Bill Cunningham to Serve as Director of Communications

CHICAGO - June 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today named Bill Cunningham as Director of Communications. Cunningham is replacing Director of Communications Robert Reed, who is returning to the private sector.
"Bill comes to us with a wealth of experience from the Cook County Sheriff's Office and I look forward to working with him," said Governor Quinn.
Cunningham previously worked at the Cook County Sheriff's Office for nearly two decades. During his tenure, Cunningham served as Deputy Press Secretary, Director of Communications and ultimately Chief of Staff.
"I am honored to be joining the Governor's team and I am pleased to have this opportunity to work for the people of Illinois," said Cunningham.
Cunningham, 42, is a graduate of UIC and resides in Chicago.
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Watch a Virtual Tour of Our Museum!

Click here to watch the tour.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Celebrating Mendelssohn: Composer and Conductor Extraordinaire


Sunday, July 11 at 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members.
Presented by Don Wooten

Trip to German Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Saturday, July 24

Click here for details on the trip.

School Cones: A German Tradition Comes to the Quad Cities
Sunday July 25 at 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members

Presented by Julie Wall of Trinity Lutheran School
Since the early 19th century, the rite of passage for children in German speaking areas as they entered formal schooling was celebrated with the gifting of School Cones (Schultüten) on the first day of school.

German-Wends Cultural Festival
Saturday, August 21
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members
Join us for a full day of Wendish cultural demonstrations, music, dancing and more! In addition visitors can explore the museum's 4,000 square feet of exhibits where you will enjoy an interactive experience as they learn about immigrants' journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.

German Level I
Prerequisite: None
Date: Meets Tuesdays starting August 3, 2010
Time/Location: 5:00-6:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual. To register call 563-322-8844.
German Level II 
Class meets 90 minutes once a week for 12 weeks.
Prerequisite: German I or some basic knowledge of German language.
Dates: Meets Tuesdays starting August 3, 2010
Time/Location: 7-8:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual.  To register call 563-322-8844.

New Law Allows State's Public Universities to Better Manage Budgets while Awaiting State Funding

SPRINGFIELD - June 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that allows Illinois' public universities to borrow money in anticipation of already-authorized state funding. Illinois' local school districts are able to borrow money in anticipation of tax receipts, but public universities have not had that option until now.
"This legislation will give our public universities an important fiscal tool to manage through this unprecedented economic crisis," said Governor Quinn. "We are committed to doing everything we can in Illinois to make sure our students receive the highest-quality education possible."
Senate Bill 642 allows state universities to borrow money equal to the amount of vouchers that have been submitted to the state but remain unpaid for fiscal year 2010.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), will allow universities to better manage their budgets and pay their bills while waiting for state funding. Currently, the state is hundreds of millions of dollars behind in paying for vouchers submitted by universities. The new law takes effect immediately.
To borrow money under the new law, a university's board of trustees must pass a resolution that outlines: the need to borrow money; the maximum amount to be borrowed; and the maximum amount of interest to be paid. The legislation caps the interest a university can pay at 9 percent and requires that the borrowing take place within 90 days. All borrowing must be repaid within one year or less.
Additionally, all borrowing must be approved by the Comptroller. The universities must produce a detailed account of how the borrowed funds are being used within 15 days of the borrowing.
Universities allowed to borrow under the legislation include : the University of Illinois; Southern Illinois University; Chicago State University; Eastern Illinois University; Governors State University; Illinois State University; Northeastern Illinois University; Northern Illinois University; and Western Illinois University.
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Grassley Seeks Accounting of Treasury, IRS' Use of Whistleblower Information on Potential Tax Evasion

WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley today asked the Treasury secretary and IRS commissioner for an accounting of what U.S. government officials have done with information provided more than three years ago by a whistleblower regarding tax evasion.  The U.S. Department of Justice acknowledged that former UBS employee Bradley Charles Birkenfeld's information was pivotal in exposing a multi-billion dollar international tax evasion scandal involving a private Swiss bank, yet it may be that the IRS is doing very little with the information yielded from this effort.

Grassley said the information provided by Birkenfeld includes the names of UBS AG employees and their e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers, which could be used to identify their clients in the United States.  Swiss legislators today took a step to unravel a U.S.-Swiss treaty that would allow for the disclosure of more client information to allow U.S. officials to review cases for potential enforcement of U.S. tax laws.

"The action by Swiss legislators today to try to unravel an international treaty emphasizes the need for U.S. authorities to exhaust the information they have on U.S. taxpayers who use offshore accounts to evade taxes," Grassley said.  "Honest taxpayers deserve to know what's happened with what could be very valuable leads, and if it's nothing, they deserve to know why.  It's a matter of tax fairness and law enforcement.  And the IRS shouldn't wait for international agreements to fall into place when tax evaders can be identified through other appropriate tools."

In December 2006, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley won enactment of his proposal to make the IRS whistleblower program more effective than before in cracking down on tax cheats and collecting taxes owed to the Treasury.  Improvements included offering more generous financial incentives to whistleblowers.  Since then, he has monitored implementation of the improvements and urged expedient, effective handling of whistleblower information.

Grassley was the lead Senate author of the 1986 whistleblower amendments strengthening the federal False Claims Act, which have become one of the nation's strongest tools to identity and prevent fraud against the Treasury.  To date, those provisions have helped to recover $22 billion for the federal Treasury that otherwise would have been lost to fraud.  The False Claims Act does not cover tax fraud; hence the need for an effective IRS whistleblower office.  Additionally, Grassley succeeded in getting enacted a federal incentive for states to adopt whistleblower provisions as part of state laws on false claims as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

The text of today's letter follows here.

June 8, 2010

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner

Secretary of the Treasury

Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20220

 

The Honorable Douglas L. Shulman

Commissioner

Internal Revenue Service

1111 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20224

Dear Secretary Geithner and Commissioner Shulman:

I am writing to express my concern about continued tax evasion by taxpayers using secret Swiss bank accounts, particularly accounts at UBS AG.  Swiss lawmakers voted today to block the treaty the United States hammered out with Switzerland last year.  While I understand that today's vote in the lower chamber of the Swiss Parliament is not the final word, I am worried that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") is doing next to nothing to identify tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers utilizing these accounts while waiting for ratification of the treaty.

It has been over three years since Mr. Bradley Charles Birkenfeld approached the Department of Justice, IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission about potential tax evasion facilitated by UBS AG on behalf of U.S. clients.  The attached letter from Mr. Birkenfeld's attorneys outlines a number of steps that the IRS could have taken with the information he provided in March 2007.  It seems this information would allow the IRS to trace individuals in the U.S. that had UBS bank accounts.  In addition, this letter also provides information about UBS USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS AG, and its involvement in UBS AG activities here in the U.S.

Using this information to identify U.S. clients would appear to be more productive than simply pursuing agreements and treaties with the Swiss, especially since those avenues seem limited to specific individuals.  It does not appear that you would need a treaty, or other agreement with the Swiss government, to pursue the records of UBS USA.

As a result, I would like a detailed listing of all steps IRS has taken with the information that Mr. Birkenfeld provided.  Please note that I am not asking for information about any individual taxpayer so I do not expect section 6103 to preclude you from responding to my request.  I would also like to know what IRS is doing to ensure that, if and when it receives a complete list of UBS AG account holders, the IRS will not be precluded by the statute of limitations from auditing those individuals.

Today's vote in Switzerland only underscores the need for the IRS to encourage whistleblowers to come forward.  Mr. Birkenfeld blew the whistle on just one bank. What is the IRS doing to encourage more whistleblowers to come forward about offshore bank accounts?

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and ask for a written response by June 18, 2010.  Please contact me or my staff at (202) 224-4515 with any questions.

Sincerely,

Chuck Grassley

Ranking Member

Hi Home Brewers & Wine Makers,
I am currently in the process of trying to increase our inventory levels so that we run out of things less often and also so we carry more of what you are looking for.  I know kegging equipment is big on everyone's list so I am working to try to find a vendor for it.  What else would you like to buy from Camp McClellan Cellars that I don't currently carry?
Everyone who responds will be rewarded with a 15% off coupon good for a month on your next homebrew or home wine making purchase.  While you are at it, feel free to mention anything else that has been on your mind.  Thanks so much for your help. I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Julie
Camp McClellan Cellars

Partners of Scott County Watersheds

Public Lunch Forum

Troubled Waters

A new Iowa Learning Farm Video,

Winner of the Iowa Motion Picture Association award

Partners of Scott County Watersheds will be hosting a monthly educational forum meeting on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010. The event will be held from 12:00 - 1:00 pm at the Bettendorf Fire Station, Surrey Heights location (5002 Crow Creek Rd).

At the forum, the short film, Troubled Waters will premiere. The film is a new Iowa Learning Farm Video and the winner of the Iowa Motion Picture Association Award. It is filmed entirely on Iowa's waters and is approximately 26 minutes long. The film covers current river themes such as natural resources and biodiversity, human intervention and modification, pollutants and ecological resilience.  It explores the relationship between Iowans and streams and rivers and discusses how humans have altered streams and the consequences of these changes.

RSVP requested from those who would like lunch. Lunch will be provided with a $5 donation.  RSVP to Clare Kerofsky at 563-391-1403 ext. 3 or clare.kerofsky@ia.nacdnet.net.

Filling the coffeemaker - watering your vegetable garden - spending a weekend boating on the Mississippi...what could these things possibly have in common?  Each is a simple task we take for granted, made possible in part by clean water with help from the Iowa Water Pollution Control Association.  Founded in 1915, the IWPCA is an organization of professionals committed to water quality and pollution control in Iowa waters.  In addition to legislative initiatives, the IWPCA gives various awards in recognition of outstanding educators and students, as well as employees in the field of water quality.

Rivermont Collegiate is ecstatic to announce tenth grade student Meghana Pagadala has been named the state winner of the 2010 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition, the most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project.  Selected for her project Nanotube Filters: A Practical Solution or Unrealistic Wonder?, Meghana will represent Iowa at the national competition in St. Louis June 17th - 20th and compete for the opportunity to represent the United States at the international competition in Stockholm, Sweden in September.  The IWPCA is extremely proud to sponsor Meghana to this national competition!  The Rivermont community eagerly anticipates Meghana's future contributions to the improvement of water quality and protection - in Iowa and beyond!

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org

Floatzilla has a new challenger. On Saturday, June 5th, Pittsburgh hosted Paddle at the Point, an event organized around an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the "largest raft of canoes and kayaks." The event was reported as a success with an unofficial count of 1,800 canoes and kayaks, thus significantly raising the bar over the previous record of 1,104 achieved by One Square Mile of Hope in Inlet, New York. This new record, however, falls short of Floatzilla's ambitious attempt to rally 2,010 canoes and kayaks on August 21st, 2010. Floatzilla offers the Quad Cities a unique opportunity to trump Pittsburgh's impressive accomplishment less than three months after Paddle at the Point and to demonstrate the resources and vitality of a thriving Midwestern community.

The Quad Cities is a premier place to live, work, and play, and is home to a wealth of paddling opportunities on the Mississippi River and its many smaller tributaries that rival some of the best anywhere. Floatzilla isn't just a record attempt put a celebration of our community and its waterways and River Action welcomes paddlesports enthusiasts near and far to join us on August 21st as ambassadors of the sport and to share the experience of this epic event. Floatzilla is an unparalleled opportunity to encourage family, friends, co-workers, and any other interested party to give paddlesports a try and take to the water with thousands of other participants.

Grab your paddle and register today at www.floatzilla.org. The registration fee is $10/paddler, which includes one Floatzilla t-shirt, commemorative boat sticker, registration wrist band, one ticket to "River Roots Live", free parking, and free shuttle to off-site parking for "floats." Premium registration is available for $20 and includes the basic registration package plus coupons for local hotels, restaurants, and retailers.

Floatzilla is coordinated by River Action, Inc. For additional information please call 563-322-2969 or email riveraction@riveraction.org.

As part of Pepsi's "Refresh the World" campaign, a $10,000 check will be presented to Churches United of the Quad City Area. This PRESS CONFERENCE/ presentation will be held on Friday, June 11th at 10 am in the A. D. Huesing Corporate Offices, 527 - 37th Avenue, Rock Island IL.

Pepsi's "Refresh the World" campaign allowed distributers throughout the country to nominate a local organization to support, in their efforts of making a positive change in their own communities.  When A.D. Huesing saw Food & Shelter was one of the categories, they immediately thought of Churches United of the Quad City Area (Churches United).  Over 150,000 meals were provided last year alone through Churches United's 26 food pantries and 3 hot meal sites.  A.D Huesing also saw the big difference Winnie's Place woman's shelter made in the area providing help for women with, or without, children who are homeless or domestic violence victims.  Because of Churches United's commitment, A.D. Huesing submitted the paperwork and the Pepsi Corporation agreed to match their $5,000 donation.

The $10,000 check will be presented to Churches United at the press conference on Friday.    A.D. Huesing's Chief Executive Officer, Denise Ormsby, said "Churches United is so broad based and does so much in the community, we thought it would be a good fit."

According to Office Manager Jo Cohrs "This couldn't come at a better time, the needs for our emergency funds, food and services have doubled in the last year.  We can't thank A.D. Huesing and Pepsi enough for this wonderful gift".

The check presentation will begin at 10 am with Bud Helpenstell, Chairman of the Board of A.D. Huesing and Mike Evers, COO of   A. D. Huesing. Representing Churches United will be Executive Director Ronald Quay as well as Rev. Brian Fischer, President of Churches United's Board of Directors.  Mrs. Cohrs is inviting the community to check out their new You Tube video on their website (www.cuqca.org) to see the tremendous need and extensive services that are provided by this nearly 50 year old organization known now as Churches United.



Keep young minds sharp over the summer with educational programs at Rivermont Collegiate! Rivermont is offering an assortment of Summer Adventures for children from preschool age and up.  Programs cover a wide variety of interests - from cooking to aviation - to French and band Camp. Children from any school may register. Each one week session 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 12-3pm is $110. Rivermont strives to prepare students who are grounded in the basics, yet able to think analytically and creatively, to confidently meet the challenges of the 21st century.  Check out full class descriptions and obtain a registration form at www.rvmt.org.

Preschool - Junior Kindergarten - Kindergarten

  • June 21-25 What's Cooking

  • June 28-July 2 We Dig Dinosaurs!

  • July 12-16 Animal ABCs

  • July 19-23 Take Me Out to the Ballgame

  • July 26-30 Planes, Rockets and Aviation

Ages 7-11

  • June 14-18 Just Dig It!

  • June 21-25 Bits, Bites and Hopefully NO Bugs!

  • June 28-July 2 Mosaic Art (8:30-11:30am)

  • June 28-July 2 Une Semaine à Paris! (12-3pm)

  • July 12-16 Whoooo is a Genius?

Specialty Classes

  • August 10-12 Mini Band Camp (open to band students of all ages!)

For enrollment information on Rivermont Collegiate contact Cindy Murray at 563-359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org.

For additional information on Summer Adventures at Rivermont Collegiate contact Tammi Burrell at 563-359-1366 ext. 337 or burrell@rvmt.org.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities' only independent, non-sectarian, PS-12 college preparatory school, ranked #1 on Iowa's AP Index.

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