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Branstad, Reynolds announce “Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service” Initiative PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Monday, 10 September 2012 13:52

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds today announced a new public-private partnership initiative titled “Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service.”

The goal of the “Call to Service” initiative is to make Iowa the national leader in service and volunteerism by 2015 by focusing on volunteer expansion in Iowa’s most pressing areas throughout the state while focusing on the administration’s goals of becoming the healthiest state in the nation, having the best schools and growing Iowa’s economy.

“Volunteerism is an integral part to the state’s future and well-being,” said Branstad. “Our objective for the ‘Call to Service’ is to increase the number of Iowans who are volunteering as well as the number of hours that they serve.  Iowa currently ranks second in the nation in volunteerism, and just as we want to become the healthiest state in the nation and have the best schools, I know Iowa can lead the nation in volunteerism as well.”

The “Call to Service” initiative is driven by the private sector, but publically endorsed while working  with non-profits and other organizations to increase the volunteer supply, demand and retention, mobilize communities and generate targeted tactics to expand volunteerism in Iowa. This multi-year blueprint seeks to eliminate barriers preventing meaningful volunteer engagement and strengthen the behavioral norm of service in Iowa.

“It is our hope that Iowans will embrace the ‘Call to Service’ initiative and do what Iowans do best, which is giving back to their local communities,” said Reynolds. “We want to mobilize and connect Iowans with meaningful volunteer opportunities in their communities and challenge the private sector to support and help strengthen Iowa’s volunteer infrastructure.”

As a first step, Iowans are encouraged to take part in a local service project during the week of Sept. 10, 2012, as part of the launch of “Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service.” A complete list of service projects can be found at


Morthland Urges Illinois Not to Waive Welfare to Work Requirements PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Monday, 10 September 2012 13:51

Moline, IL… State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) introduced two pieces of legislation today aimed at maintaining Illinois’ commitment to the work requirements for assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Established in 1996, the program attempts to curb welfare dependence by encouraging recipients to move from welfare to work. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated in July that it is willing to approve state waivers that reduce the participation requirements.

Morthland introduced House Bill 6223 which would prohibit Illinois from seeking a waiver.

“This legislation hits close to home,” said Morthland. “My wife and I have seen first-hand the benefits the TANF program brings to our community and to our state. The program has resulted in a reduction of child poverty, a reduction in the welfare dependency, and an increase in employment earnings of single mothers.”

Morthland also announced House Resolution 1218 which urges the Governor and the Illinois Secretary of the Department of Human Services to refuse to seek a waiver from HHS.

“Welfare to Work is a good program that helps working families who want a piece of the American dream. It is important we hold Illinois to a higher standard and continue to offer job training, mentoring and educational opportunities to those in need.”

Americans Can Take Lessons in Surviving the Economy from 1800s Immigrant PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:20

A Century Ago, Self-Reliance Wasn’t an Option – It Was a Requirement, Translator Says

While the current recession continues to hit millions hard, a researcher says the example of our ancestors should inspire us.

“We have become so accustomed to the fruits of our forefathers’ labor that many of us have forgotten just how tough they had it,” says Sigrid Wilshinsky, translator of “My Life in America Before, During and After the Civil War” ( She translated numerous letters from German immigrant Louis Hensel, who wrote about life in the United States throughout the mid-1800s to his German granddaughter, Emma, whom he had never met.

“Reading Hensel’s letters is like peeking through a rip in the curtain of history and seeing through the eyes of one who had experienced so much,” Wilshinsky says.

That includes meeting Abraham Lincoln in the White House while pretending to be a translator to various Native American tribes; life in New York City in the mid 1800s; training the Union Calvary as a master horseman; the adventures of a traveling opera company, and various intimate details of an America that was still untamed yet quickly ascending as a world powerhouse.

Today’s economic troubles are serious and we don’t know exactly where they are heading, Wilshinsky says, “but imagine losing a well-to-do business in France, thanks to a revolution, another in Long Island 10 years later, and yet another in Williamsburg (in Brooklyn) because of illness.”

Wilshinsky provides tips for surviving today’s economic woes via inspiration from Hensel’s example:

• A jump-starter: Hensel writes that many immigrants who landed in New York took a few weeks to settle in, sightsee, and get accustomed to city life in America before seeking work. Not him; he writes that after acquiring comfortable lodgings – procured by a friend -- he immediately walked the streets to find work, which he found at the end of his second day in the United States.

• Capitalize on all your talents: Before fleeing Paris, Hensel had a thriving engraving company. He was able to use this skill to immediately land a job. Hensel continually honed his knowledge in order to work in a variety of capacities, Wilshinsky says. He learned equine veterinary medicine in his spare time, made nightly runs to the fruit and vegetable market in New York for produce sales, joined local theater groups and was hired by the German Opera Company, with whom he traveled the United States during the winters.

• An indefatigable work ethic: For Hensel, not working was never an option. While writing his letters to Emma during his later years – he lived to be 91 – he discussed life as a music teacher to locals, which meant plenty of traveling. Always an active man, Hensel loathed physical inactivity, and work was a way of life for him.

• A helping spirit: Although Wilshinsky says Hensel may have “bragged a bit” about his deeds, he was nonetheless heroic in his aid to others during numerous incidents.

• An open heart/open mind: Hensel naturally gravitated toward well-educated people, and he learned from them. He valued honesty and integrity in his business dealings, which earned him trust, respect and a strong network of friends and colleagues.

About Sigrid Wilshinsky

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1943, Sigrid Wilshinsky’s family escaped into West Germany in 1952. She benefited from a world-class education in Berlin, where she focused on art, and immigrated to the United States in 1962. She has since traveled the world as a stewardess and eventually became a resident of the Pocono Mountains, where she has befriended the local wildlife. Like Louis Hensel, the German-born renaissance man of the 1800s whose letters she translated, Wilshinsky is a multitalented individual with many interests.

More Cost Overruns for FBI Computer Upgrade PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:19

Friday, September 7, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following statement after the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice released the ninth interim report on the implementation of the FBI’s Sentinel Project, the FBI’s attempt to upgrade its computer system.  Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over the FBI.

“More than a decade after the FBI began upgrading its computer system, we’re still talking about cost overruns, hidden fees and delayed results.  In its latest report, the Inspector General detailed that the cost of Sentinel is at least an additional $60 million over budget. In addition, looking ahead, the report shows that the FBI has failed to include costs such as the $30 million annual operating fee, and costs to continue operating legacy systems that were originally slated for incorporation into the Sentinel Project but were eliminated.  Costs like this are sprinkled throughout the project’s future budgets.  Unfortunately, it looks like this isn’t close to the end of the taxpayers’ commitment to this project, which has already been hundreds of millions of dollars.”



Schilling Hits on Absent Sequestration Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andrea Pivarunas   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:14

White House ignores deadline to detail devastating defense cuts it proposed

Moline, Illinois – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today released the following statement as the White House is ignoring the deadline to comply with H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act, legislation President Barack Obama signed into law requiring his Administration to detail the impact of the sequester.  Administration officials including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have repeatedly described the cuts’ impact on our national security as "devastating," though they have been keeping plans for its implementation hidden from public view as the date of implementation looms. 

“These cuts are set to begin in just four months, but defense manufacturers and folks at the Rock Island Arsenal have yet to learn if or how they will be impacted,” Schilling said. “We need the President to lead and present the American people with his plan for these defense cuts as required by the law he himself signed.”

A study released in June by the National Association of Manufacturers indicates that across-the-board budget cuts to the Department of Defense scheduled to begin in January 2013 would cost approximately 1 million jobs at a time when the nation’s unemployment has remained at or above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months.  According to the NAM study, Illinois, with its 8.7 percent unemployment rate, is among the top 10 states to be impacted by job losses, with more than 35,400 jobs on the line in the next two years alone. 

With Schilling’s support, the House of Representatives in May passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would provide mandatory spending cuts to reduce the deficit and replace automatic cuts to discretionary spending in 2013 under the Budget Control Act.  It also passed H.R. 4310, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  To date, the Senate has passed neither.

“This inaction by the Senate and by the Administration is just inexcusable,” Schilling said. “With the Senate having gone more than three years without a budget, sitting on more than 30 bipartisan House-passed jobs bills, failing to advance a single appropriations bill this year, and not yet passing its version of the defense bill, enough is enough.  I strongly urge folks who care about the future of the Rock Island Arsenal, our region’s unbeatable defense manufacturing capabilities, and our national defense to speak up and make your voices heard.  These cuts are avoidable, but only if our leaders put partisan politics aside, come together, and do the job they were elected to do for our community, our state, and the security of our great nation."

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