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Family Vacation Tips PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:00

Family Time, Unplugged & Outdoors: Memories are Made on Vacations; Tips for the Road

Don’t worry about record-breaking gas prices – the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates prices to be $3.79 a gallon this summer, less than in 2008.

That’s good news for families considering reviving the tradition of a road trip vacation, one of the best experiences parents and kids can share, says Michael DiLorenzo, author of Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks! (

“This is a shared experience, and one that will be talked about during family gatherings for years to come,” says DiLorenzo, a father of three. “For busy parents, this is a time to savor their children’s youth. As moms and dads eventually find out, they grow up fast.”

It’s also a chance to get children outside and away from their computers, he says. Children today already have a deep-rooted interest in technology, which is why a road trip to a natural, outdoor destination is an opportunity to “give your child the gift of the outdoors, which is a gift for life,” says DiLorenzo.

The journey to a national park in the United States or Canada – perhaps Yellowstone in Wyoming or Banff in Alberta – is as bonding an experience as whatever happens at the destination.

“And there are parks in every state,” he notes. “If you don’t have the time or money to go cross country, pick a park closer to home.”

DiLorenzo offers these helpful tips for the road:

• Games, games, games!: Yes, there is ample entertainment for both drivers and riders in cars these days. BUT, the goal is to bond with the family, so consider a fun, albeit off-color game like “Road Kill Round-Up.” A point system might break down like this: two points for the first to spot a poor critter; three for whoever first correctly identifies the species; two points subtracted for a false road-kill call; three points subtracted for misidentifying the kind.

• Beware of dairy drinks (and other smelly snacks): A spill in the backseat can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip. But do pack plenty of  healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and avoid all the sugar and salt in junk food.

• Avoid big-city rush hours: When traveling through metropolitan areas, consider the busiest traffic periods. Whether you plan to stop and check out the city or simply zip through it, bumper-to-bumper traffic is something to avoid. A bit of consideration can save your family hours of grid-locked misery.

• Tech help: Various apps and websites can help drivers find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. Also, don’t forget a music mix that appeals to the entire family on one of these devices. (Remember, leave work at home – forget about work-related calls, texts and emails! Use a non-work-related smartphone, if needed.)

• Schedule pit stops: Being in a hurry should be left for the morning commute; vacation should be different. When traveling across states and provinces, consider local culture. For example, barbecue in South Carolina is very different from Missouri’s version. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes.

“The greatest family memories are created in shared adventure,” DiLorenzo says. “Outdoor recreation is filled with these memories just looking for a family to bring them home.”

About Michael A. DiLorenzo

Michael A. DiLorenzo is a married father of three living in the outdoor-rich environs of Michigan. He created the “Adventures with Jonny” series to entertain and educate children (and parents!) about the activities available in the great outdoors.

Animal Welfare Seminar Planned PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mike Banks   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 08:26 and the Petco Foundation will present "Adoption Options," a one-day animal welfare seminar, hosted by Iowa City Animal Services, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, at the Johnson County Extension Building, Iowa City.

Featured speakers include Steve Notaro, Ph.D., University of Illinois, whose topic will focus on adoption strategies, Karen Dashfield D.V.M., speaking on vaccination protocols, and noted dog trainer Sue Sternberg, who will demonstrate techniques for training shelter dogs for increased adoptability. Marketing pets online will also be addressed.  The seminar is open to anyone involved in animal welfare.
The cost is $20.00 ($10.00 for members) and includes lunch, a t-shirt, a gift from the Petco Foundation and educational materials. Space is limited.  For more information or to sign up, visit or email adoption This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Petfinder is the oldest and largest virtual animal shelter and represents over 13,500 animal welfare organizations nationwide and in Canada.

Senator Grassley - the week ahead PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:58
Monday, May 21, 2012

Here is information about Senator Grassley’s schedule this week.  The Senate is in session.

Senator Grassley will meet with Iowans from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Telecommunications Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Iowa Rural Letter Carriers, the Appraisal Institute, and the Paper Recycling Coalition.

Senator Grassley also will meet with Iowa families visiting Washington from Johnston, Des Moines, Ankeny, and Iowa City.

Senator Grassley will be a guest this week on public affairs programs hosted by Ryan Schlader of WMT Radio in Cedar Rapids and Mike Adams of AgriTalk, which airs on 13 Iowa radio stations.

On Monday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will speak to the Whistleblower, Civil and Human Rights Summit.

Senator Grassley will answer questions and respond to comments via Skype with fourth graders at MOC-Floyd Valley Community Schools in Hospers on Tuesday, May 22, at 1:30 p.m. (CT), and with students in the contemporary issues class at Marshalltown High School on Thursday, May 24, at 8:30 a.m. (CT).

On Wednesday, May 23, at 10 a.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the courts titled “Protecting Our Children:  The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.”

On Wednesday, May 23, at 1:15 p.m. (ET), in the Capitol Visitors Center, SVC-215, Senator Grassley will speak about the impact of intellectual property laws on jobs at an event of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.  The Center will be releasing a new study.

On Wednesday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in a hearing of the Judiciary Committee to consider nominations to the federal judiciary.

On Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in the weekly executive business meeting of the Judiciary Committee.  Two legislative proposals may be considered:  S.2076, the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Al Franken, Lindsay Graham, Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn, Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal, and S.2370, the Small Business Reorganization Efficiency and Clarity Act, sponsored by Senators Grassley and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Treasurer Fitzgerald May Be Looking For You PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Karen Austin   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:47

DES MOINES, IA (05/21/2012)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is looking for over one million people who are owed over $239 million. The spring publication of the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is scheduled to begin soon and includes thousands of names that have been received in the last year. Fitzgerald wants Iowans to know they do not have to wait much longer to see if they have extra funds coming to them in the form of unclaimed property.

"We look forward to the spring publication every year," said Treasurer Fitzgerald. "Our goal is to locate the rightful owners of the unclaimed property. I'm sure that when we publish the new list, a lot of individuals will be pleasantly surprised." Treasurer Fitzgerald would also like to remind individuals that they do not have to wait for publication to begin to see if they have unclaimed property. "Individuals can go to and search the entire Great Iowa Treasure Hunt list for their names anytime. It just makes sense to check."

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $143 million in unclaimed property to more than 359,000 individuals since Fitzgerald started it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer's Office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.

Everyone is encouraged to keep watch for the upcoming publication coming soon to papers across the state. In the meantime, all Iowans are urged to visit and check to see if they have unclaimed property. Individuals may also send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For those who prefer corresponding by mail, please write to: State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald, Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319. Please make sure to provide current name, previous names and addresses.



Grassley, Sessions Express Concern Over Cost of 9th Circuit Judicial Conference in Maui PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:44

Monday, May 21, 2012


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, released a letter today to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski concerning a planned judicial conference in Maui, Hawaii.  In their letter, the senators note that the taxpayer-funded conference, scheduled for Aug. 13 to Aug. 16, features opportunities for numerous recreational activities not related to any official judicial business, and that the expense of travel and accommodations will be significant.  Grassley and Sessions requested a full reply to their questions no later than June 15.

To view the senators’ letter, please click here. Statements from Grassley and Sessions follow:

“Technology is so advanced that people are earning college degrees online and soldiers serving halfway across the world use Skype with their families at home,” Grassley said. “Likewise, a judicial circuit court should be capable of using technology to share information without requiring a trip to an island paradise.  It’s especially tone-deaf to plan a pricey conference after the GSA debacle. The taxpayers can’t sustain this kind of spending, and they shouldn’t have to.  The court should re-examine whether this is the best use of tax dollars.”

“This conference is further evidence the federal government is in a state of financial chaos,” Sessions said.  “How can anyone in Washington ask for more taxes when this culture of excess continues? Americans struggling to pay their bills are tired of watching the government throw lavish events on the taxpayer dime. They are tired of watching entire sectors of government behave in a fashion totally disconnected from the reality of our perilous financial state. At this time of fiscal crisis, America needs leadership that will restore accountability and ensure a disciplined budget is adopted at last.”

NOTE: As detailed in the senators’ letter, a previous Ninth Circuit conference, also held in Maui, cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million in travel and accommodation expenses alone. To view information about activities scheduled at this year’s conference, including yoga, surfing lessons, and a Catamaran snorkel trip, please click here.


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