Thursday, February 23, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley says a new report makes clear that there's a lot of work yet to do for military whistleblowers who speak up on behalf of rank-and-file troops, national security and fiscal responsibility.

"While the situation is improving, there's a long way to go in making it work as it should for those who step up and speak out about wrongdoing and problems.  Reprisal against military whistleblowers is alive and well in the Pentagon, unfortunately, so oversight efforts must continue full force," Grassley said.

In a report released this week (click here to see the report), the Government Accountability Office said that until the Inspector General for the Defense Department implements certain oversight mechanisms, it can't know that "it is effectively conducting its oversight responsibilities or implementing the whistleblower reprisal program as intended."

Grassley said he requested this report from the Government Accountability Office to see how problems he identified previously with whistleblower reprisal investigations are being addressed.  "Several years ago, I did an in-depth review of how the Inspector General handled military whistleblower cases.  The lack of oversight was appalling.  The Inspector General was asking zero questions about the reprisal investigations being conducted by Inspectors General for the services, even though scrutiny was desperately needed," Grassley said.

Grassley's earlier review looked at an egregious case in depth, that of Navy Lieutenant Jason Hudson.  The Inspector General for the Justice Department subsequently did a peer review and confirmed many of Grassley's findings.

Grassley said this worked helped to build a case for legislation that directed the Defense Department Inspector General to correct deficiencies.  It was passed in 2009, as part of the annual defense authorization bill.

"Whistleblowers are in a position to identify fraud that may otherwise go undetected, and courageous whistleblowers who stick out their necks and speak up about mismanagement and abuse help keep government accountable.  Our system is better off thanks to whistleblowers," Grassley said.

Grassley has a long record of advocacy for individual whistleblowers, legislative reforms to protect and empower whistleblowers both in and out of government, and oversight of whistleblower protections.  His efforts began more than 20 years ago with questions raised by whistleblowers about Defense Department spending.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following comment about the tax reform proposal put forward today by the Obama Administration.

"The President's proposal for business tax reform is disappointing for its lack of substantive leadership, especially considering the importance of tax reform and tax certainty in getting America back to work and keeping America competitive in the global economy.  The President's proposal is overly vague with the exception of demagogic political proposals, like those related to aircraft and oil and gas depreciation rules.  Instead of a campaign document, and one that isn't a credible plan of action, American workers need and deserve leadership from the White House for a tax code that will encourage economic growth and job creation."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WASHINGTON - Brady St. John of Solon has been selected for admission to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, for the 2012-2013 school year, according to U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

St. John will graduate in May from Solon High School.  He is the son of Lynn and Edward St. John of Solon.

"Admission to the service academies is highly competitive and a great honor," Grassley said.  "Young people like Brady St. John work very hard to earn this kind of opportunity, and I join many others, no doubt, in wishing him well."

In high school, St. John has been a member of the Robotics Team, the Community Youth Leadership Program, the Iowa City Eels Swim Club, and the City High Swim Team.

For more than 200 years, the U.S. service academies have educated and trained the best and the brightest to lead and command the U.S. armed forces.  In time of war, the Merchant Marine can be called upon to deliver troops and supplies for the military.

Grassley nominated St. John for admission to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.  Information about seeking an academy nomination is posted at


Monday, February 20, 2012

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley explains why the Federal Communications Commission should provide documents about its preliminary approval of the LightSquared broadband project now that the agency has withdrawn its approval.  Senator Grassley has been seeking full disclosure for nearly a year, arguing that the public's business ought to be public.  He said he is seeking accountability for the way the FCC administers valuable spectrum space.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of Senator Grassley's address:

Since last April, I've asked the Federal Communications Commission for documents related to the agency's decision to fast-track the LightSquared broadband wireless project, despite concerns of widespread interference with global-positioning system devices.

The agency has refused to provide any documents.

This week, the FCC withdrew the preliminary approval it gave to LightSquared saying it was because of interference with GPS devices.

The FCC's action seems to acknowledge the point I've been making since April.  Prematurely granting a conditional waiver in a rush process is not the way to get the right result.

Now that the interference issue is settled, we need to find out more than ever why the FCC did what it did.  The agency put this project on a fast track for approval with what appears to have been completely inadequate technical research.  After all of this time and expense, still, no one outside of the agency knows why.

That's not the way the people's government should work.  The public's business ought to be public.  The FCC has backtracked on LightSquared.  If we don't find out how and why the FCC failed avoid this controversy, then it will keep operating as a closed shop instead of the open, publicly accountable agency it should be.

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Hearing on Energy and Economic Growth for Rural America

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I appreciate the Chairwoman setting this hearing today.  The rural development and energy programs administered by the Department of Agriculture are important to rural America and Iowa.

Rural utility programs help provide vital infrastructure and services for rural Iowans.  In addition, we have some very important rural water programs that give assistance to communities for access to safe and affordable drinking water.  And, there are wastewater programs that help small communities deal with requirements placed upon them by the Clean Water Act.

People all too often forget the people in rural America are largely responsible for producing this nation's food.  Rural Development programs help preserve the way of life in these small communities so young people who grow up and live in these communities can become the next generation responsible for feeding this nation.

I appreciate the Secretary's comments regarding the importance of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  The REAP program has helped expand market access for renewable fuels as this country continues to look for ways to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

In addition, the topic of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program has been discussed in today's hearing.  The Secretary and I discussed the BCAP program a couple weeks ago, and I appreciated him taking the time to discuss some of my concerns.  I trust the Department of Agriculture is continuing to do what it can to resolve the concerns I raised, and I thank the Secretary for his attention to the matter.

In the Secretary's prepared comments, he noted there is an opportunity for Congress to streamline some of the farm bill programs.  It never ceases to amaze me how many programs USDA has to administer.  While most of them serve a very good purpose, we have a responsibility to cut redundancies and inefficiencies and bring common sense and thoughtfulness to some of the programs. I am confident this committee is up for this task.

One example where we may need to focus more attention is the Broadband Initiatives Program under the Rural Utility Service created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  There is a need for rural America to be wired so broadband can be made available.  We need to focus more on unserved areas and be very careful about allowing taxpayer loans to be disbursed to underserved areas where there is already a network funded with private capital.

I and many others are concerned with the funding of duplicative broadband networks and the costs this incurs. I have learned the Rural Utility Service is looking at revising the Broadband Initiatives Program financial models to reflect the changes in the Federal Communication Commission's 2011 Universal Service Fund Reform Order.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for the Rural Utility Service to revive its approach regarding loans to areas where private providers are already offering broadband service.  I hope this leads to helpful steps to ensure the Broadband Initiatives Program keeps to the original goal of bringing broadband to unserved rural America.


Prepared Statement for the Record of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

House Committee on the Judiciary

Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement

"Safeguarding the Integrity of the Immigration Benefits Adjudication Process"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Congressional oversight is often an overlooked function for members of Congress.  It's not always glamorous and it's a lot of hard work.  However, it's an important responsibility for the legislative branch that helps our government work more efficiently for the American people.

I commend the House Judiciary Committee for having a hearing today to discuss the shortcomings of our immigration benefits adjudication process. Oversight of this process is crucial to ensuring that our immigration system works for all people, including foreign nationals who wish to live and work in the United States.

The Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security issued a report in January of this year entitled, "The Effects of USCIS Adjudication Procedures and Policies on Fraud Detection by Immigration Services Officers."  The report provides an insightful look through the eyes of agents on the line.  The Inspector General issued this report after I expressed concern about fraud detection efforts by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

While I have long been interested in fraud prevention and rooting out abuse in many visa programs, I jumped into the benefits adjudication process in the fall of 2010.  Immigration officers in the field reported to me that they were being subject to pressure to approve applications and petitions because that was the message of managers in headquarters.  Many officers felt intimidated and pressured.  Some were being relocated.  Some were being demoted.  The stories were similar, and it appeared that people in Washington were preaching a "get to yes" philosophy when it was apparent that the answer should have been "no."

In September of 2010, I wrote a letter to USCIS Director Mayorkas.  I was unsatisfied with his response to issues that whistleblowers brought up to me.  Since he refused to answer the allegations, I took the issue to the Secretary and the Inspector General.  I told the Secretary that, after many interviews, the evidence suggested that Director Mayorkas was fostering an environment that pressures employees to approve as many applications as possible.

According to several USCIS employees, Director Mayorkas was less concerned about fraud and more about making sure officers were looking at petitions from the perspective of the customer. Some said that USCIS leadership expressed a goal of "zero complaints" from "customers," implying that approvals were the means to such an end.  The Department of Homeland Security conducted a human capital survey where USCIS scored low because employees felt pressured by upper management to approve applications. Many said that USCIS leadership "cultivated a culture of fear and disrespect."

So, the Inspector General agreed to investigate.  He said that the "integrity of the benefit issuance process is vital," inappropriate pressure on the adjudications process must be avoided.  Nearly 52 percent of respondents in their survey said that USCIS policy is too heavily weighted toward promoting immigration.  The fact that a quarter of the immigration service officers surveyed felt pressure to approve questionable applications is alarming.  There are all kinds of pressure, including from supervisors and outside attorneys.  There's also pressure to approve in order to meet agency performance goals.

It's no secret that USCIS officers have been judged on quantity, not quality of their work.  For many years, adjudicators have felt pressure to approve so many cases in an hour or a day.  Moreover, according to the Inspector General, 90 percent of respondents felt they didn't have sufficient time to complete interviews of those who seek benefits.  The Inspector General said that "the speed at which immigration service officers must process cases leaves ample opportunities for critical information to be overlooked."  Adjudicators are more apt to approve a petition because it takes less time, and they fear getting behind if they have to put a lot of effort into a case.

I applaud the Director for initiating new performance measures so that there's more focus on fraud and security.  However, like the Inspector General noted, many employees will continue to feel as though their work hinges on numbers.  Despite the new measures, immigration service officers and supervisors are concerned that production remains the focus.  They feel this way because of "the perception that USCIS strives to satisfy benefit requesters in a way that could affect national security and fraud detection priorities."  The new performance measures may not be perfect.  They may need to be massaged.  I hope the Director takes comments of agents into consideration as this issue evolves.

Unfortunately, however, I am concerned that the agency is not taking seriously the Inspector General's recommendation to develop standards to permit more time for review of case files.  In fact, USCIS did not concur with this recommendation and said that additional time is not the solution to addressing national security and fraud concerns.  Director Mayorkas should reconsider the department's initial response to this recommendation and create an environment that ensures a thorough and complete analysis of all applications.

The Inspector General also recommended that USCIS develop a policy to establish limitations for managers and attorneys when they intervene in the adjudication of specific cases.   This recommendation was made because it appeared that certain high-ranking employees at USCIS headquarters were inserting themselves into specific cases, and in one case, putting pressure on adjudicators to approve an application when the individual clearly wasn't eligible.    The report also discusses how private attorneys and other parties contacted USCIS managers or attorneys to request a review of a case that an immigration service officer had denied.  The perception for many officers was that outside attorneys had too much influence in the process.  While the Director of USCIS does not support special treatment for complainants, it's concerning that the agency did not fully concur with the recommendation to issue a policy that ends any informal appeals process and the special review of denied cases.

Overall, this report is eye-opening.  The Inspector General discussed the adjudications process with many officers in the field, and brought these issues to light.  He made many thoughtful and serious recommendations that should not be ignored.

Unfortunately, despite what the Inspector General has reported, there are still nay-sayers.  People within the agency want to discredit the research and findings of the Inspector General.  I'm told that some aren't taking this report seriously.  That's why leadership on this issue is crucial to enacting any true reform.

In 2008, I was glad to hear the president-elect talk about making this the most transparent government ever.  Unfortunately, up to this point, this administration has been far from transparent.

And, it's clear that for the current administration, the rule of law is more about perception than reality.  They've circled the wagons, made denials and generally been non-responsive to constitutionally proper inquiries by members of Congress.

Since the founding of our country, our immigration laws have been a source of discussion.  We were born a nation of immigrants.  We have welcomed men and women of diverse countries and provided protection to many who flee from persecution.

We have been a generous nation.  Yet, we have seen our country face many challenges.  During these struggles, it is important for lawmakers to bear in mind that the policies we make should benefit our country over the long term and that we must be fair to current and future generations.

People in foreign lands yearn to be free.  They go to great lengths to be a part of the United States.  It's a privilege that people love our country and want to become Americans.  At the same time, however, we must not forget one great principle that our country was founded on.  That is the rule of law.  We want to welcome new Americans, but we need to live by the rules that we've made.  We cannot let our welcome mat be trampled on and we cannot allow our system of laws to be undermined.

For years, USCIS has seen themselves as a service-oriented agency.  They strive to make their customers happy.  Unfortunately, this "get to yes" culture is a direct contradiction to our number one priority of protecting the homeland.  USCIS must do more to ensure that fraud, abuse, and national security are a higher priority than appeasing its customers.  It is going to take a strong-willed and determined leader to change this culture.

Reform shouldn't be a bad word.  It should be embraced so that immigrants continue to feel welcomed in America and receive the best service possible when trying to navigate the bureaucratic process.

Again, I commend the committee for discussing the integrity of our immigration system, including our benefits adjudication process.  With constant vigilance, we can root out fraud and abuse, and enact reforms that will be meaningful for future generations of new immigrants.



Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

"We Must Stop the Spread of Synthetic Drug Use"

Delivered Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the fall of 2010, I came to the floor to speak about my growing concern of synthetic drug use in this country. Specifically, I raised concerns about a popular new drug known as K2 or Spice after a constituent of mine, named David Rozga, committed suicide. David killed himself shortly after smoking a package of the drug he and some friends bought at a local shopping mall. At the time, David's death in June 2010 was one of the first deaths associated with what was a new and very dangerous drug craze.  Now, nearly two years after David's death, the use of synthetic drugs like K2 has exploded and is becoming a major problem across the country.

In 2009, the American Association of Poison Centers reported only 13 calls concerning synthetic drug use. In 2010, over 1,300 calls were made to poison centers about synthetic drugs. Last year, there were over 12,000 calls to poison centers regarding synthetic drugs. The Monitoring the Future survey, a survey of high school youth, asked students for the first time last year if they ever tried synthetic drugs. Roughly one in nine high school seniors responded that they had used synthetic drugs in the last year. These numbers are an astonishing increase in just two year, and this illustrates how rapidly the use of these drugs has come on the scene.

These drugs are having a terrible effect on those who use them. Emergency room doctors across the country are reporting increasing cases of synthetic drug users coming to the hospital. My staff heard from one such doctor from upstate New York about what she has seen. Dr. Sandra Schneider, from Rochester New York, reported that users in her ER experienced psychotic episodes, rapid heart rate, very high blood pressure, and seizures. In some cases users, many of whom were in their teens and twenties, suffered heart attacks and strokes, and died as a result. Other cases involved users who tried to kill themselves, harm others, or got into car accidents while high on these drugs.

How did we get here? The people who manufacture and sell these drugs have circumvented the laws to easily sell synthetic drugs online, at gas stations, in novelty stores at the local shopping malls, and in tobacco stores and other shops. Many of the drugs are manufactured overseas in counties like China and imported into the United States. They spray chemical compounds that have not been tested on humans and were not intended for human consumption on dried leaves. They package and market these drugs to appear as legitimate products like incense, bath salts, plant food, and snow remover. They slap a label on these packages stating that the product is not for human consumption to get around FDA regulation.

Over 30 states have passed laws to ban various synthetic drug compounds. The Drug Enforcement Administration has also acted to stop these drugs. Although the DEA has used its emergency scheduling powers to control seven chemical compounds, there are too many on the market now for the DEA to go through the long and laborious process to schedule each and every one. The makers of these drugs know this too well and have altered their chemical formulas, some as little as a molecule, to get around existing state and federal laws.

This is exactly the case in my home state of Iowa. Iowa passed a law last year that banned many chemical compounds; however, the law only listed a specific set of chemical compounds and the drug makers altered their formulas. Recently, two Iowa youths have become victims of the new drugs. One is a Polk County teenager who got into a high speed crash after smoking a product called "100% Pure Evil." This teen had two other passengers in her car. After smoking this product, the driver became agitated and stated she wanted to kill herself. She started driving her car into several trees. When paramedics arrived on the scene they reported that everyone was badly hurt and the driver was vomiting blood. Thankfully, all passengers survived the crash.

Another teen in Central Iowa experienced a near death experience after smoking the same product. This teen purchased the product "100% Pure Evil" at a local store and started convulsing and vomiting shortly after smoking the drug. Once paramedics got this boy to a hospital he fell into a coma. He, however, woke from the coma the next day but had failed to recognize his mother or grandmother at the hospital. Thankfully, this boy has since recovered his memory. Now he suffers occasional anxiety attacks. When the boy's mother told the police about the product and where he got it, she reported that the police told her there was nothing they could do about it because it was not known what was in the product and it may be legal. This product is still being reviewed to see if any compounds fall under Iowa's ban.

Nearly a year ago, I introduced legislation, named after David Rozga, with Senator Feinstein, that bans the chemicals that comprise K2/Spice. We designed the legislation to capture a wide variety of compounds so it would not be so easy to circumvent this law by altering a molecule. In fact, the Iowa Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy is crafting new legislation, based on the legislation I introduced last year that captures more substances. My legislation was unanimously passed out of the Judiciary Committee last July. It is currently being prevented from consideration by the full Senate by one Senator. The House of Representatives passed its version of the Synthetic Drug Control Act overwhelmingly last December with more than 70 percent of representatives supporting scheduling these drugs.

Many of the opponents of this legislation stated on the House floor that by scheduling these compounds, we are preventing scientific research. That is far from true. Any scheduled substance, even current schedule I drugs like cocaine and heroin, can be researched. Any scientist can apply to be registered by the DEA to research any drug. Just because we are removing the drugs from the store shelves does not mean we can't study them.

It is time for the Senate to take action. We cannot let the will of just one senator obstruct the will of many. I believe if our legislation received a vote and a fair debate, this body would pass it overwhelmingly. I urge my colleagues to support our efforts to get these drugs off the store shelves and off the streets. I urge the Senate leadership to allow a debate and vote on this issue. The American people, people like the Rozga family and others who have been victims of these drugs, want to see this poison removed from their communities.



Since last April, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for documents related to the agency's decision to fast-track the LightSquared broadband wireless project, despite concerns of widespread interference with global-positioning system devices.  The agency has refused to provide any documents.  Now, the FCC is withdrawing the preliminary approval it gave to LightSquared because of interference with GPS devices.  Grassley made the following comment on his inquiry.

"The FCC's action seems to acknowledge the point I've been making since April.  Prematurely granting a conditional waiver in a rushed process is not the way to get the right result.  Now that the interference issue is settled, we need to find out more than ever why the FCC did what it did.  The agency put this project on a fast track for approval with what appears to have been completely inadequate technical research.  After all of this time and expense, still, no one outside of the agency knows why.  That's not the way the people's government should work.  The public's business ought to be public.  Now that the FCC has backtracked on LightSquared, I'd like to see my Senate colleagues join my document request, especially the chairman of the only Senate committee that the FCC is willing to answer.  If we don't find out how and why the FCC failed to avoid this controversy, then it will keep operating as a closed shop instead of the open, publicly accountable agency it should be."

Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of Iowa

U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Hearing on "Protecting Those Who Protect Us: The Bulletproof Vest

Partnership Grant Program"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding today's hearing.  Law enforcement officers across the country risk their lives every day to ensure that our neighborhoods and communities are safe.  Unfortunately, the tragic reality is that law enforcement officers are often placed in situations confronting dangerous criminals that are intent on harming anyone who tries to stop them.  Last year alone 164 law enforcement officers were lost in the line of duty, there were another 162 officers lost in 2010.  We owe these men and women, and their families, a debt of gratitude.

This hearing is to discuss the reauthorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program at the Justice Department.  The program was created by Congress in 1998 and was designed to provide federal matching funds to law enforcement agencies across the country to purchase body armor.

By many measures, the program has been successful in getting body armor to state and local agencies that request the matching funds.  The program has reimbursed law enforcement agencies with nearly $247 million that has purchased nearly 1 million vests.  This is important because these vests save lives, not just from bullets, but from other injuries, such as car accidents and assaults that occur in the line of duty.

Any program that helps save lives of law enforcement officers is important and should be reauthorized.  However, that does not mean that we should simply write a blank check on the taxpayers dime without determining what is and what isn't working in the program.

For example, one of the biggest concerns with purchasing body armor has been ensuring that the vests purchased are actually worn by the officers on the street.  We can authorize as much funding as we want, buy as many vests as the taxpayers can afford, but if the vests aren't on at the moment they are needed, those purchases don't matter.  For this very reason, the Bureau of Justice Assistance has a mandatory wear policy on vests that are procured through the program.

This is an important provision and one that makes sense, but according to testimony we'll hear from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) this mandatory wear policy only applies to vests funded under the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program.  It does not apply to body armor purchased through other programs like the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program.  This is an inconsistency that needs to be addressed to ensure that officer safety is a priority when federal funds are used to purchase body armor.

In addition to reviewing the program to ensure vests are worn, we also need to take a look at how this program is being managed by the Justice Department.  According to GAO's testimony, and a report released today in conjunction with the hearing, the Department's management of this program needs to be improved.

Specifically, multiple grant programs can be used to purchase body armor with federal funds, yet the programs have differing requirements on matching funds, wear policies, and standards for purchasing approved body armor.  These inconsistencies should be fixed to ensure that minimum standards for both programs are uniform.

GAO also found that the Justice Department needs to address the financial bookkeeping of this program.  GAO found that the Department has consistently failed to deobligate expired money in the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program for over a decade.  Some of these funds trace back to Fiscal Year 2002 and have not been expended.  All in all, GAO found that there is $27 million in balances from grants awarded from FY2002-FY2009.

Further, GAO found that in 2009, there was an additional $14 million in funds from the program that were officially deobligated and used to pay down a recession in the Department's budget.  So, according to GAO, funds Congress specifically appropriated for the program to purchase body armor were never used to actually purchase vests.  This is a serious matter and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

Unfortunately, according to GAO, the Department has said that they don't yet know what they'll do with the $27 million available for de-obligation and they may not know what to do with it until September 2012.  Any reauthorization of the program should ensure that the Department uses these funds to buy more vests, or pay down the national debt, not just sit on them for another decade.

Officer safety is paramount and we should do all we can to make sure officers on the street have body armor.  However, we must also ensure that taxpayer dollars are monitored and managed effectively by the Justice Department.  We can and must do both.  Reauthorizing this program affords us that opportunity.

I look forward to working on this reauthorization and to hearing the testimony of the witnesses.  I thank all the witnesses for being here today.  I also want to thank the GAO for expediting the release of their report so that we could discuss it here today.


WASHINGTON - Three Iowa high school seniors have been selected for admission to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, according to U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.


Andrew Meyers of Reinbeck, Jindalae Suh of Iowa City, and Sean Steil of Oelwein have been offered places for the 2012-2013 school year.  Grassley nominated these students for appointments.


"Admission to the service academies is highly competitive and a great honor," Grassley said.  "Young people like Andrew Meyers, Jindalae Suh and Sean Steil work very hard to earn this kind of opportunity, and I join many others, no doubt, in wishing them well and expressing appreciation for their commitment to serving our nation."


Meyers will graduate in May from Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School.  He is the son of Laura and Joel Meyers.  He is a member of National Honor Society, a class officer, and active in youth group, football, basketball, and soccer.


Suh will graduate in May from City High School in Iowa City.  She is the daughter of Laura Ctow.  She is a member of National Honor Society and the student council.  She participates in the symphony and concert orchestra, speech, the school newspaper, diving, swimming, and soccer.


Steil will graduate in May from Wapsie Valley High School.  He is the son of Karla and John Steil.  He is a member of National Honor Society and the student council.  He is active in talented and gifted programs, the school musical, speech, and golf.


For more than 200 years, the U.S. service academies have educated and trained the best and the brightest to lead and command the U.S. armed forces.


Information about seeking an academy nomination is posted at