Business & Economy
Actor Martin Sheen Joins Governor Quinn’s Fight to Raise the Minimum Wage PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Hickey   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:19

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by actor Martin Sheen to continue his ongoing fight to raise Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 to at least $10. Last year the Governor proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and today’s visit to Chicago’s historic St. Pius V Church is part of his agenda to build an economy that works for everyone.

“Raising the minimum wage is a common-sense proposal that will benefit hundreds of thousands of workers across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “This is about dignity and decency. Raising the minimum wage will lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and boost more local economic growth.”

Martin Sheen, an award-winning actor and strong advocate for social justice, strongly supports increasing the minimum wage and today lent his support to the Governor’s fight for Illinois workers.

“I’m proud to join Governor Quinn in helping to stand up for the thousands of hardworking people across Illinois who suffer from poverty,” Martin Sheen said. “Raising the minimum wage is about social justice—it’s about giving everyone a fair opportunity to live and grow.”

Last month, Governor Quinn met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials at the White House in Washington, D.C. to discuss raising the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and President Obama is pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

The Illinois minimum wage ($8.25) – is less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage. A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes approximately $17,000 annually, which is well below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $19,790 for a family of three. Six in 10 minimum wage employees are female, including many single parents.

“As a low-wage nursing home worker, it is time that we honor, reward and respect the hard and often grueling work that low-income people do every single day by raising the minimum wage,” Susana Fragoso, who works at the Grove Of Evanston Rehabilitation Center, said. “Right now, our economy works for the wealthy and big corporations, but it’s not working for working families. That’s why it is critical that we raise the minimum wage to strengthen our families and our communities.”

The Governor supports raising Illinois’ minimum wage over the next two years. By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture, providing a strong boost to the local economy.

Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.

Leaders from large companies such as Costco, Starbucks, The Gap, Inc. and Stride Rite also have supported increasing the minimum wage as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity. The Gap Inc. recently acted to raise its own minimum wage to $10 for all U.S. employees. The move is expected to impact 65,000 American workers and more than 4,000 employees in Illinois.


New Report: USDA Rural Development Initiatives Created 75,000 Jobs in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:16

More than 175,000 homes purchased; 120,000 broadband connections made; 1,000 community facilities funded

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued a report highlighting the impact of more than $33 billion in USDA investments to support rural businesses, infrastructure and housing in 2013.

“This report tells the story of how USDA support has made a tremendous difference in the lives of rural Americans,” said Vilsack. “Our investments help create jobs and opportunity for rural residents, provide affordable housing, support modern infrastructure, and build essential community facilities. I am proud of the role that USDA has played to grow rural economies and help make rural America a place of opportunity, innovation and economic growth.”

USDA Rural Development’s $193 billion portfolio is making lasting investments in rural communities. The report highlights several initiatives that are helping to address persistent rural poverty, expand health care for Mississippi Delta residents, and develop stronger partnerships between government, private-sector and community-based organizations.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA business programs have provided more than 18,000 guaranteed loans, direct loans and grants to help more than 74,000 businesses create or save more than 375,000 jobs. USDA is increasingly becoming the lender of choice for many Native American tribes throughout the country.

USDA programs support research into new energy sources and help protect the environment. During the two last quarters of fiscal year 2013, USDA made payments to operators of 56 anaerobic digesters that produced almost 173 million kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power more than 17,000 homes annually. For example, Clover Hill Dairy in Campbellsport, Wis., received a $6,200 payment through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program to operate its anaerobic digester, which was commissioned 2007. The digester produces 2.7 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per year. The dairy’s herd provides the manure to produce biogas, which fuels the generators that produce electricity. The excess electricity is purchased by a local utility and delivered to customers.

USDA broadband infrastructure loans awarded in FY 2013 will result in new or upgraded broadband service for about 120,000 rural households, businesses and community institutions once the projects are completed. The Department also continued to make great strides to bring distance learning and telemedicine infrastructure to rural areas. In 2013, one-third of USDA’s distance learning grants went to rural areas where the minority population is 30 percent or higher. Another third went to areas were poverty rates have been consistently high over long periods. All of the awards went to rural areas where residents lacked access to medical services.

Rural Development is a key player in the recovery of the nation’s housing market, particularly in rural areas. For many realtors, USDA Rural Development loans account for most of their business. In 2013, nearly 163,000 rural families became homeowners through loans from private lenders that were guaranteed by USDA, and more than 7,000 families bought homes through direct loans from USDA.

USDA’s homeownership program is complemented by assistance that helps rural residents find affordable rental housing. Tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income on rent for decent, safe housing. Last year, USDA provided rental assistance to nearly 280,000 rural residents. Including the residents who get rental assistance, more than half a million rural Americans live in rental housing financed or directly supported by USDA.

USDA’s Rural Housing Service invested in more than 1,000 essential community infrastructure projects with $1.4 billion in direct loans, guaranteed loans and grants in Fiscal Year 2013.

In other areas, the report indicates that USDA’s Rural Utilities Service helped meet the power needs of 8.7 million rural customers last year by providing nearly $5 billion in loans to electric utilities. These loans helped build and expand transmission and distribution systems. During fiscal year 2013, USDA helped bring new and improved electric infrastructure to more than 80,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives and invested a record amount – $275 million – on infrastructure projects benefitting them.

One of the many examples of how USDA investments are helping rural businesses and communities is the bio-based startup company Laurel Biocomposites, LLC, in Laurel, Neb. USDA partnered with Security Bank in Laurel to provide a $5 million loan guarantee that helped Laurel Biocomposites buy equipment and provide working capital for its first year of operation. Today, the company is operating one production line and is expected to begin full-scale production later this year. When full-scale production begins, the company plans to double its work force from seven currently to 13 to 15 workers on the plant floor.

The Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative in Madison, Wis., is using a $150,000 USDA Value Added Producer Grant to help start a regional fresh produce food hub and packinghouse to improve producers’ access to local wholesale markets. The hub will create private-sector jobs and aggregate local produce sold under the “Wisconsin Farmed” brand.

Eleven families in Reedley, Calif., became homeowners in 2013 after moving into houses they jointly built through USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program. The group worked with oversight from Self-Help Enterprises, a pioneer in the “Sweat Equity” concept of homebuilding.

For additional information on Rural Development projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for the past four fiscal years. The data can be found at:

View the report here.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.


LeClaire Welcomes New Business, New Location for Veteran Business, and more over the past year! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Cindy Bruhn   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:11
A LeClaire favorite, Dwellings, owned by Michael Hall has been in business for 10 years and has relocated to a much larger location at 414 N. Cody Road. Dwellings is in a house that most recently was home to Garden of Uden. Michael opened his new store on March 6th of shoppers browsing his expanded inventory which now includes chairs and occasional tables. In response to whether he thought this was a good move or not, Michael answered, “Yes! The response from current customers has been great! I think people will discover our new location and enjoy having the expanded inventory to choose from.” He has found that having a home décor and furnishings business in a house helps people envision the items in their home.

LeClaire has welcomed Urban Classic Home to downtown at the corner of Cody Road and Jones Street (124 N. Cody Road). It is occupying a building that also houses GraniteXact and the LeClaire Information Center. The owner of Urban Classic Home, Becky Curtis, moved her business to LeClaire from DeWitt, Iowa. The LeClaire Chamber of Commerce celebrated with a ribbon cutting on March 7th.  She has already found the traffic in downtown LeClaire to be much busier than at her previous location. When asked if this was a good move for her business, Becky said, “Absolutely; many of my customers are here”. She said that her expectations have more than been met. She also mentioned that she has 30 years of interior design experience from when she lived in Naples, Florida. She offers design, unique and custom pieces, and will visit homes for consultations.

LeClaire has enjoyed many new additions and changes over the past year. They include Aunt Hattie’s Fanciful Emporium moving to a larger space and Vignette’s moving to a larger space and opening The Fig Tree. New businesses include Cedar Closet and The Shameless Chocoholic. Antique Archaeology (home of the American Pickers) has added a building, Expressions in Threads is in the process of expanding, and Grasshoppers is renovating a home to be used as a guest house.

LeClaire, Iowa is located at a point where the Mississippi River makes a sharp bend to the southwest. LeClaire's historic bond with the river and the bold men who tamed the Upper Rapids is still visible in the homes and buildings they left behind. On May 7, 1979, their homes were recognized as part of the nine-block Cody Road Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. LeClaire’s other attractions include the Buffalo Bill Museum/Lone Star Stern Wheeler, Mississippi River Distilling Co., and Antique Archaeology, home of the American Pickers. • 563-289-4242 x1135 • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Bettendorf Company Wins Global Awards PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Laura Simmons   
Monday, 17 March 2014 08:20

Nine Lives Media Names Medix Dental to two MSPmentor Global Lists


March 12, 2014: Medix Dental (Bettendorf, IA) has surfaced twice on Nine Lives Media’s seventh-annual MSPmentor 501 Global Edition (, a distinguished list and report identifying the world’s top 501 managed service providers (MSPs). This year’s report includes:

  • MSPmentor 501 Global Edition
  • MSPmentor 100 Small Business Edition (top MSPs with 10 or fewer employees)
  • MSPmentor 200 North America Edition
  • MSPmentor 50 EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Edition
  • MSPmentor 25 AANZ (Asia, Australia, New Zealand) Edition

Medix Dental ranked #28 on the Small Business Edition, and #450 on the Global Edition.

“It’s an honor to rank on this esteemed list,” said Tom Terronez, President of Medix Dental. “Our focus has always been on clients, not on awards - but it’s great to receive international recognition for our hard work. We are happy to represent small business success in the Quad Cities to the rest of the globe.”

The MSPmentor 501 report is based on data from MSPmentor’s global online survey, conducted October-December 2013. The MSPmentor 501 report recognizes top managed service providers based on a range of metrics, including annual managed services revenue growth, revenue per employee, managed services offered and customer devices managed.

“MSPmentor congratulates Medix Dental on this unique honor,” said Amy Katz, president of Nine Lives Media, a Penton business. “Qualifying for our MSPmentor 501 Global Edition puts Medix Dental in rare company.”

MSPs on this year’s global 501 list lifted their combined annual recurring revenues $2.61 billion, continuing seven straight years of strong growth. Together, those MSPs now manage more than 700,000 servers, according to Jessica Davis, managing editor, MSPmentor.

MSPmentor, produced by Nine Lives Media, is the ultimate guide to managed services. MSPmentor features the industry’s top-ranked blog, research, Channel Expert Hour Webcasts and FastChat videos. It is the number one online media destination for managed service providers in the world.

About Medix Dental

Medix Dental ( provides technology integration and support services to progressive dental practices throughout the United States. The products and services include computer integration, network security, HIPAA compliance, data backup, encrypted email, managed services support and VOIP phone systems.

Headquartered in Bettendorf, Iowa, Medix Dental has been in operation for over 10 years. The company has experienced consistent growth since founding. For additional information, visit the Medix Dental website at”


About Nine Lives Media

Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton (, defines emerging IT media markets and disrupts established IT media markets. The company’s IT channel-centric online communities include MSPmentor (, The VAR Guy ( and Talkin’ Cloud (

Loebsack Leads Bi-State, Bipartisan Call for Q-C to be Designated an Advanced Manufacturing Community PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:29

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today led the bi-state, bipartisan, bicameral delegation representing the Quad Cities in calling for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to designate the region as an Advanced Manufacturing Community. The Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois has long been a hub of manufacturing innovation and this designation would reinforce the regions efforts to be recognized as a world class manufacturer. Loebsack was joined by Senators Grassley and Harkin and Representative Braley from Iowa and Senators Durbin and Kirk and Representative Bustos from Illinois in sending a letter to Matt Erskine, EDA Deputy Assistant Administrator.

“We must continue to focus on growing the economy and putting folks back to work, especially in the manufacturing field,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. “This designation will help the Quad Cities region grow their efforts to attract and maintain manufacturing companies of all sizes. Along with the recently announced Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute, being designated a Advanced Manufacturing Community will greatly benefit the Quad Cities region.”

“Growing our economy, creating jobs and bolstering manufacturing has been my focus since taking office, and that is why I’m pleased to join with Congressman Loebsack in calling for our bi-state region to receive an Advanced Manufacturing Community designation,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “Our region’s workforce is the best in the world and with this designation would be even better positioned to be home to more of the good-paying manufacturing jobs of the future.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.


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