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December
2012


December 28, 2012
IDOT, Illinois law enforcement make big plans for New Year’s Holiday
Drunk driving and seat belt patrols scheduled for final “Drive to Survive” push
CHICAGO – As 2012 comes to an end, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across the state today announced plans to stay extra vigilant in a final “Drive to Survive” push to keep vehicle fatalities down during the New Year’s Holiday. This extra awareness comes in the form of roadside safety checks, safety belt enforcement zones and other patrols reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket.”


December 28, 2012
Think Safety as Snowmobile Season Begins in Illinois
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 snow falls 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 reasonable and proper precautions been taken.


December 27, 2012
New “Social Host Law” takes effect on New Year’s Day
State also announces new youth contest to combat underage drinking
As the clock strikes midnight this coming New Year, the important role adults play in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our children will be further defined, when new sanctions take effect on those allowing underage drinking in their home.


December 27, 2012
Illinois Department Of Agriculture Lab Receives Certification
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The state lab responsible for ensuring that commercial measuring devices are accurate has been re-certified. The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Metrology Lab achieved a two-year certificate of traceability after a thorough review of its proficiency and operations by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


December 24, 2012
State Announces Health Insurance CO-OP to Apply for Licensure to offer coverage as part of ACA
The member-based, nonprofit received a $160 federal loan to provide individuals and small business with affordable, quality health plans
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) today announced that Land of Lincoln Health, Inc., a nonprofit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP), has received $160 million in federal loans and will now apply for licensure as an Illinois mutual insurer to offer individuals and small business owners health insurance. Upon receiving state license approval, Land of Lincoln Health will be able to offer health coverage through the Illinois benefits health exchange.


December 23, 2012
Governor Quinn Encourages Honoring Servicemembers this Holiday Season through Operation Hero Miles
Program Helps Injured Troops Overseas Connect with Family
CHICAGO - December 23, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined United Airlines to encourage people across Illinois to help injured servicemembers overseas connect with their families this holiday season through Operation Hero Miles. This program helps wounded or ill overseas servicemembers and their families visit each other without having to worry about the financial burden of airfare.


December 21, 2012
Resources available for Illinois veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder around the holidays
SPRINGFIELD – The National Institute of Medicine estimates that 20 percent of the 2.6 million U.S. service members who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The holidays can be a difficult time for veterans struggling to cope with their experiences.


December 21, 2012
Governor Quinn Appoints New Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard
Daniel M. Krumrei to Lead and Advocate for Illinois Servicemembers and their Families
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Pat Quinn today named Daniel M. Krumrei as the new Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard and Director of the Department of Military Affairs. The former Colonel has served as Command Staff Chaplain for the Illinois Army National Guard since 2005 and has been instrumental in fulfilling Governor Quinn’s longtime commitment to serving Veterans and their families.


December 20, 2012
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs honors Wood River man as ‘Veteran of the Month’ for December
SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has honored Bradley Allen Lavite, a Wood River resident and US Army veteran, as its December 2012 “Veteran of the Month.”
SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has honored Bradley Allen Lavite, a Wood River resident and US Army veteran, as its December 2012 “Veteran of the Month.” Lavite was honored during a ceremony today at Madison County Administration Building in Edwardsville, Ill. The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction bestowed upon military veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military.


December 20, 2012
Governor Quinn Launches New Video Showing How Children Lose in Pension Squeeze
“Kids Don’t Have Lobbyists: Part 2” is Latest Installment of Thanks in Advance Campaign
CHICAGO - December 20, 2012. One reason children stand to lose the most from the pension squeeze is their lack of a voice in Springfield, according to a new video released today by Governor Pat Quinn.


December 20, 2012
Governor Quinn Proclaims “Day of Mourning” in Honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims
CHICAGO – December 20, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed a “Day of Mourning” in Illinois in honor of the 26 students and faculty that lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.


December 20, 2012
Honoring SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE
THe United States and Illinois flags at halr staff from Wednesday, December 19, 2012 until Sunset, Sunday, December 23, 2012.
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from The President of the United States of America that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in memory of: SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE from Wednesday, December 19, 2012 until Sunset, Sunday, December 23, 2012.


December 20, 2012
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon: Protect funding for veterans’ homes
Simon, Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren celebrate holidays at Anna Veterans’ Home; highlight important services
ANNA – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Erica Borggren visited residents of the Adjutant Illinois Veterans’ Home in Anna to celebrate the holidays and highlight the importance of funding for veterans homes throughout Illinois.


December 20, 2012
IDOT, Illinois Tollway And ISP Prepare For 1ST Snowfall Of 2012-13; Caution Drivers About Potential Whiteout Conditions Across Northern Illinois
National Weather Service Issues Winter Storm Warnings; Motorists Can Expect High Winds and Blowing Snow North of I-80
CHICAGO – Illinois transportation and law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the first winter storm of the 2012-2013 season and are warning the public to be prepared for dangerous driving conditions on Northern Illinois roadways. With a National Weather Service winter storm warning starting at 6 a.m. Thursday for northwestern Illinois, both the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway are mobilizing forces to combat severe conditions.


December 20, 2012
Illinois Adds 16,400 Jobs and Rate Falls to 8.7 Percent
November Monthly Job Gain Largest of the Year
CHICAGO – Illinois added +16,400 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. One year ago, the November unemployment rate was 9.8 percent.


December 19, 2012
Illinois Ranks #1 in Volunteer Rate Among the Country’s 10 Largest States
Rising to #25 Nationally, Illinois Volunteers Provide Nearly 360 Million Hours of Service Valued at Over $8 Billion
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) is commending the state’s 2.73 million volunteers that made a difference through volunteerism last year. Illinois volunteers served nearly 360 million total hours, which is valued at $8.1 billion.


December 19, 2012
Help for Those Losing EUC Unemployment Insurance
Federal Program Ends Dec. 29; Regular Unemployment Continues; IDES Faces 20 Percent Federal Budget Cut
CHICAGO – A list of public and private programs to assist individuals losing unemployment insurance because the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends Dec. 29 is available at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The compiled data at www.ides.illinois.gov offers guidance for citizens and Veterans who might need assistance with food, clothing or shelter. The list represents often-used programs and is not meant to be exhaustive. Also at the website are tips for those considering starting their own business.


December 19, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces Major Investment in Early Childhood Education in Illinois
$45 Million Investment to Expand and Improve Vital Education Services in Communities Across Illinois
CICERO – December 19, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined students, families and teachers to announce $45 million for vital improvements to early childhood education facilities in high-need communities across Illinois. The 14 Early Childhood Construction Grants (ECCG) are funded through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program and will expand access to early childhood education, which experts have noted is critical to a student’s success.


December 19, 2012
Governor Pat Quinn Statement on the Passing of Sheriff Mearl Justus
Chicago - December 19, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement on the passing of Mearl Justus, longtime sheriff of St. Clair County.


December 19, 2012
Quinn Administration Receives OK to Complete Plan to Close Unnecessary Facilities
Closure of Empty, Half-Empty and Unnecessary Facilities Will Save Taxpayers About $100 Million Annually
CHICAGO – December 19, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that his administration is now able to proceed with closing empty, half-empty or unnecessary state facilities, which will save taxpayers about $100 million a year when combined with consolidations and help restore fiscal stability to Illinois. Following a recent Illinois Supreme Court order, the Circuit Court for the First Judicial Circuit today dissolved an injunction that was preventing the state from completing closure of the facilities. The delay in keeping the facilities open since August 31 has cost taxpayers approximately $7 million a month.


December 19, 2012
Honoring SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from The President of the United States of America that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in memory of: SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE


December 19, 2012
Governor Quinn Departs for Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Servicemembers Overseas
Delivers Holiday Cards to Servicemembers and Reminds Families Across Illinois to Honor Our Troops This Holiday Season
CHICAGO - December 19, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today departed on his annual journey to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany to personally deliver holiday cards to wounded servicemembers who are overseas this holiday season. Each year schoolchildren across Illinois demonstrate their overwhelming support for our troops through the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive, which helps ensure a brighter holiday for wounded soldiers at LRMC. Governor Quinn also encouraged people throughout Illinois to support Operation Hero Miles, a program that benefits servicemembers who were injured overseas.


December 18, 2012
Lt. Governor Simon: Fight hunger this holiday season
Simon, staff volunteer at Central Illinois Food Bank
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and members of her Springfield staff volunteered Tuesday at the Central Illinois Food Bank and encouraged Illinois residents to fight hunger this holiday season.


December 18, 2012
Governor Quinn Praises Federal Approval That Clears the Way for High-Speed Rail
Federal Railroad Administration Issues Decision to Allow Full Build-out of Chicago-St. Louis High Speed Rail; Includes 10th Street Corridor in Springfield
CHICAGO – December 18, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today praised action by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that clears the way for the full build-out of the Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail corridor, including a consolidated route along 10th Street in Springfield. The FRA today issued a Record of Decision that provides final environmental approval and positions the project for future federal funding that will create thousands of jobs and lead to improved passenger rail speeds, frequencies and reliability.


December 18, 2012
Dept on Aging Offers Tips to Help Seniors Prepare For Winter
Seniors Should Get Flu Shots & Get Homes Ready; More Tips at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD - As the area braces for the first snow storm of the season in the days leading up to the first official day of winter, Illinois Department on Aging Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., reminds older adults and their families to get ready for the cold weather.


December 18, 2012
Honoring The Victims Of The Tragedy In Newtown, Connecticut
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Friday, December 14, 2012 until Sunset, Tuesday, December 18, 2012.
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 Friday, December 14, 2012 until Sunset, Tuesday, December 18, 2012.


December 18, 2012
Governor Quinn Proclaims December 18, 2012 “Colby Burnett Day”
Honors Burnett’s outstanding performance on Jeopardy!
CHICAGO – December 18, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following proclamation.


December 18, 2012
Governor Quinn Directs State Agencies to Further Strengthen School Emergency Response and Prevention
Coordinated Effort Will Review and Recommend Improvements to Existing Programs and Policies; New School Safety Video to Be Released in Early January
CHICAGO – December 18, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies will review existing programs for student protection and determine whether improvements can be made. Following the recent horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, state agencies in Illinois will work together to assist local school districts and local law enforcement in the review to aid in emergency response planning and ensure they can provide support to local jurisdictions in a timely and efficient manner.


December 17, 2012
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon speaks at meeting convened by Sen. Durbin on Mississippi River
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on blasting rock pinnacles threatening barge traffic
EAST ALTON, Ill. – As work begins to blast away rock pinnacles posing a hazard to barge traffic on the Mississippi River, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon participated in a meeting today convened by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation and industry stakeholders to discuss the Corps’ response to the Mississippi’s near-record low water level. During the meeting, the Corps provided a briefing on their efforts – including removing the rock pinnacles between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill., and increasing dredging – to maintain water flow on the Mississippi.


December 17, 2012
Employment Security Offices Closed Dec. 25, Jan.1
Claimants Should Certify; Services Available on Internet; Banking Holiday Might Delay Payments
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. resume on each following day. Although offices will be closed, services will be available at www.ides.illinois.gov People still will be able to file for first-time unemployment benefits, certify for benefits which is necessary to receive payment, and switch that method of payment to direct deposit. Because each Tuesday is a federal banking holiday, the availability of some benefit payments might be delayed. The IDES does not determine federal banking holidays.


December 17, 2012
Last Days to Purchase College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Contracts at 2011 Rates
Rates increase January 1 for program that makes college costs more manageable for Illinois families
CHICAGO--Families of Illinois college-bound children have only until December 31 to invest in a College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition plan at 2011 rates before contract prices increase four percent on January 1, 2013. Contracts are available for purchase through April 2013. College Illinois! allows families to prepay college tuition at potentially significantly lower costs, thereby avoiding tuition inflation and increasing student loan debt. The tuition plans are state tax-deductible and grow tax-free, adding an incentive for families to buy before 2012 ends.


December 17, 2012
Win Free Illinois Food Products!
Register for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s 25 Days of Christmas Contest
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Nine winners remain to be selected in the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s 25 Days of Christmas Contest.


December 17, 2012
Governor Quinn Kicks Off Holiday Cheer Basket Program for Servicemembers
Teams Up with Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, Illinois Lottery, USO of Illinois and Chicago White Sox to Help Military Families
CHICAGO – December 17, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren and Superintendent Michael Jones from the Illinois Lottery to announce the state’s partnership with the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois and the Chicago White Sox to sponsor this year’s Cheer Basket Program, a partnership to support the USO of Illinois Families on the Homefront Program, for servicemen and women. The program will send 150 cheer-filled holiday care packages to Illinois servicemembers and their families. As part of his mission to support servicemembers, Governor Quinn also encouraged parents to purchase Illinois Vets Cash lottery tickets to include as a great stocking stuffer.


December 16, 2012
Governor Quinn Hails Action by Corps of Engineers on Mississippi River Flow
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Plans to Start Blasting Rock Pinnacles at Thebes; Coast Guard is Preparing Navigation Plan
CHICAGO – December 16, 2012 – Governor Pat Quinn today hailed the quick action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the removal of rock pinnacles near Thebes, south of Cape Girardeau, that pose a threat to barge traffic on the Mississippi River. The move comes following Governor Quinn’s request last month as concerns mounted about the low levels of water on the Mississippi due to the 2012 drought. The governor also praised the leadership of Senator Dick Durbin who helped marshal federal resources to keep the waterway open.


December 15, 2012
Governor Quinn Proclaims “Game of Change Day” in Illinois
CHICAGO – December 15, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed “Game of Change Day” in Illinois in honor of the historic 1963 basketball game between Loyola University of Chicago and Mississippi State University that broke racial boundaries.


December 14, 2012
Governor Quinn Honors Veterans During Chicago Welcome Home the Heroes Weekend
Events Celebrate 2.4 Million Returning Veterans Since 9/11, Boost Efforts to Support Servicemembers Transitioning to Civilian Life
CHICAGO – December 14, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Illinois servicemembers to celebrate Chicago Welcome Home the Heroes Weekend, which will mark the one-year anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq. The two-day event will honor the 2.4 million Veterans who have served in the military since September 11th, 2001 and raise awareness of programs designed to help them successfully transition to civilian life. Governor Quinn has fought to improve life for Illinois Veterans throughout his career with a variety of initiatives.


December 14, 2012
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn on Tragic Connecticut Elementary School Shooting
CHICAGO – December 14, 2012. Governor Quinn issued the following statement regarding today's tragic massacre in Connecticut:


December 14, 2012
IL Dept on Aging honors advocates who assist older adults
Awards Ceremony officially ends the 2012 Governor’s Conference on Aging
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) today wrapped up activities for the Governor’s Conference on Aging, by honoring individuals and organizations whose contributions in assisting older adults merit recognition. The awards program was the final event of the conference where advocates and experts from across the state gather to focus on issues that affect the aging population. This year was the 31st consecutive Governor’s Conference on Aging, held December 12, 13 and 14 in Chicago.


December 14, 2012
New Lawrence County Development Provides Safe, Decent Housing for Working Families
100 local jobs created during construction of Indian Trail Apartments
LAWRENCEVILLE – Families in Lawrence County now have more affordable housing options with the opening of Indian Trail Apartments in Lawrenceville, a development of duplex rental homes. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) today helped celebrate the grand opening of the 44-unit development.


December 14, 2012
Honoring The Victims Of The Tragedy In Newtown, Connecticut
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff immediately until further notice.
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 immediately until further notice.


December 13, 2012
Governor Quinn Launches New Video to Show Pension Squeeze Impact on Children
“Kids Don’t Have Lobbyists: Part I” is Latest Installment of Thanks in Advance Campaign
CHICAGO - December 13, 2012. The impact of the pension squeeze on future generations of Illinois children is the focus of a new video posted today as part of Governor Quinn’s “Thanks in Advance” Internet campaign to educate Illinoisans about the urgent need for pension reform. A two-part video - “Kids Don’t Have Lobbyists: Part I” - goes behind-the-scenes at a children’s focus group about breakfast cereal which turns into a serious discussion of pension reform. As the gravity of the pension problem becomes clear and the kids realize their voices are not always heard, they decide to hire a lobbyist.


December 12, 2012
IEMA, State Fire Marshal Offer Holiday Gift Ideas
Preparedness, safety gifts for everyone on your shopping list
SPRINGFIELD – With holiday shopping in full swing, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) today encouraged shoppers to consider presents and stocking stuffers 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 12, 2012
State Kicks off the Governor’s Conference on Aging
Dept on Aging Hosts Conference & Honors Advocates Who Serve Older Adults
CHICAGO - Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., today gave remarks at the opening session of the Governor’s Conference on Aging. The three day event is set for December 12, 13, and 14, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers in downtown Chicago. This is the 31st annual conference which is considered the largest statewide meeting and comprehensive training for people who work in the network of serving older adults.


December 12, 2012
Governor Quinn, College Students Discuss Impact of Pension Squeeze on Financial Aid for Higher Education
Higher Education, MAP Grant Funding at Risk without Immediate Pension Reform
CHICAGO – December 12, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Illinois college students to discuss how inaction on pension reform is threatening Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois. One after one, the students made clear how access to higher education changed their lives and prepared them for a job and career. Today’s event is part of the governor’s ongoing effort to educate and activate the people of Illinois to push for pension reform as he continues to work with legislators on the issue.


December 12, 2012
Illinois Donates Surplus Computers to Veterans’ Support Organizations
State Continues Nation’s First Joint Computer Donation Program to Help Veterans Access Job Training, Employment
SPRINGFIELD – State officials donated approximately 100 surplus computers to veterans’ organizations to provide veterans with greater access to online training and internet-based employment assistance. The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) Director Malcolm Weems and Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Erica Borggren highlighted the benefits of the program to veterans at the Cathedral Shelter of Chicago.


December 12, 2012
Liquor Control Commission November Underage Compliance Report
SPRINGFIELD – In November the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) conducted compliance checks around the state and visited 227 businesses licensed to sell liquor. They cited 68 licensees for violations of liquor control laws. Seventy percent of the licensees visited complied with Illinois liquor laws and refused to serve underage customers.


December 11, 2012
Triad Guaranty Insurance Corporation and Triad Guaranty Assurance Corporation Agree to Being Placed into Rehabilitation
Dept of Insurance will present a plan to address future payment of claims
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Director Andrew Boron today announced an Agreed Order of Rehabilitation has been entered against Triad Guaranty Insurance Corporation (Triad) and its subsidiary Triad Guaranty Assurance Corporation (TGAC) with the consent of their respective Boards of Directors by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The court also entered a finding of insolvency against Triad. Both companies, located at 101 South Stratford Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, were formerly authorized to transact the business of mortgage guaranty insurance, which insures banking institutions for financial loss associated with residential mortgage defaults. The Companies ceased issuing new commitments for mortgage guaranty insurance in 2008, and have been operating their business under two Corrective Orders issued by DOI.


December 11, 2012
Federal Emergency Unemployment Ends for 90,000
EUC Ends Dec. 29; Regular Unemployment Continues; IDES Faces 20 Percent Federal Budget Cut
CHICAGO – An estimated 90,000 people who worked in Illinois will no longer receive unemployment insurance when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends Dec. 29, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said today. The state’s Regular Unemployment program continues. Once the EUC program ends, an additional 2,800 individuals each week will complete the regular state unemployment insurance program and not have access to the federal EUC. Every $1 in unemployment insurance generates $1.63 in economic activity because the dollars are quickly spent at neighborhood businesses.


December 11, 2012
Toby Keith To Headline 2013 Illinois State Fair Grandstand Entertainment
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Country music’s “Artist of the Decade” will perform at the 2013 Illinois State Fair. Singer and songwriter Toby Keith, presented by Ford F-Series, will take the Grandstand stage for a concert Wednesday, Aug. 14, the fair announced today.


December 10, 2012
Two Counties Added To State Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture has added two, new counties to its existing 39-county emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine. The boundary expansion became necessary this fall after infestations of the tree-killing beetle were confirmed for the first time in Henry and Knox counties. The pest was discovered in Henry County at a park on the northwest side of Kewanee through the department’s EAB trapping program and in Knox County by alert grounds staff at Knox College in Galesburg.


December 10, 2012
IEMA Updates ‘Ready Illinois’ Website
‘One-Stop Shop’ for Community and Individual Preparedness Information Now Easier to Use
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s website for community and individual information disaster preparedness is now even easier to use. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today launched an updated Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) to help connect people with information they need to be prepared for many types of emergencies.


December 10, 2012
State to Host Regional Export Seminars for Small Business Owners
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) in cooperation with the Illinois International Trade Centers will host a series of export seminars for small business owners who are interested in growing their exports or in entering the export market. The seminars will feature information on DCEO-OTI’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program that provides financial and technical export assistance to Illinois small and medium-sized enterprises. The STEP program is a three-year pilot program initiative authorized by the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. DCEO-OTI’s STEP program focuses on providing SMEs with financial and technical export assistance. Representatives from local, state and federal governments will present information on Illinois’ STEP and other Export programs that are available to help small businesses succeed in the international marketplace.


December 10, 2012
The Illinois State Fire Marshal Urges Residents To Be Fire Safe This Holiday Season
Following Fire Safety Practices is the Key for a Joyful Season
SPRINGFIELD – The holiday season is a time full of joy and decoration for holiday festivities. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) reminds residents to follow caution as they decorate for the season.


December 7, 2012
Governor Quinn Names Michael McCotter as Inspector General of IL Dept. of Human Services
40-Year Law Enforcement Veteran to Help Protect State’s Vulnerable Adults with Disabilities
CHICAGO – December 7, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointment of Michael McCotter as Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). McCotter, a 40-year law enforcement veteran, recently was charged with investigating and issuing a report to reform the investigative operations of the DHS Inspector General’s office (OIG). He will now take the lead in implementing reforms that will overhaul the OIG office, ensure accountability and strengthen protections for adults with disabilities.


December 7, 2012
Simon, River Council to Army Corps: Reconsider Mississippi River decision if drought continues
Stakeholders to monitor Mississippi river levels; aim to prevent halt in barge traffic
CARLYLE – One day after sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging it to protect Mississippi River commerce, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon convened a quarterly meeting of the Mississippi River Coordinating Council (MRCC) today to address low water levels that are jeopardizing barge traffic along the river.


December 6, 2012
Governor Quinn Receives Seasonal Flu Shot
Encourages Everyone in Illinois to Get a Flu Shot During the Holidays to Protect Themselves, their Families and Loved Ones
CHICAGO – December 6, 2012. With the holiday season here and public health officials saying that we’re seeing more flu activity this year, Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged everyone six months and older in Illinois to get a seasonal flu shot. To mark National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec. 2 through 8, the governor rolled up his sleeve and received a flu shot from the state’s Public Health Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.


December 6, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces Over $34 Million in Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Federal Funding to Strengthen Early Learning Programs in Illinois
Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge funds will target the state’s neediest children
CHICAGO – December 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced Illinois has been awarded a $34.8 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support quality early childhood education in Illinois.


December 6, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces New Veterans Education Center at the University of Illinois
Dedicates $4 Million in Illinois Jobs Now! Funding to Help Build Wounded Warriors Education Center
URBANA – December 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to announce $4 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help build the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The new center will help returning Veterans with disabilities readjust to civilian life and provide vital rehabilitative, counseling, academic and career services to support wounded warriors as they achieve higher education. The governor was joined by Assistant Secretary of the Army Thomas Lamont, philanthropist Ron Chez and university leaders including Provost Ilesanmi Adesida and Lt. Col. Eric Stetson of University of Illinois ROTC.


December 6, 2012
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
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 in honor of: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Friday, December 7, 2012.


December 6, 2012
Federal Emergency Unemployment Ends in December
Hard-Stop Touches Those Collecting Longer than 25 Weeks; EUC Ends Dec. 29; Regular Unemployment Continues
CHICAGO – A federal unemployment insurance program beyond the initial 25-week regular state program will expire at the end of 2012, officials with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reminded today. The federal program is referred to as Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). When federal lawmakers passed the last extension of the program, they included a Dec. 29 hard-stop ending date. Under current law, no EUC can be paid for weeks ending after Dec. 29. Regular state benefits will remain in effect.


December 6, 2012
Redeploy Illinois Program Saves State $40 Million
New analysis of prison diversion initiative shows 50 percent reduction in juvenile incarceration rates
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Human Services’ (IDHS) Redeploy Illinois initiative has saved the state $40 million in incarceration costs by helping to steer young people away from the prison system and onto the right path.


December 5, 2012
ISAC Announces Illinois State Scholars
Agency salutes “the best and the brightest” of Class of 2013-2014
CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced its recognition of nearly 19,000 Illinois high school students as “Illinois State Scholars 2013”. The students hail from high schools in every corner of Illinois.


December 5, 2012
New Supportive Housing Development Celebrates Grand Opening in Springfield
Hope Springs connects residents to support they need to live independently
SPRINGFIELD – Built as a result of Illinois Jobs Now! state capital funding, a new Springfield development is opening its doors – as well as opportunities – for people with disabilities. Hope Springs Apartments will offer hope for its 36 residents by providing a stable place for them to live and access to the supportive skills they need to live independently.


December 5, 2012
Lt. Governor Simon: Illinois one step closer to fiscal stability
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement regarding pension reform legislation introduced by members of the Illinois House of Representatives.


December 5, 2012
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn Regarding Facility Closures
SPRINGFIELD – December 5, 2012. Governor Quinn issued the following statement regarding the sustaining of his budget vetoes to close half-empty and empty facilities.


December 5, 2012
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to host Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at Lake Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will be hosting its annual Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at 11 a.m. this Friday (December 7th) at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Hall Hagler #15, 25 Club Area (Lake Springfield) in Springfield, Ill.


December 5, 2012
IEMA, Grainger Offer Winter Storm Preparedness Sweepstakes
Participants Can Enter to Win Vehicle Preparedness Kits
SPRINGFIELD – Despite an unseasonably warm start to December, winter’s cold, snow and ice are just around the corner. To help people get ready for winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Grainger are teaming up to offer an online winter storm preparedness sweepstakes. Five winners will win vehicle preparedness kits donated by Grainger.


December 4, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces First Project of Illinois Clean Water Initiative
City of Pekin to Receive $4.8 Million Low-Interest Loan to Improve Waste Water Treatment System; Support Almost 400 Jobs
PEKIN – December 4, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John Kim, and Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) Executive Director Chris Meister today announced that the first loan of the governor’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative would be awarded to the city of Pekin to improve a wastewater treatment plant. As part of the governor’s $1 billion water infrastructure initiative, the city completed the necessary application and meets the eligibility criteria to qualify for a long-term, low-interest $4.8 million loan, which is being jointly administered by IEPA and the IFA. This project will create or support nearly 400 jobs by improving local water infrastructure.


December 4, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces Capital Funding for Student Success Center at Richland Community College
$3.5 million from Illinois Jobs Now! will support 65 jobs in Decatur area
DECATUR -- Governor Pat Quinn today announced $3.5 million in state support for the renovation and construction of an addition to the Student Success Center at Richland Community College. The project will expand space for learning at the center to allow student services to be consolidated into one location on the Decatur campus. Construction of this project will create about 65 jobs and is part of the governor’s commitment to put people back to work across Illinois.


December 4, 2012
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff immediately until Sunset, Thursday, December 6, 2012.
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 immediately until Sunset, Thursday, December 6, 2012.


December 4, 2012
IllinoisJobLink.com Links Qualified Workers with Hiring Employers
Internet Job Board Part of IDES’ No-Cost HR Recruitment Services
SPRINGFIELD – Area business and civic leaders today joined Jay Rowell, the director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), to praise an employment website tool that links qualified job applicants with businesses that are ready to hire. The no-cost, HR-recruitment effort connects qualified workers with ready-to-hire employers through illinoisjoblink.com. Additionally, the IDES’ Business Services team assists businesses placing job orders, arranging for interviews and ensuring that all tax incentives are explored before a job offer is made.


December 4, 2012
IEMA Highlights Radiation Safety in December
Agency Programs Protect People from Radiation Hazards
SPRINGFIELD – While the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is widely recognized for its efforts in emergency preparedness and response to events such as floods, tornadoes and blizzards, the agency also administers more than two dozen radiation safety programs that help protect people every day from unnecessary exposure to radiation.


December 4, 2012
‘Mission: Military 2 Manufacturing’ fair on Dec. 18th seeks to connect veterans with technical opportunities
Networking event in Schaumburg will advise veterans about specific training and career options in manufacturing and logistics
CHICAGO – One of the largest efforts to help veterans gain a foothold in the manufacturing sector kicks off in Schaumburg on Tuesday, December 18th, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) announced today.


December 4, 2012
State Housing Agency Announces Two Rounds of Counseling Funding to Protect Homeowners
Thousands of homeowners to receive FREE financial advice to avoid foreclosure
CHICAGO – To continue Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to make FREE foreclosure prevention and homeownership counseling available across the state, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) today announced two new rounds of funding are available to enable community-based organizations to provide housing counseling to more families to protect their homes from foreclosure.


December 4, 2012
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn Regarding Traffic Safety Legislation
CHICAGO – December 4, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement thanking the Illinois State Senate for passing new traffic safety legislation that will help ensure every Illinois motorist is properly licensed.


December 4, 2012
Lt. Governor Simon praises Senate passage of licenses for all eligible Illinois drivers
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of legislation to issue every qualified Illinois resident a driver’s license.


December 4, 2012
Innovative Mortgage Resolution Fund Buys Distressed Loans
Goal is to modify mortgages and offer permanent solutions, long-term stability for Illinois borrowers
CHICAGO – A public-private partnership overseen by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is the winning bidder in an auction of 324 distressed residential mortgages in the Chicago area. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced Monday that the Mortgage Resolution Fund (MRF) won an FHA-sponsored auction of non-performing loans, paving the way for MRF to permanently modify the mortgages of qualifying households. The Chicago area was one of four metropolitan areas chosen by FHA for this loan sale. FHA chose the Chicago area because it has a high concentration of at-risk loans, and through this effort FHA hopes to promote neighborhood stability in struggling communities.


December 3, 2012
Illinois Expands Prescription Monitoring Program to help combat prescription drug abuse
New national network will allow states to share prescription drug information
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) has joined a national data-sharing network that will provide for greater identification and prevention of prescription drug abuse.


December 3, 2012
IDVA announces new Veterans’ Service Officer in Stephenson County
CHICAGO – Effective this week, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is announcing the addition of a new Veterans’ Service Officer (VSO) in Stephenson County. Located throughout Illinois, VSOs serve as subject matter experts on federal, state and local benefits and programs available for the state’s veteran community.


December 2, 2012
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Finalize Dates of Special Election for 2nd Congressional District
New Law Saves Taxpayer Dollars, Sets General Election on April 9 to Coincide with Local Elections
CHICAGO - December 2, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to allow the upcoming special general election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat formerly held by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., to coincide with previously scheduled local elections on April 9, 2013. The new law will save taxpayer dollars and empower voters as they elect a new representative to the 113th Congress. The governor proposed the change last week, and lawmakers passed legislation including the proposal during the recent veto session.


December 1, 2012
Governor Quinn Announces $1.3 Million to Improve Healthcare in Underserved Areas of Illinois
Federal Funding will Upgrade Health Information Technology for 1,600 Providers Across the State
CHICAGO – December 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that $1.3 million in federal funding was awarded to three Illinois not-for-profit organizations to help them upgrade health information technology services in underserved areas of the state. The grants made possible by the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) as part of its White Space Grant Program will connect providers in the Metro-Chicago area, Central and Southern Illinois. The OHIT anticipates the grants will enable more than 1,600 individual providers to connect with more than 48 health care organizations serving hundreds of thousands of patients every year.

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