(Davenport, IA) The Davenport Parks and Recreation Department announced today that it will give away free trees and shrubs again this year for Earth Day, on Saturday, April 23rd. The trees and shrubs will be given away at Vander Veer Conservatory between 10am and 12 noon. Several Master Gardeners will be available to teach participants about proper planting and care techniques for the tree or shrub, along with information about supporting wildlife. Tree planting and care information for the public will be available.

"Earth Day marks the anniversary of what some consider the beginning of the modern environmental movement", according to Greg Wolf, Environmental Education Supervisor for the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department. "What better way to show our Department's support of this movement, than to give away trees and shrubs." Trees are donated by the Scott County Soil and Water District and Living Lands and Waters (Plant a Million Trees Campaign). Trees given away will include a variety of oaks, white spruce, red osier dogwood, serviceberry, and others. "Supplies are limited," said Wolf. "Trees and shrubs will be given away on a first come, first serve basis."

Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

S. 23, The America Invents Act

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mr. President, at this time I want to speak in support of S. 23, the America Invents Act.  I appreciate all the hard work that Chairman Leahy, Senator Hatch, Senator Sessions, Senator Kyl and others have put into this bipartisan bill.

Over the past 5 or so years that the Senate Judiciary Committee has been considering comprehensive patent reform, Chairman Leahy has engaged Senators on both sides of the aisle as well as a wide range of groups.  His efforts have been pivotal in bringing together diverse views and crafting a reasonable compromise bill.  In fact, the bill is supported by a large number of industries and other stakeholders from the United States patent community.  I commend the leadership of Chairman Leahy, as well as the leadership of Senator Hatch, for getting us to where we are now.

Intellectual property rights are extremely important to our nation's economy.  An effective and efficient patent system will help promote innovation and technological advancements in America, and make life better for us all.  An effective and efficient patent system also will help provide a stimulus for businesses and generate new jobs.

Everyone agrees - we need a well functioning Patent and Trademark Office so that it can complete its work in a timely manner.  We should find ways to help the Patent and Trademark Office speed up the patent application process and eliminate the current backlog it is experiencing.  We should reduce costs and decrease abusive litigation, and improve certainty in the patent process and strengthen patent quality.

The America Invents Act will help do all these things.  The bipartisan bill before us will update and upgrade the United States patent system.  It will enhance transparency and patent quality.   And, it will ensure that the Patent and Trademark Office has the tools and funding to cut its backlog and process patent applications more quickly.  The improvements to the patent system contained in our bill will help spur economic prosperity and job creation.  I'm pleased to support it.

Specifically, the bill would improve patent quality by establishing the opportunity for third parties to submit prior art and other information related to a pending application for consideration by a patent examiner.  By allowing prior art to be submitted earlier in the process and explained to the Office, patent examiners will be able to issue higher quality patents.

The bill would create a "first window" post-grant opposition proceeding open for 9 months after the grant of a patent.  This would allow the Patent and Trademark Office to weed out patents that shouldn't have been issued in the first place.  This new post grant review process - which was recommended in a 2004 Report issued by the National Academy of Sciences - would enable early challenges to patents, but also protect the rights of inventors and patent owners against endless litigation.  The reason we want to ensure that the Patent and Trademark Office issues high quality patents is to incentivize investment in truly innovative technological advances and provide more certainty for investors in these inventions.

In addition, the bill would improve the current inter partes administrative process for challenging the validity of a patent.  It would establish an adversarial inter partes review, with a higher threshold for initiating a proceeding and procedural safeguards to prevent a challenger from using the process to harass patent owners.  It also would include a strengthened estoppel standard to prevent petitioners from raising in a subsequent challenge the same patent issues that

were raised or reasonably could have been raised in a prior challenge.  The bill would significantly reduce the ability to use post-grant procedures for abusive serial challenges to patents.  These new procedures would also provide faster, less costly alternatives to civil litigation to challenge patents.

The bill would institute a gate keeping role for the court to assess the legal basis for damages and jury instructions.  This would provide more certainty in damages calculation and promote uniformity and fairness.  The bill also would transition the United States to a first-inventor to file system, simplifying the application process and coordinating it with our trading partners.  This change will reduce costs and help improve the competitiveness of American inventors abroad.

Further, the bill would provide fee setting authority for the Patent Trademark Office Director to ensure that the Patent and Trademark Office is properly funded and can reduce its current backlog of patent applications.

The bill also would mandate a reduction of fees by 50% for small entities and 75% for micro-entities.

I want to particularly thank Chairman Leahy for working with me and Senator Baucus on a provision that would curtail patents on tax strategies.  These patents encumber the ability of taxpayers and their advisors to use the tax law freely, interfering with the voluntary tax compliance system.  Tax strategy patents undermine the fairness of the Federal tax system by removing from the public domain ways to satisfy a taxpayer's legal obligations.  If firms or individuals hold patents for these strategies, some taxpayers could face fees simply for complying with the tax code.  Moreover, tax patents provide windfalls to lawyers and patent holders by granting them exclusive rights to use tax loopholes, which could provide some businesses with an unfair advantage.

Our provision would ensure that all taxpayers will have equal access to strategies to comply with the tax code.

This provision was carefully drafted with the help of the Patent and Trademark Office not to cover software preparation and other software, tools or systems used to prepare tax or information returns or manage taxpayer's finances.

In conclusion, the America Invents Act will protect inventors' rights and encourage innovation and investment in our economy.  The bill will improve transparency and third party participation in the patent application review process.  This, in turn, will strengthen patent quality and result in more fairness for both patent holders and patent challengers.  The bill will institute beneficial changes to the patent process to curb litigation abuses and improve certainty for investors and innovators.  It will help companies do business more efficiently on an international basis.

The bill also will enhance operations of the Patent and Trademark Office with administrative reforms and will give the Office fee setting authority to reduce backlogs and better manage its business.

I'm pleased to support this hard fought bipartisan legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support it as well.



North Liberty - March 1, 2011 - SpeedConnect announced today the significant expansion of their wireless broadband service from technology installed on towers in West Branch and Wilton, IA, that should cover most of the rural community within 15 miles of these locations. This expansion project complements an existing service coverage area that includes Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Vinton, Marion, Anamosa, Williamsburg, North Liberty, much of the Quad Cities, as well as communities close to these areas.

SpeedConnect, a company started in Michigan, expanded into Eastern Iowa by acquiring the customer base and network from CommSpeed in May of 2010. Since that time, SpeedConnect has established a local office in North Liberty, IA, led by Tony Lounsberry who relocated from their Michigan operation. SpeedConnect has spent the last six months investing over $450,000.00 to upgrade and improve the technology supporting the existing customer base, and preparing for expansion of service availability.

SpeedConnect offers a premium broadband connection that is designed to support the usage demands of the modern day broadband consumer, including online movie subscriptions, gaming and other online video streaming services. As an alternative to cable and telephone broadband services, SpeedConnect offers superior reliability, performance and the ability to work with a local company.

"The broadband connection has become the source of home entertainment," said John Ogren, SpeedConnect's president.  "Our customers consistently tell us they are streaming broadcast and motion picture content directly to their computer or TV over our broadband service, rather than from a now-antiquated, higher-priced cable television or satellite service."

Tony Lounsberry, Iowa General Manager, outlined the expansion, saying, "Our upgrades are done and we are ready to provide an exciting new service to the residents of Iowa in our coverage areas. SpeedConnect's service is different than most broadband options. If you'd like to know how home entertainment can be more affordable for you, please call us today. Our operations in Michigan have been providing rock-solid, reliable broadband service for more than ten years, and we are looking forward to serving our new Iowa customers."

About SpeedConnect
SpeedConnect, a leading provider of wireless broadband services, owns and uses FCC-licensed 2.5 GHz EBS and BRS spectrum and technology. Owners Robert G. Liggett, Jr. and John A. Ogren founded SpeedConnect in Michigan and expanded the operation to Iowa in May of 2010. For more information, go to www.speedconnect.com 3049 Bay Plaza Drive, Saginaw, Michigan 48604. 866-297-2900.

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program of Scott County Iowa serves pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women; infants and children through age five. The program provides monthly checks to every family member who is eligible and enrolled in the program. The checks are for healthy foods that can be bought at participating grocery stores. WIC provides an average of $50-$75 worth of checks to each participant monthly.

Women, parents, and guardians of children under age 5, can call one of our two locations to check their program eligibility. WIC at Edgerton Womens Health Center 563-359-6635 and WIC at Friendly House 563-322-1105. Hours of operation for both facilities are Monday, Tuesday and Friday 8am-4:30pm, Wednesday at Friendly House 9:30am-6pm and Thursday at Edgertons 9:30am-6pm.

The WIC program also offers child immunizations and lead screens, as well as, breastfeeding support. Call today to see if you qualify for any our program benefits!

Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Baker has accepted the position of president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce in Michigan. Baker will begin his new duties in April. Grand Rapids is located in western Michigan, and is part of the Grand Rapids-Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area, pop. 776,000.


Baker's experience in the chamber of commerce field spans more than 23 years, including 17 years in the Quad Cities. He served 16 years as president and CEO of the Illinois Quad City Chamber before taking on the role of president and chief operating officer of the recently-formed Quad Cities Chamber last fall. Prior to arriving in the Quad Cities, Baker was president of the Newton, Iowa, Chamber of Commerce. He began his chamber career in Rochester, Minn., in 1987.


"The merger of the Illinois Quad City and Iowa Quad Cities Chambers amplified the visibility of our region on a national stage and increased the professional marketability of chamber staff. This new opportunity in Grand Rapids came about because of the visibility related to the merger," said Baker. "The offer from Grand Rapids was simply one that I could not turn down. Still, I will leave the Quad Cities with many fond memories and immense gratitude for those whom I've worked closely with over the years."


Tara Barney, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce CEO, commended Baker. "I wish Rick well in his new community. He is a consummate professional and a great leader. His many years of experience helped pave the way for the chamber's transition to the current regional model; the merger simply could not have happened without Rick's support and guidance. That another chamber came knocking at his door does not surprise me. He is highly respected within our field," she said.


Baker added that he has "every confidence in the new regional model for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce."


The Grand Rapids Area Chamber has approximately 2,800 members. "We look forward to bringing on a leader who will hit the ground running, building on the base of success we have established at the Grand Rapids Chamber," said Meg Goebel, president, Paul Goebel Group and chairperson of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

The Independent Scholars' Evenings are in session for the 2010-2011 Spring semester. Every Thursday evening at 7.00 p.m.
There is a difference this semester.
The Fifth Avenue door is open.  Convey to the city the wonderful job they have done on Fifth Avenue, please.
Of course the elevator is still through the 16th. street door.
Also, the sessions will be open session untill the evening is to be dedicated to the work of  one specific topic narrowing down through the presentation of  an Independent Scholar.  At which time we will publicise and circulate the presentation.
The evenings are for the presentation of  area Independent Scholars' ongoing work.
We will indicate to you the upcoming work, and you may, if  you are interested,  go over some background information yourself before the session.

For those who wish to schedule, just let us know and we will publicise your presentation. You can email me at this address or let either Lorna Thompson or me know when you come in for the ISE Thursdays.
Upcoming in April by area Independent Scholars:  The Power of  Social Media, by Chris Scott, Social Media Innovations.
and a presentation by Michael Rosenthal on the implications of  2012, as well as the pre-publication, final review of  Conceptual Art by Narveen Aryaputri, the current Carp Sustainable fishing by Michael Grady, export manager at Schafer Fishery.
Exact dates and timings will be circulated at a later date.
In the meantime, doors are open at 6.30p.m. Free snacks and a cash bar are available.
Please use the Evenings for your own work and support them so we can together support encourage and augment the ongoing work produced in our area.
Evenings dedicated to Independent Scholarship and research in the open collective society and outside of  academe are rare.
Bring your friends and your ideas.
The Evenings are free and open to the public.
on behalf  of  the board, co-learners and supports of  the Independent Scholars' Evenings

SPRINGFIELD - February 28, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today sent a formal request to President Barack Obama asking that 60 counties be declared federal disaster areas, in order to help local governments recover from the major blizzard and winter storm that impacted much of Illinois in early February. State and local government expenses related to storm response and recovery are estimated to be more than $64 million.

"Record snowfall and dangerous ice from this major winter storm created significant challenges for local governments earlier this month", said Governor Quinn. "While the snow is mostly gone, the serious financial impacts of the storm remain. Today I am asking President Obama to help these communities recover many of their expenses by approving this request."

In the letter to President Obama, Governor Quinn requested that 60 counties receive federal reimbursement for extraordinary storm-related expenses, including emergency protective measures, debris removal and permanent repair of damages to government-owned facilities and electrical cooperatives. If approved, local government entities could receive reimbursement for 75 percent of their eligible storm-related expenses.

SPRINGFIELD, IL (02/28/2011)(readMedia)-- A Desert Storm Remembrance ceremony was held Feb. 28 at the Illinois State Capitol building to honor the 20th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War.

During the war Illinois lost 14 servicemembers from cities spread out over the state who served in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps.

With the mobilization of reserve components, the Illinois National Guard supplied approximately 10 units and roughly 1,400 Soldiers and Airmen to support Operation Desert Storm.

The 1244th Transportation Company in North Riverside, the 1544th Transportation Company in Paris, the 108th Medical Battalion in Chicago, the 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls, the 233rd Military Police Company in Springfield, the 126th Air Refueling Wing and two of its subordinated squadrons all based in Scott Air Force Base, the 182nd Tactical Air Support Group in Peoria and the 933rd Military Police Company in Fort Sheridan were deployed to support the combat efforts in Kuwait.

The Illinois National Guard, Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 32, Gold Star Families were some of the organizations that participated in the ceremony.

IEPA Director Doug Scott to Lead Commerce Commission, Manny Flores to Lead IDFPR Division of Banking

CHICAGO - February 28, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced several top appointments to his executive cabinet. Today's actions are the next step in a series of appointments Governor Quinn will continue making throughout the first quarter of 2011 as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, recovering our economy and making state government more efficient and accountable to the people of Illinois.

Today Governor Quinn named Doug Scott as chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and Manuel "Manny" Flores as director of the Division of Banking of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Scott has served as director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) since 2005 and Flores has chaired the ICC since January 2010. Governor Quinn also named Andrew Ross as the state's chief operating officer and Lisa Bonnett as interim director of IEPA.

"Throughout their careers, Doug Scott and Manny Flores have proven themselves to be strong advocates for the interests of Illinois' working families," said Governor Quinn. "Today's appointments will allow them to keep fighting for Illinois' consumers by ensuring proper oversight and regulation of utility companies and banks throughout our state."

As director of the IEPA, Scott has protected Illinois' consumers by working to significantly reduce emissions from the state's power plants. He has also worked to support low-emission coal technology, wind power, and other alternative energy and fuel sources. Prior to leading the IEPA, Scott served as mayor of Rockford, and from 1995 to 2001 he served as state representative from Illinois' 67th District. Scott has a bachelor of arts from the University of Tulsa and a juris doctorate from Marquette University.

As chairman of the ICC, Flores worked to ensure consumers received efficient, reliable, safe and fairly-priced utility services. Before leading the ICC, Flores served on the Chicago City Council and as a prosecutor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Dominican University and juris doctorate from George Washington University Law School.

Lisa Bonnett will serve as the interim director of the IEPA. Bonnett is currently serving as the agency's acting deputy director and previously served at its chief fiscal officer. Bonnett has worked in state government for more than 30 years and lives in Springfield. She has a bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Today Governor Quinn also named Andrew Ross as the state's chief operating officer. Ross, who for the last two years has served as a deputy chief of staff in the governor's office, will lead efforts to promote continued job growth in Illinois. He will manage efforts in the governor's office and across state government to keep and attract new companies, encourage expansion of the green economy, and spur entrepreneurship and innovation across Illinois. In his previous position, Ross worked on an incentive package to keep Navistar and 3,000 jobs in Illinois, aided implementation of the state's $31 billion capital program and helped overhaul the regulation of the Illinois cemetery industry following the tragedy at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip.


February 28, 2011

City Administrator Malin announced today that Director of Parks & Recreation Seve Ghose has accepted an offer of employment with the City of Longmont, Colorado, and will be resigning his position. Mr. Ghose will remain with Davenport until May 27, and will continue to lead the department's efforts to become accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) prior to his departure. A CAPRA site visit will be conducted in May, as a final review step in the accreditation process.

Mr. Ghose was hired by Davenport from the City of Portland, Oregon, in July of 2008. He has overseen significant expansion of park facilities and recreation programming during his tenure, including re-opening the Quad City Sports Center as the River's Edge, a City owned and operated multi-purpose recreation facility that has exceeded use and revenue expectations in its first year.

Mr. Ghose expressed regret in leaving Davenport, and underscored that the move to Colorado was guided by a desire to be closer to his extended family. Mr. Ghose said "Davenport is a great place to live, but we have some family needs out west. It has been a privilege to work in Davenport for the past few years."

City Administrator Malin expressed gratitude for Mr. Ghose's professional and enthusiastic efforts to advance parks and recreation in Davenport, noting "Seve has done a great job for Davenport, and I hate to lose him. He has set the bar high for his successor."

The City will conduct an open, national recruitment for its next Director of Parks and Recreation.