WASHINGTON - April 7, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded a $302,676 grant to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The Iowa Department of Transportation will use the funds to support highway safety programs.

According to the Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau.  The agency is charged with improving motor vehicle and highway safety.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 7, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) will receive an additional $302,676  from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The funds are a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) State and Community Highway Grants to support state highway safety programs. Harkin is a senior member of the Senate panel that funds transportation initiatives.

"Iowa's highways play and important part in keeping our economy flowing and getting  people where they needs to go quickly, and it is important that people are safe when traveling on these roads," said Harkin.  "Today's funding will provide necessary funds so that IDOT can do its job and keep people safe when driving on Iowa's highways."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a division of the U.S. DOT and oversees all safety initiatives on the nation's highways.  Their mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.


Rivermont Collegiate is pleased to announce the following students have been recognized on the Third Quarter Honor Roll:

Upper School Honor Roll (9th-12th) Headmaster's List (3.85-4.00)

Michael Garneau

Pavane Gorrepati

Summer Lawrence

Alejandra Martinez

Christine Mbakwe

Victoria Mbakwe

Matthew Newsome

Meghana Pagadala

Shravya Pothula

Ramya Prabhu

Kelsey Qu

Chi Ieong Wong

Distinction (3.50-3.84)

Vishal Bobba

Rebecca Cupp

Basilia Koster

Amanda McVey

Tristan O'Harrow

Darsani Reddy

Darcy Ryan

Ashish Tadepalli

Joann Weeks

Merit (3.00-3.49)

Archana Chintalapani

Harriette Clarke

Souriyo Dishak

Karanveer Gill

Christopher Mbakwe

Middle School Honor Roll (6th-8th) High Honors (All grades B+ or higher or B or higher for courses designated as Upper School level)

Helena Barber

Madeline Bowman

Sarah Bowman

Adam Dada

Brandon Eckhardt

Shivani Ganesh

Hannah Hansen

Kaitlyn Mayfield

Grace Moran

Benjamin Nordick

Manasa Pagadala

Emilia Porubcin

Michal Porubcin

Isaac Sears

Suhas Seshadri

Alexander Skillin

Marta Storl-Desmond

Loring Telleen

Claire Wallace

Honors (All grades B- or higher or C+ or higher for courses designated as Upper School level)

Madison Ellis

Collin Hunt

Samuel Lederman

Hayley Moran

Harrison Qu

Bhavana Purighalla

Gabriela Schermer

Jacob Vaughn

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DECORAH, Iowa– The internationally-renowned choirs and orchestra of Luther College will perform the world premiere of "Luther Mass" by Stephen Paulus Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther campus.

Conducted by Allen Hightower, Luther professor of music, the Luther Cathedral Choir, Collegiate Chorale, Nordic Choir and Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of the newly commissioned mass in addition to Franz Joseph Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass."

For tickets, call the Luther College Box Office at (563) 387-1357 or visit the Luther College Box Office website, http://www.luther.edu/programming/boxoffice/.  Cost is $15 for adults and $8 for students, reserved seating.

Concert attendees are invited to a pre-concert lecture Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Mott Borlaug Room in Dahl Centennial Union.  James Griesheimer, Luther associate professor of music, will present comments on the "Lord Nelson Mass," and Paulus will be on hand to discuss the "Luther Mass."

The ensembles will also perform Sunday, April 17 at 4 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall Box Office at (612) 371-5656 or 1-800-292-4141 or visit http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/. Cost is $24 for adults and $17 for students, general admission seating.

Paulus has composed more than 400 works spanning all musical genres, including orchestra, opera, chorus, chamber ensemble, solo voice, concert band, piano and organ.

He co-founded the American Composers Forum in 1973 and continues to serve as the symphony and concert representative on the board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

His music has been commissioned, recorded and performed by such varied performers as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and numerous others.

Cathedral Choir is conducted by Sandra Peter, assistant professor of music, Collegiate Chorale is conducted by Timothy Peter, professor of music, Nordic Choir is conducted by Hightower and Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Daniel Baldwin, professor of music.

The performances are part of the Luther College Sesquicentennial.  Founded in 1861, Luther was first established by Norwegian immigrants in the United States.

The college will both reflect on its past and envision its future during its Sesquicentennial.  Events will commend the holistic nature of a Luther education and honor the college's Norwegian heritage, curriculum, music and arts, athletic and wellness programs, faith and worship, environmental stewardship, and service ethic.

The theme of the Sesquicentennial, "Transformed by the Journey," recalls the journeys

Luther College founders made from Norway, celebrates the value of a liberal arts education and the transformation of students during their Luther years, and recognizes the vocational journeys of Luther alumni.

The scripture passage selected for the Sesquicentennial is from Romans 12: "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect."


GALESBURG, Ill. - This week marks the nationwide release of "Midsummer's Magic," the latest in Illinois author Sandra McCone's Three Little Lasses series for young readers.

The story is set on the first day of summer, Midsummer or Solstice, the most magical day of the year. The lasses?Kaylyn, Kirsten, and Payton?and laddie, Jack, are back for a weeklong visit with Nana and Papa at their country home and are excited to see what mystical adventures are in store for them this time.

Young readers find out for themselves in this fantastically magical story and discover that the stories Nana tells really do come true.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

McCone has written two other books in the Three Little Lasses series, "The Secret in Nana's Garden" and "The Magical Tea Party." She has been an interior designer for over twenty years and has found new inspiration for writing after the births of her grandchildren. She and her husband, Alan, have three children and four grandchildren and live in Galesburg, Illinois.

Russell Construction awarded the largest contract in company history

Galesburg, IL - Russell Construction is proud to announce a new long-term relationship with a local educational district. Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 has selected Quad City based Russell Construction to serve as Construction Manager for the district's $110,000,000 school improvement plan, which will take place over a 20-year period. It is the single largest project Russell Construction has ever received in its 28 years of business.

The Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 construction plans include the renovation and remodeling of five of the district's elementary schools, as well as the existing High School facility. The schools will be updated to contemporary standards and will incorporate the latest in "green" technologies. Plans also call for construction of a new 28,000 s.f. multi-purpose academic / athletic facility. This facility will first be used to house students displaced by phased construction work at the Galesburg High School and then transformed into a permanent multi-purpose structure to support physical education classes and interscholastic athletic teams.

Russell Construction was among several firms from all across the Midwest that competed for this particular contract. Upon completion of a proposal submission and review process, Russell and a much larger contractor, based out of Chicago, were invited to present final interviews to the Galesburg School District on March 17. "We kind of felt like it was a David and Goliath competition," Senior Vice President of Russell Construction Thomas Fennelly stated.

According to Guy Cahill, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Russell Construction was selected because "They were big enough, but not so big that they couldn't provide that friendly service." "Additionally, Russell has a demonstrated ability to finish projects on time and on budget. However, being local was a huge plus," Cahill went on to state. School leaders stated Russell had everything they were looking for. Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 is committed to working together with teachers, parents and the community to offer a comprehensive and challenging education for every student. Their extensive construction and renovation project plans aim to improve student achievement, increase property values, and reflect a feeling of pride and investment in their schools, students and staff. For more information on the Galesburg CUSD #205, please visit their website at www.galesburg205.org.

As a Midwest leader in Construction Management, Design/Build and General Contracting services, Russell is dedicated to supporting the local Quad Cities economy through competitive and efficient construction services. For more information on Russell, please visit their corporate website at www.russellco.com.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - March 30, 2010 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), today congratulated Dr. Andrea McGuire of Iowa on being appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality.  Dr. McGuire is the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical and Network Management/Risk Selection at American Enterprise Group in Des Moines.

"Dr. McGuire's passion for patient advocacy coupled with her experience in research, disease management, and quality improvement will greatly benefit the Advisory Council," said Harkin.  "She understands the economics of healthcare and the impact that quality and research have on these economics.  In addition, she has dedicated much of her career to the improvement of the quality of care of patients with chronic disease.  I congratulate Dr. McGuire on this appointment."

The 21-member panel is comprised of private-sector experts who contribute a varied perspective on the health care system and most pressing needs of research to promote improvements in the quality, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of clinical practice.  Members are appointed by the Secretary to serve 3-year terms.

Marla Press, a 1979 graduate of Rock Island High School currently living in Houston, Texas, has recently published a book entitled "I'm a Dog, You're a Cat (Love Lessons From our Furry Friends)". She will be visiting the Quad Cities on April 5 to promote the book, which has been hailed as "a communications discovery that utilizes cat and dog analogies to shed light on -- and help improve -- personal relationships."

In a recent interview, Ms. Press explained the idea behind the book. "About 18 months ago, I stumbled upon the cosmic notion that people are inherently different at their very core; humans are hard-wired to be more like a feline or more like a canine," she said. "I wanted to share this idea with everyone I talked to and realized that the illustrations would be key to the book's success. I have long admired artist Jim Tweedy's work. In fact, I have three of his prints in my home. I approached Jim through his Houston gallery and he readily agreed to put his talent to work in my book. I was thrilled, to say the least!"

"Once people discover and define their inner dog or cat tendencies, they can learn many love lessons from their furry companions as they explore the intrinsic personality traits of cats and dogs," Ms. Press added. "I want to reach out to readers and have them share stories of the dogs and cats in their lives. Most people are in relationships or have dogs or cats. There are lessons to be learned by sharing our experiences with others." Although this is her first book, she hopes a series of others will follow based on reader-submitted stories.

According to Ms. Press, the book has taken on a life of its own. It has been featured in Houston Pet Talk Magazine, and Neiman Marcus department stores have been instrumental in promoting it in local markets throughout Texas. Ms. Press' "real job" is as a Regional Sales Director for Forward Management, LLC working with financial advisors throughout the mid-southern states.

The Quad City book signings will take place on Tuesday, April 5 from noon to 2 p.m. at Quad City Arts, 1715 - 2nd Avenue in Rock Island, and from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Rock Island County Animal Care & Contol Shelter, 4001 78th Avenue in Moline, where a portion of the proceeds will go to QC PAWS (in support of the shelter). The book retails for $24.99 and is available only through her book signings or at www.imadogyoureacat.com.

By Senator Tom Harkin

Right now in Washington, we are having an important debate on the federal budget, which involves how we fund priorities for the fiscal year.  Unfortunately, some are using this as an excuse to attack one of the bedrocks of the American middle class: Social Security.

Like many Iowans, I can personally attest to the critical role Social Security plays in the lives of Americans.  My father had nothing more than an 8th grade education and worked in the coal mines for much of his life.  He married a widow - my mother - and they bought a small farm in Iowa.  In the Great Depression, he lost his farm and his savings and when I was 10 years old, my mother passed away.  At that time, my father was 64, handicapped from black lung, with little savings to his name and three sons under the age of 18.  Fortunately, that next year at age 65, he started to receive his Social Security checks - money he earned from years of hard work.  This was our only income, and because of it, our family was able to stay together, my brothers and I were able to get an education and my father was able to keep his dignity.

This personal story is just one of the millions of examples of the important role Social Security continues to play for countless Americans. Social Security is the most successful domestic program in our nation's history.  It lifts over 13 million seniors out of poverty every year, and for almost half of our seniors, Social Security makes up around 80 percent of their retirement income.  It has provided millions of Americans with the chance to retire with dignity and will continue to be the foundation of a secure retirement as future generations enter their golden years.

Unfortunately, today the same people who wanted to leave Social Security to the whims of the stock market are now using the budget debate as an excuse to attack the hard earned benefits of working class families.  The fact is Social Security has never contributed one dime to the federal deficit, nor is Social Security a long-term contributor to our national debt.  In fact, Social Security will continue to pay every dollar promised for another 26 years.  It is not in crisis.

So during our debate on the federal budget our message is simple: back off Social Security!  

For more information on all that I am doing to protect Social Security, please visit my website at harkin.senate.gov.  To see a speech I recently gave on the subject you can visit my Youtube page at www.youtube.com/SenatorTomHarkin.


Prepared Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Opposition to Coburn Amendment

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mr. President, I'd like to express my strong opposition to amendment #220 offered by Senator Coburn.  Senator Coburn's amendment would raise the tax on domestic energy production by repealing an incentive for the use of homegrown ethanol.

I'm astonished that given our current situation, there are some who would prefer less domestic energy production.  With conflicts in the Middle East and crude oil more than $100 a barrel, we should be on the same side.  We should all be on the side of more domestically produced energy.  The tremendous cost of America's dependence on foreign oil has never been more clear.

In light of this threat, we should have an energy policy of "all of the above."  I support drilling here, and drilling now.  I support renewable energy.  I support conservation.  And, I support nuclear energy.  It's counterproductive for senators from Big Oil country to single out energy that comes from American agriculture.  I didn't pick this fight.  I support energy from all sources.  I support traditional oil and gas.  And so do American taxpayers with tax incentives, for an industry that's 100 years old.

So, the attack on homegrown energy is really remarkable.  We shouldn't be fighting each other over domestic energy sources.  We should be fighting OPEC and foreign dictators and oil sheiks that hold our economy hostage.

The author of the amendment has argued that the production of clean, homegrown ethanol is fiscally irresponsible.  It's important to remember that the incentive exists to help the producers of ethanol compete with the oil industry.  And remember, the oil industry has been well supported by the federal treasury for more than a century.  President Obama, in his budget request for 2012, has advocated repealing a dozen or so subsidies to big oil.  He's argued that a century-old industry no longer needs tax breaks.  With oil prices at one-hundred dollars a barrel and record profits being made, some could certainly question why this industry needs any taxpayer subsidies at all.  President Obama's proposal would repeal about $44 billion in oil and gas subsidies over 10 years.

I'd like to remind my colleagues of a debate we had last summer on an amendment offered by Senator Sanders.  The amendment he offered would have, among other things, repealed about $35 billion in tax subsidies enjoyed by the oil and gas industry.  Opponents of the Sanders amendment argued that repealing the oil and gas subsidies would reduce domestic energy production and drive up our dependence on foreign oil.  Opponents also argued that it would cost U.S. jobs, and increase prices at the pump for consumers.

I tend to agreed with these arguments.  All of my Republican colleagues and more than one-third of Democrats did as well.  But, a repeal of the ethanol tax incentive is a tax increase that will surely be passed on to American consumers.  Repealing incentives for ethanol would have the same exact result.

I know that removing incentives for oil and gas will have the same impact as removing incentives for ethanol.  We'll get less domestically produced ethanol.  It will cost U.S. jobs.  It will increase our dependence on foreign oil.  It will increase prices at the pump for American consumers.  Mr. President, we're already dependent on foreign sources for more than 60 percent of our oil needs.  Why do my colleagues want to increase our foreign energy dependence when we can produce it here a home?

So, I'd like to ask my colleagues who voted against repealing oil and gas subsidies but support repealing incentives for renewable fuels:  why the inconsistency?  Where are the amendments from fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks to repeal the oil and gas subsidies?  The fact is, it's intellectually inconsistent to say that increasing taxes on ethanol is justified, but that it's irresponsible to do so on oil and gas production.  If tax incentives lead to more domestic energy production and good paying jobs, why are only incentives for oil and gas important?

It's even more ridiculous to claim that the 30 year-old ethanol industry is mature and thus no longer needs government support, while the century old oil industry still receives $35 billion in taxpayer dollars.  Regardless, I don't believe we should be raising taxes on any type of energy production or on any individual, particularly during this weak economy.

The senator from Oklahoma insists that because the renewable fuel is required to be used, it doesn't need an incentive.  But, with oil prices at $100 a barrel, oil companies are doing everything they can to extract more oil from the ground. There isn't a mandate to use oil, but it has a 100-year monopoly on our transportation infrastructure.  When there is little competition to oil and it's enormously profitable, wouldn't he argue that the necessary incentives exist to produce it without additional taxpayer support?  Oil essentially has a mandate today.  The economics of oil production are clearly in favor of the producers. Why do they need taxpayer support?

It's also important to understand the hidden cost of our dependence on foreign oil.  A peer-reviewed paper published in 2010 concluded that "....$27 to $138 billion dollars is spent annually by the U.S. military for protection of Middle Eastern maritime oil transit routes and oil infrastructure, with an average of $84 billion a year."  Mr. President, this is $84 billion in American treasure spent on the defense of shipping lanes to quench our thirst for foreign oil.  It's not reflected in the price at the pump.  It's a hidden cost.

Milton Copulos, an advisor to President Ronald Reagan and a veteran of the Heritage Foundation, testified before Congress in 2006 on this issue.  He testified that the hidden cost of imported oil is equivalent to adding $8.35 to the price of a gallon of gasoline from the Persian Gulf.  There is no hidden U.S. military cost attributable to homegrown ethanol.

Let's have the debate on ethanol.  But, let's debate it in the context of a comprehensive energy plan.  This debate should include the subsidies for all energy production. Don't single out ethanol.

Nearly every type of energy gets some market distorting subsidy from the federal government.  An honest energy debate should include ethanol, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass.  It's hypocritical to put our economic and national security at risk by targeting ethanol, while disregarding the subsidies for all other energy sources.  Repealing the ethanol tax incentive will raise taxes on producers, blenders and ultimately consumers of renewable fuel.  This amendment is a gas tax increase of over five cents a gallon at the pump.

I just don't see the logic in arguing for a gas tax increase when we have so many Americans unemployed or underemployed and struggling just to get by.  I know we all agree that we cannot and should not allow job-killing tax hikes during this time of economic uncertainty.  Unfortunately, those members who have called for ending the ethanol incentive have directly contradicted this pledge because a lapse in the credit will raise taxes, cost over 100,000 U.S. jobs at a time of near nine-percent unemployment, and increase our dependence on foreign oil.

The taxpayer watchdog group, Americans for Tax Reform, considers a repeal of this incentive to be a tax hike.  Americans for Tax Reform states, "Repealing the ethanol credit is a corporate income tax increase."  I agree with them.

Now is not the time to impose a gas tax hike on the American people.  Now is not the time to send pink slips to ethanol related jobs.  Ethanol currently accounts for 10 percent of our transportation fuel.  A study concluded that the ethanol industry contributed $8.4 billion to the federal treasury in 2009 -- $3.4 billion more than the ethanol incentive.  Today, the industry supports 400,000 U.S. jobs.  That's why I support a homegrown, renewable fuels industry.

I'd like to conclude by asking my colleagues: If we allow the tax incentive to lapse, from where should we import an additional 10 percent of our oil?  Should we rely on Middle Eastern oil sheiks, or Hugo Chavez?  I'd prefer we support our renewable fuel producers based right here at home, rather than send them a pink slip.  I'd prefer we decrease our dependence on Hugo Chavez, not increase it.  And I certainly don't support raising the tax on gasoline during this weak economy.

Washington, DC - March 30, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bipartisan bill to help get justice for victims of sexual trauma and assault in the military. The Support for Survivors Act would require the Department of Defense to ensure life-long storage of all documents connected with reports of sexual assaults and sexual harassment across the military branches. The legislation would also prevent the military from destroying any records relating to sexual assault.

"The men and women who serve our country need to know that their government is standing up for them," said Rep. Braley. "Just earlier today I heard testimony from Linda Schwartz, the President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. She cited reports showing that 23% of women serving in combat areas report being victims of sexual assault perpetrated by other members of the military. That's simply unacceptable, and we cannot allow it to continue. That's why this bill will help our brave troops get justice if they've been victims of sexual trauma or assault while serving. It will ensure that our soldiers have every record they need to get the justice they deserve."

Rep. Braley introduced the bill in the House today with Rep. Poe (TX-02), Rep. Pingree (ME-01) and Rep. Slaughter (NY-28). Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.  

Currently, there is no coordinated policy across the military branches to ensure the preservation of records connected with sexual trauma. Long-term preservation of records would help victims in obtaining benefits and pursuing legal action.

In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of sexual assaults in the military. According to the Department of Defense, there were 3,158 official reports of sexual assaults in the military in 2010. Because most incidents are not reported to a military authority, the Pentagon estimates this number represents only 13 to 14% of total assaults.

The Support for Survivors Act would:
-      Ensure that documents connected with reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military are preserved
-      Ensure full privacy and identity protection for both the victim and the perpetrator
-      Ensure life-long access by the service member to his or her personal documents
-      Grant the VA access to documents only at the request of a service member, for the purpose of assisting with the processing of a disability compensation claim
-      Allow the Department of Defense to review the data (but not the names of the individuals mentioned in the reports) to improve research and reporting.