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March
2011


March 31, 2011
Governor Quinn Highlights Illinois’ Economic Development, Job Creation Efforts
Reaffirms Commitment to Doubling Exports in Address to President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Workforce Readiness
MOKENA – March 31, 2011. Governor Quinn today reaffirmed his commitment to doubling Illinois’ exports by 2015 during an address to the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Workforce Readiness. The Governor also highlighted his ongoing work to invest in Illinois’ workforce and improve our infrastructure.


March 31, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Capital Funding For Expansion of Southwestern Illinois College
Capital Investment will Allow Green Expansion on Belleville Campus
BELLEVILLE – March 31, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) to announce a $19.1 million investment that will help improve energy efficiency at the school’s Belleville campus. The Illinois Jobs Now! capital investment will fund construction of an environmentally-friendly, 72,000 square-foot expansion of the Liberal Arts Building. The project is expected to create an estimated 175 construction jobs.


March 31, 2011
Governor Quinn proclaims April as Alcohol Awareness Month
Liquor Control Commission to Kick Off Statewide Educational Activities
CHICAGO – March 31, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed April as Alcohol Awareness month in Illinois as state, county, and city officials gathered with liquor licensees, teenagers, hospitality industry executives, and prevention professionals to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking.


March 31, 2011
Illinois Student Assistance Commission Announces Money Smart Week Events
College Smart Fair Highlights Statewide Schedule of ISAC Money Smart Week Presentations April 2-9
CHICAGO — The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will participate in 7 events throughout Illinois as part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Smart Week, April 2-9, which provides free financial classes to consumers throughout Chicago and the state. The week is highlighted by the day-long ISAC College Smart Fair April 6, presented by ATG Credit, LLC. “Now more than ever, it’s important to be ‘money smart’ when it comes to saving for and paying for college,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “Money Smart Week is an excellent opportunity to provide free and valuable information to students and families throughout the state.”


March 31, 2011
Teens Create Videos to Promote Radon Awareness
Public can view, vote for favorite of 10 finalists in contest sponsored by IEMA and American Lung Association in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Ten short videos created by Illinois high school students are competing for the top prize in a radon awareness video contest sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL). The winning video in the 2011 Illinois High School Radon Video Contest will be determined by on-line public voting that will be open through midnight on April 5. The 10 finalists were selected from nearly 100 videos submitted for consideration. A panel of judges from the sponsoring organizations evaluated the entries for accuracy, creativity and effectiveness in encouraging people to test their homes for radon, a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer. The score was combined with on-line voting by the public to determine the finalists.


March 30, 2011
IDOT and Motorcycle Advocates Launch First “Gear Up” Campaign
Partnership Promotes Ongoing Training, Proper Gear Use
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA), A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) and other motorcycle advocates joined forces to kick off a statewide campaign called “Gear Up,” designed to promote continuing rider training and proper gear use. The campaign is highlighting and encouraging motorcyclists to prepare for the upcoming riding season through free training courses and educational materials available to improve motorcycle safety on Illinois roadways.


March 30, 2011
IEMA Detects Radioactive Material from Japanese Reactor in Air, Grass Samples
Minute levels pose no risk to Illinois residents
SPRINGFIELD – Minute levels of radioactive materials believed to be related to the troubled Fukushima nuclear power reactors in Japan have been detected by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). Radioactive iodine was found in grass clippings collected in Will County and in an air sample collected at IEMA’s radiochemistry lab in Springfield. “These findings are not surprising since traces of iodine have been identified in at least 15 other states,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “These levels are very low and present no hazard to people in Illinois. We will continue to track the deposition of radiation in Illinois to ensure there is no impact on public health and safety.”


March 29, 2011
IDOC “Moms and Babies” Celebrates 4th Anniversary
Zero Percent Recidivism in A Program That Strengthens Family and Enhances Successful Reentry to the Community
DECATUR, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Corrections will celebrate the fourth year of its successful “Moms and Babies” Program on March 30th, 2011 at the Decatur Correctional Center. This program allows offenders to keep their babies after giving birth during their incarceration and no offender who has been part of this program has returned to prison on new charges since the program’s inception.


March 29, 2011
IDOA Urges Precautions To Prevent Anhydrous Ammonia Accidents
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is advising farmers to make sure they review safety and handling procedures before applying anhydrous ammonia fertilizer to their fields this spring. Accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia increased to 50 last year. That figure is twice the annual average for the previous five years, according to the department, which is responsible for investigating such incidents.


March 28, 2011
2.8 Million Taxpayers Have Already E-Filed With Three Weeks Left in Tax Season
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Revenue announced that electronic filing of individual tax returns is up more than 12 percent over last year, with 2.8 million tax returns filed on-line so far this year. Electronic filing and requesting direct deposit of refund payments reduces processing costs, provides better service for taxpayers and ensures quicker processing of refund payments. The department is projecting that over 4 million taxpayers, or around 70% will file their IL-1040 electronically in 2011. Last year, about 62% of taxpayers filed their returns electronically.


March 26, 2011
Governor Announces Agreement to Strengthen Trade with Canadian Province of Manitoba
Agreement will Further Illinois’ Leadership in Global Marketplace
CHICAGO – March 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn and Manitoba, Canada Premier Greg Selinger today signed a memorandum of understanding to boost trade and commerce opportunities between the two governments.


March 26, 2011
Illinois Department of Insurance Reminds Consumers to Review Flood Insurance Policies
Department Urging Homeowners and Renters to Ensure Appropriate Coverage Before a Flood Hits
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Insurance is reminding homeowners and renters to prepare in advance for the possibility of floods by reviewing policy coverage and determining whether flood insurance is needed. “The spring season often brings warmer weather, including heavy rains and possible flooding,” said Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. “As flood insurance coverage is not included in a standard homeowner or renter policy and is usually not effective for 30 days, our Department is encouraging consumers to determine the limits and benefits of an insurance policy well before damage may occur.”


March 25, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Key Appointments
Hiram Grau to Lead State Police; Joe Costigan to Lead Department of Labor
CHICAGO - March 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced several top appointments to his executive cabinet. Today’s actions are the latest in a series of appointments Governor Quinn will make as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, economic development and increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government.


March 25, 2011
Governor Quinn Encourages Participation in Earth Hour 2011
State of Illinois Buildings to Go Dark to Support International Effort
CHICAGO - March 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today called on homes and businesses throughout Illinois to participate in Earth Hour 2011, an international effort to encourage responsible energy practices by turning off non-essential lights for one hour during the last weekend of March.


March 22, 2011
2011 Illinois Governor's Conference Showcases State Tourism Industry's Evolution Through Innovation
CHICAGO – More than 400 of the tourism industry’s leading professionals attended the 2011 Illinois Governor’s Conference of Tourism, March 16-18 at the Donald E. Stephen Convention Center in Rosemont. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism (DCEO/IOT) and the Illinois Council of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (ICCVB) together used this year’s theme of “Evolution Through Innovation” as a banner for demonstrating how the thriving tourism industry continues to be a key economic driver for the state.


March 22, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Major Agreement to Advance High-Speed Rail in Illinois
Commitment Will Create More Than 6,000 Jobs, Begin Next Phase of Construction on Chicago-St. Louis Corridor
CHICAGO – March 22, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $685 million agreement to begin construction on the next phase of high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis. The federally funded project will create an estimated 6,200 direct and indirect jobs and move Illinois one step closer to faster trains and improved service along its signature high-speed route. Governor Quinn was joined at today’s announcement by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, railroad workers and suppliers, Union Pacific Railroad officials, and federal, state, and local leaders.


March 21, 2011
Governor Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council Holds First Meeting
Council Begins Work on Increasing Innovation and Economic Growth
CHICAGO – March 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced that his Illinois Innovation Council held its first meeting today. The council, which is chaired by Groupon Co-Founder Brad Keywell, will help ensure the state remains on the cutting-edge in the global economy. The focus of the initial meeting, which was held at Groupon’s Chicago headquarters, was areas where Illinois is a hub for innovation and accelerating sectors where our state is a demonstrated or emerging leader, including clean energy, biotech and life sciences, and information technology.


March 21, 2011
State and Non-profit Agencies Join Forces to Promote Senior Driving Safety
Partnership Encourages Participation in Refresher Courses; Proclamation Designates Senior Driving Awareness Weeks
CHICAGO –The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office (SOS), Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) and AARP have joined forces to promote traffic safety and encourage interested seniors to take advantage of the Rules of the Road refresher courses offered by the Illinois Secretary of State and other classes or services made available by AARP and the Illinois Department on Aging. A state proclamation has declared March 21-31, 2011 as Senior Driving Awareness Weeks. The safety effort serves a growing population of Illinois seniors as more than 1.2 million drivers, or more than 14 percent of the state’s 8,767,459 licensed drivers, are 65 or older.


March 18, 2011
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Honors Chatham Woman as March 2011 Veteran of the Month
Air Force Veteran Rosemary Connolly recognized during Women’s History Month
SPRINGFIELD – In conjunction with Women’s History Month, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today honored decorated United States Air Force Veteran Rosemary Connolly as March 2011 Veteran of the Month at a ceremony in Springfield. The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction that is given to military Veterans who give back to their community and continue to serve other Veterans. IDVA Director Dan Grant presented the award to Connolly at American Legion Post 32 in Springfield.


March 18, 2011
IEMA Begins Work to Help Local Governments Recoup Expenses from February Winter Storm
Federal assistance approved for 60 counties
Springfield – Following approval Thursday of the state’s request for federal aid for 60 counties affected by the early February winter storm, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today said it is beginning the process to help nearly 2,000 local governments in those counties receive that assistance.


March 17, 2011
Governor Quinn Appoints New Executive Director at Illinois Liquor Control Commission
IHDA Director Materre Appointed to ILCC, Krozel returns to IDOR
CHICAGO - March 17, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced several administration appointments. Today’s actions are the next step in a series of appointments Governor Quinn will make throughout the first quarter of 2011 as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, recovering our economy and making state government more efficient and accountable to the people of Illinois.


March 17, 2011
February Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.9 Percent
Rate Falls for 13th Consecutive Month
CHICAGO – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the 13th consecutive month, dropping -0.1 to 8.9 percent in February, according to preliminary data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The last time the state rate was below 9.0 percent was two years ago in February 2009. The national February rate also fell -0.1 to 8.9 percent.


March 17, 2011
New Guidelines in Place for Debt Settlement Firms
Consumers should make sure companies are licensed before signing on
CHICAGO – A new law that establishes stringent guidelines and enhances consumer protections for Illinois families that seek help paying overdue bills took effect earlier this month. The Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act, for the first time, creates a fund to pay restitution to consumers who have lost money through a debt settlement provider.


March 17, 2011
ISM's New Play Museum Opens March 26
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Museum will celebrate the grand opening of the Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum, an all-new children’s area for kids ages 3-10, on Saturday, March 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. to officially open the new Play Museum. The new, kid-friendly Play Museum is designed for children to learn through play what it is like to work at a museum. In the Play Museum children can excavate Mastodont bones, load a jeep for an expedition, crawl through a cave, touch animal skulls, frame and display art, explore fantastic objects in the collections and much more.


March 16, 2011
Liquor Control Commission February Underage Compliance Report
SPRINGFIELD – In February the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) conducted compliance checks around the state and visited 50 businesses licensed to sell liquor. They cited 12 licensees for violations of liquor control laws. Seventy-six 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.


March 15, 2011
Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation supports loved ones of fallen firefighters
Donations help provide scholarships to children and spouses
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation, administered through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM), supports educational opportunities for the children and spouses of firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.


March 15, 2011
Illinois Arts Council Announces Poetry Out Loud State Champion:
Morgan Joyce Williams of Springfield High School Moves on to Nationals
ILLINOIS -- Illinois’ 2010-2011 Poetry Out Loud State Finals took place Friday, March 11, 2011 in Springfield’s Hoogland Center for the Arts. The Illinois Arts Council is pleased to announce that Morgan Joyce Williams, a senior at Springfield High School, has been named State Champion.


March 14, 2011
IEMA, National Weather Service Urge People to ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ on Flooded Roadways
National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 14-18
SPRINGFIELD – A thick snowpack in the upper Midwest combined with the potential for heavy rainfall in March and April could be the recipe for flooding in many parts of Illinois this spring. During National Flood Safety Awareness Week March 14-18, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) are encouraging Illinois residents to learn more about flooding and what they can do to stay safe.


March 14, 2011
State Selects Five Supportive Living Facilities For Pilot Project for Dementia Care
Project seeks to provide improved care and independence For persons with Alzheimer’s and related diseases
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) today announced the approval of five supportive living facilities (SLFs) selected to participate in an innovative pilot project designed to provide specialized housing and care for persons with dementia. The five sites are in Decatur, Effingham, Rantoul, North Aurora and Chicago.


March 14, 2011
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Sunset, Tuesday, March 15, 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 to Sunset, Tuesday, March 15, 2011.


March 11, 2011
Governor Quinn and IDHS Announce Incentives for Business to Hire Workers with Disabilities
IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services Partners with Employers to Empower People with Disabilities
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today announced a federally funded program to help employers hire workers with disabilities. The Employer Training Initiative is an initiative of the IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to help individuals with disabilities become employed by providing a financial incentive to employers.


March 11, 2011
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn
On Earthquake and Tsunami Devastation in Japan
CHICAGO – March 11, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement regarding the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.


March 11, 2011
State Reminds Consumers to Check Flood Insurance Before Heavy Spring Rains
Illinois Department of Insurance Urges Homeowners and Renters to Review Coverage
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Insurance is reminding homeowners and renters to prepare for the possibility of spring floods by checking existing homeowner and renter policy coverage and determining whether to add flood insurance. “Heavy spring rain could lead to a very wet spring season in the most flood-prone areas of the State,” said Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. “Consumers should thoroughly identify the limits and benefits of a policy before damage occurs and know that flood insurance coverage, which is not included in a standard homeowner or renter policy, is usually not effective for 30 days.”


March 10, 2011
IDOT Partners With State and Local Law Enforcement to Boost Safety for St. Patrick’s Day
Efforts Include Saturation Patrols, Roadside Safety Checks and Enforcement Zones
SPRINGFIELD - St. Patrick’s Day festivities typically mean many Illinoisans will be celebrating with family and friends, but too often, celebrations can turn deadly because of impaired drivers. That is why the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are partnering with more than 150 law enforcement agencies this St. Patrick’s Day holiday to remind everyone to act responsibly, buckle up and designate a sober driver before the parties begin.


March 10, 2011
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Friday, March 11, 2011 until Sunset, Sunday, March 13, 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, Friday, March 11, 2011 until Sunset, Sunday, March 13, 2011.


March 10, 2011
Governor Quinn Signs Sales Tax Fairness Legislation
Legislation Helps Level the Playing Field, Protects Jobs for Illinois Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
CHICAGO – March 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to require all companies doing business in Illinois to collect and remit the legally required sales taxes. House Bill 3659 – the Mainstreet Fairness Bill – was a bipartisan initiative that passed both houses of the General Assembly with overwhelming support.


March 9, 2011
Illinois’ 2011 Spring Trout Season Opens April 2
Rainbow Trout Stocked at 43 Locations
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2011 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.


March 9, 2011
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn on Senate Bill 3539
Today I have signed Senate Bill 3539, which abolishes the death penalty in Illinois.


March 8, 2011
State Agencies Offer Working Illinois Families Extra Help Again This Tax Season
Eligible Participants Urged to Take Advantage of Options for Tax Preparation and EITC Eligibility Assistance Before April 18th Deadline
CHICAGO – The Illinois Departments of Revenue (IDOR), Human Services (IDHS) and Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) urge Illinois families to take advantage of tax preparation assistance and easy filing options available at www.tax.illinois.gov. By filing their state taxes electronically, families can get their entire refund quickly and for free, avoiding high-interest refund anticipation loans offered by many commercial tax preparation companies. Low and moderate-income families can take advantage of several tax assistance services offered in conjunction with the State of Illinois.


March 8, 2011
Specialty Crop Grant Funds Available
Program designed to expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the state’s specialty crop industry
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Farm Bill are available to help the state’s specialty crop industry, Illinois Department is Agriculture (IDOA) Director Tom Jennings announced today. The money can be used for projects designed to expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce.


March 8, 2011
Illinois Department of Insurance Disciplinary Report for January and February 2011
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Insurance announced today that Director of Insurance Michael T. McRaith issued the following disciplinary orders:


March 7, 2011
Governor Quinn Signs Major Redistricting Reforms
New Law Protects Minority Community Voting Rights; Increases Openness and Transparency in Redistricting Process
CHICAGO – March 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that protects the voting rights of racial and language minority communities throughout Illinois and encourages public participation in the redistricting process.


March 7, 2011
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Boost Mass Transit in Chicago’s Southeast Suburbs
New Transit District Will Assist in Planning, Financing of Metra Line to Connect Nearly 20 Southeast Suburban Communities to Chicago
CHICAGO – March 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn was joined today by southeast suburban officials to sign House Bill 1644, which establishes the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District. The new district will give local officials the tools they need to help build the SouthEast Service Line, a proposed Metra line connecting nearly 20 communities with downtown Chicago.


March 7, 2011
Department of Human Services Encourages Illinoisans to lead healthier lifestyles during Nutrition Month
‘Eat Right with Color!’ Initiative Urges Illinoisans to Practice Better Nutrition; Orr Award Recognizes Nutrition Programs
Chicago – Highlighting the health benefits of good nutrition for Illinois families, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council (INC) are joining nutrition professionals across Illinois and throughout the United States to promote food security, good nutrition, physical activity and health during nutrition month. Recipients of the Robin A. Orr Community Partnership Award are also honored this month.


March 7, 2011
DCEO is Accepting Applications for Green Industry, Energy Efficiency Grants
Potential applicants have until April 4 to submit requests for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
CHICAGO – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced today that is accepting applications until April 4 for two grant programs designed to promote green industry and energy efficiency and create jobs around the state. The department expects to award up to $15 million in grant funds to the selected applicants. Both programs are run by the State Energy Office and are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).


March 7, 2011
State Regulators Remind Consumers to Buy Contact Lenses from a Licensed Health Care Professional
Lenses sold without a prescription could be dangerous
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is reminding Illinois contact lens purchasers that buying colored contact lenses from anyone other than a licensed eye care professional is dangerous. Colored lenses are popular among high school and college students and are often purchased at malls and flea markets without proper examinations and fittings. This puts thousands of Illinois customers at risk of scratches, infections and potential blindness.


March 3, 2011
January Unemployment Rate Falls to 9.0 Percent
CHICAGO – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the 12th consecutive month, dropping -0.2 to 9.0 percent in January, according to preliminary estimates released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The last time the state rate was below 9.0 percent was February 2009. The national January rate fell -0.4 to 9.0 percent. The Illinois rate has been equal to or below the national rate since October 2010. Illinois’ three-month moving average also fell -0.2 to 9.2 percent in January.


March 3, 2011
Statewide Loan Makes Homeownership Affordable for First-time Buyers
SmartMove programs offer low-interest rates, down payment assistance
CHICAGO – With spring around the corner, it’s an ideal time for first-time homebuyers and Veterans to take advantage of a statewide affordable loan program available through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). SmartMove loan programs enable residents across the state to benefit from historically low interest rates and home prices. SmartMove features down payment assistance and interest rates as low as 4.5 percent.


March 3, 2011
Illinois Arts Council Announces Poetry Out Loud State Finals: March 11th in Springfield's Hoogland Center for the Arts
Congratulates Participants & Regional Winners from Champaign, Chicago, Deerfield, East Moline, Edwardsville, Herrin, Mt. Zion, Orion, Plainfield, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana
ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Arts Council is pleased to announce Illinois' 2010-2011 Poetry Out Loud State Finals, featuring recitations by sixteen regional contest winners from throughout the state. The event will take place on Friday, March 11, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. in Springfield's Hoogland Center for the Arts. Attendance is free, open to the public, and accessible.


March 2, 2011
Governor Quinn Announces Appointments to Commission to End Hunger
Commission Highlighted at Feeding Illinois’ Anti-Hunger Conference
SPRINGFIELD – March 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced 22 appointments to a commission aimed at eliminating hunger in Illinois. The Governor’s announcement coincides with Feeding Illinois’ 2nd Annual Anti-Hunger Conference in Springfield, where legislators and experts gathered to develop methods to address hunger.


March 2, 2011
State Economic Development Director Announces $3.2 Million Available for Recycling Programs
State Support of Recycling Market is Creating Jobs Statewide
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley today announced that $3.2 million is available to assist local governments, businesses, and other public and private sector entities enhance their recycling efforts. The programs are funded through the Solid Waste Management fund, which is a dedicated funding source that is supported by a surcharge on garbage being landfilled in Illinois.


March 2, 2011
Illinois Film Office Launches Fourth Annual Shortcuts Competition
Winning entry receives cash prize, premiere at the 2011 Chicago International Film Festival
CHICAGO – The Illinois Film Office (IFO) today launched its fourth annual Shortcuts contest, a statewide short film competition designed to encourage growth in Illinois’ film industry. Shortcuts is open to all Illinois residents over the age of 18 and students over the age of 18 who attend Illinois colleges and universities. The winner will receive a cash prize and the winning film will be screened during the Chicago International Film Festival in October.


March 2, 2011
Forty percent of home fires caused by cooking
OSFM urges household chefs to stay in kitchen when cooking
CHICAGO – Many home structure fires occur when cooking equipment is left unattended, according to the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). For the family chef, fire prevention can be as simple as remaining in the kitchen with a watchful eye on the stove, broiler, grill or deep fryer.


March 2, 2011
Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Panel Releases Initial Recommendations
Health Benefits Exchange, Control of Rate Increases, and Higher Percentages of Premiums Going to Health Care Among Recommendations
CHICAGO – March 2, 2011. A state panel convened by Governor Pat Quinn to guide Illinois’ implementation of national health care reform released its initial recommendations today. The Health Care Reform Implementation Council urged the creation of a health benefit exchange -- called for in the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- through which individuals and small businesses would be able to purchase health coverage at competitive prices. The panel also recommended that state regulators be given the authority to approve or deny health insurance rate increases, and that insurance companies be required to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care for policy holders.


March 1, 2011
Deadline Approaching for IDOT’s Rain Barrel Contest
Interested Schools Still Have Time to Apply by Monday, March 7
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today issued a reminder of the March 7 deadline for schools to submit design proposals advocating water re-use as part of the Rain Barrel Design Competition. Forty-five creative and lucky elementary schools will receive free rain barrels if their ideas are chosen as part of the annual contest, promoting green and sustainable practices. The winners from each of IDOT’s nine regional districts will be recognized, and participating students will be acknowledged during Earth Day celebrations in April.


March 1, 2011
Illinois Named One of Top 10 States for Corporate Locations in National Survey
Chicago Selected #1 Metropolitan Area in 2010
CHICAGO – The state of Illinois and Chicago today were named among the top 10 locations for new and expanded corporate facilities. Illinois ranked eighth among states and Chicago first in the metropolitan areas category in the annual analysis by Site Selection magazine, one of the nation’s premier corporate real estate and economic development publications.

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