WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that a total of $20,634,955 has been secured for 156 rural energy projects in 62 Iowa counties.  The funds will be used to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems and in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.

"This funding is great news for family farms and small town businesses all across Iowa.  These projects will improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs, while at the same time aiding our state's economy," said Harkin.  "Rural communities are so important to the fabric of Iowa and projects such these will help them continue to prosper."

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  As former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Harkin worked to include a version of this program in the 2002 farm bill and expanded it to the current program in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, the 2008 farm bill.

A list of all of the projects is attached.


DES MOINES, IA (09/24/2009)(readMedia)-- Sergeant Major Michael Matson, a Junior Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC) teacher from Davenport Central High School, is a 2009 Excellence in Education Award runner-up. The award is sponsored by the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), the Iowa Farm Bureau, WHO Radio, KDSM Fox 17, and STAPLES. Juhl was among a top field of over 70 teachers?all nominated by colleagues, students, parents, and community members because of the difference they make every day in the lives of Iowa's schoolchildren.

"This award is truly about recognizing the educators who work hard on a daily basis and rarely get the recognition they so richly deserve," said Chris Bern, president of the ISEA. "All of the nominations are a testament to the dedication and compassion Iowa educators have for their students and demonstrate how educators go above and beyond the scope of their work and change the lives of the students they teach."

Mike was the instructor who started the JROTC program at Davenport Central High School and has a deep commitment to shaping the cadets into strong, self-reliant leaders who are responsible citizens. Basic to the program is improving the cadets' ability to communicate both orally and in writing?something that was successfully demonstrated in spades as Mike's nominator was a former student who wrote a superior essay outlining Mike's special abilities and love for his career.

"Clearly Mike taught his young students well as demonstrated by the young man who wrote to nominate Mike," Bern said. "The essay was compelling in that the young man's story was tough, but it was also a testament to Mike's skills as a compassionate leader and teacher who clearly cares about his students. Mike is in a tough field, but manages to show a tender side that gets through to his kids and they respond to him. He obviously has affected many lives for the better and that's what this award is all about. We are very proud to count him among the education professionals who go to work each and every day, helping kids and shaping the future."

Now in its eleventh year, the 2009 Excellence in Education Award honors the countless educators across the state that, like Mike Matson, go the extra mile to make a difference. Nominations were solicited beginning in August through September 16, and forms were available from the ISEA and at local county Farm Bureau offices.

Matson will receive a gift certificate from STAPLES during an awards ceremony and banquet on Tuesday, October 20, at the Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines, courtesy of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

The winner of the 2009 Excellence in Education Award is Nancy Kunickis, a language arts teacher at Laurens-Marathon Community Middle School in Laurens. Other runners-up are Annette Baker, an English teacher at South Hardin High School in Eldora; Mike Earll, a vocational agriculture teacher at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School in Sibley; and Tim Juhl, an instrumental music teacher at North Butler High School in Greene.

All of the nominees, along with the individuals who nominated them, are invited to attend the awards banquet at no charge. The Iowa Farm Bureau will also provide free tours of the Iowa Hall of Pride, located within the Hy-Vee Hall.

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Chicago, Ill. - On Saturday, October 3, the Deere & Company World Headquarters will be one of nine historic sites honored by Landmarks Illinois as part of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. This 15th-annual event honors individuals, organizations and projects throughout the state that represent excellence in historic preservation.

Situated on 1,400 acres of land and spanning a man-made ravine, the Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and is an icon of the Modern movement.  Completed in 1964, the original seven-story office complex is the first architectural design to use Cor-Ten steel as a primary building material.

The surrounding landscape, designed by Hideo Sasaki & Associates, includes artwork by abstract sculptor Henry Moore. The sleek, contemporary campus quickly became a model for office complexes during the latter half of the 20th century. In 1978, the company expanded, adding a 200,000-square-foot addition by Saarinen's successor firm, Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo & Associates.

The complex has won numerous design awards and is included on the American Institute of Architect's list of 150 Great Places in Illinois. For 45 years, Deere & Company has maintained this groundbreaking headquarters building through continuous care and meticulous attention to detail throughout its evolution.

"We were extremely pleased with the quality of award submissions received this year," said Jim Peters, president & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "The nine winners are truly representative of the most successful, innovative and inspiring preservation work in Illinois."

Since 1994, Landmarks Illinois has been assisted by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to honor those whose works demonstrate a commitment to excellence in historic preservation and inspire others to take action to preserve, protect and promote historic resources throughout Illinois.

The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and a portion of the Trading Room from Louis Sullivan's Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this important part of Chicago's built environment led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971. In addition, winners receive a $500 cash award.

The awards ceremony will be held October 3, from 4:30?7:30 p.m. at The Chicago Club and is open to the public. Tickets are available at $40 for members and $50 for non-members. To make a reservation, contact Landmarks Illinois at 312-922-1742 no later than September 30th.

Landmarks Illinois would like to thank the members of this year's awards jury for generously donating their time and expertise: Clark Christensen, AIA Historic Resources Committee; Marty Harper, Landmarks Illinois Board of Trustees; Christina Morris, National Trust for Historic Preservation - Midwest Regional Office; Anthony Rubano, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; and Jennifer Fritz-Williams, City of Elgin - Planning and Neighborhood Services.

For more information about the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards, visit www.Landmarks.org.

The other eight award winners are:

Sears, Roebuck and Co. Power House  Chicago

Project of the Year

Located in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, this industrial power house was completed in 1905 as one of four main buildings designed by the architectural firm of Nimmons & Fellows for the Sears, Roebuck and Company world headquarters. This structure generated steam, electricity and compressed air, providing power to the entire 55-acre complex. Following the company's relocation to the Sears Tower in 1973, the power house declined in use, and was fully decommissioned in 2004. Developer Charles H. Shaw and the Homan Arthington Foundation partnered with the Henry Ford Learning Institute to create an adaptive use plan that converted the former power house into a state-of-the-art educational facility. As part of the rehabilitation, original machinery was documented and portions were preserved for incorporation into the classrooms and common areas. The school opened its doors to students this fall, offering a math and science-based curriculum that prepares students for the future while paying homage to Chicago's early technological success.

Heimbach Residence Blue Island


Designed by Bertrand Goldberg in 1939, this small-scale building is an early example of the architect's work. Commissioned by Dr. Aaron Heimbach, the house featured both residential living space and an office for the owner's medical practice. After Dr. Heimbach's death in 1980, subsequent owners made numerous changes to Goldberg's design. The current owners purchased the home in 1997 and, in 2004, they embarked on a four-year, multi-phase restoration effort. Work included tuckpointing and masonry replacement, reconstruction of the second floor terrace, reglazing of over 90 windows, and a full upgrade of the house's heating and electrical systems which required tearing out and repouring the concrete slab throughout the entire first floor. The awards jury praised the owners, saying "the extent of the work and the visibility of this house make it a model for Blue Island preservation." The Heimbach house is one of only six surviving residential designs by Goldberg, and is now protected by local landmark status.

Garrison School Lofts and Town Homes  Rockford


This 1887 brick Italianate, located in the Signal Hill neighborhood, is the oldest surviving schoolhouse in Rockford. Designed by local architect George Bradley, the main building, an 1892 addition and a 1920 gymnasium (Peterson & Johnson, architects) sat vacant for 12 years before the Morrissey Family purchased the complex for redevelopment in 2001.  Conscious of the property's historic importance to the community, the owners pursued and were granted listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The school and gymnasium were carefully rehabilitated and retain many of their historic architectural details, which were incorporated into new residential units. The revitalization of these two buildings, plus 18 new townhomes on the adjacent lot, has been a catalyst for broader community revitalization efforts.

Overton Hygienic Building  Chicago


Located within Chicago's Black Metropolis - Bronzeville Historic District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1922 building was designed by architect Z. Erol Smith and built using funds raised by the local African-American community. This four-story, 31,000 square-foot office building originally housed Anthony Overton's cosmetic company and some of the first commercial real estate in the city marketed and leased exclusively to the black community. By the 1980s, the building had been abandoned, and it sat vacant and deteriorating for the next 20 years. In 2006, the Davis Group LLC began an extensive restoration of the building which included replacement of 300 terra cotta pieces and the replication of 117 wooden-sash windows. At street level, 1,300 square feet of storefront space that had been previously boarded up was rehabilitated, creating a more inviting atmosphere along the State Street corridor. The awards jury noted that "the rehabilitation of the Overton Hygienic Building, an anchor within the community, is paving the way for further revitalization within the neighborhood."

Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley  Geneva


A gift from Norway during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, this Viking ship replica sailed across the Atlantic and served as a major attraction during the fair. For many years, the ship was in dry dock in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo but it was eventually relocated to its current site in Good Templar Park during the mid-1990s. After more than a century of exposure to the elements and numerous relocations, the ship was in need of a more permanent preservation solution. In the winter of 2006-07, the Viking ship was named to both the Fox Valley and statewide lists of endangered historic resources. Soon afterwards, the ship was selected as one of 25 candidates to compete in the Chicagoland Partners in Preservation Grant challenge. Co-sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the online voting process lasted four weeks and prompted a creative "Get out the Vote" campaign by this local grassroots organization. Finishing in 2nd place, the Viking Ship stabilization effort was awarded 100% of the requested funds, which have been used to rebuild the structural support system, repair cracks in the wood, and provide a secure shelter and viewing platform for the vessel. The jury remarked that "without the work of the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, the fate of this rare and invaluable historic resource would still be in jeopardy."

Pacesetter Gardens Riverdale


At the time of its construction in 1960, Pacesetter Gardens signified a new era of suburban homebuilding. These attached row houses, designed by architect and developer Harry M. Quinn, received national media attention upon their completion and helped spark a new trend in home design. Pacesetter provided housing opportunities to families who were unable to afford a single-family home by offering a rent-to-own option. As early as the 1970s, however, the units fell victim to neglect at the hands of absentee landlords, eventually leading to the deterioration of both the buildings and the community as a whole. With the help of elected officials, federal, state and local grants were obtained for a neighborhood revitalization effort that preserved the affordable housing element and added commercial components to the plan. This contemporary model for community planning has proven more successful than its 1960s predecessors. In 2007, Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation broke ground and one year later the first residents were able to move in to the restored units. ADA accessible lifts and green technology were added to bring the townhomes into the 21st century. Hallmarks of the 1960 design that were carefully preserved include colorful aluminum siding, replicated metal window shutters, plus original doors and hardware.

Pullman House Tour & Façade Assistance Program Chicago


The Historic Pullman House Tour has been a collaborative effort between the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Pullman Civic Organization for over 35 years. The annual day-long event showcases the Pullman Historic District, focusing on several homes that have been restored to reflect their historic past and emphasize the significant features of these workers' residents. The proceeds from the Historic Pullman House Tour are used to fund a façade grant program managed by the Pullman Civic Organization's Beman Committee. These matching grants, capped at $1,000 each, are awarded to private homeowners undertaking façade improvement projects on their Pullman homes. Projects have included masonry restoration, reproduction and/or restoration of historic doors, windows, and details, slate roofing, and repainting with historically appropriate colors. Since the creation of the grant program in 2004, over two dozen properties have benefitted from this incentive program.

Father George Lane  Chicago

President's Award

Father George Lane, the President and Publisher of Loyola Press and a founding member of the Holy Family Preservation Society, has been one of the most dedicated advocates for church architecture and preservation in Chicago. His 1981 publication, Chicago Churches and Synagogues, is an informative survey of Chicago area religious buildings that has become a primary resource for architects and preservationists seeking reliable and scholarly material on the subject. In 1990, it was Lane who led the effort to stave off demolition of the historic 1857 Holy Family Church and helped raise over $1 million in restoration funds before a looming December 31st deadline. His appreciation for these lovingly crafted structures - which often serve as quiet refuges among the urban din - and his dogged support for their care and maintenance over the decades has made Father Lane one of the best possible advocates for their continued preservation.



SAINT PAUL, MINN. -- Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minn. presents A Piano Extravaganza, a program of piano solos and duets, on Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at Butterworth Center in Moline, Illinois. Northwestern's top piano performance students will share the music of Mozart, Debussy and more. Butterworth Center is located at 1105 8th Street in Moline; for directions call 309-743-2700. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Northwestern College music tours office at 651-631-2080.

A unique performance in Moline presents music as a way to bridge cultural differences. In an Oct. 9 performance at the Deere-Wiman House, Irish singer and peace activist Tommy Sands will share his dreams of an Ireland without conflict.

One of Ireland's most powerful songwriters and an enchanting performer, Sands uses vocals and guitar to highlight our common heritage, transcending cultural differences to bring about world peace. His repertoire ranges from traditional Irish music to contemporary folk, telling the story of a country with a troubled past but indomitable spirit.

As an acclaimed musician and social activist, Sands has performed in venues all over the world, including a recent appearance at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. His original compositions include There Were Roses and Daughters and Sons, recorded by Joan Baez, Kathy Mattea, Sean Keane and The Dubliners.

This event is part of the Fridays at Deere-Wiman House series funded by the William Butterworth Memorial Trust, and part of the Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Series. Tommy Sands, 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 9, Deere-Wiman House, 817 11th Avenue, Moline, Ill. Admission: free; refreshments following. For more information, call (309) 743-2701; www.butterworthcenter.com


After the culmination of 14 years, the Midwest-upper Mississippi region debuts The German American Heritage Center as a new museum during Grand Opening on October 3-4, 2009
1862 - 2009: From immigrant hotel to interacitve heritage museum

DAVENPORT, IOWA (September 23, 2009) Over the past 14 years, the German American Heritage Center building (712 W Second Street, Davenport, Iowa) was saved from demolition, restored, renovated and became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This was accomplished through the efforts of volunteers who gave their time, labor and support to the vision of GAHC.

"The vision of the German American Heritage Center began with a humble start. A small group of passionate volunteers united to celebrate German-American heritage. Since then we have grown into a historic treasure that also reaches across cultural boundaries, finding commonalities amongst us all," said Executive Director, Angela Hunt.

View several photos that show the amazing transformation of the building over the past 14 years in our photo gallery.

Since 2007, GAHC underwent a complete interior renovation and has increased exhibit space by six times the original layout. A ribbon cutting ceremony will kick off the grand opening weekend that takes place on Saturday, October 3, 2009 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 4, 2009 from noon - 4 p.m. Admission is free to GAHC during the grand opening weekend. The museum will debut the improvements and the new interactive, audio-visual permanent exhibit, "The German Immigrant Experience." The exhibit takes visitors on an exploration of what it was like to be an immigrant to this area in the 1800s.

A brief history: From immigrant hotel to heritage museum
Built around the late 1860s, the GAHC location appears to have had its earliest history in the hostelry enterprise. Around 1872, the thirty-room hotel was a popular spot for many immigrants, visitors, and farmers who came to Davenport. Its German character as a "Gast Haus" lasted well into the early years of the twentieth century. Today the GAHC serves as a museum, genealogy research center, and educational/cultural resource.

What to expect at the newly expanded museum

New interactive, audio-visual permanent exhibit, "The German Immigrant Experience"
The new exhibit space at the museum is 3,550 square feet and includes two additional traveling exhibit spaces. The permanent exhibit is highly interactive and includes a theater, audio-visual stations, artifacts and two restored hotel rooms. The creation of this exhibit area marks a major milestone at GAHC; achieving its goal of providing a premier educational, historical and recreational experience. The exhibit was designed by Morgan-Bailey Consulting out of Des Moines, Iowa.

Additional new traveling and special exhibit spaces
GAHC now has two special/traveling exhibit spaces. These spaces will change throughout the year showcasing different exhibits. Current special exhibits include "Brewery Ephemera," that explores the history of local breweries established by German immigrants; and "A to Zither," a journey into the world of the sounds and tradition of the German zither instrument.

Expanded education and recreational programs and events
With the newly expanded exhibits at GAHC, we will create seven new education programs for schools, new field trips, outreach programs and education tours. The permanent exhibit is specifically designed so that all curriculum areas from geography and literature to science can be explored. Special new group tours, community programs, member-only events and trips will also be offered.

New facility rental space
GAHC has a new rental space on fourth floor that boasts panoramic views of the Mississippi River and the City of Davenport. GAHC will use the space for programs and will also make it available for private and nonprofit groups to rent. Discount rates are available for GAHC members and nonprofit groups. The space can hold up to 100 persons, includes a kitchenette, restrooms, tables/chairs, and audio-visual equipment.

Below are details on the grand opening event:

GRAND OPENING WEEKEND:"The German Immigrant Experience"
Open to the public, Free admission during the grand opening weekend
Saturday, October 3 - 4, 2009; 10 am - 4 pm

Sunday, October 4, 2009; 12 - 4 pm

During grand opening festivities, the Center will unveil the new interactive permanent exhibit. Enjoy special performances by the German Dancers, zither music demonstrations, children's activities, and more. Visit www.gahc.org or call 563-322-8844 for more information. The German American Heritage Center is located at 712 W 2nd Street, Davenport.

After the grand opening weekend, GAHC will offer new hours. Below the new hours, admission and membership rates are listed:

Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.


For more information please visit www.gahc.org for photos, videos, programs, and events.


Thunder Bay Grille in Davenport will re-create a southern summer favorite - Cajun Seafood Boil on Saturday, September 26th starting at 4pm!  Head Chef Andy Wildermuth invites guests to experience a Cajun boil that includes crawfish, shrimp, mussels, corn on the cob, Andoullie sausage and red potatoes all cooked in a Cajun bouillabaisse broth.  Guests will be seated at tables that are wrapped in butcher block paper and the chef will empty the Cajun seafood boil in the center of the table.  It is an event that friends and family can all enjoy!

Call 563-386-2722 to reserve your table, price is $14.99 per person and includes salad, the Cajun Seafood boil and dessert. Thunder Bay's full dinner menu is also available.  Thunder Bay Grille is located at I-80 and Brady Street in Davenport.


MOLINE, ILLNIOIS - The sun was shining. Minus Six was performing. The Iowa game was on the big screen television, and 1,800 people tasted a variety of beers and cheeses at the 10th Annual WQPT Brew Ha Ha on Saturday, September 19th.

At the end of the day, once the ballots had been tallied, Bend River Brewing Company and Blue Cat Brew Pub took home the trophies for Best Brews at Brew Ha Ha 2009..

First Place went to Bent River Brewing Co. for their brew, Uncommon Stout. They also won Second Place with Dry Hopped Ale and their trophies were picked up by Steve Ratcliff. Third Place went to Tucks Tenacious Trippel from Blue Cat Brew Pub with Melissa Wileke picking up the award.

WQPT's Brew Ha Ha was sponsored by Old Chicago Bettendorf, Rock 104-9 and Cumulus Broadcasting, Rhythm City Casino, River Cities' Reader, KWQC, Mediacom, Pratt Audio Visual & Video Corp., Penguin's Comedy Club, Dimitri Wine & Spirits, Inc., Glazer's Distributors of Iowa, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Cabot Cheese, Downtown Partnership, City of Davenport, Hawkeye Ice, Iowa American Water, Midwest Originals Booking, Millennium Waste, Quad City Golf Cars, and Sunbelt Rentals.

WQPT is the Quad Cities local public television station located on the campus of Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois.

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The hottest charity event in Iowa and a night you won't want to miss!

(Des Moines, IA) The third annual Bras for the Cause Gala and Auction will be held Saturday, October 3, 2009, at Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des
Moines. It will be a night packed with dinner, dancing, auctions and MORE:

7:00 pm  Appetizers, Cocktails and Silent Auction Opens
8:00 pm  Dinner and Live auction
9:00 pm  Dance

One of the hottest and most creative fundraising events in central Iowa, artists from all over the globe have created one-of-a-kind bras to be partnered with a
variety of other incredible items for the auction. Sponsored by Mercy Medical Center; The Iowa Clinic; Iowa Health - Des Moines; ABC 5; Bank of the West;
HyVee; Stacey's Bra & Lingerie and Sitehawk; the event allows the Bras for the Cause Iowa Foundation to continue to help Iowans in the fight against breast and cervical cancer.

In 2009 there will be an estimated 16,000* new cancer cases in the state of Iowa. Of those new cases, 7,800 will be women and 2,150 of those women will be affected by breast cancer. 100% of the funds raised by Bras for the Cause Iowa Foundation remain in Iowa to promote women's health.

Learn more about Bras for the Cause Iowa Foundation and how you can get involved by visiting www.brasforthecause.com.

For More Information Contact:
Beth Cummings 515-490-9214


Momentum Accelerated Behind Initial 3-Hour Deplanement Standard

Senator Boxer and Representative Thompson Champion Passenger Rights

September 22, 2009, Washington, DC - FlyersRights.org and Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today conducted a Passenger Rights Stakeholder Hearing before a packed hearing room of airline passengers, travel professionals, Congressional staff and media in the Rayburn House Office Building. Experts, both for and against legislation to address a growing extended-tarmac-delay problem, were sharply questioned by aviation journalists and travel industry professionals . The clear outcome from the hearing is that legislation is urgently required to address a growing passenger health and safety problem that airlines are apparently unable or unwilling to fix themselves.

The hearing was sponsored by the Honorary Chairwomen Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) who have championed a 3-hour national standard for providing passengers the option of deplaning, should a captain decide it is safe to do so. Their bills, S.213 and HR 674, were strongly endorsed by airline passengers, FlyersRights.org, BTC, other travel groups at the hearing.

PassengerRights.org Executive Director Kate Hanni testified , "The airline industry has been the voice of "NO" for too long. The system is broken and passengers have been paying a dear price with their health, lost productivity and missed family events. This hearing shone a bright light on the fallacious arguments put forward by those airlines that seek to continue stonewalling against reforms that will benefit passengers and all airline industry stakeholders."

"There is now a clear expectation that Congress will move to enact legislation to create a national standard beginning with the requirement that airlines provide passengers an option to deplane after 3 hours. Airlines will likely have several months to adjust operations before the law is effective," stated BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell. "BTC further encourages Congress to phase-in a 2-hour standard 1 year after the initial 3-hour rule becomes effective. Congress should likewise make mandatory the U.S. Department of Transportation Tarmac Delay Task Force recommendations," added Mitchell. (BTC recently issued a report on passenger rights legislation .)