RIVERSIDE, IOWA -- Thanks to the generosity of Dollar Tree, Inc., Operation Homefront Iowa is providing backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies to military families in need, including active duty, active reserve, and National Guard personnel.

"We are delighted to have the support of Dollar Tree as we work to assist military families in need. School is important to children's long-term success in life, and these supplies can make a big difference in the lives of children as they prepare to return to school," said Chapter President Michelle Reuss.


In addition, Congressman Dave Loebsack will be at the American Legion facility in Swisher on August 14 from 4-5 pm to help prepare backpacks. He will be at the same lo


Military families interested in participating in the program must first register online at: https://www.operationhomefront.net/chapter_root/chapter_backpack_form.asp?Chapter_ID=25.

Additional sponsors for this program include Hanover Direct and General Dynamics. Operation Homefront extends a warm thank you for the generosity of these organizations.

About Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront provides emergency and morale assistance for our troops, the families they leave behind and for wounded warriors when they return home. A nonprofit 501(c)(3), Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers in 30 chapters nationwide, and has met more than 105,000 needs of military families. Operation Homefront also hosts the Web community Operation Homefront Online. For more information, please visit www.operationhomefront.net and www.homefrontonline.com.



Washington, DC - Throughout August, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will host health care reform town hall meetings throughout the First Congressional District to seek constituents' input on healthcare reform legislation pending in Congress. Braley will discuss the House health care reform bill, listen to constituents' concerns, and take questions.

Braley is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a key committee of jurisdiction in the healthcare reform debate. In July, Braley held four healthcare reform town hall meetings?in Davenport, Dubuque, Oelwein, and Waterloo. By the end of August, Braley will have held 12 healthcare town hall meetings?one in each First District County?and two Congress on Your Corner meeting sessions.

Braley's town hall meetings on healthcare reform are free and open to the public.

Tuesday August 18, 2009

2:00pm: Jackson County Healthcare Town Hall at the Jackson County Regional Health Center, 700 W. Grove St., Maquoketa. (Please use South Entrance off Vermont Street when entering the facility)

Wednesday August 19, 2009

10:00am: Fayette Congress on Your Corner (one-on-one meetings with Rep. Braley) at Upper Iowa University's Garbee Hall, Fayette/Upper Iowa Room, 605 Washington St., Fayette.

1:30pm: Buchanan County Healthcare Town Hall, Independence Library, 805 1st Street E, Independence.

Wednesday August 26, 2009

1:00pm: Butler County Healthcare Town Hall, Aplington-Parkersburg Middle School Cafeteria, 215 - 10th St., Aplington.

3:00pm: Bremer County Healthcare Town Hall, Waverly Health Center Rooftop Garden, 312 - 9th Street SW, Waverly.

Monday August 31, 2009

10:00am: Clinton County Healthcare Town Hall at Ashford University's Durgin Center, 400 North Bluff Blvd., Clinton.

Wednesday September 2, 2009

9:30am: Delaware County Healthcare Town Hall, Regional Medical Center Conference Room, 709 W. Main St., Manchester.

2:00pm: Jones County Healthcare Town Hall, Lawrence Community Center, 600 E. Main St., Anamosa.

Friday September 4, 2009

1:30pm: Clayton County Healthcare Town Hall, Elkader Central Community School Auditorium, 400 - 1st St NW, Elkader.

4:00pm: Guttenberg Congress on Your Corner (one-on-one meetings with Rep. Braley), Guttenberg City Hall, 502 S. First St., Guttenberg.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will be traveling across the state this month on the Building Iowa's Future tour. This future of Iowa includes one where all Iowans will have access to affordable, quality health care and preventive care that can reduce chronic disease and rein in high health care costs; a future where Iowa leads the green economy and where our heroes get the benefits they deserve.

Senator Harkin will post daily entries chronicling his trip on his Senate website at http://harkin.senate.gov/.

Details of events from August 8th through August 14th are below.

Saturday, August 8th - Des Moines

2:00pm: Harkin will visit Des Moines Primary Health Care, Inc., 1200 University Ave, Des Moines.

Harkin will visit Des Moines Primary Health Care to discuss progress being made on health reform in Washington and the important role Community Health Centers play in our state.

Sunday, August 9th - Ottumwa

Noon: Harkin will attend the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Job Corps Center with Labor Secretary Solis at the Industrial Airport Complex, Ottumwa.

Senator Tom Harkin will join U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Job Corps Center in Ottumwa. Harkin worked to secure $25 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the Recovery Act, for the completion of the Ottumwa Center.

Monday, August 10th - Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City

9:15am: Harkin will visit Peoples Community Health Center, 905 Franklin St, Waterloo.

Harkin will visit Peoples Community Health Center to discuss progress being made on health reform in Washington and the important role Community Health Centers play in our state.

11:30am: Harkin will attend the Grand Opening of Linn Community Care Center, 1201 3rd Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids.

Harkin will attend the grand opening of the Linn Community Care Center. Harkin has been an ardent supporter of Iowa's 13 federally-funded Community Health Centers, obtaining funds for the facilities' construction, equipment purchases, and dental expansions through his work on the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

2:00pm: Harkin will Present Military Medals to Veterans, American Legion Post #17, 3016 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City.

Harkin, who is a Navy veteran, has been a leader in the Senate in calling on the Department of Defense to improve the process for issuing military medals. These medals are being presented to the families of Kenneth Hein, Harlan Henely, Richard Donegan and Clarence Davis. In 1999 Harkin added an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that directed the Secretary of Defense to eliminate the backlog in decoration requests. Since then, delays in receiving medals have been greatly reduced.

Monday, August 11th - Bettendorf, Davenport

9:00am: Harkin will visit Eastern Iowa Community College's Nursing Program, 500 Belmont Rd, Bettendorf.

Harkin will visit Eastern Iowa Community College's Nursing Program to discuss how the Senate health reform bill will increase the medical workforce with incentives for more doctors and nurses.

2:00pm: Harkin will Present Military Medals to Veterans at the Center for Active Seniors Inc.(CASI), 1035 W. Kimberly Rd, Davenport

Harkin, who is a Navy veteran, has been a leader in the Senate in calling on the Department of Defense to improve the process for issuing military medals. These medals are being presented to John Bohy, as well as the families of Wayne Simmons and Richard Williamson. In 1999 Harkin added an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill which directed the Secretary of Defense to eliminate the backlog in decoration requests. Since then, delays in receiving medals have been greatly reduced.

Wednesday, August 12th - Storm Lake, Ft. Dodge, Story City

10:30am: Harkin will Attend Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for United Community Health Center, 630 Ontario St., Storm Lake.

Harkin will visit United Community Health Center to discuss progress being made on health reform in Washington and the important role Community Health Centers play in our state.

1:30pm: Harkin will visit Ft. Dodge Community Health Center, 126 N. 10th St., Ft. Dodge.

Harkin will visit Ft. Dodge Community Health Center to discuss progress being made on health reform in Washington and the important role Community Health Centers play in our state.

3:30pm: Main Street Tour, 602 Broad St., Story City

Harkin has secured a total of $55,000 in federal funds to revitalize the Story City Herald Building and the Charlson Buildings. Built in 1898, the Charlson Building, initially known as the Swan Building, has stood as a cornerstone at the center of Story City's downtown district for over 100 years. The funds will be used to renovate the commercial and residential spaces, and put an end to the ongoing deterioration of the building, with a new roof, tuck pointing and the addition of a basement floor. To date, Harkin has secured nearly $4 million for the Main Street Iowa program, which preserves the character and vitality of Iowa's small towns by providing communities with the grants to help revitalize their main streets.

4:00pm: Renewable Energy from the Heartland Event, NextEra Energy Resources, I-35 Business Park (exit 124 off I-35), Story City

Harkin will tour this facility and visit with company and local elected officials about their collaborative work on this project. Harkin will use the opportunity to see the major components of a gear box that generates the power produced in the wind turbines around the state. NextEra Energy Resources, the largest wind and solar energy producer in North America, broke ground on the Generation Repair and Service (GRS) facility in April.

Iowa has been a national leader in renewable energy and green collar jobs. The state currently ranks second in wind energy generation with nearly 3,043 megawatts from 2,136 turbines across the state. Iowa also leads the nation in wind generation as percentage of its total power output at 15 percent.

Thursday, August 13th - Des Moines, Mason City

9:00am: Harkin will attend the Iowa State Fair, State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

Harkin will participate in a number of events at the Iowa State Fair, including serving as a guest chef at the Iowa Pork Producers tent on Grand Avenue at 11 A.M.

5:45pm: Main Street Tour, 7 North Federal Ave., Mason City

Harkin will take a walking tour of Mason City and visit the Parker Opera House, Park Inn Hotel and the Lundberg Building. Harkin has been able to secure a total of $110,000 in federal funds to revitalize the Parker Opera House Building and convert the old Lundberg Building into four residential apartments. Each unit of the Lundberg Building will be equipped with energy efficient equipment, using "green" practices wherever possible for long-term sustainability. To date, Harkin has secured nearly $4 million for the Main Street Iowa program, which preserves the character and vitality of Iowa's small towns by providing communities with the grants to help revitalize their main streets.

In addition to the two Main Street stops, Harkin will visit the Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank site. Harkin secured $393,760 for the rehabilitation of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is next to the Park Inn Hotel, the only remaining hotel in America designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Friday, August 14th - Mason City

9:00am: Harkin will visit North Iowa Area Community College, 500 College Dr., 104 H McAllister Hall, Mason City.

Harkin will visit North Iowa Area Community College's Nursing Program to discuss how the Senate health reform bill will increase the medical workforce with incentives for more doctors and nurses.

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Des Moines, IA., August 3, 2009 - Today, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) announced the launch of a statewide community web portal that will help students transition through middle school, high school, college and beyond, as well as provide tools for adults seeking education and employment opportunities.

The statewide community portal, www.IHaveaPlanIowa.gov, encompasses career planning features previously offered by Iowa College Aid, along with expanded career and college planning tools and resources; national, state and local scholarships; free access to ACT, SAT and GRE test preparation tools; as well as Iowa employment opportunities.

"The primary objective of the statewide community portal is to provide a streamlined solution for Iowans in every stage of their lives," stated Karen Misjak, Executive Director of the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. "We know that many Iowa families have recently been impacted by layoffs and job loss. Everyone from college-bound students and parents to dislocated workers seeking new skills, employment or education opportunities now have free access to services that will help them plan for their futures."

Free test preparation for the ACT, SAT, and GRE standardized college admissions tests is just one of the new tools available to Iowans at www.IHaveaPlanIowa.gov. "We believe all Iowans should have the same opportunities to prepare for college entrance exams," said Misjak. "Iowa families can potentially save over $1.5 million if every Iowa high school junior and senior takes advantage of the free test preparation at www.IHaveaPlanIowa.gov. It is important that all Iowans have a plan to accomplish their college and employment goals. The State of Iowa is committed to providing tools and resources needed to make that a reality."

Future enhancements to the statewide community portal include :
• One common online application for all state-administered financial aid programs.
• Access to the Iowa Department of Education e-transcript process for Iowa students.
• Convenient online college admission applications to Iowa colleges and universities.
• Ability to connect users to current business and industry openings in Iowa.
• Expanded access to services offered by other state agencies.

Middle school students will be able explore their interests and develop a six-year education course plan. High school and college students, as well as adults looking to return to college, will be able to research colleges, prepare for standardized tests, search for scholarships, apply for state aid programs, access their high school transcripts electronically, and ultimately apply for college admission.  Iowans looking for a career change, or in need of additional skills to reenter the workforce, will be able to match their interests and abilities to career options and search for employment opportunities in Iowa. "The possibilities for future additions and enhancements are virtually endless," explained Misjak.
Iowa College Aid has partnered with the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce Development, along with other state partners to determine if additional state services can be incorporated into the statewide community web portal in the future.  Stop by Iowa College Aid's booth in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair from August 13 - 23, 2009, visit www.IowaCollegeAid.gov , or call the Iowa College Aid Information Service Center at 1-877-272-4456 for more information about the statewide community portal, as well as other products and services offered by Iowa College Aid.

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About the Iowa College Student Aid Commission
As the state's designated guaranty agency for the Family Federal Education Loan Program (FFELP), Iowa College Aid guarantees more than $696 million annually in student loans from private lenders to support over 77,000 Iowa students and parents..  In addition, Iowa College Aid administers state scholarship, grant, and loan forgiveness programs totaling over $69.5 million, provides borrowers with assistance to avoid the serious consequences of default, conducts research and distributes higher education data, and offers Iowans assistance in obtaining student financial aid and college-related information. More information is available at www.IowaCollegeAid.gov.

Bettendorf, IA - Jessica Palmer, Director of Marketing and Research at the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CRACVB) will be speaking to local public relations, marketing and media professionals on August 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm at the Quad City Area REALTOR Association office located at 1900 State Street, Bettendorf, IA on behalf of the Public Relations Society of America - Quad Cities Chapter.


Jessica will be speaking about the Cedar Rapids flood and the overall crisis response from your organization to the citizens and businesses.  Also she will talk about what was done as a city to overcome the devastation and how the community retained and encouraged area businesses to stay in the community after the floods.


PRSA members, Local Public Relations, Marketing and Media professionals, students, and the general public are invited to hear Jessica discuss the CRACVB's response and overall role in this crisis.


Jessica Palmer is currently director of marketing and research for the Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CRACVB). Her responsibilities include working with community and partner organizations to support regional needs. She is responsible for strategic planning, marketing and communication activities. Prior to joining the CRACVB, Jessica was manager of communication and research with Priority One.


Jessica serves as a board member of YPIowa, Co-chair of ImpactCR, Chair of the Corridor MPO MAC, Cedar Rapids Area Recovery and Reinvestment Coordinating Team, Rebuild Iowa Economic and Workforce Development Taskforce, United Way Young Leaders Society Committee, Cedar Rapids Downtown District Committee, Eastern Iowa Marketing Roundtable and is a 2008 graduate of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber Leadership for Five Seasons program. In 2007, Jessica was named as one the region's "40 Under 40" by the Corridor Business Journal. A Cedar Rapids native, Jessica earned a B.S. in business marketing from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids.


The Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CRACVB) is the area's official destination management organization. The CRACVB is entering its fourth decade of operation. Over the past 30 years, the CRACVB has played a variety of roles in the community from destination marketing leader, to event developer, to facility development advocate.

Formed in 1978, the Quad Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America serves public relations and communications professionals throughout the greater Quad Cities region. The chapter offers programs, resources and networking opportunities for area PRSA members.  www.qcprsa.org

 

To RSVP for this event please email Cissy Wendt, Chapter Administrator at qcprsa@gmail.com



Legislation includes $6 million for UNI's Project SOAR, $2 million for Rock Island Arsenal

Washington, DC - Today Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) voted for the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Act (HR 3326), which includes $8 million secured by Braley for two eastern Iowa programs. The bill includes $6 million for the University of Northern Iowa's Project SOAR, and $2 million for the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) at the Rock Island Arsenal. The bill passed the House this afternoon, 400-30.

Project SOAR (Student Online Achievement Resources) helps children from military families receive a better education by providing a common set of assessment and instructional tools to be used by all military families as they transition from one school to another. The program provides additional support for military families and increases students' academic achievement. The $6 million will help fund the continuation of the program. Braley secured $5 million for Project SOAR in 2007, and $4.75 million in 2008.

"Project SOAR helps improve educational opportunities for children in military families," Braley said. "Military families make sacrifices every day in service to our country. This funding helps provide a more stable learning environment for military children growing up."

The Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) renovates unused office and manufacturing space at Rock Island Arsenal to lease to commercial firms. It currently has 30 tenants, generates $700,000 per year in revenues, and has created or retained an estimated 500 jobs. Last month, Braley and Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL) successfully added an amendment to the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act extending the ASPI program for an additional year. The funding secured today will fund the program for a year.

"The funding secured today for the ASPI program will help spur economic development in the Quad Cities, save taxpayers money, and maintain infrastructure at the Arsenal," said Braley. "The Arsenal has a tremendous impact on the Quad Cities' local economy. Investing in this program will help create and maintain jobs at the Arsenal."

The Defense Appropriations bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today announced that $1 million for the replacement of the I-74 Bridge in the Quad Cities he secured is included in the FY2010 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill.  Specifically, the bill provides $1 million for the city of Bettendorf to acquire the right-of-way and prepare for construction of the new I-74 bridge.  The House Appropriations Committee approved the Transportation Appropriations bill earlier today.

"The replacement of the I-74 Bridge will have huge economic benefits for the Quad Cities region," Braley said.  "This funding will help speed construction of the bridge project, which will create construction jobs, boost the local economy and improve highway safety in the Quad Cities."

Braley has long been a supporter of the I-74 bridge project.  Earlier this year, Braley and Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) sent a letter to Chairman Oberstar encouraging him to include a "mega project" grant fund in the upcoming Highway Bill that could help expedite construction of the new I-74 bridge.

The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill now moves to the full House for consideration, and will likely be scheduled for a vote before the first week of August.

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Arsenal Support Program Initiative creates jobs, strengthens Arsenal

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) today won passage of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 that provides a one-year extension of the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI).  Hare and Braley joined to introduce the amendment.

The amendment, which reauthorizes ASPI for one year through FY 2011, passed the House unanimously today.  The program was set to expire this year. The underlying bill also authorizes $3 million for ASPI at Rock Island Arsenal.

ASPI renovates unused office and manufacturing space at Rock Island Arsenal to lease to commercial firms.  It currently has 30 tenants, generates $700,000 per year in revenues, and has created or retained an estimated 500 jobs.  ASPI has dedicated $15 million to facility improvement projects over its existence.  The program had an estimated local economic impact of $27.3 million in FY 2008.

"ASPI has been tremendously successful in bringing tenants and jobs to Arsenal Island," Hare said. "Extending this program will provide a needed boost for the Quad Cities' economy and help strengthen and BRAC-proof the Arsenal."

"Extending the ASPI program will help spur economic development in the Quad Cities, save taxpayers money, and maintain infrastructure at the Arsenal," said Braley.  "The Arsenal has a tremendous impact on the Quad Cities' local economy.  Investing in this program will help create and maintain jobs at the Arsenal."

Hare and Braley have been strong supporters of the ASPI program.  ASPI was created in 2001 to allow private-sector commercial tenants to lease space for their businesses on military arsenals.  Funds generated by the program help reduce overhead at the arsenals and modernize arsenal infrastructure.

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WILTON, Iowa--Wilton community leaders and friends of the library celebrated and expressed appreciation to supporters at a ceremony marking the start of construction on the new Wilton Library and Community Center on Friday, June 12th. Major contributors, fundraising campaign executive committee members, government officials and building contractors participated in the groundbreaking ceremony held at Wilton High School and the building's construction site.

"This is a big day for our community and the entire area," said Betty Cram, president of the Wilton Library Board of Trustees. "The library and community center will benefit everyone in Wilton. We wouldn't be here today without tremendous support from our donors and volunteers."

More than $3.1 million has been pledged to the $3.25 million Wilton Library and Community Center campaign goal. Funding has come from a variety of sources including a Community and Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant from the state's Vision Iowa Board and numerous area businesses, community organizations and residents.

Representatives from several donor groups spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, Community Bank, HNI Corporation, Muscatine Community College, Gerdau Ameristeel and Wilton Candy Kitchen.

"This event signifies that the spirit of Wilton is alive and well," said Wilton Mayor Carol Wade. "We are celebrating more than just the start of a building project, we are celebrating commitment and cooperation in our community. We are celebrating our future."

Built on land donated by the city at the intersection of Cypress and Division Streets, the proposed 20,000 square-foot building will benefit schools, families, senior citizens, nonprofit groups and businesses. Plans for the joint facility include spaces in the library to gather, browse, read, study and use computers while the community center provides space for civic gatherings, commercial meetings, receptions, reunions, fine arts performances, displays, banquets and fitness activities.

The current library building was erected in 1938 and has been serving the community from its present location for more than 26 years. The small library is hot and humid in the summer, cold in the winter and lacks much-needed meeting space for activities like 4-H meetings, Boy and Girl Scouts and children's story hour. The new library will increase the amount of space and allow the library to expand programming opportunities to better prepare local youth citizens for global participation.

To make a contribution, call 563-732-2583 or download a pledge form at www.WiltonLCC.org.

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For Flag Day, Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors honor those who serve

Throughout a two-week collection, Quad-Cities residents donated more than 750 cards and letters to send to members of the Armed Forces serving overseas.

Modern Woodmen of America and Royal Neighbors of America, two Rock Island-based businesses, sponsored a card and letter collection during the first two weeks of June. All cards and letters collected are donated to the Rock Island Arsenal Chapter of Association of the United States Army to distribute to service men and women stationed overseas.

This project was in honor of Flag Day on June 14, a patriotic holiday paying tribute to the adoption of the Stars and Stripes in 1777.

Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors celebrate Flag Day to honor the nation's symbol of freedom. The two fraternal financial services organizations have long celebrated patriotism and proudly offer fraternal programs that continue this tradition by donating flags, honoring veterans, and supporting troops and their families.

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.

Royal Neighbors of America is a non-profit fraternal membership organization with a 100-plus-year history of helping women and their families. The organization insures lives, supports women, and serves communities by offering insurance and annuity products. Its members also participate in a variety of locally based volunteer opportunities and are eligible to apply for many member benefits such as scholarships and disaster aid.

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