Private luxury suites, Suite Level, and Sky Deck seating available for two nights Valentine's Day weekend

DAVENPORT, Iowa (JAN. 9, 2014) - Quad Cities-area couples seeking a uniquely romantic setting and dining experience this Valentine's Day weekend can now make their reservations for a Valentine's Day Dinner in the private luxury suites, Suite Level or Sky Deck at the award-winning Modern Woodmen Park.

Couples can choose either of two nights this Valentine's Day weekend to enjoy a four-course gourmet meal at the venue voted the Best Minor League Ballpark in a nationwide vote by 10Best.com and USA TODAY. Couples may choose to rent a private luxury suite, a table on the stadium suite level or take in the spectacular view of the ballpark, Centennial Bridge, Mississippi River and downtown Davenport from a table in the glass-enclosed, climate-controlled Sky Deck.

"The Valentine's Day Dinner treats couples to an wonderful atmosphere, delicious meal and delightful evening at Modern Woodmen Park," said River Bandits co-owner Dave Heller. "The unique setting, first-rate service and fantastic dining experience at this unique venue provides Quad Cities couples a truly memorable way to celebrate Valentine's Day."

Dinner reservations are available for Valentine's Day, Friday, Feb. 14 (5-9 p.m.) or Saturday, Feb. 15 (5-9 p.m.). Couples can choose a table on the Suite Level for just $80 per couple, Sky Deck for just $90 per couple, or a private, candle-lit luxury suite for $100 per couple. A group of four may share a suite for $200, a group of six for $275, and a group of eight for $350. With each dinner, the couple will also receive a complimentary pair of tickets to any 2014 River Bandits home game.

Every meal includes a shared appetizer, in addition to a a soup or salad, and an entrée with two sides, followed by a shared dessert. Couples may also add to their evening with a bottle of champagne or wine.

Reservations can be made by calling Taylor Satterly or Alli Costello at 563-324-3000 or by emailing Taylor@RiverBandits.com or Alli@RiverBandits.com. Reservations must be made by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6.

"The Valentine's Day Dinner is one of the most popular special events at the ballpark, and it is a splendid opportunity to experience the most premium areas of a year-round venue," said General Manager Andrew Chesser. "We look forward to hosting each couple that celebrates this Valentine's Day at Modern Woodmen Park."

UP NEXT: Season-ticket holders can still guarantee their same seats for the upcoming season, but time is running short! Ticket-plan holders must renew their plans with a $50 deposit per seat by Jan. 31, in order to keep the same seats as last season. Contact your account representative or call 563-324-3000 today to renew your ticket plan. To order ticket plans - with new lower prices - for next season, call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000 or visit www.riverbandits.com to download the season ticket order form. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 112 feet over the playing field, is opening this spring, along with a carousel, a new ride called a "Drop and Twist," an expanded zip line, and many other new games and attractions. In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. The team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, just saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.

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Donors can now claim tax deductions to help save historic theater

TIPTON, Iowa?The Hardacre Theater Preservation Association (HTPA) announced today it has achieved its long-awaited goal of attaining 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, making the group an official nonprofit organization and opening doors for the organization and its donors.

With nonprofit designation, the HTPA can now offer tax deductions to donors who want to help save the theater and pursue grants and funding opportunities only available to 501(c)(3) organizations.

"We are thrilled to attain this status, as it will open so many doors for not only the Hardacre Theater Preservation Association but for its donors," said Greg Brown, HTPA president. "Many grants are available only to nonprofit organizations. Attaining this status will help us realize the community's vision for the Hardacre Theater."

The Hardacre Theater is a nearly 100-year-old opera house and movie theater that, until August 2013, was in continuous operation since it opened in 1916. The theater is home to Iowa's longest-running film festival?the Hardacre Film Festival?which celebrated its 16th year in August 2013. The movie industry's rapid evolution from 35mm film to digital projection has left many single-screen, privately owned theaters scrambling to upgrade to digital or close their businesses.

The HTPA's goal is to purchase and upgrade the Hardacre Theater, creating a multi-use venue for both recorded and live entertainment. The first fundraising phase will be to purchase the theater building, then renovate and upgrade its technology to create a state-of-the-art entertainment and cultural facility.

The group is formulating a fundraising and grant-attainment plan. Anyone interested in donating, pledging a donation, and following the Hardacre Theater's journey to renovation can visit the HTPA's website at thehardacre.org.

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Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after Speaker Boehner moved to send legislation to fund the government to a conference committee. Due to repeated demands by the Tea Party, House Republicans were not willing to put a clean continuing resolution to avoid this manufactured crisis for a vote.

"It is unconscionable that we have come to this point. Because of the reckless actions by the Tea Party, the latest move by Speaker Boehner serves one purpose: to try and shift blame away from Republicans and the brinksmanship they have caused. This is one more manufactured crisis that Iowans and our economy cannot afford. Washington must re-focus its energy on job creation and fixing the economy. I will work to bridge the differences and put an end to these irresponsible practices and get the basic work done that the American people expect of Congress."

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FRIDAY NIGHT, AUGUST 23 - 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - AT NIABI ZOO
Pints 3rd annual tasting event at the zoo is a casual evening where you can explore the zoo, visit the animals and enjoy a sampling of a few of your favorite beverages. Support the zoo's exhibit improvements by joining us for Pints. Construction is already underway on a new lion exhibit and future zoo plans include the addition of new or renovated habitats.
Meet your friends at 6:00 p.m. Friday night in the giant tent on the festival lawn, then embark on your adventure together sampling beverages featured in your passport. This roving cocktail party lets you taste beverages at stations located at different animal exhibits. Must be 21 to attend.
$30 Niabi Zoo Members
$35 non-members and guests

Buy a 6-pack for the member price of $160,
non-members pay only $190.
Offers Received for 1.9 Million Acres

AMES, IOWA, July 22, 2013 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The Department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land, demonstrating CRP's continuing appeal as one of our nation's most successful voluntary programs for soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP contracts since 2009. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts.

"For 27 years, lands in CRP have helped to conserve our nation's resources and played a part in mitigating climate change," said Vilsack. "American farmers and ranchers continue to recognize the importance of protecting our nation's most environmentally sensitive land by enrolling in CRP. As the commodities produced by our farmers and ranchers continue to perform strongly in the marketplace - supporting one out of every twelve jobs here in the United States - it is no surprise that American producers continue to recognize the importance of protecting our nation's most environmentally sensitive land by enrolling in CRP."

In addition to today's announcement, over the last four years, USDA has set aside significant acreage under CRP's Continuous enrollment programs to target habitat conservation on especially important lands. For example, in March, 2012, President Obama dedicated 1 million acres of CRP to Continuous Enrollment Programs to conserve wetlands, grasslands and wildlife. This year, farmers and ranchers have already offered more than 370,000 acres under Continuous CRP signup, a figure that is impressive given that the lack of a Farm Bill extension last fall meant that CRP enrollment only reopened this spring in May. Lack of a comprehensive Farm Bill this year has resulted in uncertainty for achieving further enrollment objectives under continuous CRP.

CRP is a voluntary program that allows eligible landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of their 10 to 15 year contracts.

Under CRP, farmers and ranchers plant grasses and trees in fields and along streams or rivers. The plantings prevent soil and nutrients from washing into waterways, reduce soil erosion that may otherwise contribute to poor air and water quality, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife. In 2012, CRP helped to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous losses from farm fields by 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds respectively. CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and associated buffers and reduces soil erosion by more than 300 million tons per year. CRP also provides $2.0 billion annually to landowners-dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs.

In addition, CRP sequesters more carbon dioxide than any other conservation program in the country, and also reduces both fuel and fertilizer use. Yearly, CRP results in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.

USDA selected offers for enrollment based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) comprised of five environmental factors plus cost. The five environmental factors are: (1) wildlife enhancement, (2) water quality, (3) soil erosion, (4) enduring benefits, and (5) air quality.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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Award Recognizes Outstanding Support to Employees Serving in National Guard and Reserves

SPRINGFIELD, IL (05/31/2013)(readMedia)-- The Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an agency of the Department of Defense, presented AT&T with the ESGR Above and Beyond Award May 30 in recognition of outstanding support to its employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

The Above and Beyond Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize employers providing extraordinary support and cooperation to their employees who have answered the call to serve. The award is given in limited numbers by ESGR state committees to employers who go well above the basic requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, in supporting their Guard and Reserve employees and have had at least one of their supervisors or managers recognized with a Patriot Award. It is the second highest ESGR award given at the state level.

"Supportive civilian employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve," said Lt. Col. Tim Franklin, Illinois ESGR Program Director. "A Guardsman or Reservist has to maintain a balance between their military obligations, family life and civilian career. The things AT&T is doing to support your citizen warriors helps make it easier for them to maintain that balance and continue to serve in uniform. This Above and Beyond Award recognizes that support."

Illinois ESGR Central West Area Chair, Stan Zielinski and volunteer, Allan Woodson, presented AT&T managers Steve Cacciatore and Cararrus Baltimore with the Above and Beyond Award at the company's south Springfield facility. Illinois ESGR selected AT&T to receive the award based on the Patriot Award presented to Baltimore in 2012. Baltimore was nominated for the Patriot Award by AT&T employee and Illinois Army National Guardsman, Chief Warrant Officer David Rogers, to show his appreciation for the support of his service in the Illinois National Guard.

"Mr. Baltimore is highly supportive of my military service and training schedule," said Rodgers in his Patriot Award nomination. "He went to great lengths to help with payroll issues while I was attending training with the Illinois National Guard in Minnesota. He is a great supporter of the military and is always there to assist myself or my family."

"On behalf of Illinois ESGR and our State Chair, Dr. Michael Ayers, I am honored to present you with this Above and Beyond Award," said Zielinski. "I would like to thank AT&T for the outstanding support you have shown Chief Rogers in his service with the military. This award recognizes that AT&T is among those employers across the country that go well 'above and beyond' the basic requirements of USERRA in supporting service in the National Guard and Reserve."

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in resolving issues arising from an employee's military commitment. ESGR is supported by a network of more than 4,900 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nearly 140 Illinois ESGR volunteers across the state work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.

Defense and Local Community listening post to hear from northwestern Illinois residents

SPRINGFIELD - May 27, 2013. The deadline to register for the Rock Island Arsenal Defense and Local Community Listening Post is just two days away, Lt Governor Sheila Simon announced today. All local residents, especially military families, civilian Department of Defense employees, veterans, employers and educators, are invited to register by the end of the day Wednesday to attend the listening post on Friday.

"This is an opportunity for all community members, businesses and Rock Island Arsenal families to speak out about economic challenges and opportunities within this unique region," said Simon. "I look forward to engaging with these residents so we can better coordinate federal, state and local action to strengthen these communities."

Simon will be joined by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos at the listening post where participants will take a brief survey and then discuss issues pertaining to business climate, education, workforce training and quality of life. Simon will present feedback from the listening posts to the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), which she chairs. The IMBSEDC coordinates the state's activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois, and provides advice and recommendations for base retention, realignment and reuse.

Simon is holding the Defense and Local Community Listening Post in partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Simon and the Institute held similar listening posts last year in rural communities to survey residents about quality of life issues. Feedback from the meetings helped shape the Vision for Rural Illinois, a strategic plan that helped guide Simon's work in expanding access to local food and strengthening emergency medical services in rural Illinois.

Simon held the first Defense and Local Community Listening Post near Scott Air Force Base earlier in May and will visit North Chicago, near Naval Station Great Lakes, on June 5. For up-to-date information and to RSVP to attend the listening posts, click here.

 

DATE: Friday, May 31

TIME: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

LOCATION: Western Illinois University - Riverfront Campus, Rooms 103/104, 3300 River Drive, Moline

NOTE: RSVP here by Wednesday, May 29.

 

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Brucemore will host a special 2013 event celebrating Hancher's 40th anniversary and commemorating the five-year anniversary of the flood. On June 13 at 7:00 p.m., Living with Floods, will bring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Hancher's opening performers in 1972?back to Iowa for a series of seven free outdoor concerts. Named for the esteemed music venue in the heart of New Orleans's French Quarter, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a true national treasure. Hailed as "America's Best Traditional Jazz Band" by All About Jazz, the group has been a driving force in American music ever since its inception in 1961, counting jazz royalty like Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong among its distinguished alumni. Now in its 51st year, this national treasure continues to honor the dirty rags, mournful blues, and laid back swing that form jazz's legacy.

The concert will be set amidst the historic charm near the Formal Garden on the Brucemore estate. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. No on-site parking is available except handicap parking by entering on Dows Lane. Outside food and beverages are allowed; however, pets are not. For further information or a listing of other concert sites across the state, visit www.brucemore.org or call (319) 362-7375.

About Living with Floods project

The University of Iowa's Hancher, College of Engineering, College of Education, Interdisciplinary Flood Institute, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Iowa Flood Center, iExploreSTEM, and State Hygienic Laboratory are partnering for this program. In keeping with the University of Iowa's mission of teaching, research, and service, this project aims to provide services to communities throughout the state. The project will commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 2008 flood, celebrate progress made towards recovery, and raise awareness of strategies to mitigate floods as well as of the interconnectedness of our environment and watershed. In addition to the partners listed above, this project is supported by Back to the River, Iowa Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Arts. For further information, visit www.hancher.uiowa.edu and www.iihr.uiowa.edu/livingwithfloods.

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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"IOWANS DESERVE BETTER"

Iowa groups will urge lawmakers to stand against shifting healthcare costs onto Iowa residents, and to stand for more local provider access.

What: AARP Iowa, the Iowa State Association of Counties, and Iowa's American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network join with other Iowa groups to urge fellow Iowans to speak out against shifting higher costs onto Iowa taxpayers to pay for a system that offers less local health care access.

Who: Anthony Carroll, Associate State Director for Advocacy, AARP Iowa

Linda Hinton, Government Relations Manager, Iowa State Association of Counties

Dr. Richard Deming, Iowa Board Member, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

When: 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 8

Where: Room 116, Iowa State Capitol, 1007 East Grand Avenue. Des Moines.

Why: Providing healthcare for the poor is the right thing to do. Both the Iowa Senate and Iowa House have re-affirmed that with their majority votes for plans to cover low income Iowans. However, the two plans before the state legislature differ greatly in multiple ways. They differ in both the cost to all Iowa taxpayers and local, preventative access offered to those low income Iowans who would receive coverage.

Iowa groups will provide visual illustrations of these major differences and announce their current effort to inform Iowans of these differences.

These groups believe that hard-working, low-income Iowans deserve a plan that provides healthcare from local providers, without shifting more costs to Iowa taxpayers.

More Than $6 Million in State and Local Partnership Investments to Help Create the Largest Open Space Project in the Country

CHICAGO - March 1, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today took another major step towards revitalizing Chicago's Calumet region by announcing $6.8 in state and local investments to continue developing the Millennium Reserve, a 140,000-acre project to create the largest open space area in the country. The governor also signed an Executive Order creating a steering committee made up of federal, state and local partners that will oversee the vision for the reserve. Making the Millennium Reserve a reality is part of the governor's ongoing commitment to protecting Illinois' natural resources, creating jobs and strengthening communities.

"These key investments, along with the creation of the steering committee, will help us continue to create the Millennium Reserve and connect our Calumet communities through trails and green space," Governor Quinn said. "By creating the largest open space project in the country, we are giving more children an opportunity to experience the great outdoors and continuing to make Illinois one of the nation's greenest states."

The Millennium Reserve Steering Committee will submit a preliminary report to the governor within six months of its first meeting, and will provide regular reports every six months thereafter. The steering committee will identify specific projects of regional significance, recommend major policy initiatives that could be pursued by the state of Illinois and partner organizations, and identify potential funding sources for projects within the Millennium Reserve.

"I want to thank Governor Quinn for creating the steering committee, and I look forward to helping him continue to help move this first-of-its-kind project forward," said John Rogner, who directs landscape conservation activities for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will serve as chair of the steering committee. "Illinois' Millennium Reserve initiative will serve as a national model not only for the preservation and expansion of green space, but also for increasing outdoor recreation in urban communities."

"Americans spent more than $145 billion dollars in 2011 on outdoor recreation, including bird watching, hiking and fishing," Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller said. "Investments like these in open space projects and outdoor recreation make a lot of sense. The Calumet area of Chicago is home to some of Illinois' richest biodiversity, with a wide variety of wildlife and plant species in the midst of an urban environment. In the Millennium Reserve, we are following Mother Nature's course, and creating a destination for all Illinoisans and the 53 million tourists who visit the Chicago area every year."

Standing inside the newly-constructed visitor center at William W. Powers State Recreation Area on Chicago's South Side, Governor Quinn today announced the following investments within the Millennium Reserve boundaries:

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has been awarded two federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for work that will benefit the environment and the economy of Millennium Reserve. Nearly $400,000 is being invested for Greencorps Chicago (GC), which is the city of Chicago's green jobs training program. GC will work on invasive species control at 15 sites in the Millennium Reserve. An additional $300,000 will support the expansion of green infrastructure projects in seven suburban communities.

Chicago Park District Projects - Using federal funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the IDNR is investing $200,000 in the Chicago Park District's efforts to improve two recent land acquisitions within the Millennium Reserve. 

Recreational investments - The state of Illinois is using more than $5 million in federal grant funding to invest in recreation opportunities within the Millennium Reserve. $4.7 million from the federally-funded Illinois Transportation Enhancements Program (ITEP) will be used by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to construct new links in the Cal-Sag Trail and the Thorn Creek Trail. Another $600,000 in federal Coastal Zone Management Program funding is being invested in expanding fishing opportunities for youth in the region.

William W. Powers Visitor Center - A $900,000 capital investment is being used to complete the new visitor center at William W. Powers State Recreation Area, due to open later this year. The exciting, contemporary facility will orient visitors to the state recreation area on Chicago's South Side with exhibits engaging adults and children with the natural features and historical significance of Wolf Lake. Public meeting space within the visitor center building will be available for use by groups and partners in the Calumet Region.

The Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core initiative is built upon strong partnerships, community planning, and the work of active citizens and organizations who have sought to transform an economically-challenged industrial region into a re-envisioned community landscape that is economically, environmentally and culturally vital to the region. The project is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect Americans, especially children, to America's rich outdoor treasures; build upon public and private priorities for conservation and recreation lands; and use science-based management practices to restore and protect our lands and waters for future generations.

For more information on the Millennium Reserve Initiative visit  http://millenniumreserve.illinois.gov.

 

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