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Treasurer Fitzgerald Adds More Names to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Karen Austin   
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 09:57

DES MOINES, IA (05/07/2013)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald's Great Iowa Treasure Hunt spring publication is scheduled to be released soon. The upcoming list is the latest names of unclaimed property owners with undiscovered treasures. This is part of Fitzgerald's continuous promotion of the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt.

"In upcoming weeks, we will be publishing names of people who have had funds turned over to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt," stated Fitzgerald. "You don't have to wait for the publication, go to greatiowatreasurehunt.com and search the entire list anytime. I encourage everyone to search for their name; a lot of individuals will be pleasantly surprised."

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $160 million in unclaimed property to more than 394,000 individuals since Fitzgerald started it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the state treasurer's office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, safe deposit box contents and many other types of property.

Check the unclaimed property database to see if the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt has property belonging to you. Simply visit greatiowatreasurehunt.com to begin your search.

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May Marks Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Staff Sgt. Jaime Witt, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 09:46

SPRINGFIELD, IL (05/07/2013)(readMedia)-- As summer approaches and temperatures rise, more than 350,000 registered motorcycles in Illinois will emerge from their garages. The Office of Safety and Occupational Health would like to remind the motorcyclists of the Illinois Army National Guard of safety expectations and requirements.

Maj. Jayson Coble of Springfield, Ill., the safety and occupational health manager for the Illinois Army National Guard, said motorcycle safety is important because motorcycling is inherently more dangerous. According to the Division of Traffic Safety, there were 145 motorcyclist fatalities in 2011, an increase from the previous year.

"You're riding on two wheels instead of four," said Coble. "An experienced rider once told me that when you're on a motorcycle you've always got to watch out for everyone else around you, because they're not watching out for you."

Soldiers are reminded there are specific requirements for riding a motorcycle when on duty, which includes travel to and from training, as well as riding on any military installation. In order to ride, Soldiers must have the "M" designator on their Illinois driver's license and must have completed the Basic Rider Course within the last three years. Coble said the 15-hour course is offered free of cost at many sites throughout the state from February through October every year. A refundable $20 deposit is required to hold a seat, and the course provides a helmet and motorcycle for student use.

"The course teaches a person who has never ridden a motorcycle before, by the end of the weekend, to ride by themselves confidently," Coble said.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ladd of Seymour, Ill., a driving instructor with the 129th Regimental Training Institute out of Springfield, Ill., has been an avid rider since graduating high school and said the Basic Rider Course is essential.

"I am a Motorcycle Safety Foundation-trained rider from the beginning," Ladd said. "I asked my father to teach me how to ride his bike. He told me when I turned 18, I could take a class from the state. I enrolled in the class after graduation and have been riding ever since."

Coble stated even experienced riders benefit from taking the basic rider course.

"The course teaches you things you may not have thought of before," Coble said. "Instructors talk about bad habits people get into after they've ridden for a while, and things certainly change over the course of time. After you've been riding for a long time, you can become complacent and complacency kills."

In addition to the course and licensure requirement, Soldiers must wear a helmet, eye protection, full-length pants, jacket, gloves and reflective gear. Coble said appropriate personal protective equipment is not only required, but will help save you in the case of an accident.

"I think the most important thing is a helmet," Coble said. "You have only one head, and that's probably the most vulnerable part of your body to injury and head injuries are the hardest to recover from if you survive."

Ladd echoed this sentiment.

"Buy a helmet that you'll wear," Ladd said. "It is the most important thing I've picked up as I became a more seasoned rider. I wouldn't wear a helmet if it was uncomfortable."

Ladd also said proper maintenance is another important part of safety, as well as riding alert.

"If there is any one thing to point out, don't ride when you're impaired," Ladd said. "If you make a mistake, there is no forgiveness."

More information can be found at http://safety.army.mil and http://www.msf-usa.org.

 
Loebsack Announces 2013 Art Competition Winner PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 08:50

“Daddy Knows Best” by City High’s Jordan Adams named winner

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced at a ceremony over the weekend that a painting by Jordan Adams, a 10th grader at City High in Iowa City, was named the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition.  Jordan’s painting was chosen by judges Leslie Grossman, Curator and Gallery Director at St. Ambrose University and Rima Girnius, Curator at Figge Art Museum to represent Iowa’s Second District.  His painting will be hung in the U.S. Capitol and Jordan will receive a free trip to Washington to attend a reception held to honor all of this year’s winners.  A full list of the honorees and photos of their artwork is below.

“Every year I am amazed at the creativity, ingenuity, and talent of our local high school students from across the District.  I send my congratulations to all of the young artists whose excellent submissions made it a very close contest this year.  I especially want to congratulate Jordan and look forward to seeing his artwork hanging in the U.S. Capitol,” said Loebsack.

 

Winner:

Jordan Adams, 10th grade, Iowa City- City High

Daddy Knows Best

 

First Runner-up:

Emily Miller, 11th grade, Fairfield

Work

 

Second Runner-up:

Amy Beattie, 10th grade, Ottumwa

Bridge

 

Honorable Mentions: (listed alphabetically)

Katlin Hart, Agency

Hippo

 

Karen Jorgenson, Davenport

"Appearance vs Reality"

 

Sarah Lange, Iowa City

Love is Love

 

Jessie McElderry, Batavia

Portrait of a Turtle

 

Amy Van Fossen, Bettendorf

Iowa in Spring

 

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Trim Your Wedding Costs PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jason Alderman   
Monday, 06 May 2013 13:57

Weddings have always been big business, but I was shocked to see how expensive they've become in the 17 years since my wife and I got married. According to the annual Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in the U.S. now costs $28,427, and that doesn't even count the honeymoon.

Wait, it gets worse.

Among the more than 17,500 surveyed brides who got married in 2012, the average amount paid for a wedding dress was $1,211. On average they also spent $204 per wedding guest and dropped $12,905 for the reception venue.

There are many ways to rein in wedding-related costs while still having a memorable event. Here are a few suggestions:

Create a budget. Unless you're a professional wedding planner, you'll probably be floored by how many expenses weddings can amass, including: wedding and engagement rings, invitations, postage, marriage license, clergy and location fees, flowers, bridal gown and groom's tuxedo, rehearsal dinner and reception, photography, catering, DJ or band, limousine, parking attendants, tips, gifts for wedding participants and honeymoon expenses.

Shop around. Bridal expos are a good way to meet a lot of vendors and gather ideas. Just don't get caught up in the excitement and commit to anything before you've done follow-up research. Some tips:

  • Bring along someone from the wedding party as well as a trustworthy friend who isn't emotionally and financially connected to the wedding.
  • You may feel pressured by vendors to sign contracts or put down deposits, but it's probably wiser to take their contact information and research them first.
  • Create a separate email account for wedding vendor communications. Once you sign up for one offer or contest, believe me, your inbox will be swamped.

After you've settled on vendors, get signed contracts that specify dates, products, prices, deposit and payment terms, cancellation policies, liability insurance and whether tax and gratuities are included.

Here are a few suggestions for trimming costs:

  • Date flexibility. You'll get more bang for your buck offseason – a June wedding might cost 20 to 30 percent more than one in April or October.
  • Have your florist use in-season flowers.
  • Daytime weddings are often cheaper than evening events.
  • Instead of a hotel, consider less-costly alternative reception venues like community centers, museums, city park clubhouses or other public facilities looking to earn extra income. Ask whether they have their own tables, chairs, sound and lighting systems; if not, add equipment rental costs into the equation.
  • A buffet dinner reception could save you $15 or more per guest compared to a plated dinner, because you're not paying for table service. Save even more by hosting an afternoon reception and serving lunch or hors d'oeuvres.
  • If you're hosting a large reception, have a smaller display cake for the cutting ceremony, with a sheet cake stored in the kitchen.
  • Serve wine, beer and one signature cocktail, instead of offering a full bar.
  • Consider renting or buying a second-hand wedding dress from a consignment shop, or an online specialty site. The same goes for grooms wear.
  • Hiring a disc jockey instead of a live band will save hundreds of dollars; plus you get a broader selection of music and a built-in emcee to move things along.

One last budgeting tip: Limit the number of guests to ensure you can have a meaningful interaction with each. Remember, spending just one minute apiece with 300 guests would take five hours.

 
Governor Quinn Vetoes Electric Rate Hike Bill PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Monday, 06 May 2013 08:12

Senate Bill 9 Would Undermine Electric Utility Oversight; Hike Electric Rates for Consumers and Businesses Across Illinois

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today vetoed Senate Bill 9, which would have allowed Illinois’ large electric utilities to undermine the state’s oversight and enact an estimated $70 million rate hike. The governor, who 30 years ago spearheaded creation of the Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) - Illinois’ largest consumer advocacy group - noted that the bill would circumvent more than a century of state oversight of electric utilities.

“I cannot support legislation that puts the profits of big electric utilities ahead of the families and businesses of Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “A strong economy that creates jobs requires stable energy costs, but this bill sends Illinois in the wrong direction. We cannot allow big utilities to force automatic rate hikes on the people of Illinois by going around oversight authorities each and every time they do not get the decision they want."

Senate Bill 9 was pushed by the utilities in response to Illinois Commerce Commission rulings last year. The commission denied proposed rate hikes that weren’t needed for the utilities to make promised investments, and would cost Illinois’ families and businesses too much. Senate Bill 9 circumvents the commission's well-established oversight authority and puts several of those rate hikes into Illinois law.

If the bill were to become law, the bill would continue a troubling, unprecedented pattern of departing from more than a century of regulatory oversight of utility company monopolies in Illinois.

The Illinois Commerce Commission's mission is “to pursue an appropriate balance between the interest of consumers and existing and emerging service providers to ensure the provision of adequate, efficient, reliable, safe and least-cost public utility services.”

The rate hike proposed in this bill would be in addition to a $311 million rate hike Commonwealth Edison proposed to the Illinois Commerce Commission just last week. Combined with another rate hike filed with the federal government, the two amount to about $6 per month for the average utility customer.

A copy of the governor’s veto message is attached.

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