Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn Encourages Families and Businesses to Take Advantage of Federal Disaster Aid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:52

Joins Residents of Washington as Year Comes to a Close; Signs Legislation to Aid Communities Recovering From Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON – As 2013 draws to a close, Governor Pat Quinn today visited the tornado-ravaged community of Washington to encourage residents to take advantage of the federal aid available for those impacted by the deadly storms on November 17. The Governor also signed legislation that is part of his commitment to ensuring the state does everything necessary to help families and communities across Illinois as they rebuild and recover from the historic natural disasters that have struck Illinois this year.

“As Illinois heads into a new year, many of our neighbors in Central and Southern Illinois are continuing to rebuild their lives after deadly tornadoes ravaged their communities,” Governor Quinn said. “Federal assistance is an important part of our recovery efforts and I urge everyone who suffered damage or loss to make sure they register for federal aid.”

Governor Quinn successfully secured federal aid for 15 counties just nine days after a record 25 tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state. The federal disaster declaration includes Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.

To date, more than 2,000 people in those counties have applied for assistance, with more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans already approved.

Anyone affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms is encouraged to register for federal assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) (for hearing and speech impaired) to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at disasterassistance.gov or by smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid is Jan. 27, 2014.

In addition to FEMA grants, disaster survivors may be eligible for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which were also made available under the federal disaster declaration.

The Governor today also signed Senate Bill 1955, which transfers $5.9 million to meet the state’s cost-sharing obligations with FEMA for federal funds provided in response to the historic flooding that impacted counties across the state this spring. These funds represent the state’s contribution to federal aid which has provided access to Individual Assistance grants that help affected people replace personal property lost or damaged during the disaster. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect immediately.

“We need to be there for people when emergencies and disasters occur. This law means resources are available to help people get back on their feet in their time of need,” Senator Kotowski said.

The Governor also recently signed House Bill 2778, which will allow more advanced life-saving equipment to be carried and used in emergency vehicles in rural areas where such services may be otherwise difficult to obtain. The new law allows the license of an ambulance operated in a rural area to be upgraded to reflect that of the staff member with the highest Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) rating. Sponsored by State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg) and State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), the law passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously and took effect immediately.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces U of I’s Lincoln Hall Earns Nation’s Highest Green Building Designation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 30 December 2013 08:52

LEED Platinum Rating is Only the Second for a Historic Building in Illinois

URBANA – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the state-funded rehabilitation project at the University of Illinois’ Lincoln Hall has allowed the building to achieve LEED Platinum status, the nation’s highest “green building” designation. This designation is particularly difficult to achieve with projects on historic buildings like Lincoln Hall, and it is only the second historic building in the state of Illinois to be certified LEED Platinum. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to making all state buildings as energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible.

“Lincoln Hall is the perfect example of what we can do when we work together and make smart, strategic investments,” Governor Quinn said. “LEED Platinum is a fitting designation for this state-of-the-art green facility that will service students of the University of Illinois for many generations to come.”

The $60.4 million renovation of Lincoln Hall, completed in 2012, was designed to achieve a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification. The LEED certification can be silver, gold or platinum, which is the highest level obtainable. The certification process begins at the early stages of a project when the project team decides what level of LEED certification they hope to achieve. The final certification comes after the building is completed and all documentation has been thoroughly reviewed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Illinois Jobs Now! funded project, designed by CANNON Design of Chicago, included the extensive renovation and reconfiguration of Lincoln Hall. The building’s climate control, electrical, lighting, plumbing and fire alarm systems were upgraded, and the structure was reconfigured to make it more usable while preserving its historic character. The project also replaced the floor, ceiling, and wall finishes; abated asbestos-containing materials; and purchased moveable equipment. The construction was managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board.

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is now home to seven LEED buildings, and projects such as the Lincoln Hall renovation exemplify our green building leadership,” Chancellor Phyllis Wise said. “We are delighted to work with the state of Illinois to become a nationwide model of sustainability.”

The reuse and rehabilitation of an existing building like Lincoln Hall is “greener” than constructing a new replacement building. Some of the key “green” features of the project include:

·         Demolition materials and construction packaging were recycled.

·         Workers salvaged, refinished and reused existing wood trim and wood doors.

·         Removed slate roofing tiles were ground up for mulch and placed in landscape beds.

·         Finishing materials had recycled content.

·         Many construction materials were produced regionally to reduce transportation costs.

·         The building features dedicated outdoor air supply units with heat recovery for centralized and efficient fresh air intake and exhaust.

·         Low water volume plumbing fixtures were used.

·         Displacement air diffusers were installed in classrooms and the Lincoln Theater.

·         Efficient lighting with daylight harvesting and occupancy sensor controls were installed.

·         Variable frequency drives for pumps and motors were used to save on energy and wear and tear.

Other Illinois Jobs Now! funded construction projects are underway at the University of Illinois for which LEED certification will be sought. These include the $80 million Electrical and Computer Engineering Building and the $23.2 million Integrated Biotechnology Research Laboratory.

The only other historic building in Illinois to achieve LEED Platinum certification is the old Sears Powerhouse, now the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center in Chicago, after a historic rehabilitation project.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Studies have shown that a two percent investment in “green” materials and techniques during design and construction results in a 20 percent reduction in a structure’s energy use and operating costs during the lifetime of a building.

Lincoln Hall was built between 1909 and 1911. The Illinois General Assembly appropriated $250,000 for the construction of the building to serve as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln in 1909, the centennial of his birth. The west end of the building and the theater were added in 1929 and 1930. The original architect was W.C. Zimmerman and the building, designed in the Renaissance Revival style, has many notable features, including a bronze bust of the 16th President just inside the main doorway off the Quad, and terra cotta plaques along three exterior sides. The plaques facing the Quad depict scenes from Lincoln’s life, while the plaques on the sides contain quotations from the President.

Lincoln Hall houses the general curriculum classrooms and lecture halls; Political Science, Sociology, Speech and Communication Departments; the Dean's Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Academic Affairs Office; and Admissions and Records.

The Lincoln Hall project is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.

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State of Iowa submits appeal to FEMA for denial of disaster aid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jimmy Centers   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 13:00

(DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad today announced the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) submitted an appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the reconsideration of an earlier FEMA decision to deny funding to four rural electric cooperatives (REC) in northwest Iowa in the aftermath of an ice storm that struck the state earlier this year.

The April 9, 2013, storm caused millions of dollars in damage to electrical utility lines in five Iowa counties: Dickinson, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux. The damage was so extensive that a Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued on May 6, 2013.

FEMA originally denied funding to restore the downed utility lines in the amount of $19 million on Aug. 30, 2013. The reason FEMA gave for the denial was because the utilities did not conduct “comprehensive laboratory testing.”

“We hope FEMA will come to a fair and just decision regarding this REC appeal,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “This funding is important for the recovery of Iowa communities. Denying such assistance could result in a financial burden for the customers of these cooperatives.”

HSEMD filed the appeal in conjunction with Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Osceola Electric Cooperative, and Sanborn Electric and Telecommunications Utility. FEMA has 90 days from the date they receive the appeal to make an evaluation and then, issue a determination.

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management leads, coordinates and supports homeland security and emergency management functions in order to establish sustainable communities and ensure economic opportunities for Iowa and its citizens.

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Illinois Tornado Recovery News PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andrea Hunter   
Monday, 23 December 2013 14:27

Capsule of Illinois tornado recovery news for weekly newspapers

 

Springfield, Ill. – This capsule of recent disaster recovery information is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

 

Don’t let misinformation keep you from registering for disaster assistance. 

Sometimes unexpected, uninsured expenses arise weeks or even months after a disaster. For example, you might identify additional damage to your home in the spring when temperatures rise and contractors are able to conduct a more comprehensive inspection. If your insurance settlement is delayed, you may qualify for temporary rental assistance if your home is uninhabitable. Or you may exhaust the additional living expenses provided by your insurance company. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration disaster assistance may help cover some of these expenses.

 

Registering with FEMA is quick and easy. You should register even if you have insurance and regardless of your income level or the level of damage your home sustained. Register online at DisasterAssistance.gov, with a mobile device by using the FEMA app or going to m.fema.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY can call 800-462-7585.

 

SBA low-interest disaster loans are a major recovery funding source for Illinois. 

If you apply for assistance with FEMA and are referred to the SBA, it’s important to submit a low-interest disaster loan application to assure that the federal disaster recovery process continues. You are not obligated to accept a loan, but failure to complete and submit the application may stop the FEMA grant process. Homeowners may be eligible for loans up to $200,000 for repairs. Homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. For businesses, loans are available up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, and other business assets. Eligible small businesses and non-profits can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.

 

You can apply online at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ela. For additional information about SBA low-interest disaster loans, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339, emailing  DisasterCustomerService@sba. or visiting sba.gov/disaster.

Rental assistance is available if you have been displaced as a result of the storms.

If you are making repairs to or rebuilding your home, you may be eligible for assistance from FEMA to cover temporary rental expenses if your home is uninhabitable – but you must register with FEMA to be considered. Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit a Disaster Recovery Center if you have questions or need help finding a rental property. You can also go Nestrent.com or IlHousingSearch.org to identify available rental properties.

 

FEMA decision letters are not the end of the line for disaster assistance. 

After registering with FEMA, you will receive a letter explaining the status of your application. The letter may state that you’re ineligible for assistance, but this isn’t necessarily a final decision. It is important to read the entire letter carefully because it states exactly what needs to be submitted for potential federal assistance. If you have insurance, you must submit all of your insurance information for FEMA to review your eligibility. Sending your insurance declaration page is not sufficient. You need to submit actual insurance settlement information. If you are unsure of how to obtain this document, contact your insurance company, call the FEMA helpline (800-621-FEMA) or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Insurance documents will be reviewed, then an inspector may arrange a visit to the damaged home or apartment to determine if there are uninsured, eligible losses. Federal disaster assistance may assist in covering some expenses not covered by insurance. You can appeal FEMA’s decision. Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. More information is available by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or by taking the letter to a Disaster Recovery Center. You can locate the nearest center by going to fema.gov/drclocator.

Help is available to repair damaged vehicles.

If you had a vehicle damaged or destroyed in one of the counties affected by the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. Even if you are not a resident of one of the designated counties, you may still be eligible for this assistance if you were working or visiting one of the counties. You must register with FEMA to be considered for eligibility. In addition to FEMA assistance, homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 through SBA’s low-interest disaster loan program to repair or replace personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

Illinois recovery photos and videos available

Visit fema.gov/disasters/4157 to access FEMA’s online library of photos and videos documenting response and recovery efforts to the Nov. 17 storms and tornadoes in Illinois. The page also includes updated information and important messages regarding Illinois’ recovery.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces Federal Aid to Tornado Survivors Tops $1 Million PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 23 December 2013 13:37

Encourages Illinois Residents Affected by Storms to Register for Assistance

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced more than $1 million in federal aid has been approved to date to help people and households affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms. Federal grants totaling $1.06 million thus far will help with disaster-related expenses such as temporary home rental, home repairs and replacement of damaged personal property items.

“These grants are helping people put their lives back together after the deadly tornadoes,” Governor Quinn said. “This federal aid is critical to the recovery process and I appreciate the Obama Administration’s efforts to accelerate needed relief to people affected by the tornadoes. I urge everyone who suffered damage or loss to register for federal aid today.”

Governor Quinn successfully secured federal aid for 15 counties just nine days after an Illinois November record of 25 tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state. The federal disaster declaration includes Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.

Anyone affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms is encouraged to register for federal assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) (for hearing and speech impaired) to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at disasterassistance.gov or by smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid is Jan. 27, 2014.

In addition to FEMA grants, disaster survivors may be eligible for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which were also made available under the federal disaster declaration.

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open in Brookport, East Peoria and Rantoul to help people apply for disaster aid and find out about other disaster programs available from SBA, state and local agencies and voluntary organizations. FEMA disaster assistance specialists are also available through Saturday Dec. 14 at the Diamond Village Hall to help tornado survivors.

For more information about locations of the DRCs and Diamond assistance center, visit Ready.Illinois.gov.

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