Finance leaders say findings could help lower barriers to key U.S. exports

Washington, DC - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today requested a study of the market for agricultural products in China, including the effects of tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. agricultural exports.  In their letter to Chairman Shara L. Aranoff of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the Senators asked the ITC to cover a five-year period from 2004-2009 in its report, and to submit the report within eleven months of receipt of their letter.

"China is already the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural products, but there is room for substantial growth if we can reduce trade barriers to our exports.  The United States is a top exporter of wheat and beef, but we face unjustified restrictions in the Chinese market," said Baucus.  "The report Senator Grassley and I commissioned today will investigate restrictions on these and other agricultural products, so we can begin to remove barriers and send more of our Montana and American-made goods to China and create jobs here at home."

"China has become a major market for American agricultural exports.  But the potential is there for China to become an even bigger market for these products," Grassley said. "We need a better understanding of the tariff and non-tariff barriers that U.S. agricultural producers face in trying to export to China.  The study that Chairman Baucus and I have requested today will help.  Specifically, beef and pork producers in Iowa and across the United States stand to benefit from the elimination of non-tariff trade barriers that have no basis in science.  This investigation will shed more light on those barriers."

The text of the Senators' letter follows below:

April 1, 2010

The Honorable Shara L. Aranoff


U.S. International Trade Commission

500 E Street, S.W.

Washington, DC 20436

Dear Chairman Aranoff,

We are writing to request that the U.S. International Trade Commission conduct an investigation under section 332(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1332(g)) regarding competitive factors affecting agricultural trade between China and the United States.

Since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, China's imports of U.S. agricultural products have grown substantially. China is now the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports.  Yet sales are highly concentrated in a few products?soybeans, cotton, poultry, and hides and skins accounted for more than 85 percent of Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products in 2009.  Chinese imports of several globally competitive U.S. agricultural products, such as certain meat, feedgrains, and processed food, are limited.  With rapidly rising per capita income and resource constraints on domestic production growth, China has the potential to provide greater opportunities for expanding U.S. agricultural exports.

At the same time, several factors threaten the ability of U.S. agricultural exporters to realize these opportunities.  Chinese government policies aimed at boosting domestic production and curbing imports, non-tariff measures, including sanitary/phytosanitary measures and technical trade barriers, and increased competition from third-country suppliers, especially those with which China has negotiated trade agreements, are important factors that could weaken the competitive position of U.S. agricultural products in the Chinese market.

The Commission's report should cover the period 2005-2009, or the period 2005 to the latest year for which data are available.  In addition, to the extent possible, the report should include the following:

* an overview of China's agricultural market, including recent trends in production, consumption, and trade;

*  a description of the competitive factors affecting the agricultural sector in China, in such areas as costs of production, technology, domestic support and government programs related to agricultural markets, foreign direct investment policies, and pricing and marketing regimes;

* an overview of China's participation in global agricultural export markets, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and in those markets with which China has negotiated trade agreements;

* a description of the principal measures affecting China's agricultural imports, including tariffs and non-tariff measures such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade; and

* a quantitative analysis of the economic effects of China's MFN tariffs, preferential tariffs negotiated under China's free trade agreements, and China's non-tariff measures on U.S. agricultural exports to China and on imports from the rest of the world.

The Commission should submit its final report no later than eleven months from the receipt of this request.  As we intend to make the report available to the public, we request that it not contain confidential business information.


Max Baucus                         Charles E. Grassley

Chairman                       Ranking Member


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Senator Chuck Grassley today released the following comment after learning that Renewable Energy Group idled its facilities in Newton and Ralston, laying off 22 employees, due to the lapse of the biodiesel tax credit.

Here is Grassley's comment.

"Pelosi and Reid were playing with fire when they played politics with the biodiesel tax credit.  They knew 17 months ago that this tax credit needed to be extended.  Instead they made it a part of the political mix for the last year by only including it with controversial provisions.  In February, Senator Baucus and I had a bipartisan solution that would have given biodiesel producers a chance to make it through the political storm.  Unfortunately, the Democrat leadership reneged on our effort and biodiesel workers are now getting Pelosi's pink slips.  It sounds more and more like we were sold a bill of goods when the current leadership said they wanted to turn the economy around with green jobs.  Instead, they are focused on winning political points while unemployment stands at 9.7 percent.  It's time to take action to reduce job losses rather than increase them."


Red Hawk Golf & Learning Center:

    The First Tee of the Quad Cities

    Registration for spring First Tee golf classes will begin April 1st.

    Click on events/calendar for class dates and times.

    Enroll by phone: Red Hawk Golf & Learning Center at (563) 386-0348

    Attn: Jim Hasley


The Bettendorf Discovery Shop invites you to join them Friday, April 9th and Saturday, April 10th for their 18th annual cookbook and kitchenware event.

The store is already packed with great items for you to enjoy, and on Friday morning we will have hundreds and hundreds new and old cookbooks, china, dishes, linens, and many other kitchen items. If you love to cook, or know someone that does, this will be then perfect day for you to shop at the Discovery Shop. If you have cookbooks that you would like to donate for this event we would be happy to have them.

The Discovery Shop is an upscale resale shop selling gently used items donated by the community and staffed by over 100 volunteers. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society for cancer research, education, patient services and advocacy.

Donations are accepted anytime the shop is open and a tax receipt is always available. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm., Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm. and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

We are thankful for all the wonderful donations and excited to have this fun event for our customers.

ROCK ISLAND, IL (04/01/2010)(readMedia)-- Augustana's top choir, symphonic band and orchestra will perform in the renowned Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago on Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. Augustana musicians made their first appearance at Orchestra Hall in 1926. This return concert will be in honor of the college's sesquicentennial anniversary. For ticket information, please visit or call (312) 294-3000.

The concert will include David Manslanka's Symphony No. 8 performed by the Augustana Symphonic Band, Béla Bartók's Dance Suite performed by the Augustana Symphony Orchestra, and Eric Whitacre's Cloudburst performed by the Augustana Choir.

Student performers from your area include the following:

  • Audrey Taylor from Moline , IL. Taylor plays the horn in the Symphonic Band and is a junior majoring in biology education.
  • Grace Drenth from Davenport , IA. Drenth plays the flute in the Symphonic Band and is a first year majoring in elementary education.
  • Jennifer Youngs from Taylor Ridge , IL. Youngs plays the trumpet in the Symphonic Band and is a sophomore majoring in psychology.
  • Katie Lambrecht from Moline , IL. Lambrecht plays the oboe in the Symphonic Band and is a first year majoring in psychology.
  • Paul Lambrecht from Moline , IL. Lambrecht plays the trumpet in the Symphonic Band and is a senior majoring in political science, history, and secondary education.
  • Lauren Reid from Sherrard , IL. Reid sings Alto I in the Augustana Choir and is a sophomore majoring in business administration.
  • Luke Osborne from Moline , IL. Osborne sings Bass II in the Augustana Choir and is a senior majoring in classics.
  • Michael Kendall from Silvis , IL. Kendall sings Bass II in the Augustana Choir and is a senior majoring in biology and pre-dentistry.
  • Tom Larrison from Davenport , IA. Larrison plays the violin II in the Symphony Orchestra and is a senior majoring in religion.
  • Kelsey VanDyke from Davenport , IA. VanDyke plays the violin II in the Symphony Orchestra and is a juinor majoring in music education.
  • Kelli Schledewitz from Davenport , IA. Schledewitz plays the viola in the Symphony Orchestra and is a senior majoring in English education.
  • Samuel Alvarado from Davenport , IA. Alvarado plays the violoncello in the Symphony Orchestra and is a senior majoring in chemistry.
  • P. J. Wiese from Davenport , IA. Wiese plays the violoncello in the Symphony Orchestra and is a first year majoring in psychology.

All the ensembles are looking forward to the amazing acoustics in Orchestra Hall. "The experience of being in a world-class performance hall is just different," said Dr. Jon Hurty, choir director and co-chair of the music department.

Dr. James Lambrecht, symphonic band director, agrees with Hurty. "The privilege of performing in one of the world's greatest concert halls, steeped with all the history and memories of performances by one of the world's greatest performing ensembles, will leave the students with a 'once in a lifetime' sort of experience," he said.

Orchestra Hall was established in 1904 and is home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "For the orchestra to have an opportunity to play in the hall which is the home of the Chicago Symphony is a rare pleasure," said Dr. Daniel Culver, symphony orchestra director and co-chair of the music department.

Students are also looking forward to performing for their friends and family, many of whom live in the Chicago area. "My family has had season tickets for Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances for as long as I can remember," said Dana Gustafson, a junior French horn player from Des Plaines, Ill. Read Gustafson's blog about the band's preparation at

A charter coach will make a round trip from Augustana to Orchestra Hall on the day of the concert. Tickets for the coach are $35. For more information or to reserve a spot on the coach, please visit

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls nearly 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.

ROCK ISLAND, IL (04/01/2010)(readMedia)-- A talented collection of student and faculty musicians from Augustana College's music department will lead worship at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., on Sunday, April 11 at 8:00 and 9:30 a.m. More than 40 students from Augustana, including several from the local area, will share their talents as a part of these worship services.

The Ascension Singers, an audition-based choir directed by Dr. Michael Zemek, will lead the vocal component of the worship music. They will collaborate with a four-person brass ensemble and organist to perform several festive Easter anthems during the services. Zemek sees the choir's trip to Good Shepherd as a valuable opportunity to use their musical gifts in a new, meaningful setting.

"One of the primary goals of Ascension Singers as an ensemble is to provide musical leadership in worship settings. Our trip to Good Shepherd allows us to expand our service beyond the Augustana community, where we regularly sing in chapel services and other events, and to share our musical offerings with a congregation that has many close ties with our college."

Students who will be performing at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church from your area include :

  • Tim Murga, a sophomore from Rock Island, IL who is majoring in biology.
  • Rickey Rector, a first year from Davenport, IA who is majoring in liberal studies.
  • Kjerstin Hurty, a sophomore from Moline, IL who is majoring in liberal studies.
  • Calvin Vo, a first year from Moline, IL who is majoring in liberal studies.
  • Gaetano Iaccarino, a junior from Davenport, IA who is majoring in music performance-instrumental.

The instrumentalists accompanying the Ascension Singers to Good Shepherd will include Larry Peterson, organist and director of music for the Augustana Campus Ministries program; Dr. James Lambrecht, professor of trumpet and director of the Augustana Symphonic Band; and three student brass players from the Symphonic Band. Lambrecht will play alongside the three student musicians-senior Paige Anderson, junior Gaetano Iaccarino and sophomore Kyle Amati-to form a special, one-time brass quartet.

Paige Anderson, a music performance major who frequently plays the trumpet for Augustana's on-campus worship services, is looking forward to playing alongside Lambrecht in the quartet. She says that playing in a small ensemble in a worship setting is a rewarding challenge.

"On the one hand, with a small ensemble size, there's no place to hide! We all have to listen carefully and adjust to each others' tempos and dynamics. If you make a mistake, you risk throwing the whole ensemble out of sync. Still, playing in churches generally offers an intimate, personal experience. The audiences never fail to be warm and welcoming."

Peterson arranged for the choir and brass quartet to play at Good Shepherd through the church's pastor, Gary Olson, who is the father of Augustana senior Robert Olson. The Augustana music ensembles will perform as part of Good Shepherd's traditional worship services.

For more information, contact Kamy Beattie at (309) 794-7721 or

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls nearly 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.

YMCA And Area Agencies Come Together To Help Families Focus on the Needs of Our Children

DAVENPORT, Iowa  - April 1, 2010 - As part of a nationwide effort to encourage kids to get moving, the Scott County Family Y will host YMCA Healthy Kids Day, the nation's largest health day for kids and families as part of the Quad Cities National Week of the Young Child.

April 11-17 is designated as The National Week of the Young Child.  In the Quad Cities, more than a dozen trusted community child and family agencies have come together to host a variety of events focused on the needs of young children and their families. The week will kick off with a special opening ceremony at the Bettendorf Family Museum on Sunday, April 11.  The Museum in partnership with Family Resources will host this celebration from Noon - 4 p.m. and the Museum will offer half price admission that day.

There will be additional activities throughout the week including opportunities to hear speakers regarding issues facing our children as well as other events in cooperation with local agencies including the YMCA, Scott County Kids Empowerment, the Davenport Public Library, Lutheran Social Services and the Child Abuse Council.

The big finale to this week-long celebration is YMCA Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 17.  The event is fun-filled day of engaging and creative activities that foster healthy living, and is a part of the YMCA's larger efforts to help more kids and families become physically active.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day

YMCA Healthy Kids Day, a free community event, will be held in three locations this year.  The Two Rivers YMCA in Moline, Illinois and the Maquoketa Area Family YMCA in Maquoketa, Iowa will host activities from 9am - Noon.  The event will also be held from 1-4pm at the West Family YMCA, 3503 West Locust Street, Davenport.

In addition to the fun, the day will provide resources to help educate grown-ups about making healthy choices for their families every day. More than 30 area children's organizations will interactive activities and games at the West Family YMCA event and will focus on topics such as personal safety, health and wellness, reading advancement and body development.  And thanks to Healthy Kid's Day partner, the Davenport Community School District, nationally known children's entertainer, Steve Couch, will give a special concert at 3:30pm.  In addition to the concert, the first 300 children attending YMCA Healthy Kids Day will get Healthy Family Home activity books and a lunchable sample, compliments of Kraft-Oscar Mayer Foods.

"Keeping kids healthy is at the core of what the YMCA stands for," said Deb Gustafson, Executive Director of Child Care and Family Services for the Scott County Family Y. "The word 'exercise' doesn't sound very enjoyable to many people, especially kids, but getting them to move more through play that requires physical activity is the key to building healthy habits that last a lifetime. On YMCA Healthy Kids Day, both kids and grown-ups will have the opportunity to get moving, to play and to have fun."

Experts recommend that kids engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity, including active play, each day. Studies show that kids who consistently engage in play are happier and healthier, and develop and enhance a variety of skills including motor skills, social skills, problem solving, and creativity. Kids who get 60 minutes of physical play also tend to have higher self-esteem and perform better academically.

"The goal of encouraging kids to play more is to build a lifetime of love for physical activity," said Gustafson. "Play should not seem like a chore - it is an activity that is fun and brings joy and allows a kid to just be a kid."

YMCA Healthy Kids Day is supported locally by Scott County Kids Empowerment and the Davenport Community School District and nationally by Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Tropicana. Quad Cities National Week of the Young Child partners include : the Davenport Public Library; Care For Kids; Family Resources, Inc; I-Smile; Lutheran Social Services; Mississippi Bend AEA; the Putnam Museum; Community Action of Eastern Iowa; Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral; Scott County; Scott County Kids Empowerment and your Quad Cities YMCAs.

For more information about Healthy Kids Day or a complete list of National Week the Young Child activities, visit the Scott County Family Y website,


Funding Will Aid Emergency Food Organizations and Americans in Need

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of resources to strengthen the capacity of the Nation's emergency feeding network to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of people who are turning to food pantries and soup kitchens to feed their families. Up to $6 million in grants is available for food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens to improve and expand the infrastructure.

"The Obama Administration has proposed important measures to combat hunger in America and to assist food insecure households - especially food insecure children," said Vilsack. "These grants will help to ensure that food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens have the equipment and infrastructure necessary to provide healthy, safe food to America's families in need during challenging economic times."

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to award up to $6 million to emergency feeding organizations, such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens, participating in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). At least $3 million is expected to be awarded for projects that improve the emergency feeding infrastructure in rural communities. Projects that benefit or serve Native American communities will receive priority consideration.

Among other activities, grantees can use funds to improve the tracking, collection, storage, distribution and transport of time-sensitive and perishable foods; develop or maintain computerized systems for tracking foods; improving the provision of recovered foods to food banks; and repairing and expanding facilities, equipment or appliances to support hunger relief. Funds can also be used to identify new donors and emergency food providers or to provide outreach to persons in need of food assistance.

TEFAP, administered by FNS, provides USDA-purchased food and administrative funds to States for further distribution to organizations such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens. These organizations provide food assistance to needy families across the country in the form of prepared meals or as a bag of groceries that families take home and prepare themselves.

The solicitations can be found online at or at the FNS website at tefap/TEFAP_Rural_InfraGrant.htm (TEFAP Rural Infrastructure Grant) or tefap/TEFAP_General_InfraGrant.htm (TEFAP General Infrastructure Grant).


WASHINGTON - Chuck Grassley today said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded two competitive grants totaling $3,030,257 to the Iowa Department of Public Health and the University of Iowa.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will distribute the money as shown below.

  • $2,745,257 to the Iowa Department of Public Health to help pay for the Ryan White Care Act Title II.

  • $285,000 to the University of Iowa from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to help pay for pharmacology, physiology and biological chemistry research project titled, "Evolution of Pre-mRNA Splicing in Primates."

Each year, thousands of local Iowa organizations, colleges and universities, individuals and state agencies apply for competitive grants from the federal government. The funding is then awarded based on each local organization or individual's ability to meet criteria set by the federal entity.


    • Thirteen Moline elementary school students have been chosen to receive an award from the Hazel F. Van Arsdale Memorial Scholarship Fund administered through The Moline Foundation.

    • The 13 elementary students are: Maria Martinez-Hernandez, Alexis Willey, Kennedy Bromley, Carolyn Wehr, Juan Aguilera, Rachel Stanley, Margaret Thompson, Zane Nelson, Livvie Lyman, Cameron Johnson, Rachel Powell, Caleb Schnell and Joshua Schnell.

    • The fund was started in honor and memory of Hazel F. Van Arsdale to perpetuate the importance of music in elementary and secondary education.  The fund supports two types of annual awards.  One award is given to selected elementary students, and one scholarship is given to a high school senior.  The 13 elementary students were chosen by an individual school committee made up of teachers and music professionals through The Moline Foundation.  Each will receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.

    • Hazel Van Arsdale was a public school teacher for 36 years.  She was known for her strict, but fun, manner of bringing music into the classroom.  She made sure all of her students knew every verse of all of our patriotic hymns, and wanted them to strengthen their music interest beyond elementary school.  A fund was established and is now administered through The Moline Foundation's scholarship program.

    • Founded in 1953, The Moline Foundation is a community-based, non-profit organization which provides grants to health, human services, education, community development, the arts, and other charitable organizations which benefit the citizens of the Quad City region. The Moline Foundation receives and administers charitable gifts and has a current endowment fund of approximately $14 million.  For more information contact Executive Director Joy Boruff at (309) 736-3800 or visit The Moline Foundation Web site at

    • -30-