DES MOINES, IA (06/06/2012)(readMedia)-- The Iowa State Fair and Windstar Lines have partnered to provide round trip transportation to the Fair from 42 locations throughout the state. The convenient and affordable State Fair Express will offer motor coach service during the Iowa State Fair August 9-19.

Each State Fair Express ticket includes:

• Round trip transportation on a deluxe Windstar Lines motor coach

• Fair admission

• A complimentary bottle of water

• Fair coupon book offering food and drink discounts with more than $30 in savings

• Daily Program with map of the Fairgrounds

• Easy pickup and drop off in the Fair's North Lot at Gate 15

The State Fair Express will arrive at the Fair at approximately 10 a.m. and will depart at 6 p.m. Adult fare includes ages 12 and over, child fare includes ages 5-11 and children under 5 ride free. Persons under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Ticket pricing varies by location. A complete list of routes, pricing and pickup locations follows.

New in 2012, the State Fair Express will offer four non-stop routes. These routes include Cedar Rapids (August 9), Charles City (August 10), Sioux City (August 10) and Ames (August 12).

Please call Windstar Lines Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 888.494.6378 or visit to make State Fair Express reservations. Payment must be made in full at the time of reservation. Windstar accepts Visa and MasterCard.

Reservations can be made up to one week prior to departure. The State Fair Express runs rain or shine and no refunds will be issued. A minimum of 30 people must book for the trip to run. If the trip does not meet the minimum requirement, cancellation of the trip will occur seven days prior to departure and you will be notified by Windstar Lines. If a cancellation occurs refunds will be given.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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DES MOINES, IA (05/22/2012)(readMedia)-- The 2012 Iowa State Fair free stage line-up is packed with a variety of entertainment and acts. From musical legends to Vaudeville comedy, "Nothing Compares" to this much entertainment, all free with gate admission. The Iowa State Fair runs August 9-19.

Boyz II Men holds the distinction as the best-selling R&B group of all time, with an astounding 60 million albums sold. For the past two decades, Boyz II Men have given fans a rich catalog of hits, like "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You." Most recently, Boyz II Men marked their 20th anniversary by releasing a landmark album, fittingly titled "Twenty."

Honored with 17 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, WAR is one of the greatest rock groups of all time. WAR's album, "The World Is A Ghetto," attained the number one spot on Billboard Magazine. Their classic songs include, "Low Rider," "Slippin' Into Darkness" and "Why Can't We Be Friends?"

The Fair brings theater to the stage with the Handsome Little Devils' Squirm Burpee Circus, an exhilarating, fantastical adventure featuring classic Vaudeville comedy, high-skill circus acts and a plot rooted in American melodrama.

Thirty-six acts, including more crowd-pleasing favorites like The Afters, Here Come the Mummies, and Hunter Hayes will be featured on the Fair's five free stages. Throughout the 11 days, Fairgoers can enjoy more than half a million dollars worth of free entertainment.

Discounted admission tickets are available now through August 8, with savings up to 30 percent. Purchase tickets now online at The Iowa State Fair Ticket Office opens July 9 for walk-up orders.

A complete listing of event dates, times and locations follows:

Anderson Erickson Dairy Stage sponsored by KCCI NewsChannel 8

August 9-10 The Nadas (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 11 Brother Trucker (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 12-13 Handsome Little Devils (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 14 Brett Eldredge (8 p.m.)

August 15 Dia Frampton (8 p.m.)

August 16 Glen Templeton (8 p.m.)

August 17-18 The Blue Band (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 19 Here Come the Mummies (7:30 p.m.)

Anne and Bill Riley Stage sponsored by Pepsi

August 9 JJ Grey and Mofro (8 p.m.)

August 10 Action Item (8 p.m.)

August 11 Iowa State Fair Queen Coronation (7 p.m.)

August 12 The Afters (8 p.m.)

August 13-17 Hypnotist Ron Diamond (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 18 The Downtown Fiction (8 p.m.)

August 19 Street Corner Symphony (7 p.m.)

Budweiser Stage sponsored by ABC5

August 9-10 Bob Wootton (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 11-12 Elvis Impersonator Travis LeDoyt (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 13-14 Restless Heart (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 15-16 Strawberry Fields (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 17-18 Dave Mason Duo (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 19 WAR (8 p.m.)

Susan Knapp Amphitheater with media sponsor KDSM FOX 17

August 9 Steve Holy (8 p.m.)

August 10 Mockingbird Sun (8 p.m.)

August 11 Will Hoge (8 p.m.)

August 12 Blackberry Smoke (8 p.m.)

August 13-14 Hairball (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 15 Hunter Hayes (8 p.m.)

August 16 Country Gold featuring Leroy Van Dyke, Narvel Felts, Rex Allen Jr. and The Quebe Sisters (6 & 8:30 p.m.)

August 17 Marlee Scott (8 p.m.)

August 18 JT Hodges (8 p.m.)

August 19 Boyz II Men (7 p.m.)

Fun Forest Stage sponsored by Community Choice Credit Union

(All shows ASL interpreted)

August 9-19 Babaloo (11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m.)

August 9-19 Matt's Family Jam (11:30 a.m., 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.)

August 9-19 VSA Iowa Presents (various artists) (Noon, 2 & 4 p.m.)

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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BLOOMINGTON, IL (05/01/2012)(readMedia)-- Approximately 20 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in Afghanistan as part of an embedded training team have completed their mission and will return to Illinois this week. The homecoming ceremony for Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A8 will be May 2 at the Bloomington National Guard Armory, 1616 S. Main St. in Bloomington at 4:30 p.m.

Mobilized in June, the team trained at Camp Atterbury, Ind., and joined its Polish counterparts in Poland for training before deploying to Afghanistan.

BEST A8, who was part of Task Force White Eagle, was instrumental in preparing the southern half of Ghazni Province for the 82nd Airborne's arrival.

"The amount of time, coordination and physical labor put into this mission is impressive by itself, but the fact that the Army and Air Force engineers completed this mission is incredible," said 1st Lt. Ryan Bivins of Dixon with BEST A8.

The operation consisted of more than 500 Army, Navy and Air Force engineers, expanding five existing bases and building five new bases during the harsh winter months of Afghanistan.

"A logistics operation of this significance was only possible through cooperation of the Soldiers, Airmen, transporters and aviators, Department of Defense agencies and the Polish military contingent," said Maj. Rhonda Petersen of Lindenhurst with BEST A8. "Task Force White Eagle was able to realize this objective through coordination and execution with more than nine task forces within Regional Command East and 1st Cavalry Division. The proactive dynamic of all involved ensured a winning combination."

Attack helicopters were not something Task Force White Eagle had received too much of in the past until Capt. Tony Keel of Grayslake ensured Soldiers in Task Force White Eagle had support from the sky.

"Helicopter planning was extremely time consuming, but very rewarding and I really enjoyed my job," Keel said. "I especially enjoyed planning with Kiowa and Apache attack helicopter crews because all the ground units loved having that air power overhead supporting their missions and that motivated me to obtain as much air support as possible."The Illinois National Guard has co-deployed with every Polish rotation to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Col. Tom Purple of Rochester said leadership and experience were evident in the success of their team.

"It is a true honor to serve with outstanding warriors during a critical time in the campaign and be part of the success and history of our great Army," Purple said.

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (04/26/2012)(readMedia)-- The family of an Active Army casualty from Illinois has released a statement through the Illinois National Guard in lieu of speaking publically.

"In our darkest moment, our hearts are warmed by the collective love and support of our family, our friends, our neighbors and our community. The outpouring of support and kindness has been tremendous and we cannot thank everyone enough.

Dean was a blessing on our lives and he would be proud and honored.

This is not an easy time for us. As we navigate this difficult journey, we do not intend to share it publicly and ask media to maintain a respectful distance."

Sgt. Dean R. Shaffer, 23, of Pekin, Ill., died April 19 in Helmand province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when the Black Hawk helicopter he was riding in crashed. Shaffer was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

The Illinois National Guard is supporting the active component as well as providing military support to the Shaffer family.

DES MOINES, IA (04/03/2012)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald reminds students the deadline to apply for a Robert D. Blue Scholarship is drawing near. Applications must be submitted online at by May 10 in order to be eligible for this year's award.

"Over the years we've helped thousands of Iowa students meet their college costs with this scholarship," Fitzgerald stated. "Awards are based on financial need, academic achievements, written recommendations and an original essay." In 2011, seven Iowa students received a $1,000 Robert D. Blue Scholarship.

The Robert D. Blue Scholarship is awarded by the Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation to honor Iowa students attending college in Iowa. The Foundation was created in 1949 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of Iowa's acceptance into the union. Governor Blue wished to encourage the youth of the state to continue their education at one of Iowa's fine institutions of higher learning. In 1990, the Foundation officially named the scholarship to honor the late Governor Blue.

Robert D. Blue Scholarship applications are only accepted online at, and the winners will be announced during the summer. Those who would like more information on the Robert D. Blue Scholarship should visit the website, or call the treasurer's office at (515) 242-5270.

HUNTINGTON, IN (03/19/2012)(readMedia)-- Sarah Johnson of Davenport, IA, of the Huntington University Indiana Beta Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Scholarship will be attending the Alpha Chi Super-Regional Convention in Baltimore, Md., on March 22-24.

Johnson, a senior journalism and English major will present on "You Sure, Pooh?: Certainty in A. A. Milne's Child, Adult and Hundred Acre Wood Characters."

The delegation will be accompanied by sponsors Dr. Norris Friesen, Dr. Paul Michelson and Mrs. Jean Michelson.

The Indiana Beta Chapter was awarded the President's Cup in 2001 as the outstanding Alpha Chi chapter nationally. At the 2012 convention, it will be recognized for the 17th consecutive year as a Star Chapter of Alpha Chi, one of only four chapters (out of some 300-plus) nationally to receive this award every year since its inception. Dr. Paul Michelson serves as secretary-treasurer of Alpha Chi's Region V and is a member of the Alpha Chi National Council.

Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America's Best Colleges. Additionally, Princeton Review has named the institution to its "Best in the Midwest" list. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

UPLAND, IN (03/01/2012)(readMedia)-- Brett Vacek of East Moline, IL was named to the Fall 2011 Dean's List at Taylor University.

Full-time students are named to the Dean's List when they have earned a GPA of 3.60 or higher for the term and at least 12 hours carry credit point values.

About Taylor University: Founded in 1846, Taylor University is an interdenominational liberal arts university of evangelical faith located in Upland, Ind. The 2012 U.S. News and World Report survey America's Best Colleges ranked Taylor the number one Baccalaureate College in the Midwest. It marked Taylor's fifth straight number one ranking.

Taylor University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

EAST PEORIA, IL (02/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Kiefer Miles Matheny, of Davenport, IA, graduated from Illinois Central College, East Peoria, with a/an Associate in Arts and Science Degree. More than 800 students met the graduation requirements for the Fall 2011 semester. The commencement ceremony was held December 17 in the ICC CougarPlex on the East Peoria campus.

Started in 1967, ICC is a comprehensive public community college that provides transfer programs for students who intend to pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university as well as career programs for students who plan to gain knowledge and skills to enter a career field.

DES MOINES, IA (02/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Christopher Whalen of Bettendorf graduated from Drake University at the conclusion of the 2011 fall semester with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Entrepreneurship.

Drake is a private, independent university in Des Moines, Iowa, with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 full-time undergraduate students from 50 states and 50 countries. Drake University's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments and responsible global citizenship. The Drake experience is distinguished by collaborative learning among students, faculty and staff and by the integration of the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation.

Area Students named to Illinois College Dean's List

JACKSONVILLE, IL (02/17/2012)(readMedia)-- The following students were named to Illinois College's Fall 2011 semester dean's list.

Kathryn Pierce, a junior, is the daughter of Julie Pierce of Belle Plaine. She is a graduate of Belle Plaine High School.

Taylor Brien, a first year student, is the daughter of Barbara Mansholt of Bettendorf. She is a graduate of Bettendorf High School.

Hannah Oak, a sophomore, is the daughter of Kevin and Cynthia Oak of Taylor Ridge. She is a graduate of Rockridge High School.

Candidates for the dean's list must complete at least 14 semester hours and post a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. All grades must be C or better, and no more than one C grade is allowed.

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success.


ST. LOUIS, MO (02/14/2012)(readMedia)-- The following students were named to the Dean's List for the fall 2011 semester at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Ryan Mitchell Kelly of Bettendorf, IA (52722), was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2011 semester. Kelly is a graduate of Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, IA, and is enrolled in the university's College of Arts & Sciences. To qualify for the Dean's List in the College of Arts & Sciences, students must earn a semester grade point average of 3.5 or above and be enrolled in at least 14 graded units.
  • Amanda Thuy Trang Phan of Bettendorf, IA (52722), was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2011 semester. Phan is a graduate of Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, IA, and is enrolled in the university's College of Arts & Sciences. To qualify for the Dean's List in the College of Arts & Sciences, students must earn a semester grade point average of 3.5 or above and be enrolled in at least 14 graded units.

Washington University is counted among the world's leaders in teaching and research, and it draws students and faculty to St. Louis from all 50 states and more than 110 nations. The total student body is nearly 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.


Mary DePauw Makes UW-Platteville's Chancellor's List

PLATTEVILLE, WI (02/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Mary DePauw from Port Byron, IL, earned academic honors for the fall 2011 semester at the University of Wisconsin- Platteville. DePauw made the Chancellor's List by earning a 4.0 grade point average during the semester. Attainment of the Chancellor's list represents the highest academic achievement at UW- Platteville.

UW-Platteville is settled in a historic mining town near the Iowa and Illinois borders and enrolls nearly 8,000 students. It is an institution whose mission is to produce intellectually astute individuals who will participate in society as competent professionals and knowledgeable citizens. For more information on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, visit


  Jordyn Elizabeth O'Rourke, a Nursing Undergraduate student from Davenport, has been named to the Dean's List at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the Fall 2011 semester. UWM is the second largest university in the State of Wisconsin, with more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students.