# Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement

Events coming up this week

Public hearings are scheduled today through Thursday in Council Bluffs, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines to discuss the Legislative Services Agency’s redistricting proposal. Citizens will be able to listen in to some of those hearings at other locations around Iowa. Times and places are after the jump, along with details on other events taking place around the state this week.

As always, post a comment or contact me by e-mail if you know if a public event worth adding to this calendar.

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Events coming up during the next two weeks

The days are getting warmer and longer, early wildflowers are starting to come up, and two of my favorite spring events in Iowa are happening the next two weekends. The Planned Parenthood spring book sale starts this Thursday and continues through Monday at the State Fairgrounds (4H building). This semi-annual sale supports the education and community outreach programs of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, covering most of Iowa and part of Nebraska. Come Thursday night or Friday for the best selection, Sunday or Monday for the lowest prices.

The sixth annual Natural Living Expo will be held April 2 and 3 at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines. This free event showcases more than 100 natural and/or environmentally friendly Iowa businesses and community organizations. I’ll be helping staff the tables for a couple of non-profits, but I always look forward to browsing during my break times.

Like many in the Bleeding Heartland community, I’m excited to see the new map of Iowa political boundaries, which the Legislative Services Agency will release on March 31. The LSA will hold public meetings around the state on April 4 to discuss the proposed map.

Details on those events and much more are after the jump. As always, please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of an event that should be added to this calendar.

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

Iowa county fair season is in full swing, and the Association of Iowa Fairs posts the schedule here. You may even run into some local candidates and elected officials.

The Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter has nature hikes and other group outings scheduled around the state this summer. Click here to view the calendars for your area.

The Johnson County-based group Backyard Abundance provides advice and educational events for people who want to grow food in urban environments or want to transform their yards into a low-maintenance, eco-friendly landscape.  I’m a big fan of letting native Iowa plants take over your yard.

Democrats are out canvassing most weekends from here through the November election. Iowa Democratic candidates, please send me notices of your upcoming public events, fundraisers or volunteer opportunities if you would like me to include them on these calendars.

Details for some political and environmental events are after the jump. Please post a comment or e-mail me at desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com if you have something to add.

Seeing the announcement about Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith’s picnic next weekend reminded me of the latest political rumor going around Des Moines: former third district Congressional candidate Dave Funk is expected to challenge Hockensmith in the next supervisor’s race. I’ve seen no public confirmation of the rumor, though.

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Events coming up this week, with a few job openings

I haven’t posted any job listings here in a while, but I recently learned of a few opportunities in the environmental area. Those are posted below. If you know of political or progressive advocacy jobs available, feel free to send details to me (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com), and I will try to spread the word.

The big political event this week is the March 19 deadline for Iowa candidates to file nominating papers for statewide and federal offices. John Deeth has been covering the filings so far at his blog. Follow me after the jump for details on other things going on around the state, and post a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of something I’ve left out.

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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.

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Vilsack declines pork industry request (for now)

Following up on the request by nine governors and pork industry giants for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to spend $50 million on excess pork products, Radio Iowa reported on Tuesday that the USDA can’t help right now:

“We are down to our last $7 or 8 million because there’s been such a demand for so many kinds of commodities, including pork. I think in the last fiscal year $62 million worth of pork purchases have been made,” [Secretary of Agriculture Tom] Vilsack says. “…So we are trying to meet the demands of everyone.”

Vilsack says there may be more money in the pipeline this fall. “When October 1 comes, when the new fiscal year starts, we have a little greater flexibility and at that time we are taking a look at all these requests,” Vilsack says, “and we will make determinations at that point in time in terms of what is being requested of us and what we think makes sense.” […]

“We are very sensitive to the concerns of the pork industry. We have tried to respond by asking our institutional purchasers like the Department of Defense and others to purchase more pork products. We’ll continue to do that,” Vilsack says. “But I think we are stuck by virtue of the amount of money left in the account that we use to do this, but in October 1 it gets replenished and we’ll be in a different position.”

Meanwhile, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement makes it easy for you to e-mail Governor Chet Culver to tell him you oppose taxpayer-funded bailouts of factory farms.

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