Civic News & Info
Governor Quinn Takes Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:36

Governor Quinn Announces Leading Scrap Metal Recycling Company Will Move to Illinois; Relocation to Create Around 40 Jobs, Support 198 Construction Jobs

 CHICAGO – January 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that one of the Midwest’s leading scrap metal recyclers, Becker Iron & Metal, Inc., will relocate its headquarters from St. Louis, Missouri to Venice, Illinois. The company’s move will help create at least 42 permanent Illinois jobs and support another 198 construction jobs as part of an overall $4 million investment in Madison County.

“We are continuing to take the necessary steps to increase our competitiveness in the global economy, which is why more businesses are choosing to move to Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “We are stabilizing our fiscal climate, investing in state-of-the-art transportation infrastructure and supporting emerging green technologies – and it’s giving us an edge over competing states.”

The $4 million construction project will be partially financed by a $928,400 grant administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Freight Rail Program. The grant will help finance construction activities, including new rail track, radiation detection and lighting.

Becker Iron & Metal is a fourth-generation, family-owned company that has served the scrap metal industry for more than a century. The new state-of-the art facility in Venice will accommodate the shipment of more than 500 railcars of scrap metal per year. Becker is currently preparing final engineering plans for the site, and occupancy on the new facility is expected in June 2011.

“This agreement exemplifies a great partnership between the private and public sectors to stimulate the regional economy,” Becker Iron & Metal President Mike Becker said. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the state of Illinois.”

“The cooperation among state and company officials was critical in this success story,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “Most importantly, however, this move again proves that Illinois’ robust transportation network is one of many advantages our state offers businesses.”

“This is a great example of how our collective efforts are helping to bring greater economic development and creating jobs in all areas of the state,” said Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley. “I would like to congratulate Becker on their expansion and look forward to their continued growth in Illinois.”

Becker Iron & Metal is the second company this week to relocate to Illinois. Governor Quinn announced yesterday that steel producer Evraz Inc. will relocate its North American headquarters to Chicago. The Governor also announced major agreements between Chinese government officials and a dozen Illinois soybean producers to sell their products to China.

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Governor Quinn Announces Agreement toBoost Trade Between Illinois and China; Continues State's Efforts to Remain at Forefront of Global Marketplace

CHICAGO – January 21, 2011.  Governor Pat Quinn today announced an agreement to strengthen Illinois’ trade with China. Under the agreement, the Beijing International Brand Management Center (BIBMC) will set up “American Goods Distribution Centers” in Beijing and Shanghai to promote Illinois products and services in China, and an “American Goods Purchase Center” in Chicago to encourage Chinese investment in Illinois.

“Today’s agreement will boost small- and mid-sized businesses throughout Illinois, while ensuring that our state remains a leader in the global marketplace,” said Governor Quinn. “This partnership will provide Illinois businesses with the tools they need to enter the Chinese market and continue to grow our economy.”

Under the agreement, the state will recommend Illinois products to the BIBMC – particularly in the agricultural, auto parts and construction machinery sectors – and will assist with the establishment of the American Goods Purchase Center in Chicago. Through the distribution centers, BIBMC will provide intellectual property rights protection, Chinese distribution development, channel construction, marketing and other comprehensive services to Illinois companies in China.

“By setting up two American Goods Centers in the Chaoyang District of Beijing and the Changning District of Shanghai, the International Brand Management Center will provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ to promote Illinois products and services to be sold in the Chinese market. The centers will also be an important platform to promote Chinese investment to Illinois,” said Mr. Tan Li, Vice Director, China Association of International Trade, Beijing International Brand Management Center.

“Establishment of these distribution centers in Beijing and Shanghai is a strategic decision that will help put the state in an extremely competitive position as we continue our efforts to market Illinois globally,” said Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “These centers give us an opportunity to further investment and trade in China and around the world.”

China is Illinois' third largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states in agricultural exports to China. Illinois agriculture exports to China have increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall exports to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. In the first nine months of 2010, Illinois’ exports to China reached $2.33 billion, representing a 37.5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2009. More than 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois residents.

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Governor Quinn Welcomes Chinese Delegation, Announces Global Business Agreements; Chinese Businesses Sign Agreements to Purchase Illinois Soy Products

CHICAGO – January 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today welcomed a delegation of Chinese government and business leaders to Illinois and announced that more than a dozen Illinois providers of soy products have entered into sales agreements with buyers from 24 Chinese companies.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that Illinois remains a leader in the global marketplace. We are the transportation hub of the Midwest; we have the best farmland in the world; and we are committed to growing green technologies,” said Governor Quinn. “These important agreements with China will further grow our economy, and we will continue to show the world why Illinois is a premier place to do business.”

China is Illinois' third-largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states for agricultural export to China. Farmers and companies with operations in Illinois, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill, CHS, Columbia Grain Trading and Louis Drefyus, participated in the agreements with Chinese firms.

Governor Quinn was joined at today’s event by China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao, Danny Murphy, Chairman of American Soybean Association Trade Policy and International Affairs Committee and Treasurer of U.S. Soybean Export Council, entrepreneurs from China and the representatives of the Illinois Soybean Association.

“The Chinese government highly values and supports the Sino-U.S. business cooperation that aims at a win-win result, and it is the mission of the Chinese delegation to encourage more Chinese purchase from and Chinese investment in the United States,” said Vice Minister Wang.

Agriculture export to China from Illinois has increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall export to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. More than 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois citizens.

“The Illinois Soybean Association is very pleased to have Governor Quinn be part of this signing ceremony with China, our number one customer of Illinois soybeans,” said Ron Moore, Illinois Soybean Association chairman.  This is a testament to how the Governor recognizes the value and importance of Illinois soybean production, which ranks second in the U.S. with 466 million bushels harvested in 2010.”

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Governor Quinn Makes Three Appointments to University of Illinois Board of Trustee: All Three Appointees are Alumni of State’s Flagship University

CHICAGO – January 19, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today made three appointments to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Patricia Brown Holmes and Ricardo Estrada will join the board as new appointees, while Karen Hasara will continue to serve following her September 2009 appointment.

“Students from all over the world come to Illinois because they know that they will receive the highest quality of education from the University of Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “I am confident that today’s appointees will help ensure the continued integrity and quality of our state’s flagship university.”

All three appointees are alumni of the University of Illinois. Holmes, a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP, has been named one of Illinois’ “Top 50 Women Lawyers” by Illinois Super Lawyers. She received both her bachelor of science and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois. Estrada currently serves as the first deputy commissioner in the Department of Family and Support Services for the City of Chicago. He received his master of business administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Governor Quinn also reappointed Karen Hasara to the university’s board. Hasara, a current trustee for the Springfield Mass Transit District, served as mayor of the city of Springfield from 1995-2003. She received both her bachelor of science and master of arts degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The primary governing body of the university, the board is responsible for maintaining and overseeing the use of funds appropriated by the General Assembly. It exercises jurisdiction over all matters except those which it has delegated to the president of the university or other officers or agencies.

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees consists of 13 members, including the Governor as an ex officio member. Nine are appointed by the Governor and serve six year terms. Three student trustees, one from each University of Illinois institution, are elected by referenda on their respective campuses for one-year terms. One of these student trustees is designated by the Governor to have an official vote.

 

CHICAGO – January 18, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:
Bill No.: SB 2814
Regulates fire equipment suppression systems and employees who work on those systems through licensure requirements.
An Act Concerning: Professional Regulation
Action: Signed
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: SB 3461
Extends the Emergency Budget Act until June 30, 2011.
An Act Concerning: State Government
Action: Signed
Effective Date: Immediately
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Rock Island County launches new website PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Shelly Chapman   
Monday, 17 January 2011 11:46

Rock Island County is pleases to announce that our newly designed website has launched!  Visitors will find a new look, site navigation, department menus, search, and an email alert registration at www.rockislandcounty.org.

After months of updating, the user friendly menus are in place.  These menus provide a great deal of information to our citizens.  Questions regarding the website design should be directed to our GIS Director, Josh Boudi at 558-3760, or Sue Adams at 558-3761.

 
Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Laurel White   
Monday, 17 January 2011 11:35

SPRINGFIELD – Thursday, January 13, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 2505

Provides revenue needed to stabilize the state’s budget and sets unprecedented limits on state spending.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately

Friday, January 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 3514

Authorizes financing for the state’s pension funds.

An Act Concerning: Finance

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately  

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Grassley works to determine how local housing authority spent tax dollars to settle lawsuits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:51
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked 20 law firms in Philadelphia for information about their billing of the Philadelphia Public Housing Authority as part of a larger review of how the housing authority has misused federal tax dollars.  Grassley said he is going directly to the firms for information about the amount billed and the kind of work performed because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which awards federal funds to local housing authorities, has told him it doesn’t maintain records about such legal payments and, in the case of the Philadelphia Public Housing Authority, news organizations have reported how the housing authority structured settlements in at least four sexual harassment cases and one case where the failure to inspect a building before demolition resulted in the death of a resident.

“The local housing authority reportedly has a record of trying to cover its tracks where it’s spent tax dollars either inappropriately or in a way that would embarrass its leadership.  And, the federal agency that provides most of the money that local housing authorities have to spend has continued to provide tax dollars even after it’s clear that there’s not responsible stewardship of those dollars,” Grassley said.  “Both situations are an affront to taxpayers, and taxpayers deserve an accounting of what’s gone on so that it can be stopped.”

Grassley’s review of abusive spending of federal housing dollars was prompted by the dramatic increase in federal funds going to local housing authorities, even those with histories of mismanagement, by way of the federal government’s economic  stimulus program.

A copy of the letter Grassley sent today is available by clicking here.  The same letter went to the following Philadelphia law firms:  Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP; Cozen O’Connor; Duane Morris LLP; Fox Rothschild; Buchanon, Ingersol & Rooney PC; Blank Rome LLP ; Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellot, LLC; Bowman Kavulich; Archer & Greiner; Margolis Edelstein; Reed Smith LLP; Haines & Associates; Kolber & Freiman; Flaster/Greenberg; Cohen & Grigsby; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin; Kelly, Monaco & Naples; and Smyler & Gentile.  Previous letters from Grassley regarding the expenditures of the Philadelphia Housing Authority are available by clicking here.

Last week, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that in September 2009, the then-executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority had spent $15,920 on expensive bags from Nordstrom for himself and 19 other executives of the housing authority.

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Iowa State Trooper Funding & Staffing Levels PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Robert Haus   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:45

Ensuring Iowa’s Safety: A Plan to Rebuild the Ranks of the Iowa State Patrol

I have been fortunate to be a member of the Iowa State Patrol for over twenty years.  I work alongside dedicated and professional public servants, my fellow Iowa State Troopers. My colleagues have honored me by electing me the President of the Iowa State Troopers Association, a volunteer position I undertake in addition to my official duties.

In the capacity as ISTA President, I speak with many of my public safety colleagues around the state.  There is a growing awareness that recent state budget cuts have been so severe that the safety of Iowans is on the verge of being critically compromised.

Today, there are 371 troopers in the Patrol - a forty-five year low. A lot has changed on Iowa’s roadways in those 45 years. There are more cars, more trucks, and a more sophisticated, organized contraband trafficking network on our highways.

Our Troopers today are some of the most technologically proficient law officers in the field. Working in concert with the Department of Public Safety, the Patrol utilizes systems that stretch the reach and effectiveness of each and every Trooper. There is, however, a limit to our effectiveness at today’s Trooper strength levels. The number of Troopers has dwindled to a dangerously low level, and action is needed in the 2011 legislative session.

It is not uncommon these days for one Trooper to be responsible for covering a three to four county area.  The coverage area increases during evening shifts or when there is a special event requiring State Patrol resources. During the most recent winter storm, troopers handled nearly 2,543 emergency calls and investigated 64 personal injury and property-related accidents in a two-day period.  Given existing Trooper levels, the State Patrol was stretched to respond in a timely manner to everyone needing help in poor winter conditions.

The Iowa State Troopers Association hopes to work with Governor-elect Branstad and legislative leaders on a specific two-pronged strategy to ensure Iowan’s safety on the road:

  • Working to secure funding for 45 Troopers that were paid for by one-time federal stimulus dollars in the last State fiscal year. Given the present strength levels, it is absolutely imperative we keep these 45 Troopers on the road.

  • Starting a planned, and reasonable, program to rebuild Trooper strength to 455, a level we last saw in the 2000 budget year. This can be accomplished by adding 20 new Troopers per year for the next four years. Taking into account retirements and separations, Director of Public Safety Meyers has indicated the number may need to be closer to 30-35 per year for a period of 8 years.
  • While there are no easy answers for Iowa’s budget challenges, we have been encouraged by comments from Governor-elect Branstad and other elected officials about the priority of public safety. As the 2011 legislative session begins in earnest, we look forward to working together to determine the best options to fund these shared priorities.

    Working together, we can ensure that Iowa’s roadways are the safest in the nation. That has been, and will continue to be, the most important mission of your Iowa State Troopers.

     
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