Stage & Theatre
Becherer Named Among Top Association Leaders for 2013 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:08
USB CEO honored for his work to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability
ST. LOUIS (Sept. 24, 2013) – CEO Update likes what it sees in John Becherer, chief executive officer of the United Soybean Board (USB). The publication covering the association-leadership landscape across the United States recently named him one of the top association executives for 2013.
The soy checkoff program Mr. Becherer leads is known for producing results for all U.S. soybean farmers. The most recent independent return-on-investment study found that farmers receive $6.40 in return for every dollar they invest in the education and promotion efforts the checkoff funds. For his efforts, CEO Update chose Mr. Becherer from among more than 100 association executives nominated for their achievements in leadership and managing change, among other areas.
Mr. Becherer says he’s driven by his commitment to ensuring that all U.S. soybean farmers get the most out of every checkoff dollar.
“I’m gratified to receive this honor on behalf of all of our volunteer farmer-leaders who have put so much hard work into the checkoff over the years,” says Mr. Becherer, who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm before earning a master’s degree in agricultural economics. “The credit should really go to them for making sure the checkoff continues to pay off for all U.S. soybean farmers.”
In 19 years under Mr. Becherer, soy-checkoff-funded programs have helped power an industry that has made major gains for American soybean farmers. Some highlights include:
  • The national average price of soybeans rose from $5.40 per bushel in Mr. Becherer’s first year as USB CEO to $14.30 in 2012. The total value of the U.S. soybean crop rose from about $13.8 billion to $43.2 billion over the same period.
  • U.S. soybean acreage and production have risen to record highs of 77.5 million acres and 3.36 billion bushels, both set in 2009.
  • U.S. soy exports remain at near-record levels and the commodity is one of the driving forces behind U.S. agriculture’s excellent trade surplus.
USB Chairman Jim Stillman says he believes Mr. Becherer had a hand in helping farmers realize those gains.
“John’s strategy, leadership and counsel have been invaluable to the soy checkoff, the industry and, most importantly, U.S. soybean farmers,” says Stillman, a soybean farmer from Emmetsburg, Iowa. “Without question, the farmers he tirelessly serves are better off now than when he became CEO.”
Mr. Becherer has also led the organization through a massive restructuring designed to keep USB farmer-leaders focused on their strategic objectives: increasing the value of U.S. soybean meal and oil, protecting farmers’ freedom to operate and meeting soy customer needs with quality products and services.
CEO Update, founded more than 20 years ago, is the largest independent information source for association and non-profit organization executives in the United States. For more information, visit
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
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The Day of the Dead: Celebrating Community, Family and the Immortal Spirit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Natalie Dunlop   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 11:52

Davenport, Iowa (September 24, 2013) – The Day of the Dead: Celebrating Community, Family and the Immortal Spirit is a new exhibition that will be opening at the Figge Art Museum on Thursday. The installation celebrates the traditions of the November holiday in which the living remember their departed loved ones.

The exhibition will feature more than two dozen larger-than-life Catrina dolls from Casa Guanajuato Quad Cities and multiple ofrendas (altars) from community members including The Humane Society of Scott County, The Project of the Quad Cities and Scott Community College SEED Program.

The ofrendas on display honor the deceased and will be decorated with traditional items such as sugar skulls, flowers, candles and images.  Guests will be invited to make paper flowers and butterflies, leaves and paw prints to leave in remembrance.

The public is invited to the free “Cocktails with Catrinas” kickoff event on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. in the Grand Lobby, where attendees will mingle among Catrinas while enjoying music, free snacks, salsa dancing and specialty cocktails.

The Day of the Dead exhibition will be on view through November 3 and is sponsored by the Brand Boeshaar Foundation Fund.


Companion Events:
Cocktails with Catrinas

5-8 p.m. Thursday, September 26

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the exhibition at this event featuring food, music and salsa dancing among the larger-than-life Catrinas from Casa Guanajuato. Free!

Esperanza Forum & Luncheon

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, October 4

Learn about the state of Latino affairs in Illinois from Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum. The forum will be followed by a Q&A session. Free, but please RSVP for lunch count at 309-756-9978 or


Free Family Fiesta Day

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, November 2
Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos at the Figge! Families will enjoy making a variety of projects including skeleton masks, clay figures, and learn to make and decorate traditional sugar skulls. Special snacks, music, story time and a film will also be on the schedule along with gallery activities. Ballet Folklorico will cap off the scheduled activities with their performance of traditional dance in the Grand Lobby.

Día de los Muertos 5K Race/Walk

9 a.m. Saturday, November 2
A partnership with Casa Guanajuato Quad Cities

Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos and Halloween by dressing up for this family-friendly run/walk on the Dav­en­port River­walk (Rip­ley St. at Bieder­beck Dr.). To register visit

About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5 p.m. Thursdays the museum is open until 9 p.m. Admission to the museum and tour is $7. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and free to all on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit


Governor Quinn Announces Health Plan Rates are 25 Percent Below HHS Estimates PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Mike Claffey   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 11:45

95 Percent of Illinois Residents will have Access to at Least 34 Plans
Rates Will Be as Low as $120 Per Month for a 25-year-old in Chicago

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that rates for the benchmark plans that will be offered on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace are more than 25 percent below U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates. The Governor made the announcement as Illinois is awaiting final federal approval for 165 health plans that are expected to be offered by eight insurers as options on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Illinois, and ensure that all people have access to quality health care.

“All health insurance plans offered through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace are designed to meet the needs of individuals, families and small business owners across the state,” Governor Quinn said. “I am happy to say that starting in October, Illinois residents will be able to select a plan that is affordable and meets the healthcare needs of their families. The number and quality of affordable health plans that will be offered through the Illinois Marketplace is impressive.”

Health insurance plans offered through the Marketplace will be categorized as bronze (lowest cost), silver, gold or platinum (highest cost) based on how costs are shared. For example, bronze plans are likely to have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

Illinois’ rates are lower than was predicted by HHS and lower than many other states. For example, the lowest proposed monthly rate for a bronze plan for a 25-year-old is $120 in Chicago or $128 in Peoria; for a 40-year-old it would be $152 in Chicago or $163 in Peoria; and for 60-year old consumer it would be $323 in Chicago or $346 in Peoria.

“With the launch of the Marketplace hundreds of thousands of consumers in Illinois will also have access to financial support to help pay for health insurance,” Governor Quinn said. “This means they have access to health coverage that meets their budget, keeps them healthy and gives them peace of mind."

Individuals and families with income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level may receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the Marketplace.  For example:

·         A single 30-year old, with a household income of $23,000 could be eligible for a subsidy that could bring their monthly cost to $44 in Peoria or $69 in Chicago

·         A family of 4, parents aged 40 with 2 children, with a household income of $60,000 could be eligible for a subsidy that could bring their monthly cost to $150 in Peoria or $234 in Chicago

Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace Overview

The Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is the official online shop where consumers can compare all health insurance plans side-by-side; get help from a local expert trained to educate them about their options; and apply for financial assistance to bring down costs.

"We’re pleased with the numerous options that will be available through the Illinois Marketplace. Through the Marketplace, the vast majority of Illinoisans will be able to compare up to 34 plans and premiums side-by-side and, for many, have access to financial help to lower the cost of the plans,” Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Director Andrew Boron said. “The Marketplace website will make the process of shopping for health coverage more transparent and will allow residents to make side-by-side comparisons when considering health care options.”

A six-month enrollment period for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will begin in October and close April 1. For coverage to begin Jan. 1, customers must enroll by Dec. 15.


Plans offered in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace

In addition to the four “metal levels,” high deductible “catastrophic plans” will be available for young adults under age 30 and certain other qualifying individuals.

Illinois consumers will pay similar or lower premiums for similar coverage compared to nearly all other states that have released premium rates. For example, the lowest proposed monthly rates for a bronze plan for a 25-year-old consumer in Denver is $146 and Seattle is $167, while a consumer in Chicago would only pay $120 and a consumer in Peoria would pay $128.

All plans provide coverage for the same set of essential health benefits.  These health benefits include: (1) ambulatory patient services, (2) emergency services, (3) hospitalization, (4) maternity and newborn care, (5) mental health/substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, (6) prescription drugs, (7) rehabilitative/habilitative services & devices, (8) laboratory services, (9) preventive & wellness services & chronic disease management, and (10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Once a consumer decides what coverage he or she wants to purchase, four factors can affect the premium rate: age, area of the state in which the person resides, whether the person uses tobacco, and how many people are covered by the plan. Subsidies and tax credits may lower costs further for many individuals and families. In addition, if a company does not spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care, policyholders will receive rebates

The lineup of plans would give residents in all 102 Illinois counties access to a broad array of affordable coverage options.  Ninety five percent of Illinois residents would have access to at least 34 individual plans, in addition to another 28 plans offered through employers.  Additionally:

·         Every county will have choices that include PPO and HMO Individual and Small Group plans

·         10 of the thirteen rating areas will have plans offered by 4 companies, 2 of the thirteen rating areas will have plans offered by 5 companies, one area will have plans offered by 3 companies

·         The total number of plans offered per county ranges from 57 to 109

“The recommended quality health plans will provide a broad range of comprehensive coverage options for customers of the Illinois Marketplace,” Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace Director Jennifer Koehler said. “When consumers calculate the subsidies that will be available through the Marketplace, they will see that we are entering a new era in which health care will be more affordable than ever."

The state recommended plans from eight insurers, including Land of Lincoln, a new Illinois company:

·         Aetna Life Insurance Company

·         Coventry Health and Life Insurance Company

·         Coventry Health Care of Illinois, Inc.

·         Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc.

·         Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (Blue Cross)

·         Humana Health Plan, Inc.

·         Humana Insurance Company

·         Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company

As part of the QHP recommendation process, DOI reviewed the plans to determine they meet acceptable actuarial/network sufficiency/underwriting standards, do not discriminate against people with existing health conditions, and provide the ten Essential Health Benefits.

Beginning Oct. 1, Illinois residents will be able to access the Marketplace in three ways: online, the state's help desk or by visiting a partner organization to obtain in-person assistance. That information will be announced later this week.


News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Megan Flanagan   
Friday, 20 September 2013 15:22

The award-winning Vital Theatre Company and Hit Entertainment are excited to bring Angelina Ballerina The Musical to the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.  A family-friendly favorite delighting New York families since its sold-out initial run in October 2010, this energetic and fun-filled musical will visit Coralville on Sunday, November 10, with performances at 1pm and 4pm.  With book and lyrics by Susan DiLallo, music by Ben Morss, and Direction/Choreography by Sam Viverito, the musical is based on the book series by Katherine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig.

Tickets are $15 and will go on sale at noon on Saturday, September 21.  Tickets are available online at,  by phone at 319.248.9370, and in person at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts box office at 1301 5th Street and the Coralville Recreation Center at 1506 8th Street.

In Angelina Ballerina The Musical, Angelina and her friends, Alice, Gracie, AZ, Viki and even their teacher, Ms. Mimi, are all aflutter because a special guest is coming to visit Camembert Academy! Angelina and her friends will perform all types of dance, including hip-hop, modern dance, the Irish jig and of course, ballet, and they are excited to show off their skills to their famous visitor. Angelina is the most excited of all, but will she get the starring moment she hopes for?  Based on the CG-animated series, “Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps” on PBS KIDS®, Angelina Ballerina The Musical is a family-friendly show that will have the entire audience dancing in the aisles.

ANGELINA BALLERINA™, a beloved publishing property for close to three decades, is a little star with big dreams of becoming a prima ballerina. This feisty little mouse works hard to reach her goals and along the way, always learns from her mistakes. When children share in Angelina's experiences, they're inspired to go after their big dreams too. For more information about Angelina Ballerina, please visit

Susan DiLallo (Book and Lyrics) is the recipient of the coveted Kleban Award. Her libretto for an original musical comedy, IRON CURTAIN, earned her a Jonathan Larson Award, and was further developed during a residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Her book and lyrics to another musical, ONCE UPON A TIME IN NEW JERSEY, won both a Richard Rodgers Award and The Global Search for New Musicals Competition, Cardiff.  Other credits include: the Mattel/Clear Channel production of BARBIE LIVE! IN FAIRYTOPIA (book, lyrics); THAT'S LIFE (Outer Critics Circle nominee); PINOCCHIO, A MUSICAL ABOUT ADOPTION (winner, KIDDstuff new play competition); and the revised libretto for the classic A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN.

Ben Morss (Music) wrote the music and lyrics for CINDERELLA’S MICE, which was produced by Vital in 2006. CINDERELLA’S MICE and his other children’s musical, POP STAR, are published by Samuel French. He is an alumnus of the BMI Workshop, arranged the music for the stage version of Trey Parker’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL and created music for ANANSI THE STORY KING at Georgetown University. He has played piano and arranged for platinum-selling bands such as Cake and Wheatus, and his playing was used in the films Sidewalks of New York and L.I.E.  He earned his doctorate in music from the University of California at Davis.

HIT ENTERTAINMENT is one of the world's leading children's entertainment producers and rights owners. HIT Entertainment is a division of Fisher-Price.  HIT’s portfolio includes properties, such as Thomas & Friends®, Barney®, Bob the Builder®, Fireman Sam®, Angelina Ballerina®, Mike the Knight™, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®. Launched in 1989, HIT’s lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing, digital media, and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan.

VITAL THEATRE COMPANY is dedicated to producing entertaining and educational theatre for young audiences. Located on New York City's Upper West Side at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, Vital Theatre Company commissions three to five new musicals for children each season. Since its founding in 1999, Vital Theatre Company has been honored with the 2012 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Musical, two Awards for Excellence by the Off-Off Broadway Review, and has received high acclaim from audiences and critics alike for being "a wonderful place for parents to introduce their kids to the glories of live theatre, done well and at modest prices" (Off-Off Broadway Review). Now entering its 15th season, the company has presented over 78 original productions for over 373,000 children and their families. Vital Voices, Vital Theatre Company's vibrant Arts-in-Education program, engages over 2600 NYC Public school students in nine school communities by integrating theatre arts into the core curriculum to stimulate academic progress and inspire creative achievement.

Owned and operated by the City of Coralville, the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts is dedicated to enriching the community and contributing to the vitality of Coralville by offering an accessible, affordable venue for a variety of performances, presentations, and public and private events.  The 472 seat theater opened August 26, 2011 and has hosted performances from City Circle Acting Company, Orchestra Iowa, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Dan Knight, Lola Astanova, Lorie Line, Judy Carmichael, Jim McDonough, Nolte Academy of Dance, and many others.  Coralville schools are also able to use the Center free of charge up to three times per year; 16 school events took place at the Center in the 2012-2013 school year. The Center was named 2012 Member of the Year by the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.


U.S. Soy Demand Gets Boost from Biodiesel PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 20 September 2013 15:21
U.S. Soy Demand Gets Boost from Biodiesel
Fuel manufacturers could use at least 4.8 billion pounds of soybean oil this year
ST. LOUIS (Sept. 19, 2013) – The biodiesel that fuels semis, farm tractors and bus fleets continues to fuel market potential for U.S. soybean oil and profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers.

In order to meet federal biodiesel-usage requirements of 1.28 billion gallons this year, manufacturers will need 9 billion pounds of vegetable oils and animal fats. At least 4.8 billion pounds of that could be soybean oil. That’s the oil from 430 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.

“There’s value for soybean farmers from the growing market use of soybean oil for biodiesel,” says Gregg Fujan, a USB director and soybean farmer from Weston, Neb. “It expands the market for our soybeans, which also increases the price we receive.”

According to research commissioned by soybean farmers in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota through their state soy checkoff boards, biodiesel contributed to a $15 billion increase in soybean-oil revenues between 2006 and 2012. Over that time period, this raised the price of soybeans by 74 cents per bushel.

Soy-checkoff-funded research on biodiesel’s environmental benefits helped it qualify under the Environmental Protection Agency as an Advanced Biofuel. Under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (known as RFS2), at least 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced in the United States in 2013.

For nearly 20 years, soybean oil has been the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel manufacturing. The soy checkoff helps fund biodiesel research and promotion efforts to increase fuel and feedstock demand for U.S. soybean farmers.

The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
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