. Congressman Glenn Poshard, as co-chairs of the newly created Illinois Works Coalition. The new bipartisan working group will draw expertise from business, labor and local leaders across the state and will focus on helping pass a statewide infrastructure plan in Illinois. Last month in his annual budget address, Gov. Blagojevich proposed Illinois Works, a $25 billion capital plan, as the central piece of a statewide stimulus package aimed at boosting Illinois’ economy in the face of a slowing national economy.


March 5, 2008
Governor Blagojevich congratulates New Lenox teacher and PATH Award recipient on selection as Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s inaugural Above & Beyond Citizen Honors finalist
Governor nominated former PATH Award winner for honor
NEW LENOX – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today congratulated Ms. Patricia M. Donahue, a fourth grade teacher from New Lenox, as Illinois’ finalist for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s inaugural Above & Beyond Citizens Honors for her selfless act of donating her kidney to a student who might not have otherwise received a viable donor. Gov. Blagojevich nominated Ms. Donahue after he awarded her with his “People Are Today’s Heroes” (PATH) Award in 2007.


March 4, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges Veterans to get screened for Traumatic Brain Injury during Brain Injury Awareness Month
Illinois Warriors Assistance Program includes Traumatic Brain Injury screening and 24-hour toll-free helpline at 1-866-554-IWAP (4927) for Veterans suffering from symptoms associated with PTSD
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed March Brain Injury Awareness Month in Illinois to increase public awareness and understanding of brain injuries and to urge the state’s Veterans to get screened for a possible traumatic brain injury (TBI) through the new Illinois Warrior Assistance Program.


March 3, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces cystic fibrosis screening begins today for all Illinois newborns
State now tests for 37 disorders
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that today is the first day all newborns across Illinois will be screening for cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that affects mainly the lungs and digestive system, causing progressive disability. Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, hosted a tour of the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory in Chicago to highlight the start of the state’s screening.


March 3, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges Department of Energy to reconsider FutureGen restructuring
Alternative would be more costly and delay critical solutions on global climate change
CHICAGO – As the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) prepares to close the comment period on its proposal to restructure the FutureGen project, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is urging the department to stand by the original FutureGen project and proceed with plans to bring FutureGen to Mattoon, Illinois.

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