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38th DPS Basic Academy Set to Graduate PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alex Murphy   
Friday, 07 November 2014 09:40
Johnston, IOWA – The Iowa Department of Public Safety is proud to announce the graduation of 13 male and female recruits from the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s 38th Basic Academy.

Recruit Jeremy Sabin, of Davenport, is one of 13 recruits graduating from the DPS Basic Academy tomorrow.
The 13 recruits will be sworn in as peace officers for the State of Iowa during the commencement ceremony at 10:00AM, Friday, November 7, 2014, at the Iowa Army National Guard Freedom Center at Camp Dodge.

Once sworn-in, these recruits will serve the State as Troopers with the Iowa State Patrol.

For the past 20 weeks, these recruits have completed courses on laws of arrest, search and seizures, defensive tactics, arrest techniques, precision driving, firearms, emergency management services, criminal law, human relations, physical fitness and motor vehicle law, along with many other courses.

Members of the media and the public are invited to attend the commencement ceremony at 10:00AM and a DPS Promotional/Oath of Office Ceremony to be held at the Freedom Center, Camp Dodge at 1:00PM.

For any further questions, please contact Alex Murphy, Commissioner’s Office, Iowa Department of Public Safety, at (515) 443-3014.

How to Do What You Really Want for a Living (Fast-track to Your Retirement) PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 16:02
Math-Minded Financial Advisor Lays Blueprint for
Rethinking Your Earning & Distribution Years

What does it take to be comfortable during retirement? Conventional wisdom calls it the 4 percent rule – withdrawing about that amount from your nest egg each year to live comfortably. And, for that, millions of Americans believe they need to stick to a job they don’t like during their earning years.

“Unfortunately, the kind of money retirees want to spend each year for a comfortable lifestyle tends to be about $60,000, which means someone’s nest egg would have to be $1.5 million for that rate of withdrawal to sustain for 25 years,” says financial advisor Dave Lopez, a mathematics and computer science major who applies his analytical mind to solving retirement challenges.

“Of course, there are additional sources of income during retirement, such as social security, but the program may not survive the coming decades. And, there are additional costs of retirement, including legacy interests and the likelihood of needing long-term medical care.”

The fact is that millions of retirees simply do not have or will not have the kind of income they’d like to have during retirement. Lopez, founder of ILG Financial, LLC (, discusses an alternative approach to the golden, or distribution years.

•  Remember, Social Security is a welfare program. Before President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, seniors worked. America was an agrarian culture, and many who were in their 60s and 70s usually continued duties on the family farm, albeit handling lighter tasks. Social Security is essentially a Socialist idea. A response to the Great Depression, its purpose was to move out older workers in favor of employing younger Americans, but times have changed.

•  You don’t have to remain stuck in your “earning” job. “The U.S. government is the biggest employer in the world, and I work with many of its employees,” he says. “They usually have high-stress jobs and usually want to retire as early as possible and, while leaning on their pension, start working on their own terms as government contractors.”

•  Consider retiring early and working the job you’ve always wanted. The model frequently followed by retired government workers can be replicated by millions of other retirees. You don’t need a $1.5 million nest egg when you combine Social Security with a smaller withdrawal amount and a fun job earning $20,000 a year. Retirees can be creative in how they earn this “fun money.”

“Let’s say your passion is water skiing – why not parlay this hobby into a career?” Lopez says. “You’ll likely have decades of experience and plenty of contacts. You might work for a ski shop or create a small business giving lessons. Doing something you love is a great way to stay active as an older person.”

•  No pension? – Create your own. The days of working 30 years for a single company and collecting a sizeable pension are mostly over. This means retirees need to get creative and rely on other sources of income, including IRAs and strategies for annuities – effectively creating their own “pension.” Annuities are contracts with insurance companies. The contracts, which can be funded with either a lump sum or through regular payments, are designed as financial vehicles for retirement purposes. The money used to fund the contract grows tax-deferred. Unlike other tax advantaged retirement programs, there are no contribution limits on annuities.

“Annuities provide plenty of opportunity,” he says. “Of course, creative options also yield the risk of complexity. You’ll want to be sure to know what you’re doing, or at least consult with an accredited professional.”

•  Consider lifestyle changes. Through the distribution years, you should consider moving to a place where the cost of living is cheaper than major metropolitan areas. Simply put, you’ll want your money to go further. Take a play from younger folks who are cutting their cable in favor of only Wi-Fi access. Learn how to cook delicious meals on a budget. For many, learning how to make one’s money work better for them, rather than working for their money, is a preferable lifestyle.

About Dave Lopez

Dave Lopez is the founder of ILG Financial, LLC and has been working with individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area since 1986. He specializes in strategies that enable his clients to potentially build a retirement nest egg that they can rely on and can never outlive. Lopez has his Bachelors of Science degree from James Madison University with a major in mathematics and computer science. He is an investment advisor representative of AlphaStar Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor.

7 Ways to Cut Your Holiday Expenses PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 03 November 2014 14:35

By Jason Alderman

When it comes to holiday spending, waiting in store lines all night and jostling for discounts will mean very little if you don't have a budget that shapes your finances year-round. With the average U.S. household spending $600-$700 in 2014 for the holidays, putting that money together shouldn't be a game of chance. Here are some tips to get it right:

1. Before you make a list, plan. How's your debt? Do you have an emergency fund or any savings put aside? Start the holiday season by getting a handle on what you owe and what you're spending day-to-day. Then plan a holiday budget ( as early as possible that allows you to spend wisely.

2. See what spending is really necessary. It's tough to cut young kids off a gift list, so turn to the adults. If your finances are limited, it's worth asking adult friends and family members if they'd consider a gift swap or forego gifts altogether. They might actually think it's a good idea.

3. Attack your everyday expenses. Want to afford the holidays? Consider evaluating some expensive habits. Try reducing the amount you are spending on expensive nights out. Cook at home and bring your lunch to work. Use public transportation. Compare and cut your auto and home insurance premiums. Turn down the thermostat, dump magazine subscriptions, gym memberships and any other budget item you're not using. You'll find that savings build quickly.

4. Browse before you buy. Assuming you've made a tight gift list, create a gift budget ( tracking precisely what you're willing to pay for every item. For must-have, non-negotiable gifts, you may have to pounce before Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and Monday for both price and selection. Also, don't forget to budget for holiday entertainment It's a potentially huge cost. Plan ahead and don't waver.

5. Create your own Holiday Club. Online savings and money market accounts can allow you to set aside your holiday budget in small amounts throughout the year and they'll pay better rates than the last few banks offering Holiday Club savings accounts.

6. Watch gas and shipping. Smart shoppers weigh the value of store trips versus online shopping. They also keep an eagle eye for advertised online and shipping discounts. Sign up for special deals and coupons, consolidate in-person trips to stores and make sure you review return policies at online and bricks-and-mortar stores before you buy. Paying return fees or missing a window to return a gift entirely can cost big money.

7. Keep good records. Whether you track your finances on paper or on a computer, develop a system that allows you to match your holiday list to what you spend every year. Good recordkeeping not only allows you to track the numbers, but also prevents you from duplicating gifts or overspending year to year. And it's always a good idea to keep a list of what you get from others to make sure you're thanking people appropriately.

Finally, consider whether it's worth making new holiday traditions that go beyond gift giving. Some families consider contributing throughout the year to a joint vacation or reunion fund to bring everyone together. You might also consider the needs of aging or needy relatives who need assistance with chores, transportation or pet care. The holidays are what you make them.

Transgender Film and Panel Discussion PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Unitarian Universalists   
Monday, 03 November 2014 14:32

no dumb questions will be shown at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (UUCQC) at 7:00 pm on Friday, November 7, 2014. This documentary film will educate and spark dialogue about transgendered identity, human acceptance and love.

Uncle Bill is becoming a woman and his 6, 9 and 11 year old nieces are struggling to understand why and how. With just weeks until Uncle Bill’s first visit as Aunt Barbara, the sisters navigate the complex territories of anatomy, sexuality, personality, gender and fashion. Their reactions are funny, touching and distinctly different. The film offers a fresh perspective on a complex situation from a family that insists there are no dumb questions.

The film runs 25 minutes and will be followed by a panel discussion.

This free event is sponsored by the UUCQC Social Justice team as part of the congregation’s First Friday film series.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities

3707 Eastern Avenue, Davenport
Phone 563-359-0816


Thomas Edison’s Dirty Little Secret – A ‘Bride of Chucky’ Doll PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 31 October 2014 15:32
Why great ideas are not always great opportunities
By: Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.

Like other authors who write about innovation, I love Thomas Edison stories. He was an inventive genius and found the code to serial innovation more than 120 years ago. That code is still in use by companies like IDEO who’ve learned his lessons and both improved upon them and added to them. But the basic core is still the same.

Less well known is Edison’s entrepreneurial side.  He put financiers, government officials, politicians and inventors like himself together in an inspired coalition that built the first electrical grid in New York City. After all, what good is a lightbulb if you don’t have a source of electricity to power it?

But his inventions were not always successful, nor were his attempts to market and sell them.

For example, very few people know about Edison’s talking doll. I think she looks like the “Bride of Chucky” and is more than a little spooky. Talking, animated objects are commonplace today, but Edison was the first to have the idea and execute it.

What gave her voice was a tiny version of the phonograph – another of his inventions. He thought it would be novel to make a talking doll and hoped it would catch on. The doll market was already thriving, so a talking doll could potentially reach the top of the heap.

But not all of Edison’s creativity turned into cash, and his Bride of Chucky was a dismal failure. The little talking machine went inside the doll with the handle protruding from her back. Edison produced 2,500 of the dolls but only 500 sold. They were $10 each -- two weeks of the average pay back in 1890 – and many of those sold were returned for quality problems.

Edison quickly turned his back on her.

I particularly like this story because it shows the critical difference between innovation and entrepreneurship. Great ideas are not always great opportunities. Opportunities possess five characteristics that differentiate them from great ideas:

Durability – They keep creating value over time.

Sustainability – The organization has the willpower, manpower and resources to sustain the idea through failure, rethinking and reformulation.

Defensibility – The potential return on investment makes it worth the time, resources and risk that accompany all new ventures, thus making it worth doing this over doing something else.

It creates value – It creates value for the person willing to reach into their pockets for money to pay for the intangible form and thus it creates value for the company.

It is compelling – The Innovation is differentiated in some critical way that makes a customer segment just have to have it.

Entrepreneurs differ substantially from innovators because they have the discipline to determine whether a great idea is also a great opportunity.  This takes a lot of work, failure, rethinking and, most of all, passion to get you through all of this vetting. Many innovators lose interest after the idea stage and don’t understand that innovation without value creation may be fun – but it’s also folly.

Edison, like many other inventors, fell in love with his baby and he built a bunch of them, assuming a slam dunk in the market. In fact, these dolls were not just spooky looking, they were big and heavy and cost a lot of money.

Edison’s enthusiasm for his ability to make a talking doll was not counterbalanced by the discipline necessary to determine whether the idea was just that or a real opportunity.  He was so eager to produce them that he didn’t ask if the market wanted such an invention and at what price.

I am sure that Edison was OK with failure, as he once said that he had not failed in his efforts to create the lightbulb, but rather found a thousand ways that didn’t work.

About Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.

Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of IMSTRAT, LLC a consulting firm that specializes in helping private and public sector organizations develop innovation strategies. A respected thought leader in innovation, Thornberry is a highly sought-after international speaker and consultant. He  also serves as the faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Thornberry, author of “InnovationJudo:Disarming Roadblocks & Blockheads on the Path to Creativity” (, holds a doctorate in organizational psychology and specializes in innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership and organizational transformation.

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