By: Jane M. Orient, M.D.

All eyes are on the BP gusher in the Gulf, spewing pollution over the shoreline, but there's another big leak that will do even more damage to our economy: the one in the Medicare well.

Ever since 1965, when Medicare was enacted, the federal Treasury has been hemorrhaging dollars. Previously, "10%" was quoted and re-quoted as the amount of fraud. More recently, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) alleged it to be 20%.

Like BP's oil containment dome, previous efforts failed to plug the hole. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars shoveled into the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC) by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), federal prosecutors say they need still more "resources" and "tools."

Attorney General Eric Holder is looking for people to prosecute for both leaks?which will do nothing to stop the pollution.

Containment efforts in new Medicare rules include requiring doctors to "revalidate" their billing privileges periodically. They'll have to show that their name, address, identifying numbers, and organizational status are exactly as registered. They'll have to give Medicare access to their checking account by electronic funds transfer (EFT) so that it can make immediate "adjustments" in case of overpayment.

The Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") imposes additional screening requirements; some providers will have to be fingerprinted.

Ever-more aggressive private bounty hunters called Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) are descending on doctors' offices, dissecting claims and patients' records, looking for a missing "bullet point" in the documentation, or an inaccurate digit in the billing code. ObamaCare increases the penalties for errors from $11,000 per item to $50,000. The government's burden of proof, already light, has been further decreased. There is no need to prove any intent to defraud, or even to show that any money was ever collected.

Also, the definition of "fraud" is expanded to include "unnecessary" services, "ineffective" services, or those that don't comply with Medicare requirements.

Prosecutors are making examples of "greedy providers." Dr. Ronald Poulin of Virginia was smeared all over the pages of his local newspaper before being convicted of "fraud"?that previously would have been called billing errors. Pictures of his home were posted on the internet?a nice house, bought with decades of hard work, now seized, along with his cars, his bank accounts, his medical license, his reputation, and his liberty. He sits in jail awaiting assignment to a federal prison.

One less oncologist will be prescribing expensive chemotherapy to cancer patients?and there are other effects that we don't see. Deterrence works. Trying to help sick people is becoming very dangerous.

But will these methods end the fraud? Dr. Kenneth Christman, a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) (, states that the amount of fraud is actually 100%, because Medicare is a Ponzi scheme. Today's soon-to-be-retiring Baby Boomers have been bilked as surely as Bernie Madoff's investors were, and their "trust fund" is full of internal government IOUs that can be redeemed only by borrowing from a bigger sucker.

Leaving ultimate Medicare reform aside, can we eliminate true billing fraud? Eliminating doctors does eliminate billing?of all types, by those doctors. But organized crime is said to be moving in.

As Malcolm Sparrow pointed out in a book by that title, third-party payment is A License to Steal. Payment is made for a "clean claim," not for a messy service. And despite the government's legal advantages, it takes time to go through the process of destroying doctors. So here's the overnight solution.

Make insurance fraud, like credit-card fraud, self-revealing. Do away with "assignment of benefits," which means paying the "provider." Mail all insurance payments to patients, in the form of a dual-payee check.

Dead or fictitious patients don't cash checks. Real people who did not receive a worthwhile service generally do not pay for it.

Fire the RACs, and put prosecutors to work fighting real crime, not creating crimes from arcane codes.  Restore the natural regulatory system of customers reading understandable bills. Don't put medical dollars into a huge bank vault that criminals can open with computer codes, and the practice of medicine into a bureaucratic prison.

Prisons don't stop leaks.

Healthiest schools, organizations, leaders to be honored

DES MOINES, IA (06/14/2010)(readMedia)-- Nominations are sought for the healthiest schools, organizations and individuals in Iowa. Last year was the inaugural Healthy Iowa Awards event. This year's banquet will be September 23, 5-9 p.m., at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines, Iowa.

"Everyone wants to be the best and this is the true designation for Iowans and their schools and communities for the overall healthiest," explained Jenny Weber, executive director of the Wellness Council of Iowa (WCI).

The Healthy Iowa Awards are presented by the Academy for a Healthy Iowa, a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Public Health, Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition and WCI. Award winners are selected based on providing access to wellness, programming, financial commitment, measurability and sustainability. Winners retain the "Healthy Iowa" designation for three years at which point they must reapply.

The healthiest K-12 school, college or university, community and visionary leader will be honored. This year, two new categories are open: the emerging community award will celebrate small, grass-roots groups or communities and the emerging leader award will recognize youth leaders.

Application forms are available at (click the top banner) and must be received by June 30.

The annual WCI Well Workplace award will also be presented at the Healthy Iowa event.

Governor Quinn Signs Seth's Law to Require Improved Hospital Safety Procedures; New Law Named After Iraq War Veteran Who Died After Hospital Employees Were Unable to Reach Him

HARRISBURG - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that requires Illinois' hospitals to institute policies and procedures that will enable staff to readily gain access to patient bathrooms. The law is named after 22-year-old Iraq War Veteran Seth Sanders, who died in September 2009 when hospital personnel could not gain access to his bathroom.

"Seth Sanders is a hero whose tragic death reminds us all that we must be vigilant in constantly improving hospital safety," said Governor Quinn. "Today I am proud to honor his memory by signing Seth's Law, hopefully preventing this horrible tragedy from ever happening in Illinois."

Seth Sanders served in the Iraq War, where his unit removed improvised explosive devices. After returning from his deployment last year he moved from his West Frankfort home in Southern Illinois to Nevada, where he underwent heart surgery. Approximately two weeks after the surgery, Sanders collapsed in the hospital bathroom. Hospital employees were unable to quickly locate a key and reach him in time to save his life.

House Bill 5764 requires hospitals in Illinois to implement policies and procedures that will enable staff to quickly gain access to a locked bathroom in a patient's room. While many Illinois hospitals already have procedures in place, this bill ensures that every hospital establishes these potentially life-saving measures.

"Seth was an amazing son and we don't want what happened to him to happen to another family," said Maureen Sanders, Seth's mother. "Seth is from Illinois so we wanted to pass his law here first and hopefully see it go forward and pass in other states."

The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and was sponsored by Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton). The law takes effect Jan. 1.


Governor Quinn Announces 9,366 Jobs Created Through 'Put Illinois to Work.' Program On Target to Surpass 10,000 Jobs Created Next Week

DECATUR- June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Midwest Fiber Recycling in Decatur to announce that 2,436 employers across the state have agreed to hire more than 9,366 workers through the Quinn Administration's "Put Illinois to Work" (PIW) employment program, launched in late April. The program is currently on target to surpass 10,000 jobs created by next week.

"Put Illinois to Work is doing just that: putting thousands of Illinois residents to work in good-paying jobs like these at Midwest Fiber Recycling," said Governor Quinn. "Illinois workers are some of the best in the country, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they have the opportunities to develop new skills."

Midwest Fiber Recycling, a participating employer in the PIW program, is a family-owned business that started out offering recycling services to Macon County. Today, it has over 50 employees and recycles more than 210 million pounds of cardboard, newspaper, office paper, plastic and other recyclable materials. Midwest Fiber Recycling's service area now extends throughout the Midwest, with facilities in Decatur, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Peoria.

Through Put Illinois to Work, eligible Illinois residents are placed in subsidized employment positions with participating worksites for up to six months, learning valuable skills and supporting their families. The program will help stimulate Illinois' ailing economy and develop a healthy workforce by providing meaningful work experience for participants. Put Illinois to Work is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs statewide.

Private, public and non-profit businesses are encouraged to sign on with Put Illinois to Work. Eligible participants are matched to subsidized employment opportunities with these worksites. The hope is that when the program concludes, many employers will permanently hire the workers they have trained.

Put Illinois to Work is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS). Funding is provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF), which was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Eligible worksites and participants must meet program criteria and agree to adhere to specific program requirements. Participants must be age 18-21, or 18 and older and the parent (custodial or non-custodial) of a minor child. All participants must have a household income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($2,428 per month for a family of two) and be legally authorized to work.

For eligibility criteria and additional information on Put Illinois to Work, visit


Governor Quinn Signs Law to Expand Dental Care Access for Working Families; New Law Clears Hurdles for Dentists to Provide Voluntary Care

BLOOMINGTON - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that makes it easier for Illinois' dentists to provide voluntary care to low-income families enrolled in public health care programs.

"Keeping Illinois' families healthy is one of the most important duties I have as Governor, and dental problems can lead to serious health issues," said Governor Quinn. "I am proud to sign this legislation to help more families see a dentist and get the care they need to stay healthy."

House Bill 5859 allows licensed dentists to provide volunteer care through a nonprofit health clinic, which can then receive payments from the state. The payments will help the clinics cover the costs of dental equipment and supplies.

Under current law, free and low-cost health clinics cannot be reimbursed for volunteer care provided by a dentist, unless is the dentist is personally enrolled as a Medicaid provider. The new law requires only the clinic to be enrolled with Medicaid. The clinics can use the Medicaid funding to pay for dental care costs such as equipment and supplies. Eligible non-profit clinics include federally qualified health centers and public health clinics.

The law will help encourage more dentists to treat low-income families throughout Illinois. House Bill 5859 was sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect on Jan. 1.

Governor Quinn signed the legislation at an event in Bloomington where approximately 800 dentists and volunteers gathered to provide free dental care for an estimated 1,500 low-income children and adults. The two-day clinic was organized by the Illinois State Dental Society.


Governor Quinn Signs Law To Help Veterans with Addiction, Mental Health Disorders; Law Allows Counties to Create Specialty Court for Veterans Accused of Nonviolent Crimes

CHICAGO - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that creates the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act. The new law allows counties throughout Illinois to create special judicial courts for Veterans who may have mental health or substance abuse disorders.

"Many of our brave servicemembers come home suffering from the effects of war, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse and other service-related disabilities," said Governor Quinn. "This law will help us take better care of our Veterans who need treatment, not jail."

House Bill 5214, sponsored by Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), allows the chief judge of each judicial circuit in Illinois to create a Veteran and Servicemembers Court Program (VSCP) for military Veterans charged with nonviolent crimes.

Veterans who receive approval for enrollment in the VSCP will receive mental health and substance abuse screenings, and must submit to treatment. Upon successful completion of the program, the original charge(s) may be dismissed.

"This is groundbreaking legislation that allows qualifying veterans the opportunity to pay their debt to society while also receiving much-needed treatment for service-related disabilities," said Dan Grant, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. "It is a proven and successful method of restoring mind, body and spirit to a veteran in need."

The VSCP models other diversionary courts across the nation, such as drug and mental health courts. The first Veterans' court was created in Buffalo, N.Y. in 2008. There are now more than 30 similar courts nationwide. Cook and Madison Counties in Illinois created Veterans Court programs in 2009.

The law takes effect immediately.


Governor Quinn To Announce $6 Million Capital Grant for Museum of Broadcast Communications; Project will Create 200 Jobs, Further Enhance Tourism in Illinois

CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn will announce a $6 million capital grant to the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) to assist with the completion of its new facility at 360 North State Street in Chicago at a MBC event this evening. As one of only three museums dedicated to broadcast history in the nation, completion of this project will help further enhance Illinois' successful tourism industry. MBC anticipates this project will create approximately 200 jobs.

"The tourism industry employs more than 300,000 people and contributes approximately $30 billion to the Illinois economy each year," said Governor Quinn. "Our investments in key cultural attractions like the state-of-the-art Museum of Broadcast Communications help ensure this industry can continue to create jobs and serve as a dynamic growth engine for our state."

The 62,000-square-foot facility will be located at State and Kinzie Streets, right next door to Harry Caray's Restaurant and the House of Blues Hotel. The museum will be a model of energy-efficiency and will provide five times as much space as its former location in the Chicago Cultural Center, which closed in December 2003. The facility will allow the MBC to serve a wide range of audiences, expand its collections, and increase exhibit and programming space.

"The Museum of Broadcast Communications is grateful that Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly have recognized and honored the significant role Chicago has played in American radio and television history with this grant. We will commence construction on our new home at State and Kinzie this coming Monday, creating over 200 jobs for the next year," said Bruce Dumont, President & CEO of MBC.

Tourism continues to be a key driver of the Illinois economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, in 2008, the last year available, the economic impact of tourism increased by more than $883 million to a record setting $30.8 billion. Illinois hosted nearly 88 million domestic visitors and over 1.4 million overseas visitors. In addition, the travel industry generated 303,500 jobs for Illinois in 2008.

The project is funded through Illinois Jobs Now!, a $31 billion capital plan that will revive the state's ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over the next six years.

MBC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve and present historic and contemporary radio and television content. It is one of only three museums dedicated to broadcast history in the nation, and is home to America's only National Radio Hall of Fame.


CHICAGO - June 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: HB 5956

Ensures families of firefighters killed in the line of duty receive timely payment from the Court of Claims.

An Act Concerning: Employment

Action: Signed

Effective Date: January 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5668

Amends the Firemen's Disciplinary Act.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately


Governor Quinn Opens Rosa Parks Apartments Affordable Housing in Chicago; $12 Million in State and Federal Funds Used to Build Rental Apartments for Illinois' Working Families

CHICAGO - June 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today opened the Rosa Parks Apartments, a newly-built rental property that will provide affordable homes for 94 families. The multi-million dollar project was funded in part by $9.8 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $2.2 million in state funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

More than 60 jobs were created with the development of the eight new buildings on scattered sites in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

"This project is a perfect example of how federal stimulus dollars are putting people to work in good-paying jobs while also getting families into homes they can afford," said Governor Quinn.

IHDA also invested a $1 million zero-interest loan from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and $856,000 in Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits to build the homes. Rosa Parks received an additional $285,000 in energy efficient grants from DCEO to incorporate green energy technology, including geothermal heating.

The Recovery Act created the financial incentive to spur construction on Illinois affordable housing developments that were stalled due to the collapse of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) market. Federal housing tax credits available through the state are the chief financing tool available for developers to build affordable housing. Stimulus funds provided financing options to developers to help rebuild Illinois' economy and put affordable housing developments back on track.

"These federal stimulus funds have proved critical to revitalize the housing market in Illinois and help put Illinois families back in safe affordable housing that will strengthen neighborhoods," said Gloria L. Materre, IHDA Executive Director.

Governor Quinn today also signed into law an initiative to help homeowners facing foreclosure across Illinois. The Illinois Homeowner's Emergency Assistance Program Act allows eligible homeowners who undergo HUD-certified counseling to apply for up to $6,000 - or three months - of mortgage payments, whichever is less. The pilot program ends on January 1, 2011, and lenders must agree to renegotiated terms.

For more information on federal housing stimulus projects in Illinois, see Information about the Illinois Homeowner's Emergency Assistance Program Act will be posted as it's available.


CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: HB 4909

Eliminates several advisory committees to the Illinois Department on Aging.

An Act Concerning: Aging

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 4910

Changes the composition of the Older Adult Services Advisory Committee.

An Act Concerning: Aging

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5226

Makes changes to the State Water Revolving Loan Program to comply with federal principal forgiveness requirements.

An Act Concerning: Safety

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5499

Amends the Civil Administrative Code and the Illinois Act on Aging to increase efficiency at the Illinois Department on Aging.

An Act Concerning: Aging

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5946

Makes provisions concerning the maintenance and repair of highway signs.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3576

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code.

An Act Concerning: Finance

Action: Signed

Effective Date: July 1, 2010


Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Encourage Parents to Keep Children Safe While Driving; New Law Increases Penalties and Encourages Education for Parents who Fail to Use Child Safety Seats

CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will further encourage parents across the state to properly secure their young children in safety seats when traveling Illinois' roads and highways.

"There is nothing more sacred than the safety of our children," said Governor Quinn. "This important new law will encourage parents to properly secure their young children while driving and help save lives on Illinois' roads."

House Bill 4691, sponsored by Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) and Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank), increases penalties and encourages safety education for parents who do not secure their children in a properly-installed child safety seat while driving.

Under the new law, the fine for a first violation of the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act increases from $50 to $75, and fines for subsequent violations increase from $100 to $200. The legislation also encourages parents to get proper child safety education. Parents who complete a certified child passenger safety course and own an approved child safety seat will be eligible to have their fine for the first violation dropped.

House Bill 4691 passed the General Assembly nearly unanimously and takes effect on January 1.

Current Illinois law requires anyone who transports a child under the age of eight in their vehicle to properly secure that child in a child safety seat. Children under eight who weigh more than 40 pounds do not have to ride in child safety seats as long as they are buckled into a lap belt in the back seat.

Governor Quinn has made the reduction of traffic crash fatalities and the improvement of traffic safety a top priority of his administration. Last fall Governor Quinn signed a law, initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, which bans the use of cell phones in construction zones as well as school zones. Additional legislation signed into law last August bans text messaging while driving on all Illinois roads. The penalty for violating either measure is a moving violation that will go on the motorist's driving record as well as fines and court costs to be determined by the judge.


Governors Quinn and Daniels Sign Agreement to Begin Work on Illiana Expressway; Planning Phase Begins This Year for New Expressway That Will Mitigate Congestion, Bring 14,000 Jobs to Illinois

CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today to sign legislation that will bring the two states together to build the Illiana Expressway, connecting I-55 from south of Joliet to I-65 near Lowell, Ind.

The Governors together signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a mutual commitment to the project, which is expected to create nearly 14,000 jobs in Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed Illinois Senate Bill 3659 which creates the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act.

"Today is a milestone in our efforts to build the Illiana Expressway," said Governor Quinn. "The new expressway will open an era of bi-state collaboration and provide a crucial economic boost for both states.  This is a significant achievement for northeast Illinois, which will create thousands of jobs and bring economic development benefits to this area."

The Illiana Expressway will connect drivers on I-55 in Western Will County to I-65 in Lake County, Ind., and will serve as an alternate route to the highly traveled I-90/94 corridor. The new Illiana Expressway will also provide much needed access to Will County's burgeoning freight and logistics centers and create more jobs in Will County to serve its fast-growing residential population.

"In Indiana, we believe great infrastructure means more jobs. We're in the middle of the biggest road building boom in Indiana history and the Illiana project is its next natural extension," said Governor

Daniels. "Safer roads, less congestion and countless new jobs make this a huge step forward for the entire region."

With its central location, the Chicago region serves as the nation's largest freight hub, with over one third of all freight traffic passing through the region. The freight industry generates more than $8 billion per year for the local economy, but congestion has threatened the region's competitive advantage. Local planners have identified the Chicago Southland as an ideal location for cargo-oriented development, due to the existence of both waterways and rail intermodal yards. The Illiana Expressway will allow for more efficient movement of goods between transportation modes, while attracting new logistics and manufacturing companies looking to gain greater access to the marketplace.

"Will County is the fastest growing county in Illinois, currently accounting for nearly half of the state's overall population growth. Transportation is the key to sustainable growth in the region," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.

Illinois Senate Bill 3659 creates the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act. It allows IDOT to enter into one or more public private agreements with one or more contractors to develop, finance, construct, manage, or operate the Illiana Expressway on behalf of the state. The Illinois bill had a number of co-sponsors, including: Sen. Toi Hutchison (D - Olympia Fields); Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D - Joliet); Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago); Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights); and Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Bradley).

"This region serves as a crossroads of our nation's transportation system, and the Illiana Expressway will bring economic development and much-needed relief to the area's busy roadways. Today is a very important step forward for a vital, job-creating project, and I'm looking forward to continuing the work at the Federal level to make the Illiana a reality," said U.S. Rep Debbie Halvorson (IL-11).

The two states will begin their joint effort later this year with the initiation of Environmental Studies, which will seek participation from all stakeholders to define the transportation needs and evaluate alternatives.


New Laws Allow Community Colleges to Borrow Additional Funds, Better Manage Budgets while Awaiting State Funding

DANVILLE - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation into law to help community colleges throughout Illinois borrow additional funds while awaiting already-authorized state funding.

"We must give our community colleges all the tools and resources necessary to manage their checkbooks in these tough economic times," said Governor Quinn. "Our students' education is the state's foremost priority. We will continue to fight to ensure they receive the best education possible."

Senate Bill 2615, sponsored by Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), allows community colleges to issue double the amount of bonds they are permitted to issue under current Illinois law for the next three years. The legislation also permits community college districts to establish a line of credit, which is subject to amount, repayment and interest restrictions.

Under the new law, a community college's board of trustees must pass a resolution to allow the borrowing. The legislation passed the Illinois General Assembly with strong bi-partisan support and takes effect immediately.

Governor Quinn is committed to helping Illinois' community colleges and universities weather the unprecedented national economic crisis. Yesterday, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 642 to allow state universities to borrow money equal to the amount of vouchers that have been submitted to the state but remain unpaid for fiscal year 2010.

Governor Quinn also signed two additional bills. Senate Bill 2548, sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville), allows community colleges to submit monthly, rather than quarterly, payment vouchers to the Comptroller. House Bill 4972, sponsored by Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), allows the Illinois Community College Board to limit some travel reimbursements.


WASHINGTON - JUNE 9, 2010 - Chuck Grassley today asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider a late fee for agriculture producers who missed a sign up deadline for the Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program.

Grassley said the different sign up deadlines for the farm programs have caused some confusion among producers. Under the 2002 farm bill, farmers who missed the filing deadline were given the opportunity to sign up for the program with payment of a late filing fee.  This year, there is no such option.

"Several farmers contacted my office when they learned of the earlier sign up deadline.  Unfortunately, they learned too late and instead are shut out of the program," Grassley said.  "The FSA might be able to help a number of producers if it would consider allowing a late filing fee for family farmers who have missed this year's sign up."

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley's letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

June 9, 2010

The Honorable Tom Vilsack


U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

I understand that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently conducted its annual Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) signup.  This year's signup concluded on June 1, 2010, which tracks the 2002-2007 signups for DCP which also closed on June 1st of each of those respective years.

Because of the late passage of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), signup for DCP was extended until September 1, 2008.  In 2009, because of the introduction of ACRE, an August 14, 2009 deadline was set.

2010 marks the first time FSA has returned to a June 1st deadline.  I believe a June 1, 2010 deadline is fully appropriate.  However, under the Farm Security and Rural investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), farmers who missed the deadline but chose to pay a $100 per farm late filing fee were given until September 30th to do so.  This late filing fee option is no longer offered by FSA.

I am concerned that since this is the first year that FSA is again using the earlier deadline of June 1, not all eligible producers have had an opportunity to visit their county office and signup for the two programs.  Producers in my state who missed the June 1, 2010 deadline have contacted my office about their inability to signup this year, many of whom are willing to pay a late fee to do so.

I respectfully ask that FSA reconsider its decision not to allow a late filing fee for family farmers who have missed this year's signup deadline.


Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator


Chuck Grassley was named the hardest working Member of Congress in The Hill newspaper today, based on a survey of lawmakers, aides and other officials.   The Hill wrote that Grassley's "work on government oversight remains consistent regardless of which party controls 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." Here's a link to The Hill's feature.

Today's first-place ranking follows Grassley being named number 16 on a list of 100 most influential people in business ethics for being "a leading voice in the Senate speaking out against corruption and financial fraud."  The Ethisphere Institute said in December, "Even before the financial crisis of last year, Grassley's name always seemed to come up in financial fraud stories.  He is aware of what's going on and is aggressively going after those that commit fraud."  The Institute describes itself as "a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability." Here is the link to its Ethisphere article.

AMES, Iowa (June 8, 2010) - At Iowa State University's spring commencement ceremonies, 3,297 students received degrees. Iowa State awarded 2,756 undergraduate degrees, 320 master's degrees, 120 veterinary medicine degrees and 101 doctor of philosophy degrees.

Of the students receiving bachelor's degrees, 641 graduated "With Distinction" (cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude). Ten students graduated as members of the Honors Program, and 86 students graduated "With Distinction" and as members of the Honors Program.

Graduates from the Quad Cities area include :

Bettendorf, IA
Kristin Alexa Allen, BS, Environmental Science (AGLS), C;

Rachel Marie Ashley, BS, Dietetics (H SCI);

Stephanie Suzanne Booe, BA, Advertising, S;

Jack Edward Cozad, BS, Mathematics, M;

Allison Beth Durci, BS, Animal Science;

Daniel Lawrence Finnegan, BS, Aerospace Engineering, S;

Ashley Elizabeth Honts, BA, Psychology;

Ashley Elizabeth Honts, BA, Sociology;

Kelsey Jo Klein, MAR, Architecture;

Kelsey Jo Klein, MCP, Community and Regional Planning;

Stephanie Lynne Kraft, BA, Spanish, C;

Matthew Douglas Krajewski, BS, Aerospace Engineering, M;

Ryan David Langtimm, BS, Logistics and Supply Chain Management;

Ryan David Langtimm, Marketing;

Andrew Keith Lehman, BS, Civil Engineering, C;

Marie Elizabeth Ludgate, BS, Dietetics (H SCI), C;

Molly Christine Madsen, BA, Sociology, M;

Molly Christine Madsen, BA, Spanish, M;

Ryan Paul Martin, BS, Aerospace Engineering;

Justin Ryan McComish, BS, Marketing;

Brandon Anthony Morris, BS, Management;

Scott Daniel Moseley, BS, Marketing;

Catherine Erin Owens, BS, Accounting;

Blake Anthony Michael Rubino, BS, Civil Engineering;

Adam Jeffrey Seitz, BA, Speech Communication;

Amelia Joanne Stark, BS, Elementary Education, S;

Jana Kristine Stolze, BS, Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management, C;

Rajat Tandon, BS, Computer Science, S;

Karla Sue Walsh, BS, Health and Human Performance, S;

Karla Sue Walsh, BA, Journalism and Mass Communication, S;

Elizabeth Ann Wilson, MS, Journalism and Mass Communication;

Zhiyi Xu,  , Finance,  ; Zhiyi Xu, BS, Management Information Systems, C;

Troy James Zimmerman, BS, Mechanical Engineering.

Blue Grass, IA
Shane Matthew Grabosch, BS, Family Finance, Housing and Policy.

Coal Valley, Ill.
Ashley Marie Hartson, BS, Marketing.

Davenport, IA
Martyn Lawrence Albert, BLA, Landscape Architecture;

Brian Victor Becker,  , International Business;

Brian Victor Becker, BS, Marketing, C;

Elizabeth Ann Borcherding, BS, Elementary Education;

Adrian Sangster Dominguez, BS, Civil Engineering;

Ruozhu Du, Accounting;

Ruozhu Du, BS, Finance, 2;

Silentor T. Esthil-Henderson, BS, History;

Brandon Thomas Foster, BS, Mechanical Engineering;

John Dudley Hayes, BAR, Architecture-Professional Degree;

Amanda Paige Hutchison, BS, Marketing;

Alex Robert Johnson, BA, Communication Studies;

Paul Charles Moffit Keppy, BS, Economics, C;

Paul Charles Moffit Keppy, BA, Political Science, C;

Zachary James Klenske, BS, Mechanical Engineering;

Erin Lee Lindsay, BFA, Graphic Design;

Benjamin William Olson, BS, Management Information Systems;

Jordan Ray Thistle, BS, Aerospace Engineering;

Christopher Andrew Van Buer, BS, Aerospace Engineering, C;

Paul Robert Vidmar, BS, Civil Engineering;

De Witt, IA
Matthew James Gravert, BS, Chemical Engineering, C.

Moline, IL.
Annika Faith Tunberg, BA, Journalism and Mass Communication.

Muscatine, IA
Chad Jeffrey Steinke, BFA, Interior Design.

Pleasant Valley, IA
Sean Joseph Smith, BS, Industrial Engineering, M.

Rock Island, IL.
Jacob Leonard Schrader, BS, Mechanical Engineering, C;

Jacob Leonard Schrader, Spanish;

Eric Steven Schroder, BS, Biology, C;

Grant Aaron Vermeer, BS, Computer Engineering, M.

Stockton, IA
Allison Marie Schlapkohl,  , Genetics (AGLS);

Allison Marie Schlapkohl, BS, Microbiology, M.

Taylor Ridge, IL.
Katie Jean Feuerbach, BS, Management.

If you have been dreaming about a time when independent film features will return and make their presence known again in the Quad Cities, your dream just came true.   Backdoor Independent Film Café is new in town and will bring to the Quad Cities award winning independent feature films that represent leading filmmakers from around the world. 
Backdoor Independent Film Café is driven by a desire to provide diverse, inspirational and relevant entertainment.  We plan to give our audience a fresh experience and join the major players in the Iowa motion picture arena.

On Saturday July 3, 2010 Backdoor Independent Film Café will begin a series of Independent film screenings.  The first event will be hosted at the River Music Experience in downtown Davenport.   The second event in the series will be at the Figge Art Museum auditorium on Saturday July 31, 2010. 
Through events like the Backdoor Independent Film Series, Quad City residents will enjoy excellent, relevant storytelling in motion picture. 
Five feature films have been chosen for Saturday July 3, 2010:

Beneath Clouds - Australia (90 min)
Helen - UK (79 min)
2 p.m.
35 Shots of Rum - France (102 Min)
Beneath Clouds - Australia (90 min)
4 p.m.
35 Shots of Rum - France (102 Min)
Helen - UK (79 min)
6 p.m.
Beeswax - US (100 min)
Dear Lemon Lima - US (87 min)
8 p.m.
Beeswax - US (100 min)
Dear Lemon Lima - US (87 min)

Each feature has been especially picked for our local market and should leave everyone inspired to identify with a story or remember their own story. 
Life as we see it!

Tsitsi Bergman
Backdoor Independent Film Cafe
24041 183rd Street
Bettendorf Iowa 52722

Bill Cunningham to Serve as Director of Communications
CHICAGO - June 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today named Bill Cunningham as Director of Communications. Cunningham is replacing Director of Communications Robert Reed, who is returning to the private sector.
"Bill comes to us with a wealth of experience from the Cook County Sheriff's Office and I look forward to working with him," said Governor Quinn.
Cunningham previously worked at the Cook County Sheriff's Office for nearly two decades. During his tenure, Cunningham served as Deputy Press Secretary, Director of Communications and ultimately Chief of Staff.
"I am honored to be joining the Governor's team and I am pleased to have this opportunity to work for the people of Illinois," said Cunningham.
Cunningham, 42, is a graduate of UIC and resides in Chicago.
Watch a Virtual Tour of Our Museum!
Click here to watch the tour.
Celebrating Mendelssohn: Composer and Conductor Extraordinaire

Sunday, July 11 at 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members.
Presented by Don Wooten

Trip to German Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Saturday, July 24

Click here for details on the trip.

School Cones: A German Tradition Comes to the Quad Cities
Sunday July 25 at 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members

Presented by Julie Wall of Trinity Lutheran School
Since the early 19th century, the rite of passage for children in German speaking areas as they entered formal schooling was celebrated with the gifting of School Cones (Schultüten) on the first day of school.

German-Wends Cultural Festival
Saturday, August 21
Cost: Free with museum admission; Free for museum members
Join us for a full day of Wendish cultural demonstrations, music, dancing and more! In addition visitors can explore the museum's 4,000 square feet of exhibits where you will enjoy an interactive experience as they learn about immigrants' journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.

German Level I
Prerequisite: None
Date: Meets Tuesdays starting August 3, 2010
Time/Location: 5:00-6:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual. To register call 563-322-8844.

German Level II 
Class meets 90 minutes once a week for 12 weeks.
Prerequisite: German I or some basic knowledge of German language.
Dates: Meets Tuesdays starting August 3, 2010
Time/Location: 7-8:30 pm at the German American Heritage Center, 4th floor
Cost: Members: $75 for the course and $20 for the manual; Nonmembers: $95 for the class and $20 for the manual.  To register call 563-322-8844.
New Law Allows State's Public Universities to Better Manage Budgets while Awaiting State Funding
SPRINGFIELD - June 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that allows Illinois' public universities to borrow money in anticipation of already-authorized state funding. Illinois' local school districts are able to borrow money in anticipation of tax receipts, but public universities have not had that option until now.
"This legislation will give our public universities an important fiscal tool to manage through this unprecedented economic crisis," said Governor Quinn. "We are committed to doing everything we can in Illinois to make sure our students receive the highest-quality education possible."
Senate Bill 642 allows state universities to borrow money equal to the amount of vouchers that have been submitted to the state but remain unpaid for fiscal year 2010.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), will allow universities to better manage their budgets and pay their bills while waiting for state funding. Currently, the state is hundreds of millions of dollars behind in paying for vouchers submitted by universities. The new law takes effect immediately.
To borrow money under the new law, a university's board of trustees must pass a resolution that outlines: the need to borrow money; the maximum amount to be borrowed; and the maximum amount of interest to be paid. The legislation caps the interest a university can pay at 9 percent and requires that the borrowing take place within 90 days. All borrowing must be repaid within one year or less.
Additionally, all borrowing must be approved by the Comptroller. The universities must produce a detailed account of how the borrowed funds are being used within 15 days of the borrowing.
Universities allowed to borrow under the legislation include : the University of Illinois; Southern Illinois University; Chicago State University; Eastern Illinois University; Governors State University; Illinois State University; Northeastern Illinois University; Northern Illinois University; and Western Illinois University.