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Local Legionnaire hears President, top government leaders make their case to nation’s veterans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Norma Seehusen   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 09:19
Minneapolis (Sept. 1, 2011) – Norma Seehusen was among more than 3,000 leaders of The American Legion attending the nation’s largest wartime veterans organization’s 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis.

Seehusen is a member of Post 588 in Pocahontas, IA and is active in programs that benefit veterans, their families and the children of this area. Highlights of the three-day gathering included addresses by President Barak Obama, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Michelle Bachmann, among others.

President Obama told Legionnaires that while the United States is in a time of fiscal restraint, that the restraint won't include cutting benefits of America's veterans.

“As a nation, we're facing tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order," the president said, getting a standing ovation from the crowd of thousands in the process. "But I want to be absolutely clear: We cannot, we must not, and we will not balance the budget on the backs of our veterans. And as commander-in-chief, I won't allow it.”

Secretary of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said that VA and the Department of Defense "will spearhead a government-wide effort to reform the way members transition out of the military services. Every member will receive the training, education and credentials needed to successfully transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education."

House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi told delegates, "In the weeks ahead ... Congress will take up the budget at a table of 12," Pelosi said. "I want The American Legion, and all of America to know - that the values of America's veterans will have a strong presence at that congressional table. I want to assure you that as we reduce the deficit, America's veterans will not be short-changed. Meeting the needs of our veterans ... is a value of the American people that we will protect in those negotiations.

"Supporting our veterans is a bipartisan cause,” Pelosi said. “That's the beautiful part of it. It's a place we can all come together. America's veterans have earned our respect by their actions, their bravery and their valor, their willingness to step forward and serve on our behalf."

Among the major events preceding the Legion's 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis was a veterans hiring fair produced jointly by The American Legion and the United States Chamber of Commerce. Legion organizers praised the hiring fair as among the most productive of recent Legion-sponsored career fairs and credited the U.S. Chamber's participation, through its network of local and regional chambers of commerce, for its success. The Legion hiring event was the 19th in an initial series of 100 veterans career fairs to be co-produced by the U.S. Chamber and veterans' advocates nationwide as part of its ‘Hiring our Heroes' initiative.

Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of veterans' employment programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, announced the impending rollout of three additional components in the organization's concerted campaign to employ military veterans. The official announcement of the program expansion will be made on Veterans Day, said Schmiegel, but Legionnaires were being given a "sneak preview."

Delegates to The American Legion National Convention also heard special reports from two dozen committees and adopted resolutions that will guide the organization’s legislative and operational efforts for the coming year.
National Commander Jimmie L. Foster reported on progress made during his year as leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization, praising Legionnaires for their successes in advocating for veterans, a strong national defense, Americanism and youth programs.

The convention ended with the election of Fang Wong of New York, a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and Vietnam War veteran, as the new national commander.

Seehusen and other American Legion leaders left Minneapolis with a renewed sense of urgency in meeting the needs of today’s military while helping other veterans and the nation. Issues high on the agenda for the coming year include: jobs for veterans, supporting our armed forces during the war on terrorism; reducing the backlog of VA disability claims and veteran homelessness, returning to the American people the right to protect the U.S. Flag from desecration and immediate enforcement of immigration laws with no amnesty.

 
On 9/11 Anniversary, Remember Legacy of Those Lost PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen. Charles Grassley   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:50

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

A decade after vicious terrorist attacks killed thousands of innocent people and caused immeasurable grief to victims and survivors, America has shown the world that 9/11 may have changed life as we knew it, but it has not changed America’s commitment to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The national tragedy tapped an overwhelming sense of solidarity and sacrifice among Americans from across the country. Consider the selfless acts of courage and patriotism from the moment the hijackers commandeered three airplanes on that clear September morning 10 years ago: from the passengers aboard United Flight 93, to the first responders who reported to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the heroes who serve on the front lines from within the nation’s military and from behind-the-scenes in our intelligence and counterterrorism operations. Thanks to the allegiance of public servants and private citizens, our men and women in uniform and our captains of commerce and industry, the United States of America continues to serve as a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity to the rest of the world. Those who sought to undermine the exceptionalism of the American people underestimated the resiliency of the American people.

Just consider the recent protests across the globe, where after decades of oppression, the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have thrown out autocratic regimes in the pursuit of self-government, economic opportunity, higher standards of living and personal freedoms. The 10th anniversary of 9/11 offers Americans and our friends around the world the opportunity to embrace the common threads that tie us together.

For more than two centuries, the United States has attracted millions of newcomers to live and work in the land of opportunity. Generations of Americans have scaled the ladder of economic and social mobility, enjoyed the freedoms of press, speech and religion, and embraced the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, risk-taking and innovation. Unleashing the power of the individual has served as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity for the last 235 years.

Along the way, the United States evolved as an economic, cultural and military leader in the world. The 9/11 terror attacks dealt a devastating blow to America and all of humanity. And yet, 10 years later, America still stands as the shining city on the hill. Despite the economic downturn, America still bears the promise of better days ahead. Despite high unemployment and unprecedented public debt, the American Dream still serves as the magical elixir that ultimately defines the nation’s resiliency and bone-deep belief in the goodness of America.

That bone-deep belief in the goodness of America flows through the veins of those called to serve their country in the U.S. military, including one of Iowa’s own hometown heroes who lost his life in the line of duty this summer. Jon Tumilson enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1995.  A 35-year-old Navy SEAL from Rockford, he was one of 30 Americans killed in one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces since 9/11. Barbara and I were able to pay our respects to this fallen Navy SEAL at his funeral in August. The long-time Iowa Hawkeye football and wrestling fan left behind family members and loved ones, including his beloved Labrador retriever named Hawkeye. The black lab led family members into the school gymnasium for the service and proceeded to lie next to the casket of his owner. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. The image of Tumilson’s dog lying next to the flag-draped casket brought three words to mind; loyalty, loss and love.

Let’s honor the memory of the many Iowans who've died in military service since 9/11, and all the soldiers and veterans who have served their country to protect U.S. national security and preserve our American way of life.

May their sacrifice remind us of their bone-deep belief in America’s goodness. As policymakers return to Washington, D.C. and Americans observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11, let’s keep their legacy and love of country close to mind as we work to put America back on the right track towards economic growth and prosperity.

 

Friday, September 2, 2011

 
Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:48
CHICAGO – September 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today granted 74 and denied 99 clemency petitions. This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration.

The 173 clemency petitions acted upon by Governor Quinn are part of dockets ranging from 2004 through 2007.  Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has acted on 1,529 clemency petitions. Governor Quinn has granted 591 and denied 938 petitions. Those actions include granting 604 pardons and authorizing 11 people who had already received pardons to seek expungement of their convictions.

For additional information on the granted clemency cases, please contact the Prisoner Review Board at (217) 782-7274.

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All Party and No Tea PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michael D. Elliott   
Friday, 02 September 2011 09:34

Unfortunately, this year, the Tea Party Express rally was not very representative of the traditional tea party rallies of the past. From being exclusive rather than inclusive to not covering anything of tea party value, this rally was more about shoulder rubbing with politicians and entertainment than anything of tea party substance.

There was singing and dancing, but no talk of tea party action steps to take now. There was a comedy show, but no education of liberty ideas or announcements of future local meetings people could attend to become more involved. There were introductions of politicians, but no hard questions asked to make sure the politicians are keeping their promises to the people. In fact there was a lot of entertainment and political recognition, but no representation or speakers from any of the local liberty organizations. In fact, the local groups were required to seek permission to be present and were not slated to speak as was previously promised.

Although advertised as a public event at Leach Park in Bettendorf, members of Iowans For Accountability (IFA) were confronted and told that they could not participate or setup tables at the event without prior approval of Mike Martin. “I was in shock since in all the years I have been involved in the liberty movement, I have never been told that I needed to beg permission to participate in a public tea party event,” said Michael Elliott, the chairman of Iowans for Accountability (IFA) who decided to not set up at all and left before the event got started.

Cindy Deirks, a local tea party organizer, recently returning back after an illness and death in the family, was told today that she is no longer needed because there are new owners of the Tea Party of the QC. “I don't understand why someone would try to claim they own the local tea party movement. Everyone who is fighting against out-of-control government is an owner, not just one or two people.” Cindy explained.

If this is what is to be expected under the “New Owners” of the tea party movement in the Quad Cities, then there may be more events that are as John Riley, an attendee, put it, “All party and no tea.”

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LE CLAIRE MAN WINS $50,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amy Garringer   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 08:06

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Le Claire man said he never expected to win a $50,000 prize while playing a random lottery scratch game.  

Jack Gibbs, 71, said he plays all kinds of scratch games, and just happened to choose the “MONOPOLYTM” ticket a few days ago when he discovered he’d won a top prize.  

“I didn’t believe it when I saw the numbers but I had the lady run the numbers on the computer and she verified them,” Gibbs said.  

Gibbs scratched his ticket while in Slagle’s Grocery, 1301 Eagle Ridge Road in Le Claire. He said he was alone, but knew several people in the store.  

“I didn’t know whether to believe it or not. I didn’t get excited until I saw that computer printout,” Gibbs said.  

Gibbs said he’s told most of his family and friends about his big win.  

“Le Claire is a small town, so when you win something like this, they know it before you even get home,” Gibbs said with a laugh.  

Gibbs said people are reluctant to believe him at first because he likes to joke around, but he’s been showing them his proof.  

“When they do [believe me] their mouths hang open and they say, ‘Well, you got lucky this time!’” Gibbs said. “It just so happened my number came up.”  

Gibbs plans to use some of his winnings to do home renovations as well as purchase a newer car.  

Gibbs, who is retired, claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.  

MONOPOLY is a $5 scratch game. Players win a prize by matching any of “your numbers” to any of the “winning numbers.” If they find the “top hat” symbol they win double the prize shown. There are also three bonus areas where players can win $10, $25 or $50 instantly.  

Sixteen top prizes are still up for grabs in MONOPOLY as well as 241 prizes of $1,000, more than 950 prizes of $200 and more than 2,400 prizes of $100.

Players can also Play It AgainTM if they don’t win on their MONOPOLY scratch tickets. Enter non-winning MONOPOLY tickets in the Lottery’s VIP Club between now and noon on Sept. 6 for a chance to win one of eight exciting getaway prize packages in the “Great Iowa Getaway” promotion.

The Great Iowa Getaway cities include: Boone/Ames, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Dubuque, Mason City, Moravia, Okoboji and Storm Lake. Visit ialotteryvip.com for complete details and rules.

Players who enter their non-winning MONOPOLY tickets in the VIP Club will also receive Points For Prizes™ points just like they do on any other eligible non-winning Iowa Lottery instant-scratch ticket. They can then use those points to pick out prizes in the online store. 

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.7 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.

 

The MONOPOLY name and logo, the distinctive design of the game board, the four corner squares, the MR.MONOPOLY name and character, as well as each of the distinctive elements of the board and playing pieces are trademarks of Hasbro for its property trading game and game equipment. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. Licensed by Hasbro. © 2011 Iowa Lottery. All Rights Reserved.

 

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