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"Coffee" First, Tragedy After: Ballet Quad Cities' "Carmen," February 14 and 15 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral PDF Print E-mail
Dance
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 06:00

Patrick Green and Jill Schwartz in Ballet Quad Cities' CarmenAfter two years of Love Stories for its Valentine’s Day production, Ballet Quad Cities changed things up this year by presenting Carmen, the story of a commanding woman who does what she pleases with men she fleetingly fancies. As with Love Stories, though, there was more than one piece performed this past weekend, with choreographer Margaret Huling’s “Black Coffee” – a jaunty, jazzy number also featured in last year’s Love Stories: Love on the Run – making up the first portion of the evening’s entertainment.

 
A Prescription for Local Television News: What Ails Our Newscasts, and Some Suggestions to Fix Them PDF Print E-mail
Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:09

(Listen to Jeff Ignatius discuss this article on WVIK’s “Midwest Week” here.)

I come to praise local television news, not to bury it.

Okay, there won’t be much praise, and there will be some burying. But I bastardize and invert the famous line from Julius Caesar for a reason: My goal isn’t to criticize and mock the newscasts of the four Quad Cities television stations; I want instead to help make them better.

But before one can prescribe, one needs to diagnose what ails the patient. And before diagnosis, one needs to establish the basic state of health.

 
That Galumpha Thing: Quad City Arts’ Latest Visiting Artists Present Dance, Acrobatics, and Human Architecture, January 25 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
Dance
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 17 January 2014 06:00

When telling friends about particularly unusual and impressive stage performances, “You have to see it to believe it” is a commonly employed cliché. In the case of a stage performance by the East Coast talents of Galumpha, the latest guests in Quad City Arts’ Visiting Artists series, a more appropriate sentiment might be “You have to see it to understand it.” (And, also, to believe it.)

 
A Portrait of Hunger – and Generosity: A Robust Network Fights a Growing Problem in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
Local News
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:36

Hunger is a human problem with millions of faces, but two related numbers can illuminate the size of the problem in the Quad Cities – and the heartwarming community generosity that’s fighting it.

The first number: Christian Care served nearly 56,000 meals last year at its meal site, according to Executive Director Elaine Winter. The second: “Our budget [for food] is about a thousand dollars a year,” she said.

The site at 2209 Third Avenue in Rock Island serves 19 meals week. (There’s no lunch on Saturday or Sunday.) On average, then, it was feeding more than 57 people per meal. The cash cost per meal? Less then two cents.

What this one site illustrates is that food assistance beyond what taxpayer-funded government programs provide is a real, persistent need in the Quad Cities. And the community – through churches, charitable organizations, and individuals – has been meeting the need.

The bad news is that hunger appears to be growing.

 
Hope Creek’s Conundrum: Will Taxpayers Agree to Save Rock Island County’s Nursing Home? PDF Print E-mail
Local News
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:40

The grim math for Hope Creek Care Center is pretty simple. Changing it is not.

Right now, the 245-bed Rock Island County-run nursing home in East Moline is paid $127.48 by the State of Illinois for each Medicaid recipient it houses. The cost to care for each person, said Administrator Trudy Whittington, is $200 a day.

And because by law government-run homes can’t turn away Medicaid recipients, typically more than 60 percent of Hope Creek residents are on the state/federal public-aid program.

So Hope Creek is nearly $4 million in the red each year from that disparity alone, and the current property-tax subsidy for the nursing home doesn’t cover it. And that doesn’t even consider other factors related to state government – such as late reimbursements and delays in approving Medicaid applications.

In that context, Rock Island County officials on October 10 bluntly announced that “after providing an option for the long-term-care needs for residents of our county since 1839 in one capacity or another, the county is looking to divest itself from the nursing-home business due to forces beyond our control that have made that commitment impossible to continue. ... The Rock Island County Board will take official action at their November 19 meeting to explore the potential of leasing or selling Hope Creek Care nursing home.”

That statement brought immediate backlash – by the union representing Hope Creek workers, and by people concerned about the fate of Medicaid recipients who live at Hope Creek or might need to in the future. The county quickly retreated, and County Board Chair Phil Banaszek appointed an ad-hoc committee to look at other options.

Whittington said selling or leasing Hope Creek is Plan D and Plan E at this point – but the county would be remiss if it didn’t do its homework on those alternatives. “We have to start looking at what Hope Creek’s options are,” she said last week. “If we don’t do something, those may become our only options. ... That is ... our last resort.”

The Rock Island County Board could as soon as its November 19 meeting take some sort of action on Hope Creek. The most likely course is approving a referendum question for the November 2014 ballot to raise property taxes in 2015 to further subsidize Hope Creek.

 
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