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December
2011


December 30, 2011
Safe and sober holidays and beyond
Parental involvement is key to reducing underage drinking
CHICAGO – The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) and more than fifty organizations and elected officials across the state are launching a campaign designed to encourage Illinois parents to help reduce the incidence of underage and binge drinking. Since this type of drinking often increases during the holiday season, the campaign is launching just before New Year’s Eve. The ILCC parental responsibility campaign will bring all of Illinois together to stop this unhealthy and unwanted behavior which often ends in a tragedy, such as a fatal car accident, drug addiction, and violent behavior.


December 30, 2011
IDNR Reminds Snowmobile Operators to practice safety this Winter
Additional opportunities to take safety courses in 2012
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding snowmobile operators and riders to take extra caution this year when the snow begins to fall in Illinois. Every year throughout the state, people are seriously injured or lose their lives on snowmobiles. Many of these accidents could have been prevented had proper precautions been taken and common sense been used. In most instances, being alert, knowing the trail, and traveling at a reasonable rate of speed for trail conditions can prevent most accidents. In North America, more than 50 percent of snowmobile fatalities involve intoxicated operators. Last season (2010-2011) in Illinois, 47 reported snowmobile accidents resulted in 1 fatality.


December 29, 2011
New Law to Help Renters Learn More About Radon Levels in Their Homes
Radon is Second-Leading Cause of Lung Cancer
SPRINGFIELD – A new law set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will help people who rent apartments, condominiums or houses access information about radon levels in their homes. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) radon program is offering guidance to help renters better understand radon hazards and their rights under this new law.


December 23, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Nearly $43 Million in Race to the Top Competition
Federal Funding Award to Advance K-12 Reforms, Improve Student Achievement and Boost Science Technology Engineering, Math (STEM) Learning Across Illinois
CHICAGO – December 23, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced Illinois earned a $42.8 million federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTTT) program to help bolster Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education across the state and other work to close the achievement gap. Half of those funds– about $21 million –will go directly to the state’s local districts that agree to accelerate education reform. Illinois is one of seven states in the nation to be awarded a portion of the $200 million in federal funds, which will be distributed through the 2013-14 school year to benefit K-12 students.


December 22, 2011
Statement From Governor Quinn on Federal Agreement To Extend Unemployment Benefits
CHICAGO – December 22, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement praising a deal reached by Congress to extend unemployment benefits.


December 22, 2011
Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Fatalities On the Decline in Illinois
IDOT Partners With Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Boost Safety, Crack Down on Impaired Drivers over Holiday Weekend
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today released crash data showing a continual reduction in the number of alcohol-impaired motor vehicle fatalities in Illinois from 2006 through 2010. The measure of alcohol impairment involves at least one driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, or beyond the legal blood-alcohol limit in Illinois. IDOT and law enforcement agencies statewide are partnering this holiday season to boost safety and continue the fight against impaired driving.


December 21, 2011
IDOT Details Lane Closures in Construction Zones for Holiday Weekends
Road Work Will Be Suspended to Ease Holiday Weekend Congestion, Improve Traffic Flow and Safety
SPRINGFIELD - With thousands of motorists expected to travel on state roadways over the Christmas and New Year holiday weekends, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that road work will be suspended where possible for the weekends to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. IDOT also provided advance notice of lane closures for the holiday weekend to aid motorists’ travel plans and improve safety.


December 21, 2011
Statement From Governor Quinn on New Federal Rule to Limit Mercury Emissions
CHICAGO – December 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement praising a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) rule that will dramatically decrease the amount of harmful mercury released into the air:


December 21, 2011
Giving the Gift of Safe Beauty
For Safety: Day Spas and Salons should be licensed
Chicago – As a last minute holiday present, a gift certificate for a day at the spa is an easy purchase and often warmly welcomed. Spa treatments have become a significant part of prepping for holiday parties or tropical vacations, and are an increasingly popular gift for loved ones and family members. But before clicking the ‘buy’ button on the spa’s website, it’s important to check whether the salon or spa is licensed by the State of Illinois.


December 21, 2011
Dept on Aging Offers Tips to Help Seniors Prepare For Winter
Seniors Urged to Get Flu Shots & Get Homes Ready; More Tips at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD - To mark the first official day of winter, Illinois Department on Aging Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., reminded older adults and their families to get ready for the cold weather. Some to do items include things to protect their homes and their health like having the furnace checked and getting a flu shot.


December 20, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces More Than $17 Million Capital Funding for College of Lake County
New Science Classroom Building for Grayslake Campus Will Create More Than 120 Construction Jobs, Prepare Students for 21st Century Careers
GRAYSLAKE – December 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced more than $17 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding for construction of a new science building and renovation of existing science facilities at the College of Lake County’s Grayslake campus. The project will create more than 160 construction jobs and allow CLC campus facilities to keep pace with recent enrollment growth.


December 20, 2011
Statement From Governor Quinn on Settlement to Benefit Elders and Illinoisans With Disabilities
CHICAGO – December 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement regarding the settlement of the last of the Olmstead class action lawsuits.


December 19, 2011
Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Improve Quality of Life for Illinois Veterans
New Laws Improve Access to Jobs, Health Insurance
CHICAGO – December 19, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will improve the quality of life for Illinois’ Veterans. Senate Bill 1587, sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), and Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee), make it easier for Veterans to gain access to employment and health care.


December 19, 2011
State Selects Five Supportive Living Facilities To Serve Adults in Illinois with Physical Disabilities
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) today announced the approval of five Supportive Living Facilities (SLFs) across the state to serve persons aged 22-64 with physical disabilities. These five SLFs will add nearly 450 additional apartments to serve this population.


December 19, 2011
IDOT Employees Contribute Nearly 1,200 Pounds of Food and Supplies to Troops Serving Overseas
Christmas Cards and Personal Letters Also Go to Service Members to Show Support
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) workers donated nearly 1,200 pounds of food and supplies to be sent to military personnel serving overseas through the holidays. IDOT staff participated in a collection drive for the Operation Support Our Troops - America organization, which also resulted in more than 170 Christmas cards and personal letters going to armed services members.


December 18, 2011
Governor Quinn Reminds Everyone to Honor Our Servicemembers This Holiday Season
Encourages Support for Operation Hero Miles; Making Annual Trip to Deliver Holiday Cards to Servicemembers Overseas
CHICAGO – December 18, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined United Airlines to encourage people throughout Illinois to support Operation Hero Miles, a program that benefits servicemembers who were injured overseas. Through the program, people can donate their frequent flyer miles and provide military families with a chance to visit their loved ones recovering in military hospitals around the world.


December 16, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Public-Private Initiative to Grow Independent Housing for Persons with Disabilities
State Investment Spurs Private Investment in Innovative Housing Program, Returns Vacant Properties to Productive Use
CHICAGO – December 16, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the commitment of $15 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital program funds to launch a housing program to help people with disabilities live independently. Joined by partners and advocates, Governor Quinn laid out plans for the first phase of the new public-private Home First Illinois initiative. In this first phase, accessibility features will be added to 18 condominium units in Chicago, creating new independent living opportunities for Illinoisans with disabilities and returning vacant housing to productive use.


December 16, 2011
Quinn Administration Announces $20 Million Capital Funding for Fermilab Accelerator
New Research Facility will Support Innovation and Create 200 High-tech Illinois Jobs
BATAVIA – December 16, 2011. Officials from the administration of Governor Pat Quinn today announced $20 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding for the design and construction of a new accelerator research facility at Fermilab. Ground was broken today on the new facility, which will be part of Fermilab’s Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) complex. The complex will be a state-of-the-art facility for research, development and industrialization of particle accelerator technology, creating 200 high-tech jobs.


December 15, 2011
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to honor Jack Amberg as its ‘Veteran of the Month’
Year-end event to host previous 2011 VOTM honorees
CHICAGO –The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) on Friday (December 16th) will honor Jack Amberg, a Naperville resident and U.S. Army veteran, as its December 2011 “Veteran of the Month” during a ceremony at 1 p.m. (CST) at the Pritzker Military Library, 104 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago.


December 15, 2011
Lt. Governor Simon supports campaign finance reform
CHICAGO – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon submitted testimony to the Governor's Campaign Finance Reform Task Force during a public hearing today in Chicago.


December 15, 2011
Governor Quinn, Secretary LaHood and Mayor Emanuel Highlight TIGER Grants
$44 Million in Federal Funding Will Support Three Illinois Projects
CHICAGO – December 15, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to highlight more than $44 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funding Illinois has received for projects in the Chicagoland area and Alton. The grants represent approximately 8 percent of total funding available through the program.


December 15, 2011
Nearly 60,000 Illinois Residents Already Registered for “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut”
Second Annual Multi-State Earthquake Drill Set for Feb. 7
SPRINGFIELD – On Dec. 16, 1811, a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone rocked the Central U.S. and was felt as far away as the East Coast. Two hundred years later, people throughout the Midwest are taking steps to prepare for a possible major earthquake in the region. Nearly 60,000 Illinois residents have already registered to participate in “The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut,” an earthquake drill designed to raise awareness of the earthquake risk in the area. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today encouraged schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others to register to participate in the second annual drill, which will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2012. Registration can be completed online at www.shakeout.org/centralus.


December 15, 2011
Illinois receives $1.6 million grant from Jobs for the Future’s Accelerating Opportunity Initiative
“This is great news for Illinois,” says Illinois Community College Board Chair Alexi Giannoulias
Springfield – Helping adults in Illinois earn the credentials and skills they need to get and succeed in family-sustaining jobs are keys to fueling the economy and boosting employment. Jobs for the Future (JFF) has announced that the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) has been awarded a $1.6 million grant to support efforts to ensure more workers have the skills they need through innovative adult education that provides a valuable credential. The three-year grants are part of Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative, supported by a strategic partnership of five of the nation’s leading philanthropies.


December 14, 2011
Illinois Department of Insurance Uncovers Company Selling Fraudulent Health Insurance
Department Offers Advice on How to Avoid Scam Insurance Plans
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Insurance is alerting consumers that an unauthorized insurer operating under the name ReAssurance Health, Inc., ReAssurance Health Insurance, or ReAssurance Health Insurance Group (“ReAssurance”) has sold numerous fraudulent health insurance policies to consumers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Consumers who have a policy issued by ReAssurance should immediately seek legitimate health insurance coverage.


December 14, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces New Home Financing Package for Illinois Veterans and Military Families
Welcome Home Heroes Offers Up to $10,000 Plus Federal Tax Credit to Help Servicemembers and Veterans Purchase Their Own Home
CHICAGO – December 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to promote homeownership for Illinois Veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members. The financing package is available statewide, and provides a forgivable grant up to $10,000 toward the purchase of a new home, as well as an additional mortgage tax credit up to $20,000 over the life of the loan. Welcome Home Heroes will make homeownership even more affordable for thousands of military families and create more than 400 jobs throughout Illinois.


December 13, 2011
Illinois Emergency Management Agency, State Fire Marshal Offer Holiday Gift Ideas
Preparedness, safety gifts for everyone on your shopping list
SPRINGFIELD – If you’re still searching for the perfect holiday gifts for friends and loved ones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) today offered ideas for presents that could save lives during emergencies. Gifts such as NOAA Weather Alert radios, flashlights and first-aid kits can help friends and family prepare for disasters, while smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers will make their homes safer.


December 13, 2011
Statement on Passage of Economic Growth and Tax Reform Package
CHICAGO – December 13, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding today’s passage of the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Package:


December 12, 2011
12 Days Of Christmas Contest Begins December 14th
Department of Agriculture encourages the public to “buy local” this holiday season
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to increase awareness about Illinois food products and businesses this holiday season, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will hold its first ever 12 Days of Christmas Contest from Dec. 14 - 25. A winner will be selected randomly each day from the Department of Agriculture’s Facebook and Twitter fans. Winners will receive an Illinois product and an assortment of cooking supplies donated by the American Egg Board.


December 12, 2011
Liquor Control Commission November Underage Compliance Report
SPRINGFIELD – In November the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) conducted compliance checks around the state and visited 106 businesses licensed to sell liquor. They cited licensees for 34 violations of liquor control laws. Sixty-eight percent of the licensees visited complied with Illinois liquor laws and refused to serve underage customers. This report is a result of ongoing undercover and cooperative law enforcement operations conducted by Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) agents and local law enforcement officials and volunteers from high schools and colleges. The teams randomly visit liquor stores, restaurants and bars in communities around the state to check for ongoing compliance with state laws mandating that no liquor is sold to minors under the age of 21. ILCC agents also work with local and state law enforcement agents to focus on communities with a high incidence of underage liquor sales.


December 12, 2011
IDVA to host ‘Helping Our Hometown Heroes’ veterans benefits fair December 15th in Joliet
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is hosting a free Helping Our Hometown Heroes benefits fair for veterans this Thursday, December 15th at the Illinois Army National Guard Armory, 2900 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet, Ill. The fair will bring federal, state and local agencies and organizations together in one location.


December 12, 2011
Statement From Governor Quinn on Economic Growth and Tax Reform Package
SPRINGFIELD – December 12, 2011. Governor Quinn today issued a statement in support of an economic growth and tax reform package currently before the General Assembly.


December 12, 2011
Agreement in Place for Construction of Chicago-Moline Passenger Rail Route, Creating 2,000 Jobs
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today announced that a cooperative agreement has been finalized with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and host railroads to begin construction of the Chicago-Moline passenger rail corridor. The project is expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs.


December 12, 2011
Quinn, Durbin, Costello, Emanuel, Hoechst Announce Illinois to Receive $44 Million Transportation Investment
Federal TIGER Grant Program Funding Will Support Three Illinois Projects
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 12, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL), Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Tom Hoechst of Alton today announced that Illinois will receive a total of $44,288,000 in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funding for three Illinois projects in the Chicagoland area and Alton. The grants represent approximately 8 percent of total funding available through the program.


December 9, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Millennium Reserve Initiative in Calumet Region of Chicago
Largest Project of Its Kind Will Provide 140,000 Acres of Green Space for Illinois Families
CHICAGO – December 9, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by federal, state and local officials today to announce a major partnership and conservation initiative that will significantly increase natural green space in Chicago. The Millennium Reserve is the largest open space project in the country, which will enhance public recreation opportunities in 140,000 acres of land in the Calumet region. Today, Governor Quinn announced the start of the Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core phase, which involves restoration of 15,000 acres of open space.


December 9, 2011
Lt. Governor Simon records holiday greeting for troops
Encourages Illinoisans to send message of thanks to service members
CHICAGO – Standing below the historic Chicago Theater marquee with members of the Illinois National Guard, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today recorded a holiday message to thank military members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the globe for protecting our freedom and keeping us safe.


December 9, 2011
State Wraps up 30th Annual Governor’s Conference on Aging
Dept on Aging Hosted Conference & Awarded Advocates Who Serve Older Adults
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) today hosted the final activities for the Governor’s Conference on Aging. The three day event was December 7, 8, and 9, in downtown Chicago. This year marked the 30th annual conference which is considered the largest statewide meeting and comprehensive training for people who work in the network of serving older adults.


December 8, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces U.S. Surgeon General and National Prevention Council Meeting in Illinois
Meeting of Council to Promote Health, Prevention and Wellness Nationwide
CHICAGO – December 8, 2011. The State of Illinois today welcomed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin and other members of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council) to Illinois. Members met in Chicago today for the first regional meeting of the National Prevention Strategy.


December 8, 2011
State Officials Urge Residents To Be Aware Of Potential Dangers From Holiday Lights And Other Decorations
Holiday Season: A Time of Joy Free of Fire Tragedies
SPRINGFIELD – As we enter the holiday season, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal urges residents to pay special attention to Christmas decorations to avoid any potential dangers. Christmas tree lights, old extension cords, and fresh cut trees without proper care could lead to fires and serious injuries.


December 7, 2011
Lt. Governor Simon statement on Blagojevich sentencing
CHICAGO – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today said the sentencing of former Governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges will not kill the state’s pay-to-play culture unless it prompts serious ethics reform.


December 6, 2011
Honoring Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise until Sunset, Wednesday, December 7, 2011.
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Quinn's Office that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff from Sunrise until Sunset, Wednesday, December 7, 2011.


December 6, 2011
IDVA to host ‘Helping Our Hometown Heroes’ veterans benefits fair December 8th in Pontiac
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is hosting a free Helping Our Hometown Heroes benefits fair for veterans this Thursday, December 8th at the Pontiac Town Hall, 115 West Howard St. in Pontiac, Ill. The fair will bring federal, state and local agencies and organizations together in one location.


December 6, 2011
Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
CHICAGO – December 6, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today granted 75 and denied 131 clemency petitions. This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration.


December 5, 2011
2012 Illinois State Fair Mega Pass Makes Great Gift This Holiday Season
Discounted Mega Pass available for $50 through Dec. 21
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – If you are searching for the perfect gift for your favorite thrill-seeker this holiday season, look no further. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering the 2012 Illinois State Fair Mega Pass at a reduced rate of $50, a $15 savings, through Wednesday, Dec. 21.


December 3, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Efforts to Boost Development of West Suburban Cook County
$4.3 Million in Federal Funding to Revitalize Communities Throughout West Cook
OAK PARK – December 3, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced nearly $4.3 million in federal funding to increase affordable housing and stabilize communities in three west suburban Cook County communities. Awarded through the “IKE” Disaster Recovery Program, the funding will be used to rehabilitate homes in Bellwood, Maywood and Forest Park for low-and-moderate income families. Communities throughout west Cook County faced severe flood and storm impacts in 2008. The three communities receiving funding are working to stabilize their communities after several years of economic downturn.


December 2, 2011
State Reminding Residents of Medicare Open-Enrollment Period Ending Dec 7
Senior Health Insurance (SHIP) Counselors Available to Assist Seniors, People with Disabilities with Prescription Drug and Medicare Advantage Options, Enrollment Process
SPRINGFIELD– The Illinois Department of Insurance is reminding seniors, people with disabilities and caregivers that the open-enrollment period to review and change Medicare insurance benefits will end on Wednesday, December 7th. The Department’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) volunteers are available to provide free information about health insurance benefits available through Medicare and guide eligible residents toward obtaining coverage that best meets the individual’s needs.


December 2, 2011
Governor Quinn Receives Seasonal Flu Shot
Encourages Everyone in Illinois to Prepare for Upcoming Flu Season
CHICAGO – Dec. 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Walgreens to encourage Illinoisans to get a seasonal flu shot. Governor Quinn also highlighted Walgreens’ recent announcement that it is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to offer more than $10 million worth of free flu shot vouchers to Americans without health insurance and those unable to afford one.


December 1, 2011
Governor Quinn Launches Annual Holiday Card Drive for Wounded Troops
Encourages People of Illinois to Support Our Veterans and Servicemembers at Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
CHICAGO – December 1, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by local schoolchildren to light the state of Illinois’ annual holiday tree and launch the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive. Governor Quinn encouraged schoolchildren from across the state to take part in the annual drive by making holiday cards for servicemembers at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany. Governor Quinn will personally deliver the cards during a visit to troops at LRMC later this year.


December 1, 2011
Governor Quinn Commemorates World AIDS Day
Encourages Commitment to Prevention, Education, Access to Healthcare
CHICAGO – December 1, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn commemorated World AIDS Day today by urging Illinois residents to support raising awareness, and providing access to education and quality healthcare in the global effort to stop the spread of HIV infection.


December 1, 2011
IEMA Kicks Off Holiday Season with Home Safety Tips
IEMA’s 2011 Preparedness Campaign Focuses on Fire Safety, Radon Testing, Home Preparedness and Other Home Safety Topics
SPRINGFIELD – The holiday decorations are up, furnaces are warming homes and people are spending more time indoors as outdoor temperatures plummet. With those things in mind, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) 2011 Preparedness Campaign in December will focus on home safety and steps people can take to ensure their families are safe this winter and throughout the New Year.

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