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Bills to Protect Premium Cigars Continue to Gain Support PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kyle Whalen   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:17

Washington, DC-As the Representatives and Senators settle into session, two bills (H.R. 1639 & S. 1461) continue to gain support. H.R. 1639 has just reached 190 co-sponsors, nearing the 218 co-sponsors needed for the majority. S. 1461 has reached 10 co-sponsors with Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska supporting it most recently.

The bills seek to restrict the FDA from regulating the premium cigar industry as it wishes to do to other tobacco products.

With the FDA’s proposed new jurisdiction, they would have the ability to completely alter the way premium cigars are sold, even going as far as having the ability to take the word “cigar” out of advertisements. These two bills seek to limit that. Supported by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), Cigar Rights of America, small tobacco shops throughout the country, and tobacco enthusiasts, the bills seek to protect the cigar industry from the FDA’s potentially heavy-handed regulation.

The bills have come a long way, but are still in need of support. The IPCPR encourages any tobacco enthusiasts to contact their local legislators and discuss with them the importance of small tobacconists throughout this country and the negative impact that FDA regulation could have on their businesses.

Bill Spann, CEO of the IPCPR, noted, “The premium cigar industry employs over 85,000 Americans alone. In today's economy, our representative form of government should be doing everything possible to protect small businesses and promote job growth, not trying to regulate it out of existence.”

As the bills continue to gain support, cigar enthusiasts everywhere hope that the legislators will hear their voices and discuss the bills during session this year, which is expected to close in December.

This article was written by Kyle Whalen. Kyle is the Public Relations Manager for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More information can be found online at

Haiti reopens for adoption PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sara LoCoco   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:04

Lifelink International Adoption’s Haitian adoption program is now operational. The agency is working with Haiti-based Three Angels Children’s Relief to place orphaned and relinquished children for adoption from Haiti. “We are thrilled to resume placing children for adoption from Haiti and are now working hard to find loving families for the children brought into care,” explained Lifelink Director of Adoptions Pat Radley.


Three Angels has been committed to placing orphaned and relinquished children from Haiti since 2003 and has facilitated the placement of more than 100 children with families. “The goal of Three Angels Children’s Relief is to provide hope to the children of Haiti,” said Three Angels Marketing Director Shannon Hoffmann. Their orphanage is licensed by IBESR, the Haitian social service authority. The children receive dedicated 24-hour care with assigned nannies to encourage healthy attachments.


Haitian adoptions were temporarily suspended after the devastating earthquake that ravaged the country in January 2010. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people died during the tragedy and another 1,000,000 were left homeless. While Haiti continues to move forward with rebuilding, it has reinstated international adoptions in order to find loving homes for the many children left without families.


Haitian children available for adoption are infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. They are all screened for HIV, Hepatitis, TB and sickle cell. Each child receives regular check-ups and has access to the Three Angels medical clinic as well as the Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port au Prince. Boys and girls are available for adoption, as well as twins and sibling groups.


Those individuals eligible to adopt from Haiti include married couples and single women between 35-50 years of age for a healthy child and 55 years old for a child with special needs. Only one parent needs to be 35, and age exceptions can be made if there is medical proof of infertility. Married couples are also required to have been married for at least ten years. Haiti prefers childless applicants or families with adopted children, but IBESR will allow families with biological children to adopt with presidential dispensation. Families are required to take two short trips to Haiti as part of the adoption process, which can take from 12 to 24 months.


Three Angels has four children, all less than three months of age that have been brought into care since April 2012. Individuals interested in learning more about the availability of these children and the requirements for adopting through Haiti can visit or call 630-521-8281.

Lifelink International Adoption (license #508312), a ministry of Lutheran Child and Family Services, has established and maintained a reputation for the quality individualized service  it provides to all applicant families, the  expertise and professionalism of  its staff and  its commitment to be available throughout the adoption journey and beyond.  It serves families and children in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Lifelink has direct placement programs with China, Haiti, Hong Kong, Philippines and Korea, as well as cooperative programs with Poland and other countries. The organization is accredited by the Council on Accreditation as well as the Hague and is a member of the Joint Council on International Children's Services.




Grassley questions new federal grant to research physician who was previously suspended PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:52

Senator calls on the National Institutes of Health to set tone for disclosure, accountability


WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the National Institutes of Health to explain why it has awarded a $400,000 medical research grant to a physician who it banned from NIH funding in recent years for failing to disclose a $1.2 million financial relationship with a major pharmaceutical company while leading a $9 million federal study involving that drug company’s blockbuster depression drug Paxil.


“It’s troubling that NIH continues to provide limited federal dollars to individuals who have previously had grant funding suspended for failure to disclose conflicts of interest and even more troubling that the Administration chose not to require full, open and, public disclosure of financial interests on a public website,” Grassley wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins.


Last year, the Obama administration scrapped a proposed conflict of interest rule that would have required universities to disclose financial relationships between medical researchers and the pharmaceutical industry to be posted on publicly available websites.  “The Office of Management and Budget in the White House, which had final say over the matter, should have supported the policy that every institution post financial conflicts of interest on a public website,” Grassley said.


Grassley has pursued an extensive campaign for disclosure of payments made by drug and medical device makers to physicians since 2007, when he began to expose dramatic disparities between what was reported and what was, in fact, received.  Grassley’s oversight of industry payments also has extended to medical schools, medical journals, continuing medical education, and non-profit patient advocacy organizations.


One of those cases involved the doctor receiving the grant in question today, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff.  In 2008, documents revealed that Nemeroff, who was then chair of Emory University’s psychiatry department, failed to disclose that he received $1.2 million in consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, while leading federal research on the treatment of depression.  Nemeroff left Emory University and was then hired by Miami University.  The Director of the National Institute of Mental Health within NIH weighed in on Nemeroff taking this new position.  While the NIH said that Nemeroff could not receive federal medical research dollars for two years, the ban has expired and, regardless, it did not apply to him in a position at a new university.


In addition, Nemeroff remains under investigation by the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is working with the Department of Justice on the case.  In his letter today, Grassley asked the NIH if this was considered.  "There has been no final resolution by DOJ or public finding by HHS OIG related to the investigation of Dr. Nemeroff. Yet, NIH awarded him another grant,” he said.


Grassley said the decision by NIH “risks sending the wrong message to physicians seeking or performing federally funded research.”


Click here to read Grassley’s letter to the NIH, which he also sent to the President of the University of Miami, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.



Braley Statement on Memorial Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kira Ayish   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:14

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on Memorial Day:

“This weekend, families all over the country will gather to honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Memorial Day always brings back memories of my father, who was just 17 when he fought the battle on Iwo Jima, but this year is even more personal. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit Iwo Jima with several veterans. It was a moving and memorable experience, and I was so honored to pay my respects to all who fought in that historic battle 67 years ago. As a veteran, my father taught me to take pride in America’s values and fight for my beliefs. From him, my family learned of the struggles and challenges facing members of the military and their families when they come home from war. Although this weekend we honor our fallen soldiers, we must also remember our military heroes and their families every day. We must work hard to make sure that they have the care and support they need not only when they’re on the front lines, but also when they come home. We owe that to them and their families.

This Memorial Day weekend, I keep all of our fallen heroes and their families in my thoughts. And I extend my deepest thanks to our veterans and their families. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your bravery.”


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Loebsack Statement on the President’s Speech in Newton PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 15:05

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the President spoke at TPI Composites in Newton about the need to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy and a greater investment in clean energy, including renewable fuels.  Loebsack attended the President’s speech in Newton this afternoon.


“I am pleased the President visited TPI in Newton today to highlight the importance of extending the Production Tax Credit for wind energy, which has played such a vital role in bringing back manufacturing jobs to the area.  I have been pushing for some time to get Congress to act on extending the PTC and am pleased the President has committed to working on this issue.  We cannot afford to let the PTC expire at the end of the year.”


During the President’s visit, Loebsack presented him with a letter that discusses his commitment to extending the PTC and also highlights Iowa’s renewable fuel industry and the need to extend the biodiesel tax credit that expired at the end of 2011.


“Iowa is currently the largest renewable fuel producing state in the country.  This industry has created thousands of good-paying jobs in Iowa communities and here in Newton,” wrote Loebsack.  “Unfortunately, Congress allowed the biodiesel tax credit to expire for the second time at the end of 2011. Iowa has more than a dozen biodiesel production plants so a reauthorization of the biodiesel production tax credit would provide Iowa’s economy with a much needed boost, support good jobs for Iowans, and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil."



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