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DIG to DONATE Plant Sale PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:20
Iowa State University Scott County Extension Master Gardeners presents the DIG to DONATE Plant Sale on May 4th, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the ISU Scott County Extension & Outreach Office, 875 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf.

Pick from a wide selection of perennials, many of which are grown and donated by Master Gardners who will be available to answer your plant questions. Demonstrations will be held throughout the day.

Great prices. Good variety. Expert advice. Cash or check. Support the Master Gardener program and its horticulture education programs in Scott County. To learn more about the group or plant sale call (563) 359-7577.


Finding Ways to Save on Home & Auto Loans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Emily Caropreso   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:47

CONSIDER THIS: Polk, an auto research firm, forecasts that new vehicle registrations in the U.S. will increase by 900,000 in 2013. According to more than 900 credit union members surveyed by the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL), Iowa is no exception to the trend. The report revealed 10.1 percent of respondents plan to purchase a car in 2013. Additionally, 4.1 percent of respondents say they are planning to purchase a house this year.

It can be difficult to afford large down payments so finding the best financing option is more important than ever. The survey showed 46.6 percent of respondents in ICUL’s survey report said they would use money from savings for a down payment on a car, and 40.5 percent on a house. While the current market offers favorable rates, says the best options are usually only available to borrowers with “tier one” credit, which generally requires a credit score ranging from 760 to 850. Without research and planning, consumers outside of tier one may find themselves paying more than necessary for their loans.

“Too often consumers finance a loan without understanding the actual financial impact,” said Emily Caropreso, Director of Communications & Marketing, Iowa Credit Union League. “Length of the loan and the interest rate are only part of the equation. Your credit history, fees, and down payment influence what you will pay each month, and ultimately the costs associated with the entire life of the loan.”

ICUL suggests the following tips:

  • Check your credit history. Your credit union can provide you with a copy of your credit report. If not, you can get a report each year for free at Check your report for inaccuracies, and look for areas to improve. If you have existing balances, consider paying them down to lessen your debt-to-income ratio, a big factor in your credit score.
  • Shop around for the best financing deal. Consider the entire financing package when shopping for a loan. Calculate the cost of the loan through its entire term and include up-front charges, taxes and fees. You may find a low-interest loan without fees costs less than a zero-percent-interest loan with fees.
  • Put money down. If possible, take the time to save up for a down payment. The more money you put down, the less you have to finance, saving you thousands of dollars in interest charges. This can also allow you to pay for any loan costs up front, rather than rolling them into your monthly payment.
  • Adjust your monthly budget. Adding a new loan payment can put a dent in your monthly budget. Bills that you typically paid in the middle of the month might need to be moved, possibly subjecting you to late fees. Try budgeting an estimated mortgage or car payment a couple of months in advance to avoid the shock.
  • Ask questions. The more questions you ask, the better informed you are. Sit down with a consumer lending specialist at your credit union and ask: how much house/car can I afford? What fees/charges are avoidable? What interest rate can I expect to pay? How much should I put down? In the end, how much will the loan cost me?

Loebsack Named to Henry M. Jackson Foundation Council of Directors PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:31

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he was chosen by Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), to sit on the Council of Directors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF).  Each year, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee both appoint a member of the Committee to serve on the HJF Council of Directors. HJF is a global organization dedicated to advancing military medical research.  They serve military, medical, academic and government clients by administering, managing and supporting preeminent scientific programs that benefit members of the armed forces and civilians alike. Congressman Loebsack has been a member of the HASC since being elected to Congress and has served on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over military health care, since 2009.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve on the Henry M. Jackson Foundation Council of Directors by Ranking Member Smith,” said Congressman Loebsack. “As a military parent, it is one of my top priorities to make sure our service men and women, as well as our Veterans, have access to the greatest medical care and advancements in the world.  The Henry M. Jackson Foundation strives to advance military medical research and I am proud to help lead them.”

“The hard work and dedication to our service members that Dave has demonstrated as a leader on the House Armed Services Committee will make him an important voice for our troops on the Council of Directors,” said Congressman Adam Smith, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member. “I am pleased to appoint Dave to the Foundation and look forward to seeing the results that they will produce.”

"We are most pleased to welcome The Honorable Dave Loebsack to the Council of Directors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.  We eagerly look forward to working with Congressman Loebsack and his staff as the Foundation advances medical research and education at the Uniformed Services University and throughout the military medical community.  The mission for the Foundation is as relevant today as it was when the Legislation which authorized the establishment of the Foundation was enacted in 1983,” said John Lowe, President and CEO, Henry M. Jackson Foundation.

The not-for-profit Foundation is authorized by Congress to support research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and throughout military medicine. Since its founding in 1983, HJF has served as a vital link between the military medical community and its federal and private partners. The Foundation’s support and administrative capabilities allow military medical researchers and clinicians to maintain their scientific focus and to accomplish their research goals effectively and efficiently.

The council consists of nine members, in addition to Congressman Loebsack, the other serving members of the Council are Chairman Philip Odeen, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin , U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Rep. John Fleming, M.D., The Honorable Beverly Byron , John Dressendorfer, General (Ret.) Gordon Sullivan, Charles Rice, M.D., President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


Davenport man Sentenced after Federal Conviction for Felon in Possession of Ammunition PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:16
DAVENPORT, IA- On March 8, 2013, Yusuf Hasan Shariff, age 56, from Davenport, Iowa, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John A. Jarvey to 15 months imprisonment on the charge of possession of ammunition as a felon, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Shariff was also ordered to serve three years supervised release and pay $100 towards the Crime Victims Fund.

On April 13, 2012, Scott County, Iowa, Sheriff deputies responded to a local gas station when Shariff was unable to pay for gasoline. When Shariff was unable to find a means to pay the bill, he handed the deputy a .32 caliber bullet and said “. . . let’s take this to the next level.”

During a transport to jail, Shariff made verbal threats to kill the deputy. The Clinton County dispatcher also reported that police had made contact with Shariff earlier that day, and that Shariff made statements about revenge against the police department.

On April 17, 2012, a Davenport police officer conducted a traffic stop of a mini-van driven by Shariff. Shariff ended up crashing his vehicle into a retaining wall near Genesis West in Davenport. When a Davenport police officer approached Shariff, he refused several orders to remain still and to go down to his knees. As the officer approached, Shariff stood up, pulled away from the officer, and then swung at and punched the officer in the mouth. A second police officer arrived and Shariff physically struggled with both officers. As they went to the ground, Shariff obtained control of a knife and stabbed at the police officers. With the assistance of a third officer, Shariff was taken into custody. While being transported to jail, Shariff again made verbal threats to kill a Davenport police officer.

On April 19, 2012, Davenport police officers searched Shariff’s Davenport residence and seized an additional 15 rounds of .32 caliber ammunition. On October 22, 2012, Shariff pled guilty to possession of ammunition as a felon, having previously been convicted in 1999 of a felony drug offense.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Davenport Police Department, and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

School Board "Shops Local" PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ed Fallon   
Monday, 11 March 2013 12:07
Dear Friends,

{First, a brief update: The Great March for Climate Action is off and running . . . okay, walking. Please "like" our Facebook Page, and keep abreast of new developments as they occur . . . there's at least one newsworthy item to share each day.}

A big "CONGRATULATIONS!" to Tom Ahart for being selected as the next superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools. A "rose" to four of seven School Board members for "shopping local" and going with a known quantity who's already proven himself. A "thistle" to the entire board for cloaking the process in secrecy.

Not that secrecy is uncommon in government anymore. Officials at all levels are acting with greater disregard for public input and observation. This is not a good thing for those of us partial to democracy, freedom and an open society.

Monday, Des Moines attorney Alfredo Parrish discusses racial disparity in Iowa's prisons. And yeah, it's bad. Read Alfredo's recent opinion piece in the Des Moines Register for a primer on just how bad - and why. Also today, we discuss several aspects of the climate crisis, including the linchpin upon which all eyes rest: the Keystone Pipeline. We also talk about Tom Ahart's selection as Des Moines Public Schools' new superintendent, and the issue of government secrecy.

Tuesday, I'm still hammering out the details, but we start the conversation with Guns, God, and Gays. That should bring my right-wing audience out of the woodwork.

Wednesday, Charlie Bruner, executive director of Iowa Family and Policy Center, and Anne Kinzel, former coordinator of Iowa Legislative Health Care Coverage Commission, discuss Medicaid and IowaCare. With the issue front and center at the Statehouse, and with Governor Branstad digging in his heels against expanding Medicaid, this is an important conversation. Check out Charlie's recent opinion piece here and Anne's here.

Thursday, State Rep Dan Kelley provides us our weekly inside look at the Iowa Statehouse. And Nakisha Phillips charts her journey through pregnancy with a doula and a midwife.

Friday, Aaron Todd discusses the tremendous progress made on revitalizing one of Des Moines most blighted corridors: Sixth Avenue. Also, Heather Ryan joins us for another weekly feature: "Ryan's Rants."

So, Monday-Friday, join the conversation online from 12:00-1:00 pm on the Fallon Forum website. Call-in at 244-0077 or toll free (855) 244-0077 and add your voice to the dialogue. If you miss a show, video and audio-only podcasts are available later in the day. Thanks!

EdCommunity CPA


March 11 - Public Talk on Reiki (West Des Moines)
Free introductory conversation about Reiki with practitioner Diane Sweet, at the West Des Moines Public Library, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Contact Dustin at (515) 333-7891 or

March 13 - Max Wellman & His String Quartet (Des Moines)
Max Wellman, in conjunction with Civic Music Association’s Backstage Social Group, presents an evening of jazz and standards brought to you by a classically-trained string quartet. Max and Sam Wells perform the art songs by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and others through a classical medium. It’s at the Fourth Street Theater, 214 4th St. at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10. Contact Max at (515) 490-5497 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March 14 - Drinking Liberally (Des Moines)
You don't have to be a card-carrying liberal to enjoy political conversation and excellent libations at AJ's, 419 E Court starting at 8:00 pm every Thursday. If the revolution is going to start anyplace, it's over a frosty libation. Contact

March 15-17 - Reiki First Degree (Des Moines)
Two-day Reiki training session. Cost is $150. Contact Dustin at (515) 333-7891 or

March 23 - Max Wellman and His Big Band (Des Moines)
At Hoyt Sherman Place, 15th and Woodland, 8:00 pm. Enjoy an evening of arrangements by Des Moines trumpeter/composer Dave Rezek. The band is made up of several of Des Moines’ finest up-and-coming jazz musicians, including several members of the popular Uplift Quintet. Tina Haase Findlay of Bella Soul will also perform. Tickets are $20. Contact Max at (515) 490-5497 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March 24 - Ecumenical Processional for Peace (Des Moines)
Processional begins at 3:00 on the west steps of the State Capitol and ends at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 High Street for a 3:45 service. This year's event commemorates the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Contact Chet Guinn at (515) 282-8054 or Eloise Cranke at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March 27 – An Evening with Rachel Reynolds (Des Moines)
Rachel Reynolds, a local nursing instructor and human rights advocate, speaks about human rights, her experience with child soldiers in Uganda, and her impressions of the “Lord’s Resistance Army.” The event is sponsored by Amnesty International at Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting House, lower level, 4211 Grand Ave. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served. Contact Mike at (515) 238-1782 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March 28 - Equal Justice After Hours (Des Moines)
Annual fundraising event supporting Iowa Legal Aid and its work to provide access to justice for low-income Iowans. At Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust St, program includes remarks by Georgetown University law professor Peter Edelman and induction of Robert C. Oberbillig into the Iowa Legal Aid Hall of Fame. Reception at 5:30 pm, program at 6:30. Tickets are $50, or $150 to be a sponsor (sponsors may attend a special reception with Mr. Edelman from 5:00-6:30). Contact Terri Bennett at (515) 243-2980 (x1611) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March 28 - Green Drinks (Des Moines)
Join excellent conversation about energy and the environment over food and drink at Gateway Market and Cafe, 2002 Woodland Ave from 5:30-7:30 pm. For more details, see

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