Obama in Cedar Rapids today and other events coming up

Use this as an open thread to talk about Barack Obama’s town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids today:

Economic Security Town Hall with Barack Obama

Coe College

Moray L. Eby Fieldhouse

1220 1st Avenue NE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402

THURSDAY, JULY 31ST, 2008

Doors Open: 9:30 AM

Program Begins: 11:30 AM

The event is free and open to the public.  However, tickets are required.

Also, here are some other events coming up.

Thursday, July 31:

It’s the last day to contribute to Barack Obama’s campaign for a chance to win a trip to the Democratic National Convention in Denver:

https://donate.barackobama.com…

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is also giving away a trip to Denver. Donate before midnight on July 31 for a chance to win:

http://dccc.org/blog/archives/…

One Iowa and Green Drinks are co-hosting a Happy Hour from 5 to 7 pm at the Hillside Condo Penthouse, 1902 Woodland Ave in Des Moines, suite 300 (the building next to the Gateway Market). Suggested donation $20, but no one is turned away. Please RSVP at oneiowa.org.

From Polk County Democrats:

You are cordially invited to attend a wine and cheese reception for John Scarpino, Democratic Candidate for Polk County Supervisor, at the home of Ray and Karen Blase, 913 NE 34th Street, Ankeny, July 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M.

From the Rebuild Iowa Commission:

First ‘Speak Up Iowa!’ Public Listening Session Will Also Be Held at

Kirkwood Community College Thursday 4-7 p.m.

Press Release from Rebuild Iowa Office

Subject: REBUILD IOWA ADVISORY COMMISSION MEETING TO BE HELD IN CEDAR RAPIDS

THIS THURSDAY

First ‘Speak Up Iowa!’ Public Listening Session Will Also Be Held at

Kirkwood Community College

On Thursday, the Rebuild Iowa Office will hold its second Rebuild Iowa

Advisory Commission (RIAC) meeting at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar

Rapids to discuss the state’s recovery and rebuilding efforts following this

year’s severe storms and flooding. In addition, the public will have the

opportunity to give their input on the recovery process at the first “Speak

Up Iowa!” public listening session, which will also be held Thursday.

The “Speak Up Iowa!” listening sessions initiate dialogue on the major

issues facing the State and provide an opportunity for official public and

community involvement, with specific focus on gaining input for the RIO

45-day Report due September 2, 2008. The session will include nine booths,

each representing one of the nine task force areas. At these booths,

residents will have the opportunity to voice their ideas and desires

regarding the long-term recovery of their communities.

THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2008

WHAT: Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission to hold its second meeting to discuss

the state’s disaster and rebuilding efforts.

WHERE: Emergency Operations Center

              (located in the Community Training and Response Center)

              Kirkwood Community College Campus

              6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW

              Cedar Rapids, Iowa

              (A map of the campus is available at

www.kirkwood.edu/maincampus.)

WHEN:   2 to 5 p.m.

THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2008

WHAT: Rebuild Iowa Office holds first “Speak Up Iowa!” public listening

session.

WHERE: Iowa Hall, Rooms A through D

              Kirkwood Community College Campus

              6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW

              Cedar Rapids, Iowa

(A map of the campus is available at www.kirkwood.edu/maincampus.)

WHEN:   4 to 7 p.m.

From 1000 Friends of Iowa:

Johnson County Conservation Board Holding Public Meetings on Land Conservation

A series of informational meetings will be held to receive input from the public on the Johnson County Conservation Board’s proposed $20 million Conservation Bond Issue Ballot Measure for land protection. The measure will be put before the voters of Johnson County on the November 4, 2008, General Election Ballot. Conservation Board members and staff will be on hand to give an overview of the proposal and Mark Ackelson, President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, will facilitate the meetings.

According to the Johnson County Conservation Board’s newsletter, The Conservation Connection:

   * “Local organizations and individuals struggle to preserve some natural lands. The Johnson County Conservation Board, which has the mandated responsibility, has responded by making a serious commitment to find ways to protect more remaining vestiges of unique natural areas before they are destroyed by the relentless march of development.”

Two of these public meetings have already occurred, and there are two left.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

7:00 – 9:00 pm

North Liberty Recreation Center

Classroom C

520 West Cherry Street

North Liberty

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Solon Public Library

Meeting Room

320 West Main Street

Solon

To learn more about the proposal before the meetings, check out the JCCB’s newsletter article at

http://www.johnson-county.com/…

Questions about the meetings should be directed to Harry Graves, Director, Johnson County Conservation Board at 319-645-2315 or email hgraves@co.johnson.ia.us.

It’s a rare opportunity to vote on a topic such as this Conservation Bond Issue. Only through the involvement of committed citizens will governments be able to implement strategies that protect natural areas from development. Your ears, eyes, and voices are critical!

Friday, August 1:

From the Polk County Democrats:


The Festa Italiana is going on this weekend.  We will be manning a booth on Friday and Saturday this year.  The hours we need volunteers are:

Friday, August 1 5p – 7p or 7p – 9p

Saturday, August 2  2p – 4p, 4p – 6p, and 6p – 9p

Please let me know if you are available to help out.

Thanks!

Tamyra Harrison

Executive Director

Polk County Democrats

515-285-1800

Saturday, August 2:

From Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa:


Volunteer Opportunity

Des Moines Farmer’s Market

Court Avenue Area

Des Moines

Saturday, August 2nd

8am-12pm

Click Here to Volunteer!

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and the Healthy Families project will be at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market this Saturday, August 2nd.

We need your help!

Volunteers will represent the Planned Parenthood mission, and help educate people about the need to reduce unintended pregnancies in Iowa.  Of course we’ll be handing out lots of goodies as well!

Past Farmer’s market volunteers have had a lot of fun, and say it’s one of the best volunteer opportunities available.

“This was the first time I’ve ever volunteered for Planned Parenthood and it was so much fun!  I felt like I really made a difference!” – Judy, volunteer at past Des Moines Farmer’s Markets.

Help educate the public and have fun too. Any time you can give is much appreciated: work for a couple of hours, or the whole time. Shifts are available from 8am – 12pm.

Thanks for all that you do for Planned Parenthood!

E-mail Chelsea Hammond to volunteer (chammond AT ppgi.org) or call (515) 235-0415

From the Sierra Club e-mail loop:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – A Priceless Gift

A Presentation and Storytelling

about a very Special Place

When:      Saturday August 2nd, 2008, at 10:00 am

Where:     Urbandale Public Library, Meeting Room A/B

               3520 86th Street Urbandale, Iowa  50322

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America’s premier wilderness

areas.  The coastal plain of the Refuge has been threatened by oil drilling

many times in its 50 year history. Today, threats from Big Oil are greater

than they have been for over two decades.  Come learn about the history,

it’s values, and how you can help protect this national treasure.

This is a story, as well, of indigenous concerns, and about raising the

voices of those urging our government to recognize the rights of indigenous

peoples.

For more information contact: Lois Norrgard 952-881-7282 lois@alaskawild.org

Presented by:

Sarah James, a Neetsaii Gwich’in Athabascan Indian from Arctic Village,

Alaska, raised in the traditional nomadic way. Sarah was one of the first

recipients of the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award and

a co-recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work

with the Gwich’in Steering Committee to protect the calving and nursery

grounds of the Porcupine River Caribou Herd. The Porcupine Caribou Herd has

sustained the Gwich’in for over twenty thousand years.

Lois Norrgard, the Upper Midwest Field staff for the Alaska Wilderness

League. She has worked for the League and Alaska Coalition for the past

three years, continuing to raise awareness about the values and threats

facing our beautiful wild lands in Alaska.

Some places are just too special to destroy for a short term gain – the

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of these places

Continue Reading...

Obama coming to Cedar Rapids and other events of the week

Stay tuned:

Senator Barack Obama’s postponed trip to Cedar Rapids has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 31st, 2008. Senator Obama’s visit to Cedar Rapids was originally scheduled for June, but was postponed due to the floods.

On Thursday, Senator Obama will host a town hall meeting on the economy in Cedar Rapids. He will also meet with Cedar Rapids residents affected by the floods. Further details of Senator Obama’s visit will follow in the coming days.

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if I’ve left out any important events coming up this week.

Monday, July 28:

Representative Bruce Braley will hold a series of public meetings:


8:00am                      Bettendorf Congress on Your Corner

                                   Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency

                                    729 21st Street

                                    Bettendorf , Iowa

10:45am                  De Witt Congress on Your Corner

                                   Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library

                                    505 10th Street

                                    De Witt , Iowa

12:45pm                  Maquoketa Congress on Your Corner

                                   Maquoketa Area Family YMCA

                                    500 E. Summit Street

                                    Maquoketa , Iowa

From the Center on Sustainable Communities:

Join COSC at our Site Preparation and Construction & Demolition Source Separation Workshop on Monday, July 28th, 2008 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the WDM affordable green demonstration home site – 927 Maple Street in Historic Valley Junction. This will be the first in our series of workshops at the affordable green demonstration homes in the Des Moines metro area.

To RSVP, contact Emily at 515-277-6222 or Emily@icosc.com.

Visit www.icosc.com for details.

Tuesday, July 29:

There is an open house/fundraising reception for Bill McCarthy, Democrat and candidate for Polk County Sheriff, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the home of Jim & Roxanne Conlin, 2900 Southern Hills Circle in Des Moines. (Just head west on Park Ave. about a mile and a half west of Fleur Drive; turn north off of Park Ave. on Southern Hills Drive; drive north until you reach Southern Hills Circle.)

Contributions Appreciated:  Checks may be made payable to: McCarthy for Sheriff

Or mail contribution to:

Bill McCarthy for Sheriff,

5201 SE 32nd St., Des Moines, IA 50320

* For questions or to RSVP, contact Linda at 205-4351 *

From the DNR:

BLACK HAWK COUNTY RESIDENTS ASKED TO SHARE IDEAS ON IMPROVING GEORGE WYTH LAKE

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Berckes at (515) 281-4791 or jeff.berckes@dnr.iowa.gov or Charles Ikenberry at (515) 281-8753 or charles.ikenberry@dnr.iowa.gov.

CEDAR FALLS – Iowans interested in improving George Wyth Lake in Black Hawk County can attend a meeting July 29 to discuss and review a recent water quality study and its suggestions for improving the lake.

George Wyth Lake is on the state’s impaired waters list because of excess E. coli in the water, which may indicate the presence of disease-causing pathogens. Geese that reside in the park appear to be the primary contributor to this problem.

The study, or DNR water quality improvement plan, looks at the problems and potential solutions for the problems in George Wyth Lake. It is designed as a guide for improving the lake for local resource agencies, partners, stakeholders and residents.

“We are excited to inform people about the study and discuss how the DNR and George Wyth patrons can work together to improve the lake,” said Jeff Berckes with the DNR’s Watershed Improvement program. “This meeting is the first step forward in revitalizing a great Iowa natural resource and we look forward to working with local community members to incorporate their ideas on how to put an effective plan into action.”

The DNR will ask Iowans for their input at a July 29 meeting in Cedar Falls. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center, 657 Reserve Dr.

Staff from the DNR’s Lake Restoration program, Watershed Improvement program and Fisheries and Wildlife bureaus will also be on hand to answer questions.

Those not able to attend the public meeting can receive more information at www.iowadnr.gov/water/watershed/tmdl/publicnotice.html and submit comments on the plan by Aug. 19 via the following ways:

E-mail: jeff.berckes@dnr.iowa.gov

Telephone:        Jeff Berckes at (515) 281-4791

Mail:                 Jeff Berckes, care of Iowa DNR, Wallace State Office Building,

502 E. Ninth St.,Des Moines, Iowa 50319

After gathering Iowans’ comments, the DNR will forward the final plan, also called by its technical name of Total Maximum Daily Load, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval. Local groups interested in helping George Wyth Lake can then use the plan to assist their improvement efforts.

Wednesday, July 30:

From the Center on Sustainable Communities:

Richard Louv Lecture

Hoyt Sherman Place

1501 Woodland Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50309

Wed, July 30

7:00 pm

Richard Louv is an author and journalist focused on nature, family and community. His most recent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, has stimulated an international conversation about the future relationship between children and nature, and has helped spawn a movement that is now moving into the international sphere. He serves as chairman of the Children and Nature Network, an organization helping to build the international movement to connect children with nature.

Visit http://iowagogreen.com/eventti… for tickets.

Tickets are free but seating is limited and may not be available at the door.

Thursday, July 31:

Barack Obama will hold a town-hall meeting in Cedar Rapids. I’ll post more details about this event when they become available.

One Iowa and Green Drinks are co-hosting a Happy Hour from 5 to 7 pm at the Hillside Condo Penthouse, 1902 Woodland Ave in Des Moines, suite 300 (the building next to the Gateway Market). Suggested donation $20, but no one is turned away. Please RSVP at oneiowa.org.

From Polk County Democrats:

You are cordially invited to attend a wine and cheese reception for John Scarpino, Democratic Candidate for Polk County Supervisor, at the home of Ray and Karen Blase, 913 NE 34th Street, Ankeny

Thursday, July 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M.

Come and hear why John is a candidate for office

and enjoy a glass of wine with old friends.

Saturday, August 2:

From the Sierra Club e-mail loop:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – A Priceless Gift

A Presentation and Storytelling

about a very Special Place

When:      Saturday August 2nd, 2008, at 10:00 am

Where:     Urbandale Public Library, Meeting Room A/B

               3520 86th Street Urbandale, Iowa  50322

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America’s premier wilderness

areas.  The coastal plain of the Refuge has been threatened by oil drilling

many times in its 50 year history. Today, threats from Big Oil are greater

than they have been for over two decades.  Come learn about the history,

it’s values, and how you can help protect this national treasure.

This is a story, as well, of indigenous concerns, and about raising the

voices of those urging our government to recognize the rights of indigenous

peoples.

For more information contact: Lois Norrgard 952-881-7282 lois@alaskawild.org

Presented by:

Sarah James, a Neetsaii Gwich’in Athabascan Indian from Arctic Village,

Alaska, raised in the traditional nomadic way. Sarah was one of the first

recipients of the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award and

a co-recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work

with the Gwich’in Steering Committee to protect the calving and nursery

grounds of the Porcupine River Caribou Herd. The Porcupine Caribou Herd has

sustained the Gwich’in for over twenty thousand years.

Lois Norrgard, the Upper Midwest Field staff for the Alaska Wilderness

League. She has worked for the League and Alaska Coalition for the past

three years, continuing to raise awareness about the values and threats

facing our beautiful wild lands in Alaska.

Some places are just too special to destroy for a short term gain – the

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of these places

Continue Reading...

Teamsters president: "We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing"

There’s big news today for those who have been working toward “blue-green alliances” between organized labor and environmental groups.

Thanks to this Daily Kos diary by TomP, I learned that Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa has pulled the union out of an alliance supporting more oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas:

“We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing-not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Hoffa told labor and environmental activists at an Oakland, Calif., summit on good jobs and clean air. “We must find a long-term approach that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the development of alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power.”

Hoffa then announced the union’s withdrawal from the ANWR coalition, citing the need to build a green economy that fosters the development of alternative energy sources and creates good union jobs-instead of lining the pockets of big oil tycoons.

Hoffa also said that by investing in green energy solutions, the nation will reap the benefits of curbing its dependence on oil through a revitalized economy with the creation of millions of new jobs in a rapidly growing industry.

The Sierra Club and United Steelworkers forged a “Blue-Green Alliance” in 2006 and jointly endorsed Barack Obama for president at an event in Ohio last month.

But the Teamsters have been strong supporters of expanding oil drilling in the past. I never thought I’d see the day when Jim Hoffa pulled out of the ANWR coalition.

The battle over proposed coal-fired power plants has strained relations between labor unions and environmental advocates in Iowa this year. Today’s news gives me hope that in the future we will see more cooperation between those groups in promoting a forward-looking energy policy.

Continue Reading...

Action: Call Harkin and Grassley to stop drilling in ANWR

Yet again, Republicans are trying to sneak an amendment benefiting oil companies into otherwise good legislation. This time they are trying to use the Flood Insurance Bill as a vehicle to open up the last portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling.

This action alert went out on the Sierra Club e-mail list today:

This is an urgent alert: As soon as tomorrow (Tuesday), the Senate will vote on an amendment to the national Flood Insurance Bill offered by Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) and co-sponsored by Senator Pete Domenici (NM) that threatens polar bears and other wildlife.

Rather than addressing high oil prices and dependence on foreign oil by moving toward better alternatives and practical solutions, this amendment promotes more drilling in more places for more oil profits.

This is not a solution, it’s a sell off. Please take action right now…

1. Make the call. Either today or tomorrow morning, please call your Senators at one of the numbers below:

   * Tom Harkin – (202) 224-3254 or (515) 284-4574 – http://harkin.senate.gov/c/

   * Charles Grassley – (202) 224-3744 or (515) 288-1145 – http://grassley.senate.gov/pub…

If you are calling after 5:00 PM or before 8:00 AM Eastern time, please be sure to leave a message.

The rest of the action alert is after the jump. It includes more information and talking points for you to use when you make the call.

Continue Reading...

Action: Help protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This came through on the Sierra Club’s e-mail list:

Please call Representative Leonard Boswell’s office and ask him to cosponsor HR 39, a bill that would permanently protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  His Des Moines office number is 515-282-1909 and D.C. number is 202-225-3806.  All other Iowa Democratic members of Congress have already cosponsored HR 39.

Some facts:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls the Refuge’s Coastal Plain “the center for wildlife activity” for the entire Refuge.  The Refuge provides vital habitat for some of America ‘s most spectacular wildlife. Polar bears, grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, and muskoxen are a few of more than 250 species that rely on the Coastal Plain for their survival.  Millions of birds, representing some 180 species, migrate to the Coastal Plain to nest, rear young, molt, and feed.  Birds from all 50 states and six of the seven continents migrate to the Refuge for summer.

The native people living near the Refuge are the Gwich’in (meaning “caribou people” in their language) and their livelihood and culture have been dependant on the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which gives birth on the Coastal Plain, for centuries. They refer to the Coastal Plain as the “Sacred Place Where Life Begins” and oppose drilling in the area and strongly support permanent protection. Impact to the caribou herd could mean a loss of their way of life.

Global warming is already threatening life in the Arctic and drilling for gas and oil will only accelerate the warming trend.

I can’t resist adding that if Ed Fallon were representing Iowa’s third Congressional district, this kind of action alert would be unnecessary. He would sign on to a bill like this in a heartbeat without needing to be nudged by constituents.

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