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Friend of Scott County Extension presented to Mary Ellen Chamberlin PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joy L Venhorst   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:44
Scott County Extension presented the Friend of Extension Award to Mary Ellen Chamberlin, President of the Riverboat Development Authority, at a recent meeting of the Extension Council.

In presenting the award, Becky Bray, Scott County Extension Director thanked Chamberlin for her commitment to the Quad City community. “Some of the programs and efforts Extension is engaged in are the result of conversations with Mary Ellen over the years. We are grateful for her work and the input she has had on our efforts,” said Bray.

The Friend of Scott County Extension is given periodically to groups or individuals who have worked in partnership with the Extension staff and Council.

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Governor Quinn Launches Operation Support Our Troops Care Package Drive PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:43

Campaign Encourages Support for Veterans and Military Families

CHICAGO – November 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Operation Support Our Troops – America and MB Financial Bank to launch the “America has NOT Forgotten” awareness and support campaign in the days leading up to Veterans Day and the holiday season.

“Even as we bring our troops home, we must remember the many men and women who continue to serve our country throughout the world,” Governor Quinn said. “We have a duty to support the men and women in uniform who sacrifice every day for our country.”

The “America Has NOT Forgotten” campaign will include educational information as well as a “Call to Action” that asks each American to take small actions to show their support for our men and women serving. These actions can include writing a weekly note of support to servicemembers, and flying the flag at half-mast on the last Friday of each month in honor of those lost in the war during that month.

“The campaign is a national effort to remind Americans that thousands of young men and women continue to serve in dangerous places around the world,” said Operation Support our Troops – America President Deb Rickert. “Now, more than ever, our military and their families need to know that America supports and cares for them.”

All Chicago-area MB Financial Bank locations will serve as drop-off locations throughout the month of November for comfort items to be sent to troops. These items include: crackers, canned pasta and soup (28 oz or less), granola bars, foot powder (14oz or less), beef jerky, tuna, microwave popcorn, canned nuts (20 oz or less), individually-wrapped hot chocolate and coffee packets and one-pound bags of ground coffee.

Operation Support our Troops – America is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization that supports the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families while they are deployed and after their return. Since its inception the organization has shipped approximately 900,000 pounds of goods to troops around the world. Operation Support our Troops – America also provides financial support to military and veteran support organizations such as Fisher House and Hines VA Hospital.

For more information about Operation Support our Troops – America and other programs for our Veterans and servicemembers, visit www.OSOTAmerica.org and www.OperationHomefront.org.

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Senators Concerned with New Alleged Northern Border Strategy PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:27

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is leading a group of 14 senators raising concerns about press reports indicating that the U.S. Border Patrol have been directed to stop routine searches of transportation devices entering the United States.

The senators wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the “News of the lessened security will only entice potential terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants to attempt to enter the country through the northern border.  The American people must be reassured that our borders remain secure and routine searches will continue.”

The senators also noted that routine searches have resulted in the arrest of several people prepared to cause harm to the United States, including Ahmed Ressam who was entering the United States by ferry with a car packed with explosives.

Signing the letter with Grassley were Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Olympia Snowe of Maine, David Vitter of Louisiana, John Boozman of Arkansas, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, James Risch of Idaho and John Cornyn of Texas.

Here’s a copy of the text of the letter.  A copy of the signed letter can be found here.

 

November 4, 2011

The Honorable Janet Napolitano

Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

We write with great concern regarding recent press reports that the U.S. Border Patrol has been directed to stop its routine searches of buses, trains and other vehicles entering the United States through the northern border and parts of the interior.  Such a directive to the field not only would pose an increased national security threat, but would also encourage an increase in the flow of undocumented individuals, weapons and drugs entering our country.

According to press accounts, border agents state that routine searches account for much of their days with often positive results.  Most notably, a 1997 check of the Bellingham, Washington bus station netted the arrest of Palestinian Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, who was later shot in New York as he prepared to attack the city with a bomb.  In 1999, a routine search led to the arrest of Ahmed Ressam, who had taken a ferry from British Columbia to Washington in a car packed with explosives.  These incidents should serve as a stern warning that the security of our Nation cannot be compromised.

If such a directive has, in fact, been ordered, it is concerning on many levels.  This Administration has long touted a strengthened border, but doing away with routine searches of people and goods would indicate a willingness to gamble with the public’s safety.  News of the lessened security will only entice potential terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants to attempt to enter the country through the northern border.  The American people must be reassured that our borders remain secure and routine searches will continue.

The nature in which we learned of the orders sent to the northern border field offices is quite troubling considering you appeared before both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees over the past two weeks and neglected to inform Congress of this change in policy.  If agents have been directed to cease these routine searches, we would like a copy of any memo, communication or direction to the field on this matter.  We also would formally request you rescind any directive that reduces the screening performed along the northern border.

Because of the urgent nature of this subject, we request a response by Monday, November 7, 2011.  We appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Senator Charles Grassley

 
Heartfelt Search for Forever Families PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:14

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discusses the National Heart Gallery Exhibit that he co-hosted with Senator Mary Landrieu. The National Heart Gallery Exhibit showcases photos of foster children across our nation in need of "forever families" through adoption.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

There are 107,000 kids in foster care waiting for adoptive families.  This month, a presidential proclamation launches activities nationwide to help build awareness for adoption of children and youth from foster care.

One of those events is the National Heart Gallery Exhibit.  There are nearly 100 Heart Galleries across the country.  These galleries are traveling photographs of children in foster care who want “forever families.”  One of those galleries was unveiled on Capitol Hill this week, and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and I co-hosted the unveiling to help to build support.

I’ve worked to pass legislation that’s on the books and making it easier for children in foster care to be adopted into permanent, loving homes, including with grandparents.  And I’ve worked to make legislative improvements in the foster care system.  Expanding on those efforts, two years ago, Senator Landrieu and I put together a Foster Youth Caucus in the Senate to focus on helping young people when they age out of the foster care system, typically at age 18.

As many as 29,000 children age out every year without ever having found an adoptive placement, and without the security of a family, they often end up in very bad situations.  Adoption can help to determine another outcome.  I will continue to do whatever I can to help promote adoptions.

National Adoption Month started as national adoption week in Massachusetts in 1976.  President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week in 1984, and in 1995, President Clinton made it an entire month.

Today, National Adoption Month is an opportunity to put a special focus on the kids waiting for adoptive families.

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Grassley to Place Hold on Two FCC Nominees Over Agency Stonewalling on LightSquared PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 12:55

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa since April 27 has sought information from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would shed light into the process of the agency’s fast-tracking of the LightSquared broadband project. The agency has stonewalled his various requests.  As a result, Grassley today put a statement in the Senate record stating that he will hold up the two pending nominees for commissioner positions at the agency when the nominations reach the Senate floor unless the agency begins to offer more information that will provide transparency into the public business it conducts.

Here is the text of Grassley’s statement in the record.

“Mr. President.  I, Senator CHUCK GRASSLEY, intend to object to proceeding to the nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to be commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission for the following reason.

“I will object to proceeding to the nomination because the FCC continues to stonewall a document request I submitted to the FCC over six months ago on April 27, 2011, regarding their actions related to LightSquared and Harbinger Capital.  Since then, I have repeated my request to the FCC through letters I sent on July 5th and September 8th and the FCC continues to deny my request for documents.

“During the course of my correspondence with the FCC, the FCC has made it clear that it will not voluntarily turn over documents to the 99.6 percent of the Members of Congress and Senators who do not chair a committee with direct jurisdiction over the FCC.  As I said in my September 8, 2011, letter, their actions are misguided and unsupportable.

“It not only sets a dangerous precedent for a federal agency to unilaterally set the rules on how it engages with Congress -- it also prevents any meaningful ability for the vast majority of Congress to inform themselves of how an agency works.

“Several months ago, I had to take similar action when I supported Senator Chambliss’ hold of James Cole’s nomination to be Deputy Attorney General in order to get documents from the Department of Justice.  In the end, the documents we uncovered shed light on the Department’s actions regarding Operation Fast and Furious and the murder of Agent Brian Terry.

“I strongly believe that it is critical for Congress to have access to documents in order to conduct vigorous and independent oversight.  It is unfortunate that this administration, which has pledged to be the most transparent in history, disagrees.  As long as they continue to do so, I will be forced to take steps like this in order to ensure that Congress receives a complete picture of this administration’s actions.”

Grassley has pressed the FCC to explain why it decided to fast-track LightSquared’s licensing process amid a series of red flags.  These include warnings that LightSquared’s interference with Global Positioning System (GPS) signals would cause major problems --  including risks to public safety in the case of aviation -- by jamming GPS use in precision farming, trucking, air travel, law enforcement, by the military and in general consumer navigation.  Another concern is that the head of Harbinger, the hedge fund behind the project, told investors that his firm is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegations of market manipulation, according to media reports.  The firm has been the subject of considerable media attention for losing large amounts of money and other controversies including whether the firm should have told investors in a timely fashion about a $113 million loan it extended to the principal of the firm.

Media reports also have quoted emails between LightSquared and senior White House aides, showing that LightSquared representatives cited political connections and friendships to get an audience with White House staff, including referring to a fund-raiser for the President.  “Political connections don’t necessarily drive policy decisions, but in the absence of transparency at the FCC, it’s impossible to know one way or the other,” Grassley said. 
“The FCC’s refusal to make documents public continues to give the appearance that there’s something to hide."

Here is more detail on the nominees Grassley intends to hold when the nominations reach the Senate floor:

Nominee: Jessica Rosenworcel, of Connecticut, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission for a term of five years from July 1, 2010, vice Michael Joseph Copps, term expired. Received: November 01, 2011.  Referred: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Latest Action: November 01, 2011 - Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Nominee: Ajit Varadaraj Pai, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission for a term of five years from July 1, 2011, vice Meredith Attwell Baker, term expired. Received: November 01, 2011.    Referred: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Latest Action: November 01, 2011 - Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The details of Grassley’s inquiries to the FCC over LightSquared are available herehere and here.

 

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