Civic News & Info
Galesburg Illinois National Guard Unit Gives Back to the Community PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Stephanie McCurry   
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:38

The 444th Chemical Company Held a Local Blood Drive and Donated Food to Local Shelter.

GALESBURG, IL (12/20/2010)(readMedia)-- The 444th Chemical Company based in Galesburg wanted to do something for the local community as a way to say thank you for all of the support it has received over the past years. The 444th held a blood drive with the American Red Cross and donated cases of canned food to a local homeless shelter Dec. 18 at the Galesburg Readiness Center.

"It is a matter of giving back to a very supportive community," said 1st Sgt. Robert Heck of Edwardsville.

The Family Readiness Group (FRG), Soldiers and families were invited to donated blood and invited members of the community to do the same.

"I donated blood to show my appreciation for the support from the communities around us," said Staff Sgt. Michelle Melendez of Roseville.

The American Red Cross received 56 pints of blood during the blood drive. Almost every Soldier in the 444th donated. The blood donated is going to help cancer patients.

Over the past couple months, members of the unit have been bringing in cases of canned food to deliver to a local shelter. On Saturday all of the canned food was delivered to the Galesburg Homeless Shelter. 1st Lt. Chad Wester of Adair said he was inspired by the younger Soldiers and how much they donated to the food drive.

"The people at the shelter were very thankful," said Wester. "It was nice to meet some of the people that it was going to benefit."

"The citizens of Galesburg deserve some recognition for all their support to the Illinois National Guard," said Heck. "They give us their sons and daughters and we appreciate everything they have done for us."

Story by Staff Sgt. Stephanie McCurry, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs

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Harkin: Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Makes Military and our Country Stronger, More Just PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 20 December 2010 13:08
WASHINGTON, D.C. ­- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement after the Senate voted 65-31 to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the 17-year old Defense Department law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.  The repeal was passed by the House earlier this week and will now go to the President to be signed into law.  Harkin is a cosponsor of the repeal.

“Today America took a major step toward ensuring the civil rights of its citizens by voting to discard the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.  ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is discriminatory and outdated, and our action to repeal it was long overdue.  Today, the Senate made clear that lesbian and gay Americans are first-class citizens.  The repeal has strong support in the military, both among high ranking leadership and among our enlisted personnel.  By voting to get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, we not only make our military stronger and less discriminatory, but we also advance the cause of freedom for our entire country.

“As Americans, gay and lesbian individuals deserve the same employment rights as everyone else, including the right to be open about their personal lives while serving their country.  It is costly and senseless to discharge capable, qualified soldiers, or to turn away new recruits, based on sexual orientation, especially with our military under such great strain.  I am pleased that our government will no longer discriminate against individuals willing to bravely serve this county.”

Grassley Nominates Young Iowans to U.S. Service Academies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:36

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that he has nominated outstanding young Iowans to serve in the United States service academies.

“Nominating students to the service academies gives me the opportunity to see some of the highest caliber young men and women our state has to offer.  Every year I’m impressed with these young Iowans who are interested in serving their county,” Grassley said. “I’m confident that these nominees will represent our state well, and I’m happy to nominate them.”

Grassley nominates several young Iowans each year for a select few spots.  Each academy then selects students based on the number of vacancies for the 2011-2012 school year. Often, because of the high quality of nominations from Iowa, several students are selected to attend each academy.

Grassley said each of the Iowa students who applied for academy nominations were exceptional and he encouraged eligible students to consider submitting applications in the future.  “The academies are some of the best options in our country for a higher education,” said Grassley.

Grassley will issue announcements when appointments to the academies are offered.

Here are Grassley’s nominations.

U.S. Air Force Academy
Dylan Bechen, Woodbury Central High School, Moville

Daniel Deakins, West Harrison Community School, Mondamin

Daniel Eichman, Dulwich College (Beijing), Dubuque

Brett Heithusen, Williamsburg High School, Williamsburg

Isaac Kinrade, Maquoketa High School, Maquoketa

Felix Knutson, Hubbard

Peighton MacLeod, University High School, Cedar Falls

Jesse Phillips, North Mahaska High School, New Sharon

Alec Stenzel, Valley High School, Cumming

Mackenzie VanDenBerg, West High School, Waterloo

U.S. Military Academy
Shawn Burrows, Bondurant-Farrar High School, Bondurant

Charles Godwin, Exira High School, Exira

Levi Horsley, Carroll High School, Carroll

Travis Mallo, Mason City High School, Mason City

Jedidiah McCoy, Climbing Hill

Thomas McGuire, Gilbert High School, Ames

Kalie Plasier, Randolph Macon Academy (Front Royal, VA), Sioux Center

Sean Raes, Ballard High School, Slater

Caleb Titus, Danville High School, West Burlington

Wyatt VandeVoort, MOC-Floyd Valley High School, Orange City


U.S. Naval Academy
Erik Bergstrom, Johnston High School, Johnston                      

Andrew Chudzik, City High School, Iowa City

Morgan Clutter, Indianola High School, Indianola

James Cox, Jefferson High School, Cedar Rapids

Mary Dougherty, Bishop Heelan High School, Sioux City

Sarah Eikenberry, Roosevelt High School, Des Moines

Andrew Foster, West High School, Waterloo

Joseph Gallet, Iowa State University, Washington High School (Cedar Rapids), Atkins

Tyler Husar, Muscatine High School, Muscatine

Knute Klinker, South O’Brien High School, Primghar

Scott Pate, Clarke Community High School, Osceola

Alex Peschang, Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Waverly

Andrew Peterman, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf

Andrew Pick, Dowling High School, Clive

Kristin Reichert, Indianola High School, Indianola

John Russell, St. Albert High School, Council Bluffs

Conner Sprague, Wayne Community High School, Derby

Jakob Stoner, Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls

Colton Van’t Hof, Sioux Center Community, Sioux Center

Daniel Yehieli, Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls


U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Tobias Gassman, Ames High School, Ames

Miranda Walz, Central High School – Elkader, Elkader



Rock Island Announces Online Survey to Seek Public Input on Budget PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Jennifer Fowler   
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 13:26

The City of Rock Island is seeking the views of Rock Island residents on the proposed 2011–2012 General Fund budget. City departments have prepared options to help close a $1.1 million gap in the budget for next year. In addition to the series of public meetings being held, citizens can now register their opinions on the options online at

The online survey asks citizens to agree, disagree, or no opinion on each of the 37 options. At the end of the survey, citizens can provide any additional comments or suggestions.

Options being considered range from keeping City vehicles longer before they are replaced to eliminating a police officer with the Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG). The options also include an increase in the property tax rate and parking fees and fines.

City Manager John Phillips noted, “Not all of the options will be needed to eliminate the difference between the projected revenue and expenses for next year, but it is clear that difficult choices will need to be made by the Mayor and City Council.”

City staff has been working on budget planning since September and closed the budget gap from $2.4 million to the $1.1 million level. Three positions have been eliminated and budget cuts have been made in training, supplies, and services. Phillips noted that most local governments are facing challenging times due to decreasing revenues and increasing costs.

Responses from citizens will be shared and reviewed by the Mayor and City Council over the next 60 days. The budget is scheduled for adoption in March 2011 and the City’s fiscal year begins on April 1, 2011.


Renaissance Rock Island Announces 2010 Hard Hat Award Recipients PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Carl McClaskey   
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 12:41

Renaissance Rock Island hosted the 22nd Annual Hard Hat celebration today at the new Comedy Sportz. The event is designed to recognize investment in the community and thank those who have helped strengthen Rock Island. The organizations of Renaissance Rock Island - Development Association of Rock Island (DARI), Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), and The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District (The District) – are pleased to present the following awards.

Golden Brooms - Golden Brooms are awarded for outstanding maintenance.

§  Big Catz House of Chrome

Located on the corner of First Avenue and 16th Streets in Rock Island, Big Catz House of Chrome receives more than their share of traffic. Tending not only to their existing property, the owners work to improve and maintain the landscape of surrounding parking lots, sidewalks and green space.

§  Illinois Casualty Insurance

Having just celebrated their 60th Anniversary, Illinois Casualty Insurance, located at 225 - 20th Street, consistently maintains their property to spotless perfection.

Golden Paintbrush - New in 2010, the Golden Paintbrush is awarded for outstanding painting improvements.

§  El Patron Bar & Grill

Step into this establishment, which opened in March of this year, and you feel as though you have entered another country. No surface has been left untouched, with hand painted original murals throughout.

§  Phil Scott

A lot of paint and imagination went into painting the wall of an adjoining property to create an undersea view for patrons of Cabana’s outdoor patio. This larger than life aquatic mural can be seen by passers-by as well, enhancing the landscape along Fourth Avenue.

§  Regalia Manufacturing

Located at 2018 Fourth Avenue, and family owned since 1897, Regalia Manufacturing recently repainted the entire façade of their historic building.

§  Fanth Curry Home Improvement Company

Located at 4515 - 6th Avenue, Fanth Curry sits at the gateway to Rock Island. Extensive exterior painting has improved the look of this business, and offers a much improved first impression.

Golden Hammers - Golden Hammers are awarded for outstanding business investment.

§  RILCO – Rock Island Lubricants

The Golden Hammer was awarded to RILCO for brush removal, cleanup and concrete work. Located at 1320 - 1st Street RILCO also underwent a major expansion project.

§  Realm Wellness Spa

A new business that opened in March 2010, located at 150 - 16½ Street, Realm Wellness Spa offers a wide array of spa services, a natural juice bar and other wellness services. Since their opening, Realm Wellness Spa has expanded both in space and services.

§  Lundgren Chiropractic

Located at 2965 and 3012 - 13th Avenue, Lundgren Chiropractic updated 3 buildings with painting, signage, awnings and lighting, creating a cohesive look.

§  Mainstream Commercial Group Ltd. - for Watchtower Plaza

Located on 11th Street, Watchtower Plaza repaired the existing parking lot and applied new asphalt, a major project with noticeable impact. In addition, management has been diligently working to fill spaces.

§  Dial Properties – for Rock Valley Plaza

Located at 4800 Blackhawk Road, Rock Valley Plaza has a new front façade, a major upgrade

§  Lundgren Chiropractic

Located at 2965 and 3012 - 13th Avenue, Lundgren Chiropractic updated 3 buildings with painting, signage, awnings and lighting, creating a cohesive look.

§  City Limits Saloon and Grill

This property has undergone major exterior work, including decks and a new addition. Located at 4514 - 9th Street, City Limits recently completed this work and is now open for business.

§  Bill’s Moving & Storage

Bill’s Moving & Storage added foam insulation, coping and EFIS, greatly improving the facility and property value located at 104 - 10th Street.

Green Hammers - New for 2010, Green Hammers are awarded for outstanding business investment utilizing a “green” initiative.

§  Steve’s Old Time Tap

A long time Rock Island establishment recently installed new, energy efficient windows and dramatically improved the appearance of the façade with new awnings. Located at 223 - 17th Street.

§  Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tavern

A new façade , new awnings and new “green” windows and door are just some of the recent improvements to this business, which has been working on several improvements over the past few years.

§  Klauer Heating & Air Conditioning

Three commercial buildings have been installed with new windows and doors. Many of the upgrades to these buildings are energy efficient.

Mayor & City Council Trophy

The Mayor & City Council’s Trophy is awarded for the most strategic new investment.


  • Rock Island Center for Math and Science

Located at the former Villa de Chantal property, this 64,000 square foot building holds 550 students from pre-K through 6th grade. The facility includes a science lab, state of the art technology, a community room, music room , media center and production room, and separate gymnasium and cafeteria. 

The school is situated in the heart of Rock Island, on almost 10 acres of wooded nature trails. It is a place where creative, innovative ideas are encouraged to challenge students and make learning exciting, where teachers can be flexible in meeting students’ needs. It is a place where parents and teachers are partners in helping their students to learn and grow.

  • Rock Island Hydroelectric Plant

With an investment of $2.2 million dollars, The City of Rock Island rehabilitated an aging powerhouse that now offers significant environmental benefits for all. City utility customers and taxpayers will benefit directly in the future due to lower costs for the electricity needed to operate city facilities. The Rock Island Hydroelectric Plant operates as an enterprise fund, like the city’s water and sewer utilities. 95% of its revenue is earned by selling electricity to the largest City-owned users, such as the water and sewage treatment plants. The remainder is earned by selling excess electricity to Mid-American Energy.


  • Schwiebert Riverfront Park

Officially opened in July of this year,  this 1/5 of a mile long park is the former site of the Jumer’s Casino Rock Island riverboat gaming operation and National Guard Armory building.  The new demountable flood protection wall provides continued protection when necessary, while maintaining an unencumbered view of the Mississippi River. The main stage area and great lawn mimics the former Armory Building footprint.  In keeping with the RiverVision Plan, Schwiebert Riverfront Park has reconfigured urban public open space into a park-like setting that includes a state of the art playground, interactive water feature and performance stage that  are sure to improve the quality of living in Rock Island. 

CC Wilson Trophy for the Most Dedicated – Kevin Koski

Kevin Koski has served on the Renaissance Rock Island Exec Board for the past 17 years. With a goal of making Rock Island a better place to work, live and play, Kevin’s own family is a testament to the success of his efforts. His children returned to Rock Island and have made it their home.

He has a proven track record that includes being a vital force in the clean-up of discarded tires for many years. His dedication and contribution to the betterment of the community has earned Kevin this year’s award for being the most dedicated DARI member. 

Mo Payton for the Volunteer of the Year – Jan Masamoto

Jan Masamoto has served on countless boards and committees, including DARI and GROWTH as well as her current role as Chairman of The District Board of Directors.  Jan is intelligent, tireless, entrepreneurial, passionate and well respected throughout the Quad Cities. In addition to running her own company, JTM Concepts, Jan does more than her part to support many charitable organizations throughout the community.

The Renaissance Rock Island Vision Award – John Phillips 

John Phillips has the vision necessary to move forward.  In his role as City Manager, John Phillips has devoted more than 20 years with a vision and a single purpose -the betterment of the city of Rock Island. Through leadership, hard work, attention to detail, and an unwavering commitment, John has steadfastly worked to make this community the best it can be.

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