Funding will provide winter heating assistance to low income Iowans

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that Iowa has been awarded $4,847,522 through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The emergency contingency funding will help eligible low-income Iowans meet home energy costs, and is in addition to the $67.8 million Senator Harkin secured for the state in Fiscal Year 2010 from the LIHEAP block grant.

"Winter can be a desperate time for people in need, and this has been a particularly brutal winter in Iowa," Senator Harkin said. "This funding will help thousands of low income households, especially those with young children and elderly, make it through the season."

On January 7, 2010, Senator Harkin joined a bipartisan group of 48 senators in sending a letter to the President urging him to release the emergency LIHEAP funding.  The full text of the letter can be found here.

In 2008, 95,234 Iowan households received LIHEAP assistance - one of the highest numbers on record.  A nationwide survey of households receiving LIHEAP aid found that 42 percent of recipients went without medical or dental insurance and 32 percent went without food for at least one day.

DES MOINES, Jan. 20, 2010 - Advocating for more affordable, accessible and quality health and long-term care, and financial security for older Iowans are AARP's key areas of focus for Iowa's 83rd General Assembly, which convened Monday, Jan. 11. Specific legislation AARP state staff and volunteers will be focusing on includes:

*       Protecting critical Medicaid funding
*       Protecting funding for identified unmet home and community needs of older Iowans
*       Protecting the quality of long-term care in Iowa's nursing homes and other institutional settings
*       Working to implement cost-effective ways to improve Iowa's health care system, such as improving Iowa's chronic care delivery through steps like creating a statewide diabetic registry and regionalizing IowaCare - Iowa's system for providing care for low income and under-insured Iowans
*       Addressing Iowa's impending nurse shortage
*       Providing sensible consumer protections from extreme predatory lending practices

"In this tough economic climate, AARP will be working diligently to protect our most vulnerable citizens and ensure that Iowa's human needs are met at this critical time," said Bruce Koeppl, AARP Iowa State Director.  "With increasing demand on state Medicaid services due to the economic downturn, it is imperative leaders protect critical Medicaid funding," said Koeppl. 

For every dollar Iowa cuts in Medicaid, the state loses $1.68 in federal matching funds.  Medicaid not only provides a safety net to the increasing number of people suffering the hardships of job loss, disability and lack of access to insurance, it also provides essential economic benefits to local communities.  Medicaid cuts cause a ripple effect with lost jobs, and lost revenue to providers and other businesses, as well as tax revenue for state and local governments.

AARP sets its annual state legislative priorities consistent with national policies approved by the association's Board of Directors.  Priorities are based on the needs of Iowa residents as expressed in survey of members across the state, and information gathered at AARP-sponsored forums and events throughout the year. 

To get involved with AARP in contacting your legislators or learning more about AARP's efforts during the legislative session, call the AARP Iowa State Office toll-free at 1-866-554-5378 or visit

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Rock Island, Illinois ? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking applications for seven leases for agricultural purposes, with a total of 458 acres. The leases are for a five-year term. Applications will be evaluated based upon the highest annual rental proposed.


Application packages and information can be obtained at the Lake Red Rock and Red Rock Dam Park Manager's Office, phone 641-828-7522, or by writing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Real Estate Division, P.O. Box 2004, Rock Island, Ill. 61204-2004, or by calling (309) 794-5955.

Applications will be opened at 2p.m. on March 1 at the Rock Island District Headquarters in the Clock Tower Building on Arsenal Island, Rock Island, Ill.

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A Benefit Supporting the American Red Cross on Tuesday, February 16th from 5-8pm

Mardi Gras Rajun Cajun Fest will be in full swing on Fat Tuesday, February 20th. This ticketed event raises much-needed funds for the American Red Cross of the Quad Cities.

Local chefs from Thunder Bay, The Machine Shed, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, Biaggi's, Black Watch Room, Blue Cat Bew Pub, Heritage Woods Senior Living Communities & Lighthouse, Mo' Betta BBQ, Park Vista Retirement Living, Riply Street Bar & Grille, The Button Factory, and Zbest Café, will be creating sample portions of Cajun style appetizers, entrée's and desserts. They will also be competing in a People's Choice Award, which will be voted on by those in attendance. All proceeds from this event go directly to the American Red Cross of the Quad Cities.

The event is open to the public and will be held Tuesday, February 16th from 5pm -8pm at Thunder Bay Grille, Davenport. Tickets are $20 or 2 for $35 in advance and are available for purchase at Thunder Bay Grille (located I-80 and Brady St, Davenport), or the American Red Cross prior to the event. Due to limited space, tickets are only available by advanced purchase. Don't miss out on your chance to taste some of the best Cajun creations around!

For more information contact Thunder Bay at 563-386-2722.

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Funding will Grow Iowa's 'Green' Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $5,997,000 will be coming to Iowa Workforce Development to train people for jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.  This Department of Labor State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grant will help dislocated workers, unemployed individuals and incumbent workers learn the technical and occupational skills necessary to obtain industry recognized credentials.

"Iowa has one of the best workforces in the nation and it is important that we continue to do all we can to keep and improve our state's competitive advantages.  The green energy sector is creating good jobs in Iowa and today's funding will teach people the skills necessary to be a part of this growing industry," said Harkin.  "In addition to creating jobs, the renewable energy sector is bringing down energy costs, reducing our dangerous reliance on foreign fuels and helping prevent global climate change."

"The State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants will help workers gain access to good jobs, while supporting the sort of statewide energy efficiency strategies that play a crucial role in building the green economy of the 21st century," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

According to the Department of Labor, the Iowa Energy Sector Partnership will use this funding to implement a state? driven green workforce development plan with prioritized training needs, as identified by the State Green Jobs task force.  The project will develop a statewide sector plan for the emerging energy economy that will focus on sustainable jobs in the energy sector and train workers with portable skills.  Training will be provided for both new and incumbent workers.

Today's funding comes through the Department of Labor and was authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Nationwide, 34 similar grants were announced today, with Iowa receiving close to the maximum any state could receive under this award. Harkin secured these funds through his role as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which wrote the Recovery Act.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Jan. 20, 2010 - Lawmakers sent legislation to the Governor yesterday requiring school districts to use their cash reserves before levying to raise taxes on property owners. While House File 2030 may delay property tax increases in some districts, it will not address the shortfall in state aid caused by Iowa's across-the-board budget cuts, which will result in higher property taxes according to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).
"Until Iowa enacts real budget reform, our government will continue to balance the state budget on the backs of property tax payers," says Lang. "Reform is necessary for a long-term stable and predictable budget."
To improve the state's budgeting process, Farm Bureau members are asking decision makers to establish an affordable state budget that will: 1) fund Iowa priorities and lessen the potential shifts in property taxes; 2) ensure that the state's emergency funds are at a level sufficient to protect priorities when revenues are declining; 3) create fiscal responsibility by not using one-time resources to fund on-going expenditures; and 4) protect property tax payers when across-the-board cuts are enacted.
While all property owners will see increased taxes as a result of the state's across-the-board cuts, some will feel the pain immediately. Preliminary data from fiscal year 2009 shows that 133 school districts in the state will not be able to cover the void left by Iowa's 10 percent across-the-board budget cut late last year. Those 133 districts face $115 million in possible property tax increases, according to an analysis by the IFBF.
In a related move, the state legislature decided to postpone setting allowable growth for 2012 until next year. "The legislature's decision to wait until next year to set allowable growth for 2012 makes sense, given the uncertainty surrounding the budget process and today's economy," says Lang.
The Iowa College Student Aid Commission announced today the launch of the new online Iowa Financial Aid Application, making the Iowa-administered financial aid process easier for students.  The application, which can be accessed through the statewide community web portal,, allows students to complete one application for multiple state-administered programs.

Now is the time for students planning to attend college in the fall to file for financial aid.  It is important that they know about the deadlines and new process for filing for state financial aid in order to ensure they receive the most funding possible.

The attached word document contains more information on the Iowa Financial Aid Application.

If you have any questions, please contact me by telephone at 515-725-3417 or by email at
Junior Achievement of the Heartland to host Bowl-A-Thon on February 20, 2010

Moline, IL -- Give a child a jump start on their future by bowling in the Trinity JA Bowl-A-Thon at Bowlmor, Highland Park, Milan Lanes, Miller Time and Town & Country bowling alleys on Saturday, February 20.  Have a great time while raising funds to support financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programs provided by Junior Achievement to area schools.

You don't need to be a good bowler; just an enthusiastic one to participate.  Get together a group of friends, co-workers or family members to form a team.  Then join us for a fun-filled, exciting day of bowling and prize giveaways.  The money you raise will help support local students participating in JA programs.

You can help one child, one classroom at a time by participating in the Trinity JA Bowl-A-Thon.  Call the Junior Achievement of the Heartland office at (309) 736-1630 or visit for more details on how to sign up!  Each team that raises $500 or more will be eligible to strike it big and win a trip to New York City.  Each member of the winning team will receive two nights lodging in a private room along with round-trip airfare from Chicago.

This year more than 49,600 students throughout JA of the Heartland's 24 counties will receive JA programs.  Thank you to the following sponsors for their participation in this upcoming event; Trinity Regional Heath System, B100, Great River Medical Center, HNI Corporation, Silver Oaks Corporation, Star 93.5, Wells Fargo Bank, and Winegard and Fun City.  JA appreciates their support in making this event a success.  

About JA Worldwide® (Junior Achievement)

JA Worldwide is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA Worldwide provides in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. JA Worldwide offers educational programs that focus on three key content areas: entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy. Today, 134 individual area operations reach approximately four million students in the United States, with an additional 3.5 million students served by operations in 114 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit

Junior Achievement of the Heartland serves 49,600 students in 24 counties throughout eastern Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit


Excelsior College, Albany, New York, has announced that Christopher B. Roecker of Davenport and Lloyd H. Trowers, also of Davenport, have graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees.

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) cosponsored legislation today to allow individuals who make charitable contributions to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim deductions in 2009. Braley joins Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) in support of this effort.

"The outpouring of support and generosity toward our neighbors in Haiti has been overwhelming and inspiring," Braley said. "In times of tragedy, Americans have always risen to help others in their greatest hour of need. This legislation not only provides a benefit to Iowans who have already donated their hard-earned money, but also an added incentive for those considering their ability to make a contribution."

Read the full text of the legislation here.

In 2005, Congress passed similar legislation for those who made contributions to the Indian Ocean tsunami relief efforts.


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