Events coming up this week

I didn’t manage to compile calendars the past couple of weeks, but I wanted to get back on track today, because there are lots of newsworthy events happening in the coming week around Iowa.

I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the DAWN’s List reception honoring outstanding Iowa Democratic women tomorrow. I’d appreciate it if someone who attends would post a comment or a diary here about the reception.

Other notable events this week include a symposium in Des Moines about Iowa’s 2008 floods, a sustainable communities conference in Dubuque, and a public workshop in Ankeny about competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. Details on those and other happenings are after the jump.

Keep checking John Deeth’s blog for news about statewide, Congressional and state legislative candidate filings, which continue through March 19.

Sunday, March 7:

From I’M for Iowa:

March 7 – International Women’s Day (Ames)

At the Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave, from 2:00-4:00 pm. Join members of Iowa United Nations Association to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women. Contact Suzanne Hull at

Monday, March 8:

DAWN’s List (the Democratic Activist Women’s Network) is holding an Women’s Appreciation Day Reception at the Grand Piano Bistro, 506 E Grand Ave in Des Moines, from 6:00-8:00 pm.

“We received nominations from all over the state for these awards,” said Carole Kazmierski, President of DAWN’s List.  “The nominees are outstanding women who have made major contributions to the state of Iowa.”  

Award winners include Andrea Jansa, Des Moines (Rising Star Award); Rachael Grimes, McCallsburg (Special Recognition Award); Clara Oleson, West Branch  (Activist Award); Peggy Huppert, Des Moines (Lifetime Achievement Award); and  State Senator Amanda Ragan, Mason City (Elected Official Award).  

During the reception, DAWN’s List will also honor Lynda Waddington for her volunteer efforts in 2009 and will recognize Roxanne Conlin, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, for her many years of service to DAWN-supported issues.

Guest speaker at the reception will be Christie Vilsack, Executive Director of the Iowa Initiative and former Iowa First Lady.  The reception will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Grand Piano Bistro, 506 E. Grand Avenue, Des Moines.

Tickets may be reserved on the DAWN’s List website ( or may be purchased from a DAWN’s List steering committee member prior to the event.  Ticket requests may also be e-mailed to, Please include your name, contact information, and number of tickets needed.

With a prior reservation individual tickets are $20 or two tickets for $35.  Individual tickets purchased at the door will be $25 for one ticket or $40 for two tickets.

Since 1992, DAWN’s List has been dedicated to the election of Democratic pro-choice women in Iowa. Today, DAWN’s List is the only Iowa group dedicated solely to the support, recruitment, mentoring and election of progressive women.

From I’M for Iowa:

March 8 – International Women’s Day Haiti Benefit (Des Moines)

Presented by the Iowa United Nations Association, from 6:00-8:00 pm at First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Ave. Contact Suzanne Hull at

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

“Pulling It All Together: Policy, Programs and Practices” is the theme for the 2010 Iowa Water Conference to be held March 8-9, 2010 in Ames. The conference will feature the Iowa Stormwater Conference and the Iowa Agriculture and Environment Conference. This year the Iowa DNR Sourcewater Protection Program will also be leading several sessions. The goal of the Iowa Water Center is to offer a conference that provides networking and collaboration opportunities for major water initiatives in Iowa and to provide an opportunity for water professionals and the public to communicate. The event will be held at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center in Ames. The Stormwater Conference, Agriculture and Environment Conference, and Sourcewater Protection sessions start at 1:00 pm, followed by an evening panel discussion and plenary session at 5:00 pm. An evening reception follows at 6:30 p.m. Sessions continue on March 9 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For more information, please go to the following website:…

Tuesday, March 9:

This sounds interesting and timely, since the record snowfall is likely to lead to more floods in parts of Iowa this spring:

Panel Highlights New Book, Protection Efforts and Future Flood Predictions

(Des Moines)  – On March 9, University of Iowa’s Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research will host a flood symposium entitled “A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008; Lessons Learned – Preparing for the Future.”

The symposium will feature experts in flood-related fields, a book signing and a panel discussion about how Iowa is preparing for the future. The event will take place at the Iowa State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust St. in Des Moines, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Much of the event will center around information contained in a new book called “A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008.”  The book is a compilation of essays by physical and environmental scientists, hydrologists, economists, public policy experts, engineers and community managers about what caused the floods in 2008, what can be learned from the experience and how to better prepare for future floods. Ecologist Cornelia Mutel, a historian and archivist at the University of Iowa College of Engineering, edited the book and will be part of the panel.

For more information about the program visit…

The event’s co-sponsors include the Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Association of Water Agencies, Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Municipal Utility Association, Iowa Native Plant Society, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Office of Energy Independence, Iowa Rivers Revival, Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Storm Water Education Program, Iowa Conservation of Education Coalition, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Insurance Division, Iowa Water Center, Iowa Whitewater Coalition, Rebuild Iowa Office, Trees Forever, and UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

For more information about the book, visit… For more information about the symposium, contact Joe Bolkcom at

Great things have been happening in Dubuque the past few years, and the city is hosting a “Growing Sustainable Communities Conference”:

Mayor Roy D. Buol and the Dubuque City Council are pleased to announce that Dubuque’s third annual “Growing Sustainable Communities” conference will be held on Tuesday, March 9, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sustainability:  A Tool for Community and Economic Development.”  Conference workshops will focus on the following sustainability principles: Regional Economy, Green Buildings, Healthy Local Foods, and Community Knowledge. As community and business leaders across the country learn more about sustainability, they have realized that sustainability offers the opportunity to improve the quality of life for our community while capitalizing on new economic development opportunities. Dubuque’s annual conference will bring together regional industry leaders, elected officials, business owners, and those interested in learning more about opportunities to help their communities grow and prosper in the most sustainable way possible. For more information or to register for the event, please visit

Senate candidate Tom Fiegen will attend a candidate meet and greet from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the NIACC Mason City Campus.

Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin’s campaign is holding an event for Jasper County supporters from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Uncle Nancy’s Coffee House, 114 North 2nd Avenue West in Newton.

Wednesday, March 10:

Tom Fiegen will meet with UNI Democrats from 9:00 – 10:00 pm in the basement of Macher Union, Cedar Falls.

Thursday, March 11:

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is organizing a town hall meeting, “Unleash Food Democracy.”

Family Farmers, Consumer Advocates, and Organized Labor to Feds: Bust Up Big Ag

Food democracy townhall meeting in Ankeny, IA one day prior to the federal anti-trust workshop will push DOJ, USDA, and Congress to bust the trusts and put people before profits

Des Moines, Iowa –

A coalition of local, state, and national community, consumer, farmer, and labor organizations is holding a townhall meeting, “Unleash Food Democracy:  Taking on Corporate Power in our Food Supply”, Thursday, March 11, at 7pm at the Best Western Hotel in Ankeny, Iowa, as a response to the joint U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) anti-trust workshop in Ankeny on Friday, March 12.

“The corporate control of our food system by multinationals like Cargill, Monsanto, and Wal-Mart is devastating to consumers, farmers, workers, and the environment,” said Barb Kalbach, an Iowa CCI board member and fourth-generation family farmer from Dexter, Iowa in Adair County.

Decades of bad farm policy and unchecked corporate mergers have driven independent family farmers out of business and created powerful corporate factory farms and agribusiness giants that dominate the market. More than 85 percent of U.S. beef cattle are slaughtered by just four companies, two companies control more than half of U.S. corn seed, one company controls 40 percent of the U.S. fluid milk supply, and five corporations dominate the grocery sector.  With fewer players involved at every step in the food chain, consumers pay more and farmers and workers get paid less, while the multinational corporations’ share of the retail dollar continues to climb.

“After years of ignoring the corporate concentration and lack of competition in our food system, the DOJ and USDA are finally admitting that there might be a problem,” said Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now! from Clear Lake, Iowa in Cerro Gordo County.   “Unfortunately family farmers, consumer advocates, and organized labor are underrepresented on the panels at the DOJ/USDA anti-trust workshop.  This grassroots townhall meeting is essential to ensure that the voices of the people most affected by this problem are heard loud and clear.”

The people’s anti-trust townhall meeting on March 11 – the night before the DOJ/USDA anti-trust workshop on March 12 – will feature testimony from farmers, experts, and leaders in the national food democracy movement.  Top officials and staff from DOJ, USDA, and Iowa’s congressional delegation have all been invited and/or confirmed their attendance.

“The grassroots have the solutions,” Kalbach said.  “It’s time to bust up big ag, pass policies that promote sustainable agriculture and local markets, and put people before profits and polluters.”

The event is free and open to the public, but ticketed due to limited seating.  In order to ensure unfettered access for camerapersons, photographers, and news journalists, we ask that interested media outlets please RSVP so that we may accommodate your needs.

To register for the townhall meeting, email David Goodner at or call

(515) 282-0484.  

Tom Fiegen will appear on the Iowa City Cable Access show Peace by Piece produced by Pat Minor, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Iowa City.

Friday, March 12:

The general public is invited to a reception from 6:00-9:00 pm following the U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture’s workshop in Ankeny on agriculture and anti-trust enforcement. It’s at the Best Western Metro North, 133 Southeast Delaware Ave. Contact Tim Kautza at

Here’s much more information about that DOJ and USDA workshop:



Initial Workshop to be Held in Ankeny, Iowa, at Des Moines Area Community College, FFA Enrichment Center

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the agenda and panelists for the first joint public workshop, which will be held on March 12, 2010, in Ankeny, Iowa, to explore competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The workshop will be held at the Des Moines Area Community College’s FFA Enrichment Center.

The workshops, which were first announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Aug. 5, 2009, are the first joint Department of Justice/USDA workshops ever to be held to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals of the workshops are to promote dialogue among interested parties and foster

learning with respect to the appropriate legal and economic analyses of these issues, as well as to listen to and learn from parties with experience in the agriculture sector. Attendance at the workshops is free and open to the public. The general public and media interested in

attending the initial workshop should register at…

The Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Christine Varney and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will

participate in the workshop and will be joined by Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. They will participate in a roundtable discussion with presentations on current issues affecting farmers. Two panels focusing on the competitive dynamics in the seed industry and trends in contracting, transparency and buyer power will

follow. The first day of the workshops will end with an enforcer roundtable and public testimony.

The workshop schedule follows:

Opening Remarks (9:00 a.m. CST – 9:15 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Roundtable Discussion and Presentation of Issues (9:15 a.m. CST – 11:30 a.m. CST)

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

Tom Miller, Attorney General, State of Iowa

Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture, State of Iowa

Tom Harkin, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)

Chuck Grassley, Senator, U.S. Senate (tentative)

Leonard Boswell, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives (tentative)


Chet Culver, Governor, State of Iowa

A farmer roundtable discussion and testimony will also be given at this time. Farmer panelists will be posted on the Web site at a later date.

Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel (1:00 p.m. CST – 2:15 p.m. CST)


James MacDonald, Chief, Agricultural Structure and Productivity Branch, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Ray Gaesser,Soybean and Corn Farmer, Corning, Iowa; Vice President, American Soybean Association; Former President, Iowa Soybean Association

Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Member of the Iowa Bar

Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics and Finance, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University

Diana Moss, Vice President & Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute

Jim Tobin, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Monsanto Company

Agricultural Trends Panel (2:15 p.m. CST – 3:15 p.m. CST)


Phil Weiser, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice


Brian Buhr, Professor and Head of Department, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis Mary Hendrickson,Extension Associate Professor of Rural Sociology,

University of Missouri

John Lawrence, Professor of Economics, Iowa State University

Chuck Wirtz, pork producer, Whittemore, Iowa

Patrick Woodall, Research Director, Food & Water Watch

Enforcer Roundtable Discussion Panel (3:30 p.m. CST – 4:15 p.m. CST)


Mark Tobey, Special Counsel for State Relations and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Justice


Steve Bullock, Attorney General, State of Montana

Richard Cordray, Attorney General, State of Ohio

John Ferrell, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Stephen Obie, Director, Division of Enforcement, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

William Stallings, Assistant Section Chief, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Public Testimony (4:15 p.m. CST – 5:15 p.m. CST)

This is an opportunity for those in the audience to make comments in an open forum.

Additional updates and information will be posted on the Antitrust Division’s agriculture workshop Web site at… While no streaming Web cast will be available, transcripts will be available for

review at a later date on the Antitrust Division’s Web site. Individuals seeking more information on the workshops should contact

Press Contacts:

U.S. Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

Gina Talamona

202-514-2007     U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of Communications

Jim Brownlee


Roxanne Conlin’s campaign is holding an event for supporters in Warren County from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Indianola Activity Center, 2204 West 2nd Avenue in Indianola.

Saturday, March 13:

The Iowa Democratic Party is holding county conventions across Iowa. Candidates for various offices may speak at many of the conventions.

Roxanne Conlin will attend the Polk County and Johnson County conventions, then hold an event for supporters in Jones County from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM in the Lawrence Community Center, 600 East Main Street in Anamosa. The Conlin campaign is holding an event for Jackson County supporters from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM in the Maquoketa Public Library, 126 South 2nd Street in Maquoketa.

The Scott County Democrats are holding a Red, White and Blue banquet from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Mississippi Fairgrounds Starlight Ballroom, 2815 West Locust Street in Davenport. Various candidates for state legislative seats are likely to be there, along with U.S. Senate candidates Tom Fiegen and Roxanne Conlin.

From I’M for Iowa:

March 13 – Iowa Network for Community Agriculture (Perry)

This gathering, potluck and annual membership meeting is from 9:00-3:00 at the Town/Craft Center, 1122 Willis Ave. It’s free and open to the public, though membership in INCA is encouraged and available for $35. Workshops include, Making Poultry Pay, Grow Your Farmers’ Market, and Profitability for Farm to Market. Contact Ryan Marquardt (641) 793-2444 or

March 13 – Bishop Maurice Dingman Dinner (Des Moines)

Catholic Peace Ministry’s 15th annual award’s dinner is at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 2922 Beaver Ave with a reception starting at 6:00 pm. Dinner is at 6:30 with the award celebration to follow. This year’s honorees are Helen Oster (recently deceased) and Chris Gaunt, and will feature keynote speaker Jack Jezreel, founder of Just Faith Ministries. Contact Jeffrey Weiss at

Whiterock Conservancy (near Coon Rapids) is recruiting volunteer forces to help clean up winter storm damage at Whiterock Conservancy, in Coon Rapids. Remove brush and fallen trees from main hiking trails, river campgrounds and the historic Home Farm. If you can help out, please meet at 10 a.m. at the Betts Shop on Fig Ave (.8 miles south of Hwy 141). Contact to RSVP. See Please wear winter appropriate clothing, sturdy boots and bring leather gloves. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

From Iowa Interfaith Power and Light:

Saturdays, March 13 and April 10, 2010

Weatherization Blitz Days in Cedar Falls

9 AM – 4 PM

March 13th Training Location:

St. John’s Lutheran

715 College

Cedar Falls, IA

April 10 location TBD

Practice Earth stewardship by weatherizing homes in your community! Attend one or both of these training days led by Green Iowa AmeriCorps and Cedar Falls Utilities to learn how to weatherize and then work in teams with other volunteers led by AmeriCorps members to weatherize local homes.

At the training you will learn how to identify areas needing improvement and how to: Caulk/Seal windows & doors, install weather striping, insulate electrical outlets & water pipes, insulate foundation rim joists & attic access door, seal leaky air ducts and upgrade to low-flow faucets, low-flow shower-heads, & CFL’s.

One volunteer said after attending a recent Blitz Day:

“Learning how to weatherize my home was so empowering!  On my way home, I stopped at the hardware store to buy the foam outlet covers, caulk, and a caulk gun.  My husband and I caulked all of our windows that night.  The event was so helpful!”

Cedar Falls Contact to register. To see pictures from January’s Blitz Day in Cedar Falls click here.  

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