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News Releases - General Info
Written by Ami Neiberger-Miller   
Friday, 21 November 2014 14:52
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) offers safety advice for consumers and contractors

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – According to weather forecasters, the winter of 2014–15 will see below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation. That means snow blowers could be getting a workout this winter. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) offers the following safety tips to assist homeowners, contractors and business owners as they power up their snow removal equipment.

Make sure your snow blower is in good working order, before the first flakes fall. Change the oil. Install a new spark plug and inspect the belts to be sure they are in good working order. If you forgot to drain the fuel last winter before storing your snow blower, drain the tank now. Check the auger (always in the “off” position) and adjust any cables. Make sure it starts.

Review your owner’s manual. Read your owner’s manual and review safe handling procedures from your manufacturer.

Before it snows, clear the pathways you intend to use. Snow can sometimes hide objects that might clog the chute of a snow blower, or cause damage to the machine or people nearby. Remove doormats, sleds, boards, wires, and other debris from the pathways you intend to clear.

Use the right fuel. It's important to have the proper fuel on hand, as filling stations may be closed if there is a power outage after a snowstorm. Store fuel properly and buy the type of fuel recommended by your equipment's manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol content in outdoor power equipment (for more information on fueling properly see

Handle fuel carefully. Use non-spill containers with spouts. Fill up the fuel tank outside before you start the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine. Store fuel in a clean, dry, ventilated area, and never near a pilot light, stove, or heat source. Never smoke around fuel.

Dress properly for the job. Wear adequate winter garments and footwear that can handle slippery surfaces. Put on safety glasses, and avoid loose fitting clothing that could get caught in moving parts. Tie back long hair.

Operate your snow blower in visible conditions. Never operate the snow blower without good visibility or light.

Aim carefully and avoid people and cars. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of your snow blower.  Keep children or pets away from your snow blower when it is operating.

Use extreme caution on slopes and hills. Do not clear snow across the face of slopes. Be cautious when changing directions on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes.

Turn OFF your snow blower if you need to clear a clog or repair it. If you have to repair your machine, remove debris or unclog built up snow, always turn off your snow blower. Wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop. Disconnect the spark plug wire or power cord.

KEY SAFETY TIP: Never put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog wet snow or debris from your snow blower. Your hands should never go inside the auger or chute.

Know where your cord is. If you have an electric powered snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.

Fact Sheet: Safe Operation Practices for Snow Blowers

About OPEI

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit

How to Live Like Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 November 2014 14:46
Certified Life Coach Explains How to Circumnavigate Your Own Worst Enemy

Human beings are capable of a rich inner life that, sadly, seems to elude so many, says dating and life coach Deborah Downey.

“I doubt that most of us fully realize just how much worry, doubt and fear we experience on a daily basis; it seems to me that acknowledging this default setting and finding an alternative for well-being should be among our top priorities,” says Downey, author of “What Are You Worried About!” (

“Too often, we are inclined toward trying to be something that, upon closer inspection, isn’t what we actually want. Much of this can be attributed to our egos, which persistently tug at our motivations.”

Women who think they have to be married and men who are afraid of revealing their true feelings are just two examples of ego-driven ideas that lead us away from personal fulfillment, she says.

Downey, who found romance and happiness later in life despite living with multiple sclerosis for 25 years, says we can have a more worry-free existence. She explains a few ideas for overriding your ego’s default settings.

•  “I strive for imperfection and I’m always a winner.”
“Most people laugh when I say this,” she says, because society is forever challenging us to compete and compare ourselves with others to assess our own value. Striving for imperfection is a reminder that we don’t have to drive ourselves crazy with unattainable goals.

“I notice most of us have hidden rules that we carry from childhood that really don’t help us as adults,” she says. “There isn’t any way to be perfect for myself or for any other person who has ever lived. To strive for something unattainable is to strive for failure. Ultimately, allowing for you to be who you are is, I find, liberating and more conducive to overall success in life.”

•  A lesson from Spanx founder and self-made billionaire Sara Blakely … Once upon a time Blakely was just another struggling entrepreneur. In addition to her blockbuster underwear product and her drive, she was armed with a profound idea inherited from her father, an advocate of acclaimed life coach Wayne Dyer. The idea: Don’t be afraid to fail big, because it means you put the effort forth on something that you care about, even though the effort was outside of your comfort zone.

“Appreciating one’s daily and weekly failures is not a means of encouraging it; rather, it’s a way of learning from failure and developing thicker skin so that you aren’t paralyzed into future inactivity due to fear of failure or the unknown,” she says.

•  “We no longer pursue the tormentor.”
“When my mentor coach first said this to me over the phone, I asked her to repeat it three times,” Downey says.

Tormentors are all-knowing, all-controlling, arrogant to the tenth degree, super-demanding and impossible to please. Because her parents always demanded the best and never praised Downey as a child, she sought love from sociopaths and narcissists as an adult.

“The clarity of how I brought so much pain into my life by pursuing tormentors was mind-blowing,” she says. “Of course, one’s own ego can play the very same role.”

About Deborah Downey

Deborah Downey’s experience spans 25 years of recovery in various 12-step programs around the country. Holding certifications as a professional life coach and as a chemical dependency counselor, Downey has dealt with addiction in its various forms, both as the child of alcoholic parents and as a confidant for others. In her self-help book, “What Are You Worried About!” (, Downey, who has multiple sclerosis, details a proactive approach to training one’s mind to think positive.

Governor Quinn Statement on President Obama’s Executive Action PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 21 November 2014 14:27

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today made the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration:

“President Obama today took a necessary first step in fixing our broken immigration system. His plan will give hope to families who live in constant fear of separation.

“Hardworking immigrants from around the world came together to build our country and our state. I commend President Obama for showing compassion and understanding to millions of individuals stuck in a heartbreaking situation.

“Congress must follow President Obama’s lead and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”



Loebsack Statement on President Obama’s Immigration Actions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 21 November 2014 14:25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement this evening in response to the President’s action on immigration.

“There is universal agreement that our immigration system is broken and is in need of reforming. It isn’t working for families, businesses or rural America. But for nearly two years, House Republicans led by John Boehner have had a chance to address this issue and have refused to put any comprehensive, bipartisan legislation on the floor. At the same time, bipartisan Senate-passed legislation, while not perfect, awaits action in the House. It is unfortunate that Speaker Boehner has catered to the demands of the extreme Tea Party members in his party and has simply refused to act.

“I have concerns about the President acting without Congressional approval and would have preferred that Congress address this issue. But it has become increasingly clear that the extreme Tea Party faction will not allow any vote on immigration legislation. It is my hope that this action by the President will provide the impetus necessary to spur the House to act on legislation that secures our borders, enforces the rule of law and ensures accountability for those who came here illegally while not tearing apart families who have been here for many years. I am committed to working with anyone on either side of the aisle to advance a serious proposal that will finally fix our broken immigration system.”


Governor Branstad approves emergency proclamation allowing for more diesel transport PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 21 November 2014 13:41

(DES MOINES) –Today, Governor Terry E. Branstad approved an emergency proclamation suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting diesel products.

Pipeline and refining outages affecting the supply of diesel products, coupled with the abrupt and early drop in temperatures, have resulted in low inventories of diesel products in Iowa and the upper Midwest. The Governor’s emergency proclamation suspends regulatory provisions of the Iowa Code pertaining to hours of service for crews and drivers delivering diesel products.

The proclamation is as follows:

WHEREAS, because of pipeline and refining outages affecting the supply of diesel products in Iowa and throughout the upper midwest, coupled with an abrupt and early drop in temperatures throughout the state, the people of the State of Iowa are faced with extremely low inventories of diesel products; and

WHEREAS, this shortage of diesel products has a serious impact on the flow of critical goods and services throughout the State of Iowa; and

WHEREAS, the limited suspension of certain hours of service regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting diesel products in our state will increase the amount of those products transported throughout the State of Iowa, thereby reducing the damaging effects of this shortage; and

WHEREAS, these conditions threaten the peace, health, and safety of the citizens of the State of Iowa and accordingly provide legal justification for the issuance of a Proclamation of a State of Disaster Emergency pursuant to Iowa Code § 29C.6 (1).

NOW, THEREFORE, I, TERRY E. BRANSTAD, Governor of the State of Iowa, by the power and authority vested in me by the Iowa Constitution Art. IV, §§ 1, 8 and Iowa Code § 29C.6 (1), and all other applicable laws, do hereby proclaim a State of Disaster Emergency for the entire state of Iowa and do hereby ORDER and DIRECT the following:

SECTION One. I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code § 321.449 pertaining to hours of service for crews and drivers delivering diesel products during the duration of this disaster, subject to these conditions:

A.     Nothing contained in this Proclamation shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements under 49 CFR Part 382, the commercial drivers’ license requirements under 49 CFR Part 383, the financial responsibility requirements of 49 CFR Part 387, or any other portion of the Code of Federal Regulations not specifically identified in this proclamation.

B.     No motor carrier operating under the terms of this proclamation shall require or allow a fatigued or ill driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to service.

C.    Upon the request of a driver, a commercial motor carrier operating under this proclamation must give a driver at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off when the driver has been on duty for more than seventy (70) hours during any eight consecutive days.

D.    Motor carriers that have an out-of-service order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulations that this declaration provides under title 49 CFR § 390.23.

E.     Upon the expiration of the effective date of this Proclamation, or when a driver has been relieved of all duty and responsibility to provide direct assistance to the emergency effort, a driver that has had at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off duty shall be permitted to start his or her on-duty status hours and 60/70 hour clock at zero.

Iowa Code § 29C.6 (6).

SECTION Two. This state of disaster emergency shall be effective at 12:01 a.m. on November 21, 2014, shall continue for fourteen (14) days, and shall expire on December 5, 2014, at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by me. Iowa Code § 29C.6(1).


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