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The Death of Innocence PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 13:06
By: Janet Pfeiffer

The recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is one of unspeakable horror. The most recent in what appears to be an alarming trend of mass murders in America is, in my mind, the most gruesome -- most significantly due to the tender ages of the victims.

Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, little has been done to secure the safety of our children. Metal detectors, security cameras and resource officers in schools offer little protection against one determined to commit a heinous act. Neither will gun control or tougher sentencing serve as a deterrent to those filled with evil intent. We've put a Band Aid on the problem rather than treat the underlying illness behind the carnage of our people.

I grew up in the 1950's and ’60's, when acts of violence in rural America were a rarity. But violence is only a symptom of a much deeper-rooted problem: for decades, our country has been in a state of extreme moral decay.

We have become a nation of self-centered, ego-driven, rude, arrogant, self-righteous people who have lost all regard for our fellow Americans. We are a nation where power, greed and ego take precedence over decency, compassion and kindness. We have turned away from our religious roots and chosen to live life on our own terms. Some find God offensive - His Commandments obsolete and irrelevant in a modern-day world. "Love your God; love your neighbor as yourself; do not kill." Totally archaic.

We continually violate His laws and are shocked when horrific events occur.  That's akin to exceeding the speed limit, then being surprised when issued a citation. Laws are created for a reason and God's Laws are absolute.

We have filled our hearts with hatred. We glorify anger, violence, and the suffering of others as entertainment. We judge and label those struggling with personal demons or who don't meet our standards of excellence. We seek revenge on those who offend us and have become oblivious (and even more shocking) indifferent to the suffering we cause others.

We do what we want, when we want, however we want. If others don't like it, too bad. That's not our problem. Our rights, feelings, and needs override that of others. People must earn our respect and even then, we choose who receives this honor.

We have devalued human life and therein lies the root of evil in this world. We are all God's sacred children, scarred and struggling, but no less precious in His eyes. Who among us was given authority to redefine another's worth?

The massacre in Columbine, the slaughter of 32 at Virginia Tech, the recent mass murders in a movie theater and mall haven't been enough to wake this country up. Will the bloodied bodies of 20 precious babies and the heroes who gave their lives protecting them be the pivotal moment that reminds us to have reverence for all human life?

We don't need to fear the "fiscal cliff". We plunged off the "spiritual cliff" decades ago. It is not our government's responsibility to fix what is broken within each of us. Each individual must commit to resuming a life of high moral integrity.

The keys to preventing more bloodshed in this country are a return to the moral and spiritual dictates of God, to live lives of compassion, kindness, acceptance, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and love; to be a reflection of God's presence in this world and treat all His children with the same dignity and tender care He does. Only when love for all becomes the standard measure of a life well lived will we defeat hatred, destruction, and evil.

We are to be healers to one another. With the grace and guidance of God, we can achieve this goal. Let THIS be the new American dream. Return to your houses of worship.  Read and live the words of the Bible. Raise your children in the ways of the Lord. Be examples of kindness and love for others to follow.

Rest assured: our precious little angels are resting safely in the arms of our Heavenly Father while we are left to clean up this mess we have made. God help us. We need it.

God gave His only Son so that we may have life. Let not the loss of these babies be in vain. Let their lives inspire us to truly learn how to love.

About Janet Pfeiffer

Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author is a Fortune 500 consultant, radio host (Anger 9-1-1) and TV personality (CNN, Fox News, Lifetime, ABC and more). She’s N.J. State certified in domestic violence and specializes in healing anger and creating inner peace. Janet's books include the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger and The Great Truth. For more about Janet, visit www.PfeifferPowerSeminars.com.

 
More than $1.5 Million in Tax Credits Available Before Year End PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Natalie Anderson   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:52

BETTENDORF, Iowa – As 2012 draws to a close, taxes are in the news and on our minds. At the same time, many individuals are making their year-end gifts to their favorite charities.

In 2011, Quad Cities area taxpayers enjoyed $400,000 in tax credits in addition to their federal income tax charitable deduction for certain year-end gifts. For donors looking to maximize the tax benefits of their year-end giving in 2012, there are more than $1.5 million in Endow Iowa Tax Credits still available.

The Endow Iowa Tax Credit is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and gives Iowa taxpayers a 25 percent Iowa tax credit in addition to normal federal charitable income tax deductions for charitable gifts to endowments held at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, its affiliates, and other community foundations located in the state of Iowa. A total of $4.5 million in credits were available at the start of 2012. The credits are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

To qualify for the tax credit, the Iowa legislature requires that gifts be made directly to qualified community foundations, which are defined as those that have met rigorous national standards set forth by the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C. The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend was the fifth of more than 700 community foundations in the country to meet those standards in 2005.

Community foundations are tax-exempt public charities serving thousands of people who share a common concern — improving the quality of life in their area. In a community foundation, individuals, families, businesses and organizations create permanent charitable endowed funds that provide ongoing support for the important needs in the community. The community foundation invests and administers these funds.

Since its inception in 2003, the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program has resulted in more than $110 million in endowment to benefit Iowans through charitable organizations served by community foundations. The donors have enjoyed the tax credits immediately.

Here’s how it works. Charitable gifts must be made:
• Through the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend or one of its affiliates.
• To a permanent endowment, which makes annual distributions for charitable causes benefitting Iowans in Iowa.
• By individuals, corporations or financial institutions or any Iowa tax-paying entity.

Tax credit rules:
• Tax credits of 25 percent of the gifted amount are limited to $227,590 per person or $455,180 per couple if both are Iowa taxpayers.
• All qualified donors have five years to use their tax credits.

Giving through the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend will benefit Iowans in a number of ways. Not only will you receive the benefit of a tax credit, but you are also actively working to improve the quality of life in our community and stimulating resources to help address emerging issues to better prepare our area for the future.

You can contribute your assets in 2012, yet postpone the specific giving decisions. This separation of the timing of asset contributions and tax credits with the actual gift decisions is a benefit of working with the Community Foundation. Visit or call the Community Foundation to find out more about making a year-end gift and the impactful way you can support your favorite charity now and in the future.

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend can be reached at (563) 326-2840 or visit our website at www.cfgrb.org.

For more information about the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program, visit http://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/endowiowa/ and click on “Endow Iowa Tax Credit Report for the latest update on credit availability to date.

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend is a nonprofit organization that exists to better our community by connecting people who care with causes that matter. CFGRB meets the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations as established by the Council of Foundations. Visit CFGRB on the web at www.cfgrb.org.

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Gov. Branstad asks Iowans to Honor Fallen Americans in Connecticut by Observing a Moment of Silence Friday PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:02

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today asked Iowans to honor our fellow fallen Americans in Newtown, Connecticut, with a moment of silence on Friday, December 21, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. CDT, one week after the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The moment of silence comes at the request of Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy who issued a proclamation calling on the citizens of Connecticut to observe December 21, 2012, as a day of mourning. In addition, Gov. Malloy sent a letter to his colleagues in the other 49 states asking them to observe a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. local time in remembrance of the fallen.

Friday, December 21, 2012

 

9:30 a.m. Gov. Branstad asks Iowans to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the fallen in Newtown, Connecticut.

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NARI keeps holiday spirits high for Sandy victims PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Morgan Zenner   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:56

East coast remodelers focus on rebuilding communities this holiday season

 

Des Plaines, Illinois, December 18, 2012—It has been two difficult months since Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, bringing devastation to areas along the coastline. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) 12 chapters that represent the Northeastern region are stepping up in in big ways this holiday season—lending a hand and expertise to those who need it most.

“Those affected by the storm are now trying to piece lives back together,” says NARI National Chairman Michael Hydeck, MCR, CKBR, president of Hydeck Design Build Inc., in Telford, Pa. Hydeck himself assisted a fellow officer in the Long Island, N.Y. area when he loaded his car with gasoline, a generator and food and drove several hours to make the delivery.

Many of the projects out there require skilled remodeling professionals, and NARI members are doing their part to assist in rebuilding efforts in their local communities. “The NARI community is proud to come together and support each other in what will be a long and difficult rebuilding process,” Hydeck says.

Here is a look at some of NARI’s Sandy recovery efforts so far.

New York City/Long Island NARI chapter took action after seeing a news report about the Heckman family’s struggle to treat one child’s recent leukemia diagnosis with a home destroyed by the storm. The chapter immediately organized a rebuild of the home, gathering supplies and labor, for what will eventually be a new home for the family.

NARI-Staten Island Home Improvement Contractors Association is focused on education and safety for homeowners during the rebuild. They have joined forces with other groups and business leaders to form the Rebuild SI coalition, with the goal of disseminating information to more than 20,000 victims on issues like avoiding unscrupulous/unlicensed contractors, health risks associated with flood waters and hazardous materials left behind, and proper care and removal during clean up to lessen risk.

In addition, Steven Coppola, NARI-HIC of Staten Island Liaison and president of APB Security Systems Inc., in Staten Island, N.Y., says that many members are giving back in additional ways. “Remodelers are giving free estimates to help victims apply for assistance, and some are performing work without any assurance of payment,” Coppola says.

NARI of Bucks-Mont chapter based in Spring House, Pa., raised funds and organized multiple supply drop-off trips to New York City. On one trip to Queens, chapter board members joined Bill Clinton, and volunteers from the Clinton Global Initiative in rebuild efforts.

Chapter Membership Chair Laura Hawley, principal of Ambiance Design based in Pipersville, Pa., continues to look for help and donations and plans to return to the same neighborhood. “There is just so much to do and still great need,” Hawley says.

 

NARI Eastern Massachusetts chapter based in Newton Centre, Mass., organized a supply drop-off at Breezy Point, home to many New York City police and firefighters who are themselves in need of assistance from flooding and fires. Everything from light construction equipment, clothing, food and water were collected in the effort.

Building Industries Exchange of Pottstown and Vicinity Inc., member Steven Oehlert, of Oehlert Brothers Inc., a heating and cooling company in Royersford, Pa., made 20 emergency fuel deliveries to New Jersey residents and municipalities in need of gasoline and diesel to power generators and more directly following the storm. Additionally, Potty Queen, a portable restroom rental company based in Pottstown, Pa., donated portable restrooms and comfort stations in to areas in New York and New Jersey.

Remodeling Contractors Association of Connecticut chapter member Carl Loschiavo, president of Timberline Carpentry in Stratford, Conn., and property owner in the Milford Shore area, lost two homes in the storm. Nevertheless, Loschiavo and his crew started pumping water from basements during first three days following the storm and set up a grill and passed out hot dogs and hamburgers to workers and victims. “It was great to bring neighbors and workers together to talk and laugh over hot food, if even only a minute—it gave people a little break from the smell and disaster around them,” Loschiavo says.

North Jersey NARI chapter members, based in Hawthorne, N.J., are doing their part to help as well, providing free delivery of materials and donating a portion of jobs sold from November to the end of January to the American Red Cross Sandy Relief fund.

“A great source of pride for remodelers comes from driving through a neighborhood and pointing out all homes and buildings that they remodeled in their communities,” Hydeck says. “So when something like Sandy comes along and destroys their community, rebuilding and restoring the community becomes a labor of love. It’s not over until our communities are rebuilt.”

NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics that observes high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

Visit the NARI.org site to get tips on how to hire a remodeling professional and to search for NARI members in your area.

Click here to see an online version of this press release.

 

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About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents 7,000 member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit www.NARI.org or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Ill., at (847) 298-9200.

 
A Christmas Card from Outer Space PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Rutherford Institute   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:51
On December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 spaceship blasted its way through the earth's atmosphere to begin the first U.S. mission to orbit the moon—a mission that would set the stage for the first moon landing less than a year later. On board were astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders. By Christmas Eve, the Apollo 8 had begun to orbit the moon. 

Borman, who had planned to participate in the Christmas service at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in League City, Texas, arranged with an engineer at mission control to read a short prayer that could be played for the church. During the third lunar revolution, Borman read:
Give us, O God, the vision which can see thy love in the world, in spite of human failure. Give us the faith to trust the goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forth the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.
“Amen,” echoed the engineer back on earth.
During the ninth lunar revolution, the astronauts pointed their camera at the moon so that those on earth could get a glimpse of its cratered surface. Then they read the story of the creation from the Bible, as told in the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

As writer Mike Wright observed, “The Bible reading, with all three astronauts taking part, drew both intense joy and intense dissent.” Acting NASA administrator Dr. Thomas D. Paine called it “the triumph of the squares—the guys with computers and slide-rulers who read the Bible on Christmas Eve.”

One of the most vocal critics was the infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the woman credited with getting prayer taken out of public schools. In a 1963 decision in Abington School District v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that schools could not require students to read passages from the Bible or recite the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. In response to the Christmas Eve scripture reading from space, O’Hair remarked, “I think the astronauts were not only ill advised but that it was a tragic situation...that they should read portions of the Genesis Bible which is accepted by a very minor number of persons in the total world.”

Minor or not, the Bible reading cut through the political haze and sent a strong message to those glued to their radios and TV sets—a message of hope in a torn and ravaged world. And before signing off, the crew of the Apollo 8 sent a final message back to earth: “We pause with good night, good luck and God bless all of you-all of you on the good earth,” which apparently included Madalyn Murray O’Hair, whether she liked it or not.

And so ended what had been a tumultuous year that saw the Tet offensive launched by the North Vietnamese; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy assassinated; and disenchanted citizens from Paris to Chicago taking to the streets in revolt.

This year, with its heart-wrenching tragedies in the schools and elsewhere, has been no less tumultuous. We’ve had kids getting micro-chipped in the public schools. Congress, the courts and the White House working in cahoots to erode our privacy rights. The Transportation Security Administration fumbling its way through national security. Hurricane Sandy ravaging the Eastern shore. The police state merging with the surveillance state to keep us tagged, tracked and under control. The military industrial complex lobbying to keep the nation at war and defense contractors in the money. Individuals getting fined and arrested for violating any number of vague and overreaching laws. Homes getting raided and innocent Americans killed by rampaging SWAT teams armed to the hilt.

Through it all, The Rutherford Institute has remained strong, vibrant and incredibly relevant, despite a growing caseload and limited resources. However, as you will see from this month’s Faith and Freedom newsletter, we could not do what we do without the prayers, friendship and support of individuals like you. We accomplished a great deal in 2012, and with your continued support, we will be able to continue our vital mission of restoring and preserving our civil liberties well into 2013.

So thank you, and God bless you, for giving what you can, when you are able, time and time again. Thank you for believing that freedom is worth fighting for. And thank you for your prayers for our guidance, protection and perseverance. As we remember all the battles you’ve helped us through this year and anticipate the ones waiting on the horizon, we pray that God will bless you and your loved ones, both now and in the year to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 
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