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Written by Amy Garringer   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:32

DES MOINES, Iowa – When a Davenport woman discovered she’d won the very last top prize of $100,000 playing the “Triple Platinum 777” game on her break at work, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

Jolene Ronek, 50, scratched the ticket during her evening break where she works as a machinist.

“I started shaking and I couldn’t believe what I saw,” Ronek said. “I took it to the break room to show all the other guys and I was in tears. They told me to sign it right away.”

Ronek said her head was fuzzy because she couldn’t believe the win was real.

“I kept looking at those zeros and going, ‘No, that isn’t right,’” she said.

Ronek told her family about her big win before claiming her prize Thursday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. Ronek said it also put everyone at work in a great mood for the rest of the evening shift.

“One of the guys at work got on the radio and told everyone,” Ronek said with a laugh. “Everybody was just happy that someone they knew won.”

Ronek said she was really surprised to get the big winner, because it was the very first ticket in a new pack of Triple Platinum 777 tickets at the QC Mart, 1402 State St. in Bettendorf.

Ronek said she’s looking forward to using her winnings to become debt-free and also plans to use some to take a trip this summer.

“We travel all over riding motorcycles,” she said.

Triple Platinum 777 was a $10 scratch game. Players scratched the “dollar” symbols and the “bonus box.” If they revealed the “7” game symbol, they won the prize shown for that symbol. If they revealed the “77” game symbol, they won double the prize shown for that symbol. If they revealed the “777” game symbol, they won triple the prize shown for that symbol.  If they got two like symbols in “bonus box,” they won $50 instantly. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game were 1 in 3.11.

Players can enter eligible nonwinning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.



USGC News Release: U.S. Grains Council Previews A Changing Vision of World Food Demands in 2040 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Marri Carrow   
Monday, 27 February 2012 16:35

Rapid Rise of Asian Middle Class Likely To Revamp Global Food Systems:
U.S. Grains Council Previews A Changing Vision of World Food Demands in 2040

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2012 — The sophisticated food demands of newly affluent consumers in China and other developing nations are likely to cause major change in U.S. farming and food production, Asian food policy and world trade, according to Food 2040, a new study of emerging food trends in Asia by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

USGC President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas C. Dorr presented a preview of Food 2040 today at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.

“Growing affluence in China could change people’s diets and the global food system. Consumers will expect more choice, quality, convenience and safety in their food purchases,” Dorr said.

Food 2040 also reveals important implications for agricultural trade policy between the United States and Asian nations. “We are seeing China become more open to acceptance of new technology, such as agricultural biotechnology, which can help meet the needs of the Asian middle class in a sustainable manner through trade,” Dorr said.

U.S. attitudes about feeding the world are likely to change too. “Many of the agribusinesses and agricultural organizations that comprise the U.S. Grains Council are starting to review possibilities for meeting the needs and capturing the economic value that ascendency of the Asian middle class represents,” said USGC Chairman Dr. Wendell Shauman, an Illinois corn farmer and member of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “Working together with trading partners around the world to understand emerging trends, we can use a convergence of science, technology and policy reform to meet changing food demands and capture the economic potential of new Asian consumers.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is assisting the Council with the launch of Food 2040 in Japan. “Japan and the United States are longstanding trading partners, and we understand each other well. Now, our two nations must learn more about China and develop an understanding of how this emerging mega-market will influence the global food system and our two nations’ participation in it,” said Geoffrey Wiggin, USDA’s FAS Minister-Counselor in Tokyo.

Food 2040 outlines the following possibilities for significant change in the global food system.

China is the world’s fastest growing economy, and because of the sheer size of its population, Chinese demand will reshape the global food industry over the next 20 years. Although India is expected to surpass China in population numbers, China is likely to remain the dominant economy within the timeframe of Food 2040.

Agricultural biotechnology may no longer be dominated by U.S. technology. China is on a path to global bioscience leadership, driven by major central government investments to meet its own food needs and a desire to be an export leader.

Asia does not yet have a well-developed food safety and inspection system, but this could change through use of 21st-century nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and logistics systems.

By 2040, 70 percent of consumer food expenditures in Japan will go toward foods prepared outside the home, and China is likely to adopt Japan’s rapid acceptance of foods prepared outside the home.

Food 2040 envisions a proliferation of specialty markets and product differentiation in Asia. This is not a new concept for the United States, where the average U.S. supermarket carries almost 40,000 items, but when four billion people around the world with very different cultures and diets begin to enjoy that degree of consumer choice it will significantly affect global food production, processing and distribution systems.

The complete Food 2040 study is available at The U.S. Grains Council is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to building export markets for barley, corn, sorghum and their products. The Council is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 10 international offices and active market development programs in more than 50 countries. Financial support from the Council’s private industry members, including state checkoffs, agribusinesses, state entities and others, triggers federal matching funds from the government and support from cooperating groups in other countries, producing an annual market development program valued at more than $28.3 million.


Letters Bring Alive the Mom She Never Knew PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:48
Daughter’s Inheritance Proved More Valuable than Money

Actress and playwright Kim Russell was an adult when she finally got to know her mother, who died when Russell was just 2 months old.

Her father, Bernard Knighten, never spoke of his first wife, Luana.

“He never shared stories, never said I looked like her, unless prompted to by my aunts,” says Russell, author of Tuskegee Love Letters (

Eventually, though, he shared with her some letters he and Luana exchanged as young newlyweds during World War II. Bernard had been a Tuskegee Airman, one of the first 15 pilots in the pioneering all-African American flying squadron based in Tuskegee, Ala. Before its creation in 1941, blacks were not allowed to fly in the military.

Bernard was 23. In letters to Luana and his mother-in-law, he’s cocky, funny and clearly smitten with his beautiful wife. Luana, 21, was a bright and educated stenotypist from St. Louis, discovering a completely foreign way of life in the Deep South.

“This Tuskegee is the dirtiest place in the country,” she wrote to her mother. “You have taught me that everything in the world was nice and clean, or at least being around you, you have made things seem so, and it really hurts to find out that life isn’t really like that.”

Mostly, though, Luana’s letters reveal a kind, brave young bride trying not to worry too much about her handsome husband flying over German artillery in Africa.

“It must be an awful shock to receive a brief telegram telling you the one person you love most is gone and that you will never see them again,” she wrote Bernard after learning a friend was missing in action. “Please honey, see that I won’t get one of those telegrams.”

For his part, Bernard worked to keep his letters light.

“My bed is quite uncomfortable and I can’t sleep, thus I dream of you all night long,” he wrote to Luana. “I miss the sleep but thinking of you is better than whiskey or vitamin pills. Hmmmm, I’d better change that to just vitamin pills.”

Russell compiled the letters her father had shared into a readers theater play. Her dad attended a performance.

“He was tickled,” Russell recalls. “He laughed at the right places.”

Four years later, after he died in 2000, he had another surprise for her: hundreds more letters he’d saved from his 13-year marriage. It was the best inheritance she could ever have hoped for, Russell says.

“Growing up, I had a wonderful, loving family, but I felt different, like an orphan or an adopted child, because I never knew my mother,” she says. “When you lose a parent at an early age, what does that make you?

“I am so grateful my father saved all of those letters and I encourage anyone who’s lost a loved one to write their story, save their diaries and letters, blogs or videos. I know my mother now – she was an actress, a photographer, a dreamer – and I absolutely adore her. I see so much of me in her.”

About Kim Russell

Kim Russell is an arts administrator, writer, and performance artist best known for her one-woman show, “Sojourner Truth.” She has a bachelor’s in theater and mass communications and a master’s in business. She’s currently working on a book incorporating many more of the letters she inherited. To see Bernard’s TV debut as a comedian on BET ComicView at about age 70, visit

Homeowners Gravitate to Custom Roof Color Blends PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kathy Ziprik   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:29

KANSAS CITY, KS – In a world filled with “make-your-own” opportunities for everything from ice cream concoctions to custom-creations for morning coffee, people are now embracing the idea of personalizing their roof with custom color blends.

Research at DaVinci Roofscapes®, the color leader in the polymer roofing industry, shows a dramatic increase in the amount of custom blend roofing color combinations ordered in 2011 over 2010. While all product lines saw advancement in color combination requests, the company’s Bellaforté product line saw the most substantial increase as requests for custom color blends rose from four percent in 2010 to 38.7 percent of its sales in 2011.

“One large order for a Bellaforté roofing project in Bali involving a custom blend of Light Clay, Medium Terracotta and Dark Terracotta which significantly increased these numbers, but we’ve seen strong sales growth within the past year in virtually all of our color blend options,” says Ray Rosewall, CEO and president of DaVinci Roofscapes. “Once we added in our eight new colors and eight additional color blend options in early 2011 we saw color selections start to skyrocket.”

Rosewall feels that people are gaining confidence in adding colors to their roofs to reflect their personalities and accent the entire home structure. “Homeowners are breaking away from the traditional monochromatic blacks and grays on a roof by adding in accent colors and varied shades of colors,” says Rosewall. “It’s a matter of people becoming more educated on roofing color options and feeling more empowered to make personal design statements on their home’s exterior.”

DaVinci Roofscapes offers the largest roofing color selection in the industry with a total of 49 standard colors and 28 standard color blends. Custom color blends are virtually limitless, since people can create their own blends using any of the 49 available colors.

Colorful Roofs

In 2011, more than 30 percent DaVinci’s Valoré Slate products sales came from custom blends compared to just seven percent in 2010. The addition of new color blend options in 2011 of Castle Gray, Milano, Evergreen and Sabino accounted for more than 30 percent of the sales for the year of the product line.

“This comes down to DaVinci offering more colors in 2011 and people responding by embracing the color options,” says Rosewall. “We’ve seen escalating numbers in all our product lines this past year as people seek out and purchase more colorful roofing options.”

According to national color expert Kate Smith, DaVinci’s strategy of offering an abundance of roofing colors perfectly matches consumer’s current “color empowerment” mind frame. “My latest color trends report clearly shows that self expression through colors is a popular way for people to project their personalities,” says Smith, chief color maven at Sensational Color.

Smith, who authored the “FRESH Exterior Colors” guide for DaVinci in 2011, is not surprised by the growing number of people who are choosing to create their own custom color combinations for their roofs. “Today’s consumers --- especially those who grew up in front of a computer screen --- are not satisfied with the mundane in life. They embrace the idea of experimenting with color combinations and rely on the colors on their home’s exterior to express their sense of style.

“This doesn’t mean the combinations of colors they’re choosing are bright or outrageous. It simply means that these consumers want to have the ability to choose from a variety of color options or have a hand in customizing the final look of their home’s exterior.”

To assist homeowners and professionals with roofing color decisions, DaVinci offers its popular online DaVinci Color Studio. Located at, the free online site includes the “FRESH Home Exterior Colors: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect Hues for Your Home” step-by-step downloadable guide, a Color Designer tool, an “Ask the Color Expert” section, a Color Studio FAQ and the DaVinci Masterpiece Gallery portfolio of home projects.

“Color From the Top Down” Sweepstakes

Consumers interested in creating their own dream roof color can participate in DaVinci’s “Color From the Top Down” online sweepstakes currently underway. To participate, Facebook users who “like” DaVinci Roofscapes on Facebook (located at, can access the sweepstakes.

Users can create their dream roof color combination and submit a form to enter their name in a drawing for two chances to win an Apple® iPad2®. Running from February 13, 2012 through April 30, 2012, the promotion allows people ages 18 and older to create and submit a dream roof color combination via DaVinci’s Facebook page.*

DaVinci Color Options

DaVinci offers the widest select of polymer roofing colors in the industry. Slate colors are available in Medium Terracotta, Dark Terracotta, Light Clay, Dark Clay, Light Gray, Medium Gray, Dark Gray, Light Green, Medium Green, Dark Green, Light Brown, Medium Brown, Medium Tan, Dark Tan, Light Purple, Dark Purple, Green Stone, Dark Stone, Slate Gray, Slate Black, Light Violet, Dark Violet and Dark Amber.

Shake colors are available in Light Chesapeake, Medium Light Chesapeake, Medium Chesapeake, Dark Chesapeake, Light Autumn, Medium Light Autumn, Medium Autumn, Dark Autumn, Light New Cedar, Medium Light New Cedar, Medium New Cedar, Medium Dark New Cedar, Dark New Cedar, Light Mountain, Medium Mountain, Dark Mountain, Light Tahoe, Medium Tahoe, Medium Dark Tahoe, Dark Tahoe, Light Weathered Gray, Medium Light Weathered Gray, Medium Weathered Gray, Medium Dark Weathered Gray and Dark Weathered Gray.

DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning polymer slate and shake roofing since 1999. The roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit


Braley Visits African American Museum in Cedar Rapids to Celebrate Black History PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 24 February 2012 15:24

Braley presents museum with several documents relating to black Iowa’s history

Cedar Rapids, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today traveled to the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids to celebrate the rich history of African Americans in Iowa.  February is Black History Month.

“African Americans have left an indelible mark on the history of Iowa, and I’m proud to commemorate their legacy,” Braley said.  “From the Iowa Supreme Court decision in 1839 outlawing slavery – 26 years before the end of the Civil War – to the integration of Iowa universities in the 1940’s to LaMetta Wynne’s election as Iowa’s first black mayor in Clinton, black Iowans’ struggles and milestones continue to this day and deserve celebration.  Black history is truly American history.”


Braley presented the museum with a copy of the book, Black Americans in Congress: 1870 – 2007. Braley also presented the museum with poetry written by Dr. Robert M. Carney, his family doctor in Brooklyn, Iowa, and one of the first African-American doctors to practice in rural Iowa.  Finally, Braley also presented an article from Sports Illustrated called “Invisible Men,” which documents the career of Joe Lillard, an early NFL star from Mason City, Iowa, who was known as the “Midnight Express” at a time when NFL owners imposed a “gentlemen’s agreement” to prevent African-Americans from playing professional football.  Lillard and other black players fought to play.


The African American Museum of Iowa was founded in 1994 by members of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids in celebration of Black History Month.  Construction on the museum’s permanent home began in 2002, which opened in 2003.

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