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Simon to promote anti-texting pledge PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kara Beach   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:08

PALATINE – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will challenge Harper College students on Thursday to sign an online pledge not to text and drive. Simon, the governor’s point person on education reform, is visiting community colleges across the state this fall to urge commuter students to practice safe texting.

AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign aims to educate drivers on the dangers of texting while driving. Nationwide, drivers are 23 times more likely to get in an accident if they text while driving. In the first half of 2011 in Illinois, cell phone distractions were the cause of more than 500 crashes. Simon took the “It Can Wait” pledge in September.

“Texting is one of the leading causes of distracted driving, an epidemic that causes far too many accidents and deaths on our roadways,” Simon said. “There is no text message important enough to risk your life – it can wait.”


 
Treasury nominee on hold over interest rate scandal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:02

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois today announced they will object to Senate consideration of a Treasury Department nominee over the Treasury Department’s lack of a response to the senators’ letter seeking an explanation of apparent inaction to stem the dominance and inform the public of a rigged interest rate that affects mortgages, student loans, credit cards and other loans.

“Taxpayers need to know there’s a cop on the beat at the Treasury Department, making sure the interest rates they pay on everything from home loans to retirement investments aren’t rigged,” Grassley said.  “If the attitude of the Treasury Secretary is that it isn’t his responsibility to take action or to tell the public, that’s going to harm confidence in our financial system and create a lack of certainty.”

Grassley placed a statement in the Senate floor record, stating that he and Kirk will object to Senate consideration of Richard Berner to head the Office of Financial Research within the Department of the Treasury.  That office came about through the Dodd-Frank law and is designed to conduct studies and accumulate financial data.  The text of Grassley’s statement follows here:

“Mr. President.  I, Senator CHUCK GRASSLEY along with Senator Mark Kirk, intend to object to proceeding to the nomination of Richard Berner to head the Office of Financial Research within the Department of the Treasury.

“We will object to proceeding to the nomination because the Department of the Treasury has refused to respond to a letter Senator Kirk and I sent on October 2, over six weeks ago, regarding the Treasury Secretary’s actions when he became aware of the manipulation of the London Interbank Overnight Rate – or LIBOR.  The Department has also refused to provide the documents we requested.

“In addition, my staff has, on several occasions, attempted to schedule briefing times that are convenient for the Department.  The Treasury Department has cancelled each of these briefings and failed to cooperate in rescheduling at a mutually agreeable time.

“Because everything from home mortgages to credit cards was pegged to LIBOR, its manipulation affects almost every American.  Given the widespread effects of this manipulation, it is disturbing to see that the Treasury Department has thus far refused to answer basic questions and provide essential documents.

“It is critical for Congress to be able to ask questions and to have access to administration documents in order to conduct vigorous and independent oversight.  It is unfortunate that this administration, which has pledged to be the most transparent in history, consistently falls short of that goal.”

In congressional testimony earlier this year, Geithner said that when as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he became aware of concerns that the LIBOR rate was being rigged, he deferred to the British central bankers to fix the problem.  Despite those concerns, Geithner appears not to have taken action “to diminish use of this flawed index in U.S. financial markets; to the contrary, Treasury’s use of LIBOR has increased,” Grassley and Kirk wrote in their Oct. 2 letter to Geithner.

Grassley and Kirk asked Geithner to answer questions including whether the Treasury Department considered the risk to U.S. borrowers, including state, municipal, and local governments facing higher debt burdens as a result of the LIBOR scandal; whether U.S. officials considered the litigation risks to U.S. borrowers in deciding to raise the LIBOR scandal only to the attention of British central banks rather than U.S. lenders and borrowers; and whether the Treasury Department’s continued reliance on LIBOR is affecting borrower access to Small Business Administration loans.

Grassley and Kirk concluded, “In the wake of this scandal, we believe that it is essential to undertake steps to consider the creation of an American-based interest rate index. If U.S. investors and borrowers have suffered financial harm from our dependence on an index set in London, they have the right to expect the country’s leaders to support better alternatives. Complacency in the wake of losses and lawsuits will diminish both investor and borrower confidence regarding debt securities issued in U.S. financial markets.”

The text of the Grassley-Kirk Oct. 2 letter to Geithner is available here.

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Internationally-known animal welfare expert Temple Grandin to speak at IFBF annual meeting PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Friday, 16 November 2012 09:39

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 14, 2012 – Story County Farm Bureau member Bill Couser may be a long-time cattleman and Iowa Farm Bureau member who’s been recognized for the innovative methods he uses on his farm and feedlot, but he’s quick to point out the mentors in his life.

Temple Grandin, an internationally-known animal welfare expert, is at the top of his list.

Grandin is recognized for her role in many aspects of today’s culture; ranging from her work with animal handling systems and livestock welfare to being featured in the HBO Emmy Award-winning movie about her life and experience with autism. TIME Magazine even named her as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2010.

Couser can’t wait to hear her speak on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) 94th annual meeting at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly known as Veteran’s Auditorium). Grandin will talk about the need for greater transparency in the livestock industry and how to reach out to a growing non-farming audience.

“When I first met her 25 years ago, I was absolutely connected to her messages about low-stress handling of livestock and I took that information to my farm,” said Couser. “On my farm, we incorporated her approaches such as quiet areas, avoiding corners when moving animals and not using pain-inducing tools such as shock-inducing sticks called hot shots. It’s all about embracing methods that secure the health, comfort and safety of our livestock.”

Grandin disagrees with animal rights activists who want to abolish the use of animals for food. Today, her low-stress animal welfare guidelines and systems, which include curved chutes and strict protocol regarding animal stunning and slaughter, are standard among many U.S. meat-packing plants. She works with a number of international retailers including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and is active with the Center for Food Integrity’s Animal Care Review Panel.

“All of us cattlemen and livestock farmers are her students. I’m excited to have someone who’s had such a profound impact on our industry come and share her knowledge with us and appreciate Farm Bureau bringing her here,” said Couser. “When you hear her speak for the first time, you take a step back. She is very frank in her opinions. She tells it like it is. Her delivery is unconventional, refreshing and her message is important for all farmers to hear.”

To see the agenda for the IFBF two-day annual meeting, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com and click on the rotating link regarding the event. Farm Bureau members can register through their local county Farm Bureau offices.

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Simple Steps to Tackling 6 Common Holiday Stains from Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Douglas Patch   
Friday, 16 November 2012 09:30

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 (Davenport, IA) — Holiday time can be hard on a home. House guests, parties, cooking and baking combined with a busy schedule often result in spills, stains and frustrations. Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home has compiled 6 common holiday stains along with simple cleaning steps to relieve holiday stress.

“Holiday stains don’t have to add stress to an already busy schedule. The keys to handling stains with ease are being prepared and responding quickly,” says Douglas Patch, of Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home.  There are a few basic techniques to learn.

• Apply: Wet a clean, white (not printed) paper towel with a cleaning solution. Then dampen the carpet with it. Avoid wetting the carpet through to its backing.
• Blot: Absorb the excess liquid from the carpet by pressing straight down with a clean, dry, white paper towel. Do not rub. Place a half-inch thick pad of clean, dry, white paper towels with a weight on top and leave overnight if necessary.
• Scrape: Gently scratch the soiled area with the blunt edge of a spoon. Scrape from the outside edge of the spot toward the center.

Putting together a holiday stain “emergency kit” before the holidays begin can also help relieve some stress when accidents happen. A good “emergency kit” should include:
• White Vinegar
• Baking Soda
• Unprinted White Paper Towels
• Clear Dish Washing Detergent – Mix 1/2 teaspoon detergent with one cup of warm (not hot) water when you need it.
• A Laundry Pre-soak Solution: Mix 1 teaspoon enzyme laundry detergent with one cup of water before using.
• A Dry Powder Carpet Cleaner.
• Dry Cleaning Solvent: Non-oily, non-caustic type sold as spot removal for garments. Caution: May be flammable.

With the techniques and tools ready, a holiday stain is easier to handle. The steps below cover 6 of the most common holiday household stains that occur all over the house.

1. White Glue. Kids’ craft projects make great gifts. When the glue ends up on the floor instead of the project, first scrape or blot up excess spill. Then apply the detergent solution using a damp towel. Blot the stain - don't rub. Next, apply white vinegar (undiluted), using a damp towel and blot again. Apply water with a damp sponge. Blot again and finish by weighing down a half-inch thick pad of white paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Leave overnight if necessary.

2. Lipstick. In a hurry to get ready for a party, the lipstick gets dropped on the carpet. Start by scraping or blotting up the excess spill. Apply the detergent solution using a damp towel and leave 3-5 minutes. Blot and apply white vinegar (undiluted), using a damp towel. Apply water with damp sponge. Blot again and finish by weighing down a half-inch thick pad of white paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Leave overnight if necessary.

3. Candle Wax. Candles make any holiday celebration a little more festive. When the wax drips on the carpet, first scrape off excess wax. Cover the stain with brown paper and apply a warm iron until remaining wax is absorbed. Be sure paper is large enough to cover the stained area. Take care never to touch the iron to the carpet as the fiber might melt. Change paper or rotate to clean area and repeat until all material is absorbed.

You can also try scraping the spill and then freezing it with ice cubes. Shatter the frozen wax with a blunt object like the back of a large spoon. Vacuum chips away before they melt.

4. Red Wine. Instead of limiting your guests to clear beverages, be ready with these steps. Blot up excess spill as quickly as possible. Apply the detergent solution using damp towel and leave 3-5 minutes. Blot and apply white vinegar (undiluted), using a damp towel. Blot again. Finish by weighing down a half-inch thick pad of white paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Leave overnight if necessary.

5. Cooking Oil.  Holiday cooking projects are fun for the whole family. A greasy stain should ruin the fun. First apply a dry cleaning solvent, using a dampened towel.  Blot the stain, as rubbing will embed it further.  Then repeat these steps, first applying a solvent and then blotting.  Lastly, apply water with a dampened towel and blot-finish with a weighted pad of towels.

6. Chocolate. Holiday candies are an indulgent treat but when one gets dropped, it can cause a big mess. First, finish your remaining treat, and then scrape up excess spill. Apply detergent solution using a damp towel and blot. Apply white vinegar (undiluted), using a damp towel, blot and apply water with a damp sponge. Blot and finish by weighing down a half-inch thick pad of white paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Leave overnight if necessary.

About Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home
Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is a locally owned flooring retailer serving the Davenport area. They are part of North America’s leading floor covering co-op. Their showroom is known for carrying a broad selection of beautiful carpet, wood, laminate, ceramic, vinyl, and area rugs including exclusive brands like Bigelow and Lees. They offer a unique customer experience with the exclusive SelectAFloor merchandising system that simplifies the shopping experience and The Beautiful GuaranteeTM, which guarantees that customers will be 100% happy with their floor. Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is also the home of the exclusive Healthier Living Installation system. For more information visit NORTHWESTCARPETONEDAVENPORT.COM.

* Note: Not all carpet fibers react the same way when treated for stains. Before proceeding with any of the preceding cleaning procedures, we recommend you contact the appropriate fiber company for their suggested maintenance guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines may void your warranty.

 
NARI Offers Tips to Hurricane Victims to Avoid Home Repair Scams PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Morgan Zenner   
Friday, 16 November 2012 09:20

Make sure your contractor is legally able to work in your area.

 

Des Plaines, Illinois, Nov. 13, 2012—The National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers tips for homeowners impacted by Superstorm Sandy to avoid home repair scams.

 

Con artists often show up at a homeowner's door after a disaster, offering an array of services and demanding a hefty down payment up front. They might offer a "great deal," based on using materials left over from a neighbor’s job, but homeowners should remember that a "great deal" isn't always what it seems. Frequently, these fly-by-night operators drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates, or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly once authorities start looking for them. Before writing that check, and especially before allowing any unknown individual into your home, NARI suggests that a homeowner:

 

  • Get the name and address of the company that person allegedly represents.
  • Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises made are included in the contract.
  • Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI or other trade associations, to determine the firm's legitimacy.
  • Ask for references and contact each one.
  • Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to do your homework. Don't fall prey to high-pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone."

Homeowners should be especially skeptical if they....

  • Come to your door unsolicited.
  • Use high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Request full payment before completing the work.
  • Give a post office box without a street address or phone number.
  • Promise to begin and complete the work more quickly and cheaply than any other company.
  • Say they just finished work on your neighbor's house and have just enough materials to do repair work on yours. They might say they can give you a better bargain if you let them do the work today since they have the supplies now.

 

# # #

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.

 
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