Backyard-inspired salads available for a limited time

(June 7, 2011) - Wish you could mix up all the delicious tastes of summer in a single serving? Well, thanks to Noodles & Company, you can now get the unforgettable flavors of vegetable gardens, juicy strawberries and backyard barbecues in two wholesome, tasty salads. For a limited time, your neighborhood Noodles & Company is offering a summer twist to its salad line-up that features fresh ingredients and big flavor.

"Along with our noodles and soups, our new summertime salads represent the '& Company' side of the Noodles & Company menu. They feature ingredients that appeal to big eaters and little nibblers," says Tessa Stamper, Noodles & Company's chef and registered dietitian. "Our guests have also been asking for new salads to complement the three we already offer on the menu. We listened - and we're excited for them to taste all the flavor we packed in."

Noodles & Company guests have two delicious new ways to get their veggies this summer:

Backyard Barbecue Chicken Salad with fresh-cut corn is a hearty, nutritious salad featuring marinated pulled chicken breast with fresh-cut summer corn, ripe Roma tomatoes and chopped red cabbage served over mixed greens and tossed with a smoky coleslaw dressing. This "perfect picnic plate" is a leafier version of a backyard barbeque.

Very Berry Spinach Salad is a wholesome meal that includes fresh strawberries, pecans, crispy bacon and house-made croutons atop tender spinach leaves finished off with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic fig glaze. It's "berry" good, if we say so ourselves (and yes, we said "berry").

Guests can customize the salads, as with any Noodles dish, to meet their dietary needs or taste preferences.  This could include adding one of 14 fresh veggies or protein-rich foods, including meats, shrimp or organic tofu, or removing or swapping an ingredient. 

These limited-time summer salads are available at all Noodles & Company restaurants through the end of August.  Noodles & Company is open seven days a week and offers convenient carry-out, phone-in and fax-in orders.  Our full menu, nutritional information, restaurant hours, events and more can be found at

About Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company is about serving real food, real quick. Our menu features made-to-order noodles, salads and sandwiches that are inspired by classic dishes from around the world and that make everyone happy, from kids to adults. Think Mac & Cheese, Pad Thai, Chinese Chop Salad, and Pesto Cavatappi all under one roof. Within minutes of ordering, a fresh, made-to-order dish will be delivered to the table on real china with real silverware. Nothing fake here. You also don't have to clear your table or leave a tip. We just aim to please.

Noodles & Company is a collection of more than 260 neighborhood restaurants in 20 states and growing. Please visit to find a restaurant near you. If you're craving more, please follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr or on our Noodles & Company blog, affectionately called "& Company."


The media is invited a very special preview of Science Bulletins at the Putnam Museum on Friday, June 10 at 10am. Please contact Dan McNeil if you plan to attend.

Beginning on June 11, visitors to the Putnam Museum will be able to enjoy award-winning Science Bulletins video productions from the American Museum of Natural History. The visually stunning updates include the latest in astrophysics, Earth sciences, biodiversity, and human biology?displayed on high-definition plasma screens in four locations through out the Museum. The Bulletins (Astro, Earth, Bio, and Human) use a blend of documentary videos, three-dimensional animation, and data visualization to bring scientific research to life for adults and children alike. 

Many of these features are six- to eight-minute documentaries that follow scientists to field sites and laboratories around the world to explore topics ranging from the search for ultra-high energy cosmic rays to the rapid evolution of fish species along the Lower Congo River, to the latest research on human papillomaviruses (HPV) and the various cancers they can trigger in humans.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the AMNH.  Each Bulletin is produced by AMNH's curatorial and scientific staff and a team of video producers, designers, writers, and educators using state-of-the-art technologies such as high-definition video and 3-D computer graphics to present cutting-edge research.

Science Bulletins is brought to the Putnam Museum thanks to a grant from the Alcoa Foundation.


Appoints Seasoned Education Professional to Oversee Landmark Reform of Education in Illinois

CHICAGO - June 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today named Gery Chico as the chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Today's action is the latest in a series of appointments the Governor is making as he continues to fulfill his commitment to increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government, fostering economic development and creating jobs today and in the future.

"Gery Chico's decades of experience in education and administration will help keep our schools competitive and prepare our students to succeed in the global economy," said Governor Quinn. "His leadership will be vital as Illinois prepares to implement ground-breaking education reform that we hope will become the model for the entire country."

Chico previously served as president of the board of trustees for the Chicago Public Schools and chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago board. He is also a former chief of staff in the Chicago mayor's office. Chico holds a juris doctorate from Loyola University Chicago and is active in numerous community organizations including the Chicago Urban League, After School Matters and the Illinois Education Foundation.

As President of the Chicago Public Schools, Chico led an effort that improved student performance and teacher confidence for six consecutive years, turned a projected deficit of $1.3 billion into a $345 million surplus, and invested money to build 65 new school facilities and renovate another 375 existing school structures.

Chico also pushed for extended school day programs that allowed over 125,000 students to get more time in the classroom. In addition, he oversaw the creation of afterschool and summer programs that provided nearly 200,000 students with constructive activities to prevent youth crime.

The Illinois State Board of Education is composed of nine members appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The board sets educational policies and guidelines that benefit Illinois' more than two million students attending for public and private schools, preschool through grade 12, as well as vocational education.


WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded funding totaling $1,853,527 to Iowa the through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Iowa will use the funds to upgrade 42.9 miles of electric distribution line, so that it can better withstand severe weather.  This is part of Iowa's Consumers Energy Overhead Electric Retrofit Project.

FEMA obligates funding for these projects directly to the state.  It is the state's responsibility to ensure that the eligible sub-grantees receive these awards.  FEMA contributes 75 percent of the total cost of a project.  State and local entities contribute the other 25 percent.


WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded five grants totaling $7,495,016 to Iowa to help fund Head Start projects.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will distribute the funds as described below.

  • Community Action Agency of Siouxland in Sioux City will receive $1,141,829
  • Community Action of Eastern Iowa in Davenport will receive $1,543,327
  • Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc. in Hiawatha will receive $2,465,916
  • North Iowa Community Action Organization in Mason City will receive $1,223,209
  • Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. in Graettinger will receive $1,120,735


WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has distributed three grants totaling $1,371,194 to Iowa.

The funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Council Bluffs Municipal Airport will receive $656,179 from the Federal Aviation Administration to make improvements to manage storm water runoff and comply with environmental requirements.
  • The Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau will receive $246,672 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to enforce occupant protection programs to reduce deaths and injuries from riding unrestrained or improperly restrained.
  • Ottumwa Regional Airport will receive $468,343 from the Federal Aviation Administration to relocate a road that is currently in the area that must be object free for runway safety.

Each year, local Iowa organizations, colleges and universities, individuals and state agencies apply for competitive grants from the federal government.  The funding is then awarded based on each local organization or individual's ability to meet criteria set by the federal entity.


DAYTON, TN (06/07/2011)(readMedia)-- Lia Johnson of Davenport, IA, is among 181 students named to the Bryan College Dean's List for the spring 2011 semester.

Students earn Dean's List recognition by recording a grade average in the top 25 percent of grades by students in the traditional undergraduate program for that semester.

Lia, daughter of Howard and Susan Johnson of Davenport, was recognized for outstanding academic performance.

Bryan is a Christian liberal arts college offering bachelor's degrees in 18 areas and Master's degrees in Business Administration and Christian Studies. The college has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for 16 consecutive years as being among the Top Tier of Southern liberal arts colleges.

On the web:

June 7, 2011 -- The mood at the Van Nuys National Guard Armory was both celebratory and respectful on June 5 as hundreds of Operation Gratitude volunteers and special guests gathered to assemble care packages for Sailors and Marines assigned to Ronald Reagan Strike Group, and to witness a young Marine Corporal, recently returned from Afghanistan, receive a Victory Vegas 8-Ball Motorcycle promised to him on Christmas Day, 2010.


CPL Cheek1

Cpl. Cheek, his wife Chelsea (on left), and Santa Claus flanked by hundreds of Volunteers

Operation Gratitude Volunteer Coordinator, Penny Alfonso summed up the day simply, "It was a day of laughter, tears, and patriotism."  

Cpl. Clancy Colt Cheek gratefully took ownership of the special gift presented to him by Robert Pandya, External Relations Manager of Victory Motorcycles

Cheek, the recipient of Operation Gratitude's 600,000th care package, is a member of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and returned to Camp Pendleton earlier this spring after a deployment in Sangin, Afghanistan. During the deployment, the 3/5, also known as the "Darkhorse" Battalion, endured heavy combat and losses, including the death of Cheek's best friend, 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood, of Byron, Illinois.

CPL Cheek2

Cpl. Cheek on his new Bike

Pandya told Cheek he was proud to represent Victory Motorcycles and speak on his co-workers' behalf.  "The motorcycle community has always cherished the 'Freedom to Ride,' a privilege guaranteed by the efforts and sacrifice of our heroes in the Military," he said.  "We all thank you for what you, and every member of the Armed Forces have done for those of us lucky enough to live in the United States of America," he said.


Cheek expressed his heartfelt thanks to Victory for the motorcycle and to the Operation Gratitude volunteers for their dedication and support.  Responding to a young woman who called him a hero, Cheek recalled the Marines who did not return from Afghanistan.  "I'm no hero," he said. "Heroes are those men who stood beside me in the Valley of Death and gave their lives for freedom."

Operation Gratitude founder, Carolyn Blashek, said Cheek was the perfect person to receive this gift as a representative of all members of the U.S. Military. "Cpl Cheek was humble and incredibly gracious in accepting the Victory Motorcycle," Blashek said. "He spoke to us straight from his heart, without a single written note, and with much passion, conviction, and great thoughtfulness. There was not a dry eye in the place."  

In commemoration of the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's passing, Michael Reagan, his wife Colleen, and son, Cameron, along with representatives of the Reagan Legacy Foundation participated on the Assembly Line to create care packages for the 5,000 crew members deployed aboard aircraft carrierUSS Ronald Reagan, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States.


Michael Reagan, his family and Reagan Legacy  Foundation Board Members

Reagan, the President's son, read a letter he had received that morning from the Commanding Officer of USS Reagan, Captain T.W. Burke. "Care packages from home are always a welcome surprise and we appreciate everything that Operation Gratitude does to support our Military," Burke wrote.


Care packages were also assembled and shipped to the crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Preble and guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, both currently serving in theRonald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.


Councilman Zine presents Certificates to Kilo Co, Victory Motorcycles and Cpl. Cheek


Councilman Dennis Zine presented beautiful City of Los Angeles Certificates of Appreciation to Cheek; Reagan; Victory Motorcycles; Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, accepted by Company Commander Captain Nick Johnson and First Sergeant George Melendez, and to Lt. Col. Angel Ortiz, the Commander of the California Army National Guard Armory where the majority of Operation Gratitude's work takes place.  Each certificate eloquently stated the recipients' service and accomplishments deserving of recognition.

More photos of the day's events can be seen here and here

Operation Gratitude volunteers will continue to assemble and ship its Patriotic Drive Care Packages through June.

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, to their children left behind, and to Wounded Warriors in Military hospitals and Transition Units. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces and their families the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 640,000 packages to American Military deployed overseas. 

Learn more about Operation Gratitude by visiting:


Des Moines, IA - The Iowa Tea Party, in cooperation with American Principles in Action, The Gold Standard, The Innocence Project, and The Leadership Institute is excited to announce that Presidential candidates Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Gary Johnson and Senator Rick Santorum will be participating in the 2011 Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour.  Let Governor Tim Pawlenty, Congressman Ron Paul, and Governor Mitt Romney know that you would like to see them take part in the tour as well.

This is an excellent opportunity for Iowa voters to learn more about these candidates as they educate themselves about what makes Iowa's "First In The Nation" so important.  Full caucus training as well as materials will be provided in an effort to encourage Iowa voters to get out, get active and get involved.

Come join us as we highlight important issues in order take back our country and get the tools to effectively advocate for the candidate of your choice.  The tour kicks off on June 13, 2011 in Council Bluffs with stops across the state through the July 2nd finale in Des Moines.

Check our website for more detailed information on individual stops, candidates,and issues or contact our office at (515)661-6185 or email at


Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., to be Solicitor General of the United States
Monday, June 6, 2011 

Mr. President:

I will vote to confirm Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., to be Solicitor General of the United States, but I do so with little enthusiasm.  Mr. Verrilli has impressive credentials and noteworthy accomplishments.  In addition to his government service in the White House Counsel's Office and at the Department of Justice, he has been a litigator in private practice for more than 20 years. He has argued twelve cases, and participated in more than 100 cases, before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Mr. Verrilli served for over fifteen years as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center.  He clerked for Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., of the United States Supreme Court, and Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

My concern with this nomination is whether or not the nominee will demonstrate appropriate independence in the office.  His testimony at his hearing raised doubts about his ability and commitment to uphold that principle. Mr. Verrilli seemed to buy into the notion that he was still the President's lawyer.  He gave lip service to the two traditional exceptions to the Solicitor General defending a statute - first, if the statute violates separation of powers by infringing on the President's constitutional authority; and second, if there is no reasonable argument that can be advanced in defense of the statute.  Mr. Verrilli then appeared to create a third exception - one that is not supported by practice or tradition.  He stated he would defend a statute's constitutionality "unless instructed by my superior not to do so."

This position advocated by the nominee - that interference in the rule of law, by the President or by the Attorney General, is an appropriate reason not to defend statutes - was extremely troubling to me and other members of the Committee.  That position is not the standard of the office.  It is not what the nation expects from its Solicitor General. His response gave me great pause about supporting his nomination.

Following his hearing, I gave Mr. Verrilli ample opportunity to address my concerns.  In extensive written questions I asked the nominee to review and comment on testimony given by previous Solicitor General nominees.  In particular, I asked many questions regarding statements by prior Solicitors General regarding the independence of the office.  I asked him to review cases where the Department of Justice had made a determination not to defend a statute.  I asked him to analyze those cases as to the rationale for not defending the statute.  In addition, I asked him to review and comment on a number of Supreme Court cases that address serious constitutional issues.

I reviewed his answers to my written questions for the record.  I commend Mr. Verrilli for his serious approach to the task of providing responses.  In most cases he gave thoughtful answers.  In many instances he declined to provide his views on the topic, but gave general assertions that he would follow the law. In other instances he claimed confidentiality.  I do not agree with his assertion of confidentiality in most of the instances where he raised that as a basis for not responding.  In other circumstances, such a response would be unacceptable.  In the past, such responses, or allegations of similar responses, have resulted in a failed confirmation or withdrawal of the nomination.

Based upon my review of his responses, I am more comfortable with the notion that Mr. Verrilli understands the duty of the Solicitor General. I believe, because of my questions and the time he spent contemplating the issues, he will be a better Solicitor General than he otherwise would have been.  Mr. Verrilli has been exposed to decades of thought and experience by this review.  On the whole, I concluded that Mr. Verrilli now has a greater sensitivity to the necessity of independence in the office.  In numerous answers he provided a much better response than he did at his hearing.  He indicated he would not lend his name or that of the office to carry out any order which he believed to be based on partisan political consideration or other illegitimate reasons.  Rather than do so, he said he would resign from office.  I will hold him to that pledge.

I want to be clear about my tepid support for Mr. Verrilli.  He is nominated to an executive branch position, not a lifetime appointment.  My lukewarm support is based largely on the nature of the office to which he will be appointed, if confirmed.

I will put the administration on notice, as well as Mr. Verrilli, the Senate, the media, and any other interested party.  My less than enthusiastic vote for Mr. Verrilli to be Solicitor General of the United States is limited to that office alone.  No entity or individual should presume my support for Mr. Verrilli for any other future office to which he may aspire or to which he may be nominated - be it in the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of government.

Furthermore, as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, I will vigorously carry out my oversight responsibilities to ensure the Solicitor General and his subordinates are performing as they should.  I will be watching to make certain Mr. Verrilli complies with his oath of office, with his obligation to the Constitution and statutes of the United States, with his duties of the office, and with the assurances he has given the Senate in his oral and written testimony.  I expect nothing less from all officials of government.  I have every expectation that Mr. Verrilli, if confirmed, will honorably live up to those duties, obligations, and assurances.