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Schilling Opposes Legislative Branch Spending Bill PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:26

Washington, DC - Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 5882, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2013:

“This House has changed the conversation in Washington from ‘how much can we spend?’ to ‘how much can we save?,’ but we can’t let up.   As our national debt speeds toward $16 trillion, every dollar we can save counts.

“My parents taught me to lead by example, which is why I rejected the Congressional pension, any Congressional pay raises, and brought my own health care to Washington.  The House also voted to lead by example and reduce our own office budgets by 5 percent in 2011 and 6.4 percent in 2012.  On top of that I still managed to return $110,000 – an additional 8 percent – of my 2011 budget to taxpayers, and expect to return a portion of my 2012 budget to taxpayers at the end of this year as well.  Today’s legislative branch spending bill however, doesn’t cut our office budgets further, instead keeping it level from last year.  Simply put, I believe today’s bill could have and should have gone further. 

“For years, Congress voted to increase their own office budgets, but this Congress has stopped that trend while still proving you can provide strong constituent services.  We have four offices in our area so you can conveniently keep in close contact with us, and host regular mobile office hours throughout the district so folks don’t have to drive long distances to have their concerns addressed or their questions answered.  We have also hosted roundtables with business leaders and health care professionals throughout our area, forums to help our veterans get information on benefits available to them, and had both Democrat and Republican Members of Congress choose to visit our area for field hearings to see the national treasures we have here in our own backyard.

“My staff and I stay in close contact with folks and provide them with high-quality constituent services while reducing our overall expenses, doing more with less, and remaining mindful of taxpayer dollars.  This sort of service hasn’t happened in our area for a long time.  I will continue leading by example, providing high-quality yet fiscally responsible constituent services, and working to save the American dream for our kids and grandkids.”

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To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
Home Food Preservation 101 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 08 June 2012 14:49
Home Food Preservation 101 will be offered on June 21, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Freight House, 421 W. River Drive in Davenport.

The workshop, taught by ISU Extension and Outreach specialist, Vera Stokes, is intended for those wanting to learn how to safely preserve food. It will also serve as a refresher for those who have experience preserving food.

Since 2006, there have been new canning recommendations that everyone should be aware of when canning at home. Participants will receive current Iowa State University Extension food preservation publications and learn about a new program, Preserve the Taste of Summer.

The workshop is $10.00 and participants need to register by June 15 by calling the Extension Office at 563-359-7577 so there are enough materials available.

“People are ‘rediscovering’ the joy and economies and fresh taste of home gardening and want to preserve that bounty to enjoy throughout the year by freezing, drying or canning those foods,” says Stokes. The program will touch on canning, both hot water bath and pressure canning, freezing, equipment needed and a review of resources available.

Food preservation information and answers to your questions are available by calling the Iowa State University toll free Answer Line 1-800-262-3804 or 1-800-735-2942 (Relay Iowa phone linkage for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals). The Answer Line is staffed Monday through Friday from 9 am – 12noon, 1 pm to 4 pm.

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PRESS RELEASE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by EINNOC10@aol.com   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:58

East Moline resident, local author and former Quad City Times film and book critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson and Dispatch columnist was awarded the IWPA (Illinois Women's Press Association) Silver Feather trophy on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Union Club in downtown Chicago by the Chicago branch of IWPA (Illinois Women's Press Association).[See .jpeg, attached, of  Connie Wilson, l, and Contest Organizer Diedre Sommerville, R, with trophy.]

Wilson's entries in a variety of journalistic categories were selected by an independent panel of journalists. Her articles, both print and online, and the 4 books she published this year, as well as her own blog entries at WeeklyWilson.com and Yahoo, where she is a Featured Contributor, will go on to national competition at the NWPA (National Women's Press Association) level. Wilson was film and book critic for the Quad City Times for approximately 15 years, from 1970 into the early 1980s.

Since 2003, Ms. Wilson has published 14 books as Connie Corcoran Wilson, one of which (The Color of Evil) was recently awarded the Gold Medal in the E-Lit book competition by the Jenkins group. [*All  books are available locally on the shelves of the Book Rack in Moline and Bettendorf, and through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in both paperback and E-book versions.]

Wilson will be a presenter at the Hawaii Writers' Conference, now known as Spellbinders Writers' Conference (www.SpellbindersConference.com), from August 31 through September 3rd in Honolulu, Hawaii. Presenters include 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres), special guests Garry Marshall and John Travolta,  Jon Land (the Caitlin Strong series), F. Paul Wilson (the Repairman Jack series), Heather Graham (The Unseen), Jacqueline Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean), Gary Braver, and GaryWhitta (The Book of Eli), among others, along with literary agents from many New York City agencies. Wilson also will be in attendance at ITW (International Thriller Writers) Thrillerfest in New York City July 10th-14th, and has written author interviews for the ITW newsletter.

 
Strengthen Plants This Season with a New Tool for Gardeners PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Diana Paul   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:49

By gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers

As gardeners well know, there are plenty of challenges our landscapes will face throughout the growing season. Heat, drought, pests and disease can all take their toll on our plants, causing wilting, brown leaves, damaged plants and even plant death.  Fortunately, gardeners now have an exciting new organic tool for growing healthy, productive, and beautiful landscapes all season long.

Researchers have discovered that when some plants are stressed they produce certain molecules that help them better tolerate environmental stresses as well as insect and disease attacks. They isolated the molecules and applied them to other plants. This improved the treated plants’ own natural defenses, much like immunizations do for us.

All natural plant strengtheners, like JAZ Spray, were developed as a result of these findings. Plant strengtheners immunize plants against environmental stresses such as heat and drought, while building their defenses against insects and diseases.

They are not fertilizers that provide nutrients, nor are they pesticides that kill the insects and disease organisms. This new tool can help gardeners deal with gardening challenges that are beyond their control.  By using a plant strengthener you are proactively boosting a plant’s immune system before environmental stresses hit and ultimately helping it thrive as it faces serious challenges throughout the season.

Because these natural plant-derived products improve plant health and resilience by strengthening their resistance to plant stressors, including heat, drought, over-watering, insects and disease, they’ve become a valuable and must-have tool for both beginning and experienced gardeners especially given the variable and unpredictable weather patterns we’ve experienced in recent years.

They can also increase gardening success when busy schedules, vacations or lack of experience get in the way of providing ideal care.

Begin treating established plants from the start of the season to help build their natural defenses. Treated plants will be more robust, suffer less damage, and recovery more quickly from stress. Plant strengtheners are also effective when applied at the first sign of stress or when moving plants indoors for winter, since the lower light and lower humidity conditions can be very stressful on these plants.

Prepare your plants for the growing season by arming yourself with this exciting new line of organic products that are safe for pets, kids and the environment.

And always remember that proper soil preparation, plant selection, and care are also critical in growing beautiful, productive and healthy plants.  Monitor your plants’ health throughout the growing season.  Uncovering problems early may be the difference between a little clean up and the need to treat.  And, if treatment is needed, look for the most eco-friendly products available.

Investing a bit of time and energy now to lay the foundation for a healthy and productive landscape will surely pay off with low maintenance, beautiful gardens for years to come.

For more gardening tips visit www.melindamyers.com.

Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening , Month-by-Month Gardening in Wisconsin and The Garden Book for Wisconsin. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 110 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda also has a column in Gardening How-to magazine.  Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. She has written articles for Better Homes and Gardens and Fine Gardening and was a columnist and contributing editor for Backyard Living magazine.  Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure.  Her web site is www.melindamyers.com

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Grassley Seeks Full Transparency of Public Housing Authority Salaries PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:47

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is urging the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make public the salary data it collected from public housing authorities across the country under pressure from Grassley and amid numerous salary scandals.   The Administration made only aggregate information public in announcing a salary cap proposal this week.

“Making only a handful of the information public is a missed opportunity,” Grassley said.  “We’ve seen several significant gold-plated compensation packages at housing authorities. The abuses have grown in the absence of oversight.  My review has shown that the housing authorities that go off the rails count on a lack of transparency to do what they want.  If salaries are public, there’s a deterrent for abuse.”

This week, HUD released aggregate salary data from 2010 from the nation’s housing authorities and announced a proposal to cap the federal part of housing authority salaries.   The limited information released is available here.  Coverage of controversial housing authority directors’ salaries this week in Atlanta and Providence, Rhode Island, is available here and here.

Grassley has been scrutinizing abuses by certain public housing authorities since 2010, working to hold HUD accountable for the way federal housing dollars are used and to protect those dollars from wasteful and abusive spending.

In addition to seeking transparency of the existing salary data, Grassley said he intends to look at the Administration’s salary cap proposal to make sure it closes the many loopholes around compensation caps.   A cap on federal funding for salaries does not apply to local funding, so salaries could still be high if the local agencies choose to supplement the salaries, another reason for transparency, Grassley said.  Housing authorities sometimes give bonuses and significant perks such as vehicles, accrued vacation pay, and rolling contracts that make it expensive to remove the top employee.

The federal government spends roughly $6 billion to $7 billion per year on public housing.  Another $4 billion was provided by the 2009 economic stimulus legislation.  More than 3,000 public housing authorities nationwide manage public housing programs.  “The federal government needs to pay a lot more attention to what happens at local housing authorities,” Grassley said.  “Taxpayers are paying for safe, clean public housing for those in need.  HUD has to make sure the services are delivered and that the taxpayers’ money is spent as intended.  Better transparency would be a good start.”

Grassley’s letter to the HUD secretary is available here.

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