Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the House passage of legislation he authored to increase transparency at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation gives the public greater access to the FCC's operations by requiring them to post their policies and procedures on their website and post any changes within 48 hours. Loebsack's proposal was included in The Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015. Loebsack is a member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC.

"Small businesses and consumers should have as much visibility into the operations of the FCC as the big corporate interests and their high-priced lawyers," said Loebsack. "Public participation at the FCC is at an all-time high; the millions of Americans reaching out to the FCC deserve to know how the agency makes its decisions."

More information about the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015 can be found here.


Thursday, October 22, 2015, from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Rivermont Collegiate, 1821 Sunset Drive in Bettendorf

The media is invited.


·        8:45 to 9:15 a.m. - Reading of her picture book "The Legend of the Lady Slipper" in Becherer Hall Auditorium

·        9:25 to 11:30 Presentations and Q&A in Becherer Hall Auditorium

·        12:20 to Approx. 2:30 - Afternoon activities and book sale in the Mansion

Paul Ziebarth of Barnes and Noble will offer for sale a selection of Preus's works and other titles. Margi will sign her books, even those purchased previously -- all in the mansion first floor in the afternoon.

About the Author:

Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling children's book author and playwright. Her novels for young readers have received multiple awards including a Newbery Honor and the Asian Pacific American Award for Children's Literature, and have been selected as ALA/ALSC Notable Books, Notable Books for a Global Society, and an NPR Backseat Book Club pick. Visit: www.margipreus.com.

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Iowa Communities to Benefit from New Workforce Housing Loan Program

Des Moines - The Iowa Finance Authority today announced that a new Workforce Housing Loan Program is now available to communities with a need for additional rental housing as a result of local employment growth. The program has a total of $5 million available to provide financial assistance in the form of low-cost repayable loans to cities and counties.

"Jobs are moving into communities all throughout our state. These jobs are both attracting current Iowans to move within the state as well giving us the opportunity to welcome new Iowans," said Governor Terry Branstad. "This employment growth is in-turn creating the need for additional workforce housing and this program will allow communities to increase available housing stock to meet that demand."

"Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and ranks among the top places to raise a family," said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. "Affordable housing is at the core of thriving families and communities all across Iowa and the new Workforce Housing Loan Program will help to ensure our workforce has housing options in close proximity to their jobs."

The Workforce Housing Loan Program is available to all cities in Iowa on a competitive basis. Cities with populations of less than 50,000 that have shown an annual job growth during the last three years will be awarded additional points. Local contributing financial effort, employer investment in the proposed workforce housing project and designated Home Base Iowa or Iowa Great Places communities are also considerations in the competitive scoring process, among others.

"This program is a win-win for Iowa communities and their workforce," said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison. "The Iowa Finance Authority is proud to offer this program and work in partnership with Iowa communities to fulfill the need for additional workforce housing."

The maximum loan amount per project is the lesser of $1 million or $50,000 per assisted workforce housing rental unit. The loans will have a one percent interest rate with a maximum term of twenty years. Workforce housing units shall not be age restricted and will be limited to households earning 140 percent or less of the statewide median income as published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Applications in the initial Workforce Housing Loan Program funding round are due to the Iowa Finance Authority by November 2, 2015. More information on the program is available at IowaFinanceAuthority.gov/WHLP.


The Iowa Legislature created the Iowa Finance Authority, the state's housing finance agency, in 1975 to undertake programs to assist in the attainment of housing for low-and moderate-income Iowans.


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Writer Dan Helpingstine will appear at the Davenport, Iowa Barnes and Noble at 320 West Kimberly Road on October 17 from 1-3pm to sign his historical book on the John Kennedy assassination. The book is entitled Dallas Forever Changed - The Legacy of November 1963. The book has been released by Pelican Publishing.
Unlike other works on the assassination, Dallas Forever Changed does advance any theories on who assassinated President Kennedy. Instead the book deals with the historical after effects of the crime.
For over 50 years, Dallas endured a tragic legacy that left it labeled as the "City of Hate." Immediately after the assassination, community leaders looked to find a candidate to oppose the local Congressman Bruce Alger because it was thought that Alger contributed to the city having a violent political image. He was defeated in 1964 and never held political office again. The city also did other things in an attempt to distance itself from the assassination.
However, the city could not help but embrace the legacy of the assassination. Visitors were often allowed to visit the Texas Theatre, the place where Lee Oswald was arrested. Tours of key assassination sites are offered by private guides. On one visit to Dallas, the author was shown a red business card by a taxi driver. In the middle of the card had the title, "The Lady in Red." Jean Hill stood within 30 feet of the motorcade when the president was shot. She can be easily identified because she wore a red coat.
The official version has Lee Oswald shooting from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. That sixth floor now houses The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Many city leaders decided one way to deal with history is take ownership of it in a way. The Sixth Floor Museum has artifacts and films of November 22, 1963 and also documents political and social events at that time.
The ongoing controversies regarding President Kennedy's assassination will never fully allow Dallas to divorce itself from the event. The struggles of Dallas symbolize how the country as a whole has had a difficult time coping with a tragic occurrence that changed history.

Gayle Harper's Words and Images Honor America's Beauty, her Greatest River and her Colorful People


Quad Cities - When Gayle Harper learned that a raindrop falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi would travel the River for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico, she knew immediately that her project of a lifetime had appeared.  Harper made a 90-day road trip along the nearly 2,400-mile course of the Mississippi, while keeping pace with a raindrop called "Serendipity."

Harper's journey on the Mississippi River led her through the Quad Cities area, and she will be back again next week to talk about her book, Roadtrip with a Raindrop, her journey, and the people she met along the way.

Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Bettendorf Public Library, 2950 Learning Campus Dr., Bettendorf

Quad Cities Photography Club Meeting - Public Welcome

Friday, September 18 at 6:00 p.m.

River Music Experience, 109 Main Street, Davenport

Harper wandered back roads without plan, meeting people in farm fields, on their porches, in cafés, even while stopped for road construction, who invited her into their lives.  She went to dances, birthday parties, a wedding, a powwow, neighborhood barbeques and festivals. She was invited home to dinner, to meet friends and relatives and onto boats of all sizes, from a canoe to a towboat.

"The people of this journey," says Harper, "are the soul of it. They were welcoming, inclusive, playful, curious, colorful and authentic. There was two-year-old Hazel, who plopped down beside me to show me her green shoes, and 87-year-old Marshall Bouldin III, who moved me to tears when we talked about art. There was a north woods adventurer, a Southern Belle, a "river rat," a Delta Blues man and a pixie-like nun. "

"The Mississippi River is the aorta of our country," says Harper, "it is essential to our ecology and our economy and it is deeply embedded in our history and our very identity.  I watched it grow from a fragile stream into a massive force of nature, yet its essence is always the same."


Roadtrip with a Raindrop is a celebration of America and of the simple moments that make life an adventure. In its 240 pages are 55 stories, with nearly 200 full-color photographs. Together, the words and images invite us to leave our agendas behind, to travel at the pace of a raindrop and to rediscover the fine art of letting life happen!

The book is an Award Winner in Foreword Review's INDIEFAB "Book of the Year," in the Travel category. It has also won The Clarion Award from the National Association of Women in Communications!


Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River

By Gayle Harper

Hardcover, 240 pages, $39.95

Available at www.gayleharper.com

Also at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Acclaim Press

In Matthew Hentrich's novel Damned City, the magic has gone - literally.

The self-published debut novel from the Quad Cities author takes place in a world in which everybody has magical skills - but its hook is that the residents of Spectra have been abruptly robbed of those abilities. There are additional complications for the city: Its highest elected official has been found dead, and it is enveloped in a spell that makes time pass much more slowly than in the rest of the world - making daylight span days. Spectra's residents are certain that an attack on the city is imminent, and they need to figure out how to defend themselves with their magic gone.

The premise, Hentrich said in a recent phone interview, was a reversal of the typical fantasy what-if of characters having magic. "The one twist I thought I could put on the concept was to go the opposite direction and say, 'What if you had people who had magic, and now it's been removed from them?'"

That narrative starting point is plenty clever, and Hentrich is also strong in his pacing, in his management of story rhythm with multiple main characters, and especially in the way he melds disparate elements into a compelling hybrid. His world shares plenty with ours (from coffee and booze to representative government) while still being foreign. (In one nice oddball touch, a city with no need for mechanical transportation finds itself using bears for travel when magic disappears.) The plot brings together fantasy and mystery, and Hentrich trusts readers enough to leave out expository background that would bog down his quick-moving story; everything is familiar enough to grease the path.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2015?Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today delivered remarks at the National Press Club encouraging Congress to act quickly to reauthorize a strong Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and support the ongoing success of the healthier meals now being served in schools across the country. Vilsack was joined by American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, and Jessica Donze Black, director of child nutrition at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Below are excerpts from their remarks as delivered:

Secretary Vilsack:

"It's important for Congress to find a way to provide for reauthorization without taking a step back, for Congress to continue the commitment that it made in 2010 to a brighter and better future for our children. And I'm confident if they are able to do that, if they're able to find a way to reauthorize, to provide additional resources, to do the right thing by this law, it [the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act] will do the right thing by our children. In turn, we'll have a generation of healthier and happier kids who will grow up?many of them will want to serve their country bravely and heroically around the world, others will contribute to a growing economy, and most will not be faced with chronic diseases that will cripple their ability to be productive."

Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics:

"I see children with obesity, have for 27 years, who have the health profiles of sick, middle-aged adults. They have high cholesterol, they have liver disease, they have sleep apnea, they have orthopedic problems, they have Type 2 diabetes. [...] This is a nutritional problem that reaches down into our youngest children. And since children typically consume more than half of their calories at school, we really have an obligation to ensure that those school meals are as healthy as possible. Just like we vaccinate to prevent illness, we can also vaccinate against chronic disease by providing children with nutritious foods in schools."

Jessica Donze Black, director of child nutrition at the Pew Charitable Trusts:

"Child Nutrition Reauthorization provides a tremendous opportunity for Congress to continue to build on the recent progress and ensure that every child has access to the healthy food they need to learn and succeed. The nation's $16 billion annual investment in school meals is a crucial catalyst to help the next generation thrive and succeed while establishing healthy habits for a lifetime. Spending these taxpayer dollars on nutritious meals remains a wise investment in the future of our children and in that of our nation."

During his remarks, Vilsack addressed five myths about the healthier school meals:

Myth: Participation is down.

Fact: Total breakfast participation increased by 380,000 students from FY2013 to FY2014 and has increased by more than 3 million students since 2008. The Community Eligibility Provision under the HHFKA has been successfully implemented in over 14,000 schools and has led to substantially higher program participation - on average, a 9 percent increase in school breakfast participation and 5 percent increase in school lunch. USDA has also received reports from many schools indicating a positive response to healthier offerings and increased participation.

Myth: Serving healthy foods is too expensive.

Fact: A USDA analysis suggests that last year, schools saw a net nationwide increase in revenue from school lunches of approximately $450 million. Ninety-five percent of school districts are now meeting the standards and receiving an additional 6 cents reimbursement per meal. In addition, USDA has provided $90 million in additional resources to help states and schools implement the school nutrition standards?yet, $28 million of those resources remain unspent and available to states and schools who need them. And today, USDA announced more than $8 million in additional resources to help school nutrition professionals better prepare healthy meals for their students.

Myth: Food waste has increased under the new standards.

Fact: A study released in March 2015 by the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shows that students are eating more nutritious foods and discarding less of their lunches under the healthier standards. Kids ate 13 percent more of their entrees and nearly 20 percent more of their vegetables in 2014 than in 2012, which means that less food is ending up in the trash today than before the national standards were updated.

Myth: It's too difficult for schools to serve healthier meals.

Fact: USDA has and will continue to listen to stakeholders and provide guidance and flexibilities, as appropriate, to help schools and students adapt to the updated requirements. Early in the implementation process for school meals, when schools asked for flexibility to serve larger servings of grains and proteins within the overall calorie caps, USDA responded. In January of 2014, that flexibility was made permanent. USDA is also phasing other requirements in over the next several years. And hearing schools' concerns on the lack of availability of whole grain products, USDA is allowing schools that have demonstrated difficulty in obtaining adequate whole grain items to submit a request to the States to use some traditional products for an additional two years while industry works to create better whole grain products.

Myth: This doesn't have broad public support.

Fact: A recent poll by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation shows that more than 80 percent of Americans believe the healthier school meals should stay the same or be strengthened. A September 2014 poll released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association shows that 72 percent of parents favor strong nutrition standards for school meals and 91 percent support serving fruits or vegetables with every meal.


DECORAH, Iowa-Events related to immigration fill the media, but rarely do stories about the day-to-day realities, the heart and humor of the immigrants themselves, make their way past the headlines and sound bites. Author Cristina Henríquez has filled her latest book, "The Book of Unknown Americans," with just such stories.

Henríquez will speak about the concept of identity and address common narratives about immigration as she gives the Luther College Opening Convocation Lecture "Finding Ourselves in Stories," Thursday, Sept. 3. Convocation begins at 9:40 a.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the Luther campus and is open to the public with no charge for admission.

"The Book of Unknown Americans" is a New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and appears on many other Best of 2014 book lists. Henríquez's lecture is sponsored by Luther College's Paideia program, which chose her book as this year's all-campus summer reading. Offering a new definition of what it means to be American, the book tells stories of men and women who have come to the United States from Central and South America.

Henríquez' inspiration came in part from her father's tale of immigrating from Panama as well as stories of others living in Delaware, where she grew up. The Washington Post's review called the book, "Vivid... Striking... A ringing paean to live in general: to the love between man and wife, parent and child, outsider and newcomer, pilgrims and promised land."

Henríquez has said that her book relates stories that people might not otherwise hear in hopes that more people will feel comfortable sharing their immigration stories. To further this dream, she has created a webpage at unknownamericans.tumblr.com, which shares stories posted using the hashtag #UnknownAmerican.

In addition to "The Book of Unknown Americans," Henríquez is the author of "Come Together, Fall Apart," a collection of stories about family bonds and generational conflicts in Panama, and "The World in Half," a novel telling the story of Miraflores piecing together life after finding a father she never knew.

Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The American Scholar and The Atlantic, and she has been a guest on National Public Radio. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Henríquez teaches at Northwestern University.


Book uncovers collection of poetry about struggles of mind, heart, soul


FENNVILLE, Mich. - Working through adult and childhood trauma, author Sidonamarie offers readers a glimpse into her mind, heart and soul with a compilation of poems that reflect her life. The poems in "By the Pond" (published by AuthorHouse) serve as a therapy in order to sort the chaos of her mind.


An engrossing collection of poetry, this book shows the author's journey of remembering who she is, who she has been and who she will fiercely fight with heart, soul, spirit and mind to continue to be. It is also a journey of the mind, working through chaos brought by trauma. While the heart of it is Christian-based, Sidonamarie believes that her poetry speaks to all. It shares her private struggle without preaching or forcing her ideas on anyone.


An excerpt from the poem, Can a Voice:

can a voice be the rebel

and not add to wars and their aggression?

can a voice speak the truth

and not add to the lawlessness?


A mixing of thoughts, ideas and dreams, "By the Pond" presents a new and fresh way of approaching and creating poetry and using it as a positive avenue through the dark times in life.


"By the Pond"

By Sidonamarie

Hardcover | 6x9 in | 110 pages | ISBN 9781504911498

Softcover | 6x9 in | 110 pages | ISBN 9781504911481

E-Book | 110 pages | ISBN 9781504911474

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble