Business & Economy
Bettendorf Company Leaves Consumers Empty Handed PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by BBB News   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:32

Card Grading Company in Bettendorf Leaves Sports Fans Empty Handed

The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region is issuing a consumer alert about Global Authority of Bettendorf, IA.  According to the company’s website, Global Authority offers “authentication and grading services for a wide spectrum of collectibles.”

The BBB has closed 21 complaints against this company in the last year and has received over 100 inquiries.  Global Authority has earned an F rating with the BBB due to failure to respond to complaints, many of which are considered serious in nature.

Consumer complaints primarily allege that after sending trading cards to the company for authentication and grading, Global Authority refuses to return the cards and consumers are unable to reach the company.

One disgruntled customer stated, “I sent them a 1954 wax pack of Bowman Football cards to be graded and encapsulated by them.  They sent me confirmation that they received the item and would start the grading process.  They did not bill my credit card, but they kept the pack, which is quite valuable.  They would never return my calls or emails regarding this.”

The BBB has made several unsuccessful attempts to reach out to the company both by phone and by mail.

The BBB understands that handing over one’s collectibles can be risky business.  Personal collections can be of value to their owner for both monetary and sentimental reasons; therefore, the BBB offers the following advice when looking for a reputable authenticating service:

ü  If possible, look local. There is always an inherent risk in sending valuables through the mail.

ü  Look for companies with a good reputation in the industry. In the world of sports memorabilia, there are card graders that are known and respected throughout the hobby by the majority of serious collectors.

ü  Take appropriate measures before mailing your treasures. If you decide to do business with a company that requires you mail your goods, make sure you keep a detailed track of your inventory, insure the package and record your tracking number.  Also, make sure your items are adequately covered under your homeowner’s policy, should they not be returned.

Please contact the BBB if you feel you have been a victim of this company.  As always, the BBB reminds you to start your search with Trust.  Find trustworthy businesses and consumer advice at www.iowa.bbb.org.


 
QC NATIVE COMES TO CALL MEDIA LINK HOME PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Monday, 20 August 2012 15:35
Rock Island, IL/August 20, 2012 – Please welcome Courtney Boothe to the Media Link team! Courtney is a recent college graduate with a great love of the Quad Cities. She will serve as the Office Manager and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager for the full service advertising agency.

Courtney says “I am so happy to have this opportunity to work at Media Link. The Quad Cities is home to me and it is a dream come true to be able to help out a locally owned business such as Media Link Inc and the clients they help.”

Courtney is a 2011 graduate of Carthage College, where she was a double major in Public Relations and Communication. Courtney has gained a wide range of knowledge through her studies. Classes ranged from Rhetoric and Persuasion to Managerial Accounting to the Principles of Marketing. While at Carthage, Courtney was a four year varsity swimmer and member of the social fraternity, Tau Sigma Chi. One summer during her college career, Courtney actually served as a Marketing Intern for Media Link. She is looking forward to getting back into the swing of things in the office and utilizing her previous knowledge. After college, Courtney brought her love of swimming back home to the Quad Cities where she Assistant Coached the Moline Middle School Swim Team. In her spare time, Courtney is a college sports junkie; spending her Saturdays in the fall at Northwestern Football games.

 

“Courtney is an amazing addition to our team.  She is so driven, precise and creative.  It was a dream having her intern with us while she was in College and we’re fortunate to have the chance to bring her on board and keep her in the Quad Cities,” exclaims Natalie Linville-Mass, President of Media Link, Inc.

Media Link is a full-service integrated marketing firm specializing in strategic media buying and placement. Media Link works with businesses in the Quad-Cities and around the country to develop and execute customized marketing strategies to help them more effectively reach their customers. Media Link recently developed and launched its own media buying software system, Media Link Software.  This company is also one of the only marketing firms in the region to have obtained an 8(a) SDB certification, a designation of significance to clients who contract with the federal government.

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Youth Livestock Enthusiasts Awarded in 4-H, FFA Dairy Cattle Shows PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 20 August 2012 14:57

DES MOINES, IA (08/19/2012)(readMedia)-- Young competitors from across Iowa earned breed championships in the Youth Dairy Cattle Show judged Thursday, August 9, at the 2012 Iowa State Fair.

Exhibitors were also judged on their showmanship skills. The Showmanship award is given for the exhibitors' ability to present their livestock in the show ring and answer any questions the judge may ask about their animal.

Breed division winners in the Youth Dairy Cattle Show included:

AYRSHIRE

Junior Champion: Logan Worden, Oelwin

Junior Reserve Champion: Brad Arthur, Maynard

Senior Champion: Kaleb Kruse, Dyersville

Senior Reserve Champion: Sammie Rathjen, Walcott

Grand Champion: Kaleb Kruse, Dyersville

Reserve Grand Champion: Sammie Rathjen, Walcott

GUERNSEY

Junior Champion: Lars Sivesind, Waukon

Junior Reserve Champion: Landon Sivesind, Waukon

Senior Champion: Carley Kammerude, Dubuque

Senior Reserve Champion: Austin Knapp, Epworth

Grand Champion: Carley Kammerude, Dubuque

Reserve Grand Champion: Austin Knapp, Epworth

HOLSTEIN

Junior Champion: Scott Stempfle, Maynard

Junior Reserve Champion: Isaac Lyons, West Union

Senior Champion: Riley Demmer, Peosta

Senior Reserve Champion: Ashley Bushman, Calmar

Grand Champion: Riley Demmer, Peosta

Reserve Grand Champion: Ashley Bushman, Calmar

JERSEY

Junior Champion: Brian Arthur, Maynard

Junior Reserve Champion: Cole Kruse, Dyersville

Senior Champion: Ross Wedewer, Epworth

Senior Reserve Champion: Eric Metzger, Lester

Grand Champion: Ross Wedewer, Epworth

Reserve Grand Champion: Eric Metzger, Lester

MILKING SHORTHORN

Junior Champion: Ashley Bushman, Calmar

Junior Reserve Champion: Megan Bushman, Calmar

Senior Champion: Halie Gruenwald, Lost Nation

Senior Reserve Champion: Bradley Byers, Milo

Senior Grand Champion: Halie Gruenwald, Lost Nation

Reserve Grand Champion: Bradley Byers, Milo

SHOWMANSHIP

Junior Champion: Regan Demmer, Peosta

Intermediate Champion: Jessica Stempfle, Maynard

Intermediate Reserve Champion: Mitchell Hanson, La Porte City

Senior Champion: Austin Knapp, Epworth

Senior Reserve Champion: Michael Lyons, Castalia

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines, and are open 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day of the Fair. Exhibit hours may vary. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

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EPA's hazy outlook threatens to bankrupt coal-fired power plants PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by By Rebekah Rast   
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:23

The nearly five million visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona each year stare in awe at the canyon's long 277 river miles that can be up to 18 miles wide and about a mile deep.

However, even amidst this beauty, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is focused on the haze in the national park and says it is coming from a very important electricity source in the area.

The Navajo Generating Station (NGS), a coal-fired power plant that supplies electricity for the 14 pumping stations required to move water to southern Arizona—to about 80 percent of the state's population—is being blamed for creating poor air quality in the national park.

Currently, this power plant meets all federal clean air guidelines—except the EPA's interpretation of the Regional Haze Rule.

The goal of the EPA's Regional Haze Rule is the "remedying of any existing impairment of visibility" at 156 National Park and Wilderness areas throughout the U.S.  Congress approved of this amendment to the Clean Air Act in 1977, however, power to set standards of emissions was left to the states—not the EPA.  The EPA's role was to simply provide support.

Now the EPA seems to be trampling on the state's authority to control emissions standards by creating its own set of standards.  Is the EPA really that concerned about cleaning up haze or is this just another aggressive move to push out the coal industry?

If the EPA decides that the NGS power plant needs additional emissions control technology, owners of the power plant can expect to invest $1.1 billion, with no promise of improved air quality in the national park.

Furthermore, the plant is located on land owned by the Navajo Nation.  Its long-term lease with the tribe expires in 2019.  If the power plant operators can't guarantee a renewed lease beyond 2019, investing more than $1 billion into the plant isn't a viable option.  Depending on the EPA ruling, NGS might shutdown—costing 1,000 jobs, 90 percent of them belonging to the Navajo tribe.

Not only would this hurt the local economy, already plagued with high unemployment, but it would effectively destroy the water source to southern Arizona—leading to skyrocketing water rates.

How does the EPA get away with destroying communities like this one?

A political game.  It is no secret that many environmental groups ally with the EPA.  But what if these groups don't think the EPA is doing its job or going far enough? They sue.  The EPA then settles agreeing to fix the problem. Therefore a court-imposed deadline on the EPA leaves it with no other option but to override the state's regulations and enforce its own controls.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a report titled, "EPA's New Regulatory Front: Regional Haze and the Takeover of State Programs," highlights how the EPA, along with court-mandated deadlines, has wheedled its way into state territory by delaying state plans for emission control.

"By combining this tactic of delaying approval of the state plans with Sue and Settle and a court-imposed deadline to act, EPA has manufactured a loophole to provide itself with the ability to reach into the state haze decision-making process and supplant the state as decision maker. EPA has, effectively, engineered a way to get around the protections of state primacy built into the Regional Haze statute by Congress."

Get full story here.

 
Taxpayer money to faltering battery manufacturer PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 15:12

Thune, Grassley Question Obama Administration on Taxpayer Funding of Faltering Battery Manufacturer Following Planned Chinese Investment

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today sent a letter to the Obama administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to shore up another faltering stimulus-funded company, A123 Systems Inc. Last week, a Chinese-based company, Wanxiang Group Corp., announced a substantial investment in the U.S. battery manufacturer, which could result in Chinese ownership of the company that could still receive over $100 million in U.S. taxpayer funds.

Thune and Grassley sent a letter to the DOE on June 25th requesting more information on Stimulus money transferred to A123 as it related to the taxpayer-backed loan guarantee to the troubled auto company Fisker. The Obama administration failed to address the senators’ questions in a response letter.

The text of the senators’ letter sent today is included below.

 

August 14, 2012

 

Dr. Stephen Chu

Secretary

Department of Energy

1000 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20585

 

Dear Secretary Chu:

We write today in regards to the Department of Energy (DOE) grant to A123 Systems, Inc., and the recent announcement of Wanxiang Group Corp, a China-based company, to heavily invest in the U.S. battery manufacturer.

In 2009, A123 was awarded a $249.1 million grant through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).  In a letter dated June 25, 2012, we asked you how much of this grant has yet to be transferred to A123.  Although you failed to answer this straightforward question, media reports indicate that A123 has approximately $120 million of the $249.1 million grant currently outstanding.

Recently, A123 and the China-based Wanxiang announced a $450 million deal to save the struggling battery manufacturer.  According to media reports, Wanxiang will purchase $200 million of A123’s secured debt and provide up to an additional $250 million in financing.  A key part of this transaction gives Wanxiang the option to transfer some of this debt into ownership of the company, which could result in Wanxiang owing 80 percent of A123.

Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have flowed to foreign companies through the Recovery Act, and we are concerned that the recent announcement could lead to even more taxpayer dollars going overseas.  Given that A123 could soon be owned by a Chinese company, please answer the following questions with regards to this transaction and A123’s outstanding Recovery Act grant:

1.         How much of A123’s $249.1 million Recovery Act grant is still outstanding?

2.         Considering that A123 has already received millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and could potentially receive up to $450 million from a foreign company, does A123 need additional taxpayer dollars to continue its operations?

3.         If the A123-Wanxiang transaction is approved, how will that impact future distributions of A123’s Recovery Act grant, if at all?

4.         If the A123-Wanxiang transaction is approved and Wanxiang exercises its option to convert A123’s debt into equity, does DOE still plan to distribute the unused portion of A123’s Recovery Act grant?  If so, why?

5.         What assurances does DOE have that Wanxiang will not simply wait until the additional grant money is awarded and then exercise its option to convert A123’s debt into ownership of the U.S.-subsidized company?  Would DOE view that as an appropriate outcome?  If so, why?

6.         What assurances, if any, does DOE have that the A123-Wanxiang transaction and additional DOE funding through the Recovery Act will not lead to a transfer of taxpayer-funded intellectual property to a China-based company, or that the taxpayer funded manufacturing jobs will remain in the United States?

7.         With the recent announcement that Wanxiang will be investing in A123, will the DOE place additional milestones on A123’s progress before awarding the additional Recovery Act grant dollars, and if so, what would those be?   What assurances does DOE have, if any, that A123 has solved its technical problems and that A123 will become profitable in the near future?

8.         In an August 3, 2012, letter to us, Acting Executive Director of DOE’s Loan Program Office David Frantz wrote that, “(t)he Department is in constant dialogue with A123 to stay abreast of progress, challenges, plans and developments to assure that the project is meeting the objectives as defined in the grant.  DOE is also continually monitoring risk and financial conditions.  As part of this “continual monitoring” when did DOE become aware of A123’s pending transaction with Wanxiang?

9.         Did DOE raise any objection to this transaction?  If so, when?  Please provide documents supporting any objection raised by DOE to this transaction.

Thank you for your cooperation and attention in this matter.  We would appreciate a response by August 21, 2012.

Sincerely,

 

John Thune

Charles Grassley

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