'Is It Me Can You Tell?' presents author's latest poetry, discusses childhood, love, betrayal

WADENA, Minn. - Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. For many poets, it is drawn from daily life, nature or one's culture. For author Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto, it comes primarily from his childhood. In his new collection of poetry, "Is It Me Can you Tell?: A Book Of Poetry" (published by AuthorHouse), Peveto invites readers to take a peek into his childhood experiences, loves lost and politics.

Many of the poems in Pevetos' "Is It Me Can You Tell?" "deal with the emotions I experienced during my childhood, as there were some uncomfortable occurrences," Peveto writes.

Despite some of the difficult or dark occurrences in his childhood, Peveto is a firm believer in finding the "beauty" in the "ugly," which he hopes to get across to readers through his poems.

An excerpt from the poem "Starr," taken from "Is It Me Can you Tell?":


"The shortness of breath causes great despair,

Overwhelmed by passion just by touching your hair,

The smoothness of silk was wished upon your skin,

And through journeyed explorations the touching begins"


"Is It Me Can You Tell?"

By Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto

Softcover | 5 x 8 in | 60 pages | ISBN 9781434349637

E-Book | ISBN 9781463494070

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto was born in Bay City, Texas. Since the age of 6, he has had a love for words, especially puns. Despite having practiced painting, sculpting, drawing and tattooing, Peveto finds words to be the most expressive of the art forms. "Is It Me Can you Tell?" is his first published book, although he has several more in the works.

For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.


DES MOINES - Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Des Moines Airport Authority's Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 11:

"We continue to feel that the proposed Pro-Tec contract will imperil the safety of airport customers. The Board's agenda says they will vote on the proposed contract. Once again, we are encouraging concerned members of the public to attend the Authority Board meeting on Tuesday, February 11th at 9 am in the second floor boardroom at the airport terminal in order to express their opposition to the outsourcing plan."


Mortgage Credit Certificates to provide Iowa home buyers with up to $2,000 in annual federal income tax credits 

(DES MOINES) - Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today partnered with the Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Association of REALTORS to announce an opportunity for new Iowa home buyers to reduce their federal income tax liability by up to $2,000 a year for the life of their mortgage through the 2014 Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate program.  The program is estimated to assist 585 home buyers and is administered by the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA).

"With tax season upon us, many Iowans are looking for ways to keep more of their hard-earned income," said Branstad. "The Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate Program announced today offers new Iowa home buyers a way to do just that and put even more momentum behind Iowa's already strong real estate market as we enter the home buying season. I encourage all Iowa home buyers to look into this valuable resource."

"Research has consistently shown the importance of the housing sector on the economy and the long-term social and financial benefits," said Reynolds. "Every Iowa home sale provides a boost to the local economy, supports strong neighborhoods and aligns Iowa families for long-term stability."

The 2014 Take Credit Program provides eligible home buyers with a tax credit against their federal income tax liability every year for the life of their mortgage, as long as the home is used as their primary residence, up to a maximum of 30 years. The program is available only for IFA-approved new purchases closing after February 3, 2014. Eligible financing is limited to 30-year, fixed-rate, fully amortizing loans.

The amount of the tax credit is based on a percentage of the homeowners' mortgage interest. For the 2014 Take Credit Program, the credit rate is set at 30 percent of the annual interest paid on the mortgage loan, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year.

To take advantage of the program home buyers must be approved for a mortgage and meet federal eligibility requirements. Interested home buyers should visit IowaFinanceAuthority.gov/TakeCredit to find a Take Credit Participating Lender, access eligibility information and more.

After an eligible homeowner has closed a mortgage loan with an IFA Take Credit Participating Lender, IFA will issue the homeowner a mortgage credit certificate for pre-approved applicants. The homeowner in turn may apply the credit against their federal income tax liability on an annual basis for the life of their mortgage. The credit may be claimed on IRS Form 8396.

"This program is a win-win for Iowa as it will help to fuel an already healthy Iowa real estate market and help hundreds of Iowa families realize a reduction in their federal income taxes," said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison.

Iowa Association of Realtors CEO Dave Bert said, "Iowa home sales in 2013 increased by an impressive 7.9 percent. The Take Credit program announced today will encourage even more home buyers to take the step into homeownership."

The mortgage credit certificate was authorized by Congress in the 1984 Tax Reform Act and functions like a federal income tax credit. Funding for the program is made available through federal private activity bond volume cap, which was set to expire if not used. The mortgage certificate credit funding will be available through 2014 or until the funds are expended.

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Home Improvement meets Happy Days

DETROIT -Tim Allen's character "Tim the Toolman" adored hot rods, almost as much as Henry Winkler's Fonzie loved hanging out at Arnold's. Combine those two passions, along with some great baby boomer humor, and you get author Ron Lundmark's first novel.
"Dream Machines" is the humorous tale of two Detroit men who, as teens, drove an unfinished drag race in 1965 on Woodward Avenue, America's first highway. Fifty years later, the men recognize each other at their grandchildren's wedding. They kept their grudge and their hot rods for five decades, just in case.
"I lived in the earlier days of Woodward in the 1960s, when there were lots of drive-in restaurants to cruise and everybody drag raced in-between the stoplights," Lundmark said. "Woodward was considered the biggest illegal drag strip in the world. It was "American Graffiti" times a thousand."
The story takes place during the Woodward Dream Cruise, the largest one-day automotive event in the world, which brings 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars to Detroit each year.
"The book is really the story about the Woodward Dream Cruise and its history in the Motor City," Lundmark said.
For more information about the book, visit http://www.ronlundmark.com/; for more information about the Woodward Dream Cruise, visit http://woodwarddreamcruise.com.
Dream Machines
By Ron Lundmark
ISBN: 978-1-45821-070-8
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Abbott Press
About the author
From Detroit, Michigan, Ron Lundmark grew up in the heyday of Woodward Avenue - America's first highway - in the 1960s, when there were drive-in restaurants to cruise and the biggest illegal drag strip in the world on which to race. He is a small business owner in Bay Village, Ohio.
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DES MOINES - Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Des Moines Airport Authority's decision to schedule a Board vote for tomorrow on the pending contract with Pro-Tec Fire Services:

"The Des Moines Airport Authority Board is showing a callous disregard for the safety of airport passengers by plowing ahead with this risky, unsafe outsourcing plan. As we detailed in our previous news release, Pro-Tec Fire Services has a troubled history and the Airport Authority's Request for Proposal included staffing requirements that are insufficient to meet OSHA requirements and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) staffing and interior firefighting safety standards. The staffing level is so minimal that in a crash, Pro-Tec employees will only be able to focus on putting the fire out?not assisting injured passengers.

"At a January 29th meeting with Airport Authority managers some current Airport Firefighters/Medics made a sensible proposal to have the Airport Authority hire the current firefighters/medics as Airport Authority employees. The Airport's Assistant Executive Director and General Manager, Kevin Foley, stated that the airport is 'a business and is making a business decision.' He further claimed that the airport does not have to follow OSHA and NFPA standards.

"The Airport Authority is not a business. It is a public entity with board members nominated by the Mayor of Des Moines and appointed by the Des Moines City Council. Its priority should be safety, period."

"We ask all members of the public who support a safe airport to show their opposition to this dangerous proposed contract with Pro-Tec. We encourage them to attend the Authority Board meeting on Tuesday at 9 am in the second floor boardroom at the airport terminal."


Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

Before the United States Senate

Oversight at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Delivered Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recently, the Obama administration has been talking a lot about income inequality and poverty.

The U.S. has spent trillions of dollars in the last fifty years fighting the so-called "War on Poverty."

The results have been marginal.

Yet, this administration wants to spend more money on more programs.

That doesn't fix the problems.

If you just hand this money out with no strings and no oversight, it gets diverted and misused.

Wasted money doesn't help the poor.

There are a lot of people who make a nice profit from the poverty of others.  And, the Obama administration has been helping a number of these profiteers, while the poor suffer.

Through my oversight work, I have seen this happen over and over again.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development hands out $4 billion in federal money every year to local housing authorities.

This money is supposed to help provide clean, affordable housing to the poor.

But, while no one is watching, so much of the money gets spent on high salaries and perks for the people who run the housing authorities.

These housing authorities have other sources of money, but for most of them, up to 90 percent of their total funding comes from that $4 billion contributed by federal taxpayers.

HUD argues that because housing authorities are state and local government entities, there is no reason to scrutinize them from Washington.

As far as I'm concerned, HUD is missing about four billion reasons.

Taxpayer money should come with federal oversight.

I have been conducting oversight of wasteful spending at housing authorities for almost four years.

I have been urging the Obama administration to look at what is happening and take action.

But, there is little, if any, interest in oversight of these federal dollars by the folks writing the checks in Washington.

They just want to send the check and pat themselves on the back.

They don't want to talk about what actually happens to the money.

Federal funds end up feathering the nests of local housing authority bureaucrats instead of housing the poor.

Here are some of the most egregious examples of how ineffective the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been at policing local housing authorities:

Bradenton, Florida, is an area of the country that was hit extremely hard during the foreclosure crisis.

But, employees at the Bradenton Housing Authority only have to work four days a week.

They get two weeks off at Christmas, bonuses in June and December, and the option to cash out up to a month of sick leave twice per year.

They get free use of a car purchased by the housing authority.

After 15 years of employment, they get to keep the car when they leave, or take $10,000 instead.  It's their choice.

Those are generous fringe benefits.

But, many housing authorities also provide very lucrative salaries.

These salaries far exceed the salaries of the federal employees who hand out taxpayer money to the housing authorities.

The biggest salary jackpot winners I've encountered so far are at the Atlanta Housing Authority.

At least 22 employees there earn between $150,000 and $303,000 per year.

The Atlanta Housing Authority benefits from a special HUD designation called Moving to Work.

That program exempts designated housing authorities from certain requirements including salary justifications.

This is not just an isolated example.

The executive director of the Raleigh, North Carolina, housing authority receives about $280,000 in salary and benefits, plus up to 30 vacation days.

He also accumulates comp-time for any hours he works over seven and a half hours per day.

He has used over 20 days of comp time per year since 2009.

Add that to his regular vacation time, and he was out of the office nearly three months per year.

Nine months of work for $280,000 is an annualized salary of nearly $375,000 per year.

Very few taxpayer funded jobs pay anything close to that amount.

What is the justification for such high salaries?

After years of ignoring the issue, HUD finally capped federal funding for executive salaries at $155,500 per employee.  Of course, this was only after various local media and I exposed deep-rooted problems and pushed HUD to act.

But now, housing authority executives have turned to creative accounting tricks to get around the limit.

Since some of their money comes from other sources, the housing authorities simply claim that any salary over the federal limit comes from one of those other sources.

Because of my oversight letters on this subject, HUD recently notified the housing authorities that they must document the original source of the funding used to pay salaries over the federal limit.

That's good news, but there are still larger problems.

The Department is still not making this salary data public in a reasonable timeframe.

For example, the Obama administration refused to release the 2010 set of data for almost a year.   I hope we don't have to wait a year to get the new data.

Like many of our federal agencies, some housing authorities spend large amounts of money on travel for conferences and training.

Staff and board members often attend the same conferences throughout the United States, year after year.

They often attend multiple conferences in a single year.

In addition to travel costs, housing authorities must pay a conference fee for each attendee they send, often ranging between $400 and $1,000 per employee.

That money could easily be used to improve conditions and make needed repairs in public housing facilities, but instead it is frittered away on conferences.

The Tampa Housing Authority has spent more than $860,000 since 2009 for staff and board members to attend various conferences, seminars and training programs.

Tampa has been sending 20 or more employees per year to conferences sponsored by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

That alone costs more than $177,000 per year.

The Atlanta Housing Authority has spent more than $480,000 since 2009 for employees to attend conferences and training sessions.

In fact, the housing authority paid over $68,000 in conference fees to a software company after giving them a multi-million dollar contract for a new computer system.

I wonder if the housing authority executive director thought to ask for a discount.

Many of the housing authorities with questionable spending don't limit the abuses to salaries or travel.

The Tampa Housing Authority purchased a new $7 million administrative office that includes nearly $3 million in renovations and upgrades. That could have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of poor people needing housing.

They are also paying nearly $800,000 in salary and benefits for a public relations department while paying an employee another $170,369 as a PR consultant.

Other housing authorities are also spending exorbitant amounts for outside consultants.

Some of these consultants are former employees of the local housing authority.

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Housing Authority retained 10 law firms for a total of $3.5 million over three years.

One law firm has been representing the housing authority during inquiries by the HUD Office of Inspector General and the city Controller.

Think about that.

It's bad enough that taxpayer money meant to help the poor is wasted.

But then the taxpayer also pays the lawyers to defend the very organization from scrutiny about whether the taxpayer money was wasted.

That just adds insult to injury.

In Philadelphia, outside lawyers blocked the Inspector General's office from accessing spending data for months, costing the taxpayers millions.

The Pittsburgh Housing Authority also paid an outside consulting firm $1.25 million for 2012.

The vice president at the consulting company billed the housing authority $404,000 for 2,400 hours of work.

That's 48 hours a week for a year.

It is more than double the $168,000 salary of the housing authority executive director.

Harris County, Texas, is one of the most egregious examples of out of control spending.

In 2013, the HUD Inspector General questioned the mismanagement of over $27 million in federal funding in Harris County.

The IG provided the following examples of fraud and abuse:

·           Over $1.7 million in excessive payroll expenses;

·           $190,000 for statues and monuments;

·           $66,000 for employee shirts embossed with logos;

·           $27,000 for trophies, plaques and awards;

·           $14,500 for a helicopter, a chartered bus and golf cart rentals for a grand opening; and

·           $18,000 for letters written by Abraham Lincoln

I continue to send my oversight letters to the Senate appropriators and the Senate Banking committee.

These committees have jurisdiction over the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

They have the authority to do something about these abuses.

My colleagues need to know the extent of the problems and that I am ready to work with members of this body to address these issues.

I would like to have these letters placed into the record.

Employment at a public housing authority should be about public service.

It's supposed to be about providing clean, safe, and affordable housing for those in need ? not helping bureaucrats live large on the taxpayers' dime.

If the Obama administration is truly serious about income inequality, and not just using it for political purposes, it would stop shoveling taxpayer money out the door with practically no oversight, no controls, and no limits.


DES MOINES - Today, the Des Moines Airport Authority Board delayed making a decision on a contract with Pro-Tec Fire Services for firefighting services at Des Moines International Airport.


Currently, the Iowa Air National Guard provides firefighting and EMS services at Des Moines International Airport through highly trained state employees who are part of the Iowa Department of Public Defense. On September 30, 2014, these services will end due to a change in the mission tasking of the Air National Guard airbase at the airport. As a result, the Des Moines Airport Authority Board must find another way to provide firefighting services at the airport.


"The Airport Authority Board is considering hiring a for-profit company that will provide only minimal emergency services. The Airport Authority's Request for Proposal included staffing requirements that are insufficient to meet OSHA requirements and National Fire Protection Association staffing and interior firefighting safety standards," said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.


"The company that the Airport Authority Board is considering, Pro-Tec Fire Services, has a troubled history. According to reports in The Times (Trenton, New Jersey), Pro-Tec did not issue notifications when equipment was out of service, fell behind on training, paid low wages, and had high employee turnover at Trenton Mercer Airport in New Jersey. Pro-Tec also paid low wages at the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Illinois, according to the Belleville News-Democrat," added Homan.


"The firefighters/medics currently at Des Moines International Airport have saved lives by responding to medical emergencies at the airport. The airport has a huge footprint of over 2,600 acres. The Des Moines Fire Department cannot guarantee that they will be able to respond to fire and medical emergencies at the airport in an adequate time frame. Outsourcing fire and EMS services at the airport would put lives at risk," added Homan.


"The current firefighters/medics at the Airport have extensive training in crash fire and rescue and in emergency medical response. The Des Moines Airport Authority Board should recognize that these firefighters/medics' training and experience are an asset that should be utilized," added Homan.


"Des Moines International Airport has recently experienced great growth in the number of passengers it serves. As the airport grows, it should not lose its commitment to safety. We call on the Airport Authority Board to reject the proposed contract with Pro-Tec Fire Services at their next meeting. The Airport Authority should instead pursue a course that maintains current services using the current well-trained firefighters/medics as public employees," added Homan.






Pro-Tec did not issue notifications when equipment was out of service. The Times (Trenton, NJ) reported in May 2000 that "Another issue about Pro-Tec has come to the fore in recent interviews: whether notices to airmen (NOTAMs) were issued as required by FAA regulations when fire trucks were out of commission. West, who has worked at Trenton Mercer for two years, said that NOTAMs need only be issued if 24 hours pass and no replacement vehicle is in place. But FAA rules state that a NOTAM must be issued immediately if a truck is out of service, even if only for a few hours for something as simple as an oil change, Peters said. The airport should also temporarily reduce its index, which refers to what size aircraft can be handled by firefighters at the airport. According to Russer, to avoid needing a NOTAM, chemicals for firefighting were transferred to another truck to maintain the ability to handle emergencies. But the truck had no equipment to dispense the chemicals. Barlow, who said he performed mechanical work when he worked for Pro-Tec in the mid-'90s, said trucks were regularly out of commission at the time, yet no NOTAMs were issued. The former Pro-Tec fire official who spoke anonymously said there may have been times when NOTAMs should have been issued and were not. The issue is a gray area, he said." [The Times (Trenton, NJ), 5/13/2000]

Pro-Tec promised additional training to get a contract renewal. The Times (Trenton, NJ) reported in June 2001 that "[County Administrator John] Ricci said the bid won by Pro-Tec, the lowest of three submitted, required that the firefighters get the additional training." [The Times (Trenton, NJ), 6/8/2001]

But when airport officials followed up, the training had not been completed. The Times (Trenton, NJ) reported in June 2001 that "airport officials found some employees were deficient when they asked them for their credentials, he [Ricci] said." [The Times (Trenton, NJ), 6/8/2001]

At Trenton Mercer Airport, Pro-Tec paid low wages and was ending health benefits. In April 2000, The Times (Trenton, NJ) reported in April 2000 that "Board members were upset to hear Skinner and Russer talk about an hourly salary of $7.97, with the company pulling all medical benefits on March 1, although few employees companywide used them." [The Times (Trenton, NJ), 4/26/2000]

At Trenton Mercer Airport, there was 75 percent turnover in five years and equipment was in poor condition. In April 2000, The Times (Trenton, NJ) reported that "also, they were upset to hear from West of 75 percent turnover in personnel since 1995, and that the larger of two fire trucks, built around 1984, needed work on a broken turret, which directs foam on a fire." [The Times (Trenton, NJ), 4/26/2000]

In 2001, Pro-Tec paid employees in Illinois low wages. The Belleville News-Democrat reported in February 2001 that "currently, firefighters [employed by Pro-Tec Fire Services at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport] earn $8.09 an hour, while captains earn $8.99 an hour." [Belleville News-Democrat, 2/28/2001]

DAVENPORT- On Monday, December 16 the Iowa Finance Authority and Davenport area landlords and housing professionals will be launching a new rental housing locator service for landlords to list their properties for free. Scott County has 20,000 rental units that the site aims to link with eligible tenants.

The web site will provide real-time rental unit vacancy information and other unique, advanced search components, not available on other sites. The site will launch for use by the public in January.



TIME: 1:00 P.M.



River Walk Lofts
420 West River Dr.


This week, I worked to build support for Senator Gillibrand's reforms to the military justice system.  I'm glad to be an original cosponsor of the Military Justice Improvement Act.  This is greatly needed legislation and it's the right thing to do.

According to a recent Defense Department report, 50 percent of female victims stated they did not report the crime because they believed that nothing would be done with their report.  Seventy-four percent of females and 60 percent of males perceived one or more barriers to reporting sexual assault.  Sixty-two percent of victims who reported a sexual assault indicated they perceived some form of professional, social, or administrative retaliation.  This acts as a terrible deterrent to reporting sexual assault.  By allowing this situation to continue, we are putting at risk the men and women who have volunteered to place their lives on the line.  We are also seriously damaging military morale and readiness.

Sexual assault is a law enforcement matter, not a military one.  Taking prosecutions out of the hands of commanders and giving them to professional prosecutors, who are independent of the chain of command, will help ensure impartial justice for the men and women of our armed forces.  An advisory committee appointed by the Secretary of Defense himself supports this bipartisan reform initiative, and the Military Justice Improvement Act should pass along with this year's defense authorization bill.

Video can be found here.