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Philanthropist Lauds Unsung ‘Human Angels’ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 29 April 2013 14:32
Sharing Their Stories Can Make Us a Better Society, He Says

It’s easy to spot the largely unsung heroes in these three recent news stories:

• Fifteen National Guardsmen run 26 miles carrying full backpacks to raise money for the families of fallen soldiers.

• An off-duty firefighter rushes to a dangerous chemical blaze because he knows the local volunteer force may not be equipped to handle it.

• A middle school student in Georgia rallies youngsters and businesses to collect comfort items for troops deployed in Afghanistan.

“But each of these stories also has a surprising twist – one that underscores just why it’s so important to share them,” says philanthropist John Shimer, founder of the Angels Among Us project (www.angelsamongusproject.org).

“If we want people to be their best, we need to shine a light on what that looks like.”

Shimer notes that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Americans took comfort in seeing and hearing about the many acts of selflessness.

“We were horrified by the fact that there’s someone evil enough to place a ticking bomb next to children. But, thank goodness, we were also heartened by the bravery of the civilians who rushed into danger to help the injured, and the many area residents who opened their homes to stranded race participants.”

In January, Shimer launched Angels Among Us to recognize just such people. Community “human angels” are selected from among nominations and, in addition to receiving an Earthly Angel Award and a donation to their charity of choice, Angels Among Us produces professional, high-quality videos that tell their story.

“The video productions are top quality, so any broadcast outlet can use them, and they’re compelling, so people will watch them,” Shimer says. “And that’s how we spread the word,  inspire others, and even create a society where everyone is an Earthly Angel.”

Angels Among Us, which accepts nominations at its website, has no shortage of amazing stories, Shimer says.

Consider these recent examples:

• National Guard ‘Tough Ruckers’: Fifteen Massachusetts National Guardsmen donned full gear, including backpacks weighing 40 pounds or more, to run the Boston Marathon in memory of fallen soldiers. The “Tough Ruck” also raised money for the families of deceased soldiers through the Military Friends Foundation.

But that’s not the end of the story.

The men were near the finish line when the bombs exploded April 15. They’re the guys in fatigues seen on countless videos rushing to pull down barricades to get to the injured.

• An off-duty, volunteer firefighter: Capt. Kenny “Luckey” Harris, 52, worked for the Dallas Fire Department but lived 80 miles away in West, Texas, where he also served with the all-volunteer station. He was off duty on April 17 when fire erupted at a fertilizer plant in West. He rushed to the plant.

"He was worried the volunteer guys wouldn't be safe on a chemical fire," his friend and fellow firefighter Ronnie Janek said. "He said he had to help them stay safe."

Harris was among the 14 people who died when the fertilizer plant exploded – 11 of them were first responders.

Volunteer firefighters, who put their lives on the line for their communities for no pay, make up 69 percent of U.S. firefighters.

• A boy with a heart for soldiers: As a 10-year-old fifth-grader, Remington Youngblood understood the hardships facing troops in Afghanistan and wanted to do something both to help them and to express his appreciation for their sacrifices. So he created a nonprofit, Change4Georgia, partnered with a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, and hit the speaking circuit to rally other schools, businesses and communities to the cause.

Today, the middle school student’s charity not only regularly fills troops’ wish lists for items like chewing gum and chapstick, last Christmas it delivered hundreds of gifts and foods to the children of active-duty soldiers. It also provides school supplies to those children, and even makes an annual scholarship donation to one student veteran.

As these stories demonstrate, angels surround us in many forms, Shimer says.

“If we look for them and follow their example,” he says, “who knows how we can change the world?”

About John Shimer

John Shimer is a director of Fortune Family Foundation, a charitable corporation that provides assistance to non-profits focused on fostering self-sufficiency. For 33 years, Shimer was a fundraising manager and consultant for hospitals, human welfare agencies, and similar organizations. He is the author of “Turn Right at the Dancing Cow,” the story of a “human angel” from Seattle and the vocational school she established in Uganda. He’s the founder of the new Angels Among Us Project, which seeks to spotlight the best and most inspiring of human behavior.

 
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn on the Passing of Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Moses Harrison PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 29 April 2013 14:05
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn issued the following statement regarding the passing of former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Moses Harrison:

"Moses Harrison was a great supreme court justice.

"He served as a strong and passionate advocate against the death penalty, and devoted his life to ensuring that justice was served fairly.

"He was a steadfast defender of everyday people. As he said best himself, his job as judge was to 'protect ordinary citizens against wrongdoing by the government, large corporations and powerful individuals.' He did his job well."

###

 
Grassley addresses immigration reform PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 29 April 2013 13:42

Friday, April 26, 2013

WASHINGTON – In a weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley described his efforts to make sure immigration reform legislation avoids mistakes made in the 1986 legalization by making border security the top priority, giving American workers the first opportunity at jobs, holding employers accountable for their hiring practices, and leaving policy decisions in the representative branch of government.

Click here for the audio.

Here is the text of Grassley’s address:

The Senate Judiciary Committee has held hearings during the last week on the immigration bill proposed by a bipartisan group of eight senators.

As the debate moves forward, I’m committed to making sure legislation doesn’t repeat mistakes made in the legalization program that was part of the 1986 immigration overhaul.  Congress voted then to legalize the one million people who were in the country illegally with the assurance that doing so would fix the problem once and for all.  Decades later, there are 11 million people illegally in the country.  So, the legalization in 1986 didn’t fix the problem.  Instead, it led to more illegality.

I’m working to make sure that unintended consequences are avoided in other areas of immigration reform, as well.  Congress should have learned with Obamacare that lawmakers need to legislate more and delegate less authority to the executive branch.  Even so, the proposed immigration bill contains waivers that would give unchecked power to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unravel any law that elected representatives of the people might pass.

Immigration policy also is a key component of America’s national security apparatus, and every consideration should be given to how changes in the immigration system impact security of the homeland.  Securing the border needs to be the first priority.  Border security is fundamental to national sovereignty.  Any immigration reform must require accountability for border security.

We also need to fix the flaws in the current system in order to recognize the benefits of legal immigration – including the need for agricultural workers – while at the same time protecting the interests of U.S. citizens.  I’m also working to make sure American graduates and workers are given the first opportunity at jobs in science, technology, engineering and math here in this country, and that employers are held accountable for their hiring practices.

America’s immigration system is broken.  Any repairs that are made and new policies pursued need to be both effective and respectful of the rule of law that safeguards the tremendous opportunities and freedoms found in America, a country based upon immigrants.

 
Reed and Grassley Seek to Increase Transparency at Accounting Watchdog PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 26 April 2013 09:55

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to protect the investing public, improve the oversight of corporate auditing, and ensure that the financial reports of publicly traded companies are accurate and reliable, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced the PCAOB Enforcement Transparency Act of 2013.  The Reed-Grassley bill will make Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) disciplinary proceedings public to bring auditing deficiencies at the firms or the companies they audit to light in a timely manner and help deter violations.

The PCAOB was created in the wake of a series of corporate accounting scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom, that cost investors billions of dollars and hurt the U.S. economy.  Congress established the PCAOB to audit the auditors.  But the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law creating the Board also required PCAOB’s disciplinary proceedings to be kept confidential through charging, hearings, initial decision, and appeal.  Unfortunately, the secretive nature of the process enables firms that engage in misconduct to drag out the proceedings for years while the investing public is kept in the dark.

The Reed-Grassley bill will make PCAOB hearings and all related notices, orders, and motions, open and available to the public unless otherwise ordered by the Board.  The PCAOB procedure would then be similar to SEC Rules of Practice for similar matters, where hearings and related notices, orders, and motions are open and available to the public.

“The PCAOB is responsible for ensuring that auditors of public companies meet the highest standards of quality, independence, and ethics.  Reliable financial reporting is vital to the health of our economy and we must take the legislative steps necessary to enhance transparency in the PCAOB’s enforcement process.  Currently, Congress, investors, and others are being denied critical information about an auditor’s disciplinary process.  Investors and companies alike should be aware when the auditors and accountants they rely on have been charged or sanctioned for violating professional auditing standards,” said Reed.

“Transparency brings accountability,” Grassley said. “This legislation levels the playing field between auditors reviewed by the SEC and auditors reviewed by the PCAOB.  Currently, PCAOB proceedings are secret while SEC proceedings are not.  The secrecy provides incentives to bad actors to extend the proceedings as long as possible so they can continue to do business without notice to businesses about potential problems with a particular auditor.  This bill ends the secrecy and brings the kind of transparency that adds accountability to agency proceedings.”

The PCAOB sets auditing standards for auditors of public companies, examines the quality of audits performed by public company auditors, and where necessary, imposes disciplinary sanctions on registered auditors and auditing firms.  The PCAOB oversees more than 2,400 auditing firms registered with the Board, as well as the thousands of audit partners and staff who contribute to a firm’s work on each audit.

The lack of transparency surrounding disciplinary proceedings under current law can provide unscrupulous firms with an incentive to litigate cases in order to continue to shield conduct from the public.

For example, an accounting firm that was subject to a disciplinary proceeding issued no fewer than 29 additional audit reports on public companies during the course of the proceedings.  Those public companies and their investors were completely unaware there was a potential auditing problem with this accounting firm.   Before the firm was expelled from public company auditing, it issued those audit reports, knowing all the while that it was subject to disciplinary proceedings.  But investors were denied this information.

PCAOB’s closed proceedings run counter to the public enforcement proceedings of other regulators, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and others.  Nearly all administrative proceedings brought by the SEC against public companies, brokers, dealers, investment advisers, and others are open, public proceedings.

 -end-

 
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions April 26, 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judical Branch   
Friday, 26 April 2013 09:39
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions

April 26, 2013

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. 11–1065

STATE OF IOWA vs. TOMMY TYLER, JR.

No. 12–0335

CITY OF OKOBOJI, IOWA vs. LEO PARKS, JR. and OKOBOJI BARZ, INC. d/b/a OKOBOJI BOAT WORKS, FISH HOUSE LOUNGE and CLUCKER'S BROASTED CHICKEN

 
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