PEORIA, Ill. (January 25, 2011) - Severe winter weather throughout much of the eastern half of the United States in recent weeks has caused the cancellation of more than 14,000 blood and platelet donations through the American Red Cross. The severity of the impact has stressed even the Red Cross' robust national inventory management system, which can move blood products to where they're needed most, such as when severe weather hits.

"We have not seen the January supply drop this dramatically in a decade and we need to reverse this now," said Shelly Heiden, CEO of the Heart of America Red Cross Blood Services region.   "You don't wait to refuel once you've run out of gas. Donating blood or platelets now helps ensure immediate and future patient needs will be met."

The Red Cross urges all eligible donors in unaffected areas to make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the coming days, and those in affected areas to donate as soon as travel is deemed safe, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting Donations will help replenish the Red Cross blood supply to ensure that blood products are readily available for patients with serious medical needs.

The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood is perishable and has no substitute. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just 5 days - they must be replenished constantly.

Blood and platelets can be used for trauma victims - those who suffered due to accidents and burns - heart surgery patients, organ transplant recipients, premature babies and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease.

All blood types are needed, especially type O negative, to ensure a reliable supply for patients. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.  Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.


Secrets of a Johnny's Chef with Chef Steve Hall


Culinary Class Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:30


Johnny's Italian Steakhouse opens additional culinary class date due to over-whelming interest. Secrets of a Johnny's Chef, will be held on Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:30pm. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, Chef Steve Hall will reveal concise, easy to master techniques in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. By showcasing professional secrets to preparing full flavor food, Chef Steve Hall translates your favorite Johnny's foods into amazing at-home meals.

The culinary class is $40 per participant and the fee is all inclusive: two glasses of wine, generous samples of each course, recipe cards, class fee, tax and gratuity (or 2 martinis for $45). Class fills quickly. Please make reservations early. For more information or to sign up, please call Johnny's Italian Steakhouse at 309.736.0100.


February 23rd

Wine and Dine

Deluxe Bruschetta

Goat Cheese Salad

Beef Wellington

Strawberry Shortcake

On Saturday, February 5th the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center will be hosting a winter fun day from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Come to the Wapsi River Center for a fun-filled day of winter activities.  This is an event the whole family can enjoy, so plan to come out and discover winter at its best.  A limited number of skis and snowshoes are available, so please call to reserve equipment; (563) 328-3286.  BYOM ~ Bring your own mug.

9:00 A.M. ~ Cross-country Ski Clinic ~ Come learn the basics of cross-country skiing and tour the Wapsi Center trails, if conditions allow. Participants will learn about proper skiing techniques, safety and equipment. Participants may bring their own equipment.

12:30 P.M. ~ Snowshoe Nature Hike ~ Join Michael Granger, Wapsi River Center Naturalist, on this excursion into the Wapsi River Center's woodlands. We will be traveling the way of the Native Americans and early pioneers, looking for signs of life in the still, winter woods.

2:00 P.M. ~ Winter Bird Feeding ~ Come learn how to identify winter birds; plus how to attract and feed our feathered friends. Fun for all ages!

3:00 P.M. ~ Wonderful Owls ~ Learn how to identify Iowa's owls and those that reside at the Wapsi River Center. Amazing nocturnal adaptations make these birds incredible hunters. Learn about these amazing raptors and then do some bald eagle viewing in the comfort of the Eagle View Eco Center.

4:30 P.M. ~ 4th Annual Chili Cook-off ~ The Friends of the Wapsi Center, Inc. will be hosting this annual competition. Please bring your best chili creation to share, and possibly win the coveted chili cup!!! Donations are accepted, and please bring your own table setting.

5:30 P.M. ~ Frostbite Star Party ~ Winter is a great time for astronomy. The sky is never clearer than on cold, winter nights. The winter constellations center around Orion, the Great Hunter. In the sword hanging from Orion's Belt, one can find the Orion Nebula, which is one of the most spectacular objects to be seen through a telescope. The St. Ambrose University's Menke Astronomical Observatory is the location; park in lot A.

7:00 P.M. ~ Folk Concert ~ Wapsi River Center ~ Relax and enjoy an evening of acoustical guitar and vocal offerings of the music of Paul Simon, Peter Meyer, John Denver, John Prine and several others as rendered by local talents. You may participate by using one of our simple percussion instruments, bringing your own, singing along, slapping your knee, tapping your foot or just being a quiet listener.

The Wapsi River Environmental Education Center can be found 6 miles south of Wheatland or 1 mile northwest of Dixon, Iowa by taking County Road Y4E.  Then turn north at 52ndAvenue and follow the signs for about 1 mile.

[DUBUQUE, IA ] DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival is now accepting applications for the 33rd annual juried fine art fair scheduled for May 21 & 22 in Dubuque, Iowa. All interested artists and fine craft artisans are encouraged to apply. The juried fine art fair features the work of 80 artists & artisans from across the region. $1000 cash prizes are awarded to Best in Show, Second Place, & Third Place during an artist's appreciation reception on Saturday, May 21 at the Dubuque Museum of Art. Dubuque, Iowa is quickly building a reputation as an arts & culture destination in the midwest. Through successful arts programming and dedicated city partnerships the DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival grows along with it drawing lovers of fine art and history to the oldest festival in Iowa's first city.


  • Application deadline is April 1, 2011

  • Application fee: $110

  • Jury fee: $15

  • Two Emerging Artist Scholarships are available.

Applications are available on the DubuqueFest website: To request one by mail contact Paula at 563.564.5290 or

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[DUBUQUE, IA ] DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival, scheduled for May 20-22 in downtown Dubuque announces the appointment of Paula Neuhaus as their new art fair director. Neuhaus has spent the last five years working in non-profit arts administration including program development and promotion. Neuhaus is the Director of Maquoketa Art Experience in Maquoketa, Iowa and developmental coordinator for the Eastern Iowa Cultural Alliance. She also manages two independent projects; Wordcure Spoken Word Series and Art Gumbo Micro-funding Program that provides funding to Dubuque artists and arts groups. Neuhaus served five years on the Board of Directors for Dubuque County Fine Arts Society and volunteers with the Dubuque Winter Farmers Market. She holds degrees from both Loras College and University of Iowa.

"Goals of the DubuqueFest 2011 committee," Neuhaus says, "Include enhancing the reputation of this art fair as one that offers the best in fine art and fine craft in the region and to attract serious buyers who believe in directly supporting artists & artisans who are creating original work." Neuhaus joins current DubuqueFest Festival Director, Aaron Hefel in co-management of the all arts festival including children's art activities, a two-day art fair, and three days of live music on two stages.

"Paula has served on the DubuqueFest committee since 2007," Hefel said, "She brings a lot of new ideas to the table with her experience in arts and culture development."

DubuqueFest Fine Arts Festival celebrates its 33rd year in 2011. Visit the DubuqueFest website for a full schedule of events:


Washington, D.C.- On Wednesday, January 26, the Iowa Congressional delegation will hold a ceremony to present Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta with a Joint Resolution honoring his incredible valor and courage on the battlefield.  Staff Sgt. Giunta, a native of Hiawatha, Iowa, was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, by President Barack Obama on November 16, 2010, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.  

Senator Daniel Inouye, who received the Medial of Honors for actions taken on April 21, 1945 at Colle Musatello, Italy, will serve as the keynote speaker.  Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley will be joined by Congressmen Leonard Boswell, Tom Latham, Steve King, Bruce Braley and David Loebsack to present the Joint Resolution to Staff Sgt. Giunta on Wednesday, January 26,  in the Congressional Auditorium of the Capitol Visitors Center. 

WHO: Senator Daniel Inouye
Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Chuck Grassley
Congressman Leonard Boswell
Congressman Tom Latham
Congressman Steve King
Congressman Bruce Braley
Congressman Dave Loebsack
U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Jr.
U.S. Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta

WHAT: The presentation of a Joint Resolution honoring Iowa's own Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, recipient of the Medal of Honor.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 26, 2011.  The presentation ceremony will begin at 1:45 pm.  

WHERE: The Congressional Auditorium in the Capitol Visitors Center.

SINAI, EGYPT (01/24/2011)(readMedia)-- Two Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers were promoted while their unit was deployed to Sinai, Egypt.

Approximately 440 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment in Milan, Galesburg and Macomb were mobilized in May for a one-year deployment to Sinai, Egypt. The unit is expected to return home around Memorial Day.

The Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers are part of the Multinational Force and Observers. The international peacekeeping force oversees the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

  • Sgt. Brian Kohrt, of Port Byron, with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion 123rd Field Artillery is promoted to the rank of staff sergeant Jan. 17, while deployed to Sinai, Egypt.
  • Pfc. Kristy Rolfs of Milan, with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery is promoted to the rank of specialist Jan. 17 while deployed to Sinai, Egypt

Tate Music Group Artist The Westbrook Singers Performing at Tribute to the African American Family Event

WHEN: 2-5-11

TIME: 7 - 10 p.m.

WHERE: Vickie Anne Palmer Hall at Palmer College, Davenport, IA 52803

WHAT: The Westbrook Singers will be performing songs from their Gospel album, The Westbrook Singers LIVE.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

For more information, contact Kortney Shepherd at 888-361-9473 or


Jacksonville, IL (January 24, 2011) In recognition of his outstanding leadership skills and ability, State Representative Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville) has been chosen to serve on the Illinois House Republican Caucus Leadership Team as the Caucus Chairman.


"It is an honor to serve as State Representative of the 97th District and now to be chosen to serve as a member of the House Republican Caucus Leadership Team," Watson said.  "This new leadership role gives me, and those I represent a stronger voice in Springfield.  I look forward to working with other caucus leaders to develop an agenda that reflects what is best for the people of Illinois and our state."


Rep. Watson has served as State Representative of the 97th District since December 2001.   His legislative district covers all or portions of seven counties, including Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Madison, Macoupin, Morgan, and Pike counties.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp.  Watson served a tour in Operation Desert Storm, and more recently Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he assisted the Iraqi people during their transition to a representative form of government.


"Not only is Jim Watson a hardworking legislator, who is well-respected by his peers, but he cares deeply about the direction our state is headed.   Jim knows how to unite people and understands that it will take a bipartisan effort to fix our state's fiscal problems and get people back to work.  I am proud he will be serving on our leadership team," said House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).


Employers fined nearly $1.4 million 

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. - The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Haasbach LLC in Mount Carroll and Hillsdale Elevator Co. in Geneseo and Annawan, Ill., following the deaths of three workers, including two teenagers.  The workers were killed when they suffocated after being engulfed by grain.

"The tragic deaths of three people could have been prevented had the grain bin owners and operators followed the occupational safety standards and child labor laws," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.  "It is unconscionable to allow a minor to work in any high-hazard area. Haasbach's and Hillsdale's disregard for the law and commonsense safety practices has led to devastation for three families."

At least 25 U.S. workers were killed in grain entrapments last year, and the numbers of entrapments are increasing, according to researchers at Purdue University. There were more grain entrapments in 2010 than in any year since they started collecting data on entrapments in 1978.

"Grain entrapments kill workers.  All employers, especially those in high-hazard industries, must prevent workers from being hurt or killed as a result of recognized hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "There is absolutely no excuse for any worker to be killed in this type of incident."

The fines to both companies total $1,352,125.  Haasbach was issued 24 citations from the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration with a penalty of $555,000 following an investigation into the deaths of the two young workers, Wyatt Whitebread and Alex Pacas (ages 14 and 19 years old, respectively), at the company's grain elevator in Mount Carroll. A 20-year-old man also was seriously injured in the July 2010 incident when all three became entrapped in corn more than 30 feet deep. At the time of the incident, the workers were "walking down the corn" to make it flow while machinery used for evacuating the grain was running.

The department's Wage and Hour Division's separate investigation found that Haasbach violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's Child Labor standards for employing anyone less than 18 years of age to perform hazardous jobs prohibited by the act.  As a result, the division issued Haasbach $68,125 in civil money penalties.  More information on child labor rules and hazardous occupations can be found at

Hillsdale Elevator was issued 22 citations by OSHA following the death of a 49-year-old worker, Raymond Nowland, who was engulfed by corn in a storage bin at the company's facility in Geneseo. OSHA discovered additional violations during a later inspection of the company's Annawan facility.  Consequently, OSHA issued the company $729,000 in fines.

Since 2009, OSHA has fined grain operators in Illinois, Colorado, South Dakota and Wisconsin following similar preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter to grain elevator operators warning them not to allow workers to enter grain storage facilities without proper equipment, precautions and training. "OSHA will not tolerate non-compliance with the Grain Handling Facilities standard," said Michaels in the letter. "We will continue to use our enforcement authority to the fullest extent possible."

OSHA's Region V, which includes Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, initiated a Grain Safety Local Emphasis Program in August 2010, and has since conducted 61 inspections and issued 163 violations to grain operators/facilities. The violations cover hazards associated with grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout of dangerous equipment to prevent accidental energization start-up, electricity, falls, employee training and combustible dust hazards.

These investigations also fall under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in the spring of 2010, SVEP is intended to focus on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe, industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards, employee exposure to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals and all per-instance citation (egregious) enforcement actions. For more information on SVEP, visit

For a copy of the warning letter OSHA sent to grain elevator operators, visit http://www.osha/asst-sec/Grain_letter.html.

A copy of the Haasbach and the Hillsdale citations are available at

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's North Aurora Office at 630-896-8700. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.  OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Editor's Note: A fact sheet about the two cases follows this news release.

# # #


Fact Sheet on Haasbach LLC and Hillsdale Elevator Co.

Haasback Violation Description

  • The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Haasbach 11 willful citations with penalties totaling $504,000. The employer failed to provide body harnesses and lifelines to prevent engulfment above the waist to each of four young workers and their supervisor. It also failed to train the workers on the hazards of moving grain, and to ensure that all mechanical equipment was shut down before the workers entered the bin on the two days that they worked there. Also alleged is a willful violation for directing workers to walk on the grain to make it flow. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or plain indifference to worker safety and health.  The grain industry has long recognized these hazards and how to prevent workers from being engulfed.


  • Haasbach also has received 12 serious citations with penalties totaling $50,400 for additional violations of the Grain Handling, Lockout and Tagout and other standards, and one other-than serious citation with a $600 penalty for failing to provide a hazard communication program. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.  OSHA penalties for Haasbach total $555,000.


  • The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has assessed Haasbach LLC $68,125 in civil money penalties for violating the Child Labor standards of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company employed two 14-year-olds and one 15-year-old in occupations involving warehousing and transportation. It employed two of these children in a hazardous occupation requiring them to climb 48 feet to enter a grain bin and one child in a hazardous occupation involving the operation of a power-driven hoisting device. The company also required all of the children to work more than the allowed number of work hours for minors.


  • The workers' compensation carrier insuring Haasbach is Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co.


Hillsdale Violation Description


  • Hillsdale Elevator Co. has received 17 willful citations with penalties of $714,000. The citations allege eight instances of directing workers to enter bins, silos or tanks where a buildup of grain on the sides could fall and bury them. The citations also allege nine instances of failing to shut down and to lock out or take other measures to prevent mechanical equipment in the bin from endangering employees. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.


  • Hillsdale Elevator Co. also has received five serious citations alleging violations of the Grain Handling and Lockout standards with penalties totaling $15,000. OSHA discovered the violations during its investigation into the death of a 49-year-old worker who was engulfed by corn in a storage bin at the company's facility in Geneseo, Ill. OSHA discovered additional violations during a later inspection of the company's Annawan, Ill., facility. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.  OSHA penalties for Hillsdale total $729,000.


  • The workers' compensation carrier insuring Hillsdale Elevator. is Westfield Insurance Co.

Additional OSHA Information

OSHA maintains safety and health topics pages for grain handling at and agricultural operations at

OSHA's grain handling facilities standard includes a requirement that employers provide workers entering bins or tanks with appropriate personal protective equipment such as full body harnesses for easier removal in the event of an emergency. Providing proper protection and not allowing workers to walk or stand in products piled higher than the waist reduces the risk of workers sinking and suffocating. The standard is available at

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at  The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.