The Coast Guard was cited by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as a government-wide leader in diversity and inclusion best practices during 2011. That designation was earned through the hard work of the men and women in the Coast Guard's Office of Diversity.

"I'm very proud of the work we've done," said diversity outreach manager Donna Walker-Ross, a Coast Guard civilian employee. "One of our best practices is the Diversity Outreach Board.  We used the board as a team to evaluate programs and events and to align initiatives while promoting the commandant's diversity strategy.  Then, we developed and carried out a national strategy that has increased the Coast Guard's presence in communities and organizations."

The Office of Diversity developed the Coast Guard's Diversity Strategic Plan with five goals: To assure a diverse workforce through all-hands commitment with leadership accountability; fully utilize communication and focus groups to improve the workforce cultural climate; expand outreach to achieve access opportunity for underrepresented populations; ensure equitable hiring and career opportunity for all employees; and optimize training and education to enhance diversity management and leadership skill sets. Achievement of these goals is what has led to the success of the program.

The commitment with leadership accountability resulted in 42 flag officers and senior executive service members participating in national outreach events as attendees or speakers. That effort is in line with Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Bob Papp's guiding principle of "Respect our shipmates," which holds leaders at all levels accountable to keeping a workplace climate of equity. That principle also fosters an environment where every individual has the opportunity to prosper and advance their careers.

The Office of Diversity staff also took an active role to improve the workforce cultural climate.  Among their efforts was participation in 165 national outreach events in 2011 to communicate the commandant's diversity message to all levels in the Coast Guard; establishment of a Coast Guard-wide Asian-American mentoring network; and expansion of the use of audience response technology throughout the Coast Guard to enhance the effectiveness of its diversity training.

Expanding outreach to underrepresented populations increased significantly in 2011.  For example, the Coast Guard had worked for several years building relationships with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the Society of American Indian Government Employees to reach out to tribal colleges and universities. This year, those efforts culminated with the Coast Guard  being listed as one of the top achievers among the Department of Homeland Security component agencies in support of Native American initiatives in the Annual Performance Report on Executive Agency Actions to Assist Tribal Colleges and Universities.

An effective management tool for the Coast Guard's Office of Diversity is the Executive Outreach Management System, a database that collects and organizes information about outreach efforts. This database allows easy access to information on what outreach has been conducted, what is scheduled and what comments were received at events.  Review of the data prevents duplicative efforts and provides background information for new board members to study. It can produce several different reports on events, outreach personnel and results of event participation, allowing the Diversity Office personnel to more efficiently manage the time and effort put into their programs.  It also helps compile the best practices inclusion reports, which describe what a federal agency did each year for diversity improvement.

The Coast Guard worked to provide professional development tools and mentoring as a means to retain a highly-skilled and diverse workforce and to ensure equitable hiring and career opportunities for all employees. Adapting to the digital information environment and the technology used by "digital natives," the Coast Guard Academy established an online mentoring forum for cadets where they interact with senior, active-duty members. Initiatives for civilian employees include a modular, Web-based mentoring program in the Learning Management System.  An afloat working group was established for sea-going service members to identify and address diversity issues specific to the afloat community.

Every new Coast Guard employee received the Coast Guard's updated diversity and inclusion briefing at the new employee and leadership development program orientations to underscore the value of workforce diversity and the benefits of inclusion, equity and respect for all personnel, their talents, experiences and abilities.  The Coast Guard also successfully conducted diversity and inclusion training at six major leadership forums.  This training, which underscores the value of workforce diversity, provided senior leadership with the tools necessary to carry out the Commandant's Diversity Strategic Plan.

The Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Defense and other service branches partner with affinity groups and organizations annually to host national civil rights award ceremonies recognizing active-duty and civilian personnel for their accomplishments in civil/human rights, race relations, equal opportunity and affirmative action.

This year's Coast Guard award recipients were nominated for their work in assisting the Coast Guard workforce, community involvement, contributions to public service, overcoming discrimination, supporting civil rights for all Americans and promoting a positive understanding of the armed forces among all members of the U.S. military and civilian population.

The awards are listed in the order of their presentation throughout 2011:

  • National Image, Inc., Meritorious Service Award:  Lt. Yamaris Barril, 9th Coast Guard District, Cleveland, Ohio, and Jose Velazques of the Coast Guard Personnel Service Command, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • Federal Asian Pacific American Council Meritorious Service Award:  Lt. Charlene Forgue, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn., and Lt. Andrew Taylor, 17th Coast Guard District, Juneau, Alaska.
  • Society of American Indian Government Employees Meritorious Service Award:  Petty Officer 2nd Class Franklin Pine, Marine Safety Laboratory, New London, Conn.
  • Civil Rights Service Provider of the Year Award:  Lt. Gregory Spruill of Pacific Area Command, Alameda, Calif.
  • Federally Employed Women Military Meritorious Award:  Chief Warrant Officer Eneida Bull, Sector Miami, Fla.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award: 
    Lt. Deon Scott of Sector San Francisco, Calif.
  • Blacks In Government Meritorious Service Award:  Curtis Odom, Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., and Lt. j.g. Michael Johnson of Air Station Savannah, Ga.
  • National Organization for Mexican American Rights Meritorious Service Award:  Gloria Potocek, Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., and Chief Petty Officer Carlos Gonzalez of Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach, Calif.
  • Latina Symposium Distinguished Service Award: Lt. Cmdr. Angelina Hidalgo of Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach, Calif., and Nadine Santiago of Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
LeClaire, IA, December 29, 2011 - Midwest Living Magazine is bringing another round of national press to Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire.

The publication lists the distillery as one of the "Top 25 Places to Stay, Eat and Play" in their January/February 2012 issue.  Midwest Living showcases travel, food and culture in Midwest states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  The article can be found on page 55 of the magazine or on their website

Writers for the magazine joined a public tour of the distillery over the summer.  "They didn't tell us who they were until after the tour," said owner/distiller Ryan Burchett.  "But at the end of the tour, they were really excited.  Once they told us who they were, so were we!"

The article describes the distillery as a "sophisticated yet earthy craft distillery near the Quad Cities" and encourages readers to visit the distillery for a free public tour and "prepare to cheer for the two brothers who started it all in December 2010."

The distillery was one of two attractions in the Quad Cities to be recognized as Hotel Blackhawk is also on the 2012 list. 

The national press attention has been growing for the little distillery as featured the distillery last week.  Owner and distiller Garrett Burchett says it's exciting to see the region gaining steam as a tourist destination.  "It's an honor to be included among some of the best tourist destinations in the region.  We feel like we're just one part of a larger attraction that is LeClaire and the Quad Cities as a whole.  It's great that people across the country are starting to take notice."

Mississippi River Distilling Company is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and from 12 to 5 PM Sundays.  Free tours are offered to the public daily on the hour from 12 to 4 PM or by appointment.  The tour takes visitors through the entire distilling process.  Tours end in the Grand Tasting Room with free samples of products for those patrons over 21 years of age. 


December marked the 10th anniversary of the Coast Guard's formal entry into the national intelligence community, although many had long perceived the Coast Guard as a de facto member.

The Coast Guard began its long involvement with the work of intelligence in 1790. Tariffs imposed on goods imported to the United States, in order to raise revenue, caused lawless merchants to unload their cargoes at isolated locations to avoid paying the tariffs at customs houses in ports. Identifying this as a threat within the new nation's maritime domain, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton requested and received 10 revenue cutters to patrol the coast to identify smugglers and ensure tariffs were paid.

Modern intelligence operations began developing as a discrete service in the Coast Guard around 1915. By the time Prohibition became the law of the land, the Coast Guard had developed into an effective force against the smuggling of liquor and narcotics. This caused crime syndicates to use clandestine radio stations to communicate between their smuggling vessels and land-based operations. Coast Guard intelligence forces broke the smugglers' codes, enabling the service to battle the smugglers and break up criminal syndicates. A Coast Guard intelligence unit was established in Boston in 1934 and in 1936 an Intelligence Division was created at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., both a result of the service's successes.

Members of Coast Guard intelligence were involved in efforts to minimize sabotage and espionage throughout World War II. Coast Guard intelligence worked to secure, evaluate and disseminate information pertaining to Coast Guard and maritime matters, including assisting in identifying known and potential enemy agents and sympathizers. Coast Guard intelligence personnel were involved with counterintelligence support for the war effort in many critical ports throughout the United States. Because of the efforts of Coast Guard intelligence during the war there was not a single known instance of foreign-inspired sabotage on vessels or waterfront facilities in the U.S.

The Coast Guard continued its efforts against narcotics smuggling in the decades following the war.  The 1980 Mariel Boatlift, the mass exodus of Cuban migrants from their island nation to the U.S., reinforced the need for intelligence capabilities to further develop and become more structured. Federal officials realized the nature of many threats facing the United States were seaborne and the Coast Guard, with its unique capabilities and intelligence work, was seen as the agency that had much to offer against those threats.

"Intelligence is a force multiplier and a hedge against risk," said Rear Adm. Thomas F. Atkin, assistant commandant for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations. "Intelligence support is at the heart of the Coast Guard motto: Semper Paratus [Always Ready]. We work to create decision advantage to protect and advance U.S. interests. We accomplish this by conducting intelligence operations and activities to provide timely, relevant and actionable intelligence to shape operations, planning and decision-making. In a time of dwindling resources, it's important to have appropriate levels of intelligence to identify and warn against the next threat on the horizon."

The U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Committee on Select Intelligence discussed the Coast Guard's role in counter-drug intelligence and in the late 1990s began discussions about making the Coast Guard part of the broader intelligence community. The incidents of Sept. 11, became demonstrative of the kind of close-to-home, national security issues in which the Coast Guard would play a vital role. The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2002 formally brought the Coast Guard into the intelligence community.

Formal inclusion in the intelligence community has resulted in additional authorities and resources for the Coast Guard, enabling the agency to expand its capabilities to include a cryptology program (codebreaking) and a counterintelligence service.  The counterintelligence service helps preserve the operational integrity of the Coast Guard by shielding it from the intelligence activities of foreign powers, terrorist groups, and criminal organizations.

Coast Guard Intelligence applies its capabilities to all Coast Guard mission sets and has provided support for major operations including the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Intelligence personnel provided the earliest port infrastructure damage reports, which supported multi-national efforts to provide relief and port recovery. Coast Guard Intelligence also produced threat assessments and briefings that supported force protection decisions and other national and interagency operational decisions.

In addition to numerous drug and human smuggling cases, Coast Guard Intelligence has provided critical support to Coast Guard commanders wrestling with non-traditional intelligence needs, such as the interdiction of the Bangun Perkasa fishing vessel and its use of illegal driftnets.

Coast Guard intelligence has matured during the last 10 years and its focus has solidified. In addition to the cryptology program and counterintelligence service, Coast Guard intelligence includes a robust criminal investigative service, experienced intelligence fusion centers, and a developing cyber capability. Coast Guard intelligence specialists in the field are a critical component of the enterprise, working in units across the nation and throughout the Coast Guard chain of command to provide operational commanders with the intelligence support they need.    Today's Coast Guard intelligence encompasses a wide range of activities and capabilities, all striving to provide decision advantage to support senior Coast Guard leaders in their policy-making role, the Department of Homeland Security and its components, and other national intelligence or federal law enforcement agencies.

"Coast Guard intelligence provides operational commanders with the understanding they need to make decisions on how best to deploy assets and conduct operations," said Adm. Bob Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard's persistent presence in the maritime domain, due to its diverse mission sets and broad legal authorities, fills a unique niche within the intelligence community. As a member of the armed forces, the Coast Guard is at the intersection between homeland security and national defense. As a federal law enforcement agency and national intelligence community member, the Coast Guard is also positioned as a bridge between these two important groups. Because of the service's unique access, emphasis and expertise in the maritime domain - an area where other U.S. government agencies typically are not present - it collects and reports intelligence that supports its own missions as well as national security objectives.

Artistic Director Daniel Sheridan and the Davenport Junior Theatre Board wanted to produce a stage adaptation of author Eileen Boggess's tween novel Mia the Melodramatic.

Thanks to a generous $8000 grant received in December 2011 from the Riverboat Development Authority, an organization devoted to supporting "programs benefiting residents of Scott County, Iowa," that dream will become a reality.

"We are excited to be producing this project," says Sheridan.

Founded in 1951, the Davenport Junior Theatre in Davenport, Iowa is, according to Sheridan, the second-oldest children's theater in America. Teaching and performing with children from the ages of 3 to 18, Davenport Junior Theatre, a program of the City of Davenport Parks and Recreation Department, has touched many young people in its long and proud history.

One of them was Boggess herself. Boggess worked at the theater from her freshman year of high school through the end of her junior year. "It was a very good time in my life when I look back at it," says Boggess.

Mia the Melodramatic, published in 2008 by Bancroft Press, is the second book of Boggess's Mia Fullerton series. It's preceded by Mia the Meek (2006) and followed by Mia the Magnificent (2010).

Based on Boggess's own experiences at the Davenport Junior Theatre, Mia the Melodramatic follows Mia Fullerton as she spends the summer working at Little Tykes Theatre. "All of Mia's friends have moved away or gone to camp, and her mom signs her up for this theater group," says Boggess. "Of course, chaos ensues."

With the Riverboat Development Authority grant, the Davenport Junior Theatre has purchased 750 copies of Mia the Melodramatic to be distributed to youth in the Davenport area.

"It will be great for Eileen to come back and visit the very schools she once attended," says Sheridan.

The play, adapted by Boggess herself, will be performed February 18 through February 26, 2012 as the first show of the Davenport Junior Theatre's 60th season.

Leading independent house Bancroft Press has published some of the country's very best fiction and nonfiction over the past two decades.


The Republican Party of Iowa caucuses SHOULD be among the most transparent, honest, democratic, and grassroots-based political activities in the country. In the interests of building a stronger democracy in our great country and in Iowa, here is a detailed overview and response for what should happen at the 1,774 caucus precincts on the evening of January 3rd, 2012.

"After the chair and secretary are elected, candidate representatives from each campaign are given time to speak on behalf of their candidate." This should include a representative of those fed-up with the current system of the 1% choosing candidates for Iowans to rubber-stamp, such as "uncommitted."

"Once the speakers have finished, sheets of paper are be passed out to every registered Iowa Republican from the precinct. Voters then write down their candidate preference." We expect the right to same day registration will be fully-honored.

"Every vote is counted. The caucus chair and secretary will count the votes in front of the caucus and a representative from each campaign is allowed to observe the counting of the votes. The results are recorded on an official form provided by the Republican Party of Iowa and are announced to the caucus." A representative of those who chose not to vote for a 1% candidate must be allowed to observe and video record this procedure.

"A caucus reporter is chosen to report the results to the Republican Party of Iowa, accompanied by campaign representatives to verify the results reported to Iowa GOP officials." A representative of those who chose not to vote for a 1% candidate should be able to verify the results also.

"RPI officials do not count results; they aggregate them from around the state and report them to the media. To ensure consistency in reporting, campaign representatives have the opportunity to be present with RPI officials as votes are reported to the public." Votes should be counted on site, in full view of caucus participants, and not counted at an undisclosed location.

"We will be reporting the votes for Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, "No Preference," and "Other."" Good. We encourage all Iowans fed-up with a system that caters to the interests of the extremely wealthy and well-connected to caucus for "uncommitted" ("No Preference").

""No Preference" votes include those who vote "present," "no preference, "uncommitted," or "none of the above."" Finally, we have clear word from the leaders of the Iowa GOP how this shall be handled, in contradiction to the statements made recently by some GOP county chairs. "After the Presidential preference poll is completed the caucus will elect precinct committee representatives; delegates, alternates, and junior delegates to the county convention; and discuss and submit platform resolutions for consideration at the county convention." We encourage all those fed-up with a system that mostly the represents of Wall Street and the 1% to caucus for "uncommitted," and then run as delegates to the GOP county conventions.
In Case You Missed It:  Bachmann Key Aide's Statement on Sen. Kent Sorenson Defection
Bachmann Iowa political director Wes Enos fires back at Mrs. Bachmann's claim that Sen. Sorenson's desertion was financially-motivated
ANKENY, Iowa - U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's Iowa political director Wes Enos recently made enlightening comments concerning Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson's defection to the Ron Paul camp from his position as Iowa Chairman for the Minnesota congresswoman's campaign for the presidency.

Hours ago, Sen. Sorenson resigned from his post with the Bachmann camp and publicly endorsed Ron Paul for the presidency, committing to get out the vote for the 12-term Congressman from Texas in the pivotal first-in-nation voting contest.

Mr. Enos made his comments in response to unfounded allegations that Sen. Sorenson's defection was made due to financial incentives made by the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign.  Mr. Enos's comments on the matter follow, and are presented in full:

"I won't say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson's decision was, in no way financially motivated.  His decision had more to do with the fact that the Ron Paul supporters have been something of a family to him since he was first elected in 2008 and here in the end, as it becomes more and more apparent that the caucus cycle is coming to an end, Kent believed that he needed to be with them as they stand on the cusp of a potential caucus upset.  While I personally disagree with Kent's decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot, in good conscious watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a 'sell-out' ....That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision," said Mr. Enos.
Sen. Kent Sorenson Statement on Bachmann Allegations
Calls Bachmann's untrue claim a "last-minute effort to salvage what's left of her campaign."
ANKENY, Iowa - The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement from Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson.

Last night Sen. Sorenson defected to the Ron Paul camp, endorsing the 12-term Congressman from Texas before a crowd of more than 600 Paul supporters and media.  Moments before his endorsement and in past months, Sen. Sorenson had served as Iowa Chairman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign for the presidency. 

In the minutes that followed the endorsement, Rep. Bachmann made baseless claims suggesting the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign provided Sen. Sorenson with a financial incentive to join the Paul camp - and, that this was a deciding factor in the senator's decision to endorse Paul.

Below please find comments from Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson:

"I have to say, I've been saddened by the way Congresswoman Bachmann's campaign has decided to handle my decision to endorse Ron Paul for President of the United States.

"Like many folks here in Iowa and throughout the country, I simply came to the realization that Ron Paul is the candidate for true pro-life, pro-gun, pro-limited government conservatives.

"The recent smears from the media and the national political establishment motivated me to rush to Congressman Paul's aid because he did the same for me in both of my races for the Iowa General Assembly.

"As for the ridiculous allegations that Congresswoman Bachmann and her surrogates have made, I was never offered money from the Ron Paul campaign or anyone associated with them and certainly would never accept any.

"Financial reports come out in just days which will prove what I'm saying is true. 

"Even Congresswoman Bachmann's political director issued a statement defending my character.  Since then, he's been fired by the Bachmann campaign for daring to tell the truth.

"Sadly, the values I most appreciated in Congresswoman Bachmann appear to have gone out the window in a last-minute effort to salvage what's left of her campaign.

"On the other hand, Congressman Ron Paul's track record of standing up for constitutional principles and traditional values is unmatched.

"He's proven he is the one candidate who can take on defeat both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama."

Below please find comments from Wes Enos, recently-terminated Iowa political director for the Bachmann Presidential campaign, referenced in Sen. Sorenson's above statement:

"I won't say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson's decision was, in no way financially motivated.  His decision had more to do with the fact that the Ron Paul supporters have been something of a family to him since he was first elected in 2008 and here in the end, as it becomes more and more apparent that the caucus cycle is coming to an end, Kent believed that he needed to be with them as they stand on the cusp of a potential caucus upset.  While I personally disagree with Kent's decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot, in good conscious watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a 'sell-out' ....That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision," said Mr. Enos.

Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson Endorses Ron Paul for President
Former Iowa chairman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann pivots to Paul camp citing, "Ron Paul has established himself as the clear choice."
ANKENY, Iowa - 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul was endorsed today by Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola) in a major pivot that promises to give Paul extra momentum in the run-up to the January 3, 2012 Iowa Caucus.

In making his endorsement Sen. Sorenson is leaving his post as Iowa chairman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign here.  The resignation and endorsement take effect immediately.

"Congressman Paul is delighted to accept the endorsement of Senator Kent Sorenson, whose blessing and assistance carry a great deal weight in Iowa.  The fact that he doesn't take this decision lightly tells a great deal about the Senator and Ron Paul.  This endorsement is a rare find and we hope it pushes us nearer to our goal of a strong top-three finish at the January caucus," said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.

Kent Sorenson was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2011 and represents District 37 after serving in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011, representing District 74.  The senator is a member of several committees including the Judiciary, Natural Resources and Environment, and State Government committees.  He is also the ranking member of both the Senate and Joint Oversight Committees and a member of the Advisory Council for Agricultural Education, the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Council, and the Human Rights Board.

Senator Sorenson has been leader in the fight in defense of traditional family values, the sanctity of life, and a restoration of Second Amendment rights.

The full endorsement statement from Senator Sorenson follows.

Sorenson Statement

The decision I am making today is one of the most difficult I have made in my life.  But given what's at stake for our country, I have decided I must take this action.

Today, I am switching my support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul for the 2012 Iowa Caucuses and the presidency of the United States.

I still maintain an immense amount of respect for Michele.  The reasons are many.  She's never betrayed conservatives on issues like taxes, the Right to Life, and the Second Amendment.  So over the past few months, I have been saddened at the dismissive way she's been treated among some conservatives especially after winning the Iowa Straw Poll.

But the fact is, there is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for President, both here in Iowa and nationally.  Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group.

The truth is, it was an excruciatingly difficult decision for me to decide between supporting Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at the beginning of this campaign.  Dr. Paul and his supporters were a major help in my successful campaigns for Iowa House and Senate even when I couldn't count on the support of the Republican establishment here in Iowa.

Of course, battling the establishment is nothing new for Dr. Paul or for myself.  During my time in the General Assembly, I've established myself as a leader in the fights for traditional marriage, the Right to Life, and the protection of the Second Amendment - sometimes even against the wishes of my own party.

Since my election, I've learned that doing the right thing isn't always easy.  It's easy to see why so many legislators "sell out" once elected.  The pressure to do so is immense.

But what America needs now is a President who will not just "go along to get along."  Instead, we must send someone who puts doing what is right above all else to the White House.  That candidate is Ron Paul.

Ron Paul is the only candidate to predict the current mess we find ourselves in economically, and he's the only candidate to offer a true plan to cut spending and balance our budget.

He's also consistently spoken out against government spending, assaults on individual liberties, and unnecessary trillion-dollar military adventurism for over 30 years.  Polls show he is the Republican candidate that can take on and defeat President Obama in November 2012.

Like all true conservatives, I wholeheartedly agree with Ron Paul that government is too big, and both parties share in the blame.  We agree that it is immoral to print money and pass on mounds of debt to the next generation.  We agree that life begins at conception and must be protected.  We both believe that the Second Amendment must be defended unwaveringly, and that there are too many wars being fought with no end in sight and no obvious path to a defined victory. 

Of course, as a state legislator, I recognize that Dr. Paul's strong views on the 10th Amendment will enable me to fight for what I believe in right in my own backyard instead of having to constantly wait on one-size-fits-all "solutions" from Washington, D.C.

With the entire Republican establishment intent on smearing Ron Paul and his dedicated supporters, I understand this decision could impact the way people see me and my entire political career.  But this is the right decision, and one in which I proudly stand behind.

To the truly wonderful people I met on the Bachmann campaign, I look forward to working with them in the future as we further the fights for the Right to Life, traditional marriage, and the restoration of our Second Amendment rights here in Iowa.   I personally wish her all the best as she continues to battle in Congress.

As for conservatives who are rightly concerned with defeating establishment Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and - even more importantly - Barack Obama in 2012, Ron Paul has established himself as the clear choice.

If you are as frustrated as I am with what's been done by the ruling class, I urge you to join me in supporting Dr. Paul.  We can send the national big government political establishment a message they will never forget by voting for Ron Paul for President in the January 3 Iowa Caucuses.

Ron Paul Iowa Team Salutes 20 New 'Veterans for Ron Paul'
Largest-yet coalition rollout represents 11 counties, coincides with Des Moines 'Salute to Veterans' rally
ANKENY, Iowa - The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign announced today the names of 20 Iowans joining the "Veterans for Ron Paul" nationwide coalition on the very night he is holding a major 'Salute to Veterans' rally in Des Moines.

This is the largest-yet rollout for this key coalition.  The additional members hail from Polk, Bremer, Clayton, Warren, Clarke, Story, Franklin, Scott, Marshall, Benton, and Tama counties, all Iowa.

Veterans are signing on in droves to the coalition, further demonstrating the dynamism of the Iowa campaign organization's outreach to Hawkeye State heroes.  Success in this area is attributed to Ron Paul's clear and consistent stance on behalf of veterans while in Congress, as featured in his own Des Moines Register op-ed published today and found here.  An ad released earlier in the campaign highlighting Dr. Paul's service to veterans in his home district can be viewed here.

Ron Paul, himself a former Air Force flight surgeon, is holding a rally tonight in Des Moines to salute those who have served and to offer a warm welcome to those recently returning from the Iraq conflict. 

The following sample of veterans representing 11 counties have publicly proclaimed their support ahead of tonight's rally.  As available, information about each veteran is provided in the following sequence: Name and residence, rank, branch, conflict/assignment, years of service.

Polk County

Joe Creveling of Des Moines, US Marines, Korea '50-51, 4 years.

Bill Mech of Windsor Heights, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), US Navy, 4 years.

Todd Walton of Des Moines, Petty Officer Second Class, US Navy, 6 years.

Bremer County

Elijah Wright of Jamesville, US Army National Guard, Afghanistan, 5 years.

Richard Wright of Jamesville, US Navy, 2-3 years.

Clayton County

Joe Kierpaul of Guttenberg, Sr. Airman, US Air Force, Turkey, 4 years.

Dave Fassbinder of Monona, US Navy, Vietnam, 4 years.

Warren County

Robert Winslow of New Virginia, Specialist-4, US Army, 3.5 years.

Clarke County

Dale Mastarone of Osceola, US Army, West Germany, 6 years combined active/reserve.

Story County

Tomas Mullins of Ames, Petty Officer Second Class, US Navy, two deployments aboard USS San Juan in the Persian Gulf 2005 & 2007, 6 years.

Franklin County

Eric Grote of Hampton, US Army/US Air Force/Iowa National Guard, Turkey/Germany, 20 years.

Scott County

Gene Costello of Bettendorf, Gunnery Sergeant, US Marines, Iraq/Japan/Qatar/Kuwait/Norway, 13 years.

Shadrack Roberts of Bettendorf, US Army, Germany/Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4 years.

Doug Erenberger of Davenport, US Army, Specialist-5, 3 years.

Ron Waline of Eldridge, Private First Class, US Marines, 4 years.

Randy Edwards of Bettendorf, Staff Sergeant, US Marines, four combat deployments in Iraq, 8 years.

Anthony Woolever of Davenport, US Army/IL Guard, deployed to Iraq, 8 years.

Marshall County

Merrell Kilborn of Marshalltown, Sergeant, US Air Force, 4 years.

Benton County

Laverne Wille of Belle Plaine, Petty Officer Third Class, US Navy, Vietnam, 3 years 9 months.

Tama County

Charles Betz of Tama, Corporal/Petty Officer First Class, US Marines/Navy, Persian Gulf, 15 years 9 months.

As a first basic step, those interested in joining the "Veterans for Ron Paul" coalition should visit the official page here.  Those residing in the Hawkeye State should email Iowa Voter Outreach Director Meghann Walker at


Coe athletics can be followed on the college's website: Located near the heart of Cedar Rapids, Coe is a selective, private, nationally recognized liberal arts college providing superior quality educational experiences for students since 1851.

Christina Grimm of Bettendorf, volleyball, 2009, Pleasant Valley High School, daughter, Chris and Mary Grimm, junior, 3rd-year.  The volleyball team is under the direction of sixth-year Head Coach DeAnn Woodin, the 2011 Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. Coe won its first Iowa Conference Championship in school history this fall, finishing the year with a 31-4 record, the most wins in school history. The Kohawks were a perfect 8-0 during the Iowa Conference season.

Keenan McLaughlin, also of Bettendorf, cross country, 2010, Pleasant Valley High School, son, Patrick and Melinda mcLaughlin, sophomore, 1st-year,    , The cross country team is under the direction of 18-year Head Coach Elaine Rydze.

Tom Wakeland, also of Bettendorf, men's soccer, 2008, Bettendorf High School, son, Mark and Jean Wakeland, senior, 3rd-year.  The soccer team is under the direction of tenth-year Head Coach Homer Screws.

Hannah Helms of Moline, women's tennis, 2010, Moline Senior High School, daughter, Michael and Jodi Helms, sophomore.  The women's tennis team is under the direction of 23-year Head Coach Eric Rodgers, the 2011 Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. The Kohawks won their fourth Iowa Conference Championship in school history this fall. Coe will host the IIAC Automatic Qualifier Tournament this spring as the regular season champion. Coe finished the fall season 13-0 in dual meets.

ARVADA, Colo. -- 12/28/2011 -- Personhood USA has published the audio from Tuesday night's National Presidential Pro-life Forum.  Four of the Republican candidates for President participated in the event including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The event, moderated by nationally syndicated radio host Steve Deace, was a collaboration of many of the country's top pro-life organizations including Personhood USA and Champion the Vote.

Governor Perry commented that his view of exceptions in abortion law had changed in recent weeks from a meeting with Personhood USA Spokeswoman Rebecca Kiessling.  "We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn't come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest," he said.

Representative Bachmann noted that her pro-life convictions aren't hyperbole, but rather that they would be a priority.  "As President of the United States, I won't just talk this talk," said Bachmann. "I won't relegate pro-lifers to the corner and pat them on the head. I will actually do something about it."

Senator Santorum opened his remarks by clearing up a common misconception.  "When politicians say 'I believe life begins at conception,' that is conceding ground, and the ground that we concede is by using the term 'believe,'" clarified Santorum.  "Life beginning at conception is not a 'belief.'  It's not an article of faith.  It's an article of fact.  It's biological fact that, in fact, that life begins at conception."

Speaker Gingrich began, contemplating the core of the issue:  "What does it mean when we say that we are 'endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'?  And that immediately raises the question of: Who is the 'we' that is endowed, and when does that endowment begin?  And I think this is as important of a discussion as anything we'll have in defining our very fabric as a society that cares deeply about the morality of life."

To listen to the program, follow the links below.

Live Action President Lila Rose:

Governor Perry:

Representative Bachmann:

Senator Santorum:

Speaker Gingrich:

Or listen to the event in its entirety, go to

The nation's largest auto show producer, Motor Trend Auto Shows, announces the 18th annual Iowa Illinois Regional Auto Show, coming to the Davenport RiverCenter Friday through Sunday, Feb. 10-12. The event, which showcases 2012 autos, and some 2013 models is a joint effort of auto dealers of 18 counties in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

Show times are:

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10 & 11 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 12 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Special events during the show include :

Guests will be offered a chance to win $10,000 in the Break the Bank Code Contest.

Friday is Quad City Times Day at the show. Special promotions are planned.

Sunday: Family Day -- Kids 12 and under free with paid adult. Personal appearance by famed cartoon character Scooby Doo sponsored by
MediaCom . There will be a petting zoo, jumpy inflatables, and professional balloon artists making animal characters for kids and perform magic tricks.
More information will be coming as special vehicles are announced.

Proceeds from the Auto Show benefit the Iowa -Illinois Regional Auto Show  Scholarship Fund. Over $175,000 has been given to college bound and trade school students to date. $30,000 is expected to be given at this year's VIP Premier Event.

For more information, visit or call Nissi Marketing at (563) 388-6744.

Holiday tragedies prompt warnings on winter fires

NFPA reminds the public to take action to be safe this winter

December 28, 2011 - In the aftermath of a number of deadly holiday fires, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges the public to take simple steps to protect their family and property from fire. According to NFPA, December, January and February are the top months for home fire deaths.

"Recent fire deaths during this holiday season are tragic reminders that we are at the time of year when home fires peak," said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. "Taking simple steps to prevent fires and making sure you have working smoke alarms can save lives."

NFPA suggested ten things you can do this winter to stay safe from fire:


  • All heaters need space.  Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container with a lid. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
  • Develop and practice a home escape plan that includes two ways out of each room and an outside meeting place.


The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and NFPA are working together to remind everyone that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Learn more information about the organizations' joint safety campaign, ""

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA's website at for more information.

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