Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn Urges Residents to Stay Safe During Record High Temperatures PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:14

Temperatures to Rise Over 100 Degrees; Governor Encourages Visits to  Cooling Centers, Wellness Checks

CHICAGO – July 5, 2012. With temperatures throughout Illinois at historic highs and surpassing 100 degrees for several days this week, Governor Pat Quinn again urged Illinois residents to take precautions to stay safe and cool. The Governor also encouraged residents to visit cooling centers and to check on family members and neighbors who are vulnerable to hot weather, including the elderly and children.

“Illinois is experiencing record-high temperatures and it is critical that people take the necessary steps to stay safe and cool during this extreme heat,” Governor Quinn said. "We are all in this together and people should regularly check on their children and elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they are safe, hydrated and keeping cool.”

Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health are encouraging Illinois residents to be conscious of and responsive to signs of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of may include headaches, skin that is hot to the touch, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, seizures and irregular heartbeats.

The Illinois Department on Aging also encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.

To stay cool, avoid illness and prevent heat-related injury or death, people should increase their fluid intake but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar; decrease strenuous activity; and remain in air-conditioning when possible. In addition, people should avoid prolonged outdoor activity and visit the state’s cooling centers if needed.

More than 120 cooling centers are open around Illinois, in order to help those without air conditioning find respite from the heat. The cooling centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state, as well as at Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area. Cooling centers are open to the public during regular business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Illinois Tollway Oases are available 24 hours/day.

For more information about cooling centers, call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154, or visit KeepCool.Illinois.gov for locations. For information about heat preparedness and cooling centers, visit the Ready Illinois website at Ready.Illinois.gov.


The 19th Anniversary of Wave Rider, the Great Flood of 1993 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jonathan Kirkham   
Monday, 02 July 2012 14:51

Story by Jonathon Kirkham, Illinois National Guard Command Historian Intern

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/02/2012)(readMedia)-- Today commemorates the 19th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1993, which lead to Operation Wave Rider, the largest state active duty mission in the history of the Illinois National Guard. More than 7,000 Soldiers and Airmen were activated after heavy rains led to record flooding of the Mississippi, Illinois, Rock, Sangamon and Wabash rivers.

On July 1, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar alerted Maj. Gen. Donald Lynn, The Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard to prepare for a potential flood mission. Three days later, Lynn activated units for Operation Wave Rider.

Soldiers and Airmen provided support to 44 counties declared natural disaster areas by state and federal officials. Operations included security, levee maintenance and repair, sandbagging, search and rescue, water distribution, medical assistance and aviation support.

Despite the extensive damage, Soldiers and Airmen proved valuable assistance to the disaster relief and cleanup resulting in zero loss of life. By Dec. 1, only 33 Guardsmen remained in the hardest hit areas to provide additional security.

EPA Education Grant of $150,000 Awarded to Earth Force PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Denise Morrison   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:48

Earth Force, a non-profit organization, will use the grant to make 19 small grant awards up to $5,000 each to organizations that apply with a joint application and agree to work together as a team.  Each team applicant will identify partner organizations within their community to meet the specific goals identified in their application.  These awards will be used for the development and implementation of projects, programs and solutions to meet a variety of educational and environmental priorities.  Four of the 19 awards will be made to organizations working directly on the development of environmental literacy plans.


“The variety of organizations and diversity of projects to receive these environmental education sub awards will exhibit the commitment of communities to creating and sustaining a healthy environment,” said Karl Brooks, Region 7 administrator.  “The rewards to be reaped from these sub awards will be visible in a stronger earth, cleaner air, reduced pollution, environmentally astute citizens, and healthier people.”


These projects will bring together diverse organizations working on a number of environmental issues that will meet the needs of their community.  Sub award applicants will have the flexibility to support the strategic initiatives identified through one or more EPA educational priorities such as community projects, human health and the environment.


The Environmental Education Grant Program is a competitive grant program that supports EPA’s efforts to enhance the public’s awareness and knowledge about environmental issues. This grant program supports environmental education projects to increase the skills that help people make informed decisions that affect environmental quality and to take responsible actions toward the environment.

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Learn more about EPA's environmental education grant program:



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Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Strengthen State Recovery Efforts in Harrisburg and Support Economic Growth PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 29 June 2012 10:29

New Law Creates Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption to Provide Property Tax Relief to Families Hit by Tornado

CHICAGO – June 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed two new laws to strengthen state recovery efforts in Harrisburg and support economic growth in Southern Illinois. House Bill 4242 creates a new Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption, which will provide much-needed tax relief for families who are rebuilding their homes after a wide-spread natural disaster. The new law is designed to aid families by allowing them to apply for a property tax exemption that is equal to the current value of their homes minus the value of the home when the disaster occurred.

“After a natural disaster, families need all the help we can give them, and we will continue to aid the people of Southern Illinois in their recovery” said Governor Quinn. “While nothing can replace what they lost, a break on their property taxes will relieve the financial burden of rebuilding their homes and their lives.”

House Bill 4242, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), continues the state’s efforts to aid Southern Illinois’ recovery following a deadly Feb. 29 tornado that devastated the area. Governor Quinn directed state officials to provide aid and assistance to homeowners and businesses in their recovery. Although the Governor’s requests for federal assistance were denied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration approved a request for a disaster declaration. The declaration made low-interest loans available to homeowners, renters and businesses in nine Southern Illinois counties.

Under the new law, each county’s chief assessor will establish the rules, timeframes and application deadlines for applying for the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption. The new law creates two standards that applicants must meet in order to qualify for the exemption. First, the residential structure must be rebuilt within two years after the date of the natural disaster. Second, the square footage of the rebuilt residential structure may not be more than 110 percent of the square footage of the original residential structure as it existed immediately prior to the natural disaster. The exemption will remain valid for as long as that family lives in the house. If the property is sold or transferred, the exemption becomes invalid. The law goes into effect immediately.

Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 4445, sponsored by Rep. David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) and Sen. Dale Righter (R-Charleston), to continue efforts to grow the economy of downstate Illinois. The new law expands the Southeastern Illinois Economic Development Authority to include 27 members, an increase of the authority’s current 10 member body. The authority promotes industrial, commercial and residential development, as well as transportation and other services in Southeastern Illinois. The new law goes into effect immediately.


Gov. Branstad orders flags at half-staff tomorrow to honor fallen Vietnam War airman PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Iowa Governor's Office   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:43

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad is ordering all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 29, 2012, until 8 a.m. on Monday, July 2, 2012 for Lt. Col. Dennis Eilers, originally of Tipton.

Eilers and his crew went missing when his plane was shot down in Laos in 1965. Eilers was listed as missing in action, until his status was changed to killed in action in 1977.

In April of this year, after further investigation, officials positively identified the crash site when a tooth was found from a fellow crew member of Eilers’. A memorial service will be held this Saturday.

The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the governor’s executive order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.


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