Provision passed by House paves way for Pentagon to provide benefits to Iowa National Guard troops

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today announced that his Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act (HR 1222) was included in the final FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House today by a vote of 281-146.  The legislation will now be sent to the Senate for passage and then onto President Obama to be signed into law.

Braley's fix will ensure that hundreds of Iowa National Guard members are provided benefits they were promised under the Department of Defense's Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) program, commonly known as "Respite Leave."  Over 20,000 Army National Guard members across the country - including almost 800 members of the Iowa National Guard - did not receive benefits they earned due to delay between the announcement of the leave program by the Department of Defense and the implementation of the program by the individual services.

"Today brings us one critical step closer to ensuring that National Guard troops across the country receive the benefits they earned and deserve," Braley said.  "Iowa National Guard troops have served some of the most grueling and lengthy deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we owe it to them to provide these long overdue benefits immediately.  I'm looking forward to seeing President Obama sign this important legislation into law, and seeing Iowa National Guard troops finally receive the benefits they have long been promised by the Pentagon."

Respite Leave was designed to provide service members deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan for longer than established rotation cycles additional help to reintegrate back to civilian life, as well as to improve the retention of service members who had experienced especially long tours of duty.

Once the Respite Leave program was announced, however, there were significant delays before its implementation.  The Department of the Army, for example, didn't issue its corresponding policy for implementing Respite Leave until more than six months after the Pentagon's January 2007 announcement of the program.

Because of this gap, thousands of soldiers from the Army National Guard did not receive proper Respite Leave compensation.

Braley first introduced the Guaranteed Benefits for Our Troops Act in July 2008.  The bill, which will allow the Pentagon to retroactively grant up to $200 per day to affected troops, has previously passed the House as part of the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act and as part of a Department of Defense appropriations bill.

The legislation will now be sent to the Senate for passage and then onto President Obama to be signed into law.

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Braley created 'New Era' program which provides funding for grant.

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced that the Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) and Hawkeye Community College have been awarded $276,318 in grant money from the Department of Agriculture for curriculum in ag-based renewable energy programs. The grant is made available through the New Era Rural Technology Program established by Braley.

"Community colleges in Eastern Iowa will now be able to enhance their courses and training for students entering the renewable energy field," Braley said. "This grant will not only promote higher education in the field of bio-energy, but give students the resources to be highly-qualified in the competitive job market."

Specifically, the money will go toward the EICCD Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Center (AREC), in partnership with Hawkeye Community College. Its vision is to advance curriculum, programs and resources to increase the number of rural students who pursue and complete a two-year postsecondary degree in ag-based renewable energy.

"I want to thank Congressman Braley for his role in securing the funding for this great opportunity at the college," Eastern Iowa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Pat Keir said. "Through the years, EICCD has become a leader in the area of new and renewable energies. This grant provides us with the ability to tie that into the heart of Iowa and the Midwest, agriculture. Thanks to this funding we will be educating students, other educators and current workers throughout the country in ag-based renewable energy opportunities."

The New Era Rural Technology Program was originally proposed by Braley when he introduced H.R. 872, the National Endowment for Workforce Education in Renewables and Agriculture (NEW ERA) Act, in 2007.  Braley passed these provisions into law in 2008, creating the grant program.

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In addition to the Pumpkin Festival held at Fejervary Park on October 24th, the City of Davenport Parks & Recreation Department has focused their efforts in supporting the men and women of the U.S. armed forces by organizing Operation Tee Off To Iraq. Operation Tee Off To Iraq is an organized effort to collect and distribute donated golf supplies overseas to inspire the men and woman of the armed forces to keep up their efforts during demanding times.

To further support our efforts, inspired donations of used golf clubs, balls, tees, and monetary donations for shipment are greatly appreciated.

Donation table will be present at the front gate of the Pumpkin Festival at Fejervary Park on October 24th.

Interested donors not able to participate in Pumpkin Festival, please contact: Polly Delange -Senior Clerk, Davenport Parks & Recreation at 563-326-7816.

Davenport, IA, October 8, 2009:  Celebrate the beautiful leaves and harvest season with a day filled with old fashion fun.  The City of Davenport Parks & Recreation Department will be host to you and your family on this day filled with physical activity structures, petting zoo, Sancho-the Prize Winning Steer (participants are able to purchase a photo with Sancho), games, pumpkin decorating, crafts, and so much more.  Pumpkins will be available to decorate and concessions will be available for purchase.  There will be something for everyone.

  • Note: In effort to combat childhood obesity, the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department has placed an emphasis on offering only healthy and educational prizes for participants.

  • Date: Saturday October 24th, 2009

  • Time: 10:00am-2:00pm

  • Age:  All Ages

  • Fee:  $2 suggested donation and/or food item for local food pantry

  • Location: Fejervary Park - 1800 W. 12th St. Davenport, IA 52804

WASHINGTON- On Friday, October 2, representatives from faith communities nationwide met with Reverend Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, to voice concern about the conflict in Sudan. Members of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group delivered a letter to President Obama, signed by 1,410 Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy, including Seminarian Josh Ebener and Henry Karp from Davenport.

The letter emphasized the decades of war, famine, and marginalization inflicted upon the Sudanese, and urged the Obama Administration to:

· Continue efforts to enforce the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan

· Work with the international community to bring lasting and sustainable peace to Darfur

· Ensure that the 2006 agreement in Eastern Sudan is upheld


The letter concluded with a message underscoring the group's diverse religious background, unity around Sudan and Darfur, and support for President Obama's international leadership on the issue.

Dr. Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered the letter to Rev. DuBois. "When I delivered the letter to Rev. DuBois, I emphasized the support for Sudan that the faith community can offer. The letter signed by over 1,400 clergy underscores our commitment to working with President Obama to bring lasting and sustainable peace to Darfur and Sudan," Dr. Colecchi said.

During the meeting, the faith leaders asked Rev. DuBois to convey their message to President Obama that Sudan should be a priority for his administration. The group also asked administration officials to incorporate important policy recommendations from the Interfaith Sudan Working Group when they convene regular meetings prior to the 2010 Sudanese elections and 2011 referendum. Violence against women, which has been reported in staggering numbers recently, was also an area of concern for the faith leaders.

To view the letter, please visit:

Faith Leaders who attended the meeting:


· Ruth Messinger: President, American Jewish World Service

· Galen Carey: Director of Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals

· Reverend Gloria White-Hammond: AME Pastor; Co-Founder, My Sister's Keeper

· Alissa Karg: Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Lutheran World Relief

· Pastor Cindy Lapp: Representative, Mennonite Central Committee; Pastor Hyattsville

· Dr. Stephen Colecchi: Director, Office of International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

· Bishop David Jones: Bishop, Virginia, Episcopal Church

· Imam Mohamed Magid: Vice President, Islamic Society of North America; Director, ADAM'S Center

· Archbishop Vicken Aykazian: Archbishop, Armenian Church of America.


### giveaway will award $5,000 to a lucky volunteer and his or her cause!

Doing good for others just became even more rewarding. As many Americans face a holiday season of hardship in a struggling economy, Modern Woodmen of America is looking for those who have given the gift of time.

Families and friends who have volunteered together to meet a community need, raised money for a local cause or added a volunteer activity to a social gathering are eligible to win a grand prize totaling $5,000. Through Modern Woodmen's Gatherings with Purpose Giveaway, one winner will receive a grand prize of $2,500 in cash, plus a $2,500 donation for the worthy cause described in a submitted story.

Stories can be submitted online at by 11:59 p.m. CST on Nov. 12, 2009. Submissions should be 400 words or less and describe who gathered, who was helped and how it touched lives.

Five finalists will be chosen from submissions entered online. Finalists' stories will be posted, and the public will vote online for a favorite beginning Nov. 19. The Gathering with Purpose earning the most votes will win the grand prize - $2,500 for the entrant and $2,500 for the purpose described.

Visit for complete rules and details.

As a membership-based organization, Modern Woodmen launched the giveaway to complement national efforts to bring people together to help others and their communities. Modern Woodmen sells financial products not to benefit stockholders, but to support our stakeholders - our members, their families and their communities. How? Through social, charitable and volunteer events where our members gather.

Founded in 1883, Modern Woodmen of America touches lives and secures futures. The fraternal benefit society offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States.


For additional information:

Kim Woodward
Corporate Communications
Modern Woodmen of America
1701 1st Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201

Bettendorf Family YMCA Hosts Family-Friendly Fall Celebration

October 8, 2009 - Bettendorf, IA - Quad City area families are invited to experience the tastes and sounds of the German tradition known as Oktoberfest, at the Bettendorf Family YMCA on Friday, October 16.

This family-friendly event is for children of all ages and will celebrate our community's German heritage through live music, food and crafts.  Participants will be able to enjoy a hot bratwurst and sauerkraut along with a fresh draw from the root beer keg.   After their tummies are full they can sit back and enjoy the live music or learn how to Polka.  For those who want to sing along, the YMCA will host a yodeling contest and the kids can learn how to make their own lederhosen.

The Bettendorf Family YMCA's Oktoberfest runs from 5:30-8pm, on Friday, October 16.  Admission to the event is $5 per person or $15 per family.  The YMCA is located at 3800 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf.  For more information call 563-359-9622.

RESPECT Is Knowing that Violence is NOT the Answer!

A Weekend of Engagement - Join the Coalition on October 17th & 18th

STOP the Violence! Domestic - Child - Elder - Gun & Gang.

October 17:

9:00 AM Prayer Walk from Franklin Field to 15th Street Rock Island back to Franklin Filed

9:00 AM Prayer Walk from St. John's Lutheran Church, 45th Steet, Rock Island to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Moline.

10:00 AM - Noon Peace Rally at Franklin Field (9th Street between 12th & 13th Avenues in Rock Island )

(In case of rain we will meet and the MLK Center)

October 18

Encouraging all Religious Leaders to Speak Out Against Violence from the Pulpit

For more information, call:  Pastor Ron Quay, Churches United: 309.786.6494 or Pastor Melvin Grimes, Tabernacle Baptist: 309.764.6494.

Future Event: January 2010 in Davenport, Iowa

Funding included in Agriculture Appropriations bill, along with additional money for agriculture development in Iowa's First District

Washington, DC?Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced he has secured $875,000 to continue the New Era Rural Technology Program he established. This USDA grant program allows community colleges and advanced training facilities to train the next generation of agriculture-based energy professionals. The funds were included in the House-Senate conference agreement, which passed today in the House with a vote of 263 to 162.

"This funding for the New Era Program allows us to keep Iowa at the forefront of the bio-energy industry," Braley said. "As our economy shifts to a culture of renewable energy, it's crucial that we provide education for the emerging professionals in Iowa. I'm proud to have introduced, passed into law and funded legislation that does just that."

Braley also announced funding for the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety in Peosta, the National Ag Based Lubricants Center (NABL) at University of Northern Iowa and for UNI's Tallgrass Prairie Center to research floodplain restoration.

The $170,000 for the National Center for Agriculture Safety will provide interactive health and safety education to Iowa farmers, volunteer firefighters, EMS providers and agricultural businesses. The program will also provide youth safety training to over 300 young people in the First District.

The $405,000 for the UNI-NABL will fund research and testing of bio-renewable lubricants and greases. The goal is to create commercial, bio-based lubricant products which are bio-degradable and more environmentally friendly than petroleum based products.

The $134,000 for UNI's Blackhawk County's Tallgrass Prairie Center will fund a study of wetland communities to determine which species best aid in floodplain recovery. This will provide direct impact on restoration of wetlands in Eastern Iowa and across the country.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill conference agreement now must be approved by the Senate before moving to President Obama for his signature.

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Johnny's Italian Steakhouse will host an interactive cooking class on October 14th at  6:30pm.  Participants will learn expert tips from top notch chefs and will be given an opportunity eat what they make.  The chef will teach the class to make Johnny's Signature Crab Cakes; they are perfect for at home parties!  In addition, a door prize, such as meal certificates and recipe books, will be drawn at the conclusion of the class.  The cooking class is $10 to the public and includes light appetizers and a glass of wine or beverage.

For more information or to sign up, please call Johnny's Italian Steakhouse at 309.736.0100.



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