Travel & Tourism
Public Safety Manager Jeff Patterson has released the following statement regarding yesterday’s arrest. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Cathie Rochau   
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:36

On March 27th, at approximately 4:53am, officers with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) were conducting routine screening at the Quad City International Airport checkpoint when they observed a firearm inside a carry-on bag. It was determined that the bag belonged to a subject later identified as John D. Van Epps, age 58, of Cumming, Ga..

Metropolitan Airport Authority Police Officers responded and took Van Epps into custody. A search of the carry-on bag revealed a loaded Walther PPK .380 handgun.

Van Epps was charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons and confined at the Rock Island County Jail. Bond was set at $5000.00, 10% applies.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Amana Colonies Named ‘Best Day Trip’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Chelsey McDill   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 07:29
AMANA, Iowa – The Amana Colonies Convention & Visitors Bureau is thrilled to announce that the Amana Colonies was voted ‘Best Day Trip’ by readers of Cityview, an alternative newspaper covering central Iowa. For more than 20 years the publication has called upon its readers for the annual “Best of Des Moines” contest. This year a record number of votes were cast, just over 11,000 from its readership.

This year, the category of ‘Best Day Trip’ was added and the Amana Colonies couldn’t be more proud to take home this great honor to its seven villages. Step back in time to visit seven quiet German villages of friendly folks making nationally-acclaimed cheese, homemade wines and craft beer from a local brewery, plus quaint restaurants serving up home-cooked meals with an old-fashioned flare. It’s a time-travel road trip guaranteed to leave everyone in the car with lifelong memories.

There’s much to see in the Amana Colonies. Visit to plan your next day trip today!

Governor Quinn Announces $1.4 Billion Illinois Tollway 2014 Capital Construction Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 24 March 2014 07:27

Largest Year of Construction Investment in Agency History Will Rebuild 160 Lane Miles, Repair 70 Bridges and Improve 20 Interchanges

SCHAUMBURG – Governor Pat Quinn today announced the Illinois Tollway will invest $1.4 billion in transportation improvements in 2014 – the largest one-year infrastructure investment in the agency’s history. The investments will rebuild 160 lane miles of roads, repair 70 bridges and build or improve 20 interchanges while supporting up to 15,000 jobs. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“This record transportation investment across the Illinois Tollway will reduce congestion and improve the quality of life for people throughout the region while supporting our businesses,” Governor Quinn said. “This unparalleled investment in our roads will create jobs for thousands of hard-working men and women today and build a foundation for even more businesses and jobs for generations to come.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for the third year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future. In 2014, the $1.1 billion in Move Illinois projects include the completion of the first phase of the new interchange connecting the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and I-57; the continued rebuilding and widening of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor; moving forward with construction of a new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access; and funding planning studies for the Illinois Route 53/120 Project. In addition to these new improvements, the 2014 capital program includes $300 million in funding to address the needs of the existing Tollway system. 

“2014 will be our biggest year ever. We know that drivers may experience work zones along many parts of our system this year and ask our customers for their continued patience,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “By the end of the year, our customers will have direct access from the Tri-State to I-57 and smooth, new pavement and another lane on the Jane Addams from Elgin to Rockford. They will also begin to see major work happening on the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, the largest roadway construction project in the state.”

“The hardworking men and women of the Illinois construction industry are eager and ready to get started on the Illinois Tollway’s 2014 construction projects,” said James P. Connolly, business manager of the Laborers’ District Council of Chicago & Vicinity. “We appreciate the opportunity to help build the transportation infrastructure that keeps the Illinois economy moving.”

“The Tollway’s $12 billion Move Illinois Program is an economic engine for Northern Illinois and the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project alone is expected to create more than 11,000 jobs,” James Sweeney, President of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, said. “The long-term benefits of these investments will continue to be realized for decades.”

The Tollway’s Move Illinois Program is the largest capital program in the agency’s history and the largest of any toll road agency in the nation. As of February, more than $2.1 billion in construction and engineering contracts have been approved by the Tollway Board since the Move Illinois Program began in 2012.

The 2014 capital program includes:

$729.2 million for the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) corridor.

·         Completing the rebuilding and widening of the 37-mile western segment of I-90 between Elgin and I-39 in Rockford.

·         Beginning advance work including noisewall and retaining wall construction on the eastern segment of I-90 between Elgin and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to prepare for roadway rebuilding and widening.

·         Rebuilding westbound I-90 between I-294 and the Kennedy Expressway.

·         Improving or building interchanges at Business U.S. Route 20/State Street in Rockford, Irene Road and Genoa Road near Belvidere, Illinois Route 25 in Elgin, Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates, Roselle Road and Meacham Road in Schaumburg and Lee Street in Rosemont.

·         Rebuilding 11 local crossroad bridges along I-90 to accommodate the widening of the roadway, including Pearl Street, Town Hall Road, Johnson Road, Shattuck Road, County Line Road, Harmony-Riley Road, Harmony Road, Hennig Road, Tyrrell Road, Bartlett Road and Higgins Road.

$282.8 million to construct the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project.

·         Building new interchanges at Rohlwing Road and I-290 on Illinois Route 390 (Elgin O’Hare Expressway) and at Elmhurst Road on I-90.

·         Continuing new noisewall and advance work between Roselle Road and Meacham Road/Medinah Road along Illinois Route 390.

·         Rehabilitating and widening of Illinois Route 390 from Illinois Route 19 to Meacham Road/Medinah Road, as well as reconstruction and widening work from Meacham Road/Medinah Road to Illinois Route 53.

$85.7 million to complete the first phase of the new Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

·         Building new ramps to carry traffic from southbound I-294 to southbound I-57 and from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294.

·         Building new ramps at 147th Street and I-294.

In addition, the Illinois Tollway is committed to additional investments that will keep the existing Tollway system in a state of good repair for years to come. Work in 2014 includes an additional $282.8 million for a variety of construction, design, inspection and other capital investments systemwide. Projects include:

·         Repairing pavement and bridges on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88).

·         Repairing Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294) ramps at 75th Street, Ogden Avenue, Roosevelt Road, I-290, Irving Park Road, Grand Avenue and at Illinois Route 120.

·         Repairing ramps and bridges on the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355).

·         Restoring parking lots at seven oases throughout the Illinois Tollway system.

Following the direction of Governor Quinn and the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors, the agency has stepped up efforts to expand opportunities for a larger and more diverse group of businesses to work on the Move Illinois Program including professional services, construction and goods and services. In fact, there are currently more than 500 businesses working on the Move Illinois Program, with more than one-third working with the Tollway for the first time.

Construction work is beginning this month at various locations on the Tollway system. Whenever possible, the Illinois Tollway works to keep as many lanes open in work zones as were available before construction by using shoulders, traffic shifts and crossover lanes. Lane closures may be required at times, to facilitate stage changes, accelerate work or for the safety of workers and drivers. The Tollway works to schedule these lane closures during non-peak travel times.

Work zone speed limits are in effect 24/7 in all construction zones, whether workers are present. Drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution at all times. Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375. Posted signs advise drivers of a $10,000 fine and 14-year jail sentence for hitting a roadway worker.

The Tollway is committed to "Building Green" and minimizing the environmental impact of construction by reducing, recycling and reusing materials. Recycled asphalt pavement aggregate, recycled concrete aggregate, along with supplemental cements such as fly ash and ground granulated slag from industrial waste are green materials that may be part of the concrete pavements. In addition, new asphalt used in projects will incorporate recycled materials including warm-mix asphalt, reclaimed asphalt pavement, ground tire rubber and recycled asphalt shingles. In addition to reducing the cost of this work, reuse of these materials reduces the need for virgin asphalt materials and reduces the volume of material that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

For more detailed information about Illinois Tollway construction projects, visit “Project By Roadway” in the Construction/Planning section on the Tollway’s website


Travel to Germany with GAHC & Blue Horizon Travel PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by German American Heritage Center   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 07:42
Blue Horizon Travel Time

Cruise the Rivers of Southern Germany
August 20-27 2015!
Informational Meeting at GAHC Wed, March 12th at 6:30 pm

Deposit $250 pp by April 1st and SAVE 10% off cruise!

Once again Linda Meadors of Blue Horizon is partnering with the German American Heritage Center for a journey to southern Germany;s most picturesque villages traversing along four of its most famous rivers- the Moselle, Rhine, Main, and the Danube Canal. We will board the new Avalon Visionary in Remich, Luxembourg traveling east to Nuremberg with stops in the former Roman city of Trier, the vineyard and castle villages of Cochem & Koblenz, through the famous Rhine Gorge, and into one of Germany's most photographed villages, Rudesheim. Along the way our Avalon cruise director will provide lectures with tales of the ancient castles that stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters.

Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend set for March 28-30, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Celestino Ruffini   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:54

GALENA, Ill. – Tickets are available online now, and selling quickly, for Galena’s extremely popular Grand Tastings during Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend. This year’s event is slated for March 28-30, with Grand Tastings being offered on Friday, March 28 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 29 from 3:30-6:00 p.m. at the Galena Convention Center, 900 Galena Square Dr., in Galena, Illinois. Make sure to purchase your tickets soon as Saturday’s Grand Tasting event has already sold out.

“This year’s Grand Tasting promises to be even more fun-filled, with dozens of new wines open to taste! From Albarino to Zinfandel, this tasting has it all,” said event sponsor Tim Althaus, owner, Family Beer & Liquor. “We do highly recommend early purchase for Grand Tasting tickets as we have sold out quickly in past years.”

After selling out three weeks before the event in 2009, the committee expanded to offering two Grand Tastings, both of which have also sold out in the past three years. Tickets are $35 in advance and may be purchased online at

Why are the Grand Tastings so popular? They provide epicureans of all levels the opportunity to choose from more than 300 varieties of hand-picked wines and spirits to sample. Admission also provides you with a keepsake wine glass and an opportunity to win a wine-themed trip to San Francisco (including round trip airfare for two through American Airlines in the continental 48 states). Additional trip chances may be purchased for $15 each. The wine silent auction includes items such as vintage wines, artwork, large format wine bottles and related items of interest.

Now in its ninth year running, Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend is a community-wide celebration of good wine, good food and good friends. Wine lovers of all sorts are invited to enjoy three event-filled days of fine wine, culinary delight, celebrity chefs, wine makers, pampering packages and all of the stops Galena can possibly pull out.

Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend is a spirited way to warm the winter and add romance whether it is for vino, gourmet cuisine or the love for a town with history and charm all of its own. Wine-inspired dinners, spirit tastings, spa experiences, history tours, cooking demonstrations and shopping welcome and enchant visitors.

Lodging specials and package deals fuel the passion. From dining packages to pampering in luxurious accommodations and the warmest of hospitality, Galena’s finest provide a variety of options to cater to every taste and budget. Visit for a detailed listing of extended-weekend activities, links to lodging, and an opportunity to purchase tickets online. For information about room availability, shopping, dining, attractions, events and more, please go to, the Web site of the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, or call toll-free 877.464.2536.

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