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Niabi Zoo Makes In Defense Of Animals’ 2011 “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants” List – Grabs Number Five Spot PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Catherine Doyle   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:52

Coal Valley, Ill. (January 17, 2012) – The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released yesterday by In Defense of Animals (IDA), once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.

A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA’s annual list. The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and Southwick’s Zoo in Massachusetts. The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list sparked a campaign that led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012. This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts report that the number is expected to rise.

The Niabi Zoo appears for the second time on IDA’s list with the following entry:

Niabi Zoo (Coal Valley, Illinois) – Nothing to brag about. This small zoo brags that it is the only facility with elephants in Illinois, but it should be ashamed of the grossly inadequate conditions in which it keeps them. Elephants Babe and Sophie have a history of painful chronic foot infections, and one of the elephants had a positive reaction on a blood test for tuberculosis, a serious disease that is transmissible to humans and other elephants. The zoo is trying to raise $4 million to construct a new exhibit that still would be too small to meet the elephants’ immense needs. And the elephants would continue to spend the duration of the long, freezing winters inside a cramped barn. Given the possible presence of an infectious disease, it would not be wise to bring in another elephant. Zoo visitors and the animals would be better served if the zoo ended its elephant program and invested its resources in upgrading other exhibits.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (California) earns yet another dishonorable mention, and the San Antonio Zoo (Texas) becomes the newest inductee into the Worst Zoos for Elephants Hall of Shame, a special honor reserved for the worst repeat offenders.

Another result of IDA’s relentless advocacy for elephants in zoos has been the creation of an historic management policy by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The new policy calls for an end to handling that requires keepers to share the same unrestricted space with elephants. If the AZA is serious about enforcing this policy, it will facilitate an end to the use of the bullhook, a weapon used by keepers to threaten and often inflict painful physical punishment.

“IDA’s Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list illustrates the many serious problems that condemn elephants to lives of misery in zoos,” said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. “These include abnormal repetitive behaviors, hyper-aggression, social isolation, and deadly conditions such as foot and joint disease caused by lack of space and movement.”

“Scientific research has shown what elephants need: space to walk miles every day, large families with whom to spend their lives, and rich natural environments,” said Doyle. “Caging elephants in zoo displays is not humane and it is not conservation.”

For more information, please visit www.HelpElephants.com.

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

 
SEC inspector general departure, need for another good inspector general PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:52

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the announcement that David Kotz, inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is leaving his position.  Grassley has worked with whistleblowers and conducted other oversight of the agency to help ensure it fulfills its mission of protecting the investing public.

“The SEC needs another good inspector general.  The agency has a big job and faces ongoing challenges to stay on top of fraud.  It’s had some high-profile problems, including missing the Madoff scheme and weak ethics enforcement, as in the David Becker situation.  David Kotz produced strong, conclusive reports, even as critics claimed he was too aggressive.  An aggressive, independent inspector general is best for the agency in the long run, even if that’s uncomfortable for management.  The SEC leaders would be smart to value those qualities and search carefully for candidates who won’t pull punches.  Go-along-to-get-along just doesn’t get the job done.  You need someone who tells it like it is.”

 
Interfaith Leaders Release Letter Announcing Support for American Laws for American Courts Legislation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephen M. Gele   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:59
Washington, DC, January 17, 2012- Eight leaders of the Jewish and Anglican religious communities have released letters in partnership with the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA) endorsing the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model bill and affirming that ALAC will not interfere with the religious freedom of any denomination.
The eight leaders are:
Rabbi Aryeh Spero
President, Caucus for America
Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, J.D.
Congregation Ahavath Torah
Stoughton, Massachusetts
Bishop David C. Anderson
President and CEO, American Anglican Council
Reverend Canon J. Philip Ashey, Esq.
Chief Operating and Development Officer, American Anglican Council
Official legal and canonical adviser to churches
Member of the Governance Task Force which drafted the Constitution and Canons of the new Anglican Church in North America
Reverend Charles A.”Drew” Collins, Jr., S.B.R.
Vicar of St. Thomas Church
Moncks Corner, South Carolina
Reverend David Jones
Rector, Saint Paul’s Church
Haymarket, Virginia
The Very Reverend Dr. Keith Roderick, D.D.
Secretary General of the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
Representative, Christian Solidarity International
Executive Director of the Sudan Campaign
Rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal (Anglican) Church
Carbondale, IL
Father Richard Kim, Retired
Retired Episcopal priest
Former Green Beret
Grosse Point, MI
Rabbi Spero stated:
The Constitution has been the greatest guarantor of our religious rights here in America since our founding.  Any assertion that assigns “racism or bigotry” to those who wish the Constitution to be the sole arbiter of our laws is egregious and fundamentally skewed.   We are here to reinforce the Constitution above any other system of law.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Father Keith Roderick agreed:
"When it is possible to strengthen the protections of our Constitution and First Amendment protections, it seems expeditious to do so.  The temptation to defer to foreign laws to resolve matters that have both civil and religious implications within the culture of the litigants risks the erosion of basic civil rights and religious rights."
This endorsement by Jewish and Christian leaders follows a similar endorsement by the American Islamic Leadership Coalition:
The letter from the interfaith leaders, which follows below, outlines the necessity and strengths of ALAC.
  • The Act‘s sole objective is to protect all U.S. citizens and residents from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation, in the specific matter at issue, of a liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the public policies of the state in question.
  • Often the parties litigating in those state courts are left to their own devices to understand that granting comity to a foreign judgment may be at odds with our state and federal constitutional principles in the specific matters at issue.
  • The American Laws for American Courts Act is constitutional and “facially neutral”…and in the two years since its introduction into state legislatures, it has never been challenged in court.
  • The Act is carefully defined so as not to interfere with the right of any individual or entity to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by the constitutions of the states.
  • Nothing in the Act prevents any person from freely exercising his or her right to freedom of religion and worship. American Laws for American Courts only applies to legal doctrines in our court systems. It does not discriminate in any way based on faith of any kind.
  • The goal of the American Laws for American Courts Act is a clear and unequivocal application of what should be the goal of all state courts: No U.S. citizen or resident should be denied the liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed in our constitutional republic.
***********************************************************************************
View the Full Text of the Letter from Religious Leaders to Legislators here.
Dear Legislators:
For 235 years, Americans of all faiths, creeds, colors, and ethnic origins have enjoyed a system of liberties and laws protected by a Constitution that is unique to the world. The criminal and civil statutes that have emanated from this foundational document serve as the bedrock for American values. We are a nation of laws, presided over by an impartial judiciary and preserved by a Congress and state legislatures.
It is largely due to our constitutional principles that America has stood at the forefront of the nations of the world in terms of religious freedom and tolerance. Protecting our constitutional rights is our best defense of religious freedom and the right to worship as we please.
We therefore urge Americans of all faiths to join us in supporting passage of the American Laws for American Courts Act, which has been enacted in three states and is being introduced in many other legislatures.
The Act‘s sole objective is to protect all U.S. citizens and residents from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation, in the specific matter at issue, of a liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the public policies of the state in question.  Such violations would include but not be limited to infringements on due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, equal protection, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of the state.
Unfortunately, because state legislatures have generally not been explicit about what their public policy is relative to foreign laws, often the parties litigating in those state courts are left to their own devices to understand that granting comity to a foreign judgment may be at odds with our state and federal constitutional principles in the specific matters at issue.
The American Laws for American Courts Act is constitutional and “facially neutral.”  It does not mention any specific religion, creed or legal doctrine, and in the two years since its introduction into state legislatures, it has never been challenged in court.
The Act is carefully defined so as not to interfere with the right of any individual or entity to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by the constitution of the states.  For example, it would not affect the decisions of Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other ecclesiastical courts, or their enforcement, as long as those decisions did not result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the state constitution or the Constitution of the United States.
American Laws for American Courts would not interfere with Jewish law because Jewish law has an inherent provision that instructs people of the Jewish faith to follow the law of the land in which they live. Moreover, ALAC only applies when the use of a foreign legal doctrine in a court would violate someone’s constitutional rights or state public policy. This is not the case with Jewish law. Nor would ALAC impact canon law.
Moreover, the model American Laws for American Courts language contains specific language in recognition of the fact that it cannot be applied in such a way that would interfere with a church, religious corporation, association, or society, with respect to the individuals of a particular religion regarding matters that are purely ecclesiastical, to include, but not be limited to, matters of calling a pastor, excluding members from a church, electing church officers, matters concerning church bylaws, constitution, and doctrinal regulations and the conduct of other routine church business, where 1) the jurisdiction of the church would be final; and 2) the jurisdiction of the courts of this State would be contrary to the First Amendment of the United States and the Constitution of this State.
Nothing in the Act prevents any person from freely exercising his or her right to freedom of religion and worship. American Laws for American Courts only applies to legal doctrines in our court systems. It does not discriminate in any way based on faith of any kind.
The goal of the American Laws for American Courts Act is a clear and unequivocal application of what should be the goal of all state courts: No U.S. citizen or resident should be denied the liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed in our constitutional republic.  American Laws for American Courts is needed especially to protect women and children, identified by international human rights organizations as the primary victims of discriminatory foreign laws.
The United States has long been and continues to be a model of diversity and tolerance to the rest of the world. However, the demands of an increasingly multi-cultural society must never impede nor impair basic constitutional liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to privacy and due process. Please join our fellow Americans from across the country who are working towards the prompt passage of American Laws for American Courts , the 21st century civil rights initiative to ensure constitutional protections for all Americans.
Sincerely,
***

 
Young Women's Fashion Retailer maurices Seeks Real Girls in All Sizes for Main Street Model Search 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jessica Stauber   
Monday, 16 January 2012 15:40

Duluth, Minn.Today maurices launched its second annual Main Street Model Search. The young women’s retailer is looking for 12 real girls in all sizes to model maurices clothing in upcoming fall, holiday and spring campaigns. Models will be selected through maurices Main Street Model Search.

“Through last year’s Main Street Model Search, we were able to express maurices’ passion for embracing real girls from hometowns across America,” says Brad Hartmann, maurices vice president of marketing. “We’re excited to give another group of women the opportunity to live their dream of modeling while demonstrating what the maurices brand is all about: fashion, fun and giving back.”

Women ages 18 and older can enter maurices Main Street Model Search online. They’ll need to upload photos of themselves, write a short essay and provide other key details. Full model contest rules should be reviewed before entering.

Stylist and fashion designer Christopher Straub from Lifetime’s “Project Runway” will once again be part of the judging panel. Straub launched Christopher Straub for maurices—a line of clothing, accessories and a fragrance—in November 2011. His second line for maurices will be unveiled this spring.

Straub was thrilled when maurices invited him to be part of its second model search. “It was incredibly rewarding to be part of last year’s contest. I met so many wonderful people who were beautiful on the inside and out. I can’t wait to be part of selecting the next maurices Main Street Models.”

Judges will select models based on appearance and how well they represent the maurices image. The top 12 models will each receive a photo shoot in one of three iconic destinations in the U.S. and national exposure at maurices locations, www.maurices.com, mailers and social media; a $1,500 maurices gift card; and $7,500 for a charitable makeover to be awarded directly to a community or charitable organization in her hometown.

Women can enter online now through February 13. Online voting is open from February 27 through March 19, with people receiving a surprise coupon offer from maurices every time they vote, plus a chance to win as much as $1,000 in gift cards. Online voting will narrow the field of contestants to 100 who will be required to create a video as part of their submission. maurices will select 20 models for a final casting call in Minneapolis, Minn., the week of April 16. The top 12 models will be announced April 23.

For more information, visit maurices.com , facebook.com/maurices or mauricesmainstreetmodel.com.

maurices Main Street Model Search 2012 Timeline

Model submissions: January 16 – February 13
Women from across America enter online for the chance to model for maurices and win fabulous prizes, including a fashion shoot in an iconic destination in the U.S.

Online voting: February 27 – March 19
Voters help narrow the search to 100 contestants with each of their votes earning a surprise coupon offer from maurices, plus a chance to win as much as $1,000 in gift cards.

Meet the top 100 contestants: March 20
maurices
reveals the voters’ top 100 choices online.

Video submission: March 20 – 27
The top 100 contestants create and submit a video that tells why they should be a maurices Main Street Model.

Introducing the top 20: April 2
Judging panel reveals the top 20 contestants.

Casting call: Week of April 16
Top 20 finalists are brought to Minneapolis, Minn., for a casting call with a panel of judges that includes Christopher Straub from Season Six of Lifetime’s “Project Runway.”

And the winners are: April 23
maurices
will introduce the 12 winners of maurices Main Street Model Search 2012.

 

About maurices

maurices, a division of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ – ASNA), is the leading hometown specialty store and authority for the savvy, fashion-conscious girl with a twenty-something attitude. Today, maurices operates 800 stores in 44 states. maurices stands for fashion, quality, value and customer service. Offering sizes 1-26 in select stores and online, our styles are inspired by the girl in everyone, in every size. For store information and to shop online, visit maurices.com.

 

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New Product Makes Beautifying Homes Easier – and Greener PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Monday, 16 January 2012 15:38

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Premier Bath & Kitchen Resurfacing specializes in updating home décor using a convenient, cost-effective technology. Based in Eldridge, Iowa, Premier can resurface any type of tub, shower, ceramic tile, or countertop to save the mess and expense of tear-out and replacement. According to owners Mike and Gayle Staples, Premier now offers a new green product that greatly reduces the toxins involved in the resurfacing process.

Premier Bath & Kitchen Resurfacing will feature the new product, EcoGlaze™ Waterborne from NAPCO, Ltd., at the 2012 Home Show Expo, Feb. 10 - 12, at the Quad City Conservation Alliance (QCCA) Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island, Illinois.
“EcoGlaze is so home- and environment-friendly, most people will find no trace of chemical odors after the work is done,” said Mike. “This is excellent for senior homes, health-care facilities, hospitality venues, and occupied homes. This product is especially useful for living spaces and workplaces used by individuals who are sensitive to toxins.”
Gayle noted that Premier is on the cutting edge with this product, since NAPCO released it in late fall of 2011. “We’re proud to be able to offer this product to the community,” she said.
A Green Innovation
The new green product was created by NAPCO, the North American Polymer Company of Skokie, Illinois. According to Dani Nichols, Vice President at NAPCO, the product is a waterborne polyurethane, similar to other polymers, but with 90 percent less petroleum-based solvents.

“Conventional tub and tile coatings were developed in the ‘50s – the same time as television,” Dani said. “Our new EcoGlaze coating is a water-based coating that is safer for the environment, homes and businesses. And, it’s made in the USA. Most solvents in old-fashioned coatings use foreign oil as a raw material. EcoGlaze uses only US-made raw materials.”
Dani noted that the EcoGlaze coating is low in VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. “VOCs deplete the ozone layer and are responsible for ground-level smog and air pollution,” she said. “With almost no solvents, VOCs are dramatically reduced. The less VOCs you use, the healthier you make your home and environment.”
NAPCO has been developing the product for five years, Dani added. “The product was field-tested on hundreds of tubs before it was released,” she said. “The first tub was resurfaced one and a half years ago, and it’s holding up great.”
Good for Your Health and Budget
With this product, Gayle stated, you are using a healthier product and keeping home materials out of landfills. “Resurfacing is a healthier redecorating choice than tub-liners,” she said. “If the caulk seals on liners break, they can harbor moisture, bacteria and mold.”

According to Mike, a resurfacing project can be done in less than a day. “With resurfacing, you don’t need multiple contractors,” he said. “If you want to make your tub look like new, you won’t need to hire a plumber, a tile setter, or a general contractor. In this economy, it is an excellent option for improving the value of a home.”
For more information on Premier Bath & Kitchen Resurfacing, call 563-386-3366 or visit Premier-Resurfacing.com.
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