Stage & Theatre
History and Culture Live this Spring at the Rock Island Public Library PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Friday, 08 March 2013 15:58

Rock Island, IL: History and culture will be brought to life this spring in five free programs at the Rock Island Public Library.


Mary Todd Lincoln lived a life filled with triumphs and tragedies, but few people really know her. Aided by actress Laura Keyes, the Rock Island Library shares the first lady’s side of the historical story during Women’s History Month in Mrs. Lincoln Goes to Washington. The one-woman show, set against the Lincolns’ first trip to Washington City in 1847, will be performed from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, March 18 in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

Laura Keyes graduated from UW-Madison with a Master’s Degree in Library Studies, and is currently the Library Director at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. Her past stage roles include Mary Todd Lincoln in Mrs. Lincoln, Elizabeth in Frankenstein, Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Claire in Fuddy Meers, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

If Mary Todd’s story leaves you wanting to hear more about her famous husband, the library will offer “Lincoln and Liberty, Too,” a special performance of Civil War songs and stories in April by Bob Welch of Dubuque. Combining storytelling and history with music on guitar and banjo, Welch’s Civil War songs bring history to musical life. The performance is at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 2 in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

With current interest high as a result of the Lincoln movie, and the importance of April in Civil War history, Welch has been particularly busy performing at school and public venues. Past performances have included the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, the American Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, PA, the Sailors Creek Battlefield in Virginia and historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul, MN.

Both the Mary Todd Lincoln and Lincoln and Liberty programs are made possible by sponsorship from the Friends of the Rock Island Public Library.

April also marks the 45th anniversary of the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The library and the Afro-American Heritage Center of the Quad Cities will recognize the event with a film and discussion of “A Ripple of Hope.” The independent historical documentary retells the events of April 4, 1968, when King was assassinated outside a Memphis hotel room. The film and discussion will be presented from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 3, in the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

A Ripple of Hope retraces the steps of Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy as he absorbs the news of King’s death and responds with courage and compassion. Though advised not to speak, Kennedy delivered a moving impromptu address to a tense crowd in Indianapolis. Featuring digitally restored news footage and original music by John Colby, the Grammy Award winning music director of the Ken Burns Civil War soundtrack, A Ripple of Hope dramatically narrates the events of that tragic day through the eyes of those who were there.

Also in April, the library celebrates William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday anniversary with two events.

On April 23, the bard’s presumed birthday, Don Wooten and Genesius Guild will present a look at a fascinatingly complex character and play with “Who is Macbeth?” In what is considered to be Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth employs themes and elements from all other Shakespearean plays. But who was Macbeth really? What do we know about him? Learn more with this free event on 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 23, Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street.

Next, the library considers Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with help from high school student performers from Rockridge High School, and a discussion led by members of Prenzie Players. Students will present a pivotal scene from the play, followed by discussion, at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 25, at the Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street.

All programs are free and open to the public. For more news about Rock Island Public Library events, visit, call 309-732-7323 (READ) or follow the Rock Island Library on Facebook and Twitter. A monthly calendar of library events is available online and at Rock Island Library locations.


Department of Management: New AFSCME Contract Saves Iowa $94 million PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 08 March 2013 15:26

(Des Moines) – Today, the Department of Management released the following information related to cost avoidance the State of Iowa obtained by entering into aggressive, professional negotiations with AFSCME.


Key elements of new state contract with the AFSCME bargaining unit:


1.       0% across-the-board (ATB) raise for FY 14 and 0% ATB for FY 15

2.       Annual STEP increases for FY 14 and FY 15 included

3.       No change in health insurance


Total cost of new AFSCME contract for FY 14 and FY 15:

General Fund:                   $56 million

All State Funds:                 $107 million


Key elements of Governor Culver’s AFSCME contract for FY 12 and FY 13:


1.       2.5% ATB raise for FY 12 and 2.5% ATB for FY 13

2.       Annual STEP increases for FY 12 and FY 13 included

3.       No change in health insurance


Total cost of Culver AFSCME contract (if applied to our current workforce):


General Fund:                   $104 million

All State Funds:                 $202 million


Savings to State of Iowa resulting from new AFSCME contract:

General Fund:                   $48 million

All State Funds:                 $94 million


According to available data, the FY 14 -15 AFSCME contract represents the first time since the inception of public sector collective bargaining in Iowa that the State has successfully negotiated no across the board pay increases in both years of a contract. Clearly, Iowa taxpayers have benefitted from having a seat at the table during the collective bargaining process with Iowa public sector unions.


The State’s Position in Arbitration:

The State and ASFSCME agreed on 0% ATB raise for by FY 14 and FY 15.


The State and AFSCME agreed on annual STEP increases for FY 14 and FY 15.


The State and AFSCME reached an impasse on health insurance.  The arbitrator ruled in favor of the AFSCME position regarding health insurance.

The State’s final offer on health insurance was a 20% employee contribution for all health plans. Employees would have the opportunity to earn a credit of $90 per month towards their share of the health insurance premium by participating in a wellness program.


The State’s final offer on health insurance still exceeded the average of other states when the wellness premium incentive is included.  In comparing Iowa’s wage and benefits using data provided by the National Compensation Association of State Governments:

  • The employer-paid value of the State of Iowa’s status quo health insurance benefit is ranked first when compared to other states.
  • The average base pay of State of Iowa employees is 33% above the base pay of other state government employees.
  • The average total compensation (wages and benefits) of State of Iowa employees is 27.5% higher than the total compensation of other state government employees.


Had the arbitrator ruled in favor of the State’s offer regarding health benefits, the State had estimated additional cost avoidance of approximately $45 million over the 2 years of the contract.



News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness   
Friday, 08 March 2013 15:13
Greetings Friends of THE CURTAINBOX,
I am sending this out to all the actors I know letting you know that I have two fabulous projects ahead that I am casting.  One is a feature film and the other is a training video project.  Both projects have fabulous roles for actors of all ages and all roles are PAID.  I need a headshot and resume sent to me in email form if you are interested in being considered for these projects.  Right now, principal photography looks to start sometime in May  and will be primarily shot in the QC.  We are beginning preliminary casting now.  I will be looking for all ages, types and ethnicities.  Send me your most current headshot and resume to:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Thanks much!! Always a pleasure putting fellow actors and students of mine to work! If you know other people who may be interested in submitting for these projects please feel free to forward this message on.

Hotel Blackhawk Signs On To Autograph Collection PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Glenn Kass   
Friday, 08 March 2013 15:12

Historic Davenport hotel “defines the unique guest experience”

Davenport, IA – Hotel Blackhawk management is pleased to announce that effective today it has officially taken its place in the progressive Autograph Collection hotel network.

The Autograph Collection® (, launched by Marriott in 2010 is, “An evolving ensemble of strikingly independent hotels. Each destination has been selected for its bold originality, rich character and uncommon details.” Hotels are listed in different categories such as Artistic Getaways, Historic Explorations, Culinary Delight, Urban Excitement and Wedding Celebration. This new affiliation will also enable Hotel Blackhawk to offer and accept Marriott Rewards®.

Joining a network of properties that promotes individuality is another important step for Hotel Blackhawk’s role in gaining attention for the City of Davenport and the Quad Cities. This effort has been highlighted with notable achievements such as its recent status as a 2013 Recommended Property in the Forbes Travel Guide, 2012 AAA Four Diamond Award-Lodgings, 2012 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Award, the Bix Bistro’s 2012 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence as well as 2011 and 2012 Smart Meetings Platinum Choice Award recognition.

“One-of-a-kind hotels in the Autograph Collection serve the discerning tastes of those looking for travel accommodations beyond the ordinary, predictable routine of hotel chains,” said General Manager Tim Heim. “Hotel Blackhawk represents the type of singular, high-personality hotel that doesn’t just offer guests a unique experience – but actually defines it.”

Hotel Blackhawk re-opened December 15th, 2010. The hotel retains its 98-year-old historic character while featuring modern conveniences throughout the 130 guestrooms and extended-stay suites, six meeting rooms and up to 300-person banquet capacity in the signature Gold Room.

Other features include wireless internet, a fitness center, business center, swimming pool, hot tub, Spa Luce (lu-CHAY), Milan Flower Shop, the Bix Bistro restaurant, the Beignet (been-YAY) Done That coffee shop and Blackhawk Bowl & Martini Lounge. In addition to the affiliation with the Autograph Collection, the hotel also is part of the Historic Hotels of America network (

For more, visit or find us on (Search: Hotel Blackhawk).


Illinois voters overwhelmingly support the strong enforcement of gun laws and the freedom to choose how to protect themselves. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Christie Strunga   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 12:48
Recent poll examines gun laws/gun violence solutions

Recent poll data shows that there is an overwhelming belief among Illinois voters that the best way to reduce gun violence in the state is to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, and strictly enforce Federal gun laws.

The poll conducted by the Freedom to Choose PAC on February 27, which surveyed 804 registered Illinois voters, found that 95% of respondents would be likely to vote for a candidate who supported reforming mental health laws to keep firearms from the mentally ill.

88% want to charge people accused of violating gun laws under Federal statutes, which require mandatory prison terms if convicted. 

87% agreed the court systems should be monitored to make sure that people charged with gun violations are prosecuted for the violation, and not allowed to plea bargain out of the charges.

Also, 74% said they would be likely to vote for someone who supported conceal and carry legislation for legal gun owners.

“The poll clearly shows that while the people of Illinois want actions to reduce gun violence, it should be not be accomplished by limiting their choices of how they protect themselves, their loved ones and their property,” said Josh Powell, chairman, Freedom to Choose PAC. “Action needs to be taken to work with legislators in passing the conceal and carry law mandated by the Supreme Court. This legislation should include the same limitations applied equally for both citizens and lawmakers themselves. It’s time Illinoisans have The Choice to protect themselves shared by the other 49 states in the country.”

Specifically, the poll indicated that 61% voters would support conceal and carry legislation that contains the same language for private citizens as public officials, but would exclude law enforcement.

Pollsters also delved deeper to determine solutions for curbing gun violence.

Less than a majority, 41 %, believed that banning the sale of fire arms between private citizens would reduce gun violence.

Only 22% believed that economic sanctions, or discouraging banks and investors from investing in Illinois companies that manufacture or distribute assault weapons, were an adequate route to preventing gun violence. Such economic restrictions could force those companies to close, costing Illinois over 5,000 jobs.

87% were for background checks for those buying guns at gun shows.

25% of those polled believe that the current debate is being driven by public safety concerns, versus 45% who believe it’s political in nature.

Of those polled, 43% came from households that own a gun, but 54% felt a gun would be the best form of protection against acts of violence like assault, robbery, rape or home invasion, rather than 35% who preferred just calling the police.

“The Freedom to Choose” poll was conducted by McKeon and Associates, February 27, 2013. The poll surveyed a sample of 804 registered voters in Illinois. Full cross-tabs and additional information can be found by loading the image below, or on

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