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BRANSTAD’S ‘healthiest state’ pledge fails AS he leaves out medicaid, mental health and health CARE reform PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jack Hatch   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:39

Senate Democrat says Governor Branstad’s failure to lead in this legislative session will “allow our state to fail right before our eyes.”

DES MOINES – Saying he is “gravely disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the Governor today,” State Sen. Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) suggested Governor Terry Branstad failed to set out any agenda on some of the most important challenges facing Iowa in his Condition of the State Address.

“There are obviously areas of agreement with items in the speech,” Hatch said. “But the areas in which we still need to find common ground are critically important, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.”

Hatch saved his most specific criticism of the Governor for the topic of health care, which has been Hatch’s area of focus and is expected to result in a number of significant bills in the 2013 legislative session. “The absence of a clearly articulated way forward on health care as we undertake the hard work in health care is just astonishing,” Hatch said Tuesday.  “It’s hard to believe the Governor is dodging health care at this important moment, as we work to implement the nation’s new health care law.”

“We have been working on an Iowa model for health care reform for six years, and at points Governor Branstad has been an ally,” Hatch said.  “He knows better than to say all we can do is recruit physicians and make it harder for consumers to recover medical damages following malpractice.”

Hatch said he will be going forward with three major health care priorities related to the ACA this session and expects to introduce bills on each topic:


  • Expanded Medicaid – Hatch said nearly 150,000 Iowans not now covered by health insurance could be covered by the current offer of 100 percent federal funding over the next few years, with very reasonable long-term costs to the state to follow.
  • Health Insurance Exchange - Hatch said he believes Iowa needs to design its own exchange that will serve the needs of a small-state, rural population with a history of health care advocacy on health issues like diabetes, epilepsy, autism and long-term care.  Hatch says Iowa must act this session to have an exchange in place by 2015.
  • Mental Health Funding – Hatch says Iowa must “keep the commitment we made in 2012 to affected families and to local governments” on mental health. He said last year’s law reorganized the system into one that features local delivery of services, regionally administered.  “If we fail to fund this new system, it will suffer the same fate as the last redesign 16 years ago,” Hatch said. “That would be wrong.”


Hatch said other areas in which Senate Democrats will work to find common ground with the Governor during the 2013 session include tax relief for Iowa families and education reform. 

# # #

5 Hair Myths – Busted! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:38
Bad Ideas Won’t Solve Bad Hair Days, Says Expert

Misinformation can be just as stubborn as frizz or those pesky flyaways – it’s difficult to manage, impossible to reason with and it just keeps coming back, says longtime hair-care advocate and health scientist Audrey Davis-Sivasothy.

“Old wives’ tales and ineffective products that claim to treat or rehabilitate hair often have a placebo effect because people want them to work,” says Davis-Sivasothy, author of “Hair Care Rehab,” ( “But many of these ideas and products actually do the opposite of what’s intended, and they delay the user from seeking out real solutions.”

Davis-Sivasothy debunks the following common hair-care myths:

• Myth: There’s a magic pill (or oil, serum or balm) to grow our hair faster, stronger or thicker. Unfortunately, no. Hair growth is genetically predetermined and controlled by our hormones. Unless the magic pill affects our genes or hormones, there’s no hope that it might make our hair grow. (This includes prenatal vitamins. Credit the upsurge in hormone levels during pregnancy for those vibrant tresses!) Basic vitamin supplements can offer slight improvements in hair quality, but only if our body truly lacks the particular vitamin or mineral being taken.

• Myth: Trimming will make your hair grow stronger, longer, faster or thicker. Since hair is dead, cutting the ends has no effect on what happens at the scalp. Strands will grow at the same predetermined rate each month, and individual strands will grow in at the same thickness as before. While trimming or cutting the hair does seem to give the appearance of thicker hair, this is only because all of the freshly trimmed hairs now have the same, clear endpoint.

• Myth: Expensive products do more! Not necessarily. Always look for ingredients over brand names. There are just as many poorly formulated high-end products as there are bargain ones – and just as many worthy expensive products as there are bargain ones, too!

• Myth: Products made for or marketed to (insert race/ethnicity) cannot be used by those of other backgrounds. False! The ingredients in a product matter much more than to whom the product is marketed. In fact, most products have the same set of three to five base ingredients. Products for “ethnic” hair types tend to be more moisturizing and have more oils and proteins than those for other hair types. Damaged hair needs a good dose of moisture, proteins and oil to regain its healthy appearance. The same holds true for products marketed to those with color-treated hair. Even if your hair is not dyed, using a product for color-treated hair can be beneficial because these shampoo formulas tend to be gentler (to preserve easily washed away hair color) and conditioners tend to be super-conditioning, but lightweight, to help reduce dryness from the coloring process.

• Myth: Washing your hair too often leads to dryness. This depends. Hair can be cleansed as often as you like without dryness, provided you use the proper products to retain moisture. Those who generally have naturally drier hair types (including those of us with curls and highly textured hair) often shy away from frequent cleansing – but water is not the enemy! It’s the stripping shampoos and mediocre conditioners we use that are to blame. Using the proper moisturizing and conditioning products at wash time will actually increase your hair’s hydration.

About Audrey Davis-Sivasothy

Audrey Davis-Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, publisher and longtime, healthy hair care advocate and enthusiast. Sivasothy holds a degree in health science and has written extensively on the science of caring for hair at home.

Following impressive work serving Iowans, Branstad gives Beth Townsend a bonus PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:36

Townsend changed culture of Iowa Civil Rights Commission to one of dedicated service


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced he has given Iowa Civil Rights Commission Director Beth Townsend a bonus of $5,000 for her impressive work turning the culture of the Commission into one of service to Iowans.

“Beth has turned the Iowa Civil Rights Commission into an exemplary department striving to serve the people of Iowa,” said Branstad. “Beth’s impressive leadership and management has resulted in more efficient case work, reduced back log, streamlined intake and increased quality.”

In June 2011, three Iowa Civil Rights Commission employees were dismissed after a Townsend investigation found they were sending hundreds of emails to each other on personal accounts calling their peers derogatory nicknames during business hours. One of the employees sent, on average, 75 emails a day on his personal account from March 2011 – June 1, 2011. The increase in personal emails resulted in slower case investigation.

“Lt. Gov. Reynolds and I made a commitment to change the culture of state government to one that serves the people of Iowa, not the other way around,” Branstad continued. “Iowans deserve a responsive Civil Rights Commission that gives them a fair hearing and takes each investigation seriously.”

Under Director Townsend’s leadership, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has:

-          In FY12, reduced the non-housing investigative backlog from 260 cases to 118 cases and a reduction in the average age of cases from over 535 days to 356 days.

-          In FY12, reduced age of the oldest cases in the backlog from complaints filed in 2001 to those filed in December, 2010.

-          Remain on track to eliminate the backlog entirely by the end of FY13.

-          Streamlined complaint intake process, reducing the initial processing time by 71% and reducing the number of delays in the process by over 50%.    Complaints are now being processed within 24-48 hours of receipt of the complaint, as opposed to historical average of 8-10 days.

-          Significantly increased the overall quality and timeliness of all screening and investigative decisions prepared by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

-          Probable cause rate increased 8x in FY12 from previous year and was higher than in any year over the past decade Townsend’s current salary is $97,000, the highest possible for her position. The governor’s practice is to utilize bonuses to provide a recognition and reward for exemplary performance.


Gov. Branstad appoints eight Iowans to Judicial Nominating Commission PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:30

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today appointed eight Iowans to the Judicial Nominating Commission.


Iowa Code changes require the State Judicial Nominating Commission to sunset on December 31, 2012. The previous commission composition was based on Congressional Districts from 1965 with one member from each district, for a total of seven members appointed by the governor. The new State Judicial Nominating Commission, based on Congressional Districts following the 2010 census, is effective January 1, 2013 in accordance with the Code of Iowa


The new commission has two members from each Congressional District, one male and one female, for a total of eight members appointed by the governor. Lawyers elect eight lawyer members to the commission. Iowa law requires members serve staggered terms. Full terms are six years in length.


The following individuals were appointed by Gov. Branstad:


Congressional District One


Jerry Welter, Monticello (effective January 19, 2013) – term ends April 30, 2014

Kathy Pearson, Cedar Rapids – term ends April 30, 2018


Congressional District Two


Scott Bailey, Otley – term ends April 30, 2014

Helen Sinclair, Melrose – term ends April 30, 2016


Congressional District Three


Liz Doll, Council Bluffs – term ends April 30, 2016

John Bloom, West Des Moines – term ends April 30, 2018


Congressional District Four


Patricia Roberts, Carroll – term ends April 30, 2014

Steve Sukup, Clear Lake – term ends April 30, 2016


The governor’s appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.



Grassley meetings this week in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:07

WASHINGTON – After attending the swearing-in ceremony of the Iowa legislature this morning in Des Moines, Senator Chuck Grassley will meet this week with Iowans in nine Northeast Iowa communities, including Parkersburg, New Hampton, Delhi, Dubuque, Maquoketa, DeWitt, Davenport, Muscatine, and Cedar Rapids.


“I look forward to these events and meetings to listen to comments, respond to questions, and keep in touch,” Grassley said.  “Representative government is a two-way street, and it’s strengthened by dialogue between elected officials and the people we represent.”


During a Friday meeting with employees at Kent Corporation in Muscatine, Grassley will be presented the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence by Gage Kent, Chairman and CEO of Kent Corporation.  Kent serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, which is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.


Grassley has held at least one meeting with Iowans in every one of the state’s 99 counties since 1980, when he was first elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.


The Senate is not meeting in Washington until Inauguration Day on January 21.


Immediately below is more information about the meeting schedule.


Tuesday, January 15

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Q&A with students

Aplington-Parkersburg High School

610 North Johnson Street in Parkersburg


3:30-4:30 p.m.

Chickasaw County Town Meeting

New Hampton Public Library

20 West Spring Street in New Hampton

*Grassley will be available until 4:45 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


Thursday, January 17

8:45-9:45 a.m.

Q&A with government students

Maquoketa Valley High School

107 South Street in Delhi


11 a.m.-12 noon

Q&A with students

Loras College Alumni Campus Center in the Mary Alexis Room

at the corner of Loras Boulevard and Loras Parkway in Dubuque

*Grassley will be available until 12:15 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


12:30-1:30 p.m.

Tour Facility and Q&A with Employees


700 Locust Street in Dubuque


2:15-3:15 p.m.

Q&A with senior-level students

Maquoketa High School

600 Washington Street in Maquoketa

*Grassley will be available until 3:30 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


4-5 p.m.

Q&A with employees

Wendling Quarries

2647 225th Street in DeWitt

*Grassley will be available until 5:15 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


Friday, January 18

8-9 a.m.

Q&A with students

Davenport West High School

3505 West Locust Street in Davenport

*Grassley will be available until 9:15 a.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


10:30a.m.-12 noon

Q&A with employees of Kent Corporation

In addition, Grassley will be presented the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence by Gage Kent, Chairman and CEO of Kent Corporation and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.

1600 Oregon Street in Muscatine

*Grassley will be available until 12:15 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.


1:30-2:45 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Naturalization Ceremony

111 Seventh Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids

*Grassley will be available until 3 p.m. to answer questions from local reporters.



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