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Traffic Safety Coalition Supports National Stop on Red Week with Launch of Iowa Chapter PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lauren Whalley   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:30

Traffic Safety Coalition’s Iowa Chapter will educate drivers on benefit of traffic safety cameras

CHICAGO – The Traffic Safety Coalition (TSC) is marking National Stop on Red Week by launching a new chapter and education campaign in Iowa.  The TSC, a national not-for-profit grassroots organization, works to improve road safety across the country by working with concerned citizens, traffic safety experts, law enforcement, public officials, victim's advocates and health care professionals who are committed to making our roads safer for drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

“No family should ever have to endure the loss of a loved one because someone illegally ran a red light.  This week is a reminder to all drivers about the importance of obeying our most basic traffic safety law: Red means stop,” said Traffic Safety Coalition Co-Chair Paul Oberhauser, whose daughter Sarah was tragically killed in 2002 when a driver ran a red light and crashed into her car.

TSC works with its partners, including the Bicyclists of Iowa City, to release traffic safety data and share the proven benefits of safety cameras with members of the driving public and media as well as elected officials.

“Red light running puts all road users - drivers, pedestrians and cyclists - at risk.  Bicyclists of Iowa City supports technologies, such as traffic safety cameras, which help enforce positive and safe behavior at red lights,” said Nate Van der Weide, President of Bicyclists of Iowa City.

Communities across the state are using traffic safety cameras as an important law enforcement tool to save lives and to reduce red light running and avoidable crashes and injuries.  Statistics show safety cameras are working in Iowa communities, including:

  • Davenport: 33% reduction in rear-end crashes and 40% reduction in red light running crashes (Midwest Transportation Consortium, 11/11)
  • Council Bluffs: 40% reduction in overall crashes and 90% drop in red light running crashes (Center for Transportation Research & Education, 12/07)
  • Cedar Rapids: 40% drop in motor vehicle crashes at the eight intersections with red-light cameras in the first year (Editorial, The Gazette, 8/9/11)

The TSC works with more than 100 partners across the country, including National Alliance for Biking and Walking, National Safety Council, and Ride of Silence, as well as local chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Safe Kids USA and other local community organizations across the country.

If you wish to learn more about the TSC or are interested in joining the Coalition’s efforts, visit www.TrafficSafetyCoalition.com.

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About the Traffic Safety Coalition:

The Traffic Safety Coalition is a not-for-profit grassroots organization comprised of concerned citizens, traffic safety experts, law enforcement, public officials, victim's advocates, health care professionals, and industry leaders who are committed to working together to make our roads safer for drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.  We work with our partners throughout the country to promote technology and education that save lives and keep our roads safe.

The Traffic Safety Coalition received the 2011 Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association for outstanding achievements in highway safety.

For more information about traffic safety issues, visit www.trafficsafetycoalition.com or connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/trafficsafetycoalition and Twitter: www.twitter.com/TrafficSafetyCn

 
Rediscovering Camelot: As Kennedy Anniversary Approaches, Art Expert Reveals New Theory PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:01

Planning already is underway to mark the 50th anniversaryof the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 2013. Commemorative events in Dallas and in churches across the country are being organized. TV host Bill O’Reilly is set to release a new book, “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot,” this fall, and a feature movie, “The Kennedy Detail,” is planned for release next fall.

“As people ponder the legacy of President Kennedy and his ‘Camelot,’ it’s a good time to revisit the original Camelot of King Arthur legend, and I have compelling new evidence about where it may have been located,” says art expert Terry Stanfill, author of Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance (realmsofgoldthenovel.blogspot.com), a novel of ancient history and modern romance that posits her new theory about Camelot.

“The Arthurian legend is so ancient, and yet it has been one of the most enduring interests in Western civilization,” she says. “It’s exciting to think that after all of these centuries, we have a strong case for a real Camelot.”

Educated in Medieval history, Stanfill has traveled extensively through Asia and Europe, particularly France and Italy, and researched the art and artifacts. She offers this primer on King Arthur, including her own surprising theory about the true location of the original Camelot:

• The legend
Arthur as king was first mentioned in “The History of the Kings of Britain” by Geoffrey of Monmouth, 1100-1155. A generation later, Chrétien de Troyes, a French bard and poet, began to weave stories about King Arthur's court, introducing the characters Lancelot, Guinevere and Perceval. He was the first to mention Camelot, King Arthur’s home, describing it as "a place by a river, surrounded by forests and plains beyond."

• The reality
Toward the end of the Roman Empire, circa 450 AD, Arthur Riothamus, King of the Britons, was hired by the Romans to fight off invading Goths and Visigoths. There is documentation from multiple sources that Arthur spent a lot of time in Burgundy, France. He died after a battle near Bourges and was taken by his men to Avallon in France, a town that had existed for centuries. This is fact, not fiction.

• Avalon
While many people believe the mystical Avalon of Arthurian legend was in England, perhaps near Glastonbury, there is no record of a place called Avalon in that country.The Avallon region of France, however, has long existed. It was and still is known for its fruit trees and vines, much like the lush island of legend.

• Camelot
While many presume Camelot was in England, the extraordinary discovery in 2007 of the remains of an ancient community on Mont Lassois in France makes Stanfill wonder if this was actually the true Camelot. The community is near Avallon, and among the buildings unearthed there appear to be the remnants of a palace, including a great hall, where there is evidence of feasting.

“When Chrétien de Troyes wrote of Camelot, this place may have been held in the memory of the locals as a place where peace, prosperity and the good life held a long reign,” Stanfill says. “His vision was a nostalgic tribute to a distant, golden age of tranquility that was on this hilltop.”

Stage director Manfred Flynn Kuhnert, an Arthurian legend aficionado and teaching fellow at Harvard College, says Stanfill offers the most compelling evidence he’s heard for the historical existence of Camelot and its location in France.

“The citadel of Latisco on Mont Lassois -- a site of palatial buildings unprecedented in the Celtic world – is not far from Avallon,” Kuhnert says. “Arthur Riothamus’ time in Burgundy is documented, and we know that the first person to write about Arthur was the bard Chrétien, who lived in the area.

“This place is exactly as he described it: ‘on a hill, a place by a river, surrounded by forests, with plains beyond.’ Terry Stanfill may well have it right.”

About Terry Stanfill

Terry Stanfill holds a degree in English literature with a minor in medieval history. She is an Overseer of the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. An enthusiastic preservationist, she was decorated by the president of Italy with the Ordine al Merito, Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana, and more recently as Commendatore, for her fundraising efforts for the restoration of San Pietro di Castello, the ancient cathedral of Venice. She is a former international representative for Christie’s auction house and former director of Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif. “Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance” is her third novel. Her first two are “The Blood Remembers” and “A Tale of the Fortuny Gown.” Stanfill is married to Dennis Stanfill, former CEO of 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios.

 
Grassley wants answers from Napolitano about chemical facility security program PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:29

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about allegations of mismanagement and spending abuse by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (CFATS).

“Serious claims have been made about the operation of this program,” said Grassley.  “The Secretary said earlier this year that things had been fixed, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  If the allegations are true, there’s been a systemic failure of this security program and nearly $500 million has been wasted.”

The CFATS program was created in 2007 to determine risk factors for chemical facilities and mandate and assess security plans for high-risk facilities.

Grassley asked Napolitano about the program in April, following a report that said problems within CFATS were so severe they posed a measureable risk to the program, when she appeared before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Since then, a whistleblower has provided more details about the Department of Homeland Security’s management of the program, including allegations that CFATS assigned employees to non-existent field offices, allowing employees to work from home while claiming on paper to be located in phantom CFATS field offices.  Grassley said one byproduct of this was that employees often lived in low locality-pay areas while claiming duty stations in high locality-pay areas and receiving higher pay, as a result.

Allegations also included routine procurement by CFATS of tactical and field equipment for which the program had no use.  In addition, a high level official in the Department of Homeland Security allegedly refused to report information about the abuses to the Inspector General.

In a July 30, 2012, letter to Napolitano, Grassley asked for detailed information about the program.  He asked for a response by Monday, August 13.  Click here to read the letter.


 
Announcing School Supply Shopping Spree for kids in need PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Holly Nomura   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 08:22

 
Grassley works to extend E-Verify and programs for legal immigration PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:56

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate last week gave unanimous approval to bipartisan legislation co-authored by Senator Chuck Grassley to extend the E-Verify program, an Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of employees to work in the United States.

“E-Verify has proven its value in helping to enforce immigration laws by giving employers a tool to help determine if individuals are eligible to work in the United States,” Grassley said.  “Extending the current program is very necessary until E-Verify is made a requirement for employers.  Programs like E-Verify and the others extended by the Senate safeguard opportunities for legal workers and recognize the value of legal immigrants to American society.”

E-Verify allows employers to submit voluntarily information reported on an employee’s Form I-9 to the Department of Homeland Security, which works in partnership with the Social Security Administration to determine worker status.  There is no charge to employers to use E-Verify, and more than 392,911 employers use the program.

E-Verify was established in 1996 as a pilot program with employers in five states allowed to participate.  The pilot program was reauthorized in 2001, expanded to employers in every state in 2003 under Grassley-authored legislation, and reauthorized again in 2008 and 2009.  Since 1996, improvements have been made to decrease error rates with an appeal process, a self-check for individuals to make certain their information is correct, and a photo-tool capability to improve the ability of employers to determine if document photos match potential employees.

In addition to a three-year extension of E-Verify, Grassley helped to pass three-year extensions for several other immigration programs, including:

1)      Non-Minister Religious Worker Visa Program.  This program allows up to 5,000 Special Immigrant Visas to be issued each year.  Religious organizations can use these visas to sponsor foreign nationals to come to the United States and provide services for people in some of the nation’s neediest and most underserved areas.

2)      Immigrant Investor Program.  This program, known as EB-5, is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.  The program allows 10,000 visas each year to individuals who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States.

3)      J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  This program waives a requirement for up to 30 international medical graduates each year to return to their country of nationality for at least two years before returning to the United States if the J-1 physicians agree to practice medicine in a federally designated health professional shortage area or medically underserved area.

Grassley serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary which is responsible for immigration legislation.

 

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