Civic News & Info
Harkin Announces $2.1 Million for AmeriCorps Programs Across Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 12:45

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that eight Iowa AmeriCorps programs have been awarded a total of $2,107,284 from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  A longtime champion of AmeriCorps, Harkin helped secure these funds as Chairman of the appropriations panel that oversees CNCS.  

“AmeriCorps volunteers provide vital services that help strengthen Iowa communities,” said Harkin.  “In everything from mentoring kids after school to teaching healthy eating to protecting our natural resources, AmeriCorps is making a difference.  Despite the tough budget climate in Washington, I have fought – and will continue to fight – to support the AmeriCorps program.”

AmeriCorps, which is administered by CNCS, engages 80,000 people each year in intensive, results-driven service through more than 14,000 organizations across the country.  Since 1994, more than 775,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps.  Among other accomplishments, AmeriCorps members last year mobilized 3.4 million community volunteers, and tutored, mentored or served more than 3.5 million disadvantaged youth.  Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and apply online by visiting

Details of the Iowa funding are as follows:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley, BBBS AmeriCorps Consortium for Eastern Iowa - $130,000
This funding will help to support 14 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will recruit and support volunteers to mentor disadvantaged youth at risk to leave school without a diploma.  The mentoring will result in improved academic achievement among these youth.  The program will serve students in Eastern Iowa.

Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa Inc., AmeriCorps Education Enhancement Project - $216,468
This funding will help to support 25 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will provide after school homework help, healthy choices programming and case management support in the education priority area to increase positive attendance patterns in schools.  The program will serve students age 5 - 18 in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Council Bluffs, Carter Lake, Sioux City, Adair, and Davenport, Iowa.

City of Dubuque, Partners in Learning AmeriCorps Program - $210,587
This funding will help to support 48 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will provide in-school, before school and after-school academic mentoring and summer learning opportunities to improve math and reading proficiency in the city of Dubuque, Iowa.

Community Corrections Improvement Association, Each One Reach One AmeriCorps Project - $460,435
This funding will help to support 49 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will leverage volunteers to mentor youth and adult offenders resulting in fewer youth entering the criminal justice system and increased life skills of ex-offenders.  The program will also target families in the child welfare system for abuse and neglect in Linn, Johnson and Tama counties of Iowa.

Graceland University, AmeriCorps Youth Launch - $175,146
This funding will help to support 25 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will leverage  additional volunteers to strengthen academic engagement through mentoring service learning cultural/enrichment opportunity programs and building 'developmental assets' as indicators of academic achievement in rural south central Iowa.

Habitat for Humanity of Iowa, Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Iowa AmeriCorps - $274,576
This funding will help to support 31 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will recruit and support volunteers to build low-income housing units to eliminate substandard, unaffordable housing in the state of Iowa.  The program will serve low-income families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Quad Cities, Des Moines, Knoxville, Mason City, Marshalltown, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Webster/Humboldt, and Greene/Boone counties of Iowa.

Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, Keepers of the Land AmeriCorps - $506,727
This funding will help to support 87 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will provide wildlife habitat restoration and trail improvement to reduce water quality decline in the Environmental Stewardship priority area.  The program will serve all residents, particularly in rural communities, throughout the state of Iowa.

United Way of East Central Iowa, Youth Achievement Corps AmeriCorps Program - $133,345
This funding will help to support 11 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members will provide early literacy activities and tutoring in out of school time programs to children and parents, and provide outreach services for children and families with disabilities. Members will serve in Eastern Iowa and the program will address the CNCS focus area of education.


Simon welcomes Moline to Main Street program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:06
MOLINE – May 30, 2012. Ambassador to the Illinois Main Street program, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon officially designated Moline as a Main Street community today before a luncheon recognizing economic development officials, city staff and volunteers.

“I’m excited to designate Moline as an official Main Street community. This means access to technical assistance and training on economic development. The designation will compliment what the Moline Centre Main Street program has already done to revitalize this historic part of Moline,” Simon said.

Moline Centre, which is housed in the City of Moline’s Economic Development Department, is the only Illinois Main Street program that operates within a unit of local government. The program is funded through Moline’s two downtown Special Service Area (SSA) taxing districts and manages the maintenance contracts for the SSA.

The taxing districts generate revenue to provide downtown businesses with public way maintenance, marketing and promotional materials, as well as financing for rehabilitation projects through a façade improvement program that has provided over $300,000 to 21 projects since 2006. Moline Centre hopes to compliment this service with architectural design services in cooperation with Illinois Main Street and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

“Moline is honored to have been selected for participation in the Illinois Main Street Program,” said Moline Centre Coordinator Pam Owens. “Our group has worked very hard to meet the criteria set by the Illinois Main Street Program, and I want to thank all of our volunteers and staff for their efforts. With their continued energy and dedication, we will keep moving forward, and make Downtown Moline Centre a thriving part of our community.”

The designation ceremony took place in front of the City of Mills mural which features a depiction of downtown Moline in 1850. The Downtown Commercial Historic District, which is located in the larger of the two SSAs, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to John Deere’s first factory. The manufacturer of agricultural machinery remains headquartered in Moline and is celebrating 175 years in business.

Moline joins Rock Island, which has been a Main Street community since 1996. The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District implements the program in conjunction with two other organizations – Development Association of Rock Island and Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation – under the umbrella of Renaissance Rock Island.

“The Illinois Main Street program is a great resource to access for revitalization efforts of downtown,” said Brian Hollenback, President of Renaissance Rock Island. “Those resources help us develop and utilize design standards for renovation efforts that are crucial to preserving, revitalizing and telling the story of downtown Rock Island.”

Illinois Main Street is administered by the Office of Regional Economic Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and offers its designated communities technical assistance and training in how to revitalize traditional downtowns, neighborhood business districts, and urban corridors. The program is part of the National Main Street Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center.

Simon announced in March that the Illinois Main Street Program is once again accepting applications from communities interested in becoming part of the program. Communities interested in obtaining more information can visit


Simon to talk downtown revitalization and renewable energy in Quad Cities, Northern Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:52

MOLINE/COMPTON – As ambassador to the Illinois Main Street program, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will designate Moline as the second Illinois Main Street community in the Quad Cities on Wednesday at a ceremony in front of the City of Mills mural at the Historic Block Courtyard in Moline’s historic commercial district.


Later in the day, Simon will visit Shady Oaks wind farm in southeastern Lee County, just as the turbines are expected to come online and begin generating energy for Illinois homes and businesses. The Shady Oaks wind development will provide enough power to serve approximately 15,000 homes and helped create and retain 400 American jobs.


Wednesday, May 30

EVENT: Moline Centre Main Street Designation Ceremony

TIME: 11 a.m.

PLACE: Historic Block Courtyard, River Road between 15th and 16th Streets, Moline

NOTE: Simon will visit the Rock Island Arsenal following the Main Street ceremony. There is no media availability at the arsenal.

EVENT: Shady Oaks Wind Farm tour

TIME: 2:45 p.m.

PLACE: Shady Oaks Wind Farm, 907 Illinois Route 251, Compton



Harkin Urges Iowans to Take Advantage of Funding Now Available for Community Prevention Initiatives PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:46

Nationally, $70 Million available for Harkin’s Community Transformation Grants

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today encouraged eligible Iowa organizations to apply for funding made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for community-based prevention initiatives.  Earlier today, HHS announced the availability of $70 million in funding for Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program – a portion of the $226 million initiative.  

Harkin created the Prevention Fund as the author of the prevention and wellness provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  He is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HHS.

“Prevention begins in the community and Community Transformation Grants enable localities to tailor wellness and prevention programs to their specific needs and environment,” said Harkin.  “I encourage all eligible organizations to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for a grant to ensure that all Iowans have access to resources to help them live healthier lifestyles.”

The Community Transformation Grant program supports State and local governmental agencies and community-based organizations in the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community health activities in order to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence-base of effective prevention programming.   The Iowa Department of Public Health received $3 million in Fiscal Year 2011 to conduct statewide efforts.  The competitive funding announced today is targeted specifically for communities.

The long-term objectives of the Community Transformation Grant Program include:
•    Reducing death and disability due to tobacco use by 5 percent among the target population;  
•    Reducing the rate of obesity through nutrition and physical activity interventions by 5 percent in the implementation area;
•    And reducing death and disability due to heart disease and stroke by 5 percent in the implementation area.

The official funding opportunity announcement for the Community Transformation Grants will be available today after 11:00 AM ET by visiting

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