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CVS Caremark, VSA announce debut of 2011 All Kids Can Create national touring exhibit

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS Caremark, and VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, are showcasing their commitment to supporting inclusive arts education with the announcement of the 2011 All Kids Can Create student artists.

All Kids Can Create is an annual national program where artwork submitted by students ages 5 to 15 years is selected to represent each state and the District of Columbia for a national art exhibition. This year, All Kids Can Create invited young artists with and without disabilities to submit a piece of artwork under the theme "Imagination Across America."

The 2011 All Kids Can Create national touring exhibition will feature a total of 102 pieces of artwork, representing two student artists from each state and the District of Columbia and will debut in Washington, D.C., on June 15.

A panel of judges, including artists and art educators, selected the 102 pieces of artwork out of more than 4,700 entries submitted from artists across the country. All of the artwork submitted this year, from paintings to sculptures to photographs, will be featured in an online gallery at Artsonia.com/allkidscancreate.

"For the fourth year, we are proud to collaborate with VSA on All Kids Can Create, the only visual arts program of its kind that showcases how students with and without disabilities learn through the arts," CVS Caremark’s SVP corporate communications and community relations Eileen Howard Boone said. "This program offers a wonderful opportunity for personal expression, and we hope the artwork featured in this touring exhibition drives further awareness of the positive impact arts education can have on each and every child."

The All Kids Can Create exhibition is one part of VSA and CVS Caremark’s yearlong partnership, which also includes support of state VSA affiliates that encourage learning and community engagement through artistic expression. Strategic grants at the state level also support artist-in-residence programs in schools that expand access and document learning through the arts for students with disabilities. CVS Caremark employees also participate by volunteering in activities in their communities and/or schools to help build inclusive environments.

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New legislative amendment seeks to kill swipe-fee reforms

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have offered an amendment to legislation that is designed to delay swipe-fee reforms.

The amendment, proposed this week, looks to "improve the regulatory structure for electronic debit card transactions and for other purposes" and would delay swipe-fee reform — which is slated to go into effect July 21 by the Federal Reserve — by 12 months. Tester previously introduced the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act of 2011, which would postpone swipe-fee reductions included in last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by two years.

The amendment was met with opposition from several lobbying groups, including the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Retail Federation.

Jennifer Hatcher, FMI’s SVP government relations, said the amendment is "masked as a delay bill" and "was developed for big banks, by big banks."

"The Tester-Corker language removes any guarantee that Main Street America will ever see relief from rising debit card swipe fees, and we hope our U.S. senators will recognize this when the Tester-Corker amendment vote is called," Hatcher said.

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said the "pro-retailer, pro-consumer swipe-fee reform" is a top priority for the retail community and urged NACDS members and consumers to notify the Senate of their opposition to the proposal.

The NRF, which has campaigned for the preservation of swipe-fee reform for the past two months, expressed its concern over the amendment in a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

"This bill is no compromise," NRF SVP government relations David French wrote. "It is a sham intended to kill swipe-fee reform even more quickly than [Tester’s] original bill and should be seen for what it is."

The Senate is set to vote on the legislation Wednesday.

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Beautifying messes with DesignerLiners

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A new line of biodegradable trash bags are looking to "dress the mess."

DesignerLiners, unlike typical waste liners, feature 1-of-10 unique designs that are displayed on the inside of a bag so consumers can "dress the mess," the company said. The bags are available in a 12-pack or a bulk package of 100 bags, and each bag touts a 5-gal. to 6-gal. size.

The 12-pack DesignerLiners are available online at Designerliners.com, Amazon and eBay for a retail price of $9.95, while bulk packs, currently available on Amazon and eBay, retail for $29.95.

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