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Southwest Illinois News is a weekly news publication spotlighting attractions, events, entertainment, tourism, jobs and business developments in Southwestern Illinois
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Used Tire Removal Actions in East. St. Louis and St. Clair County
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (SWI-News.com), November 5, 2017 - Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina has announced the completion of used tire removal actions in the Metro East St. Louis region. The used tire removal is part of the Agency's efforts to assist units of local government in providing and maintaining a healthy environment by removing used tires from public and abandoned properties.

"This program is a success thanks to the coordinated efforts of our local government partners," said Director Messina. "These collections are necessary to remove the hazards of used tires from our communities."

In total, more than 288 tons, approximately 23,000 used tires, were collected in St. Clair County. The St. Clair County Health Department sponsored a Units of Local Government tire collection at an Illinois Department of Transportation property in Lebanon. Monroe County Highway Department and Monroe County Road District brought collected tires to this location. A separate collection area was set up in East St. Louis to assist the city with their collection. In East St. Louis alone, 162.76 tons of used tires were collected.

Government entities participating in the St. Clair County Collection included: Belleville, Cahokia, Caseyville, Caseyville Township, Centreville, Centreville Township, Columbia, Dupo, Englemann Township, Fairmont City, Fairview heights, Fayetteville Township, Freeburg Township, Illinois Department of Transportation, Lebanon Road District, Marissa, Mascoutah, Millstadt Township, Monroe County Highway, Monroe County Road District, New Athens Township, Prairie DuPont Levee District, Shiloh, Smithton Township, St. Clair County, St. Clair County Clean Sweep, St. Clair County Highway, St. Clair County Road District, St. Libory, Sugar Loaf Township, Swansea, Washington Park.

Units of local government assist in the coordination of the collections, which allows the Illinois EPA to collect and properly dispose of the waste tires that have been collected from public properties, including roadsides, public parks and abandoned sites.

Dumped tires can contaminate air, land and water and serve as habitats for disease-carrying insects, particularly mosquitoes. Though we are entering the winter months, removal of tires before spring rains arrive will further reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

Through the Used Tire Program, used tires are properly disposed of at a registered, commercial used tire processing facility in Illinois. Some tires are retreaded and reused, and others are recycled into a variety of products and uses; but most are shredded into a high-energy fuel supplement known as tire-derived fuel and are burned in power plants, industrial boilers or cement kilns for energy recovery. The Illinois EPA's Used Tire Program is funded by a $2.50 per tire fee that consumers pay when purchasing tires at retail.


"From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama" Exhibition
SPRINGFIELD, IL (SWI-News.com), November 5, 2017 - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will help celebrate the state's 200th birthday with a major new exhibit about the four presidents who have called Illinois their home, said ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe.

The exhibit, entitled "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama," will explore their connections to the Prairie State, their political battles, the first ladies who helped them succeed and much more.

Visitors will see amazing documents and artifacts, including Ronald Reagan's yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant's accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama's speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president.

"From Illinois to the White House" opens March 23 and runs through the end of 2018.

"Illinois helped shape these leaders, and they in turn helped shape Illinois and the entire country. As we celebrate the state's bicentennial, it seems appropriate to take a close look at their lives and legacies," Lowe said.

"We're bringing together artifacts from more than a dozen institutions and private collectors for what will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit," Lowe added.

Items in the exhibit come from, among others, the U. S. Grant State Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Barack Obama Presidential Library, National Portrait Gallery, Chicago History Museum and Wayne Whalen, chair emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The John Ullrich Foundation of Decatur has provided generous support.

The exhibit will be housed in the ALPLM's Illinois Gallery, a space dedicated to rotating exhibits on state history. There will be no extra fee to see "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama." It is provided as part of regular admission to the Lincoln museum (212 N. 6th Street, Springfield).

For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln@illinois.gov


HSHS St. Elizabeth's Completes Successful Move From Belleville To O'Fallon
O'FALLON, IL (SWI-News.com), November 5, 2017 - HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital has now opened the doors of the new hospital and health center in O'Fallon, IL.

In a well-coordinated move involving several area EMS agencies and the assistance of Scott Air Force Base personnel, all 56 patients of St. Elizabeth's were successfully transferred by ambulance, from St. Elizabeth's current facility in the 200 block of South Third Street in Belleville, to the new hospital, located along Interstate 64 and North Green Mount Road in O'Fallon.

The hospital's namesake, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was credited with building hospitals and giving to the poor. The cherished story of her "Miracle of Roses" was an inspiration for many variations of the rose motif seen throughout the hospital. The abstract interpretation of a rose was custom designed and can be seen in floor patterns, privacy curtains, and glass graphics throughout the hospital.

At 4:00 a.m., the large Emergency lighted sign was turned off at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville and turned on at St. Elizabeth's in O'Fallon. The hospital had EMS and ambulances available in Belleville for anyone who arrived in Belleville for emergency care after this time to transport them.

The hospital began moving patients on Saturday, November 4 around 5:00 a.m. with the assistance of 23 ambulance rigs. St. Elizabeth's partnered with several local ambulance agencies from across their service area for the move. A nurse accompanied each patient in an ambulance on the trip from Belleville to O'Fallon to ensure safe, quality patient care. Scott Air Force Base also served as a valuable partner in this move, with their personnel assisting in communication with inpatients and their families prior to the move as well as helping with logistics during the move.

All patients were safely settled in their rooms by 9:15 a.m. and each received a rose and a commemorative rose pin for their patience and understanding during the move. Family members were escorted by St. Elizabeth's Hospital and HSHS Southern Illinois Division colleagues and leaders to each patient's room.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon offers 144 private patient rooms, an emergency department, state-of-the-art operating rooms, an advanced intensive care unit and inpatient rehabilitation. Additional inpatient and outpatient services at the new facility include cancer care, modern birthing suites, telehealth consultations featuring accredited stroke care, and award-winning heart care.


New, Improved 'Getting Around Illinois' Website
SPRINGFIELD, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has introduced a redesigned GettingAroundIllinois.com that provides continually updated information in a mobile-friendly format that's more convenient for the motoring public in Illinois.

"We are very excited to provide this new-and-improved resource for travelers," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "GettingAroundIllinois.com is a great place to get important information - from winter road conditions to construction site locations to road or bridge closures - for any trip, any time of the year. The new mobile-friendly format will get travelers the information they need quickly and conveniently."

In keeping with the demands of today's users, the new website includes the ability to identify and zoom in to your location, travel route or destination, whereas the former site offered a static map that provided a broad view of a user's overall location. Additionally, the new website is operated by a cloud-based system, creating a better opportunity to provide real-time information and reducing potential system downtime.

As construction season gets underway, work zone information throughout the state is accessible by selecting the map's "road construction zone" layer to see where a work zone is located, how long it will be in place and what type of work is being done.

One of the more popular features of GettingAroundIllinois.com is the winter road conditions map, which averages more than 2 million visitors during snow-and-ice season and is regularly used by news media and shared widely on social media. The new map features an enhanced color scheme that better aligns with current map technology used by surrounding states, creating a more seamless travel experience for truckers and tourists, and is easier for color-blind individuals to discern.


Drury Inn & Suites Completes Renovation of Hotel in O'Fallon, Illinois
O'FALLON, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, has completed a full renovation to the property's 180 guest rooms and suites, public areas and more than 2,800 square feet of meeting and event space.

Renovations to the hotel's guest rooms include new mattresses and headboards, carpet, paint, window treatments, lighting and artwork. All of the guest bathrooms also received new showerheads, hair dryers and soft goods. The public and meeting areas of the hotel received upgraded lighting, new furniture complete with USB plug and play charging ports and artwork inspired and reflective of the St. Louis landscape.

"This is a great, fresh look for our property," said Ashley Timmons, general manager, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois. "Our upgrades were influenced by guest feedback and were made with their satisfaction in mind. We're excited for our guests to experience our new look and feel."

The hotel is 20 minutes east of downtown St. Louis off I-64. Conveniently located near Scott Air Force Base, the hotel is also near a wide variety of local attractions. Because of its central location and numerous amenities, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, is an ideal location for business and leisure travelers. Call 1-800-325-0481 for more information or reservations.


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