Monday, August 31, 2009

First Human West Nile Virus Case in Illinois for 2009 Reported

From the Illinois Dept. of Public Health

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first human West Nile virus case reported in Illinois for 2009. The St. Clair County Health Department reported a person in their 50s with onset of illness in late August.

“We’ve seen cooler temperatures this summer and not as much West Nile virus activity compared to warmer summers. However, this first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois should remind people that the threat is still there. People should protect themselves against mosquitoes by wearing insect repellent and by trying to reduce any standing water around their homes, especially with the upcoming holiday weekend,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

So far this year, 24 counties have reported mosquito batches or birds testing positive for West Nile virus.

In 2008, IDPH reported the first positive mosquito samples on May 23 in DuPage and Tazewell counties. The Department reported the first human case of West Nile virus in 2008 on August 11. Last year, 28 of the state’s 102 counties reported having a West Nile positive bird, mosquito sample, horse or human case. Twenty human cases of West Nile disease, including one death, were reported for 2008.

Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began on May 1 and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds as well as the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported until July or later.

Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible.

Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Public health officials believe that a hot summer increases mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at

CAMPAIGN 2010: Eric Wallace (R), Candidate for U.S. Senate

August 20, 2009 - From Springfield: we talk one-on-one with Eric Wallace, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Dr. Damon Arnold on Fighting the H1N1 Virus

August 18, 2009 - From Springfield: we go one-on-one with Dr. Damon Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, to learn how his department is preparing for the fall flu season and how they plan on combating the H1N1 virus.

Olympian Bart Conner at Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

August 12, 2009 - From Chicago: we attend the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and hear why political leaders think bringing the 2016 Summer Games to Chicago will benefit the entire state.

Congressman Aaron Schock (R)

August 21, 2009 - From Springfield: our one-on-one conversation with Congressman Aaron Schock. Nine months after becoming the youngest member of Congress, we hear what he sees as the most important part of being a congressman and what he would like to have included in healthcare reform.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senate Republicans Note Gov. Quinn Takes Action on Passed Legislation

From the Illinois Senate Republicans

SPRINGFIELD – Working to meet the deadline to act on more than 800 bills lawmakers approved this year, Gov. Pat Quinn was busy this week approving—and vetoing—the remaining legislation waiting his consideration, according to State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria).

In his most signification action, Quinn vetoed a campaign finance bill Aug. 27 that had drawn criticism from virtually every major reform organization in Illinois, the media and many lawmakers.

Risinger commended the Governor’s decision, noting that House Bill 7 was a loophole-laden measure, with contribution limits that were too high and broad definitions that would hinder the legislation’s effectiveness. Republicans and reform groups noted that although the measure would have enforced the first limits ever on campaign contributions, the limits were so high that they would have been largely ineffective.

Under the provisions of House Bill 7, individuals would have been allowed to donate $5,000, businesses and associations could have donated $10,000 and political committees could advance candidates up to $90,000 a year—all significantly higher limits than those proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission, a panel established by Quinn to identify areas in need of reform.

He said that the Governor’s veto gives lawmakers an opportunity to craft campaign finance reform that shows the public they are serious about limiting political contributions and increasing transparency.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expected to work with the Governor and good government groups in the coming months to craft a new reform measure that incorporates ideas and suggestions from all parties. Senate Republicans are pushing for a number of additions to the reform package, including more stringent campaign finance limits, legislation that would allow for a recall provision in the state’s constitution, revising how the state draws its legislative districts, and a special election to fill any future U.S. Senate seat vacancies.

Legislation recently signed into law includes:

Abuse (HB 3649/PA 96-0692): Requires the Department of Public Health to investigate every allegation of abuse, and requires hospital employees to report any suspected abuse.

Adoption (HB 756/PA 96-0661): Makes it easier for birth parents to access attorneys by allowing prospective adoptive parents to make payments to attorneys representing birth parents earlier in the process and before formal court approval.

Blind Vendors (SB 2045/PA 96-0644): Creates the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind, and requires priority be given to blind vendors in the operation of vending facilities on state property.

Child Protection (SB 145/PA 96-0651): Allows a parent who has a child with an order of protection to ask the clerk of the circuit court to send a certified copy of the order of protection to a daycare, school, etc. so they know not to allow access to the protected child’s records.

Counterfeiting (SB 1631/PA 96-0631): Strengthens penalties for those possessing, selling, marketing, and transporting counterfeit goods.

Credit Checks (SB 340/PA 96-0619): Requires the Department of Child and Family Services to conduct annual credit checks on children, to prevent and deter child identity theft.

Custody (HB 2283/PA 96-0676): Requires the court to consider the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that was completed prior to deployment and prevents a parent’s inability to comply with a court order due to deployment from being the basis for modifying a custody order.

Dependent Insurance Coverage (HB 4241/PA 96-0756): Changes the age of dependent coverage for an unmarried child from 23 to 24 years old, and adds an unmarried child age 19 to 24 who is on a medical leave of absence from a college of university to the definition of dependent, for purposes of continuing life insurance coverage.

Disaster Preparedness (HB 3922/PA 96-0698): Requires the Department of Public Health to investigate the causes of dangerously contagious or infectious disease, and the health effects, health condition, or health ailments related to biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear event.

DUI (HB 881/PA 96-0667): Requires a person convicted of a DUI violation to pay an additional fee of $50 to the Roadside Memorial Fund.

Early Voting (SB 1801/PA 96-0637): Requires any permanent early voting polling place to stay open for at least eight hours on any holiday during the early voting period and for a minimum of 14 hours on the final weekend of the early voting period.

Eavesdropping (HB 1057/PA 96-0670): Expands the state’s eavesdropping exemption to allow in-car camera and audio recordings of situations where the officer has made an enforcement stop, or where the patrol vehicle lights have been activated or would have been activated if not for the need to conceal the patrol car’s presence.

Education Technology (SB 2277/PA 96-0647): Creates a pilot project for digital technology in the classroom.

Expulsion (SB 1718/PA 96-0633): Gives a school district more flexibility in expulsions, especially for look-a-like weapons.

Expungement (SB 1030/PA 96-0707): Allows expungement of a juvenile offender’s first offense when they turn 18 years of age, if it is a misdemeanor and certain other conditions are met.

Green Career Grant (HB 740/PA 96-0659): Requires the State Board of Education to establish a state grant program that develops two-year pilot programs to assist in the creation and promotion of green career and technical education programs in public secondary schools.

Medicaid Reimbursement (HB 415/PA 96-0743): Requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to annually update and adjust the nursing component of the Medicaid rate under the MDS payment methodology to provide Medicaid reimbursement to people in nursing homes on ventilators, and requires the MDS Medicaid payment methodology to provide a separate per diem ventilator rate based on days of service.

Mexican-American History (SB 1557/PA 96-0629): Requires the Study of Mexican-American History curriculum in every public elementary school and high school.

Mississippi River Port District (SB 1784/PA 96-0636): Creates the Upper Mississippi River International Port District, which has the power to issue certain permits, the power to locate, establish, and maintain a public airport, the power to acquire former military bases, the power of eminent domain, and the power to issue bonds.

RSDS Education (HB 9/PA 96-0605): Requires Department of Public Health to establish a Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Education Program to promote public awareness of the syndrome and the importance of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (SB 212/PA 96-0613): Allows healthcare professionals to prescribe antibiotics to the partner of a patient with a sexually-transmitted disease without requiring an office visit by that partner.

Stalking (HB 2542/PA 96-0686): Changes the stalking and cyber-stalking laws to prohibit conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress.

Veteran Home Staffing (HB 3970/PA 96-0699): Provides that the Department of Veterans Affairs must employ and maintain a sufficient and qualified staff at veterans’ homes in order to fill all beds.

Victims Rights (SB 1770/PA 96-0635): Establishes that employers cannot discriminate against victims of domestic or sexual violence and requires employers to allow employees who are victims of domestic abuse to take unpaid leave to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance.


Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady on Veto of Campaign Reform Legislation

From the Illinois Republican Party

August 27, 2009 - “Today’s decision by Governor Quinn to veto the campaign reform legislation was a necessary step to getting real change and reform in Illinois.

“It is a shame the Blagojevich Democrats who control Illinois government did not pass tougher reforms this spring, but hopefully when the legislature returns in October they will take a serious look at the problems facing Illinois and pass meaningful reform.”

IL Guard Members Make Pilgramage in Poland

Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Stephanie McCurry, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

Photo Caption
Left: 1st Lt. Jermey Dugena, of Gilberts; Staff Sgt. Driscoll Augustine, of Staunton; 2nd Lt. Andrew Payne, of Edwardsville; Sgt. David Sworobowicz, of Springfield; 2nd Lt. Veronica Kool, of Springfield; Sgt. Ernesto Flores, of Chicago; Cpt. Cole Namken, of Decatur and Staff Sgt. Steven Martin, of Urbana; take a moment for a photo in downtown Warsaw before they begin their 137 mile walk. The eight Illinois National Guardsmen participated in the annual Polish pilgrimage walking from Warsaw to Czestochowa in 10 days

SPRINGFIELD – Imagine walking from Peoria to Aurora. In August, eight Illinois National Guard members did just that, except in a foreign country, Poland. Six Soldiers and two Airmen walked 137 miles, beginning in Warsaw and ending in Czestochowa, in 10 days for the annual Polish pilgrimage. The Illinois guardsmen walked with a group of approximately 300 people that included Polish, German and Slovakian Soldiers.

Every year thousands of Catholics from around the world go to Poland to participate in the ceremonial walk to Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa, the site of the revered Black Madonna icon. Their journey began with an early morning mass at the field cathedral of the Polish Army. Every day the group attended mass regardless of their various faiths and beliefs. During the 12-hour walk each day, they were treated with prayers, songs and sermons in German, Polish, Italian and English broadcasted through large speakers carried by participants. Local civilians provided pilgrimage participants with food, refreshments and encouragement along the route. Every night the Illinois guardsmen slept in tents provided by the Polish Armed Forces.

“I was told numerous times by Polish Soldiers that they got a kick out of the fact that the German Soldiers and American Soldiers were communicating to each other through their Polish translators,” said Sgt. David Sworobowicz, of Springfield, Illinois Army National Guard. Local farmers stood along the route and handed out their fruit and vegetables to everyone walking in the pilgrimage. The cities also worked together to offer soups and bread for lunch everyday. The other breaks they had throughout the day were at numerous churches.

“The civilians’ generosity along the way is unmatched,” said 2nd Lt. Veronica Kool, of Springfield, Illinois Army National Guard.

“All along the route, the Polish stood waiting outside their homes offering whatever food they had to give.”

“The religious experience gained from this exercise is above and beyond rewarding,” said Sworobowicz. “I can only hope to do it again sometime.”

The trip ended at Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa with the military pilgrimage walking the last half mile or so through thousands of supportive spectators that waved, shook their hands, gave hugs and took pictures of the group.

“It is not everyday that you get to travel overseas for a friendly noncombative operation,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Dugena, of Gilberts, Illinois Army National Guard. “From the arrival in Poland, the Polish Army were incredible hosts making sure we had everything we needed.”

Illinois guardsmen participated in the pilgrimage to commemorate the 1655 Polish victory over Sweden and to build a stronger relationship with the Polish. The National Guard sponsored State Partnership Program (SPP) between the Illinois National Guard and Republic of Poland was established in 1993. The SPP links National Guard states and territories with their partner countries to foster mutual interests and establishing long-term relationships across all levels of society. Through the SPP, Illinois Army and Air National Guard service members have participated in annual, joint training exchanges with military forces of the Republic of Poland.

“Their professionalism and maturity are what I desire in every group of guardsmen who come to Poland,” said Maj. James Fisher, Bilateral Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Warsaw. “They promoted the State Partnership Program with flying colors and are model diplomats of our country.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gov Quinn Vetoes Campaign Finance Bill

Chicago – August 27, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today vetoed campaign finance House Bill 7 saying Illinois deserves a stronger and better election reform law. At the ceremony announcing his veto, Governor Quinn was joined by the General Assembly’s four party leaders and community activists.

“I think we can do better. I look forward to working with Democrat and Republican leaders, activists and everyday citizens on improving our state election campaign laws and restoring the public’s faith in our democratic process,” said Governor Quinn. (Veto message attached.)
Among those attending the veto signing: House Speaker Michael Madigan; Senate President John Cullerton; House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

“By beginning the process anew, we have the opportunity to bring together the Governor, legislators of both parties, and public watchdog groups to develop a comprehensive plan that sets limits on contributions and provides for more public scrutiny of those contributions,” said Radogno.

Also attending were George Ranney, president and CEO of Metropolis 2020 and co-chair of CHANGE Illinois!, and Cindy Canary, director of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

"The Governor and the legislative leaders are to be commended for agreeing to veto HB7 and to begin work immediately on a new version of campaign finance limits,” said Ranney. “The members of the CHANGE Illinois! coalition are committed to working with Governor and members of the Illinois General Assembly.”

Canary of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said, “Too many election campaigns have been fueled by large donations from special interests. We need a limits system that breaks that reliance on big contributors and encourages small donors and voters to participate more fully in the electoral process. We are open to discussing the details of a new system of campaign contribution limits, but we will not compromise on these principles.”

During the veto signing session, Governor Quinn also outlined a series of major government and political reforms he initiated and supported this year.

“We have made great strides during this Year of Reform and I intend to do much more,” Governor Quinn said.

Photos from Illinois State Fair Now Available on Flickr!

All of the Illinois Channel's photos from the Governor's Day & Republican Day Rallies at the Illinois State Fair are now available on Flickr! Click here to view the album. You never know...maybe a picture of you is included!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CAMPAIGN 2010: Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Candidate for Comptroller

August 19, 2009 - Democratic Candidate for Comptroller, Raja Krishnamoorthi, speaks to us about his candidacy during Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Congressman Mark Kirk (R), Candidate for U.S. Senate

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, Congressman Mark Kirk, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Vice President Biden's Remarks on the Death of Sen. Kennedy

Vice President Biden, who served with Sen. Kennedy in the Senate since 1973, delivered his remarks at the Dept. of Energy


I had planned on speaking to the Clean Cities Program as one of the several initiatives we have to begin to reshape our energy policy. But as if Teddy were here, as we would say in the Senate, if you'd excuse a point of personal privilege, I quite frankly think it's -- would be inappropriate for me to dwell too much on the initiative that we're announcing today and not speak to my friend.

My wife Jill, and my sons Beau and Hunter, and my daughter Ashley -- and I don't say that lightly, because they all knew Teddy, he did something personal and special for each one of them in their lives -- truly, truly are distressed by his passing. And our hearts go out to Teddy Jr., and Patrick and Kara, and Vicki, with whom I spoke this morning, and the whole Kennedy family.

Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America. And for 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and literally, not figuratively sitting next to him, and being witness to history. Every single day the Senate was in session, I sat with him on the Senate floor in the same aisle. I sat with him on the Judiciary Committee next -- physically next to him. And I sat with him in the caucuses. And it was in that process, every day I was with him -- and this is going to sound strange -- but he restored my sense of idealism and my faith in the possibilities of what this country could do.

He and I were talking after his diagnosis. And I said, I think you're the only other person I've met, who like me, is more optimistic, more enthusiastic, more idealistic, sees greater possibilities after 36 years than when we were elected. He was 30 years-old when he was elected; I was 29 years-old. And you'd think that would be the peak of our idealism. But I genuinely feel more optimistic about the prospect for my country today than I did -- I have been any time in my life.

And it was infectious when you were with him. You could see it, those of you who knew him and those of you who didn't know him. You could just see it in the nature of his debate, in the nature of his embrace, in the nature of how he every single day attacked these problems. And, you know, he was never defeatist. He never was petty -- never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger -- both his adversaries as well as his allies.

Don't you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan, liberal men in the last century serving in the Senate had so many of his -- so many of his foes embracing him, because they know he made them bigger, he made them more graceful by the way in which he conducted himself.

You know, he changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans -- in the literal sense, literally -- literally changed the circumstances. He changed also another aspect of it as I observed about him -- he changed not only the physical circumstance, he changed how they looked at themselves and how they looked at one another. That's a remarkable, remarkable contribution for any man or woman to make. And for the hundreds, if not thousands, of us who got to know him personally, he actually -- how can I say it -- he altered our lives as well.

Through the grace of God and accident of history I was privileged to be one of those people and every important event in my adult life -- as I look back this morning and talking to Vicki -- every single one, he was there. He was there to encourage, to counsel, to be empathetic, to lift up. In 1972 I was a 29 year old kid with three weeks left to go in a campaign, him showing up at the Delaware Armory in the middle of what we called Little Italy -- who had never voted nationally by a Democrat -- I won by 3,100 votes and got 85 percent of the vote in that district, or something to that effect. I literally would not be standing here were it not for Teddy Kennedy --not figuratively, this is not hyperbole -- literally.

He was there -- he stood with me when my wife and daughter were killed in an accident. He was on the phone with me literally every day in the hospital, my two children were attempting, and, God willing, thankfully survived very serious injuries. I'd turn around and there would be some specialist from Massachusetts, a doc I never even asked for, literally sitting in the room with me.

You know, it's not just me that he affected like that -- it's hundreds upon hundreds of people. I was talking to Vicki this morning and she said -- she said, "He was ready to go, Joe, but we were not ready to let him go."

He's left a great void in our public life and a hole in the hearts of millions of Americans and hundreds of us who were affected by his personal touch throughout our lives. People like me, who came to rely on him. He was kind of like an anchor. And unlike many important people in my 38 years I've had the privilege of knowing, the unique thing about Teddy was it was never about him. It was always about you. It was never about him. It was people I admire, great women and men, at the end of the day gets down to being about them. With Teddy it was never about him.

Well, today we lost a truly remarkable man. To paraphrase Shakespeare: I don't think we shall ever see his like again. I think the legacy he left is not just in the landmark legislation he passed, but in how he helped people look at themselves and look at one another.

I apologize for us not being able to go into more detail about the energy bill, but I just think for me, at least, it was inappropriate today. And I'm sure there will be much more that will be said about my friend and your friend, but -- he changed the political landscape for almost half a century. I just hope -- we say blithely, you know, we'll remember what we did. I just hope we'll remember how he treated other people and how he made other people look at themselves and look at one another. That will be the truly fundamental, unifying legacy of Teddy Kennedy's life if that happens -- and it will for a while, at least in the Senate.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Rep. David Miller (D), Candidate for Comptroller

August 19, 2009 - Democratic Candidate for Comptroller, Rep. David Miller, speaks to us about his candidacy during Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Dan Proft (R), Candidate for Governor

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for Governor, Dan Proft, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Adam Kinzinger (R), Candidate for Illinois' 11th Congressional District

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for Illinois' 11th Congressional District, Adam Kinzinger, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Andy McKenna, Former Chair of the Illinois Republican Party

August 20, 2009 - Former Illinois Republican Party Chair, Andy McKenna, speaks to us about his decision to resign his post and what that means for the future of the Illinois Republican Party.

CAMPAIGN 2010: John Arrington (R), Candidate for U.S. Senate

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, John Arrington, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Gov Quinn's Statement on the Death of Sen. Kennedy

Chicago – August 26, 2009. “Senator Ted Kennedy was a true American patriot. He fought for civil rights, decent health care and dignity for all people. He will be deeply missed throughout our state and nation.

Senator Kennedy was an optimist, believing that our country’s finest chapters are still to be written. May his work remind us of the importance of dedicating ourselves to serving our country.

Illinois has a high regard and fondness for the Kennedy family, which has played a significant role in our state’s political, business and civic communities. Senator Kennedy’s family remains in my thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.”


CAMPAIGN 2010: Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Candidate for Re-Election

August 19, 2009 - Democratic Candidate for Re-Election, Gov. Pat Quinn, speaks to us about his candidacy during Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Sen. Matt Murphy (R), Candidate for Governor

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for Governor, Sen. Matt Murphy, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Rep. Mike Boland (D), Candidate for Lt. Governor

August 19, 2009 - Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor, Rep. Mike Boland, speaks to us about his candidacy during Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Sen. Kennedy to be Buried at Arlington

The Washington Post is reporting that Sen. Edward Kennedy will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, near the graves of his brothers John, and Robert Kennedy.

CAMPAIGN 2010: Adam Andrzejewski (R), Candidate for Governor

August 20, 2009 - Republican Candidate for Governor, Adam Andrzejewski, speaks to us about his candidacy during Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Programming from August 24, 2009 - Republican Day Rally at the Illinois State Fair

August 20, 2009 - From the State Fairgrounds in Springfield: Republican office-holders address their party faithful at the Illinois State Fair's annual Republican Day rally.

Programming from August 24, 2009 - Governor's Day Rally at the Illinois State Fair

August 19, 2009 - From the State Fairgrounds in Springfield: Democrats holding statewide office and those campaigning for statewide office address the party faithful at the Illinois State Fair's annual Governor's Day rally.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Andy McKenna, Former Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party

CAMPAIGN 2010: Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Candidate for Re-Election

CAMPAIGN 2010: Dan Proft (R), Candidate for Governor

CAMPAIGN 2010: Sen. Matt Murphy (R), Candidate for Governor

CAMPAIGN 2010: Rep. David Miller (D), Candidate for Comptroller

CAMPAIGN 2010: Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Candidate for Comptroller

CAMPAIGN 2010: Congressman Mark Kirk (R), Candidate for U.S. Senate

CAMPAIGN 2010: Adam Kinzinger (R), Candidate for Illinois' 11th Congressional District

CAMPAIGN 2010: Rep. Mike Boland (D), Candidate for Lt. Governor

CAMPAIGN 2010: Adam Andrzejewski (R), Candidate for Governor

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Programming from August 17, 2009 - Lincoln's New Salem

May 9, 2005 - From Petersburg: Springfield is known as the home of Abraham Lincoln, but just 20 miles northwest of Springfield is the reconstructed town of New Salem, where Lincoln spent his early adulthood. We show you where Lincoln's rail splitter image was burnished, where he tried and failed in business, and where he began his legal education. In addition to its Lincoln legacies, New Salem's "living history" offers visitors a fascinating look at the challenges of living and surviving in a small Illinois town of the 1830s.

Programming from August 17, 2009 - Darwin Burkhart of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

September 26, 2008 - From Chicago: we go one-on-one with Darwin Burkhart of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. We hear what role alternative fuels may hold for the future of our family car and in fueling our economy.

Programming from August 17, 2009 - Dan Proft (R), Candidate for Governor

May 24, 2009 - From Chicago: Contributing Correspondent Jeff Berkowitz talks with Dan Proft, Republican candidate for Governor. This interview was conducted just prior to Mr. Proft's official entry into the race.

Programming from August 10, 2009 - It All Flows Downstream: Following our Oil & Water Footprints

July 15, 2009 - From the Field Museum in Chicago: another installment of the Illinois Humanities Council's series looking at the issues facing our use of oil and water. In this segment, panelists discuss how we should consider our oil and water footprints, not just our carbon footprint.

Programming from August 10, 2009 - Dalitso Sulamoyo, President & CEO of the Illinois Assn. of Community Action Agencies

July 31, 2009 - From Springfield: a conversation with Dalitso Sulamoyo, President & CEO of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies. We hear how state budget cuts are affecting the delivery of social services, how an influx of federal funds are expanding some services, and more on how social services are delivered through nonprofit agencies across Illinois.

Programming from August 10, 2009 - Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin

August 4, 2009 - From Springfield: we go one-on-one with Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, who is the incoming President of the Illinois Municipal League. Mayor Davlin talks about the impact of a down economy on city governments, the challenge of rising pension costs on cities, and what he would like to see change in the relationship between the state of Illinois and city government.

Illinois Senate Holds Hearing on Redistricting

August 18, 2009 - Senator Kwane Raoul chairs a Senate committee hearing on the redistricting of legislative and congressional districts to follow the 2010 census.

BREAKING NEWS: Chris Kennedy WILL NOT Run in 2010

Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy, has decided not to run for U.S. Senator or Governor of Illinois in 2010.

For more information, click here.

Columnist Robert Novak Has Died at the Age of 78

Washington Columnist Robert Novak has died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 78.

Mr. Novak was a native of Joliet and a graduate of the University of Illinois.

For more information, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Illinois State Fair Weather Cancellations for Monday, August 17

From the Office of the Illinois State Fair

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois State Fair officials announced schedule changes today due to the rain. Today’s harness races have been postponed. All racing scheduled for today has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 2 p.m., weather permitting.

The truck and tractor pulls scheduled for today have been cancelled. However, the pulls scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday will still be held, weather permitting.

Tickets for today’s truck and tractor pulls will be refunded as follows:
  • Customers who purchased tickets through TicketMaster by phone or internet will be automatically credited for their purchase. If tickets were purchased at a TicketMaster outlet, they should be taken back to the purchase location for an immediate refund.
  • Tickets purchased at the Grandstand box office cannot be refunded at the Grandstand. A refund form may picked up at the state fair box office or downloaded on the state fair web site at . The refund form must be returned to the Grandstand box office with the tickets attached to the form. Questions should be directed to the box office at 217-782-1979.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Governor Quinn and IDNR Announce Water Conservation Effort at the Illinois State Fair

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

SPRINGFIELD – While cutting the ribbon to officially open the 2009 Conservation World, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced an effort to help Illinois residents do their part to conserve water and protect a vital resource.

As part of Governor Quinn’s ongoing effort to make Illinois a “green leader” throughout the United States, Illinois residents can now register for one of three chances to win a free 55-gallon hand-painted rain barrel. Registrations are now being accepted online at The public can also register in person at either the Governor’s Tent on Main Street at the Illinois State Fair or the IDNR Director’s Tent located just inside the main entrance to Conservation World on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The fair runs through August 23 and online registrations will be accepted through September 12.

“Fresh, clean water is one of the greatest natural resources we have,” said Governor Quinn. “Rain barrels help conserve water while saving your home from unnecessary water damage and your pocketbook from excessive bills.”

“Illinois residents in every corner of the state have seen the effects of neighborhood flooding and periodic drought in recent years,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “Using a rain barrel to collect rainwater for use on the lawn or in the garden is a great way to conserve a valuable resource, save on your water bill, and perhaps divert some stormwater runoff that can damage your home.”

Collecting water in rain barrels can:
  • Reduces the amount of stormwater flow on city and neighborhood drainage infrastructure
  • Lower monthly water bills by using collected water to irrigate gardens, house plants and lawns
  • Reduces pollution from runoff in your local lakes and streams

One inch of rainfall on a typical residential roof can produce 625 gallons of water – enough to fill 11 rain barrels. Because Illinois typically receives 36 inches of rainfall a year, a standard 55-gallon rain barrel could be filled 400 times in a 12-month period. That’s especially helpful during the summer months, when nearly half of all water usage goes toward watering lawns and gardens.

Illinois State Fair visitors are encouraged to visit Conservation World’s “Permeable Pavement” and “Pervious Concrete” displays. These displays provide additional examples of efforts to reduce stormwater runoff, which helps minimize the risk of flooding.

The three painted rain barrels were donated by Austin Grammer of Prairie Rain Harvester out of Farmer City, Illinois ( The artists featured on the barrels are Felicia Olin of Springfield, Sharon Jackson of Urbana, and Erin Dady of Champaign.

Illinois Department of Insurance Issues Order Against Universal Casualty Company

From the Illinois Department of Insurance

August 12, 2009 - CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Insurance has issued an Order against Universal Casualty Company (UCC) for failing to adopt and maintain procedures for the prompt investigation and settlement of consumers’ claims. On August 11, 2009, the Department ordered UCC, an automobile insurance company based in Elk Grove Village which does business in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri, to pay a $200,000 fine and correct its claims processes immediately.

In January 2008, the Department ordered the company to create and maintain improved claims investigation and resolution procedures. The Department continued, however, to receive complaints from consumers based on UCC's failure to properly address or resolve property damage and liability claims. Acting on behalf of Illinois consumers, the Department initiated additional punitive measures and a new investigation of UCC on July 27, 2009.

The Department's Order entered August 11, 2009, imposes a fine of $200,000 on UCC -- $100,000 of which is payable in the event that the Department’s current examination finds that UCC’s corrective measures are unsatisfactory. The Order also requires that UCC must re-visit and satisfactorily resolve several hundred previous consumer complaints. UCC has informed the Department of its effort to institute corrective measures, including the engagement of new management.

If the company fails to undertake reforms as required by the Order, the Department will take further disciplinary measures.

More InformationThe Department’s mission is to protect consumers by providing assistance and information, by efficiently regulating the insurance industry’s market behavior and financial solvency, and by fostering a competitive insurance marketplace. The Department assists consumers with all insurance complaints, including health, auto and homeowners. Consumers in need of information or assistance should visit the Department’s web site at or call our toll-free hotline at (877) 527-9431.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Giannoulias Endorsed by Working Families of UNITE HERE, UFCW, UA and Illinois Pipe Trades

From the Campaign Office of Alexi Giannoulias for U.S. Senate

Chicago, IL -- Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ U.S. Senate campaign gained new momentum today as he received the backing of several prominent labor unions.

“I’m honored to receive the support of working men and women from across the state of Illinois,” Giannoulias said. “To get this economy moving again and to create the jobs of the 21st Century, we must reject the failed politics of the past and move our country forward. We must stand up for affordable healthcare, stand up for tax relief for the middle class and stand up for a more honest, transparent government. I’m proud to stand with the working men and women of organized labor.”

Giannoulias received the backing of Unite Here Local 1, UFCW Local 1546, UFCW Local 881, UA International and the Illinois Pipe Trades Association.

“We’re pleased Alexi is running for the U.S. Senate and are proud to support him. He has demonstrated a commitment to working people, and is willing to stand with them in their times of sharpest struggle.”

- Henry Tamarin, Local 1 UNITE HERE President.

“Our union is proud to endorse the U.S. Senate Candidacy of Alexi Giannoulias. He has demonstrated from the very beginning of his political career that he will always stand up for what is right especially when it comes to protecting the livelihoods of working families and lifting the economic standards of our community.”

- Kenneth R. Boyd, Local 1546 President United Food and Commercial Workers and International Vice President.

“Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has supported the causes and concerns important to workers in the retail industry. He shares our concerns for obtaining affordable healthcare for all Americans and ensuring that every worker, no matter who they are, has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. As a son of first generation immigrants, Alexi understands the obstacles working families are facing, especially in the current economy. He has put that work ethic to the test throughout his tenure as Illinois State Treasurer and has led the office in a proactive, positive direction. We believe Alexi will carry that same fighting spirit to Washington where many tough issues are facing working families at a nation level.”

“Alexi Giannoulias has earned the support of Local 881 UFCW and we are proud to endorse his candidacy as a fighter and a friend of working families. Alexi is the candidate for U.S. Senate that has the talent and refreshing ideas to effectively guide us through these tough times.”

-- Ronald E. Powell, President Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers and International Vice President.

"As the first union to endorse President Barack Obama, we’re very pleased to be able to do the same for our friend Alexi Giannoulias for the seat once held by the President. Treasurer Giannoulias is not only an experienced and professional statesman, but is also a man of high moral character. It’s this combination of professional and personal commitment that makes him the best choice to lead the people of Illinois.”

“We need a leader who will make restoring the public’s trust and confidence in government and its elected leaders a priority. Chicago’s Treasurer Giannoulias’ commitment to pursuing a progressive, reform agenda that is designed to address ethical abuses along with his commitment to fiscal responsibility, has established him as the right choice for the office of U.S. Senate to represent working families from Illinois.”

--William P. Hite, International President United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.

“Alexi Giannoulias has shown time and time again that he is a true friend to working people. As Treasurer he has strived to protect the financial interests of our members and all working-class families in Illinois with his pioneering programs aimed at helping people secure mortgage loans, avoid predatory lending, save for college tuition, recover lost property and protect assets. He has also worked to use his position to encourage the use of investment to further industry and job growth around the state.”

“We were proud to be one of the first labor organizations to endorse Alexi for Illinois Treasurer and are proud to be one of the first to endorse him for U.S. Senate. His support of current administration policies, ethical commitment to not accept corporate PAC and federal lobbyist money and his proven ability to bring positive change through innovative leadership shows he is the right person to fill President Obama’s shoes in the role of junior Senator in Illinois."

-- Larry Swope, Executive Director Illinois Pipe Trades Association.

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Durbin Statement on the Confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor

From the Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

August 6, 2009 - [WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after the Senate voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court:

“When the doors of the Supreme Court open for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the doors of opportunity open wider in America.”

“In the history of the United States, 110 Supreme Court Justices have served under our Constitution; 106 of them have been white males. We’ve had only two women justices and only two African-Americans. She will be the first Latina ever appointed to the Supreme Court. In life and in our nation, if you want to be the first, you have to be the best. Sonia Sotomayor surely measures up to that high standard and I’m proud to have supported her nomination.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Durbin: Senate Approves Nearly $8.5 Million for Illinois Agriculture Projects

From the Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

August 4, 2009 - [WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said that the Senate has approved $8,478,000 for Illinois projects with the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bill for Agriculture, Rural Development and FDA includes funding for the following Illinois projects and programs:

  • Biotechnology Research Development Corporation (BRDC), Peoria. $3,500,000 in funding to facilitate the development of technologies in the areas of livestock productivity, crop yields, and veterinary medicine. BRDC is a unique biotechnology consortium that allows private companies to enter into research and development agreements with federal labs in areas such as agriculture, biotechnology and healthcare. BRDC does not conduct research or employ its own scientific staff - instead they seek out and fund research programs of commercial/scientific interest.
  • Center for One Medicine, Champaign-Urbana. $500,000 in funding to the University of Illinois for research, education and outreach efforts to improve our nation’s preparedness to respond to natural and intentional exposure to biological, chemical, and physical threats to public health.
  • DuPage County Watershed Initiative. $1,000,000 in funding to address watershed management issues in the Kress Creek and Salt Creek Watersheds. Funding will address problems associated with the increased incidence of flooding in DuPage County and communities will benefit from reduced water levels.
  • Illinois Conservation Initiative, Statewide. $576,000 to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for statewide conservation efforts, including wildlife management, wetlands and wildlife habitat restoration, and invasive species control. Funding will also support conservation education efforts.
  • National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Summit-Argo. $2,077,000 in funding to continue FDA food safety and security research, including advanced detection technologies and preventive control research, at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST). NCFST is housed at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
  • Soybean Research, Champaign-Urbana. $400,000 in funding to the University of Illinois for continuing soybean research, using genomics and genetic engineering to improve drought resistance, disease tolerance, and resistance to soybean cyst nematode and soybean rust.
  • Urban Horticulture and Marketing, Chicago. $175,000 in funding for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program that teaches individuals with few job opportunities valuable job skills and provides access to new employment opportunities.
  • World Food and Health Initiative, Champaign-Urbana. $250,000 in funding to the University of Illinois to establish, operate, and institutionalize a World Food and Health Center which will support research and education focused on nutrition, food and health.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gov Quinn Statement on Resignation of Niranjan Shah

CHICAGO – August 3, 2009. The Governor has received a letter of resignation from Niranjan S. Shah, chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

The Governor issued the following statement:

“I accept Niranjan S. Shah’s resignation. I thank him for his years of service and efforts to promote diversity at the University of Illinois. A search for his successor will begin immediately.”

U of I Board of Trustees Chairman, Niranjan Shah Resigns

The Associated Press is reporting that Niranjan Shah, the Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, has submitted his resignation.

Shah's resignation comes as a commission appointed by Gov Quinn, is hearing testimony of allegations of political clout being used to get unqualified students admitted into the university. Last week, Trustee Lawrence Eppley also submitted his resignation.

Note the Illinois Channel is carrying coverage of this story on our website. There you can see what U of I Presidents James Stukel, Stanley Ikenberry, and current President B. Joseph White, had to say to the Admissions Review Commission.

From the Sun-Times: Gov Jim Edgar's Philanthropy Supports Illinois Channel

by Dave McKinney, in the Aug 3, 2009 Chicago Sun-Times

In June, former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar -- who left office in early 1999 -- dipped into his still-sizable campaign fund to write a check for $25,000 to the Mahomet Public Library near his Downstate home.

It was the largest single private donation the library has ever gotten. And it represents a continuing philanthropic push by the ex-governor, funded by the nearly $680,000 he still has in his campaign fund more than a decade after finishing his political career.

When Edgar left office, he took $1 million of his $2.8 million campaign fund and gave it to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in what was thought to be one of the largest charitable donations made by an Illinois politician.

With the remaining money, Edgar has kept on giving to charities. So far, Edgar has devoted more to not-for-profit groups in 2009 than in almost every other year since he made that $1 million gift to Ronald McDonald House, which focuses on sick children and their families. Since January, Edgar has given $25,000 to the C-SPAN-like Illinois Channel and $10,000 to the Eastern Illinois University Foundation, which represents his collegiate alma mater.

Full Article:,CST-NWS-watchcorner03.article

CAMPAIGN 2010: Justin Oberman (D), Candidate for Lt. Governor

May 20, 2009 - From the State Capitol in Springfield: Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, Justin Oberman, tells us why he is running and reviews some of his previous experience in the Federal government.

To View His Interview Click on the Link

CAMPAIGN 2010: State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) Answers Questions About His U.S. Senate Candidacy

July 26, 2009 - From Springfield: following his formal announcement as a candidate for the United States Senate, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias takes reporters' questions about fundraising and policy positions.

CAMPAIGN 2010: State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D), Candidate for U.S. Senate

July 26, 2009 - From Springfield: State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias announces his entry into the race for United States Senate.

University of Illinois President B. Joseph White

July 27, 2009 - From the University of Illinois in Urbana: University of Illinois President B. Joseph White testifies in front of the Illinois Admissions Review Commission on admission policies and how pressure was used to admit students who were politically connected.

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