On August 15-17, President Obama will travel to the Midwest on a three-day economic bus tour, making stops in southern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and western Illinois.  The President will discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation and hear directly from Americans, including local families and small business owners.  The President knows we must do everything we can to promote economic growth, restore confidence in our nation's future and restore the sense of optimism for future generations.

Additional details about President Obama's trip will be released as they become available.


New Law Strengthens Transportation Options for Seniors

CHICAGO - August, 9, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to protect volunteer drivers from being denied auto coverage or paying extra for car insurance premiums simply because the driver is a volunteer driver. House Bill 1378 also prohibits insurers from imposing a surcharge on or increasing the rate for a vehicle policy solely due to the fact one or more of the vehicle's drivers is a volunteer driver.

"Many seniors rely on others when they need to go to the grocery store, pick up prescriptions or visit the doctor, and it is important that their volunteer drivers have the insurance coverage they need," said Governor Quinn. "This legislation clears hurdles for the volunteer drivers who are helping our seniors maintain their independence."

Illinois is home to more than 2 million adults ages 60 and older. Through the Department on Aging, the state administers programs to assist the most vulnerable seniors in remaining independent. With more seniors relying on transportation services to remain active and independent, a number of alternative transportation programs for seniors have been established in Illinois.

One such program is the Independent Transportation Network America (ITN), a public-private partnership with 16 affiliates in 12 states. The ITN service allows seniors who are unable or no longer wish to drive to donate their cars to ITN in exchange for rides from volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many ITN volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to transport or run errands for seniors. 

Volunteer drivers must verify that they hold the proper liability insurance, but differing policies among insurers have in some cases limited the number of available drivers; HB 1378 removes an impediment to the operation of nationally-affiliated transportation networks.

This legislation will help expand the pool of volunteer drivers for organizations operating in the City of Chicago and the counties of Bureau, Henderson, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, McDonough, Mercer, Putnam, Rock Island and Warren. While insurers in these areas may not refuse or impose a surcharge based solely upon volunteer driver status, HB 1378 does not prevent the insurer from considering factors other than volunteer status when issuing policies or setting rates for volunteer drivers.

House Bill 1378, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago) and Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero), goes into effect immediately.


CHICAGO - August 9, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: HB 189
An Act Concerning: Education
Requires general education classrooms to be composed of a certain percentage of special education students with individualized education programs (IEPs).
Action: Signed
Effective Date: Immediately



WHO:                  GENERAL PUBLIC 


WHEN:                SATURDAY, AUGUST 27th AT 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.




Immanuel Lutheran Church & Preschool is having their 4th Annual Neighborhood Ice Cream Party on Saturday, August 27th 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. There will be Ice Cream, Hot dogs, Chili dogs, Popcorn, Iced Tea, and Lemonade; Live music, Kid's activities, and much much more for all our neighbors in the West end!

Live Music will be provided by the Band "Smile", Ice cream with a wide variety of toppings to choose from, face painting, Bounce House, pony rides for kids, and fun. All food items will be priced at $1.00 each or less! Come and join your neighbors and friends for some great family fun! This event is outdoors; feel free to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In case of rain event will be held indoors.

Thanks to West Scott Thrivent Chapter for supplementing this event. This is open to the public, and all are welcome to join us. For more information please contact the church office at 563-324-6431.

Artists, Pat Halverson & Judy Gray have a joint show of their artwork displayed at Eldridge Library (200 N. 6th Ave., Eldridge, IA) through September.  


Artisans, Bonnie Grebner (www.the-art-collective.org/Bonnie.html) will be doing a Raku-firing at the Clay & Fiber weekend in Bishop Hill, IL on August 20 & 21. 

Artist Judy O. Gray (www.judyogray.com) has a 40-piece artwork display at the Clinton River Arts Center through September 18th.  A reception is planned for Sunday, August 21 from 1 - 3.  The address is 229 - 5th Ave S, Clinton, IA. (free)

Artist Allen Holloway (www.artbyallenholloway.com) is showing a body of his work (realism framed originals and prints, modern art originals and many un-framed prints) through Mid-Coast Fine Arts at the I-80 Welcome Center in LeClaire, IA  through September 30.  A demonstration of his art-making skills along with light refreshments is planned for Sunday, afternoon September 11. (free)

Watercolor Artist, Tom Jones (www.tomjonesartist.com), a resident of Central Florida will be holding a 4-day workshop through Left Bank Art league on August 25 - 28 in Moline, IL.  There are still some openings available Contact Judy Gray (563-344-7837 or rjgray01@mchsi.com for details.

Davenport, IA - August 8, 2011 At a time when everyday individuals are receiving numerous opportunities to display their talents on hit shows like American Idol and America's Got Talent, Smart Toyota of Quad Cities is presenting one for area residents with Davenport's first ever dealership talent search.

The contest is open to all area residents - male or female - age 18 or older. The winner will be starring in the dealership's future commercials. No previous experience is necessary and the dealership is encouraging anyone with an interest in appearing on television to audition.

The Smart Toyota of Quad Cities Talent Search open audition registration begins online via www.SmartToyotaTalentsearch.com on August 2, 2011 and will continue thru September 7, 2011. The open auditions will beheld at the dealership on September 8th from 9 am until 7 pm. Five finalists will be announced on October 5th with the winning talent selected on October 20th..

For more information, contact:
Gwen Tombergs gtombergs@lujack.com 563-445-4191
Nick Tarpein ntarpein@smarttoyotaqc.com 563-391-4106
Sean McCullough sean@onlyaction.com 678.287.1209


(Kansas City, Kan., Aug. 9, 2011) - EPA has awarded the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) $30,000 to assist with outreach, education and implementation of the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program. All fertilizer facilities that handle, process or store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are subject to EPA's chemical safety requirements. There are approximately 700 agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa.

"This grant is designed to prevent releases and protect the health and safety of area residents, and enhance communications with local emergency responders and regulated facilities," said Karl Brooks, regional administrator. "IDALS is receiving this funding to conduct on-site audits, workshops and follow-up safety assessments at agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa."

Anhydrous ammonia is generally safe provided handling, storage and maintenance procedures are followed. However, it is toxic and can be a health hazard. Inhaling anhydrous ammonia can cause lung irritation and severe respiratory injuries.

EPA Region 7 receives more accidental release reports for ammonia than for any other chemical.  In addition to releases caused by transportation accidents, human error and equipment failure, a number of releases have been caused by anhydrous ammonia thefts. Anhydrous ammonia is a key ingredient in the illegal production of methamphetamine. When stolen, the toxic gas can be unintentionally released, causing injuries to emergency responders, law enforcement personnel, the public and the criminals themselves.

Retailers were first required to be in compliance with the Risk Management Program in 1999.  EPA then started facility inspections and enforcement of the program, which includes five components: hazard assessment system, management, accident prevention, emergency response and submittal of a risk management plan.

# # #

WASHINGTON - Continuing his work to help make sure law students who take out taxpayer-backed student loans are in a position to pay back the loans, Sen. Chuck Grassley is continuing to ask the American Bar Association (ABA) about the quality of its accreditation of the nation's law schools.

"The organization's inadequate response to my letter raised additional questions that merit drilling down further," Grassley said.  "For example, the taxpayers are on the hook for any defaulted student loans.  The American Bar Association seems confident that students will be able to pay back their loans, yet also acknowledges uncertain job prospects for lawyers.  It's important to examine this further and try to reconcile these statements."  

Grassley wrote to the ABA on July 11, citing a news report that the organization was out of compliance with 17 regulations that the federal Department of Education requires accreditation agencies to meet.  An advisory committee found issues of noncompliance including failing to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs; having no set policy for handling student complaints; and not having a standard for job placement by its member institutions.  The ABA responded on July 20.  Finding the response inadequate, Grassley sent a second letter this week.

The federal government estimates that it will make 24.3 million loans totaling $116.4 billion to students and their parents for higher education, including graduate studies, this year alone.  The outlook for legal careers is uncertain, raising concerns about whether law school loan default rates will increase.

"Law school accreditation is like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval," Grassley said.  "The accreditation implies that the accrediting agency did its homework on behalf of the students who will indebt themselves to attend and on behalf of the taxpayers who made their loans possible.  As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as an advocate for taxpayers, I'm asking the American Bar Association to account for its work."

The ABA's response is available here and here.  Grassley's latest letter is available here.


New Laws Will Increase Coverage of Preventative Care, Patients' Right to Know

CHICAGO - August 9, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed four new laws designed to improve the health of residents throughout Illinois. The new laws will: require insurance coverage of diabetes management education programs; improve dental care for children; increase education on the importance of preventative cardiovascular screenings; and allow patients to access a vast online database of information regarding Illinois' 46,565 physicians and surgeons.

"Preventative care is the key to staying healthy. Cardiovascular checkups, proper diabetes management and good dental health for our kids will save and improve lives by helping people prevent minor health issues from becoming emergencies," Governor Quinn said. "Another key to good health is a great doctor, which is why we're ensuring that all of the important information needed to select a physician is online and available 24 hours a day."

Governor Quinn today signed House Bill 2249, which requires insurance companies to cover education programs to help diabetics maintain their A1C levels within normal ranges. The A1C test measures how well diabetes is managed over time by calculating the percentage of hemoglobin that is coated with sugar. Patients with high A1C levels have poor blood sugar control, which raises the risk for complications. The A1C test has become the industry standard diagnostic test and is considered the most useful diagnostic tool available according to the American Diabetes Association. Sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), this law goes into effect Jan. 1.

"This new legislation will add educational programs to diabetes self-management training to ensure that patients are receiving the full scope of information they need to manage their disease," said Rep. Hernandez, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "Managing the body's glucose levels, or A1C levels, is one more important way for those living with diabetes to reduce complications."

The Governor also took action today to improve access to dental care for low-income children. Effective immediately, Senate Bill 1948 requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to work with the dental community to develop and promote "dental homes" for children covered under CHIP, All Kids and Medicaid programs. Under the dental home concept, dentists would collaborate to deliver comprehensive, coordinated and family-centered preventive and restorative oral health care services. The new law builds on a national campaign by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to address the dental needs of children in Head Start programs by creating partnerships with dentists and relevant organizations. The law was sponsored by Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago) and Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).

"This new law will help to address the issue of dental care for children who are part of the All Kids program or other state insurance program that cover our youth," stated Senator Delgado, Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee.  "Currently, there are very few dentists available in some areas of the state and even fewer who accept patients under the state insurance system."

"Providing a dental home for children goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to promote preventive health care measures for children and families that keep them healthy, instead of just paying the bills after they get sick," HFS Director Julie Hamos said. "Our goal is to improve the oral health of children. Establishing a dental home will help assure that children receive comprehensive dental services - both ongoing preventive services and treatment, if needed."

House Bill 3039 requires insurers to provide annual information regarding the importance and value of early detection and proactive management of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more women than the next five causes of death combined. Minority women are especially impacted; nearly half of African American women (45 percent) have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared to 32 percent of white women. The new law was sponsored by Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) and Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) and takes effect immediately; doctors have 60 days to update their information.

"All too often we give more attention to uncommon causes of death and injury like plane crashes and tornadoes, than we do to the foremost cause of death and disability in our country: cardiovascular disease," said Lilly.  "This important legislation will help raise the public's level of awareness about cardiovascular disease and will encourage them to take preventive measures that will enable them to live a longer and healthier life."

House Bill 105, the Patients' Right to Know Act, requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to make physician profiles available for public inspection, including an online database. The database will compile a wide range of information, including: years in practice, hospital privileges, educational information, disciplinary actions, Medicaid participation, journal articles and translation services offered. Sponsored by Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) and Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), the bill takes effect immediately.

"This is important information, and we wanted to make it as accessible and transparent as possible," Rep. Flowers said. "Today, you can do your banking online, take a virtual tour of a home, and it's important that we bring that technology to bear on one of the most important decisions you can make - who to choose as your doctor."


Rock Island  , IL / August 9, 2011 - Advertisers have never had more options available to them.   Comparing how specific options deliver to a target audience can be mind-numbing.  One local advertising agency is addressing the need for a system that better filters all the options through the standardized metrics that measure effectiveness.  Rock Island-based Media Link is announcing the nationwide launch of its own cutting-edge web-based media buying system, Media Link Software™ (MLS).  MLS provides small to mid-size advertising agencies and internal marketing departments the tools to better manage the demands for effective marketing strategies in a constantly changing media landscape.  


"There are so many media choices now that our industry really needed a software system addressing each media equally.  That really didn't exist. So we did it ourselves.  Now we're offering this system to other large media buyers," said Media Link President Natalie Linville-Mass.  


"When I started this agency 10 years ago, hiring an Advertising Agency was really just an option some businesses chose for convenience.  Now, with all of the changes in the media landscape, an advertising agency has become a vital 'extender' for marketing directors struggling to keep their eyes on the big picture," says Linville-Mass and then goes on to explain.  "The myriad of choices have created an enormous assortment of options, frankly, many businesses are drowning in as a result.  The decisions need to be driven by hard data and thoroughly understanding this data is pivotal to the effectiveness of any marketing plan."  


Media Link Software™ (MLS), the brainchild of Linville-Mass and a creative team of industry experts, delivers data-driven results while crafting media strategies for traditional and online media outlets. Determined to provide agencies like hers an affordable, time-saving solution to media buying, Linville-Mass said, "This new software not only gives the companies we serve precise information, it also is designed to save advertising agencies a tremendous amount of time" said Linville-Mass.      


MLS challenges the limitations of other systems through enhanced user-friendly functions, easily accessible customer support and advanced technologies designed to deliver more accurate media guidance. The system utilizes a comprehensive process for placing buys to pinpoint the most cost-effective options clients need to achieve the maximum return on investment.  


To achieve her goal of creating an easy-to-use and comprehensive media buying software, Linville-Mass turned to Breur Media Corporation, a web development and programming company centered in   Cedar Rapids ,  IA.   "It isn't often that an opportunity arises to completely re-imagine an entire industry's way of thinking, "says Arthur Breur, President of Breur Media.  "This software does just that by completely overhauling the media buying experience and bringing the process up to date by including 21st century media types in the mix."      


Using standard industry formulas to help identify how to best reach the intended target audience, MLS paints a clear picture of what works and what doesn't to facilitate comparative buys in TV, radio, print, outdoor, online and specialty advertising outlets.  


Media Link, Inc. is an 8(a) SDB Certified, woman-owned small business and full-service advertising agency dedicated to helping companies at local, regional and national levels develop strategic marketing plans and make informed advertising decisions.