Trust Us

Supporters of cultural organizations will descend on Des Moines this week to lobby Iowa legislators for a $10 million trust fund that could be a long-term - albeit relatively minor - funding source for arts groups.

In its 20-year history, Mississippi Valley Neighborhood Housing Service stayed focused on a single east-Davenport neighborhood. When it was awarded Community Development Financial Institution status by the U.S. Treasury in August, its mission and target area grew to seven counties, extending north to Clinton and south to Keokuk and reaching across the river to Rock Island County.

Some Iowa legislators are targeting lenders who change outrageous fees and interest rates (typically higher than 12 percent annually).

A handful of bills in the Iowa General Assembly have been or are about to be introduced, and some might have a decent chance of passage.

While the process has not been as public as those to develop a concept for the River Music Center and to choose a firm for the skybridge, the city's effort to develop new plans for its property at 53rd Street and Eastern Avenue is moving forward.

It was almost like the old movie cliché: the packed public meeting at which angry and emotional townspeople give passionate, eloquent speeches that convince the council to Do the Right Thing.

But Monday's meeting of the Davenport school board didn't end with a dramatic tie-breaking vote and the cheers of hundreds of people.

Local business and political leaders fear that to gain a few thousandths of one percent of the state's budget, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is threatening the economic balance of the Quad Cities.

As part of his budget proposal two weeks ago, Vilsack announced a tax-policy change that could hamper efforts to attract businesses and workers to the Iowa Quad Cities.

In a startling election-year power shift last week, Illinois legislators - particularly Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives - broke ranks with legislative leaders and reclaimed some authority over the troubled state budget.

When the Iowa legislature convenes next week, it should expect a new round of lobbying from the state's grocers to repeal the state's "Bottle Bill" - the recycling/litter-control law that requires a five-cent deposit on containers for beer, soda, wine, and other beverages.

Variety is the order of the day on the local music scene. Two new releases by local bands are now available, and fans of electronic music and straight-ahead heavy metal should have a good time with both albums. Also, we finally caught up with a recent recording by a local singer that should please people who like soft ballads and light country.

When Scott County studied the issue of a new jail five years ago, most of the people on the project worked in the criminal-justice system and knew the problems of the jail and its annex intimately.

That turned out to be a problem.

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