Washington, D.C. - February 18, 2011.

This week, the U.S. House is considering a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011.  The current funding proposal expires on March 4, 2011.  Analysis released today shows that the budget proposal will have a detrimental impact on law enforcement in Iowa.

Harkin's full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

"Cutting essential law enforcement funding is not the answer," said Harkin.  "Iowa continues to face a meth problem, with the number of meth labs up 50 percent since 2007.  And, drugs and crime continue to impact our communities.  Cuts to law enforcement will make our streets less safe and our nation less secure.  

"There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases."

Below are some specific cuts Iowa will face in law enforcement if the House budget is enacted.

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

The House proposal cuts $250 million from State and local law enforcement assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP). If enacted, this will result in significant cuts to essential programs that are critical to ensuring Iowa's cities and towns are safe and drug free.  Most significantly, this would inadequately fund the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program.

One of the most important uses of this funding is for multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, which help local law enforcement reduce drug-related violent crime and gang activity in our communities.  Nationally, Byrne/JAG funding leads to over 200,000 arrests, over 50,000 weapons seized, and the breakup of over 9,000 methamphetamine labs each year.

Last year over $24 million in OJP grants came to Iowa, supporting jobs for over 90 Iowans who are directly responsible for making our state safer.  In Iowa, Byrne funded drug task forces:

•    Were responsible for over 2,400 felony arrests;
•    Dismantled 275 gangs;
•    Seized over 8,200 illegal firearms;
•    Seized nearly 20,000 kilograms of illicit drugs, like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine;

These successes show we need to continue to support this program, not cut it back.

Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities

The House proposal would cut $50 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. This includes funding for 14 state counter-drug plans and five regional counter-drug training centers, to include the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center (MCTC) at Camp Dodge.  Without this funding, MCTC would be forced to close its doors, and thousands of law enforcement officials would go without necessary training.  Additionally, federal funding for the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force would be cut, effectively shutting down the program.

If this cut were enacted:

•    Nearly 7,000 Iowa law enforcement officials would not receive necessary counterdrug training at MCTC.  
•    State and local law enforcement officials would not receive support such as intelligence analysis and aviation support from the Iowa Counterdrug Task force.  
•    Thirty jobs would be lost at the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force.  
•    Twenty-three jobs would be lost at MCTC.

Rock Island - KJWW Engineering Consultants is proud to announce Brian Wegerer, PE, was named to ENR Midwest's Top 20 Under 40 list.

An independent panel of judges selected the top 20 from 40 nominees based on professional excellence; leadership in their company and profession; service to their profession and community; and honors and awards earned for involvement in landmark projects.

The Jan. 24, 2011 article in ENR Midwest states "Brian Wegerer's staff of 30 tackles some of KJWW's largest projects, drawing on his experience leading technical and multi-discipline teams."

Wegerer has spent nearly his entire career with KJWW Engineering, and currently serves as Associate Principal and as an operations manager for the firm's Industrial/Government
"Because younger engineers look to him for leadership, project management and mentoring, KJWW selected him to instruct them in project management and consulting," the article stated.

Early in his career as an electrical engineer, Brian took on the lead role in many high-profile projects and became the technical expert on systems associated with various projects. Some of the projects Brian lead as Project Manager and Lead Electrical Engineer include :

$200 million new Sherman Hospital that features the largest-lake coupled geothermal system in the United States

$75 million Provena St. Joseph Hospital bed tower expansion

$42 million Trinity at Terrace Park Hospital

Numerous projects for Deere & Company

Brian attended Black Hawk College before transferring to Iowa State University to pursue a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In 2000, he received an MBA from St. Ambrose University. Brian received a "Leaders Under 40 Award" from Black Hawk College in 2008 and currently serves on the Black Hawk College Foundation board. He is married and has three children and resides in Coal Valley, Ill.

About KJWW: KJWW offers a range of engineering services including structural, mechanical, electrical, technology and medical equipment solutions for healthcare, education, government, commercial and industrial facilities. KJWW's staff comprises of more than 400 full-time employees in seven offices. The firm is headquartered in Rock Island, Ill., and has offices in Chicago; St. Louis; Madison, Wis.; Des Moines, Iowa; Naperville, Ill.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Dubai, UAE; and Ahmedabad, India. For more information, visit www.kjww.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 18, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement on the budget protest in Wisconsin:

"States around the country are facing tough budget decisions - just as we are here in Washington.  But what does it say about our priorities when we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest, yet ask public employees who are already being stretched thin to give even more?  These are our nation's teachers and caregivers - people our families rely on each day who are living within their means.  Yet, those in the upper income bracket are not being asked to sacrifice anything.  That's unfair.

"In Wisconsin, public servants are being scapegoated and budget cuts are being used as an excuse to undermine workers' rights.  That's no way to go about building consensus and it's no way to treat American workers."

MIAMI (02/17/2011)(readMedia)-- Kaplan University celebrated the graduation of its winter 2011 class during a live graduation ceremony on February 5 in Miami. Bill Richardson, former two term governor of New Mexico, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. Energy Secretary and multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominee, served as the commencement speaker.

The following local students were awarded degrees:

Mike Bixby of Davenport, IA was awarded a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

M. Elizabeth Blaha of Davenport, IA was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Management in Management.

Fred Monfeli of Davenport, IA was awarded a Bachelor in Business Administration.

Catanna Dement of East Moline, IL was awarded a Master of Business Administration in Business Administration.

Ryan Hazen of Moline, IL was awarded a Bachelor in Information Technology.

Richardson referenced his path from student to governor and told the approximately 1,000 graduates in attendance that "when you combine diversity and creativity with energy, commitment and a strong work ethic, there is no limit to what you can do."

"I feel very strongly about providing opportunities and increasing access to education, which Kaplan University does very efficiently and very effectively. And what they've done is adapt to a changing world and respond to the needs of students - to your needs," Richardson added.

The Kaplan University winter 2011 class, which included more than 5,600 graduates, earned associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees - as well as professional certificates - completely online. More than 1,000 of them traveled from around the country and the world to attend the ceremony, meeting face-to-face for the first time. Kaplan University has graduated nearly 27,000 online students since it began offering web-based degrees in 2001.

The Kaplan University winter 2010 class, which included more than 5,600 graduates, earned associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees - as well as professional certificates - completely online. More than 1,000 of them traveled from around the country to attend the ceremony, meeting face-to-face for the first time. Kaplan University has graduated nearly 27,000 online students since it began offering web-based degrees in 2001.

About Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education. It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by providing a practical, student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan University has more than 125 academic programs and offerings, and serves more than 75,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education, which serves more than 100,000 students online and through more than 70 campus-based schools across the United States and abroad. Kaplan Higher Education schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from certificates and diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a juris doctor degree. Kaplan Higher Education is part of Kaplan, Inc., a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Kaplan, Inc. is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), and its largest and fastest-growing division. For more information about Kaplan University, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu.


MOLINE, Ill.- Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT), today inaugurates low-cost, nonstop travel service between Moline/Quad Cities, Ill., and theTampaBay, Fla., area.  The company, known for its exceptional travel deals, is celebrating the new service with fares as low as $79.99* each way between the two cities.Guaranteeing the lowest prices on its hotel packages, customers will also save an additional $20* off their air when they book with an Allegiant preferred hotel.

"We are extremely pleased to again expand the Allegiant brand of low-fare, nonstop, jet service in Moline/Quad Cities," Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President, said. "This is an exciting new addition for our airline and our customers as we launch the only low-cost service between Moline/Quad Cities and the Tampa Bay area."

"I am extremely pleased that today Allegiant is starting the much-anticipated service to the Tampa Bay area," Bruce Carter, Director of Aviation at the Quad City International Airport, said.  "With the recent successes of the Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa flights, and today's start of the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg service, Allegiant's presence in the Quad City market is strengthened. Our partnership continues to flourish and we hope to see growth for existing and new routes with Allegiant in the future."

The new flights operate twice weekly betweenQuad City International Airport (MLI) and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), with service Monday andFriday. Flights depart Moline/Quad Cities at 5:40 p.m.arriving in the TampaBayarea at 9:10 p.m.Flights depart the TampaBayarea at 3:20 p.m.arriving in Moline/Quad Cities at 5 p.m.(all flight times are local).  The carrier utilizes a full-size, 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft on the route.  The company also offers nonstop service from Moline/Quad Cities to Las Vegasand Phoenix-Mesa.

With an average 361 days of sunshine each year, the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is considered the most popular vacation destination on Florida's West Coast.  The area was named among the top beaches in the United Statesand is one of a few destinations to have received the "Blue Wave Award" from the Clean Beaches Council.  In addition to pristine beaches, visitors are within minutes of shopping, amazing golf courses and award-winning resort and dining experiences.

Allegiant is more than an airline, it is a full-service travel company that offers great value to its customers through its hotel and car rental packages.  The company partners with 20 of the TampaBayarea's most exciting hotel properties, including: GrandHyattTampaBay, BarefootBeachResort, HiltonClearwaterBeachResort, Sheraton Sand Key Resort, AldenBeachResort, DonCeSarBeachResort andSirataBeachResort & ConferenceCenter. Allegiant provides low-cost car rental service through its partnership with AlamoRent a Car.

Allegiant's guarantees the lowest price on air and hotel vacation packages through the company's Low-Price Pledge.If the customer finds an air and hotel package for less, Allegiant will issue up to two free roundtrip tickets per itinerary to use on a future Allegiant flight to the same destination.  Allegiant is also rewarding customers who book an air and hotel package through the company with an instant $20 savings on roundtrip airfare, making it even more affordable to book an air and hotel package.

Allegiant's $79.99* one-way fare is limited, not available on all flights and must be purchased by March 2, 2011,for complete travel by Aug. 16, 2011. Reservations may be made through the company's website at www.allegiant.comor by calling the company's travel experts at 702-505-8888.

About the $79.99* one-way fares:

Seats are limited. Fares are one-way and not available on all flights. Must be purchased by March 2, 2011for travel completed by Aug. 16, 2011. Prices do not include PFC, segment tax or Sept. 11th security fee of up to $10.70 per segment. A segment is one take-off and one landing. A convenience fee of $14.99 per passenger will apply when booked on allegiant.com. A convenience fee of $14.99 per passenger, plus $14.99 per segment, will apply when purchased through Allegiant call centers. Purchases made at any Allegiant Airport Ticket Office will not incur a convenience or call center fee. For ticket counter hours of operation, please visit www.allegiant.com. When purchased at the time of booking, a checked bag fee of up to $29.99 per bag will apply per person, per segment. If purchased at flight check-in, a fee of $35 per checked bag, per person, per segment will apply for the first two bags checked. Additional higher fees will apply for three or more checked bags. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply. $20 savings based on a two-night, air plus hotel purchase; valid at select Allegiant hotels. Low-Price Pledge valid on air plus hotel packages only. Competitive price cannot include Allegiant air service.  See www.allegiant.com for details.

Allegiant, travel is our deal.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT), is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix-Mesa, Orlando, Fla., and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.  Through its subsidiary, Allegiant Air, the company operates a low-cost, high-efficiency, all-jet passenger airline offering air travel both on a stand-alone basis and bundled with hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel-related services.  In 2010, Allegiant was ranked number one for low-cost carriers in Aviation Week's Top Performing Airline study and ranked 25 on FORTUNE magazine's Fastest-Growing Companies list.  Receive breaking news from Allegiant by visiting Allegiant's Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/Allegiantor follow Allegiant on Twitter at twitter.com/allegiantair.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that the Iowa Department of Transportation received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration's State of Good Repair Grant Program. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds transportation initiatives.  The funds will be allocated to local transit agencies across the state as listed below based on a mileage formula.

"These funds will help transit agencies provide safe and efficient transportation for people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, get to work and around their communities," Harkin said.

Individual grant recipients are listed below.

Des Moines ($161,020)
2 buses

Fort Dodge ($526,220)
3 buses

Iowa City ($777,150)
3 buses

Sioux City ($345,600)
1 bus

Waterloo ($896,400)
3 buses

Region 1 (Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties; and Sioux counties) ($107,900)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 4 (Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Woodbury, and Southern Union Counties; and South Dakota counties) ($112,847)
2 buses

Region 5 (Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties) ($353,580)
4 buses

Region 6 (Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties) ($204,180)
1 Minivan
3 buses

Region 9 (Cedar, Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott; and the Illinois Quad Cities area) ($302,950)
5 buses

Region 10 (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties) ($95,450)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 11 (Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, and Warren counties) ($434,090)
6 buses
1 Minivan

Region 12 (Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, and Sac counties) ($62,665)
1 bus

Region 13 (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties) ($255,640)
4 buses

Region 14 (Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Ringgold, Taylor, and Union counties) ($125,330)
2 buses

Region 15 (Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne counties) ($195,880)
4 buses

Region 16 (Des Moines, Henry, and Louisa counties) ($73,040)
1 bus

Grassley Questions Immigration Service's Initiative to Modernize Existing Technology

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley yesterday sent a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas requesting an update on the "Transformation" initiative, a project that was intended to modernize and upgrade existing technology.

Grassley's letter cited a news story that reported the project thus far has a $630 million price tag with little progress on completion.  Grassley also wrote to Mayorkas about reports that indicate the upgrades won't be complete until 2022 and at a cost of $2.2 billion.

"It's quite clear that technology upgrades are not a strong suit of the federal government.  Time and time again, this has been a problem for federal agencies," Grassley said.  "These agencies and contractors need to be held accountable for their use of taxpayer money, especially when there's little or nothing to show for it."

Grassley is familiar with cost overruns and missed deadlines with the federal government's attempts at technology upgrades.  For years he's conducted oversight of the long-hampered computer system modernization issues at the FBI and the IRS.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley's letter to Mayorkas.

February 16, 2011

Via Electronic Transmission


The Honorable Alejandro N. Mayorkas


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

20 Massachusetts Avenue

Washington, DC 20529


Dear Director Mayorkas:

I'm writing to express concern about the failures encountered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) "Transformation" initiative.  This initiative was meant to modernize and upgrade existing technology in order to achieve operational efficiency.

According to one news report, over $630 million has been spent on the Transformation program, and the projected completion has been pushed back by almost a decade.  The Department of Homeland Security originally scheduled this project to be completed in 2013, but reportedly, USCIS will not complete the task until 2022 at a cost of $2.2 billion dollars.  That's a $1.664 billion increase over the original planned cost of $536 million.

I'm concerned that very few improvements have been made since the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported to Congress in 2007 about the Transformation initiative.  The GAO and the Inspector General have noted that "efforts to modernize...have been unfocused, conducted in an ad hoc and decentralized manner, and in certain instances, duplicative."

In order to gain a complete understanding of the problems inhibiting the USCIS Transformation project, please make the appropriate USCIS officials available to brief members of my staff no later than February 28, 2011.  I look forward to your response to the above mentioned request no later than February 22, 2011.  If you have any questions on this matter, please call (202) 224-5225.  All written responses should be sent in electronic format.


Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator

Volunteer Opportunities Information February  24, 2011

 Davenport, Iowa - February, 2011  - The Figge Art Museum currently has volunteer opportunities available in the areas of education programs, family activity center, visitor services, community outreach and studio classes. Individuals who have an interest in community volunteerism or Quad City Art and Culture may register for the February volunteer information sessions.

The information session for prospective  volunteers will be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011, from 2pm -3:30pm.  Theses sessions will be geared specifically to adults, who are interested in volunteering and community support opportunities in  art education, public relations, administrative support, community outreach and visitor services .  The session will include an introduction of volunteer opportunities, a museum orientation and application procedures.  To register for this session, please call Museum Services Director Jennifer Brooke, 563-326-7804, ext. 2048.

Volunteering at the Figge is a great way to support your community by sharing your personal and professional experience with a non profit organization.  For more information, please visit the Figge Art Museum Web site, www.figgeartmuseum.org, or email j.brooke@figgeartmuseum.org.  

About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum, formerly the Davenport Museum of Art, opened August 6, 2005. The award-winning building designed by architect David Chipperfield holds a collection of approximately 3,500 works that reflect artistic styles and developments from the Renaissance to contemporary art, with particular strengths in American Regionalist, Mexican Colonial, and Haitian art.  The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday throughSaturday and Sundays 12-5pm  Thursdays the museum is open until 9pm. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit our website, www.figgeartmuseum.org.


CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2011 -- Today, the Chicago Plan Commission approved a major Lakefront Trail project commonly known as the Navy Pier Flyover. The Active Transportation Alliance said the cutting edge bridge design will create safer conditions and provide congestion relief for cyclists, pedestrians and other trail users on the trail near Navy Pier.

"We're so pleased with the Chicago Plan Commission's approval of the Navy Pier Flyover, and we applaud the Chicago Department of Transportation for their hard work creating a project that will improve transportation choices for Chicagoans," says Ron Burke, executive director at the Active Transportation Alliance.

Thousands of Chicagoans use the Lakefront Trail daily for commuting, recreation and accessing neighborhood services. Serving as a critical piece of Chicago's infrastructure and a centerpiece for the Chicago Park District, the trail's peak daily usage reaches up to 30,000 at its busiest points. "The Lakefront Trail is important to Chicago's residents and visitors for transportation, recreation and exercise," says Burke. "It serves as a link between our parks, beaches, neighborhoods, downtown and tourist attractions."

The Navy Pier Flyover project will address a confusing and dangerous stretch of the Lakefront Trail starting just north of Navy Pier south to where the trail is forced onto a tight sidewalk over the Chicago River. Current conditions on the trail include blind corners, narrow right-of-ways and traffic conflicts that severely limit trail traffic and create an often hazardous experience for pedestrians, motor vehicles, bicyclists and other trail users. The Navy Pier Flyover will address those problems, improving trail capacity and making this area safer for all users.

Active Trans has been involved in this project since the initial project meetings 10 years ago. The organization has worked with the city to provide input on the project concept and design, participated in public meetings with our members and worked to resolve concerns from nearby residents about the project.

"The city's thorough process has resulted in a strong project plan worthy of the Chicago Plan Commission's approval today," said Burke. "With funding for two of three phases of the project in place, we look forward to seeing construction start next year, but we will continue to advocate for funding to complete this important project."

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America's largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

WASHINGTON - February 17, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Commerce Secretary to ensure a full accounting and appropriate discipline for abusive spending of asset forfeiture funds collected by federal law enforcement officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Grassley's request is based on questionable purchases including a $300,000 luxury boat purportedly for undercover operations.  The law enforcement office was unable to provide documentation that the boat had ever been used for an undercover operation when the Inspector General began inquiring, but indications are that it was used by executive staff for fishing trips.  Other expenditures include the unauthorized purchase of 200 vehicles for a 172-person law enforcement office, and $580,000 in international travel, with only 17 percent of the travel directly related to law enforcement investigations.

"Nothing's being done to fully account for what happened, and no one's been held responsible for wrongdoing," Grassley said.  "Turning a blind eye is license for more of the same and continued disregard for the public trust held by these public officials.  In this case, it's at the direct expense of average Americans."

A report issued by the Inspector General for the Commerce Department found that as much as $96 million may have gone through this fund in the last five years.  The amount of money could not be verified because the books were in such disarray.  The fund also was unusual in that it wasn't created through the sale of assets seized as a result of their use in criminal enterprises.  Rather, it consisted of money collected through administrative fines and penalties imposed with little oversight or judicial review.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary F. Locke, Grassley said the nature of the fund "has led to allegations of questionable conduct on the part of enforcement officers who had an incentive to impose exorbitant penalties and fines on fisherman."

Grassley said that while an outside auditing firm has been brought in to determine the balance of the fund and audit the most recent fiscal year, that fails to account for what went on since 2005.  "The public deserves to know, and the abuse needs to be stopped," Grassley said.  "If heads don't roll, nothing's likely to change."