Science & Technology
Google’s free Wi-Fi network up and running in Council Bluffs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Robert Haus   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:18

Additional grant of $50,000 expands access in Council Bluffs

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Jan. 29, 2013 — Google announced an additional $50,000 grant today to expand the free high-speed wireless Internet network for the city. Once completed, the free Wi-Fi network will be extended to cover the new River's Edge Park and the interior of City Hall. The Wi-Fi network currently provides free internet access to: Downtown Council Bluffs and 100 Broadway District, Mid America Center and Council Bluffs Recreational Complex. Once users agree to the terms of service, they may surf the internet freely.

“Google has been a wonderful corporate partner for our community and this project is just one of the ways Google continues to demonstrate their commitment to be part of our community,” stated Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan. “We are very fortunate to have them in our city, and we look forward to continuing our partnership that will help make Council Bluffs a better place to live and work.”

Google financed the construction of the initial Wi-Fi network through a $154,462 grant (Council Bluffs incurred no charges). The additional grant of $50,000 will finance the expansion efforts to be completed in 2013. The grant will purchase the network equipment and pay for three years of Internet service. After three years, the equipment will be owned and operated by the City of Council Bluffs.

Congressman Tom Latham (IA-3) stated, "Google has a history of making valuable investments in the Third District, and this grant will increase the access that the residents and businesses of Council Bluffs have to a service that is increasingly integral to our daily lives. Widespread Internet access is a crucial component of commerce and job growth in any modern city, and I thank Google for helping make Council Bluffs an even better place to do business."

“Google is a big advocate of the power of the Internet and we feel privileged to bring this free service to the businesses and residents of Council Bluffs," said Chris Russell, operations manager for Google's Council Bluffs data center. "We believe cutting edge technology and Internet access is crucial to developing business, creating jobs, and thriving in the 21st century. The free Wi-Fi network helps Council Bluffs' residents to do just that.”

Wi-Fi is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices via nodes that are located throughout a certain area. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, video game console or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point.

About Google Inc.

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


Loebsack Praises “Future Leaders of Tomorrow” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:29

Davenport students take part in phone call with astronauts aboard the International Space Station

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after students from the Davenport School District participated in a telephone call with astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station.  The call was hosted at the Putnam Museum’s National Geographic Giant Screen Theater in Davenport.  


“I am very proud that our students had such a fantastic opportunity to take what they have learned about in the classroom and interact with those who are experiencing it firsthand.  Iowa is home to some of the most dedicated and brightest students, and I’m grateful that NASA recognized this as well. The folks at the Putnam Museum again demonstrated why they are one of the leading museums for learning and opening our kids’ eyes up to the opportunities ahead of them. The chance for our students to engage with NASA astronauts demonstrates the value of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning and the opportunities we can embrace to create the jobs of the future right here in Iowa.”


Local Students Excel at State Robotics Competition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Rachel Chamberlain   
Friday, 25 January 2013 15:45

"3, 2, 1 - LEGO!"  This enthusiastic phrase was on repeat last Saturday at Iowa's FIRST LEGO League (FLL) state competition held on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, IA.  72 teams from around the state (including twelve from the Quad Cities) qualified to attend the event.  Each team of 9-14 year olds was armed with a LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot they designed, built, and programmed themselves.


The results are in, and the Quad Cities has reason to be proud!  Four of the twelve teams from our region received awards – BIG ONES!


Team "World Changers" (Trinity Lutheran, Davenport), brought home top honors with the Champion's award.  Not far behind was team "Technical Difficulties" (Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf), winner of the third place Champion's Award trophy.  Other big winners included team "Charged Up", (Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf) winning 1st place for Core Values, and the "Robodawgs" (Bettendorf Middle School) winning 1st place for their project.

Rivermont Collegiate's robotics coach, Rachel Chamberlain, praised the program, saying, "FIRST LEGO League provides a fun and creative platform for kids to learn basic engineering techniques.  Students work really hard during the four month season, but it's all done in a fun, hands-on way that allows them to make discoveries every day with their team mates.  It's a great way to learn!"  Rivermont Collegiate had five teams at the regional competition in Davenport last month, three of which qualified for the state competition, and two who brought home with big wins.


"I'm so proud of all the teams from the Quad Cities." Says Chamberlain, "FLL teaches 'Gracious Professionalism' and the kids all know it's not about what you win, but about what you discover along the way.  The trophies are neat (especially the ones made out of Legos), but what's even neater is the pride the kids feel when they talk about what they learned.  It's music to my ears to hear them encourage their peers to participate next year.  It's an experience they will never forget."


FIRST LEGO League is an international robotics competition for teams of two-ten students.  This year there were over 20,000 teams in more than 70 countries, including over 400 teams from the state of Iowa.  56 teams from the Quad Cities competed in the regional qualifier last December at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, IA, and twelve teams were selected to advance to the state competition at Iowa State University on Saturday, January 19, 2013.


During the four month FLL season, students work together with their team to build a robot that can accomplish predetermined missions on a common playing field to earn points.  Each team receives the same field with the same missions at the beginning of the season.  With a 2 1/2 minute time limit, teams must figure out how to make the best use of their robot's time to earn as many points as possible.  At the competition, teams go head-to-head in a race against the clock, and then add up points at the end with referees.  The robots are completely autonomous, meaning they are preprogrammed and not controlled by any sort of remote or handheld device.  The programming is done on the computer ahead of time, and then uploaded to the robots before the competition.


In addition to building and programming a robot, teams are tasked with creating an innovative solution to a real world problem to present in front of a panel of judges.  This year's theme was "Senior Solutions" - solving problems affecting senior citizens.  Students solicited the help of local experts when designing their inventions and shared their ideas with members of the community before the competition to get feedback and advice.


The third and final piece of the FIRST LEGO League competition was Core Values.  According to the First Lego League website, the FLL Core Values are the cornerstones of the FLL program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind.  By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.


Harrison Brown, a 5th grader at Rivermont Collegiate, was on team "Charged Up" (winner of the Core Values award).  "I'm proud that our team won the Core Values award." Says Brown, "This is actually a really important award. I feel like our team worked well together and had fun.  That's probably why we won.  If a team doesn't have strong Core Values, it would be hard for them to be successful because they wouldn't be able to work well together."


"The real life skills these kids learn through this program are priceless." Says Chamberlain, "We're not only teaching kids how to program and become future engineers, but we are teaching them how to problem solve, brainstorm, build presentations, and work on a team.  These skills are invaluable and will cross over into many different areas of their life and future careers."


Although teams don't know details yet about next year's challenge, they do know the theme - "Nature's Fury".  The 2013 season officially kicks off on August 27, 2013.


For more information about First Lego League, visit  For more information about this year’s championship at Iowa State University, visit



Governor Quinn Announces Gigabit Internet Partnership with City of Evanston and Northwestern University PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 18 January 2013 16:22

Strategic $1 Million State Investment Will Help Northwestern University and Area Businesses to Build Innovation Corridor, Create Jobs

EVANSTON – January 18, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn was joined today by leaders from the city of Evanston and Northwestern University to announce a $1 million state investment to help the city become an Illinois Gigabit Community, bringing ultra-high speed Internet to one of the nation’s top universities and the surrounding area, home to more than 160 start-ups. This gigabit service will be crucial to developing an economic innovation corridor that will attract entrepreneurs who create jobs as they grow the next generation of world-changing companies.

Announced during Governor Quinn’s 2012 State of the State Address, this investment advances the governor’s efforts to encourage world-class broadband infrastructure across Illinois.

“To compete in the 21st century economy, we must have technology infrastructure that is second to none,” Governor Quinn said. “Internet service that’s 100 times faster than what we have today will help businesses, universities and governments to revolutionize our communities and make them stronger today and in the future.”

The governor’s strategic investment of $1 million will help connect fiber optic gigabit Internet service from downtown Chicago to Northwestern University, which will then place more than 400 access points in locations throughout campus and in surrounding Evanston.

This will enhance the research capabilities of Northwestern University and the ability of the city of Evanston to offer the kind of ultra-high speed Internet service that technology businesses need to start-up and grow. In addition, the capability will boost the city’s efforts to create an innovation corridor that will utilize proximity to Northwestern University’s extensive academic resources and robust public transportation.

“Evanston is home to over 160 technology start-ups housed in various scattered locations with limited synergistic relationships or facilities.  The awarding of this Gigabit Community Challenge Grant Award will build a direct link between technology start-up companies, Northwestern University, the city of Evanston and private investors via gigabit fiber connections. The researchers on Northwestern University’s campus, workers in technology start-up companies and entrepreneurs will be able to access faster data speeds leading to greater discoveries and commercial applications,” said Evanston Alderman Melissa Wynne (3rd Ward). “This award will be a catalyst allowing the city of Evanston and the state of Illinois to keep great thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and growing technology companies here in Illinois through a critical public-private-non-profit partnership.”

"Northwestern is grateful for the opportunity provided by Governor Quinn and the state of Illinois and for the prize awarded to our community via the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge," said Sean Reynolds, Northwestern University's vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer.  "This support will allow the University to again partner with the city of Evanston to enhance our mutual and collective competitiveness through the advancement of technology – in this case, by advancing networking capacity to the University and the city of Evanston and the interconnection between them.  We are excited about the potential for increased reach and interactions for researchers, startup companies and other commercial and public entities throughout the city of Evanston, the Chicago area, the state and the wider connected world."

coLab Evanston is just one of many small and growing businesses that will reap enormous benefits from ultra-high speed gigabit Internet service. The company provides shared working space for companies and individual entrepreneurs who are often looking to take ideas and grow them into larger enterprises. The company acts as an incubator for innovation and provides its clients with the resources to be successful.

“At coLab, we’re committed to helping professionals by giving them the tools they need to be productive and innovative,” said Eric Harper, co-founder of coLab Evanston. “Gigabit will be a key benefit we offer as we strive to create an environment where ideas can turn into reality.”

The city of Evanston is also collaborating with Urban Communications, Inc. to expand broadband availability to residential and small business entities throughout the city. In addition to traditional Internet, the company plans to provide other IP-based services such as VoIP, video conferencing, web hosting, disaster recovery and email.

"This project will help Urban Communications extend the benefits of gigabit Internet service to residents and businesses all over Evanston who are always searching for better technology services at a better value," said Edmund G. Urban III, CEO of Urban Communications. "We're proud to be partnering with the city of Evanston to make our community a better place to live and work."

Governor Quinn has led major efforts to improve Illinois’ technology infrastructure and worked to expand broadband deployment in all areas of the state. As part of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, the Broadband Deployment Fund was used in 2010 and 2011 to jumpstart more than 4,000 miles of new fiber optic cable construction and more than $300 million in private and federal investments in Illinois. The governor previously announced gigabit investments in Aurora’s public and private K-12 schools, higher education and healthcare institutions, commercial corridors and community anchors in underserved areas, and major non-profit organizations across the city as well as communities across Chicago including Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore, Greater Grand Crossing, Grand Boulevard, Douglas and Oakland.

For more information on Illinois Gigabit, visit


Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home Introduces Free Digital Magazine for iPad PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Douglas Patch   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:22

Davenport, IA – Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is offering a new digital magazine to its customers. The magazine entitled Beautiful Design. Made Simple. features inspiration, tips and advice to make creating a beautiful home just a little bit easier. The magazine is free and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

Each quarter Beautiful Design.Made Simple.. will feature new ideas and inspiration. Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home’s goal is to provide their customers with design tips and trends before, during, and after they purchase flooring..

“Design is ever changing and so is your home,” said Douglas Patch, of Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home “Even if you've finished your flooring project, this magazine can help you plan your next project or make updates to other parts of your home.”

The premier issue of Beautiful Design. Made Simple. features information and ways to incorporate Benjamin Moore’s 2013 color trends, Simple tips on updating a room, inspiration and design advice from professionals Tracy Bross and Glen Peloso, carpet care tips, flooring trends and a plethora of inspiring images for the entire home.

To download this free magazine visit or search for Beautiful Design. Made Simple. in your App Store.

About Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home
Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is a locally owned flooring retailer serving the Davenport area. They are part of North America’s leading floor covering co-op. Their showroom is known for carrying a broad selection of beautiful carpet, wood, laminate, ceramic, vinyl, and area rugs including exclusive brands like Bigelow and Lees. They offer a unique customer experience with the exclusive SelectAFloor merchandising system that simplifies the shopping experience and The Beautiful GuaranteeTM, which guarantees that the customer will be 100% happy with their floor. Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is also the home of the exclusive Healthier Living Installation system. For more information visit NORTHWESTCARPETONEDAVENPORT.COM.

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