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The First Ever Children's Book Featuring WQAD-Meteorologist Terry Swails Is Now Available! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Terry Swails   
Monday, 24 October 2011 15:34
The book written by Carolyn S. Wettstone, (a former award winning QC area television anchor) features  “Little” Terry Swails. "Little Terry" and his passion for weather and tornadoes comes to life in a magical action-packed adventure entitled "All I Want For Christmas Is To See A Tornado!" It is a heartwarming tale of a young boy and his dream to see first hand the beauty and majesty of one of nature's most awe-inspiring storms.  Children will ride along with "Little Terry" as he and Santa Claus set out for the Great Plains for an unforgettable experience that changes "Little Terry" forever. The book is also paired with a Terry Swails' Bobble Head who is holding a tornado and will agree with any forecast you give! The book is beautifully illustrated by Quad City native Leo Kelley.

While teaching children about how to safely chase tornadoes, the book is also benefiting local kids this holiday season. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go toward Genesis Health Systems Flu Free Clinic to provide free flu shots for kids.

This is the second book for Wettstone who co-authored "Un-Natural Disasters: Iowa's E-F 5 Tornado and the Historic Floods of 2008" with Swails published in 2008.  Swails is also the author of "Superstorms: Extreme Weather in the Heart of the Heartland" published in 2004.  Both Swails and Wettstone are storm chasers and most recently followed Hurricane Irene to New York City witnessing her coming ashore onConey Island in August 2011.  They have also chased tornadoes and in 2010 came up against an EF 3 inOklahoma.

Terry and Carolyn will be signing books Friday October 21st at the Community Bank in Wapello, Iowafrom 1-3 p.m.  For more information, Carolyn and Terry can be reached at 309 523 9116 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Plant a Tree for Gilad Shalit! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jewish National Fund   
Monday, 24 October 2011 15:26

Plant a tree for FREE in honor of Gilad Shalit’s release from captivity and send a personalized certificate to the Shalit family!

Gilad Shalit’s long-awaited homecoming is testament to the value that we as a Jewish people place on the sanctity of life and to Israel's staunch dedication to its citizens.

Jewish National Fund recognizes the pain that the prisoner exchange is causing many. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as well.

Send a tree to Gilad Shalit to welcome him home.

Or call 800-542-TREE

Show the world we will not leave anyone behind.

Courtesy of Ronald Lauder and Stanley Chesley, JNF’s Chairman of the Board and President, and its Board of Directors, in celebration of Gilad Shalit’s release after 5 ½ years of captivity.

Limit one per person. Free tree offer expires Sunday, October 23.

Please remember to pass this offer along to friends and family.

Rescuing Forgotten Futures: A National Conversation on the education of students in foster care. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 24 October 2011 15:17

Contact: Ryann Blackshere // // 626.664.5883

-- When Americans contemplate the current debate over education reform, the majority is not likely to consider the lessons to be learned from foster care.

Research consistently suggests that childhood trauma, placement instability and myriad other factors leave many students in foster care far behind their peers in almost all academic measures. Despite this reality, stakeholders from across the country in both child welfare and education are proving that tight collaboration between education and child welfare systems can yield dramatic results for students in foster care. This signals an opportunity to apply these lessons to wider populations of vulnerable students struggling through similar educational impediments.

On October 18th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin the long awaited overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Despite a first ever amendment to K-12 education policy that focuses squarely on the educational achievement of children in foster care, it is doubtful that much attention will be given to students in foster care, leaving the field open to intrepid reporters who will have an opportunity to frame broader themes in education reform through the intersection of foster care and education.

In an effort to give journalists a novel education story with a timely, national news hook, and strong local news leads, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) and Fostering Media Connections (FMC) have organized an unprecedented “National Conversation” to highlight and bolster a dramatic, nationwide movement to level the educational playing field for students experiencing foster care.


On OCTOBER 19th, as Congress begins to publicly grapple with education reform, teachers and students in California, researchers in Illinois and policymakers in Washington, DC will share stories of challenges and strategies in improving educational outcomes for students in foster care. All the proceedings will be transmitted live, over the Internet. Further, CCAI and FMC will release an “Action Guide” that includes research, legislative history, on-the-ground journalistic accounts and a broad range of recommendations.

We ask for your coverage, and will happily provide you an embargoed copy of the “Action Guide” prior to its release so you can time your story to appear the day of the “National Conversation.”


Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST


Live Webcast: 

Register Here:

In person: Cosumnes River College, “The Garden Room” College Center - Room 133, 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA


Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA): Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth

George Sheldon: Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA): Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption

Cheryl Smithgall: Researcher Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Mike Jones: Teacher and Co-Founder of Courageous Connection, Sacramento, CA

Carey Sommer:  High School graduate through Courageous Connection

Jetaine Hart: Former CCAI Foster Youth Intern and current Educational Mentor for Foster Youth at Alameda County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services


News Releases - General Info
Written by Missy Lundberg   
Monday, 17 October 2011 14:58
61 percent of teens say parents have been distracted at least once by their phone while on practice drives together; 53 percent of parents even admit to the mishap
Oct. 17, 2011: While government, law enforcement, industry and consumer groups have joined forces to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving, apparently this call isn’t getting through to some parents as they teach their teens to drive.
In a survey released today by State Farm, 61 percent of teens say that their parents have been distracted by their cell phone or other electronic device at least once while they are in the car teaching them to drive.  For some, the practice happens more frequently.  29 percent of teens say their parents have been distracted while teaching them to drive either “sometimes, often or all the time.”
53 percent of parents likewise admit they’ve been distracted while their teen is driving at least once.  Some parents also admit to being distracted more frequently.  17 percent of parents say they have been distracted while teaching their teen to drive either “sometimes, often or all the time.”
Teens say parents using a phone behind the wheel is nothing new – that it’s been happening for years.  In the survey, 54 percent of teens say they’ve seen parents using a phone while driving either “sometimes, often or all the time.”  43 percent of parents admit they’ve modeled cell phone use while driving in front of their teens either “sometimes, often or all the time.”
In July, State Farm and the research company Synovate surveyed 517 pairs of new teen drivers and their parents to gather their perspectives on the learning to drive experience in their own families.
“These results are troublesome on multiple levels,” said Laurette Stiles, Vice President – Strategic Resources at State Farm. “Parents should know that how they handle themselves behind the wheel creates a powerful example for their teens – for better or worse.  During practice drives, parents should be alert at all times to coach teens and serve as a second set of eyes.  Being distracted even once while teaching not only sends the wrong message, it creates real dangers for those inside and outside the vehicle.”
Time Crunch
The survey also indicates that some teens and their parents admit they’d like to spend more time behind the wheel learning to drive.
In the survey, 24 percent of parents felt they weren’t spending enough time behind the wheel with their teen learning to drive.  30 percent of teens surveyed felt they weren’t spending enough time learning to drive.
Step-By-Step Guidance
To help teen drivers and their parents, State Farm this week is making available the first-of-its-kind, academically-based interactive teen driver training tool equipping parents to be more engaged in teaching their teens to drive.  The new tool is called Road Trips™ and is free to the public.  Road Trips is the most recent result of the State Farm $20 million investment in teen driver safety.
Road Trips is available along with other safe driving resources at
About The Survey
In July, 2011 State Farm commissioned the research firm Synovate to conduct a survey to better understand teens’ and parents’ perceptions of how the learning-to-drive process is going in their families.  Online interviewing was conducted among 517 parent/teen dyads.  The research group consisted of parents/guardians who have taught their teen to drive, and teens ages 15-17 who currently have their driver’s license or permit. This study with 517 representative respondents has a +/- 4.3 percent margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level. Both parents/guardians and teens were asked to rate the parent’s/guardians ability and preparedness to teach driving, the amount of time spent, and frequency of using a cell phone or electronic device while driving and while teaching driving.
About State Farm®
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. Our 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 78 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 1.8 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada
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IBHS Provides Property Protection Guidance for Winter Weather PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joseph King   
Monday, 17 October 2011 13:17

(813) 442-2845 (c); (813) 675-1045 (o)
Twitter: disastersafety

Tampa, Fla.  (October 17, 2011) - If the last two years are any indication of what is in store for the upcoming season, this winter will be a serious threat to homes and businesses, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

During both 2010 and 2011, the U.S. received near record amounts of snowfall, including 2011’s Groundhog Day Blizzard, which caused $1.1 billion in insured losses and more than $2 billion in total losses, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

“Winter weather can inflict substantial damage to your home or business,” said Julie Rochman, president & CEO of IBHS. “Preparing now, while cooler weather setting in reminds us that winter is coming, but before freezing temperatures arrive, will help you avoid costly losses.”

IBHS’ Severe Winter Weather page on provides guidance on how to protect your home or business against roof collapse and other winter weather-related perils.

Ice Dams

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof, usually at the gutter. When interior heat melts the snow on the roof, the water will run down and refreeze at the roof's edge, where temperatures are much cooler. The ice builds up and blocks water from draining off of the roof, forcing the water under the roof covering and into the attic or down the inside walls of the house. Take the following steps to decrease the likelihood that ice dams will form:

  • Keep the attic well-ventilated. The colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.
  • Keep the attic floor well-insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
  • As an extra precaution against roof leaks in case ice dams do form, when re-roofing install an ice and water barrier under your roof covering that extends from the lowest edges of all roof surfaces to a point at least 24 inches inside the exterior wall line of the building.

Frozen  Pipes

Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end of a pipe, which leads to pipes bursting at their weakest point. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing in extremely cold weather. Frozen pipes can also occur when pipes are near openings in the outside wall of a building, including where television, cable or telephone lines enter the structure. To keep water in pipes from freezing, take the following steps:

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer. The more insulation the better.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes (particularly in the kitchen and bathroom).
  • Keep a slow drip of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.
  • Drain the water system, especially if your building will be unattended during cold periods.

Is Your Roof Strong Enough?

Building age is a major factor in how much snow a roof can handle.  Newer building codes provide much better guidance for estimating snow loads, particularly the increased loads near changes in roof elevations where snow drifts and snow falling from an upper roof can build up on the lower roof near the step. For flat roofs, the step-down area between roof sections is particularly susceptible to snow overload because of the tendency for ice and snow collection, especially during periods of windy weather.

Older roofs can suffer from corrosion of members and connections which can reduce its ability to resist high snow loads. Buildings with lightweight roofs, such as metal buildings or built- up roofs on bar joists generally provide less protection from overload than heavy roofs.

Roof top equipment and roof projections, such as mechanical equipment that is over 2 feet tall, causes snow accumulation due to drift, creating the need for higher snow load consideration in these areas. A serious condition can be created when a taller building or a taller addition is built adjacent to shorter, existing building. Unless the shorter building is strengthened in the area next to the taller building or addition, snow accumulation on the lower roof near the step could produce much higher loads than those considered by the original designer for the existing building.

The best source for determining how much snow load a building can handle is the original design plan. Most roof designs can support at least 20 pounds per square foot. However, design loads can range from 10 pounds to 20 pounds per square foot in Mid-Atlantic states, and between 40 pounds and 70 pounds per square foot in New England.

Guidelines to Estimate Snow Weight

  • 10 inches to 12 inches of fresh/new snow equals about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space.
  • 3 inches to 5 inches of old/packed snow equals about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space.
  • Ice is much heavier, with 1 inch equaling about 1 foot of fresh snow.

Snow and Ice Removal from Roofs

IBHS recommends that property owners not attempt to climb on their roof to remove snow. A safer alternative is to use a snow rake while standing at ground level.

Visit the IBHS Severe Winter Weather page on to learn more about how to protect your home or business against winter weather-related perils.

To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

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