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QCA Today: December 17, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
QCA Today
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 06:20

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

December 17, 2014

 
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.

 
“I’m with the Banned!”: Winners and Favorites from Our 2014 Short-Fiction Contest PDF Print E-mail
Literature
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 05:30

Our challenged-books-themed “I’m with the Banned!” short-fiction contest drew 52 entries, and we’re pleased to present 22 of our favorite stories here. Authors were required to include one of 20 prompts from frequently banned or challenged books (the full list is at RCReader.com/y/fiction) and were limited to 250 words beyond that.

We’ll be hosting a reading of winning and favorite entries at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 25, at the Bettendorf Public Library (2950 Learning Campus Drive). We hope to see you there to help celebrate Banned Books Week!

 
The Shrinking Gambling Pie: Jumer’s Boosted the Local Casino Market – but It Can’t Hide the Quad Cities’ Decade of Decline PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 05:28

It’s long been an article of faith with me that the seemingly perpetual growth in the number of state-sponsored gambling outlets is poor public policy. Common sense says that the amount of money people will spend on these games has a ceiling – one that we’ve almost certainly reached by now.

If that’s correct, then further expansion of legalized gambling is a fool’s errand, as the money generated by it won’t increase meaningfully. Once gambling has reached a saturation point in a region, revenues will just get shifted from gaming company to gaming company and state to state and local government to local government.

But like all articles of faith, I had no proof for my hypothesis. So I decided to test it, and the Quad Cities market seemed like an excellent laboratory.

What is now the Isle of Capri casino in Bettendorf opened in April 1995 – making us a three-casino community. (I’ll refer to the casinos by their present names throughout this article.) We now have almost two decades of gaming information with the three-casino marketplace, and a handful of variables allow us to see what happened here when this happened there: the December 2008 move of Jumer’s from downtown Rock Island to Interstate 280; the recession that hit in 2007-8; new casino competitors in eastern Iowa in 2006 and 2007; and the 2012 introduction of video-gambling machines in Illinois outside of casinos.

What I found didn’t exactly support my hypothesis of a Quad Cities gambling pie with a fixed size. Rather, the data suggest there are ways to add new customers to the local gambling market – but that the pie has nonetheless been shrinking for a decade.

 
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