Rapid Rip-Off

With the filing deadline for income taxes in less than three weeks, a lot of people are turning to professional tax preparers to assist with their returns. But those services can come at a steep cost, and a recent study found that they're also steering hundreds of millions of dollars away from recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Even though it's been without vast amounts of fame or fortune, the career of John Hiatt has had an arc that many musicians would envy. The singer-songwriter has hopped from label to label and style to style, garnered heaps of respect and a bunch or royalties when other artists cover his songs (which happens a lot), and generally gets to do what he wants without the weight of public expectation.
A task force appointed by the Davenport Community School District (DCSD) met for the first time on March 14, and if the job it faced seemed daunting before - exploring all options for alleviating the district's budget deficit and completing a report by April 15 - it looked even more massive afterward.
Ron Block doesn't like the spotlight, and that makes him a perfect fit for the world's most popular bluegrass band, Alison Krauss & Union Station. "The whole concept of my playing is to enhance the sound of the band and not draw attention to myself unnecessarily," said Block, the band's guitarist, banjo player, and most frequent songwriter.
The saga of the Davenport Community School District's decision to close Johnson and Grant elementary schools took several twists on Monday and Tuesday. At a hearing last week before an Iowa State Department of Education hearing panel, both the school district and parents who appealed the January closing decision agreed to a continuance so that the board could re-consider its vote.
Editor's note: This story went to press before the Davenport Community School District agreed to re-visit at its March 11 meeting the issue of closing Johnson and Grant schools. The hearing on the appeal was continued to April 5.
The success of the Midwest Writing Center is one key to ensuring that local literary talents get the nurturing and support they need to be successful and - hopefully - stay in the Quad Cities. The center's program chair, Bj Elsner, said that the organization's major focus right now is finding a permanent facility, and "when that happens, we'll have year-round programming.
It seems a little unseemly to call Richard Rodriguez the Quad City Arts Super Author - the title he'll carry during his three-day visit to the area in early April. It suggests something heroic or proud, almost as if Rodriguez should have an outfit with a cape.
MidCoast Fine Arts will be celebrating the opening of its new gallery this Friday, and it's meant to be part of the continued growth of Rock Island's downtown. The MidCoast Gallery West, at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 16 ½ Street, will be opening its doors on March 8, sharing its space with ArtFX, a commercial gallery run by artist Donna Lee.
Legendary Quad Cities groove-rock band Burnt McMelba Toast is reuniting for a concert on Friday at RIBCO in The District of Rock Island. Drummer Erik Wilson (who now lives in Philadelphia) and guitarist/singer Pat Willis (presently of Colorado) will return to the Quad Cities for a special show that will also feature original Toast drummer Kevin Moore on some songs.