WASHINGTON, March 8, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that utilities in seven states have been selected to receive funds that will create jobs and new business opportunities in rural America.

"Providing community development assistance, education, training and technical support to the residents of rural communities is critical to the Obama Administration's effort to build a strong and sustainable economy," said Vilsack.  "This funding will create good jobs and new business development opportunities."

For example, Tideland Electric Membership Corporation in Washington County, N.C., has been selected to receive a $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to help construct a manufacturing facility in an industrial park.  The new business will provide medical manufacturing jobs.

In Miner County, S.D., the Heartland Consumers Power District has been selected to receive a $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to provide funding for the construction of a facility to provide training opportunities for workers in the renewable energy industry.

The funding announced today is provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, administered by USDA Rural Development.  The program provides interest free loans and grants to local utilities that re-lend money to local businesses for projects that will create and retain jobs in rural areas. These funds are not provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement. The following is a complete list of recipients:

Illinois

  • Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan; to provide financing for the Fairfield Memorial Hospital's 25,000 square-foot medical arts building.

Iowa

  • Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association: $500,000 loan; to assist with expansion plans of business in West Bend
  • Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan; to assist in the construction of a 15,000 square-foot data management center
  • Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to fund expansion and equipment upgrade for the Davis County Hospital
  • Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $300,000 grant; to construct new high school in the Davis County Community School District
  • Consumers Energy: $300,000 grant; to finance the construction of a daycare facility in the community of Gladbrook
  • Independence Light & Power: $300,000 grant; to assist the Buchanan County Health Center
  • Corn Belt Power Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to fund public infrastructure project
  • Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to assist in the construction of a community building

Nebraska

  • Twin Valleys Public Power District: $300,000 grant; to assist in the construction of the Tri Valley Health System hospital addition
  • Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District: $300,000 grant; renovations to Valley County Courthouse

North Carolina

  • Tideland Electric Membership Corporation: $740,000 loan; $300,000 grant; to construct 20,000 square-foot manufacturing facility

Oklahoma

  • Caddo Electric Cooperative, Inc: $150,000 loan; to construct new office facilities for tornado-damaged accounting firm.

South Dakota

  • Heartland Consumers Power District: $740,000 loan; $300,000 grant; to construct the Maroney Training Complex

Tennessee

  • Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan;  to construct addition and renovation to the Hardin Medical Center-Cancer Treatment Center

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facilities programs. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $130 billion in loans and loan guarantees.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Des Moines, Iowa (March 8, 2010) - In the first two months of the Iowa Farmers Feed US (www.FarmersFeedUS.org) sweepstakes, Iowa consumers have taken advantage of the chance to win free groceries for a year, while also meeting the hard-working men and women who raise their food. In fact, since the promotion launched on Jan. 11, Iowa consumers have registered more than 97,000 times for a chance to win one of two grand prizes, while meeting an Iowa farmer each time.

And beginning March 8, Iowa Farmers Feed US is offering three ways for consumers to help feed their Iowa neighbors. Through a partnership with Iowa's six food banks, including Food Bank of Iowa, Food Bank of Southern Iowa, HACAP, Food Bank for the Heartland, Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Riverbend Food Bank, Midwest Dairy Association will donate $1 to the organizations for each new "fan" of the Iowa Farmers Feed US Facebook page (www.facebook.com/iafarmersfeedus) or "follower" via Twitter (www.twitter.com/iafarmersfeedus). Further, the donation promotion also extends to the Midwest Dairy Association's website (www.midwestdairy.com), where each click received from their homepage to the Iowa Farmers Feed US link will add another $1 to the donation. The donation drive will run until Wednesday, March 31, or until a combination of 30,000 new fans, followers, and website clicks are reached, adding to a $30,000 donation that was made in February.
In this final month of the sweepstakes, which runs through April 10, Iowa residents can continue to register for a chance to win one of two grand prizes of free groceries for a year*, courtesy of Iowa's farmers. Upon visiting the site, consumers can choose to register with each of five Iowa farmers daily and take a video tour of their farms. Each video explains how they produce safe, nutritious and affordable food for Iowa consumers.

"We're really pleased with the consumer response. Their support shows that they understand the importance of farmers in Iowa," said Jim Brown, a Churdan soybean farmer featured on the Web site. "And as Iowa farmers, we're proud to showcase our farms, sharing how we raise the food that Iowa consumers eat, while also introducing them to our families." Featured farmers include :
  • · Jim Brown, soybean farmer, Churdan
  • · Pam Johnson, corn farmer, Floyd
  • · Stephanie Dykshorn, dairy cattle farmer, Ireton
  • · Matt Schuiteman, hog farmer, Sioux Center
  • · Tim Kaldenberg, beef cattle farmer, Albia

Over the course of the 90-day campaign, consumers throughout the state will also see and hear from these farmers as they are featured in advertising, while also interacting with these and other Iowa farmers on their blogs and Facebook pages. See www.facebook.com/iafarmersfeedus and www.twitter.com/iafarmersfeedus for more information.

Supporting Iowa agriculture groups include Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Midwest Dairy Association, and the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
*Based on Food Marketing Institute figures, a $5,000 value.

The Center for Food Integrity is a not-for-profit corporation established to build consumer trust and confidence in the contemporary U.S. food system. Our members, who represent every segment of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and addressing important issues among all food system stakeholders. The Center does not lobby or advocate for individual food companies or brands. For more information, visit www.foodintegrity.org.

March 8, 2010, Davenport, Iowa - Scott County Treasurer Bill Fennelly announced that he is seeking re-election as Treasurer.  This is Fennelly's fifth run as county Treasurer.

Prior to his first election as Treasurer in 1994, Fennelly served on the Scott County Board of Supervisors for 13 years and was an alderman in the City of Davenport.  All told, he has a record of trustworthy, stable leadership in Scott County.  He is committed to serving all citizens of Scott County fairly, promptly and respectfully.  As a former business owner, he also works to ensure that the area economy is supported through investment of county funds locally, prudently and securely.

In an effort to be responsive to the citizens he and his staff serve, Fennelly has made many positive changes to when and how citizens are served.  He and his staff continually strive to improve the efficiencies of the Treasurer's office with timely, complete answers to questions and concerns.  They have also made contact with the office more user-friendly with expanded service hours and on-line payment options.

Bill Fennelly is committed to serving the citizens of Scott County with the utmost integrity.  Not one to sit still, he will make sure the Treasurer's office continues to take advantage of ever-changing technology improvements and efficiencies so that his department provides accurate and complete information to the citizens of Scott County.

For more information, contact Bill Fennelly at 563.391.2029.

####

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- March 8, 2010 -- Communitas Awards has recognized Genesis Health System for Leadership In Community Service.

Genesis received a Communitas Award award for its Flu-Free Quad Cities project that provided seasonal influenza vaccinations to more than 10,000 elementary school children in 2009.

The Communitas Awards are an international effort to recognize exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals that are unselfishly giving of themselves and their resources, and those that are changing how they do business to benefit their communities. Nominees are evaluated on the extent and effectiveness of their efforts.

The Communitas Awards is an outgrowth of the pro bono recognition program of the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). Founded in 1995, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of its members who contribute their unique marketing and communication talents to public service and charitable organizations.

Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities is an initiative of Genesis Health System that started three years ago with the idea to protect thousands of elementary school children against seasonal influenza.

Starting out as a pilot project in 2007 with 300 students in three schools, the program has expanded to reach 10,000 children in 82 schools throughout the Quad Cities area of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

Children in elementary schools often go unvaccinated. They are not generally considered to be a high-risk group because they rarely suffer severe complications of flu, but they are very efficient carriers.  They carry seasonal flu into their homes and into the communities where they reside.  They carry the flu to baby siblings who may be at higher risk from complications and to grandparents, who also are at higher risk of complications.

Through the Genesis Health Services Foundation, more than $250,000 was raised to fund the project in 2009.

###

Final performances March 8 - 9 teach local students important water lessons

Davenport, Iowa. (March 8, 2010) - Iowa American Water and The National Theatre for Children, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are bringing the live theatrical show, "Alice in Water Land" to 12 local elementary schools in the Iowa Quad Cities. Final performances are scheduled at four local elementary schools on March 8 - 9. A schedule of performances dates/times and a program summary is included at the end of this release.

The presentations by the National Theatre for Children are part of Iowa American Water's youth education program. Iowa American Water has worked to enhance water education in area classrooms for decades by sponsoring an annual poster contest for over 20 years and sponsoring local Newspapers in Education "Water" and "Earth Day" issues. The Theatre for Children is an extension of that effort to bring water and conservation education to local elementary school students.

The National Theatre for Children, a Minnesota-based national touring company, works with corporations to relay their educational and public messages to students. Using simple sets and audience participation, the troupe will be presenting their program to hundreds of students in Iowa American Water's service areas throughout eastern Iowa. The shows share information on water education, water usage tips, and pollution control with students in a fun, interactive atmosphere.
About Iowa American Water Iowa American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 200,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com

The next meeting for the Scott County Historic Preservation Society (SCHPS)  will be held on March 11, 2010 at 7pm at the Beer Cellar Room at the Front Street Brewery located at 208 E. River Dr., Davenport, IA
Dr. Frank Claudy will perform on the Irish flute, playing authentic music of Ireland. Come early for optional dinner from 6-7pm
For more information contact Duane Timm at bigdaddydtimm@yahoo.com or  563-323-4088.

(Moline, IL - March 7, 2010)    Brown Mackie College - Quad Cities will host Education Day on Saturday, March 20, 2010. Grow Your Life. Evolve Your Mind. Become Your Vision.  Learn about targeted education for future careers; convenient "one course a month" day, afternoon, and evening schedules.  Meet the president, faculty, staff, students, and have the opportunity to tour classrooms and labs. Also, stay to watch the Metro Youth Group of Rock Island perform. Join in the fun, food, and enter to win one of the many fantastic prizes that will be given away.

Education Day is open to the public and there is no charge to attend. To register online, visit brownmackie.edu/EducationDay.

EVENT:  Brown Mackie College Education Day
'Grow Your Life. Evolve Your Mind. Become Your Vision.'

DATE:    Saturday, March 20, 2010

TIME:     10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Where:   Brown Mackie College - Quad Cities
1527 47th Ave.
Moline, IL 61265

For additional information about Education Day at Brown Mackie College - Quad Cities, contact Ann Sandoval at (309) 762-2100, (309) 292-7633, or visit http://www.brownmackie.edu/pr.aspx?ID=BMC2182.

###

Davenport, IA - March 3rd, 2010 -THIS TV, the free broadcast movie network from MGM Studios and Weigel Broadcasting, is coming to the Quad Cities!  While over-the-air viewers have been able to watch THIS Quad Cities on channel 26.2 since December 10th, 2009, Muscatine Power & Water Cable subscribers were recently introduced to THIS Quad Cities on digital channel 146 while Mediacom Cable viewers were able to start enjoying the station on digital channel 113 starting March 3rd! Some of Hollywood's finest motion pictures from the treasured MGM library of over 4,100 timeless films have been blended with 10,000 hours of television's golden age to create THIS TV.

"THIS TV gives viewers in the Quad Cities area a new and free programming alternative," stated John Bryan, Executive Vice President, Broadcast Strategy, MGM. "Audiences know the MGM brand stands for quality entertainment and THIS TV delivers on that promise and more.  With blockbuster films and nostalgic television series from MGM's vast library, movie and TV buffs of all ages will find it equally entertaining."

THIS TV is a free movie and entertainment channel that airs a wide variety of films featuring first-rate star power, ranging from sweeping motion pictures such as "The Alamo" starring John Wayne, to Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland in "The Great Train Robbery" and "Moonraker" with Roger Moore as James Bond; to more contemporary fare including "At First Sight" with Oscar winner Mira Sorvino and Val Kilmer, and Mickey Rourke in "A Prayer for the Dying."

Television classics include :  "Stargate SG-1," "The Addams Family," "Mr. Ed," "Flipper," "The Outer Limits" and "Cagney & Lacey." Saturday mornings feature a children's block with such shows as the "Busy World of Richard Scary," "Wimzie's House," "The Country Mouse, City Mouse Adventures," and "The Adventures of Paddington Bear."

In addition to a great selection of iconic films and television series from the MGM library, THIS TV features original specials, Hollywood tributes and uniquely themed program nights that make the channel relevant to what's happening in today's entertainment scene. Recent specials include a behind-the-scenes look at Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" starring Brad Pitt and tributes to such stars as Farah Fawcett and David Carradine.

"Adding THIS TV was an easy choice for us," said John Bain, Director of Programming. "THIS TV has an ability to offer an enormous amount of high quality, star-studded movies that aren't the usual oversaturated fare found on other networks and we felt that a free movie channel will have mass appeal to our viewers."

For schedule highlights, viewers may check their local listings or visit http://www.this.tv/.

About THIS TV

THIS TV, cleared in over 80% of the United States, is a programming service for local television stations delivered over their digital platform. Created jointly by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Weigel Broadcasting, the channel leverages MGM's treasured library, which features over 4,100 films and 10,000 hours of television programming.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., through its operating subsidiaries, is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world's largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles.  Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Domestic Networks LLC, MGM Distribution Co, MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Worldwide Digital Media, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in international TV channels reaching nearly 120 countries. MGM ownership is as follows: Providence Equity Partners (29%), TPG (21%), Sony Corporation of America (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%) and Quadrangle Group (3%). For more information, visit http://www.mgm.com.

# # #

Friday, March 05, 2010

Senator David Hartsuch announced his intention to seek re-election for Iowa Senate District number 41, representing Davenport, Bettendorf and Riverdale.

Senator Hartsuch said, "I believe that my ongoing leadership is important for the prosperity of our district and state."

Senator Hartsuch is now completing his first term of office.  He was elected in 2006 after defeating Senator Maggie Tinsman in a heated Republican primary.  Senator Hartsuch emerged as only one of two freshman Republican Senators to win in a bad election year for Republicans.

Senator Hartsuch said, "I ran on a platform of limited government, lower taxes, and stronger families.  I have remained true to these promises, and voters have come to depend on that."

Senator Hartsuch brought a conservative voice to the Iowa Senate, but more importantly changed the balance of power within the caucus ushering in the much needed leadership of Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley.

Senator Hartsuch said "When I was elected, it was like being on a football team where the coach and quarterback were cheering for the other team.  Nobody was willing to move the ball forward.  While there aren't enough of us to stop the opposition, at least we all agree on which goal is ours.  I am proud of the Republican minority under the leadership of Paul McKinley, and I am proud to have contributed to this change.  It is refreshing to see the Republican caucus united around a platform directed at growing the economy rather than government, promoting real job growth, and providing true property tax reform by limiting unfunded mandates."

"Today, most Iowans are faced with economic hardships.  The future cost of the Governor's excessive spending will only make matters worse as current debts must be repaid. These next four years are critical to the future of our state as the legislature will be under pressure to raise taxes.  My record indicates that I have the courage resist this pressure.  "

Senator Hartsuch said, "The Democrat majority has overspent and refuses to curtail any of their government expansion programs such as the $890 million I-Jobs program. While many of my constituents cheer for the recent $9.5 million grant check which Governor Chet Culver brought to the city of Davenport, little attention has been given to Scott County's $44 million share of the total debt which was incurred for the program and which will stifle future economic growth."

While Senator Hartsuch is best known for his defense of traditional marriage and pro-life stand, he has shown significant leadership by championing the cause of minority and small businesses.  At the request of local minority business leaders, Senator Hartsuch successfully garnered support for a program called "Ongoing Covenant With Black Iowa" which included a study to examine barriers to minority and small business contracting in Davenport.  The findings of this report have great implications for all small businesses which are the engine of our economy.

In the recent floor debate on the government reorganization bill, Senator Hartsuch said, "Centralized purchasing and the aggregation of government contracts will limit competition since many small businesses will by unable to meet contract requirements.  This will have a stifling effect on disadvantaged business enterprises and targeted small businesses."

As ranking member of the Human Services Committee, Senator Hartsuch has worked to preserve choice and competition rather than promote government run health care.  Said Senator Hartsuch, "The American public clearly prefers patient controlled health care rather than government controlled health care.  We have proposed solutions that empower patients by promoting competition, individual responsibility, and by reducing frivolous lawsuits.  Unfortunately, the majority has ignored all of our proposals."

Senator Hartsuch said, "Past Republican behavior has left many people distrustful of the party.  I will continue to reform the Party and bring integrity to the office.  We will be working to regain the public's trust.  My reelection will encourage all legislators to defend good public policy rather than just what is politically popular."

Senator Hartsuch authored one of the four Republican bills which survived the funnel.  SF 2171 permits some children to have better access to their grand-parents.  Senator Hartsuch has also worked in a bipartisan fashion to get in-state tuition for Military personnel stationed at Rock Island Arsenal, and also to pass a resolution regarding the contributions of disabled Americans.

Senator Hartsuch said, "I am optimistic about the prospects for 2010, but it is important that the Republican Party once again become the party of fiscal restraint that the public expects.  It is clear that the Democrats have extended unsustainable promises during the last two election cycles.  Our state can not afford four more years of Democratic control of both houses and the Governor's mansion.  I will be doing my part to restore common sense to the Legislature."

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the comment below about a newly released report of the Government Accountability Office regarding the criminal division of the Food and Drug Administration.  Grassley requested the review, in 2009, in response to allegations about lax standards and poor accountability in the criminal division.  The senator has conducted extensive oversight of the FDA's performance and he has worked to hold federal officials accountable for mismanagement.

The report is linked below and also posted with this memo at http://finance.senate.gov and http://grassley.senate.gov.  Also linked below and posted with the report is a letter from the FDA Commissioner to Grassley regarding agency plans to respond to the shortcomings identified by the GAO.

Senator Grassley's comment:

"This report has made a difference already by securing a much needed commitment from the Commissioner to make the FDA's investigative unit live up to its significant responsibilities.  There's no excuse for the fact that this division's failures have gone unchecked for years, and having the FDA leadership focused on fixing what's broken is the first, very important step needed."

GAO Report

FDA Commissioner's letter to Grassley

Pages