WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 18, 2010 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that a total of $1,091,930 ($565,965 in loans and $525,965 in grants) will be coming to 12 operations across Iowa to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems, and in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operation.  The funding will benefit farms and businesses located in the following counties: Benton, Boone, Hancock, Jones, Marshall, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Scott, Tama, Union and Wapello.

"Making energy efficiency investments in farms and small businesses benefits these operations, and our state as a whole," said Harkin.  "These steps will help to continue to put us on a path of energy independence, which will lower energy costs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign fuel and protect our natural resources."

Today's grants and loans come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program.  Harkin is a senior member of the panel that funds rural development and energy initiatives.

WEST DES MOINES, IA - May 18, 2010 - For the 47th year, the best grillers in Iowa will gather to compete for the title "Iowa Cookout Champion" at the Iowa State Fair. The contest showcases the state's best outdoor chefs working their culinary magic with some of Iowa's finest meat products.


The search for a new champion begins this summer when county Farm Bureaus host local contests to determine winners in several categories. Local finalists will compete for the state title on Iowa Farm Bureau Day at the fair, Tuesday, Aug. 17, on the Grand Concourse of the Iowa State Fairgrounds.


The first local contests will be held in June. A list of the county cookout contests will be updated regularly on the Iowa Farm Bureau website, http://www.iowafarmbureau.com. Interested grillers and attendees should also contact their county Farm Bureau office for more details and information on rules and contests in their areas.


"The cookout contest is about sharing the best of what Iowa has to offer: its people and the food raised on our farms," said Iowa Farm Bureau cookout coordinator Denny Harding. "Every year hundreds of grillers compete in local competitions for a chance to showcase their best for state fairgoers."


Contestants will compete in six categories: beef, pork, lamb/goat, poultry, turkey and combo/specialty. Entries in the beef category will be limited to chuck or round primal cuts, including ground chuck or ground round. Combo recipes combine two or more meats from the five other categories. Specialty recipes may feature venison or any other Iowa domestically raised product. All wild game is excluded.


Creations will be judged on taste, appearance and originality. Special recognition will also go to contestants in showmanship, youth and team cooking categories. Youth grillers must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, as of Aug. 1, 2010. Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not eligible to compete.




Editor's Note: To view and download photos of last year's Cookout Contest, click on the following link: http://tiny.cc/eymm1. Photos from other Cookout Contests can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here: http://bit.ly/cmZlHD. Photos should be credited to Joe Murphy, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

WASHINGTON - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - Senator Chuck Grassley has asked government regulators and industry for information related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Grassley has asked for an accounting of how the federal Minerals Management Service responded to previous critical reports from the agency's Inspector General; conflicts of interest on the Interior Department board charged with examining safety procedures for offshore drilling; the government's handling of the regulation that requires written certification that blowout preventers are capable of shearing drill pipes in emergency situations; communications between BP and Transocean that may shed light on why the oil rig exploded; and how operating under the flag of foreign governments may shield industry from regulation.

"I'm asking some of the countless questions about what's behind the Gulf Coast oil spill on behalf of the public and taxpayers," Grassley said.  "It's a matter of accountability and understanding how the system works, or doesn't, going forward, especially with regard to the regulators' cozy relationship with industry."

Grassley said he's conducting his review as part of his constitutional responsibility for oversight and as Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, which has jurisdiction over the oil-spill liability trust fund and tax incentives for deep water drilling.

Click here to read Grassley's letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Click here to read Grassley's letter to BP Chairman and President Lamar McKay.

Click here to read Grassley's letter to Transocean, Ltd. President and CEO Steven Newman.

Click here to read Grassley's letter to Halliburton Co. Chairman, President and CEO David Lesar.


DES MOINES, IA (05/18/2010)(readMedia)-- Summer is finally here and, with Memorial Day around the corner, now is the perfect time to start the summer off right with a worry-free weekend in the great outdoors. The Iowa State Fair Campgrounds has plenty of space available through mid-July with country comforts alongside big city style and excitement.

Ranked among the most beautiful in the Midwest, the 160-acre Iowa State Fair Campgrounds are home to century-old trees, woodland flora and small wildlife. The Campgrounds houses over 1800 sites fully equipped with water and electrical hookups, 600 sites with sewers, and three large bathhouses outfitted with clean showers, toilets and sinks.

In addition to the excellent facilities, the Campgrounds offers 24-hour security and affordable rates: $23 per night for sites equipped with water, electricity and sewer; $20 per night for sites equipped with water and electricity; and $18 per night for sites without utilities.

Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds office at 515/262-3111 x284. Campers without reservations are welcome as well. Enter through one of the Fairgrounds' main entrances off East University Avenue or East 30th Street and follow the signs into the Campgrounds.

The Iowa State Fair Campgrounds are easy to find and conveniently located just off Interstates 80 and 35. Just minutes from Des Moines-area attractions like Adventureland Park, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, the East Village and endless dining and shopping options, the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy the comforts of home and the excitement of the city at a manageable cost.

The Iowa State Fair is set for "Non Stop Fun" August 12-22, 2010. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

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WASHINGTON - May 18, 2010 - Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, founder and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, this week said the direct experiences of youth in the foster care system continue to be critical to improving policies that help foster youth find permanent, loving homes and smooth the transition of those who "age out" of the system.

"You can read all the studies in the world, but nothing compares to hearing from someone who's lived the experience," Grassley said.  "Congress has to continue listening to foster kids and the people who work with them, then we need to act to improve whatever isn't working.  We also need to listen to federal, state and local care providers.  Youth in foster care are in the educational system as well as various social services programs.  Everyone needs to communicate well, or kids might fall through the cracks."

Grassley highlighted the individual experiences of foster youth at a special event on Capitol Hill.  The caucus hosted a preview of an upcoming Porch Productions documentary "From Place to Place," which follows six young people as they "age out" of the foster care system.  Then the senators held a roundtable discussion with leading child welfare researchers, advocates, policy makers and young people from foster care.

The event focused on the challenges and needs of the half a million youth in foster care and provided a forum for discussing policy recommendations to improve the foster care system and better serve the youth in care.

Moderating the discussion was Gary Stangler, executive director, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.  Stangler is the co-author of the book "On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System," which dedicates a chapter to Reggie Kelsey, an 18-year-old from Des Moines who aged out of the foster care system and died in 2001.  His death prompted advocacy for foster youth and improvements of services in Iowa.

The event was the latest in a series to highlight May as National Foster Care month.  Last week, Grassley and the caucus co-chairman, Sen. Mary Landrieu, hosted a policy briefing covering recommendations in areas such as employment, housing, financial security, education, mentoring and permanency to improve the experiences and outcomes of youth in foster care. The panelists included researchers, child welfare experts, and alumni of the foster care system.

In 2008, Congress passed and the President signed legislation Grassley initiated to make major updates to foster care laws and dramatically increase adoption into permanent, loving homes.  The law - Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 -- also broke new ground by establishing opportunities for states to extend care and help "aged out" kids with education and vocational training.  Monitoring implementation of this law is another focus of the Senate caucus.


"Put a Smile on a Child"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Augustana College PepsiCo Center

1025 30th Street, Rock Island

·Fun children's activities!

·Free dinner!

·Community agencies with useful information

Bring your youth group, school group,

neighborhood, friends and family

All activities and food are free

For more information call:

Churches United, 309/786-6494

Dog bite prevention tips

CHICAGO ? Fifty-four Chicago U.S. Postal Service letter carriers were among the 2,863 postal employees attacked by dogs last year, yet that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans bitten annually ? the majority of whom were children.

According to the City of Chicago's Commission on Animal Care and Control, nearly 2,000 Chicagoans are bitten annually. Fortunately, dog bites are preventable through training, proper control of dogs and education.

These statistics are part of the reason the Postal Service recognizes National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a public health issue.

"We often hear two tall tales at the Postal Service ? 'the check's in the mail,' and 'don't worry, my dog won't bite'," said Delores Killette, Postal Service vice president and Consumer Advocate. "Given the right circumstances, any dog can bite. Working with animal behavior experts, we've developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership."

To spread the word that dog bites are preventable, the Postal Service is working with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Other organizations include the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS) the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) and Prevent The Bite.

"Warm and wonderful relationships are shared between more than 72 million pet dogs and their owners in the United States," said Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division. "To protect those relationships, everyone must take responsibility for preventing dog bite injuries."

"Any dog can bite," Golab added. "Even the gentlest dog, if it is physically or mentally unhealthy, is in pain, feels threatened, or is protecting its food or a favorite toy, can bite. Not only is it important to understand how dogs behave, it is important to understand how our behavior may be interpreted by a dog. To prevent dog bites, we need to find a common language. Finding that common language is the focus of effective dog bite prevention educational efforts."

"Half of all children will be bitten by a dog by the time they're high school seniors," said Dr. Alison Tothy, chair of the committee on injury and poison prevention of AAP's Illinois chapter. "It's so important for parents to supervise young children around dogs at all times, and it's just as important for children to be taught from an early age how to keep from being bitten."

Plastic surgeon Loren Schechter of Morton Grove, IL, knows all too well how devastating injuries from dog attacks can be. "More than 30,000 reconstructive procedures after dog bites were performed last year, up eight percent since 2008. Unfortunately, many of these surgeries were performed on children," said Schechter, member of the ASPS, ASRM and ASMS. "Children are frequently bitten on the face, which can result in severe lacerations, infection or scarring."

Kelly Voigt, 18, was the victim of a savage dog attack when she was seven years old, and needed 100 stitches to her face as part of her recovery.
"Dog bite prevention education cannot begin early enough," said Voigt. The experience was the catalyst behind the creation of Prevent The Bite, a non-profit organization that promotes dog bite prevention to young children. To date, Voigt has spoken before more than 10,000 elementary school students.

To help educate the public about dog bites, the AVMA developed a brochure, "What you should know about dog bite prevention," offering tips on how to avoid being bitten, what dog owners can do to prevent their dogs from biting and how to treat dog bites.

Tips include :  Pick a dog that is a good match for your home, consult your veterinarian for details, socialize your pet and  avoid aggressive games with your pet. To access the brochure online, visit www.avma.org/press/publichealth/dogbite/mediakit.asp.

The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. Letter carriers fearing for their safety due to a loose or unrestrained pet may curtail delivery and ask homeowners to pick up their mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet is restrained. In cases where carriers see the dog roaming, delivery could be curtailed to the neighborhood.

The Postal Service offers these tips as well:

How to Avoid Being Bitten
  • Don't run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
  • If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
  • Don't approach a strange dog, especially one that's tethered or confined.
  • While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
  • If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner
  • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
  • When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
  • Don't let your child take mail from the carrier in the presence of your dog. Your dog's instinct is to protect the family.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
  • Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.

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WHEN: Wednesday JUNE 2, 2010


2103 West Third Street

Davenport, IA

Phone: 563-322-2959

TIME: 6:30 p.m.

An evening of ministering to the hurting in our community.

Everyone welcome!

A community comes together to support Family Literacy Program

(Rock Island, IL)  With the recent influx of immigrants, many children and families are struggling to understand the new culture and language.  But thanks to many community partners coming together sharing resources, families from nine different countries speaking six different languages are learning English and nineteen community partners supporting them.

A news event highlighting the first year's success of the Lights ON for Learning Family Literacy Program is being held Thursday, May 20th at 11:00 am at the Church of Peace (1114 12th Street in Rock Island) in the Fellowship Hall.   The program began with three families in the fall and at year's end there are now over forty adult students and 25 pre-school children participating.

Attending the news conference will be Rock Island Mayor, Dennis Pauley, Rock Island Schools Superintendent, Mike Oberhaus, the former Superintendent of the Regional Office of Education, Joe Vermeire, as well as representatives from the various community partners who are the backbone of this program.  The teachers and the families involved in the program will also be available for interviews.

The program is from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays at the Church of Peace.  A typical day at the Lights ON for Learning Family Literacy program consists of English as a Second Language tutoring, lunch and activities with their children, parenting and life skills, and computer and library skills training.


Scott County Republicans will be hosting a forum / debate for the two candidates vying in the June 8th primary to emerge as the Republican nominee for the First District Congressional race against incumbent Bruce Braley. The two candidates are Will Johnson from Dubuque and Ben Lange from Independence.

The forum / debate will take place in the Bettendorf High School auditorium on Tuesday, May 18 at 7 o'clock in the evening. The event is open to the public and there is no charge for admission.

The program involves a series of questions of a topical nature allowing the candidates to both express their views and challenge and differentiate their views from those of their opponents.

Each candidate's contact information is available at the following:

Will Johnson: http://johnsoncampaign.weebly.com/

Ben Lange: http://www.langeforcongress.com/

Scott County Republican Chairman Judy Davidson has stated in advance of the event: "We are looking forward to a spirited presentation by the candidates and are confident a strong contender will emerge from the primary to challenge Bruce Braley."

Scott County Republican Party contact information: Judy Davidson, Chairwoman

563-355-8887,  williamdavidsoniii@mchsi.com or http://www.scottcountyrepublicans.org/