Travel & Tourism
September Proclaimed “Drive the Great River Road Month” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Kate Hagen   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:28
Celebratory month part of the national scenic byway’s 75th anniversary

MADISON, Wis. (August 20, 2013) – The Mississippi River Parkway Commission is proclaiming September as “Drive the Great River Road Month” all across the nation.

The proclamation is part of a year-long celebration of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway’s 75th anniversary in 2013. “Drive the Great River Road Month” is an open invitation to plan a fun and memorable road trip along the nearly 3,000 mile byway that runs through ten states, from Minnesota to Louisiana. It is one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America, offering a gateway to the Mississippi river valley’s great history, the blending of cultures and a host of recreational options to all who journey it for three quarters of a century and counting.

The long list of must-see attractions and exciting family-friendly events is certainly a big draw for visitors along the Great River Road. There are magnificent natural wonders, captivating historical sites and unique cultures to experience. Many travelers are also taking interest in the river valley’s agriculture, exploring the area’s delightful orchards, cheese factories, nurseries, tree farms, wineries and farmers markets.

In celebration of “Drive the Great River Road Month,” there will also be a sweepstakes going on during the month of September. The “Drive the Great River Road Sweepstakes” kicks off September 1 and will award fans who like the Great River Road on Facebook a chance to win a $750, so they can experience this amazing byway for themselves. More information can be found on experiencemississippiriver.com and facebook.com/GreatRiverRoad.

Plan a day’s drive or a month-long excursion along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway with the help of experiencemississippiriver.com. Here you’ll find information on all the states’ interpretive centers (museums and historic sites showcasing the historic stories of the Mississippi), upcoming events and must-see attractions, along with suggested itineraries and maps to help plan a trip that’s just right for you.

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Governor Quinn Signs New Speed Limit Law for Rural Highways PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 12:31

New Law Increases Speed Limit to 70 mph on Rural Four-Lane Highways, Lowers Excessive Speed Limit to Promote Safety

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to increase the speed limit from 65 to 70 miles-per-hour (mph) on rural four-lane highways, and to lower the limit by five mph for excessive speeding. The law will bring Illinois’ speed limit in line with 36 other states that have speed limits of 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadways, including other large states such as California, Florida, Texas and Ohio, and neighboring states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Michigan. The bill passed with significant bipartisan support in both chambers.

“This limited five miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding,” Governor Quinn said. “I encourage all motorists to continue to respect our traffic laws, avoid distractions and exercise common sense behind the wheel to protect the safety of themselves and others.”

Sponsored by State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) and State Representative Jerry Costello Jr. (D-Smithton), Senate Bill 2356 increases the maximum speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on four-lane divided highways outside of urban areas. The law allows Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will Counties to opt-out by adopting an ordinance that sets a lower maximum speed limit, empowering counties to make adjustments based on their own local needs.

The new law also includes an additional safety provision, which lowers the limit by five mph at which drivers may be charged by law enforcement with excessive speeding. Currently, the threshold for penalties is 31 mph over the limit. The new law lowers that threshold to 26 mph over the limit to increase safety on Illinois roads.

The law is effective January 1, 2014.

Illinois joins 36 other states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB - Grape Stomp, Wine Tasting & Artists PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Celestino Ruffini   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 12:10

Galena Cellars hosts 4th annual Fall Harvest & Art Festival on September 28

GALENA, Ill. – Purple feet. Paint brushes. Horses. Music. Food. Geodes. Spa treatments. And wine. It’s quite a combination, and promises to be a fun fall adventure.

Celebrating the fruits of their labor, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery and the Galena Cultural Arts Alliance are busy preparing for their upcoming Fall Harvest & Art Festival. The fourth annual event will take place at Galena Cellars Vineyard, 4746 N. Ford Rd., Galena on Saturday, September 28, with a full schedule of family friendly activities - a grape stomp (2 p.m.), live music by Jordan Danielson, horse-drawn wagon rides, geode cracking and amazing food - spanning from noon until 6 p.m. Area artists will be at the vineyard on Saturday, September 28 and also Sunday, September 29.

Admission to the general event is free. Vineyard tours are $5 each and include a wine appreciation overview. Galena Cellars will also be offering wine tasting and a keepsake glass for an added fee. For more information, visit www.galenacellars.com/art-festival or call 815.777.3235.

Galena Cellars, a Lawlor family winery, offers more than forty varietals of wine produced in Galena, Illinois. Many Galena Cellars wine utilize Illinois-grown grapes from the recently appointed Upper Mississippi River Valley Area Viticulture Area, the largest designated AVA in the world. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery is proud to offer three tasting room locations: 515 S. Main St. and at the Vineyard at 4746 N. Ford Rd. in Galena, and in 477 S. Third St., Dodson Place in Geneva, Illinois.

Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.galena.org or by calling 877.464.2536. While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. (corner of Park Avenue) for on-site assistance and countywide information.

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Runway Snow Removal In August? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Cathie Rochau   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 12:01

QUAD CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CUTS RIBBON ON SNOW REMOVAL EQUIPMENT BUILDING EXPANSION

Moline, Illinois - The Quad City International Airport is proud to unveil their newly expanded snow removal equipment building. Working closely with Valley Construction Company of Rock Island, IL, this building expansion and remodeling project will house the equipment that does nothing less than keep the airport up and running during winter snow events.

The existing snow removal equipment building, also known as the Airfield Maintenance Building, was formerly 32,000 sf.  With a 24,000 sf expansion, the building is now a total of 56,000 sf.  Local members of the design & construction team include  McClure Engineering, Dennis Kelly & Associates, and Valley Construction.  The project began in the Fall of 2012 and was completed within twelve months.  An IMPACT agreement was in place for the project which is a partnership between the Tri-City Building Trades, contractors, and owners that helps ensure the completion of a quality construction project in the most cost-efficient and timely basis.

Bruce Carter, Director of Aviation, says “We are very grateful to have a dedicated team of employees, some with decades of experience, who keep our runways clear under all forms of winter weather conditions.” Carter adds, “This new building provides state-of-the-art maintenance, storage, and training space to support their hard work-- and keep the equipment, which is critical to winter operations, ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

A grand opening event is planned for Tuesday, August 20th.

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Governor Quinn Appoints Independent Task Force to Restore Trust in Northeastern Illinois Public Transit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Friday, 16 August 2013 10:31

Task Force Will Issue Recommendations to Root Out Waste, Fraud and Abuse, and Overhaul Structure to Better Serve Transit Riders

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued an Executive Order creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, an independent panel of transit, finance and good government leaders who will issue recommendations to reform the mass transit system in northeastern Illinois. The 15-member, blue-ribbon task force is charged with developing ways to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and streamline operations to ensure improved transit service for the millions of users each year.

The task force will issue recommendations to be considered by the General Assembly and Governor Quinn for both the veto and spring sessions.

Today’s Executive Order is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to strengthen oversight of mass transit in northeastern Illinois and restore commuters’ confidence. The governor’s move comes in the wake of recurring scandals at Metra and ongoing accountability problems over the last decade.

“It’s clear that the mass transit system in northeastern Illinois is not working for taxpayers,” Governor Quinn said. “This task force is a step forward to make our transit system worthy of the public’s trust. Their recommendations will be valuable as we work in both the veto and spring sessions to reform mass transit in northeastern Illinois.”

The task force will develop recommendations to revamp the oversight of mass transit in northeastern Illinois. The task force will work to provide initial recommendations to the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly prior to the fall veto session, and they will issue a final report by January 31, 2014.

The members of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force include:

Co-Chair George Ranney Jr. is President and CEO of Metropolis Strategies. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School, he served as Deputy State Budget Director under Governor Richard B. Ogilvie and was the chairman of the task force which led to the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority. A trustee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation from 1991 to 2005 and an emeritus trustee at the University of Chicago, George Ranney is the former Chair and Chief Executive of Prairie Holdings Corporation, the firm which developed Prairie Crossing, a nationally recognized conservation community in north suburban Grayslake. He has served in various capacities for Inland Steel Industries, include Vice President for Raw Materials and General Counsel. In addition, Mr. Ranney is senior counsel to Mayer Brown LLP. He has worked for a number of civic and non-profit organizations including Chicago Public Television (WTTW) and the Field Foundation of Illinois and lives in Grayslake.

Co-Chair Ann L. Schneider is Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. She has more than 25 years of service with the State of Illinois, including nearly eight with the Illinois Department of Transportation as its Chief Fiscal Officer and Chief Operating Officer. She is the chair of AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Rail Transportation (SCORT) and CMAP’s Policy Committee. She is a member of the AASHTO Sustainable Transportation: Energy, Infrastructure and Climate Solutions (STEICS) Steering Committee, and as Secretary, she sits on AASHTO’s Board of Directors.  In June 2013, she was named chair of the U.S. Department of Transportation National Freight Advisory Committee.  Secretary Schneider has a Master’s of Public Administration and has completed her coursework, all but dissertation, for a Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She lives in Springfield.

Carole L. Brown is currently a Managing Director at Barclay’s Capital. For more than six years, Brown served as Chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority Board, a position she held through September 2009. A native of Baltimore and a 1986 graduate of Harvard University, she went on to attend Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where she received a Master’s in Management in 1989. She lives in Chicago.

Patrick Fitzgerald is the former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois whose impressive work prosecuting governmental corruption has protected the public interest. As a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, he serves as an experienced investigator whose practice focuses on internal investigations, government enforcement matters and civil litigation. Fitzgerald has received numerous honors for his more than 20 years in public service including the Justice John Paul Stevens Award from the Chicago Bar Association. He was previously named “Lawyer of the Year” by The National Law Journal. A graduate of Amherst College, he holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He lives in Chicago.

Robert W. Guy is the Illinois State Legislative Director for the United Transportation Union (UTU). Guy graduated from Western Illinois University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism. In 1996 he was elected UTU #234’s Local Legislative Representative and was reelected in 1999 and 2003, becoming State Director in 2009, where he has focused on expanding Amtrak service, working on safety legislation, and other issues. He lives in Springfield.

Adrienne M. Holloway is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at DePaul University’s School of Public Service. She has more than 10 years of experience in the housing and community development industries. Dr. Holloway received her Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University, her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York and her B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University. She serves on the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Board. She lives in Aurora.

Sylvia Jenkins is President of Moraine Valley Community College, the second largest community college in Illinois. She earned a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies specializing in Community College Leadership from Colorado State University, a Master’s of Library Science from State University of New York at Albany and a B.S. in English Education from Grambling State University. She lives in Chicago.

Nick Palmer is the Chief of Staff for Will County Executive Larry Walsh and oversees all the departments under the executive branch of county government.  In one of the fastest growing counties in the state, Palmer has pushed for greater transparency of county government and greater accountability of taxpayer dollars. Palmer serves as chairman of the Will County Integrated Criminal Justice Ad-Hoc Committee and initiated a Coordinated Paratransit effort in eastern Will County.  He has advocated for expansion of transit services to underserved areas of Will County. He lives in Bolingbrook.

Tony Paulauski is the Executive Director of The Arc of Illinois, a grassroots organization that advocates on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Paulauski, a native Chicagoan, also serves on numerous boards and committees including the Governor’s Disability Services Committee. He was appointed Chairman of the Pace Blue Ribbon Committee on Paratransit. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where he majored in Special Education. He lives in Tinley Park.

Raul Raymundo is the Executive Director of the Resurrection Project, an organization dedicated to creating healthy communities through organizing, education and community development. He is currently a member of the Executive Council of Chicago’s Metropolis 2020. Raymundo also serves on several boards, including Chicago Metropolitan Development Association and WBEZ 91.5 FM Public Radio. He is a resident of Chicago.

Robert G. Reiter, Jr. is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL). He is a third-generation member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and previously served as an organizer, business representative and field attorney responsible for negotiating collective bargaining agreements. He holds a juris doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is a resident of Orland Park.

Ashish Sen is a member of the Chicago Transit Authority Board of Directors and served as Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He served as Director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also held positions as Professor of Urban Planning, Professor of Mathematics, Professor of Statistics, and Professor of Computer Science. He is a resident of Chicago.

Don Tantillo is a retired high school teacher and debate coach who worked at Wheeling High School in Northwest Suburban District 214 for 30 years. He grew up in Chicago and earned an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Tantillo was honored in 1992 at the White House as one of two outstanding teachers from Illinois. Tantillo drove a CTA bus while earning his college education. He lives in McHenry.

Kathryn Tholin is CEO of Center for Neighborhood Technology, where she directs and oversees CNT’s research, demonstration and policy development. Tholin has more than 25 years of experience in program management, policy development, and research on a wide range of community development, environmental and energy issues. She is also a founder and board member of the Chicago Community Loan Fund. She lives in Chicago.

Sonia Walwyn is a Vice President of Duff & Phelps, LLC, and a member of the tax services group with over 25 years experience assisting clients in maximizing their overall savings and business efficiency across all industry sectors. She earned an LLM in taxation from Villanova School of Law in 2000 and a J.D. from Dickinson School of Law in 1988, and holds a B.S. in accounting from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She lives in Naperville.

The Governor’s Office currently has no legal ability to intervene with the Metra board or the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) board unless the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG) files a report alleging wrongdoing. According to recent media reports, the OEIG is currently investigating. Governor Quinn expanded the OEIG’s authority to include transit boards in 2011 and just this year re-appointed Ricardo Meza – who was one of the finalists for U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois – as the OEIG. The task force will conduct its work at the same time the Inspector General’s office continues to review any potential wrongdoing without compromising that investigation.

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