MT. UNION, IA - This week, Iowa author Regina Payne Turner celebrates the nationwide release of her new kids' book, "The Greatest: Little Prairie Dog Makes a Big Difference," a charming story packed with valuable lessons.

In the book, Prairie Dog feels left out. All of his forest friends are strong or big or can fly, but he can't do any of those things, and Grizzly teases him. One day a hunter captures Grizzly, and all of the forest friends are scared to help. Turner reveals how Prairie Dog helps Grizzly and proves to be The Greatest!

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available at any bookstore nationwide or can be ordered through the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore or by visiting barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com or target.com.

This is also an eLIVE title, meaning each copy contains a code redeemable for a free audio version from TatePublishing.com. eLIVE - Listen, Imagine, View, and Experience!

Turner lives in Mt. Union, Iowa, with her husband, Kelly, and their two dogs, Daisy and Sophie. She is a librarian and loves stories of all kinds.

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Write Letters, Letters and More Letters!

Our care package recipients often tell us that their favorite item in the package is the personal letter written by a fellow citizen from home.  Operation Gratitude strives to include several letters of appreciation in every package that we send...which means we need hundreds of thousands of letters! Teachers and Parents: We especially ask for children's letters. Please include your address or e-mail in each letter so the recipient can choose to write back. For more information about our letter writing campaign, click here or email opgrat@gmail.com

DES MOINES, IA (11/24/2009)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald encourages Iowa consumers to be proactive in protecting the value of the gift cards they give or receive this holiday season by following some basic tips. "Holiday shoppers are expected to spend around $24 billion nationally on gift cards this year," stated Fitzgerald. "Unfortunately, some of those cards will never be redeemed."

A recent study by Consumer Reports found that twenty-five percent of those who received gift cards last holiday season still hold at least one unredeemed card. "Holding a gift card too long increases the odds that it will never be used," stated Fitzgerald. Prompt usage of gift cards reduces the likelihood it will be lost or stolen, and eliminates the need to worry about expiration dates and fees that can reduce its value.

"Nobody can afford to let money go to waste," said Fitzgerald. "These tips can help you protect the value of the gift cards you purchase for others, as well as the ones you receive."

TIPS FOR GIFT CARD PURCHASERS:

  • Read the fine print. If the disclosures are too confusing, you may want to rethink your purchase.
  • Buy gift cards from reputable retailers where you know the recipient will shop.
  • Give the original receipt and disclosure information to the recipient in the event it is needed to replace a lost or stolen gift card.

TIPS FOR GIFT CARD RECIPIENTS:

  • Read the fine print. Check the disclosures for expiration dates or fees that can reduce the value of the gift card.
  • Understand the retailer's policy for replacing a lost or stolen gift card.
  • Use the gift card promptly.
  • Keep the original receipt if it was included with the gift card.

"Retailers are encouraged to honor all of the gift cards they sell, even those which have expired," Fitzgerald stated. "By doing so they stay on friendly terms with their customers." Current law requires that the expiration date and fees be clearly displayed on any gift card that carries them.

Increased protection for consumers is on the way. Passed by Congress earlier this year, the Credit Card Act of 2009 will prohibit fees on gift cards for one year and expiration dates of less than five years from the date of purchase. The new rules will go into effect in 2010.

Consumers with questions or concerns regarding a gift card that a retailer will not honor because it has expired are encouraged to contact the State Treasurer's office. Please provide a copy of the gift certificate and a brief letter stating the circumstances of the complaint.

Michael L. Fitzgerald

Treasurer of the State of Iowa

Davenport, Iowa (November 24, 2009) - Iowa American Water reminds homeowners to take precautions now to be prepared for freezing winter temperatures that are just around the corner. Acting now can prevent costly plumbing repairs and headaches for homeowners.
"During winter weather, water pipes need special care to keep them from freezing, so homeowners should take reasonable precautions to help protect their property from damage," said Randy Moore, president of Iowa American Water. "Weatherproofing your home against the cold will pay dividends on energy bills in the winter and will also help protect your indoor plumbing against the threat of breaks."
Iowa American Water encourages its customers to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing pipes that can burst.
Before cold weather sets in:
• Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
• Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
• Know where your main water shut-off valve is. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
• Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric may also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation so don't disturb it.
When temperatures fall below zero:
• If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If your pipes freeze:
• Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
• Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
When you are away:
• Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to insure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
• Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
Currently, Iowa American Water is including cold weather tips information in all of its customer billings. In addition, more cold weather tips can be found at www.amwater.com.
Iowa American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water servicesto approximately 200,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.
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Modern Woodmen will award $5,000 to a volunteer and his or her cause

 

Vote to reward a local resident and group who gathered to give back.


A story submission from Bettendorf was named one of five national finalists in Modern Woodmen of America's Gatherings with Purpose giveaway. The Gathering with Purpose entrant earning the most votes in the online contest at GatheringswithPurpose.com will win the grand prize - $2,500 in cash, plus a $2,500 donation for the worthy cause described in his or her submitted story.


Visitors can vote daily through Dec. 6.


Sarah Herr of Bettendorf shared the story of a wonderful, and perhaps unlikely, partnership between a high school cheerleading squad and Hand-in-Hand, a non-profit organization providing critical services for families with special needs. The Pleasant Valley High School cheerleaders decided to create a high school-based cheerleading squad specifically designed to include students with special needs. To find potential participants, the squad volunteered to gather and cheer at Hand-in-Hand's annual Family Fun Walk fundraiser. The group dressed in uniform and spent the morning managing the games and painting designs on eager little faces. During the walk, the girls cheered on the participants with "Hand in Hand, yes we can!"


Through this gathering, the cheerleaders met several young girls and their families who enthusiastically supported the idea of starting a new cheer squad to include students with disabilities. Within two weeks, 10 girls with disabilities - from Down Syndrome to autism - signed on to be the first Spartan Sparkles! Since this time, the Sparkles have cheered through two football seasons and one basketball season in front of packed crowds and standing ovations. To express gratitude to Hand-in-Hand and more tangibly support its programs, the cheerleaders again gathered on a Saturday afternoon over the summer collecting donations for Hand-in-Hand. The group raised both awareness and $2,000 in donations for Hand-in-Hand. Two weeks later when they attended the next Family Fun Walk, the Sparkles had much to cheer about!


Nearly 100 stories were entered in the online contest. The stories spotlighted families and friends who volunteered together to meet a community need, raise money for a local cause or add a volunteer activity to a social gathering.

Visit GatheringswithPurpose.com for complete rules and details.


Modern Woodmen members nationwide gather for good through local camps (chapters) and youth service clubs. The giveaway was launched to complement national efforts to bring people together to help others and meet needs in their local communities. Modern Woodmen sells financial products not to benefit stockholders, but to support our stakeholders - members, their families and their communities. How? Through social, charitable and volunteer events where our members gather.


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.


For additional information, contact:

Kim Woodward, Corporate Communications

Direct: 309-793-5660

Email: Kim.Woodward@modern-woodmen.org

The People Draw the Line in the Sand for America

Beyond Elections.
Beyond Petitions.
Beyond Tea Parties.

ST. CHARLES, IL - The first time free people assembled as a Congress of the People for such a critical point in the nation's history was in 1774 in Philadelphia.  Over 230 years later 116 Delegates from 48 states have convened a modern day Continental Congress to exercise popular sovereignty and restore self-governance to the people of America.

The twelve day Congress is being broadcast live via streaming webcast at:
www.cc2009us.com, www.givemeliberty.org/cc2009, www.freedom.tv/live
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT through Saturday Nov 21st.

The Citizen nominated and elected Delegates, all passionate about holding our servant government accountable to this nation's founding documents, have been meeting together day and night since Wednesday November 11th,  generating a written and digital record for the history books.  Despite the devastation across the US and the world as a result of our government's pervasive and unconstitutional acts, the Delegates have been quick to assert that the People have only themselves to blame for allowing these continued and escalating Constitutional violations. 

Thus the Delegates seek to "draw a line in the sand" and convene this Continental Congress to end the nation's distress and restore the Republic form of self-governance that made America the most innovative and prosperous nation on earth.

The format for the Congress includes two sessions per day with guest speakers and documentary films to illustrate for all audiences how unlawful billion dollar bailouts, federal spending via limitless debt that enslaves our children, trillions spent on unconstitutional wars in places most Americans can't find on a map or tell you why we are there, the Bill of Rights -- intended to protect our God-given individual rights as a free people -- is now ignored on a daily basis,  and has eradicated our Republic.

In addition, the Delegates have established Committees for each major area of violation, charged with drafting Remedial Instructions to be formally served upon both the Federal Government and each State's legislature. Delegates are quick to point out that these Instructions will be accompanied by a pro-active, peaceful mass movement of Civic Actions that all Americans can readily implement in order to ensure complicity from this and future servant government officials. 

The Committees have been meeting and debating during breaks and late into the evening hours each night.  For approximately four hours per day, the Delegates convene formally via the live webcast in a public forum to deliberate and vote, one vote per state, and adopt proposed Instructions and Civic Actions brought forth by the Committees. Participants and supporters cite that any individual right that is not enforceable is no right at all. 

The non-partisan, non-political event has been organized by the We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education (http://www.cc2009.us/about-wtp/we-the-people-articles-and-bylaws) and is the next appropriate step an ongoing 14-year process to hold state and federal elected officials directly accountable to the federal Constitution by enforcing the Petition Clause of the First Amendment. 

Please see the update about CC2009 from the We The People Foundation here:
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/UPDATE/Update2009-11-15.htm

Photos:
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/154b.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/155.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/162.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/162.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/CC2009070.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/11_12_4small.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/137.jpg
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/09-Congress/PR-images1/11_12_2small.jpg

Media requests for interviews and credentials can be directed to:
cc2009@admospheres.com or by calling Todd McGreevy, Media Relations at 563-650-0120.

RESOURCES/LINKS:

List of Seated CC2009 Delegates
http://www.cc2009.us/delegates

Schedule of Events & Speakers
http://www.cc2009.us/schedule
(being updated daily)

Watch the Livestream and Rebroadcasts at:
www.givemeliberty.org/cc2009
www.freedom.tv/live

Live Audio Stream
http://www.freedom.tv/live/livestream.pls

Access Archives & Supporting Documentation at:
www.cc2009.us/archives
(being updated daily)

Social Sites
http://www.twitter.com/cc2009us
http://wethepeopleforum.ning.com
http://www.facebook.com/ContinentalCongress

We The People Petitions for Redress of Grievances
http://www.cc2009.us/about-wtp/petitions-for-redress
The Petition for Redress Regarding the WAR POWERS CLAUSES

The Petition for Redress Regarding the GUN CONTROL LAWS

The Petition for Redress Regarding the FEDERAL INCOME TAX

The Petition for Redress Regarding the FEDERAL RESERVE

The Petition for Redress Regarding the "USA PATRIOT ACT"

The Petition for Redress Regarding ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

The Petition For Redress Regarding the NORTH AMERICAN UNION

AIG Bailout Lawsuit Documents
WTP Brings Federal Lawsuit to Stop AIG Bailout
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/Update/Update2008-09-18.htm
http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/PROJECTS/AIG/USCOA-AIG-Appeal-5-11-09.pdf

Forthcoming As Available:
Remedial Instructions for Congress & The States - As Passed by the Congress
Civic Action Resolutions - As Passed by the Congress

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) issued a floor statement today congratulating Rose Frantzen on the premier of her exhibit, 'Portrait of Maquoketa', at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

"I congratulate Ms. Rose Frantzen on this tremendous honor and recognition," Braley said. "Her exceptional skill is evident in each of the individual portraits. When placed side by side, the portraits are an inspiring interpretation of American life. The exhibit is an expression of the dignity of small-town Iowa, and the unique beauty of Maquoketa."

'Portrait of Maquoketa' is a compilation of 180 individual oil paintings of Maquoketa residents painted between the summers of 2005 and 2006. During this time, Frantzen opened her studio to anyone who wished to be painted, attracting a diverse collection of subjects. Frantzen conducted formal interviews and made audio recordings' of her clients' stories, ideas and beliefs.

Frantzen's exhibit, accompanied by samples of the audio recordings, will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from November 2009 - July 2010.

# # #

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today that would make it easier for veterans to obtain the benefits they deserve. The Compensation for Combat Veterans Act would eliminate requirements within the Veterans Administration stipulating that soldiers injured in combat zones must provide official military documentation proving they were injured in a specific battle before qualifying for disability benefits.

"Common sense doesn't have to be lost in the fog of war," Braley said. "If an American veteran has been injured in a combat zone, they shouldn't have to worry about proving their injuries occurred while serving our country in a specific battle.  The Compensation for Combat Veterans Act would remove the bureaucratic red tape at the VA that currently delays wounded warriors from getting the disability benefits they deserve."

VA documentation barriers often cause unnecessary delays in providing veterans with the benefits they deserve and, in some cases, prevent combat veterans from receiving compensation for their disabilities altogether.  Currently, injured veterans must produce combat medals, unit reports, or even news reports as "official documentation" of their involvement in a battle before they're awarded benefits.

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Bettendorf, IA - Mel Foster Co. is committed to community involvement and loves a challenge.  They participated in their second annual 2009 Student Food Drive Corporate Challenge and held an internal competition within each office to help the efforts.  The internal competition contributed to Mel Foster Co. receiving a Clunky Award from the Student Food Drive for having the most creative event.

Mel Foster Co.'s Commercial division partnered with Mulligan's Valley Pub in Coal Valley and collected over 900 pounds of canned food items during the event for the Student Food Drive.  The commercial division teamed up with Mel Foster Co.'s property management division and the marketing department to win the overall internal competition at Mel Foster Co.  They collected over 2,000 of Mel Foster Co.'s 10,273 pounds.

Kris Ratigan, Marketing Director for Mel Foster Co., says "Mel Foster Co. is thrilled to receive the Most Creative Event Award from the Student Food Drive.  With the help of Pieter Hanson, owner of Mulligan's Valley Pub, we are proud to have contributed to helping the Corporate Challenge top last year's collection for food shelves.  It's truly exciting."

Being in the top five for Division A (151 or more employees) of the 2009 Student Food Drive's Corporate Challenge, Ratigan added "we are very proud of our agents and staff for their strong participation in this year's Student Food Drive.  We collected 4,000 more pounds this year than last year."

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On Wednesday, October, 28, 2009, at 6:00 PM, the NAACP Davenport Youth Council invite you to attend Disastrous Planning. Presented by the American Red Cross. Davenport Fairmont Library. For more information, call 563-323-4307.

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