Stage & Theatre
Farm and Nutrition Bill Clears Committee, Grassley Provisions Included PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 08:42
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that the farm bill that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee was a step in the right direction, but he hoped that further reforms would be included when the bill is debated on the Senate floor.

“The farm and nutrition bill provides some needed reforms, and moving this bill out of committee gets us one step closer to providing our farmers and rural communities the certainty so many of them desire.  Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran incorporated reforms that make the farm program more defensible and effective.  By including my payment limits reform they showed a real effort to put together responsible programs that ensure a safe and stable food supply for the American people while giving certainty to farmers and rural communities,” Grassley said.  “Now that the bill is moving forward, we can look at additional reforms and continue to improve the bill.”

Grassley has long sought reform of the farm payment system.  His provisions that were included in the bill are nearly identical to legislation he introduced earlier this year that would place a hard cap on the farm payments an individual farmer can receive in a year and close long-abused and well-documented loopholes in the farm payment program.   The legislation would establish a per farm cap of $50,000 on all commodity program benefits, except those associated with the marketing loan program (loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains), which would be capped at $75,000.  Thus the combined limit would be $125,000, or, for married couples, $250,000.  The $50,000 cap would apply to whatever type of program is developed as part of the new Farm Bill. The bill also closes loopholes that currently allow non-farmers to qualify for federal farm payments and would allow one off-farm manager, but only one.

In addition, an amendment sponsored by Grassley along with Senators Mike Johanns, John Thune and Pat Roberts was approved during today’s Agriculture Committee action on a new farm bill.

Grassley said the measure is intended to make the farm bill more market-oriented in the way target prices are set.  Grassley would have preferred that a target price program not be included in the bill, but since the target price program was included he wanted to push for ways to make it more market-oriented.  For commodities except rice and peanuts, the measure set the target price by averaging the prices from the five previous years, while dropping the low and high price for that average, and multiplying it by a factor of 55 percent.

“Target prices distort planting decisions, and I hear opposition to target prices from farmers in Iowa, so this is an effort to move toward a market orientation as much as possible,” Grassley said.  “That way, if peanut and rice farmers want to protect a high price set by congress, they can fight that battle, but other farmers won’t have to defend high target prices.”

Grassley did not have the opportunity to offer his amendment that would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to release personal information to environmental activists.  Grassley’s amendment follows the EPA’s release of information to activists on 80,000 farmers nationwide.  Grassley said that he is preparing the amendment for floor consideration.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s opening statement at the mark-up.

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Mark-Up

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First of all, I want to say thank you Madam Chairwoman and Ranking Member Cochran.  You both have been working diligently to get us here today to another mark up of the farm bill.  It is not an easy process to get a farm bill ready for committee consideration, but I appreciate all the work that has gone into making this happen today.

I supported the bill we passed out of the Senate last year.  It was not a perfect bill, but it included some important reforms, and would have provided the certainty our farmers were requesting.  Beyond certainty for farmers, by getting a farm bill completed, we give certainty to rural communities, conservation initiatives, and people who are truly struggling to put meals on the table for their families.

Many of the reforms from last year’s bill are again included in the Chair’s mark.  I appreciate the inclusion of my payment limits reforms.  Having responsible payment limits on the commodity program is crucial to the defensibility of the farm safety-net.  We need payment caps on our commodity programs, and we need to close loopholes that have allowed non-farmers to game the system.  The status quo must change.  Farm program dollars going to those who aren’t actually farming is an offense to the American taxpayer and to the farmers who actually grow this nation’s food.

So let me just say thank you again to the Chair and Ranking Member for agreeing to put these payment limit reforms in the mark.  In addition, the mark also reflects the priority many of us share, which is to maintain crop insurance.  No matter where I go in Iowa, farmers keep stressing the importance of crop insurance.

In regards to other reforms in this bill, ending direct payments is another reform the committee can point to as an important step.  However, I still have serious reservations about the programs created in the Chair’s mark that would replace direct payments.  The shallow loss, or Agricultural Risk Coverage, program certainly is more market-oriented than direct payments, but I continue to have concerns with how the program will interact with crop insurance.

But my bigger concerns are with this new target price program.  This proposed program falls short of the reform-minded approach we approved last year.  Setting high target prices for any commodity is bad policy.  The federal government has been down that road, and it does not work.  It is not good for farmers, and it is not good for taxpayers.  We need programs that have farmers making decisions based on the market, not based on how much money they will get from a government program.

Another area of reform the committee has worked on over the last two years is in dairy policy.  I understand current policies may not be providing the assistance needed.  But after listening to many of my dairy farmers and processors in Iowa, I would also like to express concern with the proposal to put a supply management system in place.  Similar to how we shouldn’t have crop farmers planting for government programs, we shouldn’t have policies that induce dairy farmers to artificially adjust production.

Furthermore, it continues to trouble me that we have not been able to have a more constructive discussion on how to find savings in the nutrition title.  We should have found more savings in the nutrition title last year, and unfortunately we are headed down the same path this year.

Some of my colleagues have put forward very thoughtful proposals that would save money from nutrition programs, and these proposals are simply good government reforms.  This is not about taking away the benefits of those who really need food assistance.  It is about making sure we don’t have wasteful spending on things like paying states bonuses in the food stamp program for simply running the program they way it’s supposed to be run.

I have highlighted some of my concerns with this bill, and I have laid out some of the positives.  Is this bill perfect?  No.  But it does provide some needed reforms, and if we move this bill out of committee today, we will be moving one step closer to providing our farmers and rural communities the certainty so many of them desire.

I look forward to working with the Chairman, Ranking Member, and others to have a defensible and effective farm bill.

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Grassley Seeks Details Behind IRS Official’s Apology for Targeting Tax-exempt Groups PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 08:39

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today asked the IRS for details on the agency’s move to disclose the targeting of tax-exempt groups for scrutiny and apologize for the targeting at a legal conference, after refusing to fully answer questions about such activity from members of Congress who have been asking about the targeting for more than a year.  Grassley also asked for communications on the issue between the IRS and the White House or other organizations.

“An IRS official apologized for activities the IRS previously denied,” Grassley said.  “She explained the activities in a detailed way.  Why now, and why at a conference instead of to Congress?  Congress has been asking the same questions.   The IRS has to answer for its behavior and its failure to disclose its behavior.”

The IRS’ screening of tax-exempt groups with certain political leanings came to light on Friday, when the head of the IRS’ tax-exempt division disclosed the practice at an American Bar Association conference and apologized for it.  The disclosure came days before an inspector general report on the issue is expected to become public.

Key members of Congress have written to the IRS and heard testimony from top IRS officials in denial of the targeting practice over the past year.

The text of Grassley’s letter is available here.

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SECC Agenda for Board meeting on May 16th at 4:30 p.m. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Annie Nugent   
Monday, 13 May 2013 13:32
SCOTT EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER (SECC) BOARD
Board Room, 1st Floor, Scott County Administrative Center,
600 West Fourth Street, Davenport, Iowa
MAY 16, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.

MEETING AGENDA

Roll Call: Gallagher, Gluba, Lehman, Minard, and O’Boyle.
Ex officio members: Bruemmer, Frederiksen, Malin, and Ploehn

  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Approval of Minutes
  3. Approval of a Proclamation recognizing James Lehman for his dedicated service to the Scott Emergency Communications Center Board. (Chair)
  4. Approval of Wireless 911 equipment from TCS Communications for the SECC back-up center in the amount of $14,000.00. (Brian)
  5. Director’s report
  6. Discussion of strategy of upcoming labor negotiations with the SECC’s organized employees pursuant to Iowa Code Section 20.17(3). – CLOSED SESSION (Mary)
  7. Next meeting date – June 20, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
  8. Adjourn

 
Spring / Summer Master Classes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Kim Furness   
Friday, 10 May 2013 09:14
This season the Curtainbox will be offering two acting master classes, each appropriate for all levels of acting experience. In each class the student will learn how to analyze the written material to build a compelling performance. We will discuss and practice creating a character, defining relationships, determining specific intentions, and making bold, yet appropriate choices which will all lead to a strong and effective performance.
Monologue and Song Performance Class
Tuesday, June 28th from 6pm–9pm
The novice actor should come prepared to learn. We will provide you with a short monologue on the day of the class.
The actor with experience or who has taken class before should bring in a memorized monologue or song. The material should not exceed 2 minutes and 29 seconds. If the student chooses to bring a song, he/she must provide either a CD with the recorded accompaniment or bring in their own method of reproducing the accompaniment. Cuts of songs are appropriate if the full song is too time consuming. Whether preparing a song or monologue the student is encouraged, though not required, to bring in the written version of the material for reference during class.The student may bring one additional monologue or song which will be addressed as time allows.
CLASS FEE: $75.00 / Student
Scene Study
Tuesday, June 11th from 6pm–9pm
The student will be assigned a particular part in a scene well in advance so that the student has sufficient time to memorize the scene before the night of the class. Come prepared to learn and explore along with your classmates and scene partners.
CLASS FEE: $75.00
PLEASE NOTE: If you sign up for both classes you will get a $25.00 discount. Both classes for $125.00 .
To register:  Please call Kim Furness with any questions you may have regarding our upcoming classes. You may register by downloading the registration form and mailing it in with payment.  Or you may reserve a place in the class by phone, however, your place is not secure until payment is recieved.  Please feel free to call with any questions you may have.  Registration form is attached.
Looking forward to seeing you all in class!!
Kim Furness

 
Auditions for Brucemore Outdoor Children’s Theater: The Amazing Story Machine PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Tara Richards   
Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:33

Auditions for Brucemore Outdoor Children’s Theater production of The Amazing Story Machine will be held on Sunday, May 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Monday, May 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Bookbindery/Squash Court located near the Brucemore Visitor Center, 2160 Linden Dr. SE. Various roles are available for males and females at least 18 years of age and prepared to interact with young audiences.  This is a cold-reading audition; no advance preparation required.

The Amazing Story Machine will pull audiences out of their seats and into the action as Arthur and his pet mouse, Rusty, bring well-known fairytales and favorite stories to life with the amazing story machine.  With just the right turn of a knob or pull of a lever, the machine will transform individuals into Cinderella, Hansel, Gretel, or original characters right on the spot.

Directed by Nathan Nelson, the performances will be Wednesday, July 24, through Saturday, July 27, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.  Rehearsals will begin mid-June.  For further information on auditions, contact Brucemore at (319) 362-7375 or Artistic Director Nathan Nelson at (415) 226-9319.

About Brucemore Outdoor Children’s Theater

Since 2003, people of all ages have enjoyed the annual production of Brucemore Outdoor Children's Theater, a premier family event in Eastern Iowa. Characters from the show often seek help from the audience, creating an evening of hilarious and interactive fun.

About Brucemore

Experience Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture, located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a nineteenth-century mansion filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families.  Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community.  For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit www.brucemore.org.


 
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