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11th Illinois Products Expo – March 7-8, 2009Clean Energy Tax Incentives Now AvailableLake Land College to Host Alternative Energy ConferenceThe Green Value of Keeping Old Cars Vet School Clinical Trials Offer Hope for the FutureObama Selects LaHood for Transportation Secretary

11th Illinois Products Expo – March 7-8, 2009

The “11th Illinois Products Expo ... A Food and Cooking Extravaganza” will be March 7-8, 2009, in the Orr Building, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Ill. The Expo is open to the public. The cost to attend is only $4 (children 10 and under - free).

More than 70 Illinois food companies (and a few non-food companies) will be exhibiting. Food companies will provide free food samples and most of these products will also be available to purchase at the Expo.

The “Illinois Wine and Cheese Garden” will once again be a featured attraction at the Expo. At least 20 Illinois wine companies will participate. They will sell wine samples (for a nominal fee) and they will sell their wine by the glass and by the bottle.

The hours of the Expo are: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7 and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, March 8. A Weber Genesis® E-310™ gas grill (retail value-$799) and numerous “Illinois Products” gift baskets will be given away as door prizes.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Marketing and Promotion is coordinating the event. For more information, contact Larry Aldag, 217-524-3012.


Clean Energy Tax Incentives Now Available

President Bush signed the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) into law in October, which also extended and enhanced critical tax credits and financing relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, which was attached to H.R. 1424, provides a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy, keeping the credit in effect through 2009. The bill also provides a two-year PTC extension, through 2010, for electricity produced from geothermal, biomass and solar energy facilities, as well as trash-to-energy facilities, small hydropower facilities using irrigation water, capacity additions to existing hydropower plants, and hydropower facilities added to existing dams.

The act also continues the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program. Under these provisions, the CREBs program receives a new $800 million authorization, with one-third of that reserved for qualifying renewable energy projects of electric cooperatives.

The act also creates a new 10 percent tax credit for certain combined heat and power systems and for geothermal heat pumps (up to $2,000). In addition, the bill also provides accelerated depreciation for utilities installing smart meters and smart grid systems.

In terms of energy efficiency and alternative fuels, the act extends and revives a number of energy efficiency tax incentives for buildings, creates new tax credits for efficient vehicles, and extends and modifies tax credits for biofuels.

If you install a geothermal heat pump, you are now eligible for federal tax incentives under the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, passed as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation offers a maximum tax credit of $2,000. The legislation also provides a credit of 10 percent of the total investment, with no maximum credit, for commercial system installations.

For more information go to and click on Tax Credits Under the Energy Bill.


Lake Land College to Host Alternative Energy Conference

Lake Land College will host the second annual Energy Innovation Conference on Feb. 25-27 on its campus in Mattoon, Ill. The Honorable Chuck Hartke, former Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, will kick off the conference with the keynote address at 1 p.m Wednesday. Additional highlights include a legislative panel at 4 p.m. Thursday. Everyone is invited to attend and ask state legislators questions about current or future legislative bills concerning energy.

Attendees can choose presentations from an agricultural/residential or an academic tract. Select workshops will be open to the public. Vendors will be available to share their expertise on energy savings initiatives and products. More information about the conference is available online at or call 217-234-5215.

The Green Value of Keeping Old Cars

Even with the drop in gas prices you may be wondering if it’s better to drive an older, well-maintained car that gets about 25 miles per gallon, or to buy a new car that gets about 35 miles per gallon?

You might be surprised to learn that it makes more sense from a green perspective to keep your old car running and well maintained as long as you can. There are significant environmental costs to both manufacturing a new automobile and adding your old car to the ever-growing collective junk heap.

A 2004 analysis by Toyota found that as much as 28 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions generated during the lifecycle of a typical gasoline-powered car can occur during its manufacture and its transportation to the dealer. The remaining emissions occur during driving. Although recycling is great, there are environmental impacts, too, even if your old car is junked, dismantled and sold for parts.

If you simply must change your vehicle, be it for fuel efficiency or any other reason, one option is to simply buy a used car that gets better gas mileage than your existing one.

For more information on fuel efficiency or emissions go to;;;

Source: EarthTalk

Vet School Clinical Trials Offer Hope for the Future

There are few places in the world where one might find a veterinary surgeon performing a hip replacement on a dog, a student learning how to read an EKG from a race horse and a researcher helping to find a cure for bone cancer. But at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, which is one of only 28 veterinary schools in the country, it’s just another day.

Dr. Laura Garrett is a veterinary oncologist at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana. She is one of approximately 100 veterinary oncologists in the country. Dr. Garrett is currently conducting a clinical trial to help discover a better treatment for dogs with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.

Several of the medications used in clinical trials in veterinary schools go on to become FDA-approved drugs for human use. For example, Dr. Garrett explains that, “There is currently a melanoma vaccine licensed for use in dogs and now they are looking into developing one for people.”

Currently, the hospital has nine clinical trials ranging in focus from arthritis and dermatology, to rehabilitation and feline kidney disease.

Obama Selects LaHood for Transportation Secretary

Former Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, was appointed to the Transportation Secretary post on the Obama cabinet. LaHood had already decided to step down from his congressional seat after serving 14 years. A Republican, LaHood was a leader in the efforts to make the floor of the House less partisan. Respected by both sides of the aisle, he was the presiding officer of more debates than any other member and was in the chair during most of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment a decade ago. In 1999, electric co-op leaders recognized his leadership with the Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ Public Service Award. He will join Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as the other Republican member of the Obama cabinet.


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