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Lt. Governor Simon statement on passing of Justice Mary Ann McMorrow PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 28 February 2013 08:50
CARBONDALE – February 25, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon issued the following statement in response to the passing of her friend and mentor, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Justice McMorrow, someone I have been fortunate to call a friend and hero. I met Justice McMorrow many years ago, because she and my mother, Jeanne Hurley Simon, were the first two women to serve as assistant state's attorneys in Cook County. They remained lifetime friends.

“As a woman and a lawyer, I am inspired by Justice McMorrow’s fearlessness in tearing down gender barriers to become the first woman to be an Illinois Supreme Court justice and later the first woman to serve as the court’s chief justice. It was truly an honor when Justice McMorrow swore me in as our state’s Lt. Governor.

“Illinois has lost a trailblazer and a great leader, but her legacy will live on for years to come.”

Leading Small Town Specialty Store Joins Celebration of American Style PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Monica Hendrickson   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:34
Duluth, Minn. – Today, maurices announced their participation in Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show taking place in South Beach, Miami from 8 p.m. EST on March 1 to 8 p.m. EST on March 2. The 2nd annual event is a celebration of the diverse fashion trends across America and maurices will style 10 special cotton looks as part of the 1,440 looks being featured on the runway during the show.

During the 1-2 p.m. EST hour on Saturday, March 2, maurices will showcase various styles that highlight the savvy, fashion conscious attitudes of their consumers, from cotton maxi skirts and denim vests to pinstripe shorts and tie-dye sweaters.

“Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show is the first national fashion event that maurices is participating in, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it,” says Lisa Bartlett, Associate Vice President of Marketing at maurices. “We’ll be sharing our style inspirations for the maurices girl throughout the show – whether she’s enjoying a night out with friends or creating memories through travels across the country.”

Other pieces being highlighted in the show include destroyed denim jeans, cotton dresses and ruffled tops. Fashion lovers everywhere will be able view the entire maurices’ collection by tuning into where the show will be streamed live for the entire 24 hours. Consumers can also visit to purchase select items featuring a cotton content of 60% or more at a 24% discount between March 1-2.

Fashionistas can obtain more information about where to purchase their favorite maurices clothing from the show by visiting or

About maurices
maurices, a brand of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ – ASNA), is the leading hometown specialty store and authority for the savvy, fashion-conscious girl with a twenty-something attitude. Today, maurices operates 850 stores in 46 states and Canada. maurices stands for fashion, quality, value and customer service. Offering sizes 1-24, styles are inspired by the girl in everyone, in every size. For store information and to shop online, visit

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Prepare Now for Natural Disasters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Steve Burke   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:27

By Jason Alderman

Natural disasters are inevitable, unpreventable and often come without warning. No part of the world seems to be spared, whether it's a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, drought or flood. Even though such catastrophes can't always be predicted, their likely aftermaths often can, including property loss, power or water service disruption, scarcity of food and supplies or overtaxed relief organizations.

Superstorm Sandy was a powerful reminder of why it's vital to develop a family disaster plan. By planning ahead and knowing what you might need under dire circumstances, you can save yourselves a lot of time, money and grief.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers great suggestions for developing a family emergency plan, building an emergency supply kit, and learning what to do before, during and after emergencies – even a plan for family pets (

Once your physical safety has been assured, you'll inevitably need to access important financial and legal records, whether to file insurance claims, apply for loans or simply withdraw cash. Taking these few steps now will make accessing such information much easier when the time comes:

Create a log of all account numbers, toll-free emergency numbers, contact information and passwords for your bank and credit card accounts, loans, insurance policies, utilities and other important accounts. Update it regularly and save copies in secure, offsite locations such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend living in another area. You can also email the list to yourself in an encrypted, password-protected file, save it on a CD or USB drive, or use a cloud-based storage service like Dropbox that will let you access it from any Internet connection.

Make PDF copies of tax returns, insurance policies and legal documents and save offsite in the same manner as above, in case your files or computer are destroyed by fire or flood. Also make digital copies of invaluable family photos, documents and memorabilia that money can't replace.

Document your possessions. If you should ever need to file an insurance claim or claim a tax deduction for lost, stolen or damaged property, it'll be much easier if you have an inventory of everything you own – photos or videotape are even better. A few available tools:

  • The IRS' Casualty, Theft and Loss Workbook (IRS Publication 584) includes a worksheet for cataloging and estimating the value of your possessions.
  • The Insurance Information Institute maintains a free, secure online home inventory software application that lets you access your home inventory, anywhere, anytime (
  • Your insurance company's website likely contains a downloadable inventory form.

Make sure you fully understand what is and isn't covered by your insurance policies for natural disasters. You may need additional coverage for damage associated with hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and other weather conditions. Also:

  • Document any damage with photos or video before you start cleanup or repairs.
  • Keep track of expenses you incur to prevent further damage, for temporary housing or to move your possessions for safekeeping, as they may be reimbursable under your insurance claim.
  • Don't delay submitting your claim, since insurers often settle claims in the order filed.

FEMA provides information on how you might be able to get government assistance before, during and after a disaster at

Bottom line: Develop a family emergency plan now and make sure everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes.

Peace Soup supper with Maggie Tinsman on Tuesday PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sallyann McCarthy   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:07

Due to Winter weather conditions, this event has been postponed.  --- Editor, Tuesday Feb 26 2pm

“Peace Soup” – the annual supper and discussion series held on Tuesday evenings throughout Lent will feature former Iowa State Senator Maggie Tinsman on Tuesday, February 26th, at 6 pm in St. Boniface Hall, 2520 Pershing Blvd., Clinton.

On February 26th, former Iowa State Senator, Maggie Tinsman will lead a discussion on “Human Trafficking” which is among the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world.  While active in the State Senate, Ms. Tinsman introduced the legislation that made human trafficking a felony in Iowa.

Tinsman, currently operates a consultant business, “Maggie Tinsman, LLC”, specializing in early childhood education development, lobbying for health and human services issues, and promoting elected public service for women.  She and Jean Lloyd-Jones, also a former Iowa State Senator, founded an organization called 50/50 in 2020 to recruit, train, and mentor women for elected positions.  Currently, Tinsman has become a major speaker on the “Global and Local Problems of Human Trafficking”.

Tinsman’s past experiences include serving as an elected official for the Scott County Board of Supervisors for eleven years and then going on to serve as an Iowa State Senator for 18 years.  Honors include recognition as Quad Cities Woman of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Iowa Social Worker of the Year, Child Abuse Council Priorities Award, and Coalition of Family and Children Services Award, among others.

Tinsman earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and later received her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Iowa.  In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree from St. Ambrose University. Currently, she serves on the Boards of Iowa Public Health, Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council, American Lung Association of Iowa, Iowa Legal Aid Foundation, SAL Families and Community Services, and Scott County KIDS Board.

For the 7th year, Prince of Peace Parish Pax Christi and the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking are co-sponsoring the free series which includes a simple supper of homemade soup and bread followed by a program and discussion.  This year the programs center on the topic of faith’s response to violence.  And this year, the series is being held on Tuesday evenings.

“Everyone is welcome,” said Pax Christi chair, Gabriela Egging, “All anyone need bring is an appetite for good conversation and for good soup.”

Details on the 2013 Peace Soup series are available at and at or by calling Prince of Peace Parish at 563-242-3311 or Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611.  The series is free and open to the public. No registration is required.


Foreign Service and Diplomacy PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:06
Diplomacy By Osmosis
Lack Of Training In Foreign Service Hurts National Security, Expert Says

Imagine the following scenario: A 29-year-old restaurant manager becomes a U.S. diplomat. Five years later, he is appointed the founding director of the Arabian Peninsula office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a major State Department program aimed at creating and strengthening civil society in a region vital to global stability.

The young diplomat has little idea how to do his new job. He speaks no Arabic, he has never managed people or a budget outside a restaurant, let alone $2 million of taxpayers' money. He knows almost nothing about democracy promotion and institution-building, and even less about grant-making -- and he is supposed to find non-governmental organizations in eight countries and award them grants to build an alternative to the authoritarian regimes across the Middle East.

Despite the diplomat's obvious inexperience, he is sent to his new post in Abu Dhabi without a day of training. The State Department expects him to learn how to do his job by osmosis, to watch colleagues, figure things out on his own and improvise.

There is no need to imagine this scenario -- it actually happened in 2004 to Hans Wechsel, an American diplomat or, to use his official title, a Foreign Service officer. Wechsel, who has an undergraduate degree in secondary education and managed restaurants in Montana and Oregon before joining the service in 1999, is the first to admit that his performance in Abu Dhabi suffered from the lack of training.

Wechsel is one of 600 diplomats interviewed at 52 U.S. embassies around the world by Nicholas Kralev for his new book, “America’s Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy,”

So why did the State Department send a diplomat without the necessary skills -- and more importantly, without any training -- to a critical posting in the most volatile of regions that was about to experience the monumental changes of what later became known as the Arab Spring?

“Wechsel's experience is actually very common in the Foreign Service, if not the norm,” says Kralev, who covered the State Department for 10 years for the Financial Times and the Washington Times.

“Wechsel did quite well in Abu Dhabi given the circumstances, but he wishes he had arrived there with at least some of the knowledge and experience he acquired on the job. The big question is: Could the U.S. response to the Arab Spring have been more effective had American diplomats there been better trained?”

As made clear in the National Security Strategy, the White House has charged the Foreign Service with nothing short of changing the world. It has decided that the only way for the United States to be truly secure and prosperous is for the entire world to be secure and prosperous -- and it's the Foreign Service's job to help bring that world about.

“So if our very security and prosperity depend on how well American diplomats do their job, why doesn't the United States invest in diplomats’ professional development?’’ Kralev asks. “There are many talented, capable and downright heroic Foreign Service officers, but how many of them would have done even better than they have if only they had received proper training?

“Hopefully, Secretary of State-designate John Kerry, President Obama and Congress are all asking these questions.”

About Nicholas Kralev

Nicholas Kralev is an author, journalist and lecturer on international affairs, diplomacy and global travel. A former Financial Times and Washington Times correspondent, he has traveled around the world with four U.S. secretaries of state – Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright -- and visited more than 80 countries. He is the author of “America’s Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy” and "Decoding Air Travel: A Guide to Saving on Airfare and Flying in Luxury." He is also the founder and CEO of Kralev International LLC, an air travel consulting and training company. He holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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