In Honor of Black History Month, the Sankofa Performing Arts Ensemble Presents, "No Man Can Hinder Me" a musical journey from Africa to America, from Slavery to Freedom.

Friday February 4, 2011  at 5:00pm  & Saturday February 5, 2011 at 6:00pm at the Rock Island High School Auditorium, 140 - 25th Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois.

Ticket Prices: Adults $8.00, Seniors $5.00, Students W/ID $5.00, Youth $3.00, Children 6 yrs & under Free. (No Advance Ticket Sales)

For More Information: (309) 793-5950 Ext: 1206

WASHINGTON - January 27, 2011 - Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden have scored a major victory in their bipartisan effort, which started more than a decade ago, to end the secrecy of Senate holds, a practice that allows individual senators to object to Senate action on legislation or nominations and, thereby, prevent a measure from moving forward.

The Senate passed a binding resolution sponsored by Grassley and Wyden today by a vote of 92 to 4.  It is the first time a Senate vote for the reform sought by Grassley and Wyden was on a freestanding resolution, and the change took effect upon passage.  The Standing Order created by the Grassley-Wyden legislation will require senators to make their objections in writing and the objections to be printed in The Congressional Record two days after they are made, whether or not the bills or nominations have been brought up for floor consideration.  Grassley said the goal is to increase transparency and achieve greater accountability.

"Holds are an important right of individual senators as they work to represent their constituents and for the best interests of the country, but the right ought to be exercised in the light of day," Grassley said.  "Disclosure will be good for the legislative process.  The requirements of our resolution will be meaningful in helping to make the public's business public."

Grassley and Wyden started their crusade against secret holds more than 10 years ago and have been joined in recent years by Senators Claire McCaskill and Susan Collins in making an effective case.

Over the years, Grassley and Wyden have made progress but also met opposition.  Leadership pledges to end the practice were disregarded.  In 1997, a Senate-passed Grassley-Wyden amendment to stop the secrecy was gutted by a legislative conference committee.  In 2006, Wyden-Grassley reform legislation passed the Senate as an amendment only to be altered to the point of ineffectiveness by 2007-passed legislation.

All along, Grassley and Wyden have made their own holds public information by routinely putting statements in The Congressional Record whenever they placed a hold.

The text of the floor statement delivered today by Grassley follows here.

Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Thursday, January 27, 201

Mr. President.  I'm pleased to see this day come where the Senate will finally have the opportunity for an up or down vote on our freestanding Senate Resolution to require public disclosure of holds.

Senator Wyden and I have been at this for a long time.  We've made progress at times, and we have also had many disappointments where things didn't work out like we had hoped.  It's also been good to have Senator McCaskill join us in helping push this issue to the forefront recently.

Ending secret holds seems like a simple matter, but that hasn't proven to be the case.  Because secret holds are an informal process, it is easier said than done to push them out into the open using formal Senate procedures.  It's kind of like trying to wrestle down a greased hog.  However, after a lot of thought and effort, two committee hearings, and many careful revisions, I think this resolution does a pretty good job of accomplishing our simple goal.

That goal is really just to bring some more transparency into how the Senate does business.  This isn't the only proposal we are considering today related to Senate procedure, and I don't want there to be any confusion.  This proposal is not about altering the balance of power between the majority and minority party; neither does our resolution alter the rights of individual senators.

Over the time I've been working on this issue, I have occasionally encountered arguments purporting to defend the need for secret holds.  However, the arguments invariably focus on the legitimacy of holds, not secrecy.  I want to be clear that secrecy is my only target and the only thing that this resolution eliminates.

I fully support the fundamental right of an individual senator to withhold his or her consent when unanimous consent is requested.  Senators are not obligated to give their consent to anything they don't want to,and no senator is entitled to get any other senator's consent to their motion.

I think the best way to describe what we seek to do with this resolution is to explain historically how holds came into being, as senators have heard me do before.  In the old days, when senators conducted much of their daily business from their desk on the Senate floor, it was a simple matter to stand up and say, "I object" when necessary.  These days, most senators spend most of their time off the Senate floor.  We are required to spend time in committee hearings, meeting with constituents, and attending to other duties that keep us away from the Senate chamber.  As a result, we rely on our respective party's leaders here in the Senate to protect our rights and prerogatives as individual senators by asking them to object on our behalf.

Just as any senator has the right to stand up on the Senate floor and publicly say, "I object," it is perfectly legitimate to ask another senator to object on our behalf if we cannot make it to the floor when consent is requested.  By the same token, Senators have no inherent right to have others object on their behalf while keeping their identity secret.

If a senator has a legitimate reason to object to proceeding to a bill or nominee, then he or she ought to have the guts to do so publicly.  We need have no fear of being held accountable by our constituents if we are acting in their interest as we are elected to do.

Transparency is essential for accountability, and accountability is an essential component of our Constitutional system.  Transparency and accountability are also vital for the public to have faith in their government.

As I've said many times, the people's business ought to be done in public.  In my view, that's the principle at stake here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 27, 2011 - At this morning's hearing, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and other members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) heard testimony from Americans who are already experiencing benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  One witness, a 21 year old named Emily Schlichting who suffers from a chronic auto-immune disease, told the Committee that her life has drastically changed for the better thanks to the new health reform law.        

"I believe that allowing young people to stay on their parent's insurance gives us new freedom to work toward our goals without going uncovered. But even more important than that is the fact that the Patient's Bill of Rights makes it so that I can't be denied insurance simply because I have a disease I can't control," Schlichting said in her testimony.    

"I'm one example of millions and millions of young Americans who have been helped by this bill, whether through the Dependent Care clause or the Patient's Bill of Rights or the combination of the two, like me...Health care is something that is easy not to care about when you're young and you're healthy...Young people are the future of this country and we are the most affected by reform? we're the generation that is the most uninsured.  We need the Affordable Care Act because it is literally an investment in the future of this country."

Ms. Schlichting's testimony was featured today in the Omaha World-Herald and her full remarks, along with the testimony of the rest of the witnesses and an archived webcast of the hearing, can be found at http://help.senate.gov

This is the first in a series of hearings that Chairman Harkin will convene to examine the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and how it is benefitting Americans.  In his opening remarks, Harkin said:

"We meet today for the first in a series of hearings this Committee will hold on the Affordable Care Act - hearings that will focus not on the politics of health care reform, nor on the rhetoric that surrounds it, but rather on the tangible, positive impact that reform is having on Americans' lives.  I think we can all agree that what this debate needs is more light and less heat."

Harkin's full opening statement as prepared for delivery is below:

Statement by Senator Tom Harkin
Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
Hearing on The Affordable Care Act:  The Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Health Care Consumers
January 27, 2011

"Good morning everyone.  We meet today for the first in a series of hearings this Committee will hold on the Affordable Care Act - hearings that will focus not on the politics of health care reform, nor on the rhetoric that surrounds it, but rather on the tangible, positive impact that reform is having on Americans' lives.  I think we can all agree that what this debate needs is more light and less heat.

"To that end, today's hearing will focus on the benefits of health reform that Americans are experiencing right now - specifically the bundle of significant consumer protections that went into effect in late September of last year, known as the Patient's Bill of Rights.

"These protections are a historic, long-awaited improvement in the quality and scope of health coverage for all Americans.  Every American who pays a health insurance premium is now protected against some of the most egregious and abusive practices of the insurance industry.  Put another way, thanks to health reform, Americans now have protections that every Senator on this dais has had for years.

"Before the Affordable Care Act, nearly 102 million Americans were in health insurance policies with lifetime limits, and it was estimated that as many as 20,000 people annually could be denied coverage for care due to those limits.  Unsurprisingly, people in danger of hitting a lifetime limit are seriously ill, and their benefits run out just when they need them most.  The Affordable Care Act permanently eliminates all lifetime limits, and phases out annual limits by 2014, providing economic and health security for those who need coverage most.  One of those folks, Lisa Grasshoff, is here today and will talk a bit later about how the Act's ban on lifetime limits has helped her care for her son and strengthened her family's financial future.

"As I'm sure the Secretary will discuss in her testimony, last week the Department of Health and Human Services released an important report analyzing preexisting health conditions.  The report's findings are striking - up to 129 million non-elderly Americans have a preexisting condition, and millions more are likely to develop such a condition over the next eight years.  Before the Affordable Care Act, these Americans faced denial of coverage, restriction of health benefits, or higher premiums as a result of their preexisting condition.  Their ability to take a new job, start their own business, or make other important life changes was limited - they were, in effect, locked in to their original insurance coverage.  

"Because of health reform, insurance companies are now prohibited from restricting or denying coverage to children under 19 because of a preexisting condition.  And in 2014, this protection will be extended to all Americans.  Between now and 2014, the law establishes an insurance plan in every state tailored specifically to adults with preexisting conditions who are currently "uninsurable," offering coverage at standard market rates.  Thousands of people have enrolled and received coverage of live-saving services like chemotherapy.

"Another element of the Patient's Bill of Rights is a requirement for every insurance plan to cover evidence-based preventive services that will head off many illnesses, addressing them in the nurses' office rather than the emergency room.  The cost of preventable disease consumes 75% of health care spending annually, dollars that could be used to build roads, improve schools and create jobs.  The prevention investments in the law are down payments on the long-term project of transforming our current sick care system into a genuine health care system?and first-dollar coverage of preventive services like mammograms and immunizations are a vital part of that.

"Before the Affordable Care Act, millions of young adults went without health insurance because their jobs didn't offer it, or because they were ineligible for coverage on their parents' policy.  These young people -- starting a new job or a new business, folks who don't have a lot of money - had to largely fend for themselves in a chaotic, unregulated market for individual coverage that charges high premiums for only modest benefits.  Now, health reform allows these young people - more than 2 million of them -- to stay on their parents' policy until age 26.  This reform relieves young people of the burden of high health insurance costs - and for those who can't afford coverage, the fear of financial ruin.  This reform is particularly important for young people with chronic illnesses, as we will learn from one of our witnesses today, Emily Schlichting, a University of Nebraska student.

"Finally, the Affordable Care Act puts an end to one of the most outrageous insurance company abuses - cancelling insurance coverage right when someone gets sick, based on a technical paperwork error.  These stories turn my stomach:

·a California insurer using computer programs and a dedicated department to cancel policies of pregnant women and the chronically ill, only because they submitted expensive claims;

·another insurance company which started a fraud investigation into anyone who submitted a claim reaching a certain cost level, looking for any reason to cancel the policy;

·insurance companies paying bonuses to employees based on how many policies they cancelled (and therefore how much money they saved). 

"Health reform puts an end to that sorry state of affairs.

"Today, we will hear from public officials at both the state and federal levels who are charged with implementing and overseeing the Affordable Care Act, as well as private citizens who will talk about how the Act's consumer protections have affected them.  

"On our first panel, we welcome Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to her first hearing of this new Congress.  In addition to expertly implementing the private insurance market reforms we'll focus on today, I want to applaud the Secretary for her relentless and effective work in eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.  This week, the Department reported that it had recovered more than $4 billion from perpetrators of fraud last year - the highest annual recovery ever.  And the Department released new rules, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, giving it even more effective tools to detect and combat fraud.  

"Our second panel is comprised of Rhode Island Insurance Commissioner Chris Koller, and three non-government witnesses, Lisa Grasshoff, Joe Olivo, and Emily Schlichting.  

"As always, I am very pleased to be joined by our committee's Ranking Member, Senator Mike Enzi."

CHICAGO - January 27, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

 

Bill No.: HB 1444

Creates the Chronic Disease Nutrition and Outcomes Advisory Commission within the Department of Public Health.

An Act Concerning: State government

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1512

Reverses fund sweeps from the Hansen-Therkelsen Memorial Deaf Student College Fund and the DHS Private Resources Fund and makes technical changes to the DHS State Projects Fund.

An Act Concerning: Finance

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1716

Requires nursing homes to staff light intermediate care at the same nursing ratios as intermediate care.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1721

Allows a hospital located in a county with fewer than 325,000 citizens to apply to DPH for approval to conduct its psychiatric services from more than one location in the county under a single license at
another hospital.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1935

Provides that a towing service may place a lien on personal property in a vehicle removed under  specified circumstances with certain exemptions.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 3677

Provides that a person commits a Class D misdemeanor if they drive a vehicle in excess of 31 (rather than 30) miles per hour but less than 40 miles per hour of the maximum speed limit.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 3962

Amends the Criminal Code of 1961 by making changes to provisions prohibiting tampering with public records.

An Act Concerning: Criminal law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: June 1, 2011

 

Bill No.: HB 5018

Increases the HMO Guaranty Fund cap from $300,000 to $500,000 to better protect consumers.

An Act Concerning: Insurance

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: SB 647

Changes the reporting deadline for the Task Force on Higher Education Private Student Loans by one year.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: SB 1858

Requires a recalculation and recertification of the required contributions to the Retirement Systems by April 1, 2011.

An Act Concerning: Public employee benefits

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: SB 2559

Allows Cook County a one-year exception from compliance with the required time period during which applications for judgment and order of sale for taxes and special assessments on delinquent properties must be made.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

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The Quad City Symphony Orchstra is proud to announce the addition of three new principal musicians to its permanent roster. Benjemin Coelho has been named Principal Bassoon, Andrew Parker has been named Principal Oboe, and Marc Zyla has been named Principal Horn.

Coehlo is professor of bassoon at the University of Iowa and has appeared as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, teacher, and clinician throughout the US and in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Portugal, France, Romania, Australia, Canada, and the Czech Republic. He has performed with the Gramado Woodwind Quintet, the Alaria Chamber Ensemble, and the Contemporary Music Group of Minas Gerais and is a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet.

Parker has been recently appointed Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Iowa. After receiving his Bachelor's degree at the Eastman School of Music and Master's degree at Yale University, he finished doctoral studies at the University of Michigan where he was the Graduate Student Instructor. In his time at the University of Michigan, Andrew was a finalist in the concerto competition and was asked to represent the university by performing at the illustrious Conservatory Project, a recital series at the Kennedy Center. He also had the opportunity to collaborate with many of the faculty including Nancy Ambrose King, Jeffrey Lyman, Donald Sinta, and Amy Porter among others.

Zyla is a member of the Univeristy of Illinois Brass Studio and a doctoral teaching assistant in horn. Marc was the horn soloist with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra on the world premier of Kaoru Wada's Toone for Horn and Wind Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Marc has performed with Las Cornistas Horn Ensemble, the Illinois Brass Quintet, the Pittsburgh Brass Project, and the Looking Glass Wind Quintet at the Banff Chamber Music Festival.

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Examining the 2010 Campaign and Vote

 WHAT: Panel discussion on what the 2010 judicial elections can teach voters and judges about the politics of judicial elections when faced with a complex, hot-button social issue like same-sex marriage.

WHEN:         Thursday - February 3, 2011 @ 7:00pm CT

WHERE: Levitt Auditorium

University of Iowa College of Law

130 Byington

Iowa City, IA 52242

WHO: Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt Law School

Michael Streit, former Iowa Supreme Court Justice

Seth Andersen, Executive Director, American Judicature Society

Kathie Obradovich, Columnist, Des Moines Register

Professor David Perlmutter, University of Iowa

Professor Todd Pettys, University of Iowa - Moderator

To RSVP, please contact Caitlin Carroll at carroll@crcpublicrelations.com or 703-683-5004 ext. 115.

 

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By
Darrell Castle
Vice-Chairman
Constitution Party National Committee

Last night, January 25, 2011, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, as he is required by the Constitution to do once each year. Although he covered many different areas, he concentrated on only three: the domestic economy, which includes what he called job creation, domestic policy topics such as education and energy, and foreign policy, which includes military and defense issues.

The President told us that the nation is doing well economically and is on its way to recovery from recession. Evidence of this recovery, according to the President, is the "booming stock market."

My response is that it is utterly ridiculous to say that we are well into recovery because the stock market is booming. Tell that news to the 43 million plus who have to use food stamps to eat. Tell that to the 15 million plus unemployed people. That number would be much higher than 15 million if the government kept honest numbers and counted the people who are no longer looking for jobs. Tell that to the millions of underemployed who used to have good jobs in manufacturing with benefits and who now work in service-related jobs with no benefits.

The President said that we can't live in the past with regard to our economy. For example, it used to take about 1000 jobs to operate a steel mill, but now it only takes 100, so we must adjust to that reality and innovate. What he didn't say is that any jobs in steel are being performed in Korea and other countries and no amount of innovation will change that.

What then is the answer to our economic problems? First, do no more harm with bailouts. Stop all bailouts and recover any money previously committed to bailouts that has not already been spent. Withdraw from all so-called free trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, and GATT which have been largely responsible for the destruction of America's manufacturing base. Remove the regulations and restrictions that prevent businesses from doing business in America and from hiring the people they need to make the things that people want to buy.

Finally, the economy cannot recover until the debt and deficit are resolved through de-leveraging of debt and control of spending.  Stop spending more than you take in. It is a simple concept that Americans understand but that apparently their politicians don't. Once the debt and deficit are under control, the President should endeavor to drive a stake through the heart of the entire Federal Reserve system and return to a monetary system based on sound money principles. Stop the destruction of our currency immediately.

The President also told us that educationally we are doing well, but we can do better, so he launched a program called Race to the Top in all fifty states to replace No Child Left Behind. This is also total nonsense. The United States continues to lag behind other nations in math, science, and reading skills. Our system of education, controlled and paid for by the federal government, is a failure and should be scrapped and replaced with state and local control, with primary responsibility left to parents. There is no role for the federal government in education whatsoever.

The nation's energy needs could be met largely by domestic production if we were to allow our own domestic sources of energy to be exploited by repeal of harmful laws that unnecessarily restrain production. Technology will now allow energy exploration and production with minimal damage to the environment.  This would prevent the US government from exploring for oil in the Middle East through military force and help foster a more peaceful world.

Finally, the President talked about "shaping" a better world through strengthening NATO and rebuilding our relationship with Russia. He stated that 100,000 of our troops have come home from Iraq with their heads held high. That is also complete nonsense. It's not his job to shape the world, it's his job to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people. Many of those 100,000 troops didn't come home but went to Afghanistan instead. Thousands of others did come home but in boxes or in rehab hospitals.

What then is the foreign policy answer? Issue an order to General Patraeus and the other commanders to execute an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Then order a military withdrawal from the other 100 nations around the world where we have over 700 foreign bases. That would save many lives, much money, and would create far fewer enemies than we are creating now.

We simply must stop acting as if we own the world or as if we are responsible for it. That would not be isolationism but instead a lack of military domination. The US would trade with all nations who were willing to trade with us. Creditor nations would probably appreciate our new monetary policy whereby they were paid with real instead of counterfeit money.

If the President were to dedicate himself to the ideas proposed in this response to his speech, we would be well on our way to the most dynamic period in American history.

WASHINGTON - Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, along with the rest of the Iowa Congressional delegation, held a ceremony presenting Hiawatha native Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta with a Concurrent Resolution honoring his incredible valor and courage on the battlefield.

Giunta, a native of Hiawatha, was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, by President Barack Obama on November 16, 2010 for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.  Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.  Giunta was also a guest in First Lady Michelle Obama's box for President Obama's State of the Union address last night.

"Staff Sgt. Giunta is a selfless and courageous hero that all Iowans can be proud to call one of their own," Grassley said. "He is truly deserving of the highest honor given to an American service member. May God continue to bless him and all those in the armed services protecting our nation."

"In recent years, Americans have woken up to the truth that our real heroes are not on our movie screens or in our sports arenas," Harkin said. "Our real heroes are serving our nation in uniform with enormous professionalism, sacrifice, and courage.  I have listened very closely to Sergeant Giunta's previous remarks about his actions on that fateful day in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan.  He is uncomfortable about being singled out.  He said:  "If I am a hero, every man that stands around me, every woman in the military, everyone who goes into the unknown is a hero."

"I can't disagree with Sergeant Giunta.  And I respect his Iowa brand of modesty, which is totally genuine.  And I see in him other qualities that we prize in Iowa, including his powerful sense of purpose and duty.  But Sergeant Giunta's actions on that day stand out as truly extraordinary and exemplary.  The state of Iowa has a right to be very, very proud."

Click here to view video of the event on YouTube.

from Rep. Braley's office:

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) and members of the Iowa delegation honored Iowa native and Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.  Senator Daniel Inouye, also a Medal of Honor recipient, joined the full Iowa delegation to present the joint resolution honoring SSGT. Giunta.

Following the ceremony, Rep. Braley released the following statement

"Staff Sergeant Giunta makes us all proud to be Iowans. His heroic service is a credit to his family, his unit and the state of Iowa. Today, we recognize him for his remarkable heroism - but as he quickly pointed out himself - we must also recognize the everyday heroism of all the men and women in uniform, our veterans, and the military families that take on the proud burden of fighting for our country and defending our freedom.

"It's an honor to recognize Staff Sergeant Giunta and I'm pleased we could welcome him to the Capitol."

SSGT. Giunta is the first living Medal of Honor Recipient since the Vietnam War. He was born in Clinton, IA and his family currently resides in Hiawatha, IA. Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, by President Barack Obama on November 16, 2010, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.

 

 

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Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made the following comment on data gathered from 850 U.S. colleges, universities and affiliated foundations participating in the 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments® (NCSE).  The study shows that these institutions' endowments returned an average of 11.9 percent (net of fees) for the 2010 fiscal year (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010). This represented a sharp improvement over the average -18.7 percent return (net of fees) reported in last year's study for fiscal year 2009.  Grassley has a long-standing interest in university endowment pay-out rates, drawing on his oversight of tax-exempt policies as a leader of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over tax policy.  Grassley's encouragement of well-funded universities to increase student aid led to some significantly more generous aid policies at several institutions.

"This most recent study strengthens the case for reviewing the investment and payout policies of endowments in the context of tax reform.  Taxpayers and students deserve to understand what they're getting in return for the tax benefits awarded to these institutions.  These endowment managers should consider the challenge presented by the President in his state of the union speech and expand educational opportunities by making college more affordable for more students

"It's good to see that university endowments are starting to recover.  Unfortunately, the recoveries aren't leading to significantly higher payouts.  There are more than 62 institutions with endowments greater than $1 billion and more than half of them are private, tax-exempt charities.  The trends in endowment payout rates show that, even in a good economy, the wealthiest institutions hardly ever exceeded a payout of 5 percent.  The trends also show that my concerns about a 5 percent payout rate being a ceiling rather than a floor are valid.  Private foundations have to pay out at least 5 percent every year, and that's become a ceiling for them.

"These same billion-dollar endowments are also making significantly greater investments in alternative strategies when compared to their smaller counterparts.  These alternative strategies include illiquid investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds, many of which are likely offshore.  They also include investments in commodities and distressed debt.  These strategies may be legal but they're not necessarily responsible.  And when the economy declined and students and their families needed the most tuition assistance, many of these institutions raised tuition and lowered endowment payouts because they couldn't liquidate their investments in these alternative strategies."

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MOLINE, ILLINOIS - WQPT, Quad Cities PBS calls on all children in kindergarten through 3rd grade to enter the PBS Kids Go Writing Contest. Every entrant will receive a Certificate of Achievement.  Stories must be the original work of the child. They may write fact or fiction, prose or poetry. All entries must be postmarked by Friday, April 8, 2011 and mailed or dropped off at WQPT, 3800 Avenue of the Cities, Suite 101, Moline, Illinois 61265 Sixteen winners (four selected from each grade) will receive local recognition on WQPT and win special prizes.  Winning stories will be displayed at the Butterworth Center in Moline, Illinois, the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa and the Family Museum in Bettendorf, Iowa and on the WQPT website. Winners will be notified in late April and a reception will be held to honor the winning stories. "This is an excellent opportunity for kids to use their imaginations and creative skills and be recognized for their efforts," said Ana Kehoe, Director of Education and Outreach.  "Just by participating these kids will be proud of their storybook and so will their parents."

Sponsors of the writing contest are also hosting workshops to help Kindergarten through 3rd grade students with their writing and illustrating skills. Participants are not required to enter the contest. Parents are also invited to learn how to assist children with writing and editing stories.  These workshops are free and will be held at:

° Sat., Feb. 12, 10 am - 11:30 am: Eastern Avenue Library (Davenport) 563-326-7832

° Sat., Feb. 26, 10 am - 11 am: The Moline Library, 309-736-5742

Please contact the libraries to sign up for the workshop.

Additional workshops will be held at the Family Museum free with admission to the museum. The museum workshops are open to anyone to just drop in and are scheduled for March 3 and March 10, 3:30 pm-5:00 pm. 563-344-4170

To find out more about entering the contest log on to www.wqpt.org.

Funding and support for the project has been provided in part by the Butterworth Center & Deere-Wiman House, Figge Art Museum, Family Museum and Midwest Writing Center.

Please note that WQPT has moved their offices since the last contest. WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University.

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