Modern Woodmen of America has recently earned the Excellence in Education Award from the Life Office Management Association. Of 1,200 member companies worldwide, only 85 organizations earned the recognition in 2009.

This is the seventh time Modern Woodmen has received the award.

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes companies developing human resources through the use of LOMA's professional education and learning programs.

To be eligible for this award, an organization must be a member of LOMA and enroll in a minimum of 20 examinations during the calendar year. Other criteria include :

· Exceptional pass rates for LOMA examinations (historically an average of 85 percent or higher)

· Growth in LOMA examination enrollments from the previous year

· Ongoing support and promotion of LOMA educational programs

At Modern Woodmen, 48 percent of employees hold the Fellowship Life Management Institute designation, a 10-course, professional development program for the insurance and financial services industry.

Modern Woodmen will be honored during the LOMA Annual Conference Sept. 13-15, 2009. Gerald P. Odean, retired National Secretary of Modern Woodmen, will accept the award.

Founded in 1883, Modern Woodmen of America touches lives and secures futures. The fraternal benefit society offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States.



Scott County ag learning program becomes "hit of the [Mississippi Valley] Fair" with Farm Bureau's help

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Sept. 3, 2009 - Since 2005, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Community Enhancement Grant program has awarded 102 grants - totaling more than $100,000 - to neighborhood organizations around the state.  Today, Farm Bureau continues its tradition of building community strength by announcing its support for four rescue and education programs in Taylor, Clinton, Scott and Madison counties.

"Safety and education programs provide Iowa communities with stable foundations," said IFBF Community Resources Director Barb Lykins.  "Farm Bureau helps reinforce those foundations by actively supporting the local people and organizations that make those programs work."

In Davenport, Anything's Kaasa-ble, an area non-profit organization that educates youth about poultry and egg farming, received $500 from Iowa Farm Bureau and $500 from Scott County Farm Bureau to establish an ABC's of Learning Animal Birthing Center.  For the past ten years, Anything's Kaasa-ble co-founders Gary and Denise Kaasa have visited North Scott schools, sharing information about a chicken's life cycle and bringing in eggs for students to watch them hatch.  The annual visits have become a hit, and this year the Kaasas were invited to bring their show to the Mississippi Valley Fair.

"We were told by members of the fair board that we were the hit of the fair!" said Gary.  "A couple days after the end of the fair the general manager [of the fair] called to say that he wants us back next year."  The Kaasas' next goal is to broaden the presentation's theme, focus on the role farmers play in the care and production of livestock and start an Animal Birthing Center similar to the Iowa State Fair's Animal Learning Center.  The grant from Farm Bureau will help the couple reach that goal.

"Farm Bureau realized this was an important project, and they were among the first to jump in," said Gary.  "They did a lot for us, and it's very much appreciated."

Agriculture education also got a lift in Winterset, where the schools' ag and science department received two $1,000 grants, one from Iowa Farm Bureau and one from Madison County Farm Bureau, to purchase greenhouse supplies for its new year-round greenhouse for 7th-12th graders.

In Bedford, the city's volunteer ambulance service received $500 from the Iowa Farm Bureau and $470 from the Taylor County Farm Bureau to put toward the purchase of two defibrillators.  Bedford is nearly a half hour away from a hospital, making adequate staff and equipment important to the city and surrounding communities.

In Clinton County, the Welton Volunteer Fire Department got one step closer to its goal of purchasing a 2002 Freightliner Rescue vehicle with the help of a $750 grant from the county Farm Bureau and a matching $750 grant from Iowa Farm Bureau.  The vehicle will replace the department's 1978 rescue van, which services a rural community spanning 40 square miles.

Community Enhancement Grants are awarded on a monthly basis to projects that fall within the four key areas of IFBF's strategic direction: farmers and agriculture; community and rural development; youth and education; and health and wellness. For more information about the program, or to request an application, call your county Farm Bureau office.


The Scott County Historic Preservation Society's next meeting wil be held on Sept. 10, 2009 at 7pm.
SCHPS will tour the Renwick Mansion, 901 Tremont Ave. The Renwick is Davenport's finest example of Italian Revival Villa architecture.  Built by lumber baron James Renwick in 1877, the mansion freatures 8 marble fireploaces, a three story walnut staircase and an iron crested tower juting far above the tree tops.
Today, the mansion is owned by local preservationist, Senator, Dr. Joe Seng, who rents it for weddings and public events.. Parking is on 10th Street.
The meeting is open to the public and free of charge.For more information call Karen Anderson at 563-324-0257

OneIowa Benefit

Prideplanner of Iowa is hosting a benefit for OneIowa on Thursday Sept 10th from 7-9 pm at the new Stickman's, 1510 N.Harrison St in Davenport, Iowa. OneIowa is Iowa's largest Gay/Lesbian advocacy group and was instrumental in the legalization of marriage in Iowa. All money donated will be generously DOUBLED by an anonymous  benefactor. There will be a presentation of what OneIowa is about and how people can become involved in providing equal rights for all!

Cites Progress in Anti-Meth Efforts and Importance of Cooperation Among Law Enforcement, Prevention, and Treatment to Continue the Fight

(St. Louis, MO)?The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske, today unveiled a new anti-methamphetamine (meth) ad campaign launched in Missouri and across the country, with particular focus on 16 States where meth prevalence, and lab seizures and incidents, are high.  Director Kerlikowske was joined by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (MO-03), Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and Colonel James Keathley, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Despite the overall decline in meth usage across the country, we still have work to do," said Kerlikowske.  "This drug leaves a path of destruction that affects individuals, families and entire communities.  Only by working together, can we rid the Nation of this insidious drug.  This campaign complements the hard work done on a daily basis by members of law enforcement and the drug prevention and treatment communities to prevent meth use and encourage those affected by meth to understand that recovery from meth addiction is possible."

The Anti-Meth Campaign, in its third year of coordination by ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, includes new advertising for TV, radio, print, Internet, billboards, and gas pumps. Using a "tiered" media approach, the Campaign ensures that all states receive a level of paid media support, with proportionally more media spending in 16 States with higher meth prevalence rates, based on national survey data, as well as a small group of Midwest States where meth lab seizures and incidents tend to be high. The new TV, radio, print, Internet, and out-of-home ads will run from September to November 2009 in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Nebraska.  Additionally, radio ads and Internet search ads will run nationwide during the same time period.

The ads' messages focus on meth use prevention, as well as provide information for meth users and their families who are seeking recovery services.  The primary target audience for the Anti-Meth Campaign is young adults, ages 18 to 34, whose meth use tends to be highest across the country. The new advertisements were created by Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, the pro bono advertising agency, in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  In early 2010, the television ads will be available as free public service announcements (PSAs) for non-profits, State, and local government offices to customize and use in their own communities.  

"Our communities have been fighting this problem for years, and we've learned that the key to victory is a comprehensive program of prevention, education, remediation and wraparound treatment," said U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan (MO-03).  "The additional resources this new campaign is bringing into our state can only help bring us one step closer to winning the war against meth."

"In Missouri, members of law enforcement, criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment communities have been working diligently on the meth problem," said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.  "But our work continues, and we still have further to go to ensure that our citizens are safe from meth.  This campaign supports our work in law enforcement - and the work of our many community partners in drug prevention and treatment."

"We are pleased to welcome Director Kerlikowske and the dedicated representatives of St. Louis and Missouri law enforcement and criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment to launch this important ad campaign here in St. Louis," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "Meth is certainly a critical community problem, not just for the individuals who use it, but for the family, friends, and people working every day to fight the terrible scourge of methamphetamine."

According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than five percent of Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes.  In 2007, there were an estimated 529,000 current users of methamphetamine aged 12 or older.  Missouri leads the Nation in reported meth lab seizures and incidents, according to recent data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Josh, a Dunklin County, Missouri resident, is featured in the campaign's open letter print ad.  The ad tells the story of Josh's meth initiation at age 17, which led to addiction, the loss of his job and house, and the trust of his family. Through a treatment program mandated through the Dunklin County Drug Court, administered by the Honorable Phillip Britt, Josh has fully recovered and now works as a junior drug counselor at an area treatment facility.  Both Josh and Judge Britt, now Drug Court Commissioner of the 35th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, spoke at the press conference.

"We know that a comprehensive, community approach to fighting meth is vitally important, and this includes the message that recovery is possible," said Kerlikowske.  "Josh's story illustrates that message and provides the real potential for hope to families struggling with the many effects of this devastating drug."

Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked. Often called "speed" or "ice," meth is available as a crystal-like powdered substance or in large rock-like chunks.  Meth users are prone to violence and neglectful behavior that can affect their children and neighbors.  The chemicals used in meth production are flammable and highly toxic, posing a threat to both the environment and residents.

For more information about the Anti-Meth Campaign, to view advertising and other resources, and to learn about how to order free PSAs, visit

Since its inception in 1998, the ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has conducted outreach to millions of parents, teens, and communities to prevent and reduce teen drug use.  Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, non-profit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds with effective anti-drug messages.

# # #

Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Go Healthy Month Inspires Kids to Take a Stand Against Childhood Obesity

(IOWA) Sept. 1, 2009 - The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, is empowering youth to join the fight against childhood obesity and to celebrate September's Go Healthy Month.

Focusing efforts on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children, the Alliance has designated the month of September as Go Healthy Month. Our empowerME movement - more than one million strong - will reach out this month to expand and inspire even more tweens and teens to eat better, move more and wipe out America's obesity epidemic. Tweens and teens are asked to join the empowerME movement and become leaders and advocates for healthy eating and physical activity in their communities. Through empowerME, healthy lifestyles become "cool" for tweens and teens.

"America's kids are facing unprecedented rates of obesity. By joining together to fight this epidemic, they are inspiring each other to live healthier," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Through Go Healthy Month and the empowerME Movement we hope to empower kids to make better choices now, to ensure an impact on their health and quality of life in the future."

"Go Healthy Month is the perfect time for us kids to make a commitment to be healthy," said David Sanchez, 17, Racine, Wisc., a member of the empowerME Movement's Youth Advisory Board. "By attending a Go Healthy Month event, joining the empowerME Movement and sharing our stories, we can motivate each other to make sure our generation will live longer, healthier lives."

To teach kids the basics of healthy eating and living active lifestyles, the Alliance also created a FREE, 8-session healthy living course - empowerME4Life. The course is age-appropriate, culturally relevant, targeted to kids ages 8-12; and can be facilitated by older youth or adult allies. When young people learn to make small changes in what they eat and how active they are, they can make a big difference in their health over time.

Youth are encouraged to visit to learn more about joining the empowerME Movement and the FREE EmowerME4Life program.

# # #

GAITHERSBURG, Maryland -- The Izaak Walton League of America, a national leader in community-based conservation, presented former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert with the League's prestigious Honor Roll Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the conservation of America's natural and renewable resources.

Under the leadership of Mayor Mark Schwiebert, the city of Rock Island is going green. Mayor Schwiebert formed a City Hall Green Team to work on local sustainability. The city bought a fleet of hybrid vehicles and changed building codes to encourage green practices. The city also purchased an abandoned hydropower plant and is outfitting it with new turbines to create carbon-free power that will meet more than 50 percent of the city government's power needs. Mayor Schwiebert has encouraged citizens to plant rain gardens and otherwise reduce surface water runoff, and the city reimburses homeowners for a part of the cost. The city also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to decontaminate two brownfields areas and turn them into city parks.

"Community-based conservation programs are critical to solving our current environmental crisis," says Mike Williams, the League's national president. "We are thankful for Mayor Schwiebert's initiatives on behalf of the citizens of Rock Island and proud to honor his service in protecting America's outdoors with this award."



Hidden Camera Footage Reveals Chicks Being Thrown, Mutilated, and Ground-Up Alive - Group Calls for Warning Label on Grocery Egg Cartons

Davenport, Iowa - Hidden camera footage revealing shocking cruelty to animals at the Spencer facility of Iowa-based Hy-Line International, the world's largest hatchery for egg-laying breed chicks, will be released at a news conference tomorrow morning by Mercy For Animals (MFA), a national animal protection organization. The footage - covertly recorded by a hatchery employee earlier this year - reveals chicks being thrown, dumped, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, injured and killed by the industrial equipment, left for days without access to food or water, and fully-conscious male chicks being ground-up alive.  Prompted by the findings of the investigation, tomorrow MFA will call on the nation's 50 largest grocery chains to require that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label reading, "Warning: Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry."

Date: Tuesday, September 1st

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Radisson Hotel (Moline Room), 111 E 2nd St., Davenport

The undercover footage was recorded between May and June 2009 at Hy-Line in Spencer, Iowa - where over 30 million chicks are killed annually. Abuses include :

  • Male chicks being dropped into a grinding machine while still alive, where they were tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator.  These males are deemed useless to the egg industry because they do not lay eggs or grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat.
  • Employees and machines roughly throwing, swinging, and dropping the fragile animals - with little consideration for their welfare.
  • Chicks being snapped by their fragile necks into a rotating machine, which used a laser to remove part of the birds' sensitive beaks without painkillers.
  • Machinery injuring, killing, and scalding live chicks in wash cycles.

After viewing the footage, Dr. Nedim Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, stated: "(T)he manner in which the chicks depicted in the videotape were treated subjected them to pain and substantial stress. It was cruel by any normal definition of the word."

On Tuesday, MFA will send letters to the nation's 50 largest grocery chains, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, and West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, urging them to mandate that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label warning consumers of the gruesome method used to kill male chicks

"If hatchery employees threw, mutilated, or ground-up live puppies or kittens like they do to chicks, they could face imprisonment on grounds of cruelty to animals," says MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "In a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animal from needless suffering, including those raised for food."

Broadcast quality undercover footage of conditions at Hy-Line will be aired and distributed at the news conference.


You are invited to attend the 2009 Quad City Earth Charter Summit on Saturday September 26th at Augustana College, Rock, Island, IL. Registration is from 9-10am, Summit is 10-3:30pm.

Progressive Action for the Common Good (PACG) will present this year's Quad City Earth Charter Summit, with the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Augustana College, The Riverboat Development Authority and the Doris & Victor Day Foundation as major sponsors.

Local Food is the theme of the 2009 Earth Charter Summit, focusing on PACG's Local Foods Initiative whose goal is to promote and assist in the development of a healthy, safe, sustainable, local food supply for the Quad Cities and to support local sustainable agriculture.

The Summit will include local and regional speakers and informative workshops focused on how we can create locally sustainable agriculture and a local food plan on an individual level and at an institutional level as the result of working together as a community.

The Earth Charter Summit day will also include a delicious local lunch prepared by the Augustana Food Service which is modeling the practices we are organizing around.

Additional sponsors to include Quad Cities Chapter-Buy Fresh Buy Local, Neighborhood Housing Services of Davenport, Quad City Chapter- Sierra Club, Radish magazine, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and the Faithful Pilot Café & Spirits

Join us! Together we can help educate and mobilize QC citizens, municipalities and organizations to strengthen the Quad City area and foster a source of healthy, local food.

For more information or to register please contact Rachel Griffiths at 309-721-3204 or Caroline Vernon at 563-676-7580.

Registration is $10.00 / $5.00 for students and includes lunch. Seating is limited. Scholarships are available.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that Scott County has been awarded a $234,683 grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.  Harkin has been a steadfast supporter of the grant program, which funds many drug fighting initiatives across the state.  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"The people who put their lives on the line for us deserve our support and our gratitude," said Harkin. "This grant will help to keep them on the job, working to keep drugs off the street and our communities safe."

Details of the grant are as follows:

$234,683 to Scott County for the HIDE Unit, operating under the Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group (QCMEG). The county's goal is to reduce the amount of illegal narcotics available to the public and arrest those who distribute illegal narcotics.

The Byrne Grant Program, named after a police officer killed by a violent drug gang twenty years ago, is the only source of federal funding for multi-jurisdictional efforts to prevent and fight crime.  The program funds drug task forces that have been vital in reducing methamphetamine labs in Iowa and around the country. Byrne also helps pay for police, technology and crime prevention programs. The grants have resulted in major innovations in crime control, including drug courts, gang prevention strategies and prisoner reentry programs.