A $1000 prize is offered to the last poet standing in a contest sponsored by the Christian Poets Guild.  The contest is free to enter and open to poets of any age.  Fifty prizes totaling more than $5000 will be awarded.

Poems of 21 lines or fewer on any subject and in any style will be judged by guild contest director Dr. Joseph Mellon.  "We love encouraging poets," he says, "and trust this contest will produce exciting results."

Entries my be received by May 31, and may be submitted by mail to Free Poetry Contest, 1299 S. Main St., #129, Yenka, CA 96097 or at www.freecontest.com.  A winners list will be sent to all entrants.

Running 13.1 Miles for Charity

Davenport, Iowa (May 11, 2010) - Local student and resident Holly Scaro will be putting her body to the test when she tackles the 13.1 mile Chicago Half Marathon for the first time on September 12, 2010 for a local Quad Cities charity, Non-Profit Chiropractic Organization (NPCO).

Scaro has a personal story for running the Chicago Half Marathon. Her aunt recently passed away from cancer, so this will be on her mind as she runs her race. "She will be the person I'm thinking about as I keep on pushing to the finish line," she explains. "Cancer has been a great challenge for the women in my family, and doing the Chicago Half Marathon is a great way for me to encourage myself and the rest of my family to be healthy."

As a first time runner, Scaro is excited to finish something that she has never done before. "I'm glad that I can run and support chiropractic healthcare, which is something I'm very passionate about," she said. Scaro is currently in her 5th trimester at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa pursuing her Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Holly will be joining doctors, students, patients and supporters of chiropractic from around the country that will all be "Running with a Vision for a Healthier Tomorrow" this fall for Non-Profit Chiropractic Organization (NPCO). All money raised will go towards opening up new non-profit clinics that provide chiropractic healthcare in third-world countries. This year NPCO has chosen to open an eco-friendly, sustainable clinic in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

To find out more about Holly's upcoming run or register as a runner or supporter, please visit her personal fundraising website at www.active.com/donate/NPCOMar/HScaro. She has set a fundraising goal of $1,000 to reach within the next few months. No matter how much you can give, she encourages anyone and everyone to donate to her cause of providing a healthier tomorrow for others.

Holly is the May Featured Runner for Team NPCO. Please visit www.NPCO.org to read her complete Runner Profile or to find out more information about NPCO and Team NPCO for Chiropractic.


The Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance Announces:

Advanced Screenwriting Workshop

Saturday May 15 2010 - 10 AM to 5 PM

Downtown Des Moines Library

1000 Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50309

Cost: free to Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance Members (ISA)

$15.00 for Iowa Motion Picture Association Members (IMPA)

$20.00 for non-members of ISA or IMPA

Learn about action movie scripts. This course, taught by a veteran filmmaker and screenwriter will cover the basics and three-act structure, action specifics, advanced structure, sequences, and character. There will be a one hour lunch break from noon to one for lunch on your own.

For anyone working on an action script, bring a one page summary of your story to share and obtain group feedback and help on your story.

To register, mail the following:


Telephone Number

Address, City, State, Zip

Email address

Mail to: Deb O'Bryan 8918 Townsend Avenue Urbandale IA 50322

Or email information to Iowawriter@hotmail.com

For questions, contact Deb at 515-313-7866.


A Screening Clinic will be held to identify children from birth to 18 years of age

for possible treatment at a Shriners Hospital.

Children needing help with:

      • birth defects

      • orthopedic problems

      • cerebral palsy

      • cleft palate

      • burns & burn scars

      • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

      • back injuries

      • scoliosis

These, and many other conditions are treated at the

Shriners Hospitals

    for Children

    with no expense to the family

    All applications will be kept strictly confidential.

9 am - 12 pm, Saturday on May 29, 2010

at the Masonic Center, 611 E. 65th Street, Davenport IA .

Sponsored by the Kaaba Shriners.

For questions please call our Office:



Fifth and sixth graders at Earl Hanson School are participating in the "National Lab Day" celebration this week by learning about water treatment programs. Area scientists and professors are going to spend part of the day educating 100 students about clean water, water conservation, third world water problems, etc.

The connection among the school and scientists was made by teacher, Kate Lievens, who signed up online through a relatively new nationwide program called "National Lab Day" (www.NationalLabDay.org). At this site teachers sign up for projects they would like to see in their classrooms and are matched up with scientists who want to help educate area school children.

The media is invited to see National Lab Day in action Wednesday, May 12th beginning at 11:00 at Earl Hanson School (4000 9th Street). Available for interviews are Lievens, Dr. Kevin Geedey (Professor of Biology at Augustana College), Sandy O'Neill with the Rock Island Water Treatment Plant, Bob Bohannon a Moline Water lab Chemist and Greg Swanson, Moline's Utilities General Manager.

The National Lab Day site is one element in a White House initiative to encourage public-private partnerships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Lievens is one of the first teachers to participate in the program and has been featured in a national science magazine.


National Mediation Board decision will treat rail and aviation workers the same as other employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised today's National Mediation Board decision to provide fair labor elections for rail and aviation workers.  The updated regulations were published in this morning's Federal Register.

Current election procedures treat rail and aviation workers differently from workers in other industries and U.S. citizens voting for government officials.  In order to gain union representation, a majority of all eligible rail and aviation workers must cast a vote for the union to prevail.  Workers who do not vote are counted as "no" votes against unionization.  Non-voters in elections held outside the rail and aviation industries are counted as abstentions, meaning that a simple majority of votes cast is all that is required. 

The updated regulations will allow a majority of those voting to choose union representation, putting rail and aviation workers on par with other workers.

"These regulations will ensure that aviation and rail workers have the same right to join a union as other workers in our country," Senator Harkin said. "I applaud the NMB's decision to amend its election procedures and bring basic fairness to workers in these critical industries.  NMB's long overdue rule change ensures that all American workers will have a voice in the workplace and a right to fair wages and work conditions."

In December of 2009, Harkin, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WY), Chairman of the Commerce Committee were joined by Senators Akaka (D-HI), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Burris (D-IL), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Johnson (D-SD), Kaufman (D-DE), Kerry (D-MA), Kirk (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Specter (D-PA), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Wyden (D-OR) in sending a letter to the National Mediation Board advocating for this change.  Click here to access the full text of the letter: http://harkin.senate.gov/press/release.cfm?i=320577.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement today after learning that President Obama had nominated Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Elena Kagan is extremely qualified.  She has the intellect and experience necessary to serve on our nation's highest Court and her stellar legal credentials have been recognized by liberal and conservative lawyers alike.  She clerked for two judges for whom I have enormous respect - Judge Abner Mikva and Justice Thurgood Marshall.  I am also encouraged that in this nomination, the President selected a candidate from outside of the Judiciary.  Elena Kagan is recognized as one of the leading legal educators in our country.

"I am confident that, if confirmed, she will be an important voice on our Court for the rule of law and constitutional rights and values.  She will ensure equality and give proper effect to our most important statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights Act, so our most vulnerable citizens receive the fullest protections of the law.

"Elena Kagan's nomination comes after a series of firsts in her career - first female Dean of Harvard Law School and first female Solicitor General - setting the stage for what may be only the fourth woman to serve on the Court in our history."

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made the following comment after the President nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the next Justice on the United States Supreme Court.  Grassley is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which will consider the nominee.

"A lifetime appointment requires a thorough vetting and I expect Elena Kagan to receive fair, respectful and deliberative consideration.  The Constitution gives the Senate a tremendous responsibility to carefully review the President's nominees to the Supreme Court.   The Judiciary Committee must take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences.  With no judicial experience, it becomes even more important that we ask thorough questions to determine that Ms. Kagan truly understands the constitutional role of a Supreme Court justice."

On Wednesday May 26th at 8:30am, some Jordan Catholic School eighth graders will receive the Presidential Academic Award. The invitation that went to parents is attached below. Criteria for the award:

Students must have a grade point average of 90% or a 3.5 GPA.

Along with one of the following 2 criterias:

  1. 85% or higher in math and/or reading on the Iowa Basic Skills test

  2. Teacher plus one other staff member's recommendation

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today said he has introduced legislation with Senator Mark Begich of Alaska to waive copayments for telehealth and telemedicine visits for veterans.  Last year, thousands of Iowa veterans enrolled in Care Coordination Home Telehealth, Clinical Video Telehealth and Teleretinal Imaging telehealth programs in Iowa.

"Telehealth has been a blessing for thousands of our veterans, but we want to make sure that thousands more aren't missing quality health care because of a co-payment.  Telehealth has been shown to reduce costs for the VA, all while providing improved services.  It's a win-win," Grassley said.  "Our veterans deserve to know that they can get the health care they are entitled without breaking the bank."

The legislation would waive the required copayments - sometimes up to $50.00 per visit - associated with a telehealth visit.  Waiving the payments would lessen the burden on veterans and encourage more veterans to take advantage of telehealth programs.

The Telehealth program allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to bring health care closer to the veterans who need it.  Telehealth has been especially important to veterans in rural areas and older veterans who have difficulty getting to appropriate clinics to manage their health care.

The Veterans Health Administration Telehealth programs have demonstrated reduced hospital admissions and clinic and emergency room visits, and contributed to an improved quality of life for our veterans.


Q&A with Senator Chuck Grassley

Oversight of Government Bailout

Friday, May 7, 2010

Q: How exactly is the claim made that General Motors paid back a multi-billion dollar taxpayer-supported government bailout loan "in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles."

A: Here's what's happened and, unfortunately, the reality doesn't match the rhetoric.  As part of the government bailout of the automakers, the taxpayers had loaned GM around $20 billion by May 2009.  After GM declared bankruptcy in June, the Treasury Department loaned GM another $30 billion.  Then, to help GM emerge from bankruptcy, the Treasury Department struck a deal with GM that contained three components -- a $7 billion loan, $2 billion in preferred stock and 61 percent of GM's common stock -- in exchange for the original $50 billion in loans.  The deal translated into the taxpayers paying roughly $41 billion for the GM common stock.  Today, when GM says it paid its loan "in full," it's talking only about the newer $7 billion loan, not the original $50 billion in taxpayer loans.  And, the repayment money came from a $17 billion escrow account that was created with the $41 billion in tax dollars used to buy GM common stock.  The escrow was for expenses, and GM needed permission from the Treasury Department to use the money.  The way that GM repaid the newer $7 billion loan was with the TARP money in that escrow account, not earnings.

The taxpayer bailout of GM still stands at around $40 billion.  Taxpayers won't get back that money unless GM's stock price goes up enough to repay the $40 billion.  Will that happen?  No one knows, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in March that, in the end, taxpayers will lose around $30 billion on GM.

Another question is why the Treasury Department allowed GM to repay the $7 billion, seven-percent loan out of escrow and gave permission to take the final $6.6 billion out of escrow free and clear, but did not require that a $2.5 billion, nine-percent loan that GM owes to the union health plan be repaid?  You'd think the higher interest rate loan would be paid first.  And, with $6.6 billion left over in the escrow, GM could have paid both loans.  When I asked the Treasury Secretary during a Senate hearing, he didn't have a good answer.

Q: What can be done about it?

A: I hope one lesson that's been learned by the Treasury Department is to tell it like it is.  Overall, the effort to collect the bailout funds is speculative at best.  So far, since coming out of bankruptcy, GM has lost billions.  Beyond that, the way the agreement was set up with the Treasury Department, GM now has access to the remaining $6.6 billion in the escrow account without any strings attached.  GM said publicly that it didn't need the escrow money.  If that's the case, then the extra $6.6 billion should be returned to the taxpayers right now.  The most important lesson from all of this is that it doesn't make sense for the federal government to own private businesses.