Davenport, Iowa - January 5, 2011- Lafarge North America recently was recognized by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) at its annual "Training Resources Applied to Mining" (TRAM) Conference held at the MSHA training academy in Beckley, WV.  Lafarge, not only received the first place prize in the Best CD's & DVD's Training for Industry award for their "Safety Glasses Save Lives - The Adam Oliver Story" video, but that same video captured the highest level of recognition by winning the Grand Prize for the best overall resource.  The video described the story and the lessons learned from a real-life incident that happened to Adam Oliver, a Lafarge employee, at its Davenport, Iowa Cement Plant.

"The video did well for the simple reason that it hits close to home.  All incidents are preventable. And, as this video portrays, wearing your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can save your life," said Dan Thompson, Regional Safety Director for Lafarge's River Business Unit.  "People can relate to this because it's not a hypothetical situation.  It is a real life story told by one of our own," continued Thompson.

"My experience was life changing. I decided to do this video to let my experience become life changing for others, without having them get hurt," said Adam Oliver, Raw Mix Coordinator at the Davenport Cement plant.  "I am excited the video won these awards, but I am more proud of the fact the video is reaching out and potentially preventing the next incident. Safety is such a big part of the culture at Lafarge. I know it is the top priority and we must continue to instill this culture into everyone in the industry, in order to prevent future incidents from happening," added Oliver.

MSHA's 15th annual conference gathers representatives from the mining community, including participants from academia, states programs, and coal, metal and non-metal mining industries, to share ideas and training around health and safety.


The Lafarge Group is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete and Gypsum. With 78,000 employees in 78 countries, the Group posted sales of 15.9 billion Euros in 2009. Lafarge North America Inc. ("Lafarge North America" or "Lafarge"), a Lafarge Group company, is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the United States and Canada.

In 2010 and for the sixth year in a row, the Lafarge Group was listed in the "Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World". With the world's leading building materials research facility, the Lafarge Group places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.

For more information about Lafarge North America, go to www.lafarge-na.com

Deployment Ceremony Jan. 9 for Eight Illinois National Guardsmen Deploying to Balkans

SPRINGFIELD, IL (01/05/2011)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for approximately eight Soldiers who will deploy to the Balkans with the New Mexico Army National Guard. The ceremony for the Kosovo Force Balkans mission will be Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Illinois Military Academy at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

The Soldiers will be teamed with more than 700 Soldiers from the New Mexico Army National Guard's 111th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB). They will train for approximately one month at Camp Atterbury, Ind. before deploying to Kosovo.

The Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers will assist the 111th MEB and subordinate units to alert, organize, mobilize and deploy to Kosovo as Multi-National Task Force East. They will conduct peace enforcement operations, enforce United Nations Security Council Resolutions by providing a safe and secure environment, and promote the transition of responsibilities to civil authorities.

The eight-man team consists of Illinois Soldiers from as far north as Rockford and Rolling Meadows to near the St.Louis area.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and are required to notify the Public Affairs Office by 3 p.m. Jan.7 or they will not be granted access onto Camp Lincoln. For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569.

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Girl Scout Cookie sale time arrives in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois in the coming weeks with a new cookie, new environmentally friendly packaging and a new twist to the delivery process in some areas.

Always the buzz when a new Girl Scout Cookie arrives, this year's new addition is called the Shout Out. This classic little treat is a light and crisp Belgian-style caramelized cookie that is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon or with milk as a bedtime snack.

Shout Outs have no artificial colors, zero trans fat per servicing and no hydrogenated oil. In addition, this cookie has no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial preservatives. Most will agree that this is a delicious, yet sensibly sweet treat and a great addition to the Girl Scout Cookie lineup.

Also new this year, is new packaging for the Thanks-A-Lot cookie. The package doesn't use paperboard, just a wrapper around the plastic container holding the cookies. Through a nationwide project to change this packaging, 150 tons of paperboard and countless trees will be saved through the initiative. Also, about 35,000 gallons of gasoline will be saved from transporting the smaller cookie packages, which will hold the same amount of cookies as last year.

Something else new to this year's Girl Scout Cookie sale in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois is a trial project to see how direct sales work in the council's territory. A total of 25 Girl Scout troops have been chosen to participate in the test to determine whether it works better to conduct door-to-door sales of cookies, as opposed to order-taking and then delivery as done in the past.

While most Girl Scouts will be going door to door to take orders for cookies from Friday, Jan. 14 to Sunday, Jan. 30, girls in the 25 troops participating in the direct sales pilot will be able to sell cookies on the spot to those homes they visit.

Like last year, your local Girl Scouts will offer you an opportunity to support the annual sale without having to purchase cookies for yourself, if that is your preference. You can donate delicious Girl Scout Cookies to our military soldiers through the Troop 2 Troop program. Last year, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois gave 15,000 boxes of cookies to Iowa's Bravest and River Bend Troop Support for distribution to soldiers from Iowa and Illinois. That number was up from the 4,400 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies shipped from the region in 2009.

Iowa's Bravest, of Waterloo, Iowa, supports Iowa soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They helped ship cookies to 550 different troops last year. River Bend Troop Support, of Baldwin, Iowa, sends care packages to Iowa and Illinois soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Cookies for soldiers is possible thanks to the generosity of those who elect to assist Girl Scouts in the initiative.

Girl Scouts taking orders for cookies also can donate boxes to local organizations selected by girls such as food pantries. Persons who don't wish to purchase cookies for themselves or as gifts have the option for them to be donated by their local Girl Scout troop to organizations in their own community.

Cookies also offer Girl Scouts the ability to raise funds to send girls to life-changing experiences at summer resident camp when they can't afford to attend or help fly older girls to Washington, D.C., for a tour of our nation's capital and perhaps have one of them return one day as a senator or congresswoman.

Nevertheless, Girl Scout Cookies offer that great familiar taste year after year - from the top-selling Girl Scout Thin Mint to the popular Caramel deLite - but they also allow you to help contribute funds for the premier leadership program for girls. No other program offers girls so much in developing courage, confidence and character - and it all starts with a box of cookies. Every cookie has a mission - to help girls do great things.

Girl Scout Cookies are the ultimate comfort food and are a family tradition, with many purchasing multiple boxes every year to enjoy not only their favorites and new cookies year after year, but also to support girls in our communities.

As simple as the cookie is, the snack offers Girl Scouts the funds needed to provide highly touted programming that offers a life-changing experience during their girlhood. Proceeds from cookie sales fund activities of individual troops as well as Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, including financial assistance for girls to participate in events, program fees, volunteer recruitment and training and maintenance of four camp properties.

Girl Scout Cookies have been an American tradition for more than 90 years - and for good reason.

"When you purchase Girl Scout Cookies, you get a great tasting product and you support the premier leadership program for girls," Diane T. Nelson, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Iowa said. "Because all Girl Scout programs such as cookie sale activities are girl-driven, girls make their own decisions and run the sale with the help of adult volunteers. Cookies are one of the reasons why Girl Scouting is successful at building leadership."

Girl Scout Cookies are sold door to door in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois from Friday, Jan. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 30. Through the spring, Girl Scout troops will be selling cookies at booths set up in areas such as department stores and shopping centers. If you wish to purchase cookies and have not been called on by Jan. 30, look for cookie booths in your community (posted on the council's Web site at GirlScoutsToday.com) or call Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois toll-free at 800-798-0833 to be connected with a local troop.

Girl Scout Cookies have long been a major fund-raiser for girls and their troops, and is an integral part of Girl Scouting's business and economic literacy initiative for girls ages 5-17. The program provides finance, marketing and public speaking skills as well as valuable experiences that develop girls' personal leadership style.

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program, girls manage inventory, set goals, learn money management and develop marketing skills. For more information on Girl Scout Cookies, check the Web at GirlScoutsToday.com or call Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois at 800-798-0833.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois serves 20,000 girls ages 5-17 with 4,500 adult volunteers in 31 counties in Eastern Iowa and seven counties in Western Illinois.


Mica Matsoff to Oversee State Communication Operations; Ashley Cross Heads to Department of Juvenile Justice

SPRINGFIELD - January 4, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Mica Matsoff will join the Governor's Office as the new director of communications. She will work closely with the Governor and senior-level staff as the Quinn Administration begins a new term of office. Matsoff will replace Director of Communications Ashley Cross, who will leave the Governor's Office at the end of the current term to become the chief of staff at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. 

"Mica Matsoff has become one of my most valued advisors, and I am confident that her experience in strategic communications will help us take our office to the next level," said Governor Quinn. "I would also like to thank Ashley Cross for her tireless work and dedication. I respect her desire to embark down a new path, and I look forward to her continued service with some of the state's most vulnerable young people."

As director of communications, Matsoff will be a key advisor to Governor Quinn, planning and overseeing the execution of the administration's internal and external communications. She will work closely with senior members of the Governor's staff and cabinet as they develop policies that impact the people of Illinois.

Matsoff earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has experience working in both the public and private sectors. She has vast expertise in strategic communications, crisis management and public relations.

Previously Matsoff worked as the director of communications at Quinn for Illinois where she managed all press operations. She also served as the director of public relations for Chicago 2016, Chicago's Olympic and Paralympic Games bid. She returns to state government after previously working as a spokesperson for the Departments of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Employment Security. Prior to that, she spent several years at the public relations firm Edelman.

Cross has been with the Governor's Office since March 2009 and was named director of communications in July. Previously, she served as the director of communications for DCEO. She earned her bachelor's degree from Butler University and a master's degree in nonprofit administration from North Park University. During her time in the Governor's Office, Cross served as an advisor on issues related to the state's juvenile justice program and has become an advocate for youths in the system.



DES MOINES, IA (01/04/2011)(readMedia)-- The following local residents and members of the Drake University Football Team will participate in a Lift-a-thon to raise funds for the team's May 2011 trip to Tanzania:

Stephen Flynn of Bettendorf, IA; Flynn, a senior, serves as a offensive lineman.

Evan Lawrence of Moline, IL; Lawrence, a junior, serves as a offensive lineman.

The trip centers on the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, the first American collegiate football game ever held in Africa, but it has service, academic and endurance components in addition to the game.

The game will feature the Drake Bulldogs playing the CONADEIP All-Stars from Mexico in Moshi, Tanzania, under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, on May 21, 2011.

The price tag for the Tanzania trip is $4,000 per player. During the Lift-a-thon, the student-athletes will raise barbells to raise funds, hoisting weights representing every dollar pledged by friends, family, fans and business and community sponsors toward the cost of the trip.

"This trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing experience," said defensive tackle Paddy O'Connell, a junior painting and entrepreneurial management double major from Orland Park, Ill. "Not only do we get to play the sport that we love in Africa, but we'll be able to give back to kids who don't have a lot."

The entire team of approximately 90 players will participate in the Lift-a-thon, with the hope of raising $300,000. More information on donations, including opportunities for businesses and the benefits of sponsorship, can be found online at http://www.drake.edu/globalbowl/.

After the historic Global Kilimanjaro Bowl on May 21, the Drake and Mexican teams will spend the final six days of the trip climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point on the continent of Africa at more than 19,000 feet.

The teams will not only compete on the football field, but also work together on numerous community service projects in and around the city of Moshi. These include conducting youth football clinics and building a much-needed addition at the Kitaa Hope Orphanage, which provides a home for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The projects are being planned and coordinated by the Iowa Resource for International Service. More information about the Drake projects is available at http://www.iris-center.org/Volunteer_Projects.html.

"This is an experience of a lifetime for our young men," Drake Head Football Coach Chris Creighton said. "This is more than just football -- this is about seeing our world, experiencing our world and, most importantly, giving back to our world."

Drake, a private, independent university in Des Moines, Iowa, is also developing a course so students can learn about Tanzania and work toward earning academic credit in conjunction with the trip.

Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said the trip symbolizes a perfect alliance between Drake's mission and values.

"The athletics department strives to provide opportunities that will facilitate leadership learning and prepare student-athletes to be responsible global citizens and champions of positive change," Hatfield Clubb said. "This trip is a perfect coming together of those goals."

Drake Football Lift-a-thon

What: Drake University football players will lift weights to raise funding for their May trip to Tanzania. The team will participate in the first American collegiate football game ever held in Africa, perform community service in and around the city of Moshi and summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

When: 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16

Where: Weight room, Drake Knapp Center, 2525 Forest Ave., Des Moines, Iowa

General Info: drakefootball.blogspot.com

Donation Info: drake.edu/globalbowl/

A news conference will be held on Wednesday, January 5 at 10 a.m. at the River Bend Foodbank, 309 12th Street, Moline, Illinois to announce a major funding gift from a local community foundation, the Moline Foundation and a statewide foundation, the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation, Oak Brook, Illinois.

The gift is the result of a challenge grant campaign held in the Quad Cities the last few weeks and conducted by the Moline Foundation. Other community foundations around the state were challenged to raise funds in Springfield, Champaign, Chicago, St. Charles, Peoria, and East St. Louis. Over 1.5 million people in Illinois now live in poverty. Of this number, approximately 500,000 are children. This statewide funding initiative will be used to provide nutritious meals for Illinois children through after school programs, weekend back pack feeding programs, and mobile distribution programs.

As a Community Foundation, The Moline Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause such as education or the environment, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. The Moline Foundation, founded in 1953, is a Community Foundation which provides funding to health, human services, education, community, workforce and economic development, the arts and other charitable organizations which benefit the citizens of Scott County, Iowa and Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Warren, McDonough and Henderson counties in western Illinois. The Moline Foundation receives and administers charitable gifts; has a current endowment of approximately $15 million; and handles additional funds to benefit donor wishes. The Moline Foundation also serves as a catalyst and convener to bring about solutions to problems affecting quality of life in our region.

Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation is the only statewide private foundation focused on improving the health of all children in the State of Illinois. It was created in December 2002 through an action between the State of Illinois Attorney General's office and a private insurance carrier. This action established the Foundation which was funded with an investment of approximately $125 million.



The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in consultation with other federal agencies, Native American tribes, state agencies, local governments and non-governmental organizations, is conducting the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) pursuant to Section 3061(d) of Water Resources Development Act of 2007. GLMRIS will explore options and technologies, collectively known as aquatic nuisance species (ANS) controls, that could be applied to prevent ANS transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through aquatic pathways. See the map on the right to view the location of these basins and the GLMRIS study area. Learn more about GLMRIS.


State legislators will have a chance to learn more about the Family Development and Self Sufficiency (FaDSS) Program at an information fair being held at the Capitol on January 18th from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Iowa Family Development Alliance, the fair will include a march of FaDSS families and staff to the steps of the Capitol. FaDSS Programs from all across the state will be setting up displays on the first floor rotunda, allowing legislators to get information about the FaDSS program that operates in their districts. The event will also offer legislators an opportunity to speak with FaDSS families about how the program has affected their lives. FaDSS staff will be on hand to answer specific program questions.

The event will be held at the State Capitol, Rotunda. For additional information contact - Helen Benker, FaDSS Program Director at 563-324-3239, ext. 1373.


Immigration as a Moral Issue will be the theme of a series of Saturday morning programs in January and February, sponsored by the Davenport AAUW (American Association of University Women) in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (UUCQC).  The programs, which start at 9 am and are open to the public, will be moderated by AAUW Public Policy Chair Kate King, and located at the Congregation building at 3707 Eastern Ave., Davenport.
These are the topics:
January 8:  Understanding the Causes of Migration
January 15:  History of Immigration in the U.S.
January 22:  Economics of (Im)migration
February 5:  Security, Enforcement and Human Rights
February 12:  Who Benefits from a Broken System
February19:  Seeking Solutions
For more information, contact Elaine Kresse at 563 391 4361 or Angela Chenus, 563 441 0406.  Guidelines and resources for the class may be accessed at www.uua.org, when you type in Immigration as a Moral Issue in the search box.

The Center for Living Arts will hold auditions for its school version of "Rent" from 7pm until 9pm on January 21st  and from 11am until 1:30pm on January 22nd at 2008 - 4th Avenue in Rock Island. For more information, call (309) 788-5433 or send an e-mail to Dino@center4living.com.

Countryside Community Theatre will hold auditions for this year's summer shows, "Gypsy" in June and "The Wizard of Oz" in July, from Noon until 5pm on January 8th and from Noon until 4pm January 9th at North Scott High School in Eldridge. For more information, e-mail cctonstage@hotmail.com.

Harrison Hilltop Theatre auditions for "Frost/Nixon," "Sweeney Todd," "Same Time, Next Year," and "Jesus Christ Superstar"  will be held at 10am on January 15th at the theater, 1601 Harrison St., Davenport. More information is available by e-mailing casting@harrisonhilltop.com.

Playcrafters Barn Theatre will hold auditions for their two-man comedy/drama "Visiting Mr. Green," at 7pm on January 16th thru the 20th at their theater, 4950 35th Ave., Moline.

Prenzie Players will audition for "Romeo and Juliet" on January 12th from 6:30pm until 9:30pm and on January 15th from 1pm until 4pm at the Establishment Theatre, 220 19th St., Rock Island. Callbacks are scheduled for January 16th from  6pm until 9pm.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script. For more information, call (309) 787-1931 or e-mail director@ prenzieplayers.com.