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Poison Prevention Means Keep Out of Reach for Pets too PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by James Judge   
Monday, 18 March 2013 15:15
MINNEAPOLIS – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners referral medicine hospitals here are encouraging people to also remember their pets during National Poison Prevention Week.

National Poison Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday. The purpose is to create awareness and prevent injury or death due to poisoning.

“While many precautions are taken to prevent humans from being exposed to poisons, it is equally important to remember to take precautions for pets,” said Dr. Annie Wright, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine with BluePearl here. “A good way to do this is to know what types of items can be toxic to pets.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the top 10 pet toxins of 2012 were:

1.      Prescription human medications
2.      Insecticides
3.      Over-the-counter human medications
4.      Veterinary products and medications
5.      Household products
6.      People food
7.      Chocolate
8.      Plants
9.      Rodenticides
10.     Lawn and garden products

Additionally, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, the sugar substitute xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets.

While rodenticides may not be intended for pets, they are designed to attract animals. Should pets encounter these indiscriminate poisons, the condition is life-threatening and the pet must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Furthermore, with Easter just around the corner, it’s important to recognize that lilies are deadly to cats.

Antifreeze is another toxic substance pets are often attracted to. If ingested, pets can almost certainly die if the condition is left untreated.

If a pet does ingest something that may be toxic, make sure to bring the label or packaging of the substance with you to your veterinarian. For example, there are two different types of rodenticides with two different forms of treatment. It’s important for veterinarians to know what substance they are treating for.

“Most importantly, if you believe your pet has gotten into something that may be poisonous, get him or her to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately,” said Wright. “Time can ultimately be the difference between life and death.”

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.

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Iowa State Fair Parade Applications Available Now PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 18 March 2013 15:14

DES MOINES, IA (03/18/2013)(readMedia)-- The Iowa State Fair invites all community and youth groups, special interest clubs and businesses to join the fun and enter the State Fair Parade, Iowa's largest parade and the kick-off to the Fair. The parade is set for Wednesday, August 7. "Nothing Compares" to the 2013 Fair, which runs August 8-18.

Applications are available at www.iowastatefair.org/fair-attractions/parade or by contacting Tonya Cook at 515/262-3111 ext. 215 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . There is a $25 fee for each parade entry. Entries postmarked later than July 1 must include a $15 late fee. No entries will be accepted after July 15.

Entries will be judged and winners will receive plaques in each of the following categories: best use of Fair theme, best specialty group, most creative/original, Governor's Cup (best overall marching band), marching band (by class), best performance, best horses and best drum line.

The parade will begin at 6:15 p.m. in downtown Des Moines. Spectators will be able to watch an estimated 200 floats, animals, vehicles, novelty and performing units. Staging will take place at the State Capitol Complex. Parade entrants will then travel west on Grand Avenue to 13th Street. Dispersion will take place between 13th and 18th Streets.

Highlights of the gala event will be re-broadcast on parade night throughout central Iowa on KDSM FOX 17 beginning at 10 p.m. To be considered for television coverage, the description information on the application must be completed and returned. Due to the length of the parade, it is not possible for all entries to be televised.

Nothing Compares to the 2013 Iowa State Fair August 8-18. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or check out www.iowastatefair.org.

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Maximize Your Disabled Child’s Government Aid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 18 March 2013 07:30

By Jason Alderman

Parents of special needs children have enough on their plates just tending to the health, educational and emotional needs of their kids – not to mention often having to cope with drastically lowered income because of reduced work hours or having to pay someone else for childcare. So it's not surprising that many of these parents haven't had time to hatch a long-term financial plan in case their kids need care after they're not around.

Fortunately, many government programs and community resources are available to help relieve the financial burden of parenting special needs children. But eligibility criteria are complicated and the application process time-consuming. Plus, if you're not careful, you or well-meaning relatives could inadvertently disqualify your kids for future benefits by not structuring their inheritances correctly.

Here's a brief overview of key government assistance programs:

The Social Security Administration provides two types of disability coverage: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Rules and eligibility requirements differ between the two programs – and benefits differ for children and adults.

In a nutshell, SSI is a needs-based, cash-assistance program for disabled people of any age in low-income families with limited resources. Children qualify for SSI benefits if they meet certain strict criteria outlined in SSA Publication 05-11000 (www.ssa.gov/pubs/11000.html).

SSDI is a separate program funded by payroll deductions (part of FICA). Although children sometimes receive SSDI payments if their parents are disabled, their eligibility is based on their parents' disability status, not on their own. However, after turning 22, already disabled children may qualify for SSDI on their own if at least one parent qualifies for Social Security benefits.

Eligibility rules and definitions for SSI and SSDI are complex. To see if your child qualifies, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or search the Disability and SSI tabs at www.ssa.gov. One particularly helpful resource is "Benefits for Children with Disabilities," SSA Publication No. 05-10026.

Many families inadvertently jeopardize their disabled child's eligibility for government-provided benefits by opening accounts in the child's name or designating them as beneficiaries. Unfortunately, federal law dictates that recipients of SSI, Medicaid and many state assistance programs will be disqualified if they have resources worth over $2,000. So, if Uncle Jerry leaves your daughter $10,000 in his will, she could lose her benefits.

One good alternative is to create a special needs trust, whose assets can be used by its trustee to manage the finances and personal effects of a disabled person. Trusts are governed by state laws and should only be drafted by an attorney familiar with this area of law.

Some parents name the trust as beneficiary of life insurance policies to ensure a source of funding if they die before their child. (Stay current on your premiums.) Other possible funding sources include cash, stocks and other investments, retirement plan death benefits, home sale proceeds and inheritances from other relatives and friends. Just make sure that the trust –not the child – is named beneficiary.

Preparing a special needs trust can be expensive – possibly several thousand dollars, depending on your situation. But weigh that against the prospect of your child losing out on a lifetime of government-provided benefits because of an accidental inheritance – speaking of which, be sure to let any well-meaning relatives or friends know about the trust.

 
Lt. Governor Simon’s Firearms Working Group meets with sponsor of gun legislation, gun owners PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:11

CARBONDALE – March 15, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon's Firearms Working Group met today with a sponsor of concealed carry legislation being considered by the General Assembly. The group also talked with gun owners to learn more about responsible gun usage and culture.

“As a resident of Southern Illinois, I know responsible gun owners who agree that gun regulations are needed to protect our children and keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Simon. “These are parents who went hunting as children and now take their children hunting, and we need to protect that tradition of conservation and gun safety.”

The working group talked with Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), the sponsor of House Bill 997, which allows for concealed carry of firearms in Illinois.

Currently Illinois is the only state in the nation with a law that completely bans carrying concealed firearms. The law was declared unconstitutional in December by a three-member panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Illinois now has until June to pass a law that permits people to carry concealed guns in public spaces.

The working group has been meeting with stakeholders on all sides of the debate – from hunters to law enforcement officials to education professionals – to promote dialogue and work toward consensus on pending legislation. The group is working on a legislative checklist based on information compiled over the course of these meetings. More details will be released soon.

Please visit www.ltgov.il.gov/guns for additional information about the working group.

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Governor Branstad Urges Eligible Iowans to Take Advantage of Free Tax Prep Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:06
– The Iowa Free File Program Helps Low-Income Iowans Use Name-Brand Tax Prep Software for Free, Helping Them Save At Tax Time –

Des Moines – Today, Governor Terry Branstad urged low- and moderate-income Iowans to use the Iowa Free File program to prepare and file their federal and state income tax returns online for free. The Iowa Free File program allows eligible taxpayers the free use of name-brand, tax preparation software. Taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income of $57,000 or less last year.

The Iowa Free File program is one of 22 state programs plus the District of Columbia modeled after the IRS Free File program used by millions of taxpayers to e-file their federal income tax returns for free.

“In Iowa, we have worked to make tax season easy and efficient for all taxpayers,” said Gov. Branstad. “The Free File program is designed to help lower-income Iowans save on the cost of tax prep and hold on to more of their hard-earned money, without costing a dime of taxpayer dollars. However, many Iowans eligible for the program don’t use it. I urge eligible Iowans to visit the Iowa Department of Revenue website and use the free software provided to easily and conveniently file your taxes.”

“Free File is a win-win for taxpayers and government: taxpayers get the convenience of filing online for free using name-brand software, while the program doesn’t cost a dime of taxpayer dollars, and even saves money by reducing processing costs ,” said Courtney Kay-Decker, Director of the Iowa Department of Revenue.

By helping more people file electronically, Free File helps save the state money, reduces errors and speeds up the time it takes to issue a refund. According to the Iowa Department of Revenue:

  • The cost of processing a paper return is $2.26 while processing an electronic return is $0.17 – a savings of $2.09 per return.
  • The error rate for paper returns is 33 percent while it is only 6 percent for electronic returns.
  • The Iowa Department of Revenue issues 96 percent of individual income tax refunds to those who filed electronically within 2 weeks of filing.

According to the IRS, 36 million taxpayers have prepared their federal returns through Free File since the program began more than a decade ago.

Learn about Free File and who is eligible to file their taxes for free by visiting www.taxprephelp.org or the Iowa Department of Revenue or the IRS.


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