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Statement from Governor Quinn Regarding President Obama’s Strong Action to Protect Our Children PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:06

CHICAGO – January 16, 2013. After participating in a call with the White House, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and governors across the nation, Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement regarding President Barack Obama’s public safety plan:

“I stand with President Obama in calling on Congress to adopt strong policies that will reduce gun violence. We must act now to protect the children and people of America.

“The President’s action today is the first step of a comprehensive public safety plan that Congress must act upon. We all have a responsibility to ensure that military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines do not fall into the wrong hands.

“The American people should not have to go about their lives in fear of the kind of mass violence that can be inflicted by an assault weapon.

“The horrific tragedies that occurred in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut have cost our nation too many precious lives. While gun violence cannot be completely eliminated, we should not wait one more day to enact common sense measures that will save lives and help prevent these violent massacres.” 


Celebrating Diversity is the Focus for National Learning Disabilities Conference in San Antonio PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mary-Clare Reynolds   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 16:43
January 15, 2013—Pittsburgh, PA— At the 50th annual international conference in San Antonio, TX, the
Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is celebrating diversity with keynote topics, conference
sessions, and featured speakers at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio Hotel on the Riverwalk, February 13-16, 2013.
Educators, administrators, support professionals and parents will gather to take a comprehensive look at issues
and best practices in professional preparation and evaluation; advances in reading and math research; early
childhood assessment; and transition from school to work.

Reviewing LDA’s past 50 years of advocating, educating, and supporting individuals with learning disabilities
and projecting the future of LDA, the keynote speakers will energize the audience to celebrate all aspects of
diversity, including: diverse learners, cultural diversity, linguistic diversity and bridging the diversity gap.
Throughout the four days, more than 200 breakout sessions and topical workshops will be provided by leading
experts in special and general education, mental health, education research, best classroom techniques, adult
issues, assistive technology, and advocacy.

The opening keynote session on Wednesday, Feb. 13, "Building on the Past, Looking Toward the Future," will
be a roundtable of nationally recognized authorities in the field of learning disabilities: Doris Johnson, Ph.D.,
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Nancy Mather, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; and Brock L.
Eide, M.D., and Fernette Eide, M.D., Eide Neurolearning Clinic, Edmonds, WA.

General session keynotes are Thursday, Feb. 14, "Technologies of the Future: Where Assistive Meets
Mainstream,” Manju Banerjee, Ph.D., Institute for Research and Training, Landmark College, Putney, VT; and
Friday, Feb. 15, "Celebrating Diversity and Culturally Responsive Teaching,” Vivian Correa, Ph.D.,
Department of Special Education and Child Development, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC.

Two special sessions will be open to the public. On the evening of February 13, the session is “Brain Food:
How Nutrition, Chemical Exposures and Genetics Interact, and Steps Schools Can Take to Protect and Nurture
Children’s Development.” On Saturday morning, February 16, “Finding Your Future: Postsecondary
Opportunities” will bring mini-sessions and exhibitors with information on postsecondary education and
training to young adults with learning disabilities and the educators and parents who support them.

LDA is a non-profit organization of parents, professionals and adults with learning disabilities providing
support, information, and advocacy on behalf of individuals with learning disabilities.

For further information go to


State of the Judiciary Message — January 16 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judical Branch   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:59
Des Moines, January 15, 2013— On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 10 a.m., in the House Chambers, Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court will address a joint convention of the General Assembly on the State of the Judiciary.

Chief Justice Cady will present a vision for the future of the Iowa Judicial Branch: "to make the Iowa court system the best, most advanced, and the most responsive court system in the nation." Justices of the supreme court traveled throughout the state during the past 12 months listening to Iowans' expectations of the Iowa court system. The State of the Judiciary addresses how the Iowa court system is moving forward to best serve Iowans now and into the future, by protecting Iowa's children, providing full-time access to justice, operating an efficient and full service court system, providing faster and less costly resolution of legal disputes, continuing openness and transparency of the courts, and providing fair and impartial justice for all.

Live video of the speech will be broadcast on the Iowa Public Television .3 Channel (IPTV World) and streamed live on the Iowa Public Television website ( and the Iowa Legislature's website ( beginning at 10:00 a.m. The speech will be rebroadcast in HD at 6:30 p.m. on statewide IPTV's main channel.

Members of the media may obtain advance copies of the speech January 16, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., in the supreme court courtroom at the Capitol. The message will be posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at 10:45 a.m.

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5 Super Powers Available to Teens PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:57
Heroic Abilities Aren’t Exclusive to Comics, Novelist Says

Cynical adults may sneer when they say, “Youth is wasted on the young.” But young world-traveler Ryan Pearson sees a more positive message in George Bernard Shaw’s often repeated quote.

“I see it as meaning that youth is an opportunity to seize direction, enlightenment, significance and to expand one’s powers,” says Pearson, author of “Green Hope” from “The Element Series,” (, about a teenager blessed with wealth and fame who discovers he has the added responsibility of super powers.

“It’s sad that so many teens get sidetracked by trying to fit in with a crowd, or worrying that they don’t measure up somehow. At a time when they should be enjoying a new sense of independence and capabilities, they’re often paralyzed by self-doubt.”

Pearson says all teens have super powers – they just need to recognize them:

• Your inner “mutant”: Many teens like to make a big deal out of not caring what others think about them, precisely because they care about what everyone thinks of them. This can make them sensitive and anxious about how they express themselves and what they enjoy, from what they wear to the music they like to the grades they earn. Embrace what sets you apart! No one else in the world is quite like you. Explore your interests and find what you love – whether or not it’s what other teens love. You’ll get a head start on developing valuable skills.

• “Punisher” fitness training: You don’t have to be built like the renowned vigilante from the Marvel universe, but you’ll look your best – and feel your best – if you establish a good exercise routine now. Not only will working out give you a nice physique, it’s a good way to reduce stress and it even gives you a natural high thanks to the release of endorphins, chemicals that make your brain happy.

• Batman’s first rule in fighting: Despite the fact that it would make his crime fighting much, much easier, the Caped Crusader absolutely refuses to use guns. That’s because a deranged criminal with a gun shot and killed Bruce Wayne’s parents when he was a child. The result is that his fighting methods are more moral and creative, and he always knows what to do when a quick decision is needed. Getting into the habit of making your own decisions based on your values and your understanding of right or wrong, instead of following the crowd, will help make even the hardest choices easier.

• Cultivate your “spidey” senses: Teens are naturally impatient, impulsive and impetuous. Slow down! Take your time on the road, in relationships, during confrontations and when contemplating big decisions. Part of why Spider-Man is so fast is that time slows for him during tense situations. Likewise, teens who can slow down emotionally-driven decisions and better understand their consequences, much like a “spidey” sense, will make wiser ones.

• Know your kryptonite: Some kids just seem to have it all: academic excellence, athletic accomplishments, popularity, and a clear complexion to boot. But everyone has their limits, like Superman’s kryptonite. Knowing your limits and learning how to worked around them, or strengthen them, is a lifelong challenge for everyone.

About Ryan Pearson

After completing a Bachelor of Laws degree at age 21, Ryan Pearson took a leap of faith by leaving the beautiful beaches of Australia to travel the world. Eventually, he landed in Montreal for several years before returning home to write about his adventures. He overcame many challenging personal experiences and now embraces an audacious new lifestyle. Pearson writes about his own character arc – involving a supernatural and overzealous way of life – via character Reagan Jameson.

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. 

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