WASHINGTON - Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter requesting information from the former general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission on seemingly obvious, significant conflicts of interest in the Bernie Madoff fraud case.

"Given the anger that victims justifiably felt for the SEC's failure to catch Madoff sooner, it is difficult to understand how you and other SEC officials would not realize the strong appearance of impropriety created by your participation in Madoff matters after receiving proceeds from a Madoff account," Grassley and Issa wrote to former general counsel David Becker.

Grassley and Issa's letter follows their letter earlier in the week to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro on the case.

Based on a staff review of SEC documents and an interview of Becker, it appears Schapiro allowed Becker to advise and represent the SEC in the Madoff case without fully, properly examining the conflicts of interest presented by Becker's personal financial interest, among other concerns.

The text of the Grassley-Issa letter to Becker is available here.

By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

 

The President's recent State of the Union address reminded me of a visit I made last summer to a start-up company in Jasper County. This award-winning lighting company illuminates how the U.S. patent system needs to keep up with the 21st century economy.

 

Prism Projection, Inc., headquartered in Sully, has 19 employees collaborating their talents in engineering, software, electronics, and manufacturing.  The company continues to innovate and grow as a pioneer in its field by designing eco-friendly, high-quality lighting solutions for the entertainment and architectural industries.

 

The founder of Prism Projection attributes a big part of its success to recent patent approvals that have allowed the rural-based company to "grow and continue hiring." His company exemplifies why it's so important to Main Street start-ups to make patent protection an economic priority and to improve the patent system so it is more workable and efficient.

The current U.S. patent system is mired in uncertainty, inefficiencies, and a morass of litigation. Creators of new technologies and products are left vulnerable to abusive lawsuits.  Too often inventors with good ideas are left hanging in the wind for investment capital while their patent applications are clogged in the system.  U.S. entrepreneurs, innovators and investors languish under a federal patent system that has not been significantly updated in more than 60 years.

The United States can't "out-innovate, out-educate and out-build" our competitors when America's best and brightest inventors are out-of-luck with a federal patent system woefully out-of-date (the U.S. Patent Office only recently began accepting the lion's share of its patent applications digitally) and out-of-touch (patent applicants can wait years for an initial ruling) with the way businesses are run in the global economy. Inefficiencies in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are undermining America's road to economic recovery, growth and job creation.

That's why I'm working to advance long overdue bipartisan patent reform legislation that would help put America's researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers and inventors back in the driver's seat.

The America Invents Act would protect inventors' rights and encourage innovation and investment in our economy.  The bill would improve transparency and third party participation in the patent application review process.  This, in turn, would strengthen patent quality and result in more fairness to both patent holders and patent challengers.  The bill would institute beneficial changes to the patent process to curb litigation abuses and improve certainty for investors and innovators.  It would also help companies do business more efficiently on an international basis.  And, finally, the bill would enhance operations of the Patent and Trademark Office with administrative reforms and give the office fee-setting authority to reduce backlogs and better manage its business.

The U.S. inventor widely credited for "inventing" the light bulb effectively "out-innovated" his competitors in the late 19th century through tireless scientific research and engineering. When the U.S. Patent Office granted patent 223,898 in January 1880, just two months after filing his application, Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb would soon revolutionize electrical lighting in America.

The "Wizard of Menlo Park" and the wizards of Prism Projection, Inc. turned their bright ideas into patentable products and intellectual property that give consumers what they want. An effective, efficient patent system can help create jobs and prosperity for starts-ups on Main Street. Clearing up the backlog and making the patent system more accountable also will help make Iowa's manufacturing, agricultural and academic research giants, such as Rockwell Collins, Inc., Deere & Company and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, more competitive in the global economy.

Unleashing America's inventors, scientists, researchers and investors from a patent system that's stuck in the last century is key to our long-term prosperity.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley today released the following statement after the Drug Enforcement Administration used its administrative authority to control five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana products that when used have similar or possibly more severe side effects than smoking marijuana.  These substances are easily available at local stores or online.  Grassley brought attention to the growing problem of K2 in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate in September.  In that speech, Grassley highlighted the life of a young Iowan who died after smoking K2.  That speech follows today's comment from Grassley and the Drug Enforcement Administration announcement.

"As more people experiment with these substances with tragic results, it's increasingly clear that K2 is anything but safe.  These dangerous substances are easily obtained and are being used across the country.  Tragically, people, including a young Iowan, have died or been seriously injured because of these products. The DEA's action is a positive step forward, but this step is only temporary.  The Congress needs to take action and permanently control these substances, and I'll work with my colleagues to make sure this gets done."

Here's is a copy of the Drug Enforcement Administration's press release.

CHEMICALS USED IN "SPICE" AND "K2" TYPE PRODUCTS NOW UNDER FEDERAL CONTROL AND REGULATION

DEA Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Five Substances

Contact: DEA Public Affairs

(202) 307-7977

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make so-called "fake pot" products.  Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the United States.  This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety.  The temporary scheduling action will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.

The Final Order was published today in the Federal Register to alert the public to this action.  These chemicals will be controlled for at least 12 months, with the possibility of a six month extension.  They are designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act.  Schedule I substances are reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.

Over the past couple of years, smokeable herbal products marketed as being "legal" and as providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that claim to mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops, and over the Internet.  These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Brands such as "Spice," "K2," "Blaze," and "Red X Dawn" are labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose.

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products. At least 16 states have already taken action to control one or more of these chemicals. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to place a substance temporarily in schedule I when it is necessary to avoid an imminent threat to the public safety. Emergency room physicians report that individuals that use these types of products experience serious side effects which include : convulsions, anxiety attacks, dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting, and disorientation.

"Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous 'fake pot' products and wrongly equate the products' 'legal' retail availability with being 'safe'," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.  "Parents and community leaders look to us to help them protect their kids, and we have not let them down.  Today's action, while temporary, will reduce the number of young people being seen in hospital emergency rooms after ingesting these synthetic chemicals to get high."

Here is a copy of Grassley's September 22, 2010 speech.

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

The Growing Problem of K2

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Video of Senator Grassley's speech can be found by clicking here.

Mr. President, as a parent and grandparent I have long been concerned about the dangers that face our kids. I have been especially concerned about the large amount of dangerous drugs in this country.

It is clear that drug dealers will stop at nothing to get our kids hooked on drugs.  All too often we learn of new and emerging drug threats to our communities that often have a negative impact on our youth.

When these drug threats emerge it is crucial that we unite to halt the spread of the problem before it consumes families and communities.

Today we are confronted with new and very dangerous substances packaged as innocent products.  Specifically, kids are able to go online or to the nearest shopping mall and purchase incense laced with chemicals that alter the mind and body.

These products are commonly referred to as K2 or Spice among other names.

In the chart behind me, you can see the packaged varieties of K2 products.  Kids and drug users are smoking this product in order to obtain a "legal high."  It is believed that K2 products emerged on the scene beginning about 4 or 5 years ago.  Their use spread quickly throughout Europe and the U.S.

According to a study conducted by the European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, most of the chemicals found in K2 products are not reported on the label.  This study concluded that these chemicals are not listed because there is a deliberate marketing strategy to represent this product as a natural substance.

However, K2 is anything but natural.

Most of the chemicals the DEA has identified within K2 products where invented by Dr. John W. Huffman of Clemson University for research purposes.  These synthetic chemicals were never intended to be used for any other purpose other than for research.

They were never tested on humans and no long term effects of their use are currently known.

As more and more people are experimenting with K2 it is becoming increasingly evident that K2 use is anything but safe.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports significant increases in the amount of calls concerning these products.  There were only 13 calls related to K2 use reported for 2009.  There have been over 1,000 calls concerning K2 use in 2010 to date.

This is a drastic increase in a short amount of time.

Common effects reported by emergency room doctors include : increased agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.  Effects from the highs from K2 use are reported to last several hours and up to one week.

Dr. Huffman has stated that since so little research has been conducted on K2 chemicals using any one of them would be like, "playing Russian roulette."

In fact, Dr. Anthony Scalzo, a professor of emergency medicine at St. Louis University, reports that these chemicals are significantly more potent than marijuana.  Dr. Scalzo states that the amount of chemicals in K2 varies from product to product so no one can be sure exactly the amount of the drug they are putting in their body.  Dr. Scalzo reports that this can lead to significant problems such as altering the state of mind, addiction, injury, and even death.

According to various news articles across the nation, K2 can cause serious erratic and criminal behavior.

In Mooresville, Indiana police arrested a group of teens after they were connected to a string of burglaries while high on K2.  The local County Attorney prosecuting the case stated this was an unusual crime spree.  These kids were not the type who are normally seen in the criminal justice system.  The County Attorney stated that these kids had, "no prior record, good grades, athletes, so that got me wondering: is there a correlation between K2 and the crime?"

Another case in Honolulu, Hawaii shows police arrested a 23-year-old man after he tried to throw his girlfriend off an 11th floor balcony after smoking K2.

A 14 year-old boy in Missouri nearly threw himself out of a 5th story window after smoking K2.  Once the teen got over his high he denied having any suicidal intentions.  Doctors believe he was hallucinating at the time of this incident.

K2 use is also causing serious health problems and increased visits to the emergency room.

A Louisiana teen said he became very ill after trying K2.  The teen said he experienced numbness starting at his feet and traveling to his head.  He was nauseous, light-headed and was having hallucinations. This teen stated that K2 is being passed around at school.  The teen also stated that many people were trying it without fear, assuming it was safe because it was legal.

Another case has a teenager in Indiana being admitted to the emergency room with a blood pressure of 248/134 after testing positive for K2.

A teen in Texas, became temporarily paralyzed from the waist down after smoking K2.

Another teen in Texas had a heart attack after smoking K2 but fortunately survived this event.

Regrettably, K2 use also has deadly consequences.

The picture behind me is of David Rozga.  David was a recent 18 year-old Indianola, Iowa High School Graduate.  According to his parents and friends, David was a bright, energetic, talented student who loved music, was popular, and active in his church.  David was looking forward to attending the University of Northern Iowa this fall.

On June 6, 2010 David, along with some of his friends, smoked a package of K2 thinking it was nothing more than a little fun.  David and his friends purchased this product at a mall in Des Moines after hearing about it from some college students who were home for the summer.  After smoking this product, David's friends reported that David became highly agitated and terrified. When he got home, he found a family shotgun and committed suicide 90 minutes after smoking K2.

The Indianola police believe David was under the influence of K2 at the time of his death.  David's parents and many in the community who knew David were completely shocked and saddened by this event.  As a result, the Iowa Pharmacy Board placed an emergency ban on K2 products in Iowa which began on July 21, 2010.

David's tragic death may be the first case in the United States of K2 use leading to someone's death, but sadly it was only the beginning.

A month after David's tragic death police report that, a 28-year-old Middletown, Indiana mother of two passed away after smoking a lethal dose of K2.  This woman's godson reported that anyone could get K2 easily because it can be sold to anybody at any price at any time.

This last August, a recent 19-year-old Lake Highlands High School graduate in Dallas, Texas passed away after smoking K2.  The medical examiner confirmed that this boy had K2 in his system at the time of his death.

These incidents throughout the country give me great concern that K2 use is a dangerous and growing problem.

Twelve states, including Iowa, have acted to ban the sale and possession of the chemicals found in K2 products.  Many more states, counties and communities throughout the country have proposed bans or are in the process of banning these products.

However, a recent article in the Des Moines Register highlights the fact that some stores are working around these bans by changing some of the chemicals and relabeling the products.

I believe it is time we have a national discussion about these dangerous substances.  I hope in the coming weeks and months that my colleagues will begin to take notice of this issue.

As Co-Chairman of the Senate Drug Caucus it is my hope that we will have a hearing on this issue in the not-too-distant future.

It is important to fully understand the magnitude and implications of allowing these products to remain legal in the U.S.

Mr. President, it is clear that the sale and use of K2 products is a growing problem.

People believe these products are safe because they can buy them online or at the nearest shopping mall.  We need to do a better job at educating the public and our communities about the dangers these products present.  We need to nip this problem in the bud before it grows and leads to more tragedy.

I urge my colleagues to join me as we explore positive actions to stem the use of K2.

 

-30-

Fights to create Iowa jobs, energize renewable fuels industry

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to end tax breaks for big oil companies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will use the savings from these tax breaks to create jobs in Iowa, boost the renewable fuels industry and pay down the national deficit. Ending oil industry tax breaks will save about $43 billion over the next ten years.

"Big oil companies are making record profits and at the same time, they're collecting tax breaks from the government," said Rep. Braley. "If we end just a few of these tax breaks, we can create good-paying jobs in Iowa and still have funds left over to reduce our national deficit by billions."

The Clean Energy Jobs bill repeals oil industry tax breaks and extends ethanol and biodiesel tax credits through 2016. The current tax breaks for these renewable fuels expire at the end of 2011.

"For years, oil companies have raised prices at the pump, made Americans pay for their record profits and threatened American security by making us more dependent on foreign oil," said Rep. Braley. "But instead of investing in renewable fuels, Republicans are funneling taxpayer dollars right back into the pockets of big oil. This bill is a chance for Congress to break that cycle and do something responsible for our nation, while also creating good jobs in Iowa."  

###

As part of a continued digital focus at TAG Communications Inc. employee Brian Marshall has recently attained individual Google AdWords Certification.

To attain certification, individuals must pass a rigorous Google Advertising Fundamentals test, as well as passing one specific area of concentration. Marshall concentrated on Search Advertising, but plans on working towards completing the other two modules in Display Advertising and Reporting & Analysis.

Marshall says going through this process was challenging, but really helped him learn the value online advertising opportunities and the differences in existing approaches.

"A lot of people are swiftly becoming web experts, but it's difficult to document that expertise and we felt it was important to undertake a legitimate process that will allow our experiences to resonate in this market," Marshall said.

In his current position, Marshall handles Google AdWords campaigns, social media functionalities and researching emerging online marketing tools for TAG and the firm's base of clients. According to Google's online listings, the nearest partner firms outside of Chicago are in Rockford, Illinois and Omaha, Nebraska.

"We plan to continue our emphasis in digital and online markets, and Brian's professional accomplishment helps to validate the service we've already been giving our existing clients," said Mike Vondran, TAG Communications President & CEO.

Based in the Quad Cities, TAG Communications is a full service marketing services provider serving businesses in nearly every industry. Since its founding in 1990, The company has specialized in strategic analysis and creative solutions that achieve results via the staff's creative, responsive and cost-effective service to their clients throughout the nation.

####

The iPads are coming!  Sync up and prepare for iRivermont!  Rivermont Collegiate is excited to announce that the Class of 2015 will be participating in a technology pilot program.  Each rising freshman at Rivermont for the 2011-12 academic year will be issued an Apple iPad!

The Apple iPad is a revolutionary device that keeps the classroom at students' fingertips.  The freshman class at Rivermont will be able to download textbooks to their iPads and use the expansive onscreen keyboard to collect their thoughts, easily jotting down notes in class.  A vivid, high-resolution screen will allow students to create stunning presentations, while easy-to-use formatting and layout tools will result in brilliant documents.  The Rivermont freshman class will be expected to be beautifully organized, with an interactive calendar to track assignments, deadlines, and practices.  With more than 350,000 apps available on the App Store, students will have access to thousands of educational apps - from iThesaurus to interactive periodic tables.

In the Rivermont style of infusing traditional curriculum with innovative ideas and technology, it is our hope that the entire Rivermont Middle and Upper School (grades 6-12) will move into iPads in the near future.  As schools across the country are getting their feet wet implementing the iPad, the technology is being touted as magical - poised to change the learning landscape as we know it.  Rivermont Collegiate is thrilled to be a leader in this educational technology, while also lightening backpacks and reducing paper consumption!

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities' only independent, non-sectarian, multicultural college prep school for students in preschool through twelfth grade.  Rivermont turns traditional education inside out, encouraging students to explore unique opportunities, programs, and experiences.  Small class sizes and dedicated faculty encourage critical thinking, curiosity, and discipline and result in students who move on to the country's finest colleges and universities, with a strong foundation for life and learning.

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, visit us online at www.rivermontcollegiate.org and/or contact Cindy Murray, Director of Admissions, at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org

(Augustana College, Rock Island, IL) -Winner of the 2008 John Simmons Award for fiction from the University of Iowa Press for her book of short stories, One Dog Happy, Molly McNett reads in River Readings at Augustana on March 24.

In the story "One Dog Happy" McNett writes,

"...in that very moment?because, perhaps, the dog had been sensing this slackening, or, more likely, because it caught, just at that moment, a particular musk for which it lusted more than anything in the world?the dog gave a sudden sharp yank on the leash.

And that was that. The leash just slipped off of Mr. Bob's hand, and the dog was off, into the long grasses of the prairie. For a few moments, he could see it, the tail arcing like a dolphin's fin in the ocean of prairie grass, up and down, until suddenly the movement ceased."

 

Annie McCormick of Booklist writes, "In this heartbreaking collection, McNett breathes life into her very realistic characters, all of whom are struggling to play the unlucky hand they've been dealt. With each story firmly planted in the heartland of America, emotions run rampant as each copes with his or her poignant situation. A father buys his mail-order bride designer dresses, while his two daughters don thrift-store sweaters. Ellen imagines strange sexual scenarios to mentally escape her troubled life at home. ... In perhaps the most memorable piece of the collection, "Ozzie the Burro," two complete characters emerge from the page when a woman reveals the details of her troubled past through a series of letters written to a man she met on an Internet dating site. McNett subtly brings a touch of optimism and compassion to her stories from some improbable places."

 

McNett holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching-writing fellow. In 2008 and 2009 her stories were awarded the Peden Prize from the Missouri Review, given a special mention in the Pushcart Prize series, and named as one of the 100 Distinguished stories from the Best American Short Stories series, edited by Salmon Rushdie. McNett was recently awarded a fellowship to the MacDowell colony, and is at work on a novel in stories. She teaches English composition at Northern Illinois University.

 

The reading is free and open to the public and takes place Thursday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. in Wallenberg auditorium in Denkmann Memorial Hall (3520 7th Ave.) on the Augustana College campus. A reception follows the reading.

 

The River Readings at Augustana is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership and Service, the Thomas Tredway Library, and the English Department at Augustana College.

 

The River Readings at Augustana calendar:

April 14, Dora Malech, poetry

Thursday, March 31

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, April 1

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, April 2

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, April 3

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, April 7

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, April 8

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, April 9

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, April 10

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, April 14

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, April 15

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, April 16

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, April 17

Art, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Studio Stage, Middle Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, April 23

Charlotte's Web, 1 p.m., an Old Creamery Theatre for Young Audiences production at The Old Creamery Theatre, Amana. Tickets: $8. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, April 28

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, April 29

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, April 30

Charlotte's Web, 1 p.m., an Old Creamery Theatre for Young Audiences production at The Old Creamery Theatre, Amana. Tickets: $8. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, May 1

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Wednesday, May 4

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, May 5

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, May 6

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, May 7

Charlotte's Web, 1 p.m., an Old Creamery Theatre for Young Audiences production, at The Old Creamery Theatre, Amana. Tickets: $8. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, May 8

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Wednesday, May 11

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, May 12

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, May 13

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, May 14

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, May 15

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com

Wednesday, May 18

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, May 19

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, May 20

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, May 21

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, May 22

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com

Wednesday, May 25

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Thursday, May 26

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Friday, May 27

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Saturday, May 28

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 7:30 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Sunday, May 29

The Dixie Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, 3 p.m., The Old Creamery Theatre Main Stage, Amana. Tickets: $27 adults; $17.50 students. Call the box office 800-35-Amana or www.oldcreamery.com.

Washington, DC - March 3, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted to help small businesses by repealing the burdensome "1099" provision of the health care law, which was added by the Senate. The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Braley, passed with a vote of 314 to 112 in the House today. Rep. Braley released the following statement:

"Small business owners need to focus on running their businesses and creating jobs - they don't need additional burdensome regulations," said Rep. Braley. "I've heard from business owners in my district in Iowa and they've told me that the 1099 provision increases the cost of doing business and puts an unfair burden on them. I'm glad the House took action today to repeal this provision and help small businesses in my state and across the country."

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WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - March 3, 2011 - The average YouTube viewer watched 93 videos last year and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) wants to make sure stories that showcase  the "People, Progress and Pride" of Iowa are among them!  That's why the state's largest grassroots farm organization has selected YouTube as the platform for a unique contest designed to highlight the best of Iowa; the grand prize is a new iPad and lifetime Farm Bureau membership.

The "Ultimate Farm Bureau Member Contest" is simple; make a 60-second-or-less video about why you are the 'Ultimate Farm Bureau Member' and post that video to YouTube.  There are many possibilities; you can showcase your work with local schools on behalf of your county Farm Bureau, or Food Bank volunteer projects, youth leadership or rural vitality or civic leadership duties.  IFBF members are actively involved with their local communities and the videos are a way to showcase their involvement.  With the prevalence of creative videos on the net, IFBF leaders believe Iowans will find a lot of options!

"The video doesn't have to be professional quality; it can even be something that a member records on a cell phone or camera," said Dana Ardary, IFBF Marketing Manager. "What we are really looking for, are members who are passionate about belonging to Farm Bureau and want to tell others about it. It's really something you can have fun with."

To enter, members can click the Ultimate Farm Bureau Member tab on the Iowa Farm Bureau Facebook page or visit our website at: www.iowafarmbureau.com to view details, contest rules and enter to win.  Final videos need to be submitted to YouTube and then a link sent to IFBF communications staffer Bo Geigley at: bgeigley@ifbf.org by March 18.

A panel of judges will select the top five videos that best exemplify a passion for Farm Bureau's "People, Progress, Pride" brand and will be featured on the IFBF website (www.iowafarmbureau.com).  The public will cast the final vote on the " Ultimate Farm Bureau Member" winning video.  The winner will be announced April 15.  The contest deadline is nearing, so get your cameras rolling!

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