The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

34 VOICES To Conduct Memorial Service May 5th

To Circulate Petitions Saturday

The 34 VOICES student group of the West Central School District will be conducting a memorial service for Melissa Munoz and other beloved individuals who have been killed on U.S. Route 34 on Monday, May 5, 2008.

The memorial service will be held in the West Central High School gym and will begin at 10:00 a.m.

"It has been a year since Melissa Munoz tragically lost her life in an accident outside our front door.

"We have encouraged our legislators to make funding this highway improvement project a priority and to date we have seen no progress.

"We do not want any other family to suffer the pain that the Munoz family has had to endure," said 34 VOICES co-president Miriam Rutzen. " We want to know, "Why?'"

Since the fatal accident last May, West Central students have formed the 34 VOICES student group to continue putting the heat on area and state legislators to provide funding for the expansion of U.S. Route 34 from the Carman blacktop to Route 67 in Monmouth.

The group has held a rally in September of 2007 providing over 660 letters of support for this project to area legislators. In addition, the group has spoken to other state and federal legislators about the need for funding this project.

In addition, the 34 VOICES students have organized two petition drives. The first will be to secure the signatures of all West Central students in grades 6-12 as well as signatures from each sixth through twelfth grade student from the schools in Warren and Mercer counties.

The second petition drive will be conducted on Saturday, April 26, 2008. This petition drive will be conducted with the goal of gaining signatures from the adults in Henderson County.

34 VOICES members along with members of the Highway 34 Coalition will conduct this petition drive from 8:00 a.m. until 12 noon this Saturday, April 26th.

The completed petitions will be presented to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, Senator Frank Watson, Representative Tom Cross and the other members of the Illinois General Assembly.

"A successful petition drive will be another way we can show our elected officials that we are serious about this project and will continue our efforts to keep the spotlight on the need for a capital bill this legislative session," said Grimm.

"I am extremely pleased and proud of our students who have taken on this project" said Ralph Grimm, West Central District Superintendent.

"Our students believe passionately in this cause and will not stop their efforts to see this project move forward to completion."

Grimm adds that Illinois legislators have not passed a capital bill since 1998, and that bill called for $12 billion in funding. A current capital bill under consideration in Springfield is for $25 billion in funding, including approximately $77 million for U.S. Route 34 improvements.

The public is invited to attend the May 5 memorial service.