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  • Local News
    Video: Mayor Gluba Hosts Roundtable on Housing Immigrants in Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Local News
    Written by Administrator   
    Thursday, 31 July 2014 08:41
    On Monday July 14, 2014 Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba hosted a roundtable discussion at the Davenport Public Library. The purpose of the meeting was to address the influx of migrant children coming in from Central America into the United States and how a Quad Cities based "Caring Cities" campaign could assist.

    The meeting was approximately 50 minutes long. This video has been edited down to 17 minutes.
    In attendance and identified on the video are:
    Mayor Bill Gluba, City of Davenport
    Glenn Leach, Davenport Catholic Diocese
    Mike Reyes, League of United Latin American Citizens
    Cheryl Goodwin, President Family Resources
    Mr. Ortiz, Outreach and Community Enrollment Coordinator for Community Healthcare
    Rick Schloemer, Scott County Housing Council
    Stephanie Lynch, Doctoral Candidate University of Iowa
    Amy Rowell, Director of Moline World Relief
    Byron Brown, Retired ARMY, CEO at TGR Solutions

    [Note: Not every individual seated at the table is identified by name in the video. We are happy to update this story with any missing participants.]

     
    A Portrait of Hunger – and Generosity: A Robust Network Fights a Growing Problem in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - 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
    News/Features - 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.

     
    Meat on the Bone: Understanding the Housing-Development Boom in Downtown Davenport PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Local News
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:50

    Developer Tim Baldwin in the Democrat building. The skylight, he said, will be integrated into the design of one apartment.

    It would be natural to look at the volume of housing being developed in downtown Davenport and infer some coordinated process or a major new incentive program. Roughly 300 market-rate apartments are either recently finished or in the development process.

    There’s undoubtedly a trend here. The Downtown Davenport Partnership – part of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce – noted in its strategic plan from earlier this year that “nearly 100,000 square feet of office space is currently planned for conversion to residential units.”

    That includes 11 different projects from seven different developers.

    And while the Downtown Davenport Partnership has been a key player, its director – Kyle Carter – said his organization’s role has been to “help guide that process. Not own it, guide it. ...

    “We always give advice when these developers are shopping,” he said. “But the vast majority of those plans are developer-driven. If anything, I’m the tour guide. I’m the guy that is showing the buffet of options down here. So I will certainly push for projects that I think are more catalytic, or locations that will have bigger benefits for the whole down here.”

    In other words, local government, a downtown organization, or a plan with the scale or taxpayer cost of River Renaissance isn’t behind this housing boom. It’s largely happening on its own.

     
    Pivot and Progress: The Putnam Museum Looks to Remake Itself with a STEM Learning Center PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Local News
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 21 March 2013 05:37

    (To read the sidebar about the renovation of the Family Museum in Bettendforf, click here.)

    This past weekend, we brought our daughter to Davenport’s Putnam Museum and did the full tour. We saw Flight of the Butterflies 3D on the Giant Screen, walked through the new Bodies Revealed show, and saw all the cultural-, regional-, and natural-history displays that visitors have known for decades, from the mummies to the Asian artifacts to Bix’s cornet.

    But what kept Emily’s attention was the Spark Learning Lab, a modest career-themed room with the goal of preventing high-school drop-outs.

    Our daughter is five and in no danger yet of dropping out of any school – or pursuing any career beyond princess-ing. And the Spark Learning Lab is geared toward fifth- and sixth-graders. But she loved the lab’s drawing program with the dual touch screens (one on the computer and one where the picture was being projected), the construction-plank set (which she’s playing with on this issue’s cover), and the feature that allows visitors to build tube structures and – with the help of a blower – either launch table-tennis balls or keep them aloft.

    One station in the room lets visitors connect batteries to simple electrical devices, and another shows how structures they build with Lincoln Logs or those aforementioned planks might fare in an earthquake. The “concentration station” fosters communications skills, as one person describes a block structure and a partner tries to build its twin using verbal instructions alone.

    If you want to see where the Putnam is headed, you can look at the conceptual drawings – posted in several locations – of its planned STEM learning center. The $1.5-million project is currently in the fundraising phase, and the museum expects to open it in June 2014. Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay said adding the STEM center to the Putnam now is “the right time and the right thing for the community and the museum.”

    But you’ll get a hands-on sense of the Putnam’s direction in the Spark Learning Lab. Larger-scale hints are available in the interactive components of the current Destination: Space exhibit, with its compressed-air tennis-ball launcher, and a bicycle wheel and rotating platform demonstrating angular momentum.

    Implicitly and explicitly, all of these draw a line from playful exploration to science to careers, and that’s what the STEM center will do on a much grander level. It’s an attempt to transform the nearly-century-and-a-half-old Putnam from “nice to necessary,” to use a phrase that’s common in the museum field these days.

     
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