Civic News & Info
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Donna White   
Monday, 19 December 2011 15:06

KANSAS CITY – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced today that HUD will provide     $81,517 to the Davenport Housing Commission to supply permanent housing and case management for 15 homeless veterans in Davenport, Iowa.

This funding, from HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH), is a coordinated effort by HUD, VA, and local housing agencies to provide permanent housing for homeless veterans.  Davenport is one of 18 communities to receive the remaining $2.4 million appropriated for 2011 that will support 435 vouchers.

This funding to local housing agencies is part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end Veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015.  Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women.  Since 2008, HUD-VASH has provided more than 33,000 homeless veterans permanent supportive housing and supportive services.

“During this season of giving, I’m thrilled to announce that we have evidence that this funding is making a real difference to get homeless veterans off the street and into homes they can call their own,” said HUD Secretary Donovan.  “Thanks to the work done by HUD, and agency partners across the Obama Administration, the most recent homeless estimate shows veteran homelessness fell by nearly 12 percent in just one year.”

"This program provides critical assistance to those who have worn our nation's military uniforms and are in need of a home," said VA Secretary Shinseki. "VA and HUD will continue to work in partnership to end homelessness among veterans."

Today HUD also released its latest estimate on homelessness in America and found, veteran homelessness fell by nearly 12 percent (or 8,834 people) since January 2010.

The vouchers awarded today are part of the $50 million appropriated for Fiscal Year 2011 to support the housing needs of 7,250 homeless veterans.  VA Medical Centers (VAMC) provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans. Earlier this year, HUD awarded $46.2 million in HUD-VASH funding.

Homeless veterans are referred to the public housing agencies for these vouchers, based upon a variety of factors, most importantly the need for case management services. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff provides.

Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.  VA offers eligible homeless veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.



HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.

Quinn, Durbin, Costello, Emanuel, Hoechst Announce Illinois to Receive $44 Million Transportation Investment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 19 December 2011 14:53

Federal TIGER Grant Program Funding Will Support Three Illinois Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 12, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL), Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Tom Hoechst of Alton today announced that Illinois will receive a total of $44,288,000 in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funding for three Illinois projects in the Chicagoland area and Alton. The grants represent approximately 8 percent of total funding available through the program.

Today’s announcement follows Governor Quinn’s recent trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the state congressional delegation where they discussed avenues where Illinois and the federal government can work more closely together to benefit the state’s 13 million residents.

“This investment is just one of the many results of the outstanding cooperation between local, state, and the federal government that will keep Illinois strong,” said Governor Quinn. “This funding will strengthen our state’s transportation system that is vital to growing our economy and creating jobs. I want to thank Sen. Durbin and Rep. Costello for their continued leadership in Washington on behalf of Illinois.”

“Two years ago, I worked in the Senate to develop the TIGER grant program which gives local communities and mayors the ability to apply directly to the federal government to fund projects that they identify as having a positive economic impact on their community,” said Durbin. “Illinois has benefitted greatly from the TIGER grant program due to the hard work of local officials and organizations in close coordination with the state and federal government. These investments will create hundreds of good-paying jobs across our state.”

“This is an important regional and national project that will make our transportation system more efficient and fully leverage the impact of high speed rail,” said Costello. “Linking together all of our modes - rail, highways, waterways and aviation - is critical for economic development and job creation. The City of Alton and the entire bi-state region is perfectly located to be a transportation hub and this funding will further these goals. I have worked closely with city officials and Secretary LaHood on this project, and I will continue to support efforts to modernize our transportation infrastructure.”

The following projects will receive funding under today’s announcement:

$13,850,000 – Multimodal Transportation Center in Alton, Illinois

Today’s TIGER grant funding for the Madison County Transit Board of Trustees and the City of Alton will help create a Multimodal Transportation Center in conjunction with the new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail station in Alton, Illinois. The project will support a major expansion of eco-tourism to the Mississippi River region as well as a $72 million public-private investment in the planned Wadlow Town Centre redevelopment project on Homer Adams Parkway.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the news that the City of Alton and Madison County Transit will receive a TIGER grant for a new multimodal facility,” said Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst. “This facility will make taking the new 110 mph Amtrak service more convenient for citizens while spurring economic activity around the area.”

The $13,850,000 will help provide roadway and pedestrian access to the new Amtrak station and for construction of the multimodal and related infrastructure. It will also allow Madison County Transit to improve connectivity through the region including Southern Illinois University Edwardsville which attracts more than one-third of its 14,000-student body from metro Chicago and other cities along the high-speed rail corridor.

$20,000,000 – Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line/Chicago Bike Share Program

Today’s TIGER grant funding for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will help complete a project to repair 3.6 miles of track on the CTA’s Blue Line between Damen Avenue and Belmont Avenue finishing all track improvements between Chicago’s Downtown Loop and O’Hare International Airport. The TIGER grant will also help jumpstart Chicago’s planned bike-sharing program. This project targets deteriorated track in the remaining area of the Blue Line between the Loop and O'Hare Airport which has not yet been completed. It will alleviate CTA maintenance and operating costs, improve the deteriorated infrastructure and allow for shorter headways between trains. The bike-share program will give Chicagoans access to bike-share facilities at and around CTA bus and rail stations, giving travelers another option to get to their final destination.

“Chicago is a city on the move,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Revitalizing and modernizing our infrastructure is critical to creating jobs, maintaining our competitiveness, and enhancing the quality of life of residents throughout the city.  I want to thank Senator Durbin, Representative Luis Gutierrez and the Illinois delegation for their support and recognizing that this TIGER grant will help ensure we provide a solid foundation for the city’s future.”

Chicago is the only city in America that provides direct rail transit to two major airports. Together, O’Hare and Midway International Airports are the economic engine of the Chicago region, generating 540,000 jobs and $45 billion dollars annually in economic activity. There are more than 1,500 Department of Aviation employees at both airports and about 45,000 airport employees. There are 85 million annual passengers traveling through O’Hare and Midway with 1.13 million annual flights. Many of these employees and passengers take the Blue Line to and from the airports.

The Chicago bike-sharing program partially funded by this TIGER grant will improve the long-term efficiency, reliability, and cost competitiveness in the movement of people. Chicago’s bike-share program will foster sustainability by enhancing the public transportation options that support and encourage the development of existing communities. It will also improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Chicago bike-sharing system will improve the environmental sustainability of the Chicago transportation network by improving air quality. Users are expected to take an estimated 2.66 million trips in the first full year of operations and will travel an estimated 3.8 million miles.

$10,438,000 – Illinois Route 83 (Reconstruction of 2 Mile Span)

Today’s TIGER Grant funding for the Illinois Department of Transportation will help reconstruct two miles of Illinois Route 83 between Kedzie Avenue and Western Avenue / Dixie Highway with two travel lanes in each direction separated by a median to accommodate left turn lanes. The project, along with the planned interchange between Interstates 57 and 294, will reduce congestion, improve the flow of goods and services throughout the region and create about 135 construction jobs.


Catholic Sisters launch “Welcoming Communities” for immigration reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sister Sallyann McCarthy   
Monday, 19 December 2011 13:12

Ten communities of Catholic Sisters based in the Upper Mississippi River Valley are calling on President Obama and Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

To make their point, they have issued a statement on “Welcoming Communities,” they are placing billboards in the Quad Cities, Des Moines, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Clinton, Iowa, this month in advance of the Iowa caucuses to make sure delegates, potential candidates and voters remember this critical issue, and they are holding prayer services at the billboard sites and at their headquarters on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the day the billboards will be posted.

The billboards with the message: “I was a stranger an immigrant and you welcomed me” (see attached) will remain through early January.  The message, based on the words of Jesus, is taken from the Gospel of Matthew.

“We declare ourselves ‘Welcoming Communities’ in affirmation of our Catholic tradition that holds sacred the dignity of each person,” the Sisters said in the official statement, “and we invite other communities and people of faith to join us in becoming ‘Immigrant Welcoming Communities’ through prayer, reflection, education and action.”

“Our ‘Welcoming Communities’ stance is a direct response to the government’s ‘Secure Communities’ program which has transformed local police officers into a primary gateway for deportation,” explained the Sisters.  “The results have been hundreds of thousands of detentions and deportations, serious civil and human rights concerns, due process violations and damaged trust between immigrant communities and local police.”

They further noted that “the ‘Secure Communities’ process was marketed to local law enforcement agencies as a way to deal with serious and dangerous criminals. In fact, low-priority, non-violent offenders or even lawful permanent residents are being funneled into this program which is breaking up families, promoting racial profiling, and fueling a fear-filled and hateful anti-immigrant atmosphere.”

National immigration reform organizations assert that the “Secure Communities” program has actually made communities less safe because many individuals are afraid to report crimes that they experience or witness for fear of being deported or having neighbors, family members or friends deported.  As a result, they state, crimes are going unreported and communities, rather than becoming “secure” are living in fear.

“Failure on the part of the federal government to reform the present unworkable immigration system has resulted in states passing legislation that is punitive and harmful to human rights,” noted the Sisters.

“We understand that enforcement of law is part of any immigration policy,” the Sisters emphasized.  “However, the present policy of involving state and local law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of federal immigration law, such as in the ‘Secure Communities’ program, is not achieving that goal.  True security lies in building relationships and respecting human rights and only true, comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform can deal with the crisis in our nation.  Therefore, we are declaring ourselves Immigrant Welcoming Communities.”

“Welcoming Communities” is a project of the Dominican Sisters, Sinsinawa, Wis., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Ia., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Sisters of the Humility of Mary, Davenport, Ia., ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it );  Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, Ia., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Ia., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Ia., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Sisters of St. Benedict, Rock Island, Ill., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wis., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Sisters of the Visitation, Dubuque, Ia., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest Community, Omaha, Neb., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information, visit

Iowa Supreme Court Opinions December 9, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Monday, 19 December 2011 13:05
Notice: The opinions posted on this site are slip opinions only. Under the Rules of Appellate Procedure a party has a limited number of days to request a rehearing after the filing of an opinion. Also, all slip opinions are subject to modification or correction by the court. Therefore, opinions on this site are not to be considered the final decisions of the court. The official published opinions of the Iowa Supreme Court are those published in the North Western Reporter published by West Group.

Opinions released before April 2006 and available in the archives are posted in Word format. Opinions released after April 2006 are posted to the website in PDF (Portable Document Format).   Note: To open a PDF you must have the free Acrobat Reader installed. PDF format preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. For more information about PDF read: Using the Adobe Reader.

For your convenience, the Judicial Branch offers a free e-mail notification service for Supreme Court opinions, Court of Appeals opinions, press releases and orders. To subscribe, click here.

NOTE: Copies of these opinions may be obtained from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319, for a fee of fifty cents per page.

No. 09–0222


No. 10–0354


No. 11–0114


No. 11–1280


Weekly Video Address: Cameras Provide Public Access and Accountability to Federal Courtrooms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:32

Advisory for Iowa Reporters and Editors

Friday, December 9, 2011

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discusses a bill he introduced requiring the Supreme Court to broadcast and televise court proceedings.  By allowing cameras in the Supreme Court, the American people would have access to a court that few have the opportunity to see in person. In addition, access to the Supreme Court through audio and video coverage would help provide the public with an educational experience about our federal judicial system and the laws that are debated before the court. Grassley is also the author of legislation to grant federal judges the authority to allow cameras in other federal courtrooms.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

This week a Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing about public access to the Supreme Court.  In conjunction with the hearing, I introduced a bill requiring the Supreme Court to broadcast and televise court proceedings.

This new bill goes with legislation I’ve sponsored for more than 10 years to grant federal judges the authority to allow cameras in other federal courtrooms.  That sunshine legislation has been passed many times by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it’s passed with bipartisan support.

The Judiciary Committee also has supported broadcast coverage of the Supreme Court.  The bill I introduced this week was previously sponsored by former Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.  Just last year, the Supreme Court started releasing audio recordings of its proceedings at the end of every week, a step in the right direction.

In 1947, the Supreme Court said that what transpires in the courtroom is public property.  So, it shouldn’t be limited to the 200 people who can fit inside the chamber.

In Iowa, we’ve had broadcast coverage of the courts for more than 30 years.  The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday about the success and value of this access.  He said that “cameras expose the courts to what they are – a proud institution of justice.”  In fact, for the Iowa Supreme Court, expanded media coverage includes not only traditional broadcast but also live and archived streams of all oral arguments.

I will work for passage of both pieces of legislation and complete access to the Supreme Court and the federal courts based on what President Lincoln said, that our government is of, by and for the people.  Today, the best way to make sure government accountable to the people is to establish access and transparency.


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