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QCA Today: January 28, 2015 PDF Print E-mail
QCA Today
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 07:10

This feature collects articles published online by the following Quad Cities-area media outlets: Quad-City Times, Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch, River Cities’ Reader, KWQC, and WQAD. It also includes items from CapitolFax.com, the Des Moines Register’s “Iowa Politics Insider,” and the State Journal-Register’s “The Dome.”

If you'd like your media outlet included in this list, contact Jeff at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Recent Items from Quad Cities Media

January 28, 2015

 
Nacho Radio: Dave & Darren Rescue Themselves from the Airwaves PDF Print E-mail
Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 22 January 2015 05:18

Nacho Radio’s Dave Levora (left) and Darren Pitra

On his morning show on January 14, Darren Pitra asked with mock exasperation: “Haven’t we learned enough?”

Just a year ago, the answer to that question would have been simple: Absolutely.

Pitra and Dave Levora have been on-air morning-show partners for nearly 11 years – as “Dave & Darren in the Morning” – so it’s no surprise that these old radio pros have an easy rapport, or that they breezed through the show of comedy and conversation without a lull.

There was a bit about a beer brewed with smoked whale testicles, a recurring motif of the perils – sometimes self-inflicted – of being a bus driver, and evidence of both men having way too much familiarity with the live-action Flintstones movies. They roped me in as a guest – sorry, listeners! – and asked off-the-cuff questions that were thoughtful and insightful without ever getting too serious. Their routine is smooth and comfortable – a warm welcome to the day for listeners tuned in to their favorite radio station.

Except that the show wasn’t on the radio at all, instead a podcast on Dave & Darren’s NachoRadio.com – which was launched in October after Pitra and Levora lost their jobs at Rock 104-9.

So the learning must continue.

 
No Easy Answers: Jessica Lamb-Shapiro on Self-Help and Self-Discovery, January 27 at Augustana College PDF Print E-mail
Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 14:30

Jessica Lamb-Shapiro’s Promise Land seems to invite preconceptions.

First, there’s the white kitty hanging perilously from a rope on the book cover, cheekily recalling the famous “Hang in There” inspirational poster.

Then there’s the subtitle: My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture.

Flip to the first page of prologue. The book opens: “Ten years ago, I tagged along with my father to a weekend conference on how to write self-help books.” Yes, it really was a self-help retreat for self-help-guru wannabes.

From those elements, you might expect an arch, cynical take-down of a movement and the industry that feeds it (or feeds off it).

Lamb-Shapiro will be the January 27 guest in the River Readings at Augustana series, and you’re hereby advised to not judge this book by its cover or its opening sentence. It’s so much richer than that.

 
Art to Heart: Drew Starenko Wanted to Teach Art. Instead, He Became a Local Pioneer in Heart-Bypass Surgery. PDF Print E-mail
Health
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 13 November 2014 05:15

Drew Starenko in his downtown-Davenport studio.

The realization, Drew Starenko said, came while building a home addition by himself in the early 1990s.

He was in his early 30s, he said, and “I was lugging these sheets of plywood up to this roof, and I just kind of stepped back after that and ... said, ‘When I’m 50, 55, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this sort of thing.’”

The construction work was never his intended career path, although he’d been doing carpentry since the age of 16.

But if carpentry wasn’t a viable long-term occupation, what could he do?

Starenko knew he wanted to work with his hands. He had pre-med and art degrees from Augustana College, and a master of fine arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

He had been lured back to the Quad Cities because of some teaching work, but local institutions of higher education weren’t hiring full-time art faculty. He had a young family and didn’t want to uproot it in pursuit of teaching jobs. And he wanted to stay in the Midwest – which provided much of the inspiration for his art.

So he decided to put his pre-med degree to work – and chose to become a nurse instead of a physician’s assistant because it was a quicker path to a job. “I had a daughter and a family,” he said.

And nursing, he figured, would also give him time to focus on painting.

From that fundamentally practical choice, a remarkable career began. Starenko is a Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant rather than a surgeon, and he didn’t design the equipment or perfect the technique that together make recovery from heart-bypass surgery much easier for patients these days. But he is a local medical pioneer who has directly or indirectly improved hundreds of lives across the globe.

 
Small Solutions for a Big Problem: Sheryl WuDunn on the Oppression of Women, October 21 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:14

Sheryl WuDunnThe 2009 book Half the Sky is filled with stories that are heartbreaking and inspiring – and often both. The Pulitzer Prize-winning husband-and-wife team of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn gives you precisely what you’d expect from a book subtitled Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. There are lots of anecdotes supporting the idea that women across the globe face horrific violence, discrimination, and marginalization. That’s countered by personal stories that provide hope for change. And both are supported by statistics and academic studies.

“We think that one of the greatest moral challenges of our time is the gender inequality and the brutality that many women and girls face around the world because of their gender,” said WuDunn – who will present a lecture version of the book on October 21 at St. Ambrose University – in a recent phone interview. “We also think one of the most effective ways to address a lot of the inequality is through educating girls and bringing them into the formal labor force ... . And we talk about a lot of these issues by telling stories of women who have been facing these challenges, and of other women and men who have come up with solutions.”

But the book is also surprising – in ways that are both very small and very big.

 
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