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Update: Police, Health Officials Justify Strip Search, Arrest & Detention of Disabled Man in Mental Health Facility Based on Slurred Speech, Unsteady Gait PDF Print E-mail
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Written by John W. Whitehead   
Monday, 02 March 2015 15:26

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court to reject a request by health officials to dismiss a Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed on behalf of a 37-year-old disabled man who was wrongfully arrested, strip searched, handcuffed to a table, diagnosed as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait, and subsequently locked up for five days in a mental health facility against his will and with no access to family and friends.

In asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to reject a motion to dismiss filed by the Valley Community Services Board (VCSB) and one of its mental health screeners, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the screener violated clearly established law protecting citizens from unjustified mental health seizures when she allegedly recommended that Gordon Goines, a resident of Waynesboro who suffers from a neurological condition similar to multiple sclerosis, be committed as mentally ill and dangerous. A subsequent hearing showed that Goines has no mental illness and should not have been confined. The lawsuit alleges that the VCSB should be held responsible and liable for the deprivation of Goines’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because it allows unqualified persons to make mental health examinations.

The Institute’s complaint in Gordon Goines v. David Shaw et al., is available at

“By giving government officials the power to declare individuals mentally ill and detain them against their will without first ensuring that they are actually trained to identify such illness, the government has opened the door to a system in which involuntary detentions can be used to make people disappear,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of the award-winning book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “Indeed, government officials in the Cold War-era Soviet Union often used psychiatric hospitals as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally.”

Gordon Goines resides in Waynesboro and suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a neurological condition similar to multiple or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrigs disease. As a result, Goines has difficulty at times with his balance, causing him to walk unsteadily, speaks slowly and with a slur and has problems with fine motor skills. Goines has no cognitive impairment, is of above-average intelligence, and acutely aware of what is happening around him. The complaint alleges that on May 15, 2014, Goines was having problems with his cable television reception, including disconnections and extremely loud line noise and signals, and called the cable company for assistance. A technician determined that a neighbor had spliced into Goines cable and recommended Goines contact police about the theft. Goines walked across the street to the Waynesboro Police Dept. and reported the theft to one officer, who called on two other officers to follow Goines home and investigate his complaint. However, the first officer reported that Goines was having “mental health issues.” The officers then proceeded to question Goines about his  “mental health issues”; Goines told them he did not have any mental health problems. The officers then asked Goines if he wanted to go talk to someone; believing they meant about the cable theft, Goines told them he did. The officers then handcuffed him and transported Goines, who pleaded to be taken home, to Augusta County Medical Center. After he arrived, he was examined by an employee of VCSB who concluded that Goines suffered from a psychotic condition and a petition for Goines’ involuntary detention was filed as a result.

According to the complaint, the VCSB screener was not a licensed medical professional, clinical psychologist or social worker and so lacked the required training to diagnose mental disorders. The petition was granted and Goines was committed to Crossroads Mental Health Center and held against his will and without access to family and friends until May 20, 2014, when a subsequent hearing found that Goines had no mental illness and should not be confined. Affiliate attorney Timothy Coffield is assisting The Rutherford Institute in its defense of Goines.

This press release is also available at

Smiddy Works to Prevent Tragedy on Violence Prevention Task Force PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Paul Ferrero   
Monday, 02 March 2015 15:01
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, is part of a team of legislators that will work with mental health providers and law enforcement professionals to investigate the state of security and mental health care in Illinois to try to prevent incidents of mass shootings.
“The importance of treatment for those suffering from mental illness is too often ignored until violence occurs,” Smiddy said. “Illinois’ public safety system must address both the importance of adequate security as well as proactive mental illness intervention to avoid the tragedies that have recently been far too common.”
The Violence Prevention Task Force was formed to work through the reports from recent tragedies and look for ways these disasters could have been avoided. Smiddy will serve on the bipartisan group and attempt to help keep those suffering from mental illness from falling through the cracks before tragedy occurs.
“As a Department of Corrections employee, I know that many violent offenders don’t have access to the treatment they need. Getting them help can be crucial to preventing tragedy,” Smiddy said. “The safety of our children and our communities is the most important part of my job, and I’m honored to have been selected for this task force with the goal of preventing senseless acts of violence.”
The Violence Prevention Task Force is scheduled to deliver its preliminary report by July 1, 2015 and its final report by the end of the year.

Help Davenport's Volunteer Win Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Richard Martin   
Friday, 27 February 2015 15:06
Did you know that more than 3.4 million cats enter shelters nationwide and only 1.3 million find forever homes each year? Though shelters have staff members to help take care of animals in their care daily, they rely heavily on their local volunteers who tirelessly care for cats as they await their forever homes.

That is why Purina Cat Chow is holding the Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest to recognize and thank those volunteers who work to make cats’ temporary shelter homes safer, less stressful places.

The Humane Society of Scott County is the only shelter in your state to be selected to participate in the Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest. From Feb. 23 to Mar. 15, 2015, the Davenport community can support Animal Welfare Society at by voting for Debbie Schmidt’s volunteer story daily.

If Debbie wins the contest – based on consumer votes and a judging panel – the shelter will receive a $25,000 shelter makeover. Each participating shelter will receive a $1,000 donation, Purina® Cat Chow® Gentle Formula brand food and cat care supplies.

Debbie’s ever-present smile, soothing voice, calm demeanor and positive “can-do” attitude creates a gentle environment for cats and everyone who cares for them at the Humane Society of Scott County Shelter.  Debbie gets to know the personality behind each whiskered face, and twitching tail and enthusiastically shares those perks, quirks and nuances with interested potential pet parents.

Below you will find the Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest press release where you will find more information. Please let me know if you would like to interview the nominated volunteer or shelter spokesperson.



Keri Tomsic / 770-853-6709 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Actress Kate Walsh asks cat people to support a nominated volunteer by voting in the Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest; The shelter of the winning volunteer will win a $25,000 shelter makeover
ST. LOUIS (Feb. 23, 2015) – Every animal shelter has that volunteer – the one who cleans the visiting rooms, goes door-to-door collecting blankets from the community, fosters cats and kittens, and spends countless hours simply petting the cats to keep them calm and happy. Today, Purina® Cat Chow® launched the Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest to thank and recognize these dedicated volunteers. The program will donate nearly $100,000 among the 50 participating shelters – one in every state – in recognition of their volunteers in cash donations, cat food and cat care supplies to lessen the stress for cats living in shelters while they await their forever home. 

Purina Cat Chow asked 50 cat-focused shelters – one in every state – to nominate their top volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to create a gentle, less stressful environment for shelter cats.

From Feb. 23 to March 15, consumers nationwide can vote daily for their favorite volunteer story on Consumer votes and a judging panel will determine the top shelter volunteer and four runners-up volunteers.

Well-known actress and cat owner Kate Walsh teamed up with Purina Cat Chow to help honor the shelter volunteers who devote their time and talent to caring for shelter cats and encourage consumers nationwide to vote for their favorite volunteer story. Walsh is the proud cat owner of Billy and Pablo, two cat brothers she rescued 10 years ago.

“The second I saw my cats Billy and Pablo, I knew they belonged with me,” Walsh said. “I’m grateful they had the care of dedicated volunteers before I adopted them. Shelter volunteers give selflessly to support the cats that need the most help. Their time and energy helps lessen the cats’ stress as they await forever homes.”  

Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest Voting and Prizes
The shelter of the winning volunteer will win a $25,000 shelter makeover. The shelter makeover will help create a gentler, less chaotic environment for the cats awaiting their forever home. Renovations and upgrades may include building a free-roam, soundproofed cat room, installing cat cubbies for personal space or painting the walls soothing colors. 

Purina Cat Chow team members will volunteer at the winning shelter for one day to assist with the makeover.

In addition to the shelter makeover, four runners-up volunteers will each win a $5,000 donation for their shelter. Purina Cat Chow will also support each of the 50 participating shelters – one in every state – via cash and cat food donations. Every participating shelter will receive a $1,000 donation, new Purina® Cat Chow® Gentle Formula brand food and cat care supplies.

“Each year, millions of cats enter animal welfare organizations. The dedication and hard work of shelter volunteers are critical to these cats’ care,” said Sarah Johnston, Purina Cat Chow brand manager. “We want to recognize the volunteers who make sure shelter cats have a comfortable place to live, access to high-quality nutrition, and provide unconditional support while they’re waiting to be adopted.”

The Purina Cat Chow Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest is part of the brand’s “Building Better Lives” program, an ongoing commitment to help improve the lives of cats through rescue, nutrition and adoption support. The Brand works to support shelters and help more cats find forever homes. In three years, the Purina Cat Chow will donate nearly $600,000 to more than 100 local cat-focused shelters nationwide and help improve the lives of more than 86,000 cats.

About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.

Lt. Governor Reynolds Launches Statewide “Stories of Women’s Lives Tour” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 12:56

Emphasis on Iowa’s Female Leaders

(DES MOINES) – Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds announced today that she is embarking upon a statewide tour to celebrate “National Women’s History Month” in March.  The Lt. Governor will be traveling to several communities to meet with female leaders and highlight how women are positively impacting Iowa with their ideas, actions and ingenuity.

“This year’s national theme for Women’s History Month is ‘Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.’  Every year, during my travels to all 99-counties in Iowa, I witness first-hand how women are making a difference in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds.  “Women have played an important role in Iowa’s history and will continue to be trailblazers who serve as role models for current and future generations of Iowans.”

As part of her “Stories of Women’s Lives Tour,” the Lt. Governor will be traveling to Webster City, Aldin, and Atlantic, to name just a few communities during March. The Lt. Governor will use the hashtag #KimTours99 during her travels across the state.

Joining Lt. Governor at the news conference was Renee Hardman, who is principal owner of Hardman Consulting and a 2014 inductee into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.  She spoke on the importance of women making positive impacts on lives, especially through their actions.

“Women play a critical role in helping other women.  As a woman, who was raised by a single parent along with two other sisters, it was female role models - like my mom and my aunts - who helped shape me into the strong, civic-minded person that I have become,” shared Hardman.

She went on to say, “Women need to see role models who have overcome barriers and who face challenges and have made it, in spite of all.  Our life is not measured by the jobs we have or the money we have in the bank, but by the lives we touched.”

According to Molly Murphy MacGregor, executive director and co-founder, chair of the National Women’s History Project, sharing stories about the lives of individual women is critically important.

“The stories of women’s lives, and the choices they made, encourage girls and young women to think larger and bolder, and give boys and men a fuller understanding of the female experience.  Knowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.”

In 2015, the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project are celebrating their 35-year anniversaries.  For more information about the National Women’s History Project, visit

A high resolution photo of Reynolds can be found here.


Loebsack Representative will Hold Office Hours PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:21

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack will have a member of his staff in Clinton County and Scott County for open office hours. Henry Marquard, Loebsack’s District Representative, will be at the following locations. Marquard will be on hand to work with individuals who are having difficulty with a government agency, have suggestions for Dave, or would just like to share their concerns. Members of the public are invited to attend. Marquard holds regular office hours throughout Eastern Iowa.

If residents are unable to attend but have a concern to share with the Congressman, please call our district office toll-free at 1-866-914-IOWA (4692).

Marquard’s schedule is as follows.


Tuesday, Feb. 24


DeWitt City Hall

510 Ninth Street

9:00 – 10:00 AM


Clinton City Hall

611 South Third Street, 1st Floor

11:00 AM – NOON


Eldridge Scott County Library

200 North Sixth Avenue

2:00 – 3:00 PM



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