The Iowa Motion Picture Association invites you to attend our Special Effects Seminar.  This informational session will be conducted by Paul Steffensen of Dane Art Studios,
Attendees will receive an informative overview of what special effects are. Included will be a discussion and brief history of the categories  of special effects, a synopsis of various pioneers and specialists in this field, video-taped examples of films and local productions. Attendees will gain a general knowledge of what is involved in creating special effects, how to plan for them, and what c an be accomplished.

About Paul Steffensen

Paul started in the film industry in 1987 and has worked on numerous films, made-for-TV movies, local & national TV commercials, and music videos.  He has extensive knowledge in Art Direction, Set Design & Construction, Custom Props, Storyboarding, and Special Effects.  His credits include PBS, Hallmark TV, Discovery Channel, Pepsi, Iowa Lottery & PowerBall, and independent films.  Paul was nominated for an Emmy for the Hallmark movie Harvest of Fire 

Special Effects Seminar Details

When: Saturday, October 30, 2010 from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM 

Where: Worldwide Amplified, 700 Locust, Skywalk Level, Des Moines

Seminar Agenda
I.          Special Effects

  • What are they?
  • Define special effects
  • Basic Principles
  • Categories
  • Pioneers and Specialists
II.        Special Effect Specifics
  • How did they do that?
  • Effects in combination
  • Imagination and Inventiveness
  • Creating a special effect
  • What do you / we need to know?
  • The process - concept to creation
  • Books and reference material.
III. Discussion. Questi ons and Answers
  • Hypothetical scenarios
  • FX solutions
$25 - IMPA Members
$35 - Non-IMPA Members
$80 - Class and Membership Fee

Learn more and register here:

Congratulations to Rivermont senior Asha Tadepalli, who has been named a Commended Scholar for her outstanding performance in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship program!  Approximately 34,000 students are named Commended Scholars; this distinct group represents the top 5% of the 1.5 million students who took the PSAT last October.  Asha, who has attended Rivermont since her junior year, is the daughter of Sharmila Pitta and Bhaskar Tadepalli of Moline.  Asha is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, as well as participating on the Varsity Girls' Basketball team.  She is currently exploring pre-med options at the University of Iowa, University of Chicago, NYU, Northwestern University, and Washington University.  The entire Rivermont community is extremely proud of Asha!

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities' only preschool through 12th grade independent school, with a proud tradition of preparing students who are grounded in the basics, yet able to think analytically and creatively to confidently meet the challenges of the 21st century.

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, contact Cindy Murray, Director of Admissions, at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or


CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - October 7, 2010: The Narcisse For Iowa Campaign published its "Ten Keys To Rebuilding Iowa's Economy" today and released it to the media and public at a live webcast news conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


The 11 page report is published at and is also available at


Jonathan Narcisse, the independent candidate for governor, running on the Iowa Party ticket, began the 12 p.m. news conference by taking questions from reporters.  His forty-five minute presentation, summarizing the Ten Keys To Rebuild Iowa's Economy, was broadcast live via the internet and is archived at

Narcisse is in Cedar Rapids today as part of the Iowans For a Fair Debate's effort to add substance to the second of three exclusive two party gubernatorial debates.  The candidate will be hosting a news conference at 9 p.m. tonight to address the 7 p.m. debate happening at Coe College. The 9 p.m. event will be live web cast and will include a round table with former senatorial candidate Christopher Reed.   Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Narcisse is available for one on one interviews.

Contact:  515-770-1218  or 563-650-0120


Summary of the 10 Keys to Rebuilding Iowa's Economy

An Engine, Not A Motor


Over the past three decades Iowa's economy has been powered by a motor, not an engine.

Motors are powered from without. Iowa's economic motor has been powered by out of state enterprise, such as Wal-Mart and Microsoft, recruited here by statehouse politicians lacking a true understanding of the state's role in building an economy. They accomplished the political priority of creating jobs, but they created those jobs at the expense of Iowa's taxpayers and Iowa based businesses.

Iowa based businesses, particularly in our food industry, not only created jobs, but they invested in the local little league, stimulated local commerce and put their money in local banks.

I. Tax Reform

   A. Corporate Tax Reform

   B. Property Tax Reform

   C. Sales Tax Reform

   D. Individual Income Tax Reform

II.  Community Capitalism Initiative


III. Investment in Vocational and Technical Education


IV. Illegal Immigration Reform


V. Youth Retention/Development Campaign

   A. Identify & Target Our Highest Achieving Students To Stay In Iowa

   B. College Retention Initiative

   C. Repeal Youth Minimum Wage & Modify Youth Labor Laws

   D. Youth Mentor/Apprenticeship Programs

   E. Youth Entrepreneur Initiatives

   F. Urban/Rural Resettlement Campaign

   G. Expanded Marketing of Iowa's Strengths


VI. Urban Development Initiative

   A. Neighborhood Stabilization/Revitalization

   B. Enterprise Zones

   C. L.L.C.s and Cooperative Ventures

   D. Urban-Rural Collaborations

   E. Responsible Use Of Tax Credits


VII. Rural Revitalization Initiative

   A. Rural Repopulation

   B. Enterprise Zones

   C. L.L.C.s and Cooperative Ventures

   D. Rural-Urban Collaborations

   E. Tax Credits

   F. Wire Rural Iowa


VIII. Re-Affirm Our Commitment To Family Farms And Agriculture


IX. The Responsible Use of Tax Credits


X. Define the Role of Government in Economic Empowerment


   A. Re-Organize State Economic Bureaucracy

   B. Create Pro-Business Government

   C. Develop Technical Support

   D. Get Government Out

   E. Gambling Reform


The 11 page report is published at and is also available at

BOSTON?American homes are increasingly besieged by menacing zombies, invading aliens, and threatening criminals. The fact that these beings exist only on-screen?as characters in popular video games?may be small comfort to parents concerned about limiting their children's exposure to violence. The October issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter reports that worries about video game violence are probably overblown, but also offers advice on how parents can minimize any potential harm.

As a first step, check a video game's Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating to better understand what type of content the game has. It may also help to place video consoles and computers in common areas of the home, such as the kitchen or living room, rather than in children's bedrooms. Finally, set limits on the amount of time youths play these games. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends two hours or less of total screen time per day?a limit that includes television and computers as well as video games.

Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, points out that video games share much in common with other pursuits that are enjoyable and rewarding, but that can become hazardous in certain contexts. Parents can best protect their children by remaining engaged with them and providing limits and guidance as necessary.

Read the full-length article: "Violent video games and young people"

Also in this issue:

  • Cognitive enhancement therapy for schizophrenia
  • Managing dental phobia
  • Treatment for adolescent depression
  • Living with bipolar disorder
  • Why eating slowly makes people feel full
  • Antidepressants and cataracts

The Harvard Mental Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications (, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $59 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).


At the Start of the 10th Year of the War in Afghanistan, Military Families Say: "Bring our Troops Home Now and Allow Them to Heal"

Family Members of Troops Currently Deployed, Recently Returned, or Killed in Action in Afghanistan Available for Interview

October 7, 2010 - Today marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan War, now the longest war in American history, with 1,321 American service members killed in action, at least 8,000 wounded, tens of thousands of Afghani civilians killed, and over 352 billion of American taxpayer dollars wasted. Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), the largest organization of military families to speak out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calls on Senators and Representatives to bring our troops home now and provide the support they need to recover from the wounds of war, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

Members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), and their chapter Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO), will be participating in vigils and actions to mark this day. We are also involved in the launch of a national veteran-led campaign to end the military's widespread practice of deploying wounded troops into war zones. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Operation Recovery: Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops will focus on ending the practice of deploying service members suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

One MFSO family member recalls the experience of her cousin who served in the US Marine Corps, and was deployed after 2 tours of duty, including the 2007 troop surge in Fallujah, Iraq, "He wasn't mentally stable enough to return to combat operations in Afghanistan but the Marines deployed him anyway. He had to go because orders are orders. On December 26th 2009, just two weeks into combat operations in Afghanistan¾he killed himself because he couldn't handle the war raging in his head."

How many more lost lives and injured young souls will it take before our Congressional leaders will demonstrate the kind of courage our loved ones in the military show every day? When will Congress stop thinking about political posturing, show the courage to end the war, and allow our surviving troops to heal and recover from this nine-year debacle?

Family members of both the Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans, including many with personal experience of having a loved one deployed while wounded, are available for interview. We will be supporting the IVAW press conference at 1:30pm at Russell Senate Office Building, Constitution Ave NE, and Delaware Ave. NE) At this press conference, veterans and military family members will testify about their experiences with redeployment and announce the launch of Operation Recovery.

Military Families Speak Out includes over 4,000 military families whose loved ones serve or have served in the military since 2002; it is the largest organization of military families to be speaking out against wars in the history of the United States. Gold Star Families Speak Out is a national chapter of MFSO and includes families whose loved ones died as a result of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. More information about Military Families Speak Out can be found at; more information about Gold Star Families Speak Out can be found at

WASHINGTON - Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley this week asked for answers about the Department of Labor's continued interpretation of whistleblower provisions included in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The senators' letter follows reports that show that the Department of Labor has dismissed more than 1000 of the approximately 1,600 cases that have been filed by whistleblowers alleging retaliation under this law.  The cases were allegedly dismissed on the grounds that the employee alleging retaliation worked for a non-public subsidiary of a publicly traded parent company and was not therefore covered by the law.

"We strongly disagree with this legal interpretation. It erroneously excludes thousands of employees Congress meant to protect when it passed Sarbanes-Oxley and contradicts the spirit and intent of the overall legislation," the senators wrote.

The senators are the authors of the corporate whistleblower protection provision in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and have been outspoken advocates for whistleblowers following the Enron scandal.  The Senators have previously written to President Bush in 2002 objecting to interpretations made by White House staff following the signing of the law, to the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman in 2004, and to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao in 2008 explaining the intent of the law.  While the current administration has pledged to review its handling of whistleblower cases under Sarbanes-Oxley, it appears that it is interpreting the law in a similar fashion.  The senators have asked for details of an ongoing internal review and how recent changes to the whistleblower provisions will be implemented.

Here is a copy of the text of the letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

October 6, 2010

The Honorable Hilda L. Solis

Secretary of Labor

United States Department of Labor

200 Constitution Ave, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20210


Dear Secretary Solis:

We authored the corporate whistleblower provisions of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act, section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Since passage of the law in 2002, we have been frustrated by the executive branch's overly restrictive interpretation of these provisions.  It is our understanding that the Department of Labor has dismissed more than 1000 of the approximately 1,600 cases that have been filed by whistleblowers alleging retaliation under this law.

Many of these cases were dismissed on the grounds that the employee alleging retaliation worked for a non-public subsidiary of a publicly traded parent company and was not therefore covered by the law. As we made clear in our September 2008 letter to then-Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, we strongly disagree with this legal interpretation. It erroneously excludes thousands of employees Congress meant to protect when it passed Sarbanes-Oxley and contradicts the spirit and intent of the overall legislation.

We are optimistic that the recently passed Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will clarify any remaining confusion on this point.  Section 929A of the new law makes clear that the whistleblower provisions in Sarbanes-Oxley include "any subsidiary or affiliate whose financial information is included in the consolidated financial statements of [a publicly traded] company."  The legislation also extends the whistleblower protections in section 806 to employees of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations.

Additionally, we were encouraged to read in a July 22 article published by the Center for Public Integrity that Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels has ordered a "top-to-bottom" review of the Department's handling of claims brought under the whistleblower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley.  We would like more information about the Department's progress in conducting this review, including the scope of the review process and the timeline for its completion.  We are also interested to hear about the Department's recent decision to provide employees who file whistleblower complaints a copy of employer responses to that complaint, and to learn why the Department previously withheld this information.

Whistleblowers are vital in promoting accountability and transparency, but they are also extremely vulnerable to retaliation.  They need and deserve the protection of the law, and they should be able to rely on vigilant application of the law by the Department.  Accordingly, we ask that you please work with staff from our offices to schedule a briefing on this important matter.


PATRICK LEAHY, Chairman                                         CHARLES GRASSLEY, Senator

Amana - Due to popular demand, Church Basement Ladies, the musical comedy that celebrates the heart and soul of every church - the basement kitchen and the women who work there- will add a matinee performance on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. The show runs through Oct. 17 at The Old Creamery Theatre Company.

The cast consists of Jean Liuzzi of Boston; Nicole Savitt of Arlington Heights, Ill; Deborah Kennedy of East Amana; Kamille Zbanek of Ely; and Sean McCall of Marengo. Directed by Curt Wollan, Church Basement Ladies was inspired by the books of Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the best seller "Growing Up Lutheran." Written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, Church Basement Ladies serves up laughs with the casseroles and advice with the Jell-O salads.

The added performance at 3 p.m. on Oct. 16 is in addition to regular show times on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $26.50 for adults and $17.50 for students. Reservations are highly recommended.

Call the box office at 800-35-AMANA or visit the website at for tickets or more information.

The Old Creamery Theatre Company is a not-for-profit professional theatre founded in 1971 in Garrison, Iowa. Voted #1 Theatre Group on the 2010 KCRG A-List, the company is celebrating 39 years of bringing live, professional theatre to the people of Iowa and the Midwest.

Common Sense On:
New Consumer-Friendly Improvements to

By Senator Tom Harkin

The historic health reform bill, The Affordable Care Act, was signed into law just over six months ago and Iowans are already seeing many of the benefits.  For example, the new Patient's Bill of Rights, which cracks down on the worst abuses of health insurance companies and gives Iowans and all Americans important new protections, is now in effect.  

By now, all Iowans should be familiar with  Launched on July 1, it is the first website of its kind to bring information and links to health insurance plans into one place to make it easy for consumers to learn about and compare their insurance choices.  Just last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that new information and tools have been added to the website that will make the health insurance market more transparent, increase competition and help lower costs for individuals.  These are changes that put consumers, not the insurance companies, in the driver's seat.

What changes have recently been made to

For the first time, the site makes price estimates for private insurance policies available, allowing consumers to easily compare health insurance plans.  This one-stop shopping takes the guesswork and confusion out of buying insurance.  So far, more than 225 insurance companies have provided information about their individual and family plans for more than 4,400 policies, including policies in every state.  Consumers can search for and compare information on plans available to them based on their age, gender, family size, tobacco use and location.  

What details about the insurance plans can I now find on

Consumers can find a great deal of information on each insurance plan including: monthly premium estimates, deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket costs and services covered.

What additional protections for consumers are available at

According to HHS, to help consumers make more informed choices, the site includes new information including two notable metrics never before made public:

  • Insurance providers are required to provide the percentage of people who applied for insurance and were denied coverage.

  • Insurance companies are required to provide the percentage of applicants who were charged higher premiums because of their health status.

Where can I find more information on health reform?

For more information on the health reform bill please feel free to contact any of my offices or my website at


A PDF version of the column is available by clicking here.

Des Moines, Iowa–A sea of green shirts at the IMT Des Moines Marathon will mean a river of money flowing all the way to Mozambique to build a school there. Iowans for Africa, a running team from the Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, has already raised nearly $50,000 for World Vision and hopes to hit $100,000 by race day.

Between 135 and 145 athletes will make the trip to Des Moines, along with nearly 400 supporters wearing green Iowans for Africa shirts. The group will hold a worship service before the race at Nollen Plaza.

The team was founded by Don Williams, a church staffer who is also a running coach. "We have four main goals," Williams said. "One: Use this event to praise God and advance His kingdom. Two: Get everyone to the finish line healthy and happy! Three: Develop a team mentality through building community and relationships. Four: Raise money to build a school in Mozambique, Africa."

Last year the team ran the Chicago Marathon to raise money for HIV/AIDS research and prevention in Africa, also through World Vision.

"It's not unusual for a group of runners to raise money for a charity," said Chris Burch, IMT Des Moines Marathon director of racing and events. "But this is certainly one of the bigger groups we've seen, and the number of people coming to support them is inspiring."

To make a donation to Iowans for Africa, go to

The IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon and Bankers Trust Marathon Relay start at 8 a.m. Sunday, October 17. The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race starts at 8:30 a.m. The Bankers Trust Kids Run Presented by Iowa Kidstrong starts at 1 p.m. All races start and finish at Nollen Plaza. Register to race or to volunteer at


St. James Lutheran Church in Bettendorf will hold their 5th annual Halloween Party for kids on Saturday, October 23rd from 2-4 p.m. in the church's basement.  There will be games, prizes, treats, face painting and more.  Wear your costume and bring a friend!

St. James Lutheran Church is located at 1705 Oak Street in Bettendorf,  just up the hill from K&K Hardware.  The phone number is 355-4161 and the email address is