WEST BRANCH, IOWA–The National Park Service is beginning the development of an Exotic Plant Management Plan and an Environmental Assessment (EA) that includes Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. The EA will address management of the park's natural areas that are home to native plant communities.  Particular attention will be placed on eradication, control, and containment of exotic (nonnative) invasive plants. A similar planning effort, for a Vegetation Management Plan for Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, will resume upon the findings of this EA.  The Exotic Plant Management will be incorporated into the overall Vegetation Management Plan for Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.

The public may review and comment on the project online though PEPC (Planning, Environment and Public Comment), the online collaborative tool that gives the public unprecedented, easy access to documents used in developing and tracking projects within the National Park Service.  The project is titled #31771 Heartland Exotic Plant Management Plan and may be
found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=31771 . Comments may also be sent by mail to: Superintendent, Herbert Hoover NHS, P.O. Box 607, West Branch, IA 52358.

"The National Park Service relies heavily on feedback from the public to guide its stewardship of America's great natural and cultural resources," said Pete Swisher, acting superintendent of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. "PEPC makes it easy for people to track projects at a nearby park or a favorite park several time zones away. It gives the public unprecedented access."

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. For more information go to www.nps.gov/heho or call (319) 643-2541.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
110 Parkside Drive
PO Box 607
West Branch, Iowa  52358

319 643-2541 phone
319 643-7864 fax
www.nps.gov/heho

First Annual

SHOP LOCAL EXPO

February 19th. 2011

From 11.00am to 5.00pm

Sponsored by The Moline Commercial Club

@ The Moline Club Ballroom

1539 Fifth Avenue

Moline. Illinois 61265

309-762-8547

www.themolinecommercialclub.com

The Elevator is located through the 513 16th. Street entrance.

The SHOP LOCAL Expo is for local Merchants, Manufactures and Farmers Business and Services of our area.

Call early to ensure a reservation for your table.

Email networking of over 5000

Entry on the Moline City Center website

Charge for a table: $ 50.00

You will get 1 table and 2 chairs

Lunch is available.

No entrance fee for visitors

Sacramento, CA - January 21, 2011 - Small, non-farm businesses in 33 Iowa counties and the neighboring counties in Illinois and South Dakota are now eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). "These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the severe storms with excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, hail, high winds and tornadoes that occurred in the following primary Iowa counties from May 1 through September 30, 2010," announced Alfred E. Judd, Director of SBA's Disaster Field Operations Center West.

Primary Iowa counties: Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Louisa, Madison, Scott, Sioux and Washington;
Neighboring Iowa counties: Adair, Benton, Cedar, Cherokee, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Guthrie, Henry, Jefferson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Lyon, Muscatine, O'Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Polk, Poweshiek, Tama, Union and Warren;
Neighboring Illinois counties: Carroll, Henderson, Jo Daviess, Mercer and Rock Island;
Neighboring South Dakota counties: Lincoln and Union.

"SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster," Judd said.

Small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

"Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 3% for private, non-profit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, non-profits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship," Judd said.

By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster at the request of Governor Terry Branstad.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency (FSA) about the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance made available by the Secretary's declaration.

Information and application forms are available from SBA's Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

The deadline to apply for these loans is September 19, 2011.

For more information, visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
SBA Field Operations Center - West, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841

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21st Annual ARC Taste of Galena - February 4, 2010

GALENA, Ill. - It's hard to believe that eating this well is actually all for a good cause.

On Feb. 4, Galena's best, ranging from restaurateurs to winemakers and cheesecake bakers to caterers, will gather together at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa from 7-10 p.m. to celebrate "Serving the Best" for the Galena Art & Recreation Center.

Now in its 21st year, the ARC Taste of Galena has become a sought-after event that promises an evening of pleasure for your taste buds. Past years have presented delectable dishes such as: slow roasted glazed pork loin, Yukon Gold mashed potato bar with toppings, blue cheese soup, lobster ravioli, salmon with béarnaise on potato galette, pan fried pork dumplings, sushi, Louisiana crab cakes, Southwest tortilla chip soup, gourmet pomegranate balsamic and blood orange olive oil salad, homemade fudge, toffee, assorted cheesecakes, and chocolate molten cake with caramel sauce. And that's just a partial listing. Is your mouth watering yet?

Your taste buds won't be the only thing thanking you. Your feet will thank you, too, as they may be keeping rhythm to the catchy beats of the Rob Martin Quartet, a live jazz ensemble, who will perform throughout the evening.

For a complete and up-to-date listing of ARC Taste exhibitors and menus, visit the event's website: www.tasteofgalena.com. The site also provides attendees with a quick and convenient way to purchase Taste tickets online. In addition to online sales, tickets may also be purchased at the Galena Art & Recreation Center, 413 S. Bench Street, Galena and the Galena Territory Owners' Club, 2000 Territory Drive, Galena. Cost is $30 per person.

This year's event will also be judged by the best! The Galena Art & Recreation Center welcomes Chicago Sun-Times food columnist David Hammond - and you, our Taste attendees - to vote for your favorite offerings.

"We are excited to be 'Serving the Best' - the best exhibitors, the best sponsors, and the best supporters and now the best judges at our 21st annual ARC Taste of Galena. Every year I look forward to the diverse menu, and this year's event is guaranteed to please!'" said Sarah Petersen, the ARC's executive director. "We are planning a lot of special things for this event, including a digital presentation of photos through the years, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing. I recommend purchasing your tickets early as this event has sold out in the past."

The ARC Taste of Galena is a core fundraiser for the Galena Art & Recreation Center, a not-for-profit organization that provides programs for all ages. The funds raised at the ARC Taste are included in the ARC annual operating budget and will assist with the ongoing process of balancing the budget and achieving financial security.

For information about room availability, shopping, dining, attractions, events and more, please go to galena.org, the Web site of the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, or call 877-464-2536 toll-free.

In 2009, the Galena Art & Recreation Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. Forty years strong...and still growing: visit www.galenaarc.org.

WASHINGTON - January 21, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley said the Environmental Protection Agency has done the right thing in expanding eligibility for its E15 waiver, which lets ethanol be blended with gasoline at 15 percent.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called Grassley this morning to say that a decision had been made to grant the waiver to vehicles going back to model year 2001.  This expands the agency's decision of last October, which applied the waiver to model year 2007 and newer vehicles.

"I've been frustrated with the amount of time it's taken the EPA to reach these decisions, and I'd still like to see a waiver for E15 use in all vehicles, but I also appreciate that the EPA Administrator has made certain to base the decisions on sound science, which puts the waiver decision in a very strong position against court challenges from opponents," Grassley said.

Grassley has been a leading advocate for increasing blends of ethanol in gasoline.  He's met personally with the EPA Administrator about the merits of the waiver request from a group of ethanol producers, and he's urged President Obama to take action to grant the waiver request.

Domestic ethanol producers have concluded that a complete waiver for E15 would reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels by replacing 7 billion gallons, or five percent, of fossil fuels with ethanol.  Replacing this much fossil fuel with ethanol would also create an estimated 136,000 jobs in the United States.

Grassley supported legislation passed by Congress in 2007, creating the Renewable Fuels Standard, which calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used by 2022.

"It's important to expand opportunities for ethanol use to meet this goal and to help develop advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol.  These initiatives are aimed at greater energy independence for the United States and the savings and security that comes with energy independence, along with the opportunity to create jobs by expanding an important domestic industry," Grassley said.

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(Kansas City, Kan., Jan. 21, 2011) - EPA officials today hosted a meeting with the directors of state agriculture departments of  Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.  The meeting, held at EPA's Region 8 building in Denver, Colo., provided a forum for dialogue on EPA programs and regulations as well as specific issues, interests and concerns of the agriculture sector.

EPA staff participants in the meeting included: Jim Martin, Region 8 Administrator; Karl Brooks, Region 7 Administrator; Josh Svaty, Region 7 Senior Adviser; and Damon Frizzell, Region 7 Agricultural Adviser.

"The agricultural community should be credited with taking significant steps to protect the environment while finding innovative ways to feed millions," said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks. "Because of the broad impact that America's farmers and ranchers have on everything from daily food prices to widespread environmental impacts to emerging renewable fuel technologies, it is important to have state agriculture directors as part of our decision making process."

EPA recognizes that agricultural producers are on the frontline of environmental stewardship and are affected by many EPA programs.  Frequent meetings with state agriculture directors are a critical way for EPA to provide outreach and receive feedback on current issues and concerns. Specific topics of Friday's meeting included Clean Water Act permits for pesticides, oil spill prevention and countermeasure rules, and air quality standards for particulate matter. Additional subjects included nutrient management and water quality and concentrated animal feeding operations.

# # #

To mark its 25th Anniversary the Quad City Youth Conference, welcomes MWAH! as its keynote speaker. MWAH! (Messages Which Are Hopeful!) is a 12 member group of young performing artists from the Chicago, Illinois area which combines drama, hip hop, dance, and various genres of songs written and produced by troupe members as well as cover songs. A common thread is choices and the importance of continually striving to make the right ones.

The one-hour issues oriented and audience interactive performance will be the keynote on both Monday and Tuesday, January 24-25, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in the Mississippi River Hall at The River Center, located at 136 E. 3rd Street in Davenport. Nearly a thousand students from 28 Illinois and Iowa high schools and junior high schools are expected to attend this 2011 edition of the Quad Cities Youth Conference - high school students on Monday and junior high students on Tuesday.

Following the keynote presentation, the Quad City Youth Conference also offers students a choice of three workshop sessions. Nearly 20 different community agencies have come together to offer workshops to enhance decision-making skills necessary for living in a socially complex world. In addition to the keynote presentation, MWAH! will also be offering three workshop sessions on both Monday and Tuesday that will deal with issues that relate to teenagers in 2011.

Additional information on the MWAH! Troupe is available on its website at www.mwah.net. The troupe may be reached by phone at 630-993-0003. The Quad City Youth Conference is the only event of its kind in the Quad Cities and one of the few nationally. For 25 years, local schools and human service agencies have joined hands to plan and present the annual Quad Cities Youth Conference, an event that is focused on positively impacting area youth.

(MAQUOKETA, IA) Maquoketa Art Experience announces the return of the weekly Sunday Drawing Sessions scheduled for February 6-May 1, 2011.

Beginning February 6, 2011 Maquoketa Art Experience will host a drawing session every Sunday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. at Maquoketa Art Experience, 124 S. Main Street in Maquoketa. Drawing sessions are open to artists of all skill levels. There is no instruction for these classes, rather, a growing community of artists working alongside each other. Each Sunday session, hosted by artist Evanny Henningson, features a live clothed model that holds poses of varying length. Sessions will start with several quick sketches of poses that last for just a few minutes and gradually increase minutes until we reach a final full hour pose.

Artists of all levels are invited to drop in for the sessions. Sessions cost $8 at the door or you can purchase a 10-session punch card for $60. Punch cards can be purchased at the beginning of the session, by stopping in to Maquoketa Art Experience, or by mailing a check to: MAE, PO Box 993, Maquoketa, IA 52060 and they will mail you a punch card.

Easels & drawing horses are provided. Bring your own pencils, sketch pads, and other materials that you prefer to draw with. Register by calling Maquoketa Art Experience at 563.652.9925 or just drop in.

Maquoketa Art Experience is dedicated to bringing accomplished artists to Maquoketa for short- and long-term residencies, workshops, and exhibitions. For more information contact Paula Neuhaus at maquoketaartexperience@hotmail.com or by calling 563.652.9925.

...Legislation Bolsters Economy Without Adding To The Deficit

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011) - A bipartisan group of Senators will introduce patent reform legislation when the Senate returns to session next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Members Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Thursday.  The Judiciary Committee has worked to advance patent reform legislation since 2006.  Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has included the Patent Reform Act of 2011 on the Committee's first executive business meeting agenda.  Hatch is the Committee's senior Republican member and a former Chairman, and Grassley is the panel's incoming Ranking Republican.

The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which will be introduced on Jan. 25, mirrors key improvements to the long-pending legislation that were announced last March as part of an compromise reached by the bill's lead sponsors with then-Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and others.  The legislation will make the first significant changes to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years, creating jobs without adding to the nation's deficit.  The legislation remains based on the original version introduced in the 109th Congress by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

"Patent reform is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to protect jobs and bolster the economy," said Leahy.  "The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is the product of years of careful consideration and compromise.  Promoting economic growth continues to be a top priority for both Democrats and Republicans, and patent reform is part of that effort.  This has always been a bipartisan, bicameral effort, and I look forward to working with Senator Hatch, Senator Grassley and others and with Chairman Smith in the House to enact meaningful reform this year.  This will be the first piece of legislation considered by the Judiciary Committee this year, and I hope the Senate will act promptly on this job-creating bill.  Action by Congress can no longer be delayed."

"Reforming our patent system is a critical priority whose time has more than come.  It is essential to growing our economy, creating jobs and promoting innovation in our nation," said Hatch.  "Working alongside Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, I know we can move this critical legislation forward."

"The United States is the most innovative country in the world," said Grassley.  "An efficient patent system is a necessary component to continuing and enhancing this job creating ingenuity and entrepreneurship. I look forward to working with Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch to move this important legislation forward."

The Patent Reform Act makes changes to first-window post-grant review, inter partes review, willfulness, interlocutory appeals, Patent and Trademark Office funding, and supplemental examinations.  The legislation will also transition the nation's patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system and will provide certainty in damages calculations.  The legislation will also include important provisions to improve patent quality.

The compromise legislation on which the patent Reform Act of 2011 is based was supported by the Obama administration and by industries and stakeholders, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the United Steelworkers, the National Venture Capital Association, the American Association of Universities, and companies representing all sectors of the patent community who have been urging action on patent reform proposals for years.

This will be the fourth consecutive Congress in which comprehensive patent reform legislation has been introduced.  The Senate Judiciary Committee has held eight hearings in the last three Congresses examining the need for patent reform.  The Senate Judiciary Committee approved patent reform legislation in 2009.  That bill was cosponsored by 15 Senators.  In September, 25 Senators joined together to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule floor time to consider the legislation.

The text of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 is available online.

###

On January 23rd - 29th, 2011, school choice advocates across the nation will unite to shine a spotlight on effective education options for every child.  National School Choice Week was created to raise awareness about all forms of educational choice, including charter schools, independent schools, magnet schools, and home schooling, and the need for an effective educational system that offers parents the freedom to choose their children's education.  Over 150 organizations, leading policymakers, and opinion leaders are "all in" for this mission, including The Center for Education Reform, American Federation for Children, Alliance for School Choice, Children's Scholarship Fund, Association of American Educators, Foundation for Excellence in Education, and many more.  School Choice Week isn't about raising one education model above others or doing away with public schools, but about reforming the system so that every parent has the power to choose the education that fits their individual child.

Educational alternatives give parents the opportunity to choose a setting that will work best for their children, resulting in an education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.  The best way to find the right fit for your child is to visit a variety of schools, talk with admission representatives and faculty, take a school tour, and even take your child to a sporting event, school play, or science fair to experience extracurricular options and get a feel for the school climate.  Most importantly, ask questions!  Inquire about the curriculum, how quality and achievement are measured, student-to-teacher ratio, faculty teaching experience, availability of independent study and accelerated classes, and school accreditation.

How will you observe this week of focused attention on education alternatives?  We suggest you explore the options in your community!  Join us for an Open House at Rivermont Collegiate, on Thursday, January 27th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Rivermont is the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college-prep school, serving students in preschool through twelfth grade.  At Rivermont, a challenging curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and knowledge application and small class sizes ensure focused attention and individualized instruction.  What are you waiting for?  Drop in to explore our philosophy and curriculum, take a tour of campus, and get answers to all your questions about Rivermont!

Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.

For additional information on National School Choice Week, visit http://schoolchoiceweek.com

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

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