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How One Life Insurer Empowers Women to Pursue their Dreams! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rita Toalson   
Friday, 30 January 2015 14:31

Passion for a Cause Outweighs Money for a Cause... But $$$$ Make a Difference, too!

How One Life Insurer, Royal Neighbors of America, Empowers Women to Pursue their Dreams

(Rock Island, IL)-- From a woman's dream to help abuse survivors, to a woman who creates burial gowns for infants out of wedding dresses, Royal Neighbors of America Nation of NeighborsSM Program empowers women and fuels their passions as they "neighbor-it-forward." In 2014 alone, 79 determined women of strength and courage across the country were empowered with nearly $100,000 in financial assistance to achieve their full potential, realize a sense of renewed personal growth, and give back to their communities. Since its inception in 2007, Royal Neighbors' Nation of Neighbors Program has donated more than $1.7 million to over 1,200 families and individuals.

Kit Evans-Ford of Rock Island, IL, is a survivor of sexual assault and has worked relentlessly in service to women and girls in the U. S. and around the world. She received a surprise check for $5,000 from Royal Neighbors' 2014 grant program to launch retreats and an annual conference for girls and women focused on using the arts for healing and hope and to further develop her inspirational social media sites.

"The Nation of Neighbors Program strengthens relationships in communities. When you build camaraderie and collaboration with other women, you see you're not alone," said Kit.  Founder of Testimonies of Hope: The Intercultural Christian Devotional Community, Kit also has established Overcoming the S.T.O.R.M.: A Program for Women Healing from Sexual Violence. "You do the work to help other survivors regardless, but it helps when you get a pat on the back. Royal Neighbors invested in me so I can invest even more in others. It's beautiful and affirming to know people are recognizing your work."

Grants were awarded for a variety of initiatives including helping women provide transitional housing for women and their families; building awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among veterans; establishing a maternity home for pregnant, homeless teens; fighting sex trafficking; and hosting youth empowerment conferences to prepare young people for college.

Focusing on its history of standing strong for women, Royal Neighbors of America's Nation of Neighbors Program is a unique example of an organization integrating philanthropy into its day-to-day business. As one of the nation's largest women-led life insurers, Royal Neighbors was founded by nine women before women could even vote or own property. It celebrates its 120-year anniversary in 2015 and continues to support women today as it has through the suffrage movement, two World Wars, 21 presidents, the invention of the television, the Apollo moon landing, and major technological advances.

"It is as neighbors that we have the most direct, tangible, and personal influence on each other's lives," explains Cynthia Tidwell, Royal Neighbors President and CEO. "The idea behind the Nation of Neighbors Program of empowering women financially is part of our DNA, and is just as important today as it was when Royal Neighbors of America was founded in 1895."

Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation's largest women-led life insurance organizations, empowers women to meet the needs of their families with annuities and life insurance products such as whole life, term, final expense, and universal life. One of the most financially secure insurance carriers in the industry, it has the financial strength and stability to ensure its nearly 200,000 members are protected when the expected, and unexpected, happen. In addition to insurance products, Royal Neighbors provides member benefits at no additional cost which currently include scholarship opportunities, health and retail discounts, and participation in volunteer activities that give back to communities through the organization's local chapters. Royal Neighbors' philanthropic efforts are dedicated to changing women's lives through its national programs, including the Nation of NeighborsSM Program, and through the Royal Neighbors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Royal Neighbors is headquartered in Rock Island, IL, with a branch office in Mesa, AZ. For more information, visit or call (800) 627-4762.

1LIMRA, Trillion Dollar Baby - Growing Up, 2011

Getting Parenting Infomartion ‘Just In Time’ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 30 January 2015 10:52

What can a baby see right after birth? How much should a 1-year-old eat? Should a 3-year-old have a hearing test? These and many more questions keep parents awake at night wondering how they can be a better parent to their children, said Cindy Thompson, a human sciences specialist in family life with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Fortunately, a free and easily accessible resource is available just in time to provide some answers.

“Parenting is hard and there is so much information available via the Web and social media sites that parents often are confused about what is best for their children and family,” Thompson said. ISU Extension and Outreach, in partnership with extension specialists across the country, offers a resource called Just in Time Parenting to help eliminate some of the confusion.

“Just in Time Parenting is a series of newsletters designed to deliver research-based information to families in a free, convenient and easy-to-follow format,” explained Thompson. Each newsletter centers on a specific age, starting prenatally and continuing through age 5. Newsletters for the first year of life focus on each specific month, then from age 2 to 5 each newsletter covers a 2-month age span.

All of the newsletters are available for download from the website or can be delivered electronically via email, Thompson said. “Parents and other caregivers can subscribe for free to the newsletters by entering an email address and child’s date of birth, and the newsletters will arrive just in time according to the child’s age.”

Each issue has information on what it’s like to be that age, including “How I Grow and Talk,” “How I Respond” and “How I Understand and Feel,” as well as a “Help Me Learn” section full of ideas on how to engage young children. In addition to features available in every issue, each newsletter includes hot topics related to the specific age focus, such as teething, toilet teaching and safety rules as children become more independent.

“Just in Time Parenting offers ask the expert and frequently asked questions section as well, reassuring parents and caregivers they are not alone in their questions,” Thompson said.

Just in Time Parenting is available in both English and Spanish. For more information, check out or contact any Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office.

Loebsack, Stivers Reintroduce Bill to Help Homeless Children and Youth PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:13

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act, which provides a more accurate system for the federal government to understand the problem of youth homelessness and help better serve this population.  The Senate companion bill is sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

“As someone who was raised in poverty by a single mother who struggled with mental illness, I know firsthand how community support can help make a difference in people’s lives” said Loebsack. “In order for our children to excel, especially those who are homeless or have nowhere to go, we must make it easier on them to access homeless assistance programs. The Homeless Children and Youth Act will help communities best provide for those who are most in need.”

“No child should ever be without a home, let alone be forced to navigate bureaucratic red tape just to prove that they are actually homeless,” said Stivers. “My bill would streamline the definition of ‘homeless’ to enable us to fully understand the problem, so that as a society we can get them the help they need.”

Currently, the Housing and Urban Development Department’s (HUD) definition of “homeless” is inconsistent with other federal agencies.  This legislation would expand HUD’s definition of “homeless” to include all children and youth who are already verified as homeless by several other federal educational and social services programs.

The Homeless Children and Youth Act is a bi-partisan bill. It is supported by First Focus, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Network for Youth, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare.


Governor’s Office provides update regarding Gov. Branstad PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jimmy Centers   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 15:55

UPDATE: Gov. Branstad released from hospital in good condition; released at approximately 9 a.m., mild flu with dehydration cause of incident; other contributing factors, including cardiac issues and stroke, ruled out

(DES MOINES)  -  The Office of Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced that the governor has been released from Iowa Methodist Medical Center after being admitted out of an abundance of caution due to a mild flu and dehydration. The governor was released at approximately 9 a.m. and is currently resting comfortably at the governor’s residence. The governor rested last night and continued receiving intravenous fluids.

Kevin J. Cunningham, M.D., F.A.C.P., who is the governor’s personal physician and saw him both last evening and this morning, stated the following:

“Today, at approximately 9 a.m., Governor Terry Branstad was discharged from the hospital in good condition and he is now resting comfortably at Terrace Hill. After seeing him both Monday evening and this morning, and personally reviewing his medical tests and records, it’s my opinion as a medical professional that the incident was caused by a mild flu and dehydration. We have ruled out other contributing factors, including cardiac issues and stroke. Governor Branstad will be able to resume a normal work schedule in the near future.”

The governor and lt. governor have canceled their public events for the remainder of the week to allow ample time to rest and recuperate. This includes previously scheduled events in Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Waverly and Manchester.

They plan resume their schedules on Monday, February 2, 2015.


(DES MOINES) – The Office of Gov. Terry E. Branstad this evening released more information regarding  Gov. Terry E. Branstad’s condition after he fell ill at an event at DuPont Pioneer.

At approximately 12 p.m., Gov. Branstad was transported from DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa, to Iowa Methodist Medical Center via an ambulance. The governor was alert, conscious and accurately answering questions during transport.

Upon arrival, he was given intravenous fluids after doctors noted that he was dehydrated and displaying symptoms of a viral illness. Out of an abundance of caution, doctors opted to admit the governor for overnight observation, rest and hydration.

Mark Purtle, M.D., chief medical officer of UnityPoint Health-Des Moines, stated the following:

“After personally reviewing the governor’s medical records, with his permission, and visiting with him and his attending physicians, we believe the governor has a viral illness with dehydration. We also conducted a series of tests in which we ruled out other contributing factors, including cardiac issues. The governor is still receiving fluids and is resting comfortably.”

The governor and lt. governor have canceled all their public for Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. More information regarding the remainder of their public schedules for the week will be released at a later time.

The lt. governor intends to visit her doctor on Tuesday morning out of an abundance of caution.

This will be the final update for the evening of Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. More information will be released as it becomes available.


How to Pop the Cork on the Good Life – and the Time to Do It Is When You Retire PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 15:19
Nationally Recognized Retirement Expert Offers 3 Simple
Tips in 2015 for Improving Retirement Prospects

Imagine a bright, golden vista filled with soothing, warm sunshine – perhaps it is California’s Highway 29. You’re driving this scenic route after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on a Tuesday during working hours. That’s right, you’re going to Napa.

Of course, this is precisely the kind of thing you’re getting used to doing on Tuesdays – not only because you’re becoming a wine connoisseur, but also because Tuesdays no longer belong to hours under the glare of fluorescent lights in front of your work computer. Aah, you’re retired.

“That’s the dream, and as a native San Franciscan I know it well. I myself have traveled the byways of food and wine in the Bay Area. More Americans could be living their dream during retirement, wherever they go to play,” says Stephen F. Lovell, a nationally recognized retirement expert who emphasizes a comprehensive approach for well-being during one’s golden years.

“Many baby boomers will retire in the next few years, and for many of them that dream has a nightmarish tinge—they’re worried they’ll run out of money.”

Lovell, president of Lovell Wealth Legacy, (, says 2015 can and should be the start of that good life. He offers three simple ways to bring your dream into reality.

•  Revise your budget at the year’s beginning. Ask yourself: How do I spend my money? Many of us believe we have a reasonable idea of where we put our money, but unless you account for your spending, you may miss out by not putting away enough for your happy retirement.

A household’s discretionary spending on nonessential goods and services like a second smart phone case or the premier movie channel is could top 30 percent. And that is often twice what you intended—but you don’t see it until you budget. “Budgeting puts you in the driver’s seat,” Lovell says. “From there you can control where you spend. You’re buying on purpose, and sometimes you get a nice surprise. That alluring vacation is now within reach.”

•  Be proactive about your financial interests before visiting a professional. Knowing which financial products may work best for your personal needs and how to protect your hard-earned money from unnecessary taxation is not what most laypeople excel at. That job is best handled by working with a professional. But, as with your health, you reap the benefits of being aware of your needs and of initiating the process of looking after yourself.

“Remember, 40 percent of retirees underestimate their life expectancy, according to an Ernst & Young study,” Lovell says, “so if you don’t want to run out of money, create your financial plan to cover this extended retirement period. Then, you odds for a comfortable retirement are improved.”

•  Consider alternatives to stocks, bonds and cash. Many new investment types have appeared to solve planning and retirement issues. Yet most investors limit their choices by relying exclusively on stocks, bonds and cash. From 2000 to 2013, the stock market, for all its ups and downs, wound up at roughly the same place, around 1527. At a 2 to 3 percent investment cost per year, many investors, for all their efforts, lost money! “I educate my clients by bringing to their attention the wide universe of investment types. Results are that more suitable solutions are uncovered and then applied for the client’s benefit.”

About Stephen F. Lovell, MBA, ChFC®, CLU®, CFP®

Stephen F. Lovell is a thoroughly credentialed, nationally recognized financial professional. Since 1990, he has been gathering various licenses — in insurance, securities, real estate, commodities and as a registered principle — to offer his clients a thoroughly comprehensive perspective on their wealth. He is president of Lovell Wealth Legacy, (, and a branch manager at LPL Financial. Lovell has earned several professional honors and memberships. Since walking with his mother as a child for the March of Dimes in San Francisco, he has been active in local and national charities. More recently, Lovell has taken to the airwaves as a radio host at KDOW, where he hosts a weekly show about pursuing financial success and, of course, enjoying the fruits of that financial success.

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