The City of Rock Island was awarded a $150,000 brownfield grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete environmental assessment of the future Columbia Park development on the site of a former International Harvester manufacturing plant. Rock Island was one of nine Illinois communities and coalitions to receive funding in the 2009 grant round. The Columbia Park Master Plan, adopted by the city in 2005, incorporates parks, recreation areas, and other amenities along the Sylvan Slough. The Columbia Park redevelopment will replace the 80-acre Quad City Industrial Center site (covered almost entirely with buildings, drives, and parking lots) with a mixed-use development featuring a linear parkway and major arterials with enhanced landscaping.

Each month on the third Thursday, the Lardner Balcony at the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre is used for an after-work cocktail party. At this month's Martinis to the MAX on May 21, climber Paddy Blackman will be on-hand to share her real-life experience of climbing Kilimanjaro. Tickets are required for Blackman's 7 p.m. presentation. For more information, visit

The Rock Island, Davenport, and Bettendorf public libraries hosted Community Shred Days during Money Smart Week Quad Cities, April 18 through 25. The four events collected 16,596 pounds of personal paperwork - an increase of 33 percent over last year. The program was originally created to help people reduce their risk of identity theft, but the collection days also have a "green" benefit. For example, recycling those 8.3 tons of paper will save 141 trees, 58,100 gallons of water, 3,154 gallons of oil, and 672.3 cubic feet of landfill space, and will power 4.15 homes for a year.

Officials with the Quad-City Times Bix 7 have announced plans to increase the cash prize for first place for both the men and women at this year's Seven Mile USAT&F's American Championships. First place awards will be a 2009 automobile or $12,500 in cash. Previously announced was $10,000 in cash or an automobile.

Expect to see more directional signage on the Mississippi River Trail this summer. Davenport and Bettendorf were awarded an Iowa Department of Transportation grant to pay for signs. RiverWay communities in Illinois were not eligible for the Iowa funds but will purchase signs to be installed as well. River Action hosted a meeting April 3 to discuss details and the joint purchase with Illinois RiverWay communities. For more information, visit

The Figge Art Museum is recruiting individuals for its docent program. Interested individuals are required to attend an informational session. For more information, contact Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson at (563)326-7804 extension 7887 or

Freedom Quest '09 is a caravan that will bring together people from across Illinois calling for freedom for people with developmental disabilities. A kick-off rally for Rock Island County will be held on Tuesday, May 19, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the i wireless Center, 1201 River Drive in Moline. For more information, call (309)797-4677 or (309)786-2362.

Rivermont Collegiate has announced senior Shravan Chintalapani has been chosen as a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholar for the 2009-10 academic year. Students selected as Byrd Scholars must rank in the top 2 percent of their class during their junior year, score 31 or above on the ACT or a 1450 on the SAT, or have a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or above. The scholarship is renewable for four years. Next year, Shravan will be studying at the University of Miami in the honors program in medicine.

Quad Cities-area children entering third through fifth grades this fall are invited to attend Enviro-Kids, a new environmental-education program that will meet five Saturdays this summer and end with a family campout in August. The cost for Enviro-Kids is $5 per child, and children can attend one or all of the Saturday programs. Younger children can attend Enviro-Kids if accompanied by an adult. For more information, call (563)468-4218 or visit to download the flier and registration form.

Journalist Tony Horwitz traveled through 10 states in search of the America's fascination with the 1860s and the Civil War. His book Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War will be discussed at the Moline Public Library (3210 41st Street) on Thursday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m. To register, visit the Reference Desk or call (309)736-5737.

On Saturday, May 9, members of the local Modern Woodmen of America camp gathered at First Avenue and 20th Street in Rock Island to plant a flowering crab tree as part of the fraternal benefit society's Plant a Tree program. Introduced by Modern Woodmen in 2004, the program aims to plant thousands of trees across the United States this year.

The Rock Island Library will mark Abraham Lincoln's most important trial with a program at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, at the Main Library (401 19th Street). Part of the "Lincoln Lives at Your Library" series, "Hellgate of the Mississippi" will discuss Lincoln's role in defending the railroad company after the steamboat Effie Afton crashed into a pier of the first bridge across the river at Rock Island on May 6, 1856. Presenter Larry Riney, author of the book by the same name, will discuss the Chicago-based trial of 1857. As an extra, Riney will also lead an independent tour of related sites, including the site of the crash and the Arsenal Museum, which holds the steamboat bell. Transportation for this optional event is on your own. Participants should plan to meet on the first floor of the Main Library at 2:30 p.m. on May 6. The tour is not sponsored by the library, but those who are interested may call (309)732-7303 for more information. There is no charge.

MidoriThe Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra have been awarded a week-long residency by world-famous violinist Midori in the spring of 2011. Over a period of five to seven days, Midori will participate in a wide range of activities, including concerts with both ensembles.

Black Hawk College offers free tuition for high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high-school class. Students must send their seventh-semester official high-school transcript to Black Hawk College and complete a BHC Application for Admission. The deadline is Friday, May 15. For more information, contact Dori Cosgrove at the college's Quad Cities campus in Moline at (309)796-5346 or, or Valerie Reading at the college's east campus near Kewanee at (309)854-1709 or

People who have been recently laid off are able to apply for monetary help from The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army's Central Territorial Headquarters in Chicago is distributing $3.6 million to Salvation Army units in 11 states with the stipulation that each location match half of the requested amount with community donations. Funds were awarded to areas of greatest need. In Illinois, call (309)764-6996 during business hours to make an appointment to apply for assistance; in Iowa, call (563)391-5325.

Eight venues will participate in a spring pub crawl in The District of Rock Island to be held Friday, April 24, from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets to the event are $4. Participating bars include The Arena, Bennigan's Grill & Tavern, Daiquiri Factory, Del's in the District, ICONS, Malarkey's, 2nd Ave., and Steve's Old Time Tap. The pub crawl is part of a larger nighttime-economy plan being developed for downtown, and is a result of discussions that stemmed from the Responsible Hospitality Plan. For more information on the event, visit or call (309)788.6311.

Rounding out this year's River Readings at Augustana, Iowa poet Marvin Bell will read from his work on Thursday, May 7. After earning a BA from Alfred University and an MA from the University of Chicago, he graduated with an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he taught for 40 years. From 2000 to 2004, he served as Iowa's first poet laureate. Bell has published many books of poetry, the most recent being Mars Being Red. The reading is free and open to the public and takes place at 7 p.m. in Augustana College's Larson Hall, inside Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts (3701 Seventh Avenue in Rock Island).

Celebrity chief Rachael Ray will donate seven tons of her premium dog-food line to the Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption Center, 9525 New Liberty Road in Maysville, Iowa. For more information on the organization, visit

The 35th Annual Bix 7 race will be held on Saturday, July 25, in the streets of Davenport. People can sign up for Bix 7 events through applications available at In conjunction with its 35th anniversary, the Bix 7 race will be hosting an American National Championship for seven miles.

The Moline Public Library is the winner of the 2009 Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant. The $3,000 grant, administered by the American Library Association's Public Awareness Committee, is awarded annually for the best public-awareness campaign in support of National Library Week, which runs April 12 through 18.

Local law-enforcement officers will trade in their handcuffs and badges for serving aprons and gourmet burgers at Red Robin restaurants for a Tip-A-Cop fundraiser from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. During the fundraiser, law enforcement will collect tips from restaurant guests to benefit Special Olympics Iowa. Red Robin, Special Olympics Iowa, and local law enforcement are hoping to exceed a $7,500 goal with support from Iowa residents.

Quad City Arts has announced a partnership with U.S.Bank in Rock Island. Local artist Ken Urban is currently displaying photographs he made during the 2008 Quad City Criterium in the bank lobby at 3411 18th Avenue. The lobby is open to the public. Urban's photography will be on display through May. For more information, contact Dawn Wohlford-Metallo at (309)793-1213 extension 108 or visit

Quad City Flutes Unlimited will perform its 26th-annual spring concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at the Butterworth Center, 1105 Eighth Street in Moline. Admission is free. The 18-member flute choir, directed by Rich Stodd, will dedicate this concert to Mary Kae Waytenick, who directed the group for many years. A special student scholarship will be presented to Carrie Duke, a senior flutist at United Township High School. Carrie will receive a $150 scholarship and will perform with members of the flute choir in "The Flower Duet from Lakme."

The sixth-annual Quad Cities Earth Week Fair will be held Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 Fourth Avenue in Rock Island. The fair is open to the public, and admission is free. The first 500 adults through the door receive a free reusable metal water bottle. The fair is a celebration of Earth Day (April 22) and educates attendees on environmental issues and ways they can be better stewards of our environment. The 2009 fair offers booths from various environmental organizations, businesses, and local governments. Booths provide hands-on activities for children, information and education for adults, and special activities for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts working toward environmental badges. For more information, visit

The Rock Island Armory demolition ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 9, at 2 p.m. at the 20th Street overlook (20th Street and the riverfront bike path).This is another significant step in the City of Rock Island's development of downtown's new riverfront park. The ceremony will be officiated by Mayor Mark Schwiebert. Valley Construction, the subcontractor for the Armory demolition, will swing the first wrecking ball. Souvenir postcards will be provided at the event, and the public is invited to attend. Armory history and more information will be provided at the event.

The Quad City Fire Hockey Team, composed of more than 25 firefighters from local fire departments, will play at the i wireless Center on Friday, April 3, at 3 p.m. The team will host the Chicago Fire Department in the contest prior to the Quad City Flames' 7:05 p.m. game with the Chicago Wolves. From each special ticket package sold, $7 will be donated to the Robert Juarez Relief Fund. Juarez is a 20-year veteran of the Davenport Fire Department who was paralyzed in the line of duty after falling from a ladder.

The Quad Cities Comic Book Convention will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, at the Ramada Inn, 3020 Utica Ridge Road in Bettendorf. Admission is free. Dealers from three states specializing in comic books new and old, toys, and related collectibles will be on hand to buy, sell, and trade. For more information, contact Alan at (309)657-1599 or visit

Young musicians from around the Quad Cities area auditioned for judges on Sunday, March 22, as they vied for the opportunity to perform with the Quad City Wind Ensemble and earn money toward music education in the 21st-annual Quad City Wind Ensemble Young Performer's Solo Competition. For more information about the Quad City Wind Ensemble, visit

Rivermont Collegiate will present Much Ado About Will: A Celebration of the Words of Shakespeare on Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in Becherer Hall Auditorium on the Rivermont campus. Antics from A Midsummer Night's Dream serve as bookends to this journey through Shakespeare. This production will be performed by Rivermont students in eighth through 12th grades. Tickets are $5 at the door, and the event is open to the public. Rivermont is located at 1821 Sunset Drive in Bettendorf, off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Club recognizes the temptation of emotional overeating and the health problems caused by it. This is particularly timely in April, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month. With support and education from TOPS, weight-loss warriors can take steps to control those emotional cravings. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, visit or call (800)932-8677.

The novel Monster Behind the Wheel and the poetry collection Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster, both written by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty, are now on the final ballot for Bram Stoker Awards for works published in 2008. The Bram Stoker Awards are presented each year by the Horror Writers Association, an international group that includes hundreds of writers, editors, publishers, and members of the film industry.

The Moline Public Library invites teens and adults to the Creating Connections Volunteer Expo on Saturday, April 18. The free expo will be held in the library's meeting rooms from 2 to 4 p.m.

Residents and organizations in northwestern Illinois and southeastern and eastern Iowa received $333,697 in fraternal assistance from Modern Woodmen of America members in 2008. Modern Woodmen members in these areas are organized into 69 local chapters (called "camps") and 27 youth service clubs. In 2008, area Modern Woodmen members contributed 20,927 volunteer service hours to their communities.

The Musser Public Library in Muscatine will host the Iowa Egg Council's 2009 White House Easter Egg display throughout April. The 19 decorated eggs in this display were entered in the 2009 White House Easter Egg Decorating Contest, held during the 2008 Iowa State Fair. This contest invites Iowa artists to decorate an egg to depict a special feature, theme, icon, or location in Iowa. The winning egg is then sent to Washington, DC, to be displayed at the White House during the Easter season.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can register through April 10 to attend the sixth-annual Earth Week Fair on Saturday, April 18, at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 Fourth Avenue in Rock Island. The fair is open to scouts and the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scouts can visit booths and participate in activities to work toward several environmental badges. Separate workshops will also be held for Boy Scouts and Junior Girl Scouts to earn all of the requirements for their "Geology" and "Rocks Rock" badges. To register, visit and click on "Earth Week Fair" and "Scout Registration."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved the City of Rock Island's plans for flood protection during the Armory Park construction project. This permits Williams Construction Management/Valley Construction, the city's construction manager, and its subcontractors to proceed with starting the permanent flood-protection system north of the existing Armory building and then demolishing the Armory. The first step in the process is to install steel sheet piles on the north side of the Armory, followed by demolition of the Armory building. No date has been set for the demolition. The project is expected to be completed in 2010.

The new "2+2" agreement between Black Hawk College and Western Illinois University will allow students enrolled in engineering, nursing, and liberal-arts-and-sciences degree programs to complete courses at both schools simultaneously. Students who receive financial aid can save up to 25 percent over four years as they earn a bachelor's degree. Studies have shown that community-college students who simultaneously take university courses have a 15- to 20-percent higher rate of success. For more information, call the Western Illinois University Quad Cities campus at (309)762-9481 or Black Hawk College at (309)796-5100.