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News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 05 September 2014 08:37

WASHINGTON —The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that Iowa will host the nation’s governors for its 2016 Summer Meeting, July 14-17.

“The nation’s governors are pleased to bring our Summer Meeting to Iowa, and we thank Gov. Branstad for his gracious invitation,” said NGA Vice Chair Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. “NGA meetings are an opportunity for leaders from around the country to come together across party lines to develop innovative and improved approaches to governing.” Herbert will serve as NGA Chair during the meeting.

NGA’s nine-governor executive committee selected Iowa for its excellent accommodations and venue options, as well as its overall appeal. The state’s strong bid demonstrated its ability to meet all of the association’s criteria for hosting a Summer Meeting, including central location; hotel and venue space; and transportation, security and volunteer needs.

“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to showcase Iowa to my colleagues from across the country,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Iowa will serve as an excellent place for the nation’s governors to gather and discuss issues of mutual interest and share best practices, and I’m confident this will be a productive and memorable experience for everyone involved.”

The Summer Meeting is one of two official business meetings NGA holds each year. The next Winter Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., February 20-23. The next Summer Meeting will be held in West Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, July 23-26, 2015.




Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit

Niabi Zoo Announces Fall Hours PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Marc Heinzman   
Thursday, 04 September 2014 08:02

Coal Valley, IL – September 2, 2014 – Niabi Zoo announced today that it will begin its fall hours and schedule on September 8, 2014. The Zoo’s fall schedule features shorter hours of operation and the Zoo will be open one less day each week.

Beginning on September 8th, Niabi Zoo will be closed every Monday through the end of the 2014 season. Tuesday through Sunday, the Zoo will close at 4:00pm each day with the last admission granted at 3:00pm. Free admission will be offered to all Zoo guests every Tuesday through Friday in October.

Niabi Zoo will close for the year beginning Monday, October 27th. Despite the Zoo being closed for the winter, this year Niabi Zoo is planning to offer limitedadmission classes and programs. “Traditionally the Zoo has been pretty quiet during the winter months,” said Zoo Director Marc Heinzman, “but this year we plan to introduce some new classes and animal encounter programs on a limited basis as we work to expand Niabi Zoo’s role in the Quad Cities throughout the year.” The specifics of the classes and programs to be offered will be announced later in the year.

Governor Branstad announces appointments to Iowa’s boards and commissions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 14:03

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry E. Branstad today announced appointments to Iowa’s boards and commissions.

The following individuals’ appointments are effective August 29, 2014, and are not subject to Iowa Senate confirmation:

Juvenile Justice Advisory Council:

Jennifer Tibbetts, Marion

South Central Regional STEM Advisory Board:

Mary Lee Madison, West Des Moines

Stacey Singleton, Johnston

Stephen Sieck, Grinnell

Vocational Rehabilitation Council

Lori Moore, West Des Moines

The following individuals’ appointments are effective September 1, 2014, and are not subject to Iowa Senate Confirmation:

STEM Advisory Council:

Alissa Jourdan, Des Moines

Leann Jacobsen, Spencer

Rachel Hurley, Johnston

Robert “Kelly” Ortberg, Cedar Rapids

Gary Scholten, Des Moines

Paul Schickler, Des Moines

Cindy Dietz, Cedar Rapids

Patrick Barnes, Bettendorf

Jerry Deegan, Clive

Steven Triplett, Coralville

Janice Bates, Estherville

Joseph Hrdlicka, West Des Moines

Emily Abbas, Des Moines

Laurie Phelan, Maxwell

The following interim appointments are effective August 29, 2014, and are subject to Iowa Senate confirmation:

State Board of Educational Examiners:

Erin Schoening, Underwood

State Board of Tax Review:

Kathleen Till Stange, West Des Moines


Branstad, Reynolds visit Iowa Wesleyan College for unveiling of Sen. James Harlan statue PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 29 August 2014 14:56

Statue will have new home on campus after 104 years at U.S. Capitol

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will visit Iowa Wesleyan College today to welcome home and unveil a statue of Sen. James Harlan.

The Harlan statue had been on display in the U.S. Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection from 1910 until this year when it was replaced with a statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug of Cresco. The Iowa Legislature voted to put the Harlan statue on permanent loan from the state of Iowa to Iowa Wesleyan College where it will be unveiled today on the University Chapel’s front lawn.

“Senator Harlan was a true statesman and public servant,” said Branstad. “We’re pleased that the Iowa Legislature, the Borlaug State Committee and Iowa Wesleyan College were able to work together to bring the Harlan statue home to Mount Pleasant, where it will be on permanent display.”

“Governor Branstad and I are pleased to be in Mount Pleasant for the unveiling of Senator Harlan’s statue,” said Reynolds. “Senator Harlan was an inspiring leader whose legacy will be shared with generations of Iowans to come.”

Harlan became president of Iowa Wesleyan in 1853 before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1855. He also served as Secretary of the Interior and was considered a close friend and advisor to President Abraham Lincoln. Harlan’s daughter, Mary, married Robert Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s son, and the couple’s Mount Pleasant home sits on the north end of the Iowa Wesleyan campus and is known as the Harlan-Lincoln House. Harlan died in Mount Pleasant in 1899 and is buried in Forest Home Cemetery.

“While James Harlan and his legacy belong to all of Iowa, we at Iowa Wesleyan are honored to welcome his statue to a place he himself called home. Harlan was a visionary leader who transformed a young college into a university offering relevant and rigorous academic programs to students in Southeast Iowa and beyond,” said Dr. Steven Titus, President of Iowa Wesleyan College. “Today – 159 years later – as we embark upon a transformative and collaborative strategic planning endeavor, we return to that bold vision of a regional, comprehensive university. It is befitting that here and now, the statue of James Harlan comes home. “

“Today’s unveiling is a milestone not only in terms of recognizing James Harlan’s legacy to Iowa Wesleyan, the state of Iowa and the United States, but also because of the historical, cultural and artistic significance represented by the statue itself,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie said. “This statue is one of only three to represent Iowa in the National Statuary Hall Collection, which is considered one of the most distinguished collections of art in the world. Accordingly, the unveiling of this statue is a milestone for culture and public art in Iowa.”

In 2011, the Iowa Legislature approved a resolution to replace the statue of Sen. Harlan with one of Borlaug, who received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal for his work in developing new varieties of wheat. Borlaug is credited with saving a billion people around the world from hunger and starvation.

The creation of the Borlaug statue and relocation of the Harlan statue was led by the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee appointed by Gov. Branstad and chaired by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn. The Department of Cultural Affairs provided administrative support to the Borlaug Committee. Each state is represented in the U.S. Capitol by two statues of notable citizens. The other statue representing Iowa is of former Gov. Samuel Kirkwood.

The unveiling of the Harlan statue will take place today in conjunction with a number of other events throughout Mount Pleasant, including the Opening Ceremonies of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion and the Ribbon Cutting Celebration of the 1861 Union Block Building, where Belle Babb Mansfield studied law and took the bar exam to become the nation’s first woman attorney in about 1869. A statue of Mansfield is also on display at Iowa Wesleyan College.

For more information on Harlan, please visit the Governor’s Web site.


4 Ways to Make Your Wedding Guests Happy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 29 August 2014 09:02
The Perfect Wedding is the One Everyone Remembers
for All the Right Reasons

Brides-to-be have long checklists for planning their big day. Dress, flowers, venue, vows, will there be a sit-down dinner or hors d’oeuvres and crudités? Who will be in the wedding party?

“Every bride wants her wedding to be perfect and by that, many mean that they want the event itself and themselves to be absolutely beautiful,” says Eric Gulbrandson, a wedding photographer and author of the new book, “Dream Wedding Secrets: The All Important G.S.F,” (

“But a perfect wedding is also one that people remember months and years later as a wonderful event where they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Think about it – no bride wants her wedding remembered as a disaster!”

The secret is to put a high priority on what Gulbrandson calls the G.S.F. – Guest Satisfaction Factor.

“It’s how others perceive your wedding,” he says. “Most brides do want their guests to be able to enjoy their wedding, but they overlook the G.S.F. because all the advice is geared toward beauty and budgets.”

Gulbrandson interviewed hundreds of wedding guests and compiled more than 200 do’s and don’ts for brides-to-be for ensuring a high G.S.F. Among them:

•  If you invite children, arrange a supervised activity area for them. Couples often include children on their guest list because they contribute to the family atmosphere and celebration, but weddings are not child-centered events. Kids get bored; the wedding day is often a long one with extended periods of sitting quietly and an abundance of adults consuming alcohol. Help parents and children enjoy the event by arranging for a supervised activity area on the outskirts of the reception. A couple of teenaged relatives may appreciate earning some money for overseeing arts and crafts projects and games.  Hiring relatives for this job will help keep the costs reasonable.

•  Don’t make costumes a requirement for your themed wedding. Whether you’ve got your heart set on a Renaissance faire or zombie nuptials, don’t require your guests to shell out money buying or renting costumes! Yes, you can ease any financial burden by requesting they wear costumes in lieu of buying gifts, but that doesn’t address the potential for physical and emotional discomfort. Sure, all your friends may be LARPers, but if Uncle Howard and Aunt Betty are not, they may not enjoy wearing capes and carrying swords to your ceremony.

•  Don’t plan your wedding for a holiday weekend. Occasionally, brides plan their wedding for a three-day holiday weekend thinking it will help out-of-towners who want to attend. However, it also boosts the odds of local guests being out of town! Given that most working people have only two guaranteed three-day weekends a year, many plan ahead for them. Additionally, hotel and rental car prices tend to go up during holidays, and traffic doubles. Play it safe by avoiding calendar holidays and, of course, Super Bowl Sunday.

•  With food and drink, if you have to choose between quantity and quality, choose quantity. Nobody will mind if the chicken skewers aren’t the best they ever had, but they will if you run out of them! While taste and presentation are important, having enough food and drink available throughout the event is more important than a glamorous presentation. If you have children at your wedding, you can keep costs down -- and make them happy -- by planning a separate menu of, say, chicken nuggets and macaroni-and-cheese.

•  When it’s all said and done, don’t ruin your perfect wedding by failing to follow through with that time-honored (for good reason) custom of sending thank-you notes. “Technically, accepted protocol allows guests a year after the wedding to send a gift, so you may be on the receiving end for quite some time!” Gulbrandson says. “Keep a list and send handwritten thank-you’s as quickly as you can. Most guests and experts agree that one to three months after the wedding is fine, but my advice is to get on it quickly!”

About Eric Gulbrandson

Eric Gulbrandson is a longtime wedding photographer who began compiling interviews for “Dream Wedding Secrets: The All-Important G.S.F.,” (, in 2009. As a wedding photographer, he heard many happy guests – and many unhappy ones – and realized that most publications offering wedding advice focused on either making the bride and wedding more beautiful, or planning the wedding on a limited budget. When interviewing guests, he asked one primary question, “What makes a wedding great or not so great for you as a guest?”  He compiled thousands of stories and responses to derive consensus opinions on essential Guest Satisfaction Factors.

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