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100th Year Commemoration of East St. Louis Race Riots
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (, June 11, 2017 - A continuing series of commemorative activities to mark the 100th year anniversary of the East St. Louis Race Riots will be held Saturday, July 1 - Monday, July 3, 2017 in East St. Louis, St. Louis and atop Eads Bridge.

Commemorative activities are as follows:

Saturday, July 1, 2017 - Day of Remembrance

Films and Discussion - begins at 1p.m. at Better Family Life Facility (BFL), 5415 Page Blvd in St. Louis, Mo. This event includes drumming refreshments the viewing of two independent short films about the East St. Louis Race Riot by directors Bryan Sparkman and Dr. Denise Ward-Brown. It also includes a discussion about shelter cities and a question and answer period with the two film directors who will be present.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 - Day of Commemoration
Opening Activities - "Reviving and Renewing East St. Louis" - begins at 4:30p.m., outside at the SIUE East St. Louis Education Center, 601 James R. Thompson Blvd., (Brady Ave,) in East St Louis, Ill. The opening activities will include historical accounts, music, cultural presentations, prayers, discussions, healing rituals and special recognitions to reenergize East St. Louis.

Commemorative Procession begins gathering at 6pm to depart by 6:30pm, The silent procession (with drumming) will depart from the SIUE East Louis Education Center and proceed to the center of *Eads Bridge. The Drum Procession is symbolic and reminiscent of the procession held in Harlem, New York by the NAACP to bring attention to the mass killings of African-Americans during the East St. Louis Race Riot.

The Program & Wreath Placement will begin at 7pm. At the top of Eads Bridge a memorial wreath will be placed in the Mississippi River; the program will also highlight historical accounts, music and songs.

Flying Sky Lanterns will be lit and released (from Eads Bridge) at the conclusion of the program. The releasing of the lanterns is in honor of those who lost their lives during the riots and in recognition of how a community united to end the violence and provide relief to survivors and their families.

July 3, 2017 Monday - A Day of Resurrection
Discussion: "Communities of Color Taking Control of Their Own Destinies", begins at 1p.m., Greater St. Mark Family Church, 9950 Glen Owens, Ferguson, MO 63136. This event includes an open community dialog, drumming, refreshments, networking, sharing ideas and experiences and finding solutions.

According to historical accounts East St. Louis broke out into race rioting from July 1 - 3, 1917. Most historians agree that July 2nd was the worst day of the rioting, fighting, property destruction, killings and mass Black exodus. The East St. Louis Race Riot has been referred to as "Race War" by many of the survivors.

Participants are encouraged to use MetroLink. Those who are not physically able to make the walk, should consider taking the MetroLink elevators to the bridge deck to join in on the Commemorative program. Though the bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic during the commemorative activities participants, not in the procession, may walk on to the bridge from both the Illinois and Missouri entrances to the bridge.

This event is sponsored by Freedom Trails-Legacies of Hope, TEACH, Sudan Illustrators and Progressive Emporium & Education Center in coordination with the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative (EStL1917CCCI). The EStL1917CCCI has held events throughout 2017. For information contact Johnson Lancaster - TEACH Society at (314) 875-9277.

First Mosquitoes Testing Positive For West Nile Virus Reported
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, June 4, 2017 - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently reported the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois for 2017, when staff collected mosquitoes in Godfrey.

"The weather is warming up and we're starting to see West Nile virus," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. "Although we see West Nile virus in Illinois every year, it's still important to take precautions to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around your home."

Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms. People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

While IDPH is also monitoring for Zika virus, which is primarily transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, the main type of mosquito that carries Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, is different and is rarely found in Illinois.

Illinois Traveler Survey Shows Multimodal Support
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, April 9, 2017 - While the majority of Illinois residents who commute to work rely on their personal vehicles, there continues to be strong support throughout the state for public transportation and passenger rail, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation's latest Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey. Conducted every year since 2001, the survey seeks feedback on travel habits, driver behavior, preferences for funding transportation and IDOT performance.

"These survey results show that our residents understand and appreciate that Illinois is the transportation hub of North America and the various modes operate as one system," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "Feedback from you is important to us. In 2017, we are striving to set the bar even higher for IDOT while trying our best to deliver the world-class transportation system that Illinois expects and deserves."

Key feedback received:

  • 83 percent of respondents who commute in Illinois say they drive, but 95 percent support IDOT contributions to the building, maintenance and operations of public transportation systems in Illinois.
  • 94 percent of respondents indicated they strongly support or somewhat support passenger rail, with 92 percent saying they support increasing the amount of service.
  • 69 percent believe the condition of the state highway system is good or very good.
  • 32 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds reported using a cellphone while driving at least twice in the previous month. The 35- to 59-year-old age bracket reported they engaged in the same behavior 20 percent of the time.
  • 83 percent rate IDOT's overall performance as very good or good.
Results from the 2016 survey, conducted last fall with the help of the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office, are based on 1,176 responses obtained from a representative panel of respondents who met qualifying criteria.

New, Improved 'Getting Around Illinois' Website
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, April 9, 2017 - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has introduced a redesigned 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. " 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 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 (, March 5, 2017 - 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.

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