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Veterinarian Proposes Law Recognizing Pets’ True Value PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:14

A veterinarian is asking anyone who will listen – legislators, judges, fellow pet owners – if the loss of a pet is akin to the loss of furniture, a computer or a car.

Kenneth Newman, a 33-year veterinarian and author of Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge (, has proposed a law that answers his question. Gracie’s Law recognizes the emotional bond between pet and owner by entitling the owner of a pet killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.

“It’s time we change the laws to more accurately reflect what pets mean to the average American,” says Newman.

Gracie’s Law would not supersede current laws, he says, which entitle owners to the property value of their pet. And it would not replace criminal prosecution for acts of malice. And owners who decline a recommended veterinarian procedure to save a pet would not be held accountable under the law, he says.

Newman’s dog Gracie was killed in April 2008 when a negligent driver backed up 25 yards without looking, crushing Newman and Gracie between two vehicles. The vet escaped with a broken leg; Gracie saved his life, he says.

“An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn’t entitled to anything for the dog, and that this was a simple broken-leg case,” he says.

In every state, he says, laws view pets as property. Owners are entitled to no more than replacement value; no law takes into consideration the loss of companionship, grief, or pain and suffering.

Newman says that doesn’t jibe with Americans’ attitude toward their pets. According to an American Animal Hospital Association survey, 90 percent of owners consider their animals part of the family. Other findings:

• 52 percent of Americans would rather be stranded on a deserted island with their pet than with another person.

• 83 percent call themselves “Mommy” or “Daddy” in reference to their pet.

• 59 percent celebrate their pet’s birthday.

Cases involving pet owners’ bonds are increasingly showing up in the courts, Newman points out:

• Matrimonial law: Attorneys have experienced a 23 percent increase in pet cases, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This includes custody battles over pets, veterinarian bills and visitation rights. Harvard now has a course dedicated to pet law.

• The North Carolina Court of Appeals: While the plaintiff’s wrongful death lawsuit was denied, animal activists applaud a judge’s willingness to at least hear a case involving a Jack Russell terrier that died while undergoing tube feeding at a state facility.

• Texas justice: On Nov. 3, 2011, Fort Worth's 2nd Court of Appeals ruled that value can be attached to the love of a dog. That overruled a 120-year-old Texas Supreme Court case, which held that plaintiffs can only recoup the market value of their pets.

• Largest award: In April, a Denver judge awarded Robin Lohre $65,000 for the death of her dog, Ruthie. Lohre had accused Posh Maids cleaning service of negligence for allowing the dog to get outside, where it was hit by a car. Newman notes this sets a new precedent for pet value, but that such uncapped awards may threaten affordable veterinary care.

To read Gracie’s Law and copy it to share, visit, click “image gallery” and scroll down.

About Kenneth Newman DVM

Kenneth Newman graduated from Purdue University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1979, and has since been a practicing vet. He experienced a badly broken leg and the death of his Labrador retriever Gracie due to the negligence of a driver in April 2008. Since then, he has proposed and advocated Gracie’s Law, which recognizes that pets are more than common property. Newman lives with his wife and their son, as well as several pets.

Grassley Seeks Information on SEC Inspector General Office Turmoil PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:04

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission for information that would shed light on decisions affecting the agency inspector general’s office.

“All federal agencies need a high-performing, independent inspector general’s office to hold the agency accountable and protect employees from unwarranted criticism,” Grassley said.  “The recent turmoil at the SEC inspector general’s office raises questions about how well that office is functioning.  Information from all sides is necessary to try to establish where things went wrong and what the agency can do to refocus its watchdog capacity.”

Grassley’s review so far has found that the commission suspended the chief investigator in the inspector general’s office over allegations that he caused security concerns among some fellow employees, but the investigator’s counsel contends the investigator was retaliated against for reporting allegations about the recently departed inspector general to an outside group for review.  Allegations have also been made that the outside security firm that looked into the investigator was being investigated by the inspector general’s office over contracting concerns.

In order to investigate those allegations, Grassley wrote to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, Acting Inspector General Noelle Maloney and Chuck Tobin, the president of At-Risk International LLC, the company that performed the security review.

The text of Grassley’s letters are available here, here, and here.


A Beautiful Garden Starts Now - Memorial Day Means Gardening for Many PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Melinda Myers   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:57

Get out the shovel and trowels – it's almost Memorial Day weekend and that means gardening for many.  Spend a bit more time getting your garden off to a good start and reap the benefits all season long.  Proper planting and post planting care means less maintenance, fewer pests and more produce and beautiful flowers in your landscape.

Start by selecting healthy plants free of insect and disease problems.  There’s no need to spend money on problems.  And keep in mind that bigger is not always better.  Instead look for compact plants with sturdy stems.  The leaves should be deep green or the proper color for that variety.  Avoid plants that show signs of stress such as spots, brown leaf edges, and holes.  And when all things are equal, purchase the perennials with multiple stems.

Keep your purchase properly watered before and after planting.  Check transplants daily and twice a day when temperatures rise, watering as needed.  Increase success and reduce the stress transplants often face.  Apply a plant strengthener such as JAZ Spray to protect potted plants from drying out until you are able to plant. Or apply to transplants to get your plants off to a vigorous start.  These organic products are not fertilizers but rather naturally occurring molecules that work like an immunization to help new and established plants better tolerate heat, drought, insects, disease, and other challenges plants face.

Prepare the soil before planting.  Though not glamorous building a good foundation for your garden will pay off this season and beyond.  Dig one or two inches of compost, peat moss or other organic matter and a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer into the top 12 inches of the soil.

Now slide, don’t pull, the plants out of their containers to avoid damaging their roots and stems.  If they resist, gently squeeze small flexible pots or roll larger pots on their sides over the ground.  This loosens the roots, releasing the pot from the container.

Gently tease any roots that encircle (girdle) the root ball.  Or use a knife to slice through girdling roots or the tangled mass that often develops at the bottom of the pot.  This encourages the roots to explore the soil beyond the planting hole.  And a bigger root system means healthier plants that are more productive and beautiful.

Set your plants at the same depth they were growing in their container.  Tall leggy tomatoes are the exception.  These can be planted deeper or in shallow trenches to encourage roots to form along the buried stem.  Cover the roots with soil and gently tamp to insure good root to soil contact.  Water new plantings thoroughly; moistening the rootball, planting hole, and beyond.  Spread a thin layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other mulch over the soil to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the roots cooler when hot weather moves in for the summer.

Check new plantings every other day and water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.  Gradually reduce the frequency until your plants only need to be watered once a week in heavy clay soils and twice a week in sandy soils. Of course you’ll need to water more often in hot weather.

And don’t forget about the rest of your landscape.  Plant strengtheners can be applied to established plants to prepare them for the often stressful season ahead.  Treated plants will be better able to tolerate heat and drought as well as attacks from insects and diseases.

So get out and start planting to make this the best gardening season yet.

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. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 100 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



Perceptions of Poverty...National Salvation Army Week PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Holly Nomura   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:53


Report Highlights Importance of Giving Back During 59th Annual National Salvation Army Week

(Alexandria, VA) May 16, 2012 – The American public is largely sympathetic to people in need, but drastically misunderstands the causes of poverty, according to a new report, “Perceptions of Poverty: The Salvation Army’s Report to America,” released today by The Salvation Army. Among other eye-opening statistics, the report showed that while 38 percent of Americans have received assistance from a charitable group in their lifetime, another 27 percent of Americans believe that laziness is a root cause of poverty. Still, an overwhelming majority continues to donate to charities to help others in need.

The report was based on a survey of more than 1,000 Americans, conducted in February 2012 by a third-party research firm in advance of the 59th annual National Salvation Army Week, celebrated this year from May 14-20.

“This report highlights the critical issue of poverty at a time when many Americans are struggling to get by,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. “It is more important than ever to raise awareness of not only the public’s perception of poverty, but also the programs available to those in need. With the public’s support, The Salvation Army will continue to provide assistance.”

According to the survey commissioned by The Salvation Army and conducted on Vision Critical's Springboard America panel, nearly 40 percent of Americans have requested help, including housing, food, financial and other assistance, from charitable organizations at some point in their lives. In particular, Americans with lower household incomes are much more likely to have experienced a lack of shelter, or a need to request assistance from a charitable group.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans have received assistance from a charitable group, including food from food banks or financial assistance/housing support.

Thirteen percent of Americans reported having spent a night in a shelter or on the street due to a loss of housing.

Additionally, a majority of Americans believe people living in poverty deserve a helping hand, and sympathize with the challenges that people living in poverty face on a daily basis.

  • Eighty-eight percent of Americans believe people living in poverty deserve a helping hand.
  • Eighty-four percent of Americans believe it is almost impossible to survive on your own on minimum wage.
  • Seventy-five percent of Americans believe helping poor families sets up children from those families for success.
  • Sixty percent of Americans believe it is difficult to escape poverty once becoming poor.
  • However, there are a significant minority of Americans who are skeptical of the realities and reasons for poverty.
  • Notably, the further a person is from poverty, the less common he or she believes poverty is in society.
  • Forty-nine percent of Americans believe a good work ethic is all a person needs to escape poverty.
  • Forty-three percent of Americans believe people living in poverty can always find a job if they really want to work, with twenty-seven percent of Americans reporting that people are poor because they are lazy.
  • Twenty-nine percent of Americans believe poor people usually have lower moral values.

In total, Americans believe approximately thirty-four percent of the general population is living in poverty. However, Americans who earn less than $25,000 a year believe forty percent of the population lives in poverty, while Americans who earn at least $50,000 a year believe twenty-seven percent live in poverty.

The Perceptions of Poverty report, which can be viewed on The Salvation Army’s website at, comes as The Salvation Army celebrates the 59th annual National Salvation Army Week with a variety of events and activities to honor donors, supporters and beneficiaries of Salvation Army programs. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the first National Salvation Army Week in 1954, proclaiming, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of brotherhood. In time of war, the men and women of this organization have brought to those serving their country far from home, friendliness and warm concern. In the quieter days of peace, their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans, giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of all.”

“We are proud to celebrate our donors, volunteers and supporters, not only during National Salvation Army Week but every day throughout the year,” said Major Hood. “As President Eisenhower recognized nearly sixty years ago, The Salvation Army is dedicated to serving our neighbors, families and friends in communities throughout America, and we want to take this time to give thanks to each person who makes this possible.”

Since The Salvation Army began its social service work in the United States in 1880, the organization has grown into one of the largest social service providers in the country. Each year, The Salvation Army directly supports 30 million Americans through a variety of programs including transitional and family shelters, feeding programs, senior centers, adult rehabilitation, education, athletic programs for kids and more.

Though the dates have changed since the first National Salvation Army Week, the work of The Salvation Army has not. The Salvation Army is calling upon all Americans to consider donating money or volunteering time to charities and organizations fighting poverty in local communities. Donors and volunteers can learn more about The Salvation Army, including further information regarding the Perceptions of Poverty report and National Salvation Army Week, by visiting

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used Wednesday, May 16, 2012 to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to


A public service announcement from Davenport Parks and Recreation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ron Summers   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:44
Due to roof construction at Vander Veer conservatory, the conservatory and store will be closed through Tuesday, May 22.  Vander Veer Park will remain open, but the conservatory and store will be closed due to the construction.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Both the conservatory and store will reopen at 10am on Tuesday, May 22.

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