By 2nd Lt. April Hawes, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, VA. (06/09/2011)(readMedia)-- In May, Capt. Elizabeth Roxworthy traveled to Washington, D.C., with her family to receive the nationally-recognized General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. Her detailed nomination packet showed she earned the award for her care and compassion for her Soldiers, which continued even after the award presentation.

Before they left the nation's capitol, she and her fiancé, Maj. Wyatt Bickett, both of Lake in the Hills, went to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the grave of fallen Illinois National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Kevin Grieco of Bartlett. Roxworthy never met Grieco nor was she in his chain of command. She does, however, wear the same uniform and said it was fitting to find his headstone and pay respect to him.

Along with Grieco, who was killed in action Oct. 27, 2008 while in Afghanistan with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery in Sycamore, there was another fallen Illinois National Guardsman on Roxworthy's mind: Sgt. Simone Robinson of University Park, who died March 1, 2009 after injuries sustained in Afghanistan with Company G, 634th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) in Crestwood.

"Throughout this entire process, the one person I think of daily is Sgt. Simone Robinson. Her sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all of our fallen comrades, is what really drives me to be a better person and leader for my Soldiers," said Roxworthy, who is assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 634th BSB in Sullivan. "It's hard to put into words, but her sacrifice changed my life more than anyone will ever know and this award is a tribute to Simone."

After a tour in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, Roxworthy was assigned as the rear commander of Company G, 634th and served in Crestwood while Robinson and the majority of the company deployed to Afghanistan with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). After Robinson was injured, Roxworthy supported her and her family until she ultimately passed away at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

"What sets Capt. Roxworthy apart is that she truly cares about her Soldiers and her unit," said Col. Paul Hastings of Saint Charles and 33rd IBCT commander. "Her compassionate and involved approach to Soldier care is the foundation of who she is."

Hastings, who also won the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award in 1996, said this was evident again in November 2010 when she spent Thanksgiving Day at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Chicago. She was at the bedside of Sgt. Emiliano Perez, also with Company G. Perez was hospitalized due to a non-combat related condition and passed away the next day.

Roxworthy found out she won the award March 1, which recognizes company grade commissioned and warrant officers who demonstrate duty, honor and country; the same values MacArthur stood for. Roxworthy is the first female from Illinois to earn this award.

She was first nominated for the award by the then 634th BSB Commander Lt. Col. Eric Little, of Springfield and director of property and fiscal operations for the Illinois National Guard. He said Roxworthy's dedication to Soldiers, their families and her community is above her rank as a junior officer.

"The national award shows that what we nominated her for was true," Little said. "Her dedication and desire to ensure her Soldiers at the company level were taken care of was instrumental to the company's success."

Once winners are announced, they travel to Washington, D.C., for the presentation of the award by the Chief of the Staff of the Army. Roxworthy had the opportunity to be presented the award twice, by two different Chiefs of Staff.

Roxworthy was first presented the award at the Illinois Army National Guard's Senior Leadership Conference April 30 in Chicago by, now retired, Gen. George Casey. She then was officially presented the award during a ceremony at the Pentagon by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff of the Army. During the presentation she also met Lt. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard.

Along with Bickett, who is assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company of the 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Machesney Park, Roxworthy's parents and niece attended the ceremony and met Dempsey. Hastings and Lt. Col. Charles Kitson, of Springfield and current 634th BSB commander, also attended.

"It was such a wonderful experience; one that I will never forget. It was really neat to be able to bring my family there with me," Roxworthy said. "Everyone really paid tribute to recognizing us for the award; everyone from the battalion leadership all the way to the Army Chief of Staff."


Related Media

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley called on the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Dick Durbin, to immediately begin holding hearings on a balanced budget amendment.

The letter to Durbin, signed by all Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that a balanced budget amendment would "put in place a much-needed restraint on runaway Washington spending and protect working Americans from higher taxes."

"Today of every dollar spent, more than 40 cents is borrowed. Our country is on an unsustainable path," Grassley said. "It's time to have an honest and open debate about the fiscal future of our country."

A balanced budget amendment was last seriously debated in 1997 when the Senate was one vote short of passing the measure.  The budget deficit is now almost 15 times greater than in 1997.

Here is a copy of the text of the letter.  A copy of the signed letter can be found by clicking here.

June 8, 2011

The Honorable Dick Durbin, Chairman
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20150

Dear Chairman Durbin,

Our nation is facing a fiscal crisis that is only getting worse. The national debt, now over $14 trillion, has increased by more than one-third since January 2009. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the deficit for the current fiscal year will be approximately $1.4 trillion and the national debt will soon be larger than the economy. The debt also has implications for our national security. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls the debt "the most significant threat to our national security." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns that the debt "sends a message of weakness internationally."

Therefore, we ask that you immediately hold hearings on S.J. Res. 10, which calls for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. S.J. Res. 10 would also put in place a much-needed restraint on runaway Washington spending and protect working Americans from higher taxes. S.J. Res. 10 is supported by 47 Senators and has the support of numerous grassroots organizations.

Undoubtedly, Washington has a spending problem and this problem is getting worse. The budget deficit is now almost fifteen times the size it was when the Senate came within one vote of passing a balanced budget amendment in 1997. A balanced budget amendment is a measure that is long overdue and whose time has come.

The American people are demanding action from Washington to get our fiscal house in order once and for all.


John Cornyn
Orrin Hatch
Michael Lee
Jon Kyl
Chuck Grassley
Jeff Sessions
Lindsey Graham
Tom Coburn

Cc: The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee


#1. June 15 is the deadline to Sign-up to be a part of the 2012 East West Riverfest celebration - Click Here for the "Intent to Participate" form


#2.  Are You creative or do you know someone that is creative? Submit a logo for the East West Riverfest Logo Contest.  Click Here for details and registration.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - June 8, 2011 - One of the keys to success for a new business is the ability to be innovative and stand out from the crowd. Renew Rural Iowa, an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) initiative that supports new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources, is focusing on the power of innovation with a new series of seminars this summer.

The interactive seminars are designed to connect entrepreneurs and economic developers with the newest economic development tools.  At each free seminar, participants will learn about growth strategies from leading Iowa visionaries, discover how new relationships can strengthen economic development efforts and more. Adam Steen, president of the business development firm 25Connections (, will discuss how partnership and collaboration can grow enterprise value.

"Renew Rural Iowa is based on the principle of innovation and encouraging the innovative use of new and existing tools to help make new connections for business growth," said Sandy Ehrig, IFBF Renew Rural Iowa economic development administrator.

The seminars will be offered at community colleges across the state and run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sessions are free, but registration is encouraged. For more information and to register, visit

The workshops will be held

  • June 15, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge.
  • June 21, Northeast Iowa Community College, Dubuque.
  • June 23, Eastern Iowa Community College, Clinton.
  • June 28, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs.
  • June 30, Iowa Lakes Community College, Spencer.

-30 -

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after hearing reports that Delta Airlines charged 34 U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan $2,800 in baggage fees:

"I'm deeply disappointed by this news that Delta Airlines charged soldiers returning from war such excessive baggage fees. These brave men and women put their lives on the line for our safety and security, and this is no way to welcome them home. I'm calling on Delta to immediately reimburse these soldiers for the extra baggage fees.

"Even if Delta was  operating within its current baggage policy, I believe we all have an obligation to returning service members - not just to thank them for their service, but to also ensure that they're not faced with any undue burden on their return. 

"Since being elected to Congress, I have logged hundreds of thousands of miles on Delta - the only carrier serving my home airport in Waterloo. If Delta doesn't reimburse these soldiers and reconsider its approach to servicing our troops, I'll have to reconsider using their service."

Today, Rep. Braley also sent a letter to Delta Airlines expressing his disappointment about the incident. A copy of the letter is available here:


Washington, DC - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, and Co-Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will hold a hearing on Wednesday, June 15 at 2:30 p.m.

The hearing will examine the continued construction of illegal tunnels on the southwest border of the United States and the ways these increasingly sophisticated tunnels may be used in the transport of drugs, weapons and human beings.


Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Hearing on "Illegal Tunnels on the Southwest Border"


2:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 15, 2011


562 Dirksen Senate Office Building


James Dinkens, Executive Associate Director, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Laura Duffy, United States Attorney, Southern District of California

Tim Durst, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for ICE's San Diego office.



DES MOINES, IA (06/08/2011)(readMedia)-- The Blue Ribbon Foundation will host the fifteenth annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party on Saturday, July 9 in the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. to commence the celebration of 100 years of the butter cow. "There's Nothing Butter" than a night filled with exciting auction packages, entertainment and all of your favorite Fair foods, while helping to raise funds to restore the Iowa State Fairgrounds!

The live and silent auctions are filled with enticing packages. Bid on tickets to the Shrine Circus on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, complete with special seating, a private tour, and a role in the clowns' skit. Enjoy all things butter with an original butter cow cartoon by Brian Duffy and also a hand in sculpting the tail of the 100th anniversary butter cow. Or, go backstage to meet Jason Aldean, Chris Young and Thompson Square, after you attend their nearly sold-out concert in great seats!

The Corndog Kickoff has been a pre-fair tradition since it began in 1997. First held in Pioneer Hall, 480 people were in attendance. Since then, the event has grown to raise over $2.1 million for the restoration and preservation of the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The 2010 event brought in a crowd of 1,200 and raised more than $227,000 in one night!

"Each year, the Corndog Kickoff gets bigger and better thanks to all of the Fair-lovers who continue to support the event," said John Putney, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Foundation. "As our largest fundraiser, the Kickoff is an essential part of our mission to preserve and improve the Iowa State Fairgrounds."

Take advantage of the advance ticket price by ordering now. All inclusive Corndog Kickoff tickets are $75 each until June 30. After that date, tickets will be $100. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Blue Ribbon Foundation at (800) 450-3732, online at or at the door the night of the event.

The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has generated more than $80 million for renovations and improvements to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. For more information on the Corndog Kickoff, please contact the Foundation at(800) 450-3732 or


Event in Kansas is Co-Hosted by the Department of Commerce and Supports the White House Initiative on Small Business Contracting

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011-- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that Midwest small business owners will have an opportunity at a day-long conference later this month to learn how to grow and support their businesses by partnering with USDA, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and other Federal agencies. The meeting, in Kansas, supports the White House Initiative on Small Business Contracting.

Conference attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a full day of workshops and panel discussions led by program and small business procurement officials. Topics include acquisition needs and opportunities, procurement methods, subcontracting opportunities, business development resources, and more. As part of a continuing effort to increase small business contracting participation by enhancing the competitive posture of small businesses and small farmer-owned cooperatives, there will also be a workshop dedicated to contracting opportunities in rural America. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to meet one-on-one with USDA and DOC small business contracting specialists during a half-day "matchmaking" event.

The conference, hosted by the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Department of Commerce will be held Tuesday, June 28, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel, 6100 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66211.

There is no conference fee. Pre-registration is preferred with onsite registration available. To register: fax your name, company name, full address, telephone number and email address to (202) 720-3001, or email to by June 24, 2011. For further information please call 202-720-7117 or

Sunday afternoon, June 12

From 2:00–3:00 pm at The Canticle

843 Thirteenth Avenue North, Clinton, Iowa

During the past year, the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence & Peacemaking has sponsored a series of programs exploring how to achieve a Sustainable Clinton. Now we are planning an open, public forum that will enable our neighbors to unite and work together to make our community a healthier place for all.

We invite you to join us as we listen and learn what environmental issues are of concern to each other and then determine ways we can make a difference together.

News from Graceland University

For more information contact: Randy Meline, 641.784.5213

Area Students Named to Graceland Unviersity's Honor Lists

LAMONI, IA (06/07/2011)(readMedia)-- The honor roll lists for Graceland University's Fall 2010 term have been announced. Students named to the President's list earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Students on the Honors list earned a GPA between 3.65 and 3.99. Those on the Dean's list earned a GPA between 3.25 and 3.64.

Roxanne Garneau of Davenport, IA named to Graceland University's President's List.

Thomas Ratkiewicz of Moline, IL named to Graceland University's Dean's List.

Graceland University was established in 1895 as a non-sectarian liberal arts institution of higher learning. It operates campuses in Lamoni, Iowa and Independence, Missouri, and offers degree completion programs at three other sites - the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; the Indian Hills Community College campus in Centerville, Iowa; and the North Central Missouri College campus in Trenton, Missouri.

Students from more than 40 states and 40 nations choose from over 50 academic programs at Graceland. For information about attending GU, please view our website:, and follow the links to Admissions and Financial Aid, call 866-GRACELAND (866.472.2352), or write to Graceland University, Admissions Office, 1 University Place, Lamoni, IA 50140.