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IOWA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS AND ADVOCATES JOIN EVERYTOWN IN WASHINGTON FOR FIRST-EVER SENATE HEARING ON GUNS AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stacey Radnor   
Friday, 25 July 2014 15:37
Survivors and Advocates to Urge Congress to Close Loopholes that Allow Domestic Abusers and Stalkers to Get Guns; In 2014, Everytown Worked to Pass Bipartisan Laws in Six States to Keep Guns Out of Abusers’ Hands and Save Women’s Lives
Nearly two dozen domestic violence survivors and advocates are heading to Washington next week for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 30 – “Violence Against Women Act Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence” – the first-ever hearing on the loopholes in federal law that allow dangerous abusers and stalkers to buy and keep guns.  These loopholes are major contributors to the deadly relationship between domestic violence and guns, as original research by Everytown shows:
  • In an average month, 48 women in the U.S. are shot to death by intimate partners.

  • American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries.
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be murdered.
  • More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. in 2010 — at least 53 percent — were killed by intimate partners or family members.

  • Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U.S. have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined.
Prior to the hearing, Everytown for Gun Safety will fly-in nearly two dozen domestic violence survivors and advocates from Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. Survivors and advocates will urge members of Congress to support Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) Protecting Domestic and Stalking Victims Act (S. 1290), which would protect victims of stalking and dating abuse by ensuring that abusive dating partners and convicted stalkers can't legally buy and possess guns.  Although more women in the U.S. are killed by dating partners than by spouses, current federal law prohibits gun possession by abusive spouses but generally allows those who abuse their dating partners to continue to buy and have guns.
Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have made significant progress on this front – in just the first half of 2014, the organization worked with domestic violence prevention advocates to pass important bills in six states that will help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.  These measures have been passed by state houses with bipartisan support and signed into law by governors of both parties, including both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Spokespeople available for interviews before and after hearing:
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, is a 43-year-old mother of five children. Watts was not an activist or involved in gun issues prior to the shootings at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, 2012. The day after the tragedy, she started a Facebook page called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Since then, Moms Demand Action has grown to include a chapter in every state of the country and is now part of Everytown for Gun Safety. Watts’ goal is for Moms Demand Action to become the Mothers Against Drunk Driving of safe gun laws.
John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, previously served as Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Feinblatt leads former Mayor Bloomberg's national coalition on gun violence prevention. He previously served as the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York and was the founding director of the Center for Court Innovation, the country’s leading think tank devoted to problem-solving justice.
Elvin Daniel’s sister, Zina Daniel Haughton, was shot and killed by her estranged husband in October 2012 at the Brookfield, WI salon and spa where she worked. Her estranged husband was issued a restraining order days before the shooting and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm. He found a private seller through Armslist.com. Because the private seller was not required to conduct a criminal background check, he was able to purchase a semi-automatic handgun. The next day he used the gun to shoot seven people, killing Zina and two other women, before he committed suicide. Elvin lives in Illinois and is a gun owner and member of the NRA.
Elizabeth Albright-Battles is an attorney with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization that provides resources including community outreach, counseling, and training to victims of abuse.
Sara Barber is the Executive Director for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The coalition brings together 22 of the state’s domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy programs in a joint effort to provide services to survivors and to increase awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Kimberly Brusk had a temporary restraining order against her now ex-husband when he attempted to shoot her with a shotgun in her home. Kimberly currently serves as an Advisory Board Member on the DeKalb County Domestic Violence Task Force.
John Cantin’s daughter Missy was shot and killed by her estranged husband in 2009 and John was also shot in the incident. A Manchester resident, John has been an advocate against domestic violence abuse and gun violence since his daughter's murder. He is also a veteran and the commissioner for the Victims Compensation program in New Hampshire.
Bonnie Campbell was elected Attorney General of Iowa in 1990 and served until 1994. She is the only woman in Iowa to have served in that role. She strengthened Iowa’s domestic violence laws, increased funding for victim compensation programs and shelters, and wrote what became a model statute on anti-stalking for states around the country. Bonnie was then appointed by President Clinton to serve as the inaugural head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Office, which was created as part of the landmark bipartisan 1994 Violence Against Women Act.
Sarah Kenney is the Associate Director of Public Policy at the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. The organization serves as a statewide advocacy and training resource on domestic and sexual violence. Last year the 14 member programs provided direct services to approximately 8,500 residents and responded to more than 25,000 calls. Sarah serves as the Network's representative on the state's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission, which has been tracking homicides in VT for the past 20 years. Because more than half of Vermont's domestic violence related homicides have been committed with firearms, the organization has been working to recommend and implement reforms that will keep guns out of the hands of abusers.
Marie Kirkendolph’s mother was killed by her abusive stepfather, and her sister was shot and killed by her husband. She is now a member of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and she works to reduce domestic abuse. Marie advocates for policies that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Clai Lasher-Sommers was shot in the back by her abusive stepfather when she was 13. She went on to establish a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center in upstate New York. She now lives in her home state of New Hampshire where she continues to work to prevent domestic violence and advocates for safer gun laws.
Christy Martin is a former championship boxer who was in an abusive relationship with her husband and manager for many years. When she told her husband she was leaving him, he stabbed her several times and then shot her in the chest with her own gun.
Sue Meuschke is the Executive Director for the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence. NNADV works to both reduce domestic violence and to raise awareness about the many issues victims face as a result. Under Sue’s leadership, NNADV has played a leading role in statewide efforts to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Beth Meeks is the Executive Director for the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. LCADV is a statewide coalition of shelters, non-residential programs, and individuals working together to end domestic violence across the state. Beth works to raise awareness about domestic violence and to discuss the progress that has been made. In May 2014, Governor Jindal signed into effect a law prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing a firearm—a bill that was a top legislative priority was a top legislative priority for LCADV.
Suzanne Palmer is Program Director for the Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia. The organization provides immediate resources and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Suzanne has been an advocate for domestic violence victims for the past decade and supports common-sense gun laws that make will communities safer.
Katie Ray-Jones is President of The National Domestic Violence Hotline, the only national hotline designed specifically to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence 24/7. The organization also focuses on the dangers of firearms in domestic violence situations. Katie is also a member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Kate Ranta and her father were shot by her estranged husband in front of her 4-year-old son. Kate had a restraining order against him, which was dropped after his guns were involuntarily taken by authorities. He was able to obtain another gun and followed her to her new home where he first shot through her door. He then forced his way into the apartment and shot Kate again. Kate was shot through middle of her right hand and in the left breast, and her father was shot in his upper left arm and rib cage. He is now in jail awaiting trial. Kate is a national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America.
Shannon Rich is the Public Policy Manager at the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence where she helps to provide around-the-clock services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Because the vast majority of domestic violence homicides in Arizona are gunshot-related, Shannon is well aware of the dangers of firearms in domestic violence situations.
Debby Tucker is Executive Director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. NCDSV provides legal and policy training to professionals who work with both domestic and sexual violence victims and perpetrators. Debbie served as Founding Chair of the National Network to End Domestic Violence during the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. She was the Co-Chair of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence from 2000 to 2003, and was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame by Governor Rick Perry in 2014.
Ken Wade is Executive Director of the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an advocacy organization that provides legal support for domestic violence victims and their children.
Kendra Wyckoff currently serves as Executive Director for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. This nationally recognized coalition consists of a network of constituents that help to increase public awareness and community mobilization and provides training and programs to a wide range of individuals.
Valerie Wynn has worked with domestic and sexual violence victims for the past 18 years, and has provided trainings across the country and around the world. Her passion for meeting the needs of abused women and children led her to open The Mary Parrish Center for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence (MPC). Today, MPC is one of the largest single-site therapeutic transitional housing programs for women and children in Tennessee. Valerie is also a survivor of an abusive relationship. She believes she is alive today because her perpetrator did not have access to a weapon or gun.

 
4 Ways to Make Your Wedding Guests Happy PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 25 July 2014 15:26
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,” (www.dreamweddingsecrets.com).

“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.,” (www.dreamweddingsecrets.com), 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.

 
Branstad, Reynolds send letter to President Obama regarding federal government’s immigration crisis PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 25 July 2014 13:36

Pair calls for border security, sound immigration policy that respects the rule of law and transparency from the Obama Administration

 

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds today sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking answers to the Obama Administration’s immigration crisis along the southern border. In the letter, Branstad and Reynolds encourage the President to secure the border, work with Congress to install a sound immigration policy that respects the United States’ rule of law, and seek transparency and clarity from the Obama administration, who has failed to answer the State of Iowa’s basic questions regarding this immigration crisis.

“We are deeply empathetic for the unaccompanied alien children who are coming to the United States for a better life,” Branstad and Reynolds state. “However, the lack of a secure border and sound immigration policy is sending a signal of false hope to the unaccompanied alien children.”

They continue, “…the policies of your Administration jeopardize the lives of unaccompanied alien children who are currently making a very dangerous journey from Central America.”

Branstad and Reynolds made the following basic requests of President Obama and his administration:

1.       Should clandestine placements continue, we request written certification from Secretary Sylvia Burwell that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USHHS) takes full responsibility and is ensuring the unaccompanied alien children are educated and in healthy and safe environments complying with the laws of the State of Iowa.

2.       That the Obama Administration begins sharing individual-level data on all placements in Iowa with the Iowa Department of Human Services. This transparency is critically important on a real-time basis so State and local leaders are empowered with the information needed to make sound decisions and ensure the health, safety and well-being of their citizens.

3.       To be kept informed, in real-time, of departure information for unaccompanied alien children.

“We write to express our deep concerns about the immigration crisis created by the inability of the federal government to secure the Southwest Border,” the letter reads. “Like many Iowans, we find the lack of transparency from your Administration with State and local leaders and the public on this important issue troubling.”

Branstad and Reynolds close the letter by calling on President Obama and Congress to come to a solution to the federal government’s immigration crisis by stating, “Therefore, it is incumbent upon your Administration and Congress to find a solution to this crisis and not just push the issue upon the States.”

The full text of the letter is as follows:

 

July 24, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our deep concerns about the immigration crisis created by the inability of the federal government to secure the Southwest Border. Like many Iowans, we find the lack of transparency from your Administration with State and local leaders and the public on this important issue troubling.

At a recent National Governors Association meeting, Secretary Sylvia Burwell pledged to notify State leaders before any illegal immigrant children would be placed in our State.  However, earlier this week, our office first learned from a news reporter that 122 illegal immigrant children had been placed with sponsors in the State of Iowa during the first six months of the year.  The following day, another reporter indicated that 17 additional individuals had been placed in Iowa during the first 18 days of July. On July 22, senior Federal officials communicated that State or local leaders will only be notified about facility placements and will not be notified when individuals are placed with sponsors in their jurisdiction.  Federal officials have not been able to communicate how many of the 139 individuals placed in Iowa remain in the State.  Further, Federal officials indicated that sponsors are not being asked about their legal status, which further erodes public confidence in your Administration’s approach, particularly when there is no accountability to ensure that unaccompanied alien children and sponsors will indeed appear at any scheduled immigration hearings.

We respectfully request that your Administration begin sharing individual-level data on all placements in Iowa with the Iowa Department of Human Services.  Additionally, it is important for States to be kept informed of departure information for unaccompanied alien children. This transparency is critically important on a real-time basis so State and local leaders are empowered with the information needed to make sound decisions and ensure the health, safety and well-being of their citizens.

We are deeply empathetic for the unaccompanied alien children who are coming to the United States for a better life. However, the lack of a secure border and sound immigration policy is sending a signal of false hope to the unaccompanied alien children. Should clandestine placements continue, we request written certification from Secretary Burwell that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USHHS) takes full responsibility for ensuring the unaccompanied alien children are educated and in healthy and safe environments complying with the laws of the State of Iowa.

Iowa is a welcoming State with a history of opening its arms to legal immigrants from around the world. Legal immigrants are an important part of our nation’s and Iowa’s history and will continue to be an important part of our future growth, innovation and culture. However, the policies of your Administration jeopardize the lives of unaccompanied alien children who are currently making a very dangerous journey from Central America.

Further, the clandestine placement of unaccompanied alien children into communities across the country erodes public trust and puts a strain on already scarce State and Federal resources.  Respectfully, your Administration’s policies and actions created this crisis and are perpetuating the problems for unaccompanied alien children while ignoring the true costs these actions are imposing on local, State and federal taxpayers.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon your Administration and Congress to find a solution to this crisis and not just push the issue upon the States.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 
How to Run Your Home More like a CEO PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 25 July 2014 13:22
4 Tips for Time & Budget Management from a Business Development Strategist

All successful CEOs have one thing in common: They’re able to maintain a big-picture perspective. It’s also something successful moms have in common, says Zenovia Andrews, a business strategist, speaker, author and mom who coaches entrepreneurs and CEOs on time and budget management.

“In business, CEOs implement a process that achieves efficient time and resource management in the most cost-effective way; sounds a lot like a mom, doesn’t it?” says Andrews, founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, a company devoted to empowering and teaching entrepreneurs development strategies to increase profits.

“If every mom were a CEO, America would rule the world!”

Andrews, author of the new book “All Systems Go – A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow,” (www.zenoviaandrews.com), suggests the following tips for moms to better manage money and time.

•  CEOs utilize apps, and so should CEO Moms. When a CEO’s personal assistant isn’t around or, if it’s a small business and she doesn’t have one, then apps do nicely. There are several apps for moms, including Bank of Mom – an easy way to keep track of your kids' allowances. Set up an account for each child and track any money they earn for chores or allowance. The app also allows you to track their computer and TV time as well as other activities.

•  Measurement is the key to knowledge, control and improvement. CEOs have goals for their businesses and Moms have goals for their family members. In either case, the best way to achieve a big-picture goal is to identify action steps and objectives and a system for measuring progress. Want to improve your kids’ test scores, help your husband lose weight or – gasp – free some time for yourself? There are four phases to help track progress: planning, or establishing goals; collection, or conducting research on your current process; analysis – comparing information from existing processes with the new one; and adapting, or implementing the new process.

•  Understand your home’s “workforce.” A good CEO helps her employees grow and develop, not only for the company’s benefit, but for the employee’s as well. Most people are happiest when they feel they’re learning and growing, working toward a goal, which may be promotion within the company or something beyond it. When they feel the CEO is helping with that, they’re happier, more productive, more loyal employees. Likewise, CEO Moms need to help their children gain the skills and knowledge they need not only to succeed in general but to achieve their individual dreams.

•  A well-running household is a community effort; consider “automated” systems. In business, automated systems tend to be as clinical as they sound, typically involving technology. Yet, there’s also a human resource element. Automated systems are a must for CEO Moms, and they tend to take the form of scheduling at home. Whose night is it for the dishes, or trash? One child may be helpful in the kitchen, whereas another may be better at cleaning the pool.

About Zenovia Andrews

Zenovia Andrews, www.zenoviaandrews.com, is a business development strategist with extensive experience in corporate training, performance management, leadership development and sales consulting with international clients, including Pfizer, Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A sought-after speaker and radio/TV personality, she is the author of “All Systems Go” and “MAXOut: I Want It All.”

 
Governor Branstad appoints Lars Anderson District Court Judge PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Governor Terry E. Branstad   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 07:36

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today appointed Lars Anderson District Court Judge in the Sixth District.

Anderson, of Iowa City, earned his law degree from the University of Iowa and is currently working in private practice, as a judicial hospitalization referee, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa

The Sixth District includes Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Tama counties.

Anderson fills the vacancy left by Judge Marsha M. Beckelman.

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