In local news last week, Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) had the opportunity to experience Mineral Products' 6260, the patent-pending Active Track and Yard Cleaner. Senator Fowler was invited to the company’s facility to witness the product firsthand, having the chance to operate and drive the innovative machinery being produced and manufactured in Southern Illinois
When operating, this product will be able to remove debris or spillage from active track or rail yards.
In other news, Senator Fowler acted as “Principal For A Day” at Unity Point Consolidated School District 140 on October 23. Senator Fowler helped serve lunch to students as part of the Illinois Principals Association program fostering relationships between legislators and school administration.
Senator Fowler is also sharing information for potential nominees being sought for open seats on Illinois’ newly-created Route 66 Centennial Commission, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is also seeking input on a public campaign urging safety on state roadways.
The state’s transportation department is also launching a new initiative to test connected and automated vehicles, while in other state news, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial Office this week honored the service of 200 veterans nominated for their contributions to fellow veterans, their community, and state.
Also, there is still time to send in a memorial for placement on the Veterans Day “Wall of Honor” in the State Capitol Rotunda Nov. 5-16.
Nominees sought for Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission
Illinoisans with an interest in history and the Mother Road are encouraged to nominate themselves for open seats on the recently created Route 66 Centennial Commission.
The state holds the distinction of being the starting point for the highway, and has undertaken a number of historic preservation efforts to boost tourism along the state’s portion of Route 66. Proponents say the events will be fun, but also an economically important public service opportunity. The Commission’s 20 members will develop plans for celebrating the famous highway’s 100th anniversary, coming up in 2026.
The Governor, who signed legislation creating the commission in July, will appoint three public members; one of those members will lead the commission. Along with the Governor’s selections, eight appointments to the commission will be made by Senate and House majority and minority leaders. The president of the Route 66 Association of Illinois and the executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, or their designees will also serve on the commission.
Rounding out the commission:
- The Governor
- The Secretary of the Department of Transportation
- The Director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
- The Department of Natural Resources Director
- The Director of the Office of Tourism
- The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director
- The Director of the State Archives
The commission will meet at least quarterly. Applications for gubernatorial appointments can be made online at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/bac/Pages/NominateForm.aspx.
Make your mark along Illinois highways
New IDOT contest asks public to submit ideas and key phrases for electronic signs
Illinois residents are encouraged to apply their creativity and knack for words to help improve safety on Illinois roadways.
IDOT is inviting the public to submit ideas for safety messages to display on the electronic signs located over highways throughout the state. The message signs are seen by millions of motorists, and are considered an effective way to reach the public with life-saving information.
- Keep it short and simple
- Messages are restricted to three lines with 18 characters per line. Spaces and punctuation count as characters
- Align messaging with one of the six categories: distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, occupant restraint, work zone safety and vulnerable users, such as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
One message from each category will be chosen for display by an IDOT committee. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 19. Winners will be announced in early 2019.
Visit idot.illinois.gov/dms-contest to learn more about contest rules and to submit ideas. The winning messages will be displayed at times throughout the year to help promote traffic safety. Winning entrants also receive a personalized street sign.
The sign contest and renewed focus on safety messaging are part of IDOT’s Life or Death Illinois campaign in response to back-to-back years of more than 1,000 deaths on Illinois roads, the highest total in a decade. Other efforts include crashed cars at rest areas as a physical reminder of the importance of responsible driving and continued development of new ways to improve safety in work zones. On Oct. 30, IDOT will convene state and local agencies, elected officials and other stakeholders for a safety summit with discussion focused on distracted driving.
Life or Death Illinois is a multimedia campaign that includes vivid imagery and key statistics to underline the importance of safe driving and appeal to audiences to stop and consider the seriousness of the issues on the state’s roads. It marks the first time IDOT expanded its key safety messages beyond the ongoing problems of impaired driving and unbuckled motorists to include new materials aimed at reducing deaths and injuries tied to motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, work zones and distracted driving.
Visit lifeordeathillinois.com for more information.
‘Autonomous Illinois’ moves Illinois to forefront of connected, automated vehicle testing, research
Initiative partners state, private industry to promote safety, economic opportunity
IDOT has launched a new statewide, multiagency initiative, “Autonomous Illinois” to develop a testing program for connected and automated vehicles. The enterprise was created by an executive order directing IDOT to oversee a program aimed at advancing the state to the forefront in research on these emerging safety technologies. The Governor emphasized that because Illinois is widely considered the national “transport hub,” the state is uniquely qualified to lead research of connected and automated vehicles.
This initiative seeks to make Illinois roads safer, generate investment, and create employment opportunities in the high-tech jobs sector. As part of the Governor’s executive order, IDOT will oversee a testing program that requires a driver to remain behind the wheel, capable of taking control of the vehicle at all times.
Autonomous Illinois will bring together communities interested in connected and automated vehicle testing with industry, universities, research institutions and other technology partners. IDOT and other state agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway, Department of Insurance and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will assist with the program.
Autonomous Illinois will work with private industry as well to determine infrastructure, data and support needs to further testing and implementation in Illinois. To facilitate the dialogue, IDOT has created a new Autonomous Illinois web portal at www.idot.illinois.gov/autonomous.
Connected and automated vehicles will generate an estimated $800 billion annually in economic benefits nationwide by 2050, which includes the creation of jobs, increased productivity for motorists and fuel savings. They also will help reduce the number of crashes – 94 percent of which are caused by human error – that result in more than 1,000 deaths in Illinois and a negative economic impact of $14 billion a year, according to the most recent data.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial Office announce ‘Honor 200’ Recipients
Veterans to be honored in Chicago Dec. 3
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Bicentennial Office announced the recipients of Bicentennial Honor 200 on Oct. 25, honoring the work and service of 200 veterans around the state. The honorees were selected because they continue to make extraordinary contributions to the people of Illinois.
The following were area recipients:
- Ethan Blumhorst, Carbondale
- Thomas Harness, Carterville
- John Albert Metzger, Benton
- Ernest Rinella, Marion
The 200 veterans represent more than 50 counties across the state of Illinois. Nominees were evaluated based on their achievements, and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community at large. In addition, nominees must have received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military and reside in Illinois.
Honor 200 recipients have been invited to attend the state’s official 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on Dec. 3.
Honor your hero on Veterans Day
Illinois Senate Republican Caucus to show appreciation for veterans via ‘Wall of Honor’
Illinois veterans deserve our utmost honor, respect, and remembrance. They dedicated their lives to protect our country, freedom, and others around the world. While we can never do enough for these brave men and women, small tokens of appreciation can go a long way in honoring them and showing younger generations the impact our veterans have on the fabric of our country.
To show appreciation for veterans and their sacrifices, the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus in teaming up with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to showcase their legacy of service. Together, they are encouraging families and friends of veterans across the state to submit a photograph and written story of any veteran, which will be displayed on the Veterans Day “Wall of Honor” in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda Nov. 5-16.
How to submit a veteran:
Send a photo and written story (max: 250 words) along with the following information: name, military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) and conflict served (Afghanistan, Iraq, September 11, Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, peacetime, other). Military photos are preferred but not necessary.
Mail a submission:
Veterans Day Wall
309 G Statehouse
Springfield, Ill. 62706
Email a submission: