General Info
Children and Self-Esteem PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 12:30

What helps children mature with a positive sense of self?

Age— With age, a child will learn increased control, gain memory, develop cognitively, and learn language and a sense of how to plan for the future.

Supported waiting— Children have difficulty waiting, but can be supported while they wait. Talk to them. For example: “In 5 more minutes, dinner will be ready. I know you can wait that long.”

Follow through— Follow through after a child waits. Do not imply a reward will come if it will not. This is part of trust!

Modeling— Adults who control their own anger, aggression, language, and needs provide positive models for their children.

Feeling in control— Provide children with age-appropriate choices. Offer two choice you can live with, and give the child an opportunity to learn to make decisions by choosing.

For Preschoolers

• Build on a child’s interest by helping him or her experience or learn more about a topic. 
• Involve children in real chores and helping tasks to give them a sense accomplishment. 
• Treat children with respect. Ask their opinion and listen. Give mean-ingful feedback. Learn about typical stage develop-ment, including the development of trust, independence, and initiative. 
• During times of disappointment, let your child know you still love and support him or her. After the crisis has passed, reflect on and discuss possible ways to cope in the future.

For School-Age Children

• Respect a child’s strengths, and they will respect you. 
• Help the child set goals, and then link ongoing effort with success. 
• Examine values. Self-esteem is grounded in what a person values.

For Teens

• Keep talking to teens even if it seems they don’t listen or care. 
• Talk to teens about making good choices and about the many ways we express how we feel about others. 
• Say two good things before talking about any bad things. 
• Tell the teen something about yourself so they will feel safe sharing, too.

Contact Information:

Karen DeBord, Ph.D., State Extension Specialist, Child Development, North Carolina State University This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text25683 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Science of Parenting: Talking to Kids about Natural Disasters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 12:27

AMES, Iowa – The floods, storms and tornadoes of 2011 are taking their toll on the nation’s children, who may be stressed, worried or frightened about what is happening to them and their families. Staff members from Project Recovery Iowa offer tips on talking to kids about natural disasters in this month’s Science of Parenting radio program podcast from Iowa State University Extension.

The podcast is available for free download from the Science of Parenting website or iTunes.

Science of Parenting podcast co-host Douglas Gentile is an ISU Extension specialist and associate professor of psychology. He said, “We know from research that kids of different ages are scared by different things, they worry about different types of things, they have a totally different understanding of what’s happening. So how do we work with kids of different ages?”

Keep Kids Safe
First, adults, parents and other caregivers need to let children know that “we’re here to keep them safe and to provide a safe environment,” said Teresa Zilk with the Iowa Department of Human Services, which implements Project Recovery Iowa, a free and confidential, federally funded crisis counseling program.

Remain calm and try to alleviate the children’s fear, added Abby Lamont, a crisis counselor with Project Recovery Iowa. Listen to them and let them talk on numerous occasions. Let them know they are reacting normally to an abnormal circumstance.

Limit the Details
Both Zilk and Lamont suggested limiting children’s exposure to the details of the disaster. They don’t need to see all the news coverage. However, Zilk said, ask them about what they’ve seen and how they feel about it. Give them a lot of hugs and face time, and let them know the family will get through this difficult time.

“They might keep asking about [the disaster]. You might have to revisit the subject a few times,” Zilk said. And, it’s OK for parents to say they don’t know the answer to their child’s question or how to explain what’s happening.

However, reinforce children’s feeling of safety, Zilk said. “Yes, this terrible thing happened. But we’re still a family. We’re still whole. We’re still able to make it.”

Give Kids Times to Talk
Give older children ample opportunities to talk about their feelings, Lamont said. She also suggested engaging young children in activities that will build their resilience. For example, keep track of every time it rains but doesn’t flood by marking the days on the calendar. After a few months, count the marked days to help kids learn that it can rain a lot but not flood, and they can remember that they got through it.

Children at any age may show signs of trauma, Lamont said. For example, young children may have night terrors or regress to a behavior they had when they were younger, such as clinging to their parents or bedwetting. Such behaviors are normal reactions to the stress of a disaster. However for all children, parents should watch for signs of unusually aggressive behavior, loss of concentration or inability to sleep, which may indicate that the child needs additional help to cope with the crisis.

Project Recovery Iowa serves residents of Hamilton, Story, Polk, Jasper, Warren, Marion and Wapello counties with counseling and referral related to natural disasters. Lamont said, “We’re a listening ear, we’re a peer counselor. We try to reassure them that, ‘yes, everything that you’re feeling is very, very normal.’”

Zilk encouraged other Iowans to call ISU Extension’s Iowa Concern Hotline, 800-447-1985. “Someone is available 24 hours, seven days a week. You will not be able to get a crisis counselor to come to your door, but you will be able to speak to someone over the phone,” she said.

Download Science of Parenting Podcasts
Science of Parenting podcasts are available for free download from the Science of Parenting website,, or can be subscribed to in iTunes. Each month a new, 30-minute Science of Parenting program, as well as previous programs, will be available, as well as blog posts and other research-based parenting information.


Governor Quinn Signs Public Safety Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Laurel White   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 23:31

New Law Will Help Protect Vulnerable Persons Utilize Emergency Services

ELMHURST – July 6, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will improve the safety and security of Illinois residents with cognitive-impairment, disabilities, and special needs. House Bill 1610 allows for the use of remotely-activated bracelet technology to contact emergency services during a missing persons incident.

“We need to make sure that our most vulnerable citizens can get help when they most need it,” said Governor Quinn. “This measure will greatly help caregivers and emergency personnel respond to someone who needs assistance and return them safely.”

Under current law, it is a Class A misdemeanor to install or connect an automatic alarm, automatic altering device, or mechanical dialer that contacts “911” to directly access emergency services. This bill establishes an exemption for bracelets which can be remotely activated to alert emergency response personnel of a person in need.

Bracelets allowed under the new law are activated upon alert from a missing person’s registered caregiver. Immediately upon activation, the device contacts emergency services and provides a message on behalf of its wearer. The call will then be handled as any other “911” calls involving a person in need of emergency assistance. The bill was sponsored by Representative Karen May (D-Highwood) and Senator John Millner (R-West Chicago).

“It is good public policy to use the latest technology to protect our most vulnerable citizens” said Rep. May.  “I was pleased to author and pass this significant bill for public safety.”

The legislation was spurred by a 2007 incident where a seven-year-old child with Autism disappeared for several hours in Elmhurst. Like many children with autism, James often runs out of his parent’s sight. After a large search effort that included the village’s police, fire and public works departments, James was found at a grocery store more than two miles from his home.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.


ATF Director Testifies on Operation Targeting Gun Smugglers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 23:27

DEA and FBI may have failed to share key information on informants

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, July 4, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson testified before investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee about Operation Fast and Furious.  Following this interview, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, expressed their deep concerns about the involvement of the DEA, FBI, and other agencies – including the possibility that they were aware of and even working with people connected to Fast and Furious suspects.

In addition to these concerns noted in the letter to the Attorney General, Acting Director Melson made key assertions to investigators:

•           Contrary to denials by the Justice Department, Acting Director Melson acknowledged the agents had in fact witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without following the guns any further.

•           the ATF group executing Operation Fast and Furious had been placed under the direction of the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office.

A copy of the text of the letter from Issa and Grassley to Attorney General Holder is below.  Click here for a copy of the signed letter.

July 5, 2011


The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

Yesterday, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson participated in a transcribed interview regarding Operation Fast and Furious and related matters with both Republican and Democratic staff.  He appeared with his personal counsel, Richard Cullen of McGuireWoods LLP.  His interview had originally been scheduled through the Justice Department to occur on July 13 in the presence of DOJ and ATF counsel.  As you know, however, under our agreement Department witnesses who choose to attend a voluntary interview with their own lawyer are free to exercise that right rather than participate with counsel representing the Department’s interests.

After being made aware of that provision of our agreement, Acting Director Melson chose to exercise that right and appeared with his own lawyer.  We are disappointed that no one had previously informed him of that provision of the agreement.  Instead, Justice Department officials sought to limit and control his communications with Congress.  This is yet another example of why direct communications with Congress are so important and are protected by law.[1]

Acting Director Melson's cooperation was extremely helpful to our investigation.  He was candid in admitting mistakes that his agency made and described various ways he says that he tried to remedy the problems.  According to Mr. Melson, it was not until after the public controversy that he personally reviewed hundreds of documents relating to the case, including wiretap applications and Reports of Investigation (ROIs).  By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story.  Mr. Melson said that he told the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) at the end of March that the Department needed to reexamine how it was responding to the requests for information from Congress.

According to Mr. Melson, he and ATF’s senior leadership team moved to reassign every manager involved in Fast and Furious, from the Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations down to the Group Supervisor, after learning the facts in those documents.  Mr. Melson also said he was not allowed to communicate to Congress the reasons for the reassignments.  He claimed that ATF’s senior leadership would have preferred to be more cooperative with our inquiry much earlier in the process.  However, he said that Justice Department officials directed them not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.  The result is that Congress only got the parts of the story that the Department wanted us to hear.  If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand.  That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.  The Department’s inability or unwillingness to be more forthcoming served to conceal critical information that we are now learning about the involvement of other agencies, including the DEA and the FBI.

The Role of DEA, FBI, and Other Agencies

When confronted with information about serious issues involving lack of information sharing by other agencies, which Committee staff had originally learned from other witnesses, Mr. Melson’s responses tended to corroborate what others had said.  Specifically, we have very real indications from several sources that some of the gun trafficking “higher-ups” that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants.  The Acting Director said that ATF was kept in the dark about certain activities of other agencies, including DEA and FBI.  Mr. Melson said that he learned from ATF agents in the field that information obtained by these agencies could have had a material impact on the Fast and Furious investigation as far back as late 2009 or early 2010.  After learning about the possible role of DEA and FBI, he testified that he reported this information in April 2011 to the Acting Inspector General and directly to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole on June 16, 2011.

The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities.  While this is preliminary information, we must find out if there is any truth to it.   According to Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers, which we now know were substantially delayed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Main Justice.  Mr. Melson provided documents months ago supporting his concerns to the official in the ODAG responsible for document production to the Committees, but those documents have not been provided to us.

It is one thing to argue that the ends justify the means in an attempt to defend a policy that puts building a big case ahead of stopping known criminals from getting guns.  Yet it is a much more serious matter to conceal from Congress the possible involvement of other agencies in identifying and maybe even working with the same criminals that Operation Fast and Furious was trying to identify.  If this information is accurate, then the whole misguided operation might have been cut short if not for catastrophic failures to share key information.  If agencies within the same Department, co-located at the same facilities, had simply communicated with one another, then ATF might have known that gun trafficking “higher-ups” had been already identified.  This raises new and serious questions about the role of DEA, FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office in Arizona, and Main Justice in coordinating this effort.  Nearly a decade after the September 11th attacks, the stovepipes of information within our government may still be causing tragic mistakes long after they should have been broken down.

Efforts to Oust Melson

In the last few weeks, unnamed administration officials have indicated to the press that Acting Director Melson would be forced to resign.  According to Mr. Melson, those initial reports were untrue.  Regardless of what we might have thought before about how he should handle a request to resign, we now know he has not been asked to resign.  We also now have the benefit of hearing his side of the story and will have a chance to examine what he said and compare it to the other evidence we are gathering.  However, that will take some time.

Mr. Melson served as the First Assistant to the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia for 21 years, from 1986 to 2007.  That is a career position.  After the controversy over the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, he took over the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA).  He indicated that he was asked to convert to a non-career Senior Executive Service (SES), a politically appointed position, in order to speed the hiring process, and he agreed.  However, his former position at EOUSA is currently filled by a career SES employee, Marshall Jarrett.  As you know, for civil servants, the distinction between career and non-career status is significant.

In 2009, he said he was asked to take over as Acting Director of the ATF.  Acting Director of the ATF is by its nature a temporary job.  According to Mr. Melson, he was willing to serve the Department with the understanding that after a short tenure as Acting Director, he would return to a position as a career senior executive elsewhere within the Department.

However, two days after he told Acting Deputy Attorney General Cole about  serious issues involving lack of information sharing, the Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed sources said that Melson was about to be ousted.

The revelations about Operation Fast and Furious have focused intense scrutiny on the ATF.  It has no doubt taken a toll on the agency and the good people who work there.  Much of that damage has occurred because the Department prevented ATF from being more forthcoming and responsive to questions from Congress.  This is the context in which Mr. Melson decided to submit to an on-the-record interview with private counsel, pursuant to our agreement with the Department.

Technically, Mr. Melson no longer enjoys the due process protections afforded to career officials.  Given his testimony, unless a permanent director is confirmed, it would be inappropriate for the Justice Department to take action against him that could have the effect of intimidating others who might want to provide additional information to the Committees.

We hope that the Department will take a much more candid and forthcoming approach in addressing these very serious matters with the Committees.   If other important fact witnesses like Mr. Melson have a desire to communicate directly with the Committees they should be informed that they are free to do so.  They should also be notified that if they are represented by personal counsel, they may appear with personal counsel rather than with Department lawyers.

Any decision about Mr. Melson’s future with the Department would need to be justified solely on the basis of the facts and the needs of the agency, rather than on his decision to speak to us.  We encourage you to communicate to us any additional significant information about any such decision so that we can work together to ensure that it would not impede our investigation.  For now, the Office of Inspector General is still conducting its review, and we are still conducting ours.  Knowing what we know so far, we believe it would be inappropriate to make Mr. Melson the fall guy in an attempt to prevent further congressional oversight. 


_______________________________                      _______________________________

Darrell Issa, Chairman                                                Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member

Committee on Oversight &                                         Committee on the Judiciary

Government Reform                                                   United States Senate

U.S. House of Representatives



The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman

U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary 

[1] Specifically, no officer or employee may attempt to prohibit or prevent “any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from having direct oral or written communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress” about a matter related to his employment or the agency “in any way, irrespective of whether such communication or contact is at the initiative” of the employee or Congress (emphasis added).  Moreover, the prohibition also applies to any officer or employee who “removes, suspends from duty without pay … any other officer or employee of the Federal Government … by reason of any communication or contact of such other officer or employee with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress.”  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, P.L. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034, § 714 (2010), as continued by §1104 of P.L. 112-10—which extends the funding levels, as well as “the authority and conditions provided in such Acts,” through September 30, 2011.  See generally, Government Accountability Office, “Department of Health and Human Services—Chief Actuary’s Communications with Congress,” B-302911 (Sep. 7, 2004) (discussing the history and background in support of the government-wide prohibition on attempts to prevent direct communications with Congress).  As you know, obstructing or impeding a Congressional inquiry is also a criminal violation under 18 U.S.C. § 1505. 


News Releases - General Info
Written by Matt Martyn   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 23:23

DAVENPORT, Iowa (July 7, 2011) – On Wednesday, July 20, a team of cyclists participating in the Journey of Hope, presented by KRG Capital, will arrive in Davenport as part of a nine-week, 4,000-mile cycling event across the country to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

The team will arrive for a sponsored lunch at Happy Joe’s at 1:00 p.m. That evening, they will have dinner and a Friendship Visit at Seduary Pool at 6:00 p.m.

Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. The Journey of Hope team consists of men from Pi Kappa Phi chapters across the country. The team will cycle an average of 75 miles per day, beginning in San Francisco and Seattle and ending in Washington, D.C. on August 13.

For the team, the real journey will not be on a bike, but spending time with the people for whom they are riding. The Journey of Hope team members will spend every afternoon with people with disabilities in many different community events and activities. At these stops across the country, the three routes (North, South and TransAmerica) will distribute grants directly to assist organizations in serving people with disabilities. These men are striving for community inclusion of people with disabilities and are helping to break the barriers of society that keep people of all abilities from living life to the fullest. 

Push America -

Track the Team -
Team Roster -
Social Media Release -

Push America was founded in 1977 with the hope of committing its members to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. With the combined efforts of sponsors and individual team members, this year’s Journey of Hope will raise more than $550,000 on behalf of people with disabilities. Push America and Pi Kappa Phi have raised more than $15 million to date and continue to be on the cutting edge of the disability movement.

# # #

<< Start < Prev 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 Next > End >>

Page 452 of 479