Winterize your home to avoid unnecessary damage

Clean gutters, well-ventilated attic will alleviate ice damage.

Des Plaines, Illinois, December 9, 2010? Homes react to weather changes, too, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry has tips that can help homeowners protect their homes this winter and prevent minor trouble spots from becoming major repairs.

"Wintertime in cooler regions presents a unique set of issues in the home that are not apparent during the summer," says Bob Didier, project manager at Irwin Contracting Inc., in Hauppauge, N.Y., and vice chair of NARI's marketing & communications committee. "Homeowners should inspect and repair both interior and exterior areas of their homes to minimize damage."

Exterior winter maintenance

Didier recommends clearing leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Blockages in gutters and drain spouts can result in ice damming, or internal water problems causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls. Blockages also run the risk of damage to exterior painted surfaces and the development of dangerous ice patches on walkways underneath overhangs. Drain spouts should face away from your home?ideally, projecting water five feet away from the home's foundation.

"Safety is an important issue for you and others walking near your property during the winter months," Didier says. "Trim trees and remove dead branches that can become weak from ice and snow build-up?possibly damaging your home or car, or injuring passersby." He also suggests repairs to faulty steps and handrails in front of your home to avoid injury.

Inspect your home for cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snow melt from seeping in.

Interior winter maintenance

Check your water pipes for cracks and leaks and have them repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape to keep them from freezing. "The temperature inside the walls, where pipes are located, is substantially colder and can fall victim to freezing," Didier explains. "Even if you want to keep your heat bill low when you're not at home, it's best to keep your thermostat at a minimum of 65 degrees to avoid freezing."

Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system as an added protection against freezing pipes. The valve helps lessens pressure caused by freezing pipes and reduces chance of pipes bursting. "If you're concerned about your pipes freezing, learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located," Didier says. "If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence?the faster you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the more chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting."

Make sure your attics, basements and crawl spaces are adequately insulated and well-ventilated. Look for signs of moisture or surface discoloration. Under-insulating results in escaped heat that melts ice and snow on the roof. Water then refreezes, causing more snow and ice to build up resulting in a collapsed roof or ice damming.

"Ideally, the attic should be five to ten degrees warmer than the outside air," Didier says. "Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will help keep the heat from melting snow." Insulation also helps protect pipes from freezing as well.

Check to see that your smoke and fire alarms are working properly and service your heating systems annually. "Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems and heating systems," Didier says.

Keep the heat in

In addition to protecting your home, NARI is offering tips to maximize heat this winter:

  • Decrease drafts in the home by testing windows and doors for air leaks and sealing them with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Install storm windows or plastic sheeting over single-pane windows or if a homeowner is considering a replacement, try specially coated double-pane windows designed to reflect heat back into the room.
  • Clean or replace the air filter to maximize the efficiency of the heating system. Clean out ducts, warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators too.
  • Insulate ducts running through attics, crawl spaces and garages. Check for separation, holes and leaks and seal them.

Seal the fireplace by keeping dampers closed when the fireplace is not in use. Or install glass doors to fit inside the opening when burning out the fire.

Homeowners may consider repairing minor damages themselves, but they should first check to see if any products installed in the home are covered under the manufacturer's warranty. This may be the case in relatively new homes or those that have undergone recent renovations. Many manufacturers will not honor warranties if amateur repairs have been attempted. For repairs that are beyond the homeowner's skill level, a NARI contractor should be consulted.

NARI can connect you with remodel-ready contractors who will take care of the entire remodeling process. Find a NARI member on For green remodeling information, please visit

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Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) has been recognized by Community College Week as one of the top 20 fastest growing community colleges in the nation.

EICCD was listed as the 14th fastest growing community college among those with enrollment between 5,000 and 9,999. The college posted a 22 percent enrollment increase between 2008 and 2009 (8,480 students in 2008 compared to 6,975 the prior year).

"I'm very excited that we made this list and received this recognition," said EICCD Chancellor Dr. Pat Keir. "We knew, of course, how much we have grown these past two years but we didn't realize how well that compared with other colleges across the country."

EICCD includes Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges.

Dr. Keir pointed out that the ranking only tells part of the story. On top of the 22 percent increase in 2009, enrollment increased by another 10.4 percent in 2010. Fall enrollment at the three colleges this year was 9,365 students.

The college's students attend classes at the three main campuses and satellite sites in Maquoketa, Wilton, downtown Davenport and the Blong Technology Center just off Interstate 80 in Davenport. Partnerships with high schools throughout the EICCD region also allow for current high school students to take college classes right in their school buildings.

"There's no doubt that economic factors have contributed to that growth," Dr. Keir said. "But we need to also recognize the tremendous amount of work being done by our staff and faculty in providing educational opportunities to students. Without all of the work that our people are doing, without all of the partnerships they are building with high schools and the community, none of this would have been possible."

"It's also very important for me to mention and thank the public for its support," she added. "Without that support, especially their approval of our bond referendum three years ago, we would have not been able to accommodate the growing number of students."

Voters in the eastern Iowa district approved a 2007 bond referendum for $33 million. That funding has allowed the college to build new science centers at all three colleges, a new university center in Muscatine, CCC's Maquoketa Center, expansion of the career technologies wing and construction of the new Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center at SCC, and support of a new Wilton Library and Community Center with classrooms dedicated for MCC. Additional renovations are still underway and future plans call for construction of a new west Davenport center, located next to the city's Fairmount Street Library, scheduled to open next fall.

In addition to the students in the traditional classrooms, the college's online enrollment is also increasing. The number of students in online programs increased to 2,837 in 2010, compared to 1,957 in 2009. Approximately half of these students are enrolled exclusively in online classes while the other half are in both online as well as traditional classroom-based classes.

EICCD partners with six other Iowa community colleges in the online program, making it possible for students to earn their Associate in Arts Degree entirely online. The local college also has unique online programs available in Health Information Technology, Cancer Information Management, and Health, Safety and Environmental Technology.

For more information about the colleges' programs call 1-888-336-3907 or e-mail

The Moline Foundation announces February 16, 2011 as the deadline to apply for the Lee Womack Scholarship. The Lee Womack Scholarship Fund is intended to provide funds to deserving students graduating from Moline High School who plan to obtain a college degree in education or teaching special education. Selected recipients shall use the funds for first year expenses for tuition, room, board, or books at any accredited two-year or four-year institution. Students should contact the counseling office at Moline High School for an application form.

Lee A. Womack graduated from Moline High School in 1956 and from Arizona State University in 1960. He taught school for eight years at Central Junior High School in Rock Island, Illinois. In 1978, he started work for Mr. Quick, Inc. and became President of the corporation in 1975. He served as President until 1980, when he founded the Lee Womack Insurance Agency. For 22 years, he owned and operated the insurance agency. Mr. Womack also served as President of Porkie's Restaurants, Ltd. from 1987 until he died in 2002.

Mr. Womack was highly respected in the Quad City community and had a reputation for providing others with an opportunity to succeed. By establishing the scholarship fund in his name, his family and friends continue to provide that opportunity for years to come.

The Lee Womack Memorial Scholarship award was established by Mr. Womack's wife, Peggy, and the Lee Womack Memorial Golf Outing Steering Committee. Since his death, a golf outing has been held in Mr. Womack's memory to raise funds for a local charity. In 2004, a scholarship fund was established and is administered through the Moline Foundation's scholarship program.

The Moline Foundation, founded in 1953, is a community foundation which provides grants to health, human services, education, community development, the arts and other charitable organizations which benefit the citizens of Moline and the surrounding area. For more information, contact Joy Boruff, Executive Director, at (309) 736-3800. The Moline Foundation receives and administers charitable gifts and has assets of approximately $15 million.


The Moline Foundation announces February 16, 2011 as the deadline to apply for the Charles Curry SMART Bus Scholarship. Applicant must be a 2011 graduate of a high school in Iowa or Illinois living in Henry, Mercer or Rock Island counties in Illinois or Scott or Muscatine counties in Iowa. Applicant may also be a freshman, sophomore or junior at an Illinois or Iowa college who graduated from a high school in one of the above five counties. Applicant must plan on majoring in or currently majoring in a Natural Resource curriculum or an Education curriculum. Students must enroll on a full-time basis. Students should contact their counseling office at your High School for an application or the Moline Foundation.

The scholarship award winner will be chosen by a local scholarship selection committee and will receive a scholarship of $500.00.

Charles E. Curry is the Founder of the Interstate Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) SMART (Sharp Minds Are Reading Thoroughly) Bus.

The SMART Bus Program, committed to reducing illiteracy, which began in 2000, has handed out over 36,000 books to children in the Muscatine and Scott Counties in Iowa and Henry, Mercer and Rock Island Counties in Illinois.

Charles E. Curry is a successful farmer and businessman from Alpha, Illinois and has served his community as a volunteer with many organizations including Interstate RC&D, Inc., the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District for the past 34 years, the Livestock Feeders Association, the Henry County Board of Education, the Black Hawk Shrine Club, the Ophiem, IL Lutheran Church, and many other civic organizations.

Mr. Curry is well-respected in the Quad Cities area serving in various capacities with the Interstate RC&D Council. His leadership qualities combined with a passion and a vision for improving our natural resources, promoting community and rural economic development and education has contributed greatly to the success of the RC&D program and to helping improve the quality of life in our area. The Charles E. Curry Scholarship Fund was established in November of 2008 by the SMART Bus Committee to honor the hard work and dedication of Mr. Curry.

The scholarships are also administered through the Moline Foundation founded in 1953 to further the growth and development of citizens living in the Quad Cities region in Iowa and Illinois.

The Moline Foundation is a community foundation which provides grants to health, human services, education, community development, the arts, and other charitable organizations which benefit the citizens of the Quad City region. The Moline Foundation receives and administers charitable gifts and endowments with a current endowment fund of approximately $15 million. For more information contact Executive Director Joy Boruff at (309) 736-3800 or visit The Moline Foundation web site at

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Deadline for America's Farmers Grow Communities Program is Dec. 31, 2010

ST. LOUIS (December 9, 2010) - In the season of giving, Iowa farmers can get into the holiday spirit by registering to win $2,500 for their favorite nonprofit organizations through the America's Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. One farmer in each of Iowa's 99 participating counties will win.

As the holidays are quickly approaching, so is the Dec. 31 deadline for registration. Farmers can apply online at or by calling 1-877-267-3332 for the chance to direct $2,500 to organizations such as 4-H, FFA, local libraries or fire departments.

Farmers, age 21 and over, who are actively engaged in farming a minimum of 250 acres of corn, soybeans and/or cotton, or 40 acres of open field vegetables, or at least 10 acres of tomatoes, peppers and/or cucumbers grown in protected culture, are eligible.

Pilot programs in 10 states resulted in $1.2 million being donated to nonprofit organizations in rural communities. Now, farmers in more than 1,200 counties across 38 states have the opportunity to support youth organizations, schools and community groups of their choice.

In addition to the $2,500 donation to a local organization, local United Way chapters will receive a $1 donation from the Monsanto Fund with each farmer sign-up, providing yet another opportunity for farmers to make a difference in their communities.

Eligible counties in Iowa include Adair, Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clay, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Dallas, Davis, Decatur, Delaware, Des Moines, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Muscatine, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Scott, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth, and Wright.

Visit to sign up and to learn more about the America's Farmers Grow Communities program. This opportunity is open to qualifying farmers, and no purchase is necessary in order to enter or win. Monsanto Fund will announce winning farmers and recipient organizations in February 2011.

The program is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to invest in farm communities, in order to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to our society. To obtain a copy of the official rules for this program, visit or send a written request to Eileen Jensen, 914 Spruce St., St. Louis, MO 63102.

About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company.  Incorporated in 1964, the Fund's primary objective is to improve the lives of people by bridging the gap between their needs and their resources. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

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University of Colorado at Boulder

"The program was better than I expected, mainly because of the educational opportunity. Once I realized how much I did not know, it truly became a renaissance experience for me. I feel like a new man, and I have much more intellectual energy to continue my journalism journey." - Jim Mimiaga, Fellow 2009-10, Four Corners Free Press

Apply now for the 2011-2012 academic year. Full-time U.S. print, broadcast and online journalists with a minimum of five years professional experience are eligible. Applicants may include reporters, editors, photographers, producers and full-time freelancers. Prior experience covering the environment is not necessary. Fellows will take classes, attend special seminars, go on field trips and engage in independent study at a university renowned for its environmental science and policy studies.

The fellowship provides a 9-month stipend of $50,000, and additionally covers tuition and fees.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2011

For more information and application instructions contact:

The Center for Environmental Journalism

University of Colorado at Boulder

1511 University Avenue, 478 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0478

(303) 492-4114

There's a New Politico story about the Omnibus Federal Land and
Water bill below and about the Lame Duck Congress.

Lame Duck Congress now could continue until December 17th or later.
You could not be in more danger.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have put together a massive bill with
hundreds of Wilderness and land lock up bills inside that have not
yet passed the Congress in 2010.

Things are being done in secret. No bill number yet. Included will be
all the Wilderness Bills, Billion Dollar LWCF Trust Fund, Corps and
EPA Land and Water Jurisdiction Grab and many, many more.

-----Reid is going around to the Republicans and getting them to
agree to sign on. You must make it clear to the Republicans that this
vote is a threat to rural America and you and will be remembered

When you call, do not threaten. Just make it clear that this is a
terrible bill where they have lumped together hundreds of bills that
no Senator has read completely.

Let them know you are telling all your neighbors, friends, allies,
and business associates about the Omnibus Federal Land and Water Bill
and will remember how they vote on this bill when you vote in the

- - - - -

-----You must urge your Senators to filibuster, place a hold on, or
otherwise delay the Omnibus Lands Bill. They must agree to vote
against it when it comes to a vote. The Senate has a limited amount
of time in the Lame Duck Session. Every day your Senator delays the
bill gives rural America a better chance to survive this onslaught.

-----Do Not Make The Mistake Of Ignoring the Omnibus Land And Water
Bill because it does not yet have a number. Harry Reid is trying to
keep the bill in secret.

- - - - -

Here is a new story about what the Greens are doing to pass the
Omnibus Bill:


Dems aim for 100+ bills in 1 swoop
By: Darren Goode
December 6, 2010 04:43 AM EST

Democratic efforts to push through more than 100 public lands and
water bills in the lame duck session are reaching a fever pitch, with
the recognition this is the last chance many of them have to become

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has tasked Democratic
leaders on at least three committees to come up with a list of bills
that could get past a GOP filibuster.

They may also need to be able to secure the two-thirds support that
would be needed if the House tries to expedite the package without
amendments in a tight legislative calendar.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer
(D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that she has given Reid a draft
list of bills to consider. That evolving list is believed to include
plans to provide protection to the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Lake
Tahoe, the Gulf of Mexico and the San Francisco Bay.

"The issue is getting 60 votes, which we think we can," Boxer

Boxer, most of the Democrats on her panel, Energy and Natural
Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sen. Carl Levin
(D-Mich.) were among those who gathered with Reid off the Senate
floor during a vote last Monday to talk options. More formal meetings
were also held Tuesday.

Several Senate Republicans are cosponsors of individual bills that
could be included but the GOP appears likely to object to the package
as a whole.

"There's no way a giant omnibus like that would gain support
among Republicans," said Robert Dillon, spokesman for Energy and
Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
"There's bills in there we would like to see passed but not this
way. We don't have the time to fix all the problems."

A potential Democratic package could include more than 100 measures
from at least three panels. Energy and Natural Resources has passed
72 public lands bills that are pending on the Senate calendar and
there are others the panel has not yet voted on; the Environment and
Public Works Committee has so far given more than a dozen bills to be
considered; while the Commerce Committee Friday sent over a list of 13

A Boxer spokesperson said bills being considered for the package were
reported from several committees with bipartisan support. "They
represent the work of committees and senators over the course of this
Congress and, for many, over the course of a career and they deserve a
vote," the spokesperson said.

Bingaman spokesman Bill Wicker said the panel's bills are not
controversial and many were approved with no opposition. Bingaman
staffers are holding off on providing a final list to Reid in case
additional bills not voted on by the panel could be added.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and
Public Works Committee has threatened to block swift approval of a
land and water omnibus bill if it includes, for example, the version
of the Chesapeake Bay protection bill that passed the panel by voice
vote with the understanding that work on it would continue.

That bill "still needs significant changes, principally with
respect to restricting the broad, and unprecedented, scope of
authority it grants EPA over state permitting programs," Inhofe
said last week. Inhofe said he wants to keep talking with the bill's
chief sponsor, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

"But it won't be reached today or if this bill is thrown together
with several other bills, many of which are too expansive and set
unrealistic authorization levels," Inhofe said.

Inhofe aides sent POLITICO a list of water bills the committee has
passed that the Oklahoma Republican thinks are fine in their current
form. They include protections for Lake Tahoe, the San Francisco Bay,
Gulf of Mexico and marine turtles.

The chances of passage for the package in a packed calendar this
month is further complicated by the demand last week of all 42 Senate
Republicans not to allow any measures to come up until the Senate
agrees to extend a set of Bush-era tax cuts.

A Reid spokeswoman simply said that a lands and water package is on
"a long list of items to consider and not much time to do so."

If the Senate were able to move the omnibus measure, the House would
still need to follow suit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could pass the measure in five
minutes if she can round up a two-thirds majority to avoid any
amendments and tricky GOP motions to recommit. But that's no sure

House Natural Resources ranking member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) - who
is in line to chair the panel in the next Congress - pushed back
last week at any attempt to quickly pass what he deemed "a
Frankenstein" bill.

"This omnibus lands bill will have significant impacts on American
jobs, our economy and our nation's energy, environmental and
land-use policies," he wrote to House Democratic leaders Thursday.
"Such a significant bill should not be hastily pushed through
Congress without thoughtful and careful consideration."

Some Democrats also may not just simply want to green light a list of
Senate bills without adding their own input.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) - who chairs a key Natural Resources
subcommittee overseeing public lands - wants his committee to come
up with its own list to offer House Democratic leaders.

"I feel it is imperative that the House Natural Resources Committee
and House leadership has equal say in what legislation is included in
a final package," Grijalva wrote. "If the Senate develops a list
of bills to package, the House should be able to do the same."

National Guard Remember the Past, While Working on the Future

SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/09/2010)(readMedia)-- On Dec. 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked naval base Pearl Harbor without warning. Four battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, a minelayer and 188 airplanes were destroyed or damaged.

More than 2,400 servicemembers were killed and more than 1,200 were wounded. One-hundred and eighteen of the fallen were from Illinois; seven were from Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley held a wreath-laying ceremony in recognition of the 69th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7 at Navy Pier in Chicago to honor the fallen and surviving servicemembers of the historical event.

"War is an unpleasant subject, but we must continue to talk about it. Our children need to learn that the freedom they enjoy every day - and often take for granted - was achieved through great sacrifice, and at a heavy price," said Daley. "And for that, we will always support our troops and continue to pray for peace."

Guests at the event included nine Pearl Harbor survivors and numerous military veterans groups. Col. Thomas Purple of Chicago, deputy commander of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson of Olympia Fields, Illinois Army National Guard Land Component Command Sergeant Major were both in attendance to represent the Illinois National Guard.

"Our men and women in uniform have helped to create and preserve the American way of life," Daley said. "They serve today with the same courage and dedication to duty that has distinguished United States veterans for more than 200 years."

Sixty-nine years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. and Japan military agencies are working together to enhance interoperability.

The 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment based in Kansas City, Mo., teamed with the 26th Infantry Regiment, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force for Orient Shield 11 this past November in Northern Japan.

The focus of the exercise was to develop tactical, bi-lateral operations and war-fighting skills between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.

In 1960, the U.S. and Japan signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, a binding agreement for both countries to support each other from enemy attack.

"Exercises like this encourage enduring professional mutual engagements and good will between the U.S. and Japan as we strengthen our relationship," said Maj. Gen. Michael Harrison, commander, United States Army Japan. "All participating U.S. Army units benefit in maintaining a bi-lateral partnership. Operations like Orient Shield serve as an opportunity to integrate and train all branches of the U.S. military, while building rapport between the U.S. and our allies."


Senate Leaders' Bill Would Fix Medicare Physician Payment Formula to Ensure Doctors Can Continue Seeing Medicare, Tricare Patients

Washington, DC - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today applauded Senate passage of legislation extending through 2011 a fix to the Medicare physician payment formula to ensure seniors and military families can be confident they will be able to continue seeing their doctors.  The legislation would ensure Medicare and Tricare, the health care program for active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees and their families, will continue to pay physicians who participate in those programs at current levels.

"This bipartisan agreement gives peace of mind to seniors and military families in Nevada and across the nation," said Senator Reid. "We ensured that our seniors and veterans can continue seeing their doctors and getting the treatment they need.  I appreciate the leadership of Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Grassley for leading the effort to work across the aisle and reach this common-sense solution."

"I'm encouraged that we were able to work together in a bipartisan way and protect access to care for America's 45 million Medicare beneficiaries in a fiscally responsible manner," said Senator McConnell. "This bipartisan accomplishment will help ensure that Kentucky's seniors and military personnel and their families won't be denied access to their doctors as a result of inaction in Washington. I'm pleased that the White House is supportive and I hope our colleagues in the House will take up this measure and pass it promptly. "

"We worked together on this longer-term solution to give seniors and military families in Montana and across the country the peace of mind of knowing they still will be able to see their doctors and get the medicine they need," said Senator Baucus. "This bill provides the security patients deserve and the certainty doctors need, ensuring seniors and military families have access to the doctors they know and trust."

"With a double-digit payment cut, some doctors would stop seeing Medicare and Tricare patients," Senator Grassley said. "This bipartisan legislation will help to ensure that older Americans and military families can continue to get quality health care."

The bill, the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010, would avoid a 25-percent cut to Medicare physician payments under the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that would otherwise go into effect on January 1, 2011.  The proposal also includes extensions of other expiring health care provisions, including protections for rural hospitals and doctors, Transitional Medical Assistance and the Special Diabetes Program.  The legislation would be paid for by modifying the policy regarding overpayments of the health care affordability tax credit.  This policy does not change the tax credits for which people are eligible based on their income.  Instead, the proposal would change the way people pay back overpayments when they have received more credit than they are eligible for because, for example, they earned more money than expected in a given year.

Under current law there is a flat cap of $250 for individuals and $400 for families on the amount of the health care affordability tax credit people are required to pay back when they received an overpayment.  This payback cap is the same for people earning 160 percent of the federal poverty level and 360 percent of the federal poverty level.  Under this proposal for correcting overpayments, the cap on the payback amount would be on a sliding scale based on the income of the recipient of the tax credit, making the policy fairer to both recipients and all taxpayers.

The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the Medicare program and the physician payment formula, which also sets payment levels for the Tricare program.  A summary and legislative text of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 can be found on the Finance Committee website  The legislation must now be passed by the House and signed into law by the President.




WHEN: Saturday January 22, 2011, from 2pm - 6pm

Sunday January 23, 2011, from 1pm - 5pm

WHERE: The Old Creamery Theatre

39 - 38th Ave. Amana, IA 52203


WHAT: Actors should prepare two short contrasting monologues (max. 1 minute each) one of which should be a comic piece (preferably contemporary)

Singers (in addition to the short monologues) should prepare 16 to 32 bars of one (or two contrasting) song(s) sung a cappella or with recorded accompaniment.

(A CD player will be available - NO accompanist will be provided)

Please bring a current picture and resume.

Seeking Equity and non-Equity performers of various ages (including college students and recent college graduates for intern positions) to fill roles in The Old Creamery's 2011 Main Stage, Studio, and Theatre for Young Audience series. ("Art" and "The Guys" on the Studio Stage and "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" on the Main Stage are all fully cast at this time).

Intern opportunities generally require availability throughout the year (though some positions may be available with summer-only commitments). Internships include housing and a $225 per week living stipend. Intern duties involve all aspects of theatre and may include but are not limited to: performing, costuming, stage management, house management, prop design, set construction, lighting, promotions and assistant teaching of workshops.

Membership and applicable weeks in Equity's EMC program are available for main stage productions only.

Please call our business offices at (319) 622-6034 after January 17, 2011 to make an appointment.

If you are unable to attend these auditions, please send a headshot and resume to:

Sean McCall - Artistic Director

The Old Creamery Theatre Company

39 - 38th Ave.

Amana, IA. 52203

Or electronically to

ROCK ISLAND, IL (12/08/2010)(readMedia)-- Sixty-eight Augustana students will study and work in Sydney, Australia, for the first two months of 2011. The international study program known as "Augustana in Australia" places students in career-relevant positions in Sydney and immerses them in Australian culture.

The students complete a five-week on-campus internship seminar and a class in intercultural communication before leaving for Australia on January 2. In Australia, students will intern four days a week for seven weeks and use their remaining time to experience Australia.

The program exposes students to a new culture, which is very marketable to employers. "Employers are seeking entry-level employees with knowledge and experience of the world's diversity and cross-cultural understanding," said Karen Petersen, Augustana's director of business internships and program director.

The students are looking forward to exploring their career interests. Erin Christian, a senior music and mathematics double major from Aurora, Ill., will intern at ii-A, a finance and insurance firm in downtown Sydney. "This internship is exactly what I need to move forward from Augustana," Christian said. "I hope to find a job as an actuary or in the finance/insurance field so being an intern at a company of this caliber will prepare me for obstacles I might face in the work world."

The students travel together with no faculty from Augustana, which gives them a lot of independence. "Students in the program demonstrate maturity and the ability to depend upon themselves and their peer group to deal with problems and issues as they arise," said Petersen. Students do receive on-site supervision by their organizational sponsor and their internship coordinator, the Centers for Academic Programs Abroad (, and Augustana faculty or staff conducts site-visits about halfway through the internship.

Students will stay at a five-star serviced apartment complex in Sydney, along with Australian and other international students. During their trip, they will visit the ANZ Stadium where the 2000 Olympics were held, the Sydney Opera House and the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney. They also may travel to New Zealand or areas of Australia including Melbourne, Darwin and Cairns, where they can snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef. Students return to Rock Island on March 4.

You can read about students' experiences in Australia by visiting Augustana's Globablog at

Participating students from your area include :

Allison Hughes from Moline, IL, a senior majoring in accounting and business management

Lisa Schippers from East Moline, IL, a junior majoring in communication sciences and disorders

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty members and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.