MADISON, Wis. - Feb 25, 2010 - Whooping cough is becoming more common in infants - and a big part of the solution is for women to get a booster vaccination before they become pregnant or right after they give birth.

Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a contagious bacterial disease of the upper respiratory system. It can lead to uncontrollable coughing and breathing difficulties and can cause permanent disability and even death in infants.

Dr. Jim Conway, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, says that, until they can be vaccinated, infants are totally dependent on the antibodies they get from their mother during pregnancy.

"The baby's primary protection for the first couple of months of life is what they get from mom," Conway says. "So, it is important for moms to get vaccinated, so they can give some immunity to the baby."

But Conway says this rule doesn't apply only to the mother.

"Anyone who has contact with infants should also receive the vaccination so that they don't expose the infant," he says.  "The mother is one part of it, and should receive vaccine either before pregnancy or immediately after delivering.  In addition, all family members should get it."

Dr. Greg DeMuri, also an infectious-disease specialist and associate professor at UW, says there have been greater efforts to get new moms immunized.

"Many women who have given birth have not had a pertussis booster since kindergarten," he says. "Some hospitals are implementing vaccination programs on their labor and delivery units."

The booster vaccine not only protects against whooping cough, but also against tetanus and diphtheria. Infants get their first immunizations in three doses, beginning at two months of age. After that first series, children should receive shots between 15 and 18 months; four to six years; and when they reach age 11 or 12.

Immunizations don't end at childhood, and adults should check with their physicians during routine visits and annual physicals to see if they are due for booster shots to guard against tetanus, an infection often connected to puncture wounds from rusty nails, fish hooks, or open wounds infected by dirt. If left untreated, tetanus may cause muscle contractions and other complications requiring hospitalization.

"Tetanus is a soil microbe, so as long as there is soil, there will be tetanus, and people will be at risk of tetanus contaminating a wound," says DeMuri. "It's completely preventable by vaccination. Adolescents and adults should receive regular boosters every 10 years."

Conway says about 30 to 40 cases are diagnosed annually, and most of them are in the western part of the country and involve people over 40 years old.

"They stop paying attention to their health, think they are super human and don't need the vaccine," he says. "Also, it's not routine practice to administer these vaccines in other countries, and some immigrants may not be protected. Older adults who get tetanus usually survive, but it's an unpleasant condition in which all of your muscles are spasmodic."

Conway says people who get puncture wounds or infected lacerations should get a shot as soon as possible if they are not sure of their vaccination history. However, a product called tetanus immunoglobulin can be given to patients who wait too long and put themselves at greater risk.

"If someone stepped on a nail three or four days ago, and they haven't had a tetanus booster for more than 10 years, tetanus immunoglobulin can provide instant immunity and the antibodies needed to fight off tetanus," he says.

 

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Local students learn important water lessons March 2 - 9

Davenport, Iowa. (Feb. 26, 2010) - Iowa American Water and The National Theatre for Children, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are bringing the live theatrical show, "Alice in Water Land" to 11 local elementary schools in the Iowa Quad Cities March 2 - 9. A schedule of performances dates/times is included at the end of this release.
The presentations by the National Theatre for Children are part of Iowa American Water's youth education program. Iowa American Water has worked to enhance water education in area classrooms for decades by sponsoring an annual poster contest for over 20 years and sponsoring local Newspapers in Education "Water" and "Earth Day" issues.    The Theatre for Children is an extension of that effort to bring water and conservation education to local elementary school students.
The National Theatre for Children, a Minnesota-based national touring company, works with corporations to relay their educational and public messages to students. Using simple sets and audience participation, the troupe will be presenting their program to hundreds of students in Iowa American Water's service areas throughout eastern Iowa.  The shows share information on water education, water usage tips, and pollution control with students in a fun, interactive atmosphere.

About Iowa American Water 

Iowa American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 200,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amw.ater.com

Feb 26, 2010

He calls the hold up of benefits an abuse of Senate procedure

An estimated 75,000 Iowans will lose federal unemployment benefits Sunday, Feb. 28th


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today said he intends to fight the hold that has been placed on a Senate effort to extend unemployment insurance to approximately 1 million unemployed workers and other expiring programs.  An estimated 75,000 Iowans will see their federal unemployment benefits expire over the weekend as a result of the hold.  Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"We need to act quickly to extend the safety net and make sure laid-off workers have access to unemployment benefits through the end of the year, at least," said Harkin. "It is heartbreaking to see political games being played with the lives of hardworking people who are struggling to find a job, particularly when there has been strong bipartisan support in the past to extend unemployment benefits and other vital safety net programs. 

"Unfortunately this is emblematic of the larger issue plaguing the Senate today: abuse of Senate procedure.  We saw it in November as well.  While Senate Republicans play games, families are sitting around their kitchen tables wondering how they will make ends meet. 

"I intend to do everything in my power to fight this and hope other Senators will join me in this effort."

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is waging a lone battle to block the chamber from voting to extend unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies for the jobless, highway and transit programs, the compulsory copyright license used by satellite TV providers and the federal flood insurance program for 30 days.  In November, Senate Republicans used a similar delay tactic to filibuster a motion to proceed to a bill to extend unemployment compensation.  After delaying and grinding Senate business to a halt for nearly a month, the bill passed 97-1.

Harkin and other Senators are working on a package that is likely to include a year-long extension of unemployment benefits as well as other supports.

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The latest scam being used on consumers is called "vishing." Like phishing, this is a scam criminals use to get your personal information in order to drain money from your bank accounts.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website, the scam usually happens in one of these two scenarios:

  • In one version, you get the typical e-mail, like a traditional phishing scam. But instead of being directed to an Internet site, you're asked to provide the information over the phone and given a number to call. Those who call the "customer service" number (a VoIP account, not a real financial institution) are led through a series of voice-prompted menus that ask for account numbers, passwords, and other critical information.
  • In another version you're contacted over the phone instead of by e-mail. The call could either be a "live" person or a recorded message directing you to take action to protect your account. Often, the criminal already has some personal information on you, including your account or credit card numbers. That can create a false sense of security. The call came from a VoIP account as well.

Most banks will not contact you and ask for your bank account numbers or your PIN. Most will not ask you to call a number outside of the Quad Cities to give you us information. Most will not ask you to go through an automated system to enter account numbers.

If you are ever in doubt, even if your Caller ID shows our bank name, hang up and call us back. Don't risk being scammed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today said President Barack Obama declared a major disaster declaration for Iowa, triggering the release of FEMA funds to help Iowa recover from the severe winter storm and snowstorm that occurred on December 23 - 27.  Additional designations may be made at a later date after further evaluation.

"Winter weather hit Iowa extremely hard and caused an enormous amount of damage," Grassley said.  "It's good to see this disaster being addressed by President Obama so Iowans can continue cleaning up the damage."

FEMA will provide assistance to Adair, Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Emmet, Franklin, Fremont, Guthrie, Harrison, Ida, Monona, Page, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux and Woodbury counties through the Public Assistance program.  The Public Assistance program assists state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

FEMA will also provide snow assistance for emergency protective measures for a 48-hour period for Cherokee, Clay, Emmet, Fremont, Harrison, Ida, Page, Pottawattamie, Sioux and Woodbury counties.

All Iowa counties are also eligible to apply for assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant program.  The Hazard Mitigation Grant program assists state and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

Grassley sent a letter to Obama asking him to grant Governor Chet Culver's request to declare Iowa a major disaster area as a result of the severe winter storm and snowstorm that occurred on December 23 - 27.

A copy of the text of Grassley's letter can be found by clicking here.

Losing sleep over selecting a college major?  For many students preparing for college, this is a daunting task.  How can one be sure to make the right decision?  How does a student balance their interests, strengths, and dreams?  What resources are available for guidance?  Rivermont Collegiate invites all Quad City students and their families to attend College Night at Rivermont: Selecting a Major on Thursday, March 4th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the Mansion Reading Room on the Rivermont campus.  Guest speaker Jeremy Reed, Director of the Career Center at Augustana College, will answer questions and provide guidance to students as they prepare for college.  Chart your ideal path with tips and advice from a professional!  This event is free and open to the public.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities' only independent, non-sectarian, multicultural college prep school for students in preschool through twelfth grade.  Rivermont has been ranked #1 on Iowa's Advanced Placement Index three years running and boasts 100% acceptance to 4 year college and universities for graduating seniors.  We are located at 1821 Sunset Drive in Bettendorf, Iowa.

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

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WASHINGTON (Feb 25, 2010) – Chuck Grassley today encouraged young Iowans interested in government to apply for summer internships in his Washington, D.C. and Iowa district offices.  The two six-week summer sessions are from May 24 to July 2 and from July 6 to August 13.

"Internships offer both real-world work experience and a close-up view of how our federal legislative process works," Grassley said.  "Interns play a vital role in the function of my office. I hope all interested college students or recent graduates apply."

Applications for the summer sessions are due March 15.  Colleges and universities often recognize internships for college credit.

Interns in Grassley's office assist permanent staff members in the administrative, legislative, and press departments as well as Grassley's Finance Committee staff.  A few examples of intern responsibilities include assisting with scheduling, helping constituents with questions, giving Capitol tours and researching topics related to current Senate issues.

Grassley encourages students of all areas of study to consider the value of learning more about the federal government and, in particular, the process of representative government.

"Working in a Senate office can enhance a college education and make students more competitive job applicants when they graduate. Many of my current staff members are former interns," Grassley said.

Application forms for internships in Grassley's office may be attained by visiting http://grassley.senate.gov, click on Internships under the Info for Iowans tab.  Forms are also available in the placement offices of Iowa colleges and universities, as well as in Grassley's offices in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City, and Waterloo.

Internships are also available in his Iowa offices.  For more information on all internship opportunities please contact Cory Crowley, Grassley's internship coordinator, at 202/224-3744.

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Each year Youth For Understanding makes it possible for thousands of international students to live in the United States for an academic year. The 2010 - 2011 school year can be your opportunity to teach an international student about American culture and affect how Americans are portrayed internationally. When you open your home to an international student, you are building a life-long bond with them as you accept them as part of your family. Best of all - you'll learn about another culture and language? without leaving home.

Hosting is an enjoyable learning experience for the entire family. Hosting will forever change how your families think about the world. They will create lifelong memories and relationships for you and your entire family. Experience the world without leaving home!

Students can be placed throughout Iowa. Limited school slots are available this year, so apply early! These students are of high school age from one of over 60 countries. The students bring their own spending money and medical insurance. Families need to be able to share a loving and supportive family life as well as provide for an additional family member, including a separate bed, study area and three meals each day. Families should also be prepared share their community with their student.

To learn more visit us at www.yfu-usa.org. Just pick out the student you would like to host, complete the on-line Host Family application or contact YFU directly at 866-493-8872.

February 24, 2010

Charlie King and Karen Brandow, noted folk singers from the Boston area, will perform in the Quad Cities Friday, March 12, to raise money for the Centro Maya Project, to help children and families participating in a school for children with disabilities in San Juan La  Laguna, Guatemala.

The concert will be at 7 pm at Broadway Presbyterian Church, 710 23rd St., Rock Island.  Weavings and jewelry made by the mothers of the children will be sold before the concert.

Until the last few years, children with disabilities were not able to attend school in the Mayan villages in Guatemala.  Because there are few jobs and a shortage of affordable food, 70% of children in Mayan villages like San Juan are malnourished.  The children with disabilities were not expected to live to adulthood.

In 2002, Jeanne Nakamaru, a speech therapist for the Black Hawk Area Special Education District in the Illinois Quad Cities, went to Guatemala and volunteered at Centro Maya, which was a center run by parents.  After she came back she made a presentation about the project at her church, and since that time,  the Unitarian Church in Davenport has raised funds for the Centro Maya program as a social justice project.  Some of the money that has been raised has paid for a physical therapist, hearing aid molds and audiology services, water filtration for village families, and supplemental corn and beans for families of the children attending the Centro Maya school.  Donations have also included children's books in Spanish, hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchair, even a van to pick up children from nearby villages.  A number of church members have visited Centro Maya.

Jeanne and her husband Bob Nakamaru have purchased land in San Juan La Laguna and created garden space with water supply for some of the families to grow their own vegetables.  They are aided by local people, including a well-known artist of the area, Benedicto Ixtamer.

Charlie King has been performing in the Quad Cities every year for many years.  Pete Seeger has called him, "One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time." His songs are topical, sometimes moving, and often humorous.  His wife, Karen Brandow, studied vocal performance and guitar during her eight years living in Guatemala in the 1980's.  She performed while there, and has performed with Charlie King sine 1998.  More information about their music is available at www.charlieking.org.

The concert is being sponsored by Casa Guanajuato for the benefit of the Centro Maya project.  For tickets call Margaret or Vince at 309 786 6944.  $8 is requested for advance tickets and $10 for tickets at the door.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.  Children under 12 are not asked to donate.

Peoria, Ill. - The Peoria Art Guild is accepting applications for the 48th Annual Fine Art Fair to be held at the Peoria Riverfront on September 25-26, 2010.
Artists can only apply online at juriedartservices.com. The deadline for applications is March 15.

Rated as one of the top fine art fairs in the country, 103rd by Greg Lawler's Art Fair SourceBook, the Fine Art Fair is the largest community event on Peoria's
Riverfront with an anticipated 40,000 attendance. 150 fine art fair artists will exhibit and sell original works of art in jewelry, painting, photography, ceramics, wood, glass, mixed media, metal and fiber. Through a blind jury process, 125 artists will be invited to exhibit at the Fair along with 25 artists who were invited to attend as 2009 award winners. Jurors will consist of six practicing artists and two art collectors.

$10,000 in awards will be given to Fine Art Fair artists of all mediums.

Artists consistently give high marks to the Fine Art Fair for its superior hospitality, praising the 400 energetic community volunteers for their assistance, as well as the complimentary meals, security, and set-up accessibility provided.

Artists may apply at juriedartservices.com thru March 15th. For more information, please visit www.peoriaartguild.org, or call Stacy at 309-637-1093, or by email, artfair@peoriaartguild.org. Find us on Facebook for updates and information.

The Peoria Art Guild, one of the nation's oldest visual arts organizations, exists to serve the community and artists through the exhibition and sale of contemporary artwork, to provide education and to promote appreciation of the visual arts. The Peoria Art Guild provides the community with art exhibits, art classes, original artwork for purchase or rent, and other special events such as the Fine Art Fair. Programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

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