The final Moline School Board candidate forum is being held tonight, Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at John Deere Middle School in Moline at 7:00 pm.  Eight candidates have announced they will attend and field questions.  There are 11 seats at stake.  The media is invited to attend.

(Rock Island, IL)  Members of Washington Junior High's "Lights, Camera, Action Team" are going on tour February 24, 2011.

The 35 member drama club is visiting two local elementary schools with an anti-bullying message.  According to the Lights ON Site Coordinator, Kristie Sullivan, the half hour program will discuss bullying, drug awareness and self esteem in a fun, educational way.  "The information that bullying is wrong will come through loud and clear in an entertaining way by performing skits, dancing and singing rap", says Sullivan.

A group of "Lights ON for Learning" students are focusing on engineering for the next 8 Saturday mornings. According to the Lights On site coordinator at John Deere Middle, Chad Potter, 40 students will be attending classes from 8 am until noon every Saturday until February 26th.

Potter says the students will focus on the process of engineering, "The students will weigh out design options and make choices based on the available materials and their own imagination.  They are going to build, test, collect data, and refine.  Many of our students start the program with no understanding of how math and science are used to make lives better and more comfortable."

According to Potter the program offers students an opportunity to experience different aspects of the field of engineering through hands-on problem solving activities. Potter says the students will be producing a mousetrap powered race car that will travel twenty five meters.  The students will also be creating a technical drawing and a detailed report explaining how it works. The students must also be able to explain how their car works in front of a multi-judge panel.

Bruce Boardman, a retired John Deere engineer and volunteer for the program, says working with the young students is as satisfying as seeing a product he helped design succeed in the marketplace.

Boardman says what the kids will learn each week is a life experience that goes well beyond multiple choice and true/false questions.  "While the concept of a mousetrap powered car appears, on the surface, to be simple, it is not.  The students need to balance several conflicting design and material considerations.  It is an exercise in merging both the art and science of mechanical devices to achieve the best overall performance within a demanding set of rules and criterion for success.  It is an exercise where there is no one correct answer - rather there are several solutions from which they must choose."
Caroline Anthony is a former John Deere student who participated in the program last year and was a part of a national winning team.  Anthony says science was not her favorite subject before, but now it is.  "I think that it would be a good idea for anybody to participate in Saturday Science even if they don't like science because it's fun and it's a great way to meet the most interesting people. We met several amazing engineers who came and helped us with anything that we had trouble with. All of them made it a great experience".

The John Deere Middle Engineering Program is made possible through two grants and the generous donation of time by Deere and Company engineers.  John Deere Middle is in year three of a five year 21st Century Lights on for Learning federal grant.  This grant funds academic and enrichment programming beyond regular school hours at the school and covers a substantial part of the Saturday Science program.  Deere and Company also provides funds making travel, team shirts, and morning breakfast possible.  The volunteer engineers work with teams of students each Saturday.  The program would not exist without their help.

Suzan Zeder?one of America's leading playwrights in Theatre for Young Audiences-is coming to Moline to attend the opening night performance of her play, The Taste of Sunrise, at Moline High School on Thursday, October 28th at 7:30 pm (see attached schedule).

The following day she will conduct workshops with both Moline and Rock Island theatre students who learned sign language in order to perform her plays.   Rock Island High School will be performing the sequel to Moline's play, called "Mother Hicks," the following weekend.

When Suzan Zeder wrote Mother Hicks, she includes a scene with an adult Tuc, who is deaf.  He says,

"You see all the things I cannot do because I am deaf.  But you don't see that which I can do.  I can sing with rivers.  I can see the sharp sting of honey and I can taste the sunrise."

The moment these words flew off her fingertips into the page, she knew Tuc needed his own story.  This is it.

Politically, Tuc's story examines the hardships experienced by deaf people before the use of sign language was widely accepted. Socially, the play explores what it means to be an outcast.  Three of the leading characters all become outcasts in some way?a deaf boy, an African American female living on her own, and a teenage mom who doesn't know where she fits in.  The leading role of Tuc is played by Max Molina, who is part of Moline's Wilson Junior High School's hearing-impaired program.  His friend Maizie, played by Jenna Pautsch, is hearing but has deaf parents, so she is part of both the hearing and deaf worlds.

Audiences will find it remarkable to know that the entire cast learned sign language just for this production.  They spent their entire summer taking hour-long ASL (American Sign Language) classes at MHS twice weekly in preparation for this play, which will be completely bilingual -- both spoken and signed.  As the play unfolds, "shadow" characters will tell the story with words and signs. This is a powerful play, and it will be an unforgettable experience for all who see it.

For more information contact the director, Chris Thomas, at 309-230-8621.

Thank you for your interest.

The Achieve Quad Cities, "Career Navigators" mentor program is being highlighted with a news conference at Washington Junior School in Rock Island this Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm as part of the annual Lights ON Afterschool Day Celebration.  The program is led by United Way and the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and includes the, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Rock Island School District and the Rock Island Regional Office of Education.

The year-long program is being offered to 70 middle/junior high school students in the Quad Cities and is designed to assist in increasing graduation rates and reduce high school dropouts by pairing students with adult "career navigators" or mentors.

The navigators at Washington Junior School are from various local businesses who have agreed to serve as resources and guides over the next 12 months during after school hours.  The career navigators will help the students expand their interests and help them make tough decisions about high school classes and career goals.  They will meet twice a month and will include site visits to work sites, local community colleges, museums and media outlets.

Officials with Achieve Quad Cities, Big Brother Big Sisters, educators and a previous mentor will be available at the news conference which is being held on National "Lights On Afterschool" day.  Thursday, October 21st is a day designated to recognize the importance of after school programs.  The news conference in Rock Island is one of 7,500 events planned around the country to celebrate the 11th annual Lights On Afterschool day.  More than one million American are expected to rally for afterschool programs during this day.

WHAT:  News conference about the Achieve Quad Cities Career Navigators Program
WHERE:  Washington Junior School, 3300 18th Avenue, Rock Island
WHEN:  Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm
WHO:  Officials with United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Achieve Quad Cities, The Rock Island Regional Office of Education, The Rock Island School District  and the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.

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Sign Language Play

On October 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30 PM, Moline High School Theatre will be performing a remarkable play by Suzan Zeder, entitled "The Taste of Sunrise." The following weekend, Rock Island High School will be performing the sequel to the play, "Mother Hicks."  So?as both our plays contain themes about creating community?our lives will imitate art as we find community between our two schools.

As if this collaboration wasn't enough?Suzan Zeder?one of America's leading playwrights in Theatre for Young Audiences---has decided to attend the opening night performance of Taste of Sunrise.  She said that our story has captured her heart.  She will be doing workshops with the students and also host a staged reading of the third play in this trilogy, title, The Edge of Peace.
When Suzan Zeder wrote Mother Hicks, she includes a scene with an adult Tuc, who is deaf.  He says, "You see all the things I cannot do because I am deaf.  But you don't see that which I can do.  I can sing with rivers.  I can see the sharp sting of honey and I can taste the sunrise."

The moment these words flew off her fingertips into the page, she knew Tuc needed his own story.  This is it.

Politically, Tuc's story examines the hardships experienced by deaf people before the use of sign language was widely accepted. Socially, the play explores what it means to be an outcast.  Three of the leading characters all become outcasts in some way?a deaf boy, an African American female living on her own, and a teenage mom who doesn't know where she fits in.  The leading role of Tuc is played by Max Molina, who is part of Moline's Wilson Junior High School's hearing-impaired program.  His friend Maizie, played by Jenna Pautsch, is hearing but has deaf parents, so she is part of both the hearing and deaf worlds.

Audiences will find it remarkable to know that the entire cast learned sign language just for this production.  They spent their entire summer taking hour-long ASL (American Sign Language) classes at MHS twice weekly in preparation for this play, which will be completely bilingual -- both spoken and signed.  As the play unfolds, "shadow" characters will tell the story with words and signs. This is a powerful play, and it will be an unforgettable experience for all who see it.

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE ARE UPSET ABOUT A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF THE ST. AMBROSE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AND THEY PLAN TO SPEAK OUT TO THE DAVENPORT CITY COUNCIL ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS

(Davenport, IA)  Dozens of concerned neighbors are planning to attend the July 7, 2010 meeting of the Davenport Zoning Board of Adjustment.  The meeting is scheduled for 4:00 pm in the City Council Chambers at Davenport City Hall.  The neighbors are opposed to St. Ambrose's request for two parking lots and a dorm.  Of primary concern is the parking lot planned for the St. Vincent's property as it is felt that it signals the first step in a comprehensive plan for that property.

The plans for the property include a 5,000 seat spectator stadium with athletic offices and weight training facilities.  Also included are several lighted practice fields, softball, baseball and soccer fields, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts as well as track and field facilities.  Neighbors living between the campus as well as those surrounding the St. Vincent's property, are concerned about safety, quality of life issues, decreases in property values, traffic, parking, noise and light pollution, loss of green space and increase storm water run-off and flooding problems.  Many of the neighbors plan to speak out about the new development in an attempt to block the passage.

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(Moline, IL)  Some of the county's newest voters are holding a news conference asking voters to approve the one percent sales tax referendum on the April 7th ballot.  These students have been in area schools for years and they know first hand the buildings need major updates.

The news conference is scheduled for Thursday, March 26th at 3:30 pm in the King Plaza strip mall in Moline.  The event will take place in front of Kinetic Fitness at 3620 Avenue of the Cities.

Student leaders from Moline, United Township and Augustana will be available for questions after the news conference.

There is a red carpert event tonight at the Putnam Museum and IMAX Theatre.  Twelve locally produced movies, trailers, and outtakes will be shown and awards will be given to the movie makers.
Quad-city area public libraries have teamed up to present this evening of glamour and excitment beginning at 7:00 pm in the IMAX.  There is a 6:00 pm pre-party for the teens and their guests in the Putnam Museum exhibit hall...following by a walk down the red carpert, film viewing and then awards.
Two grand prizes of $100 will be given as well as a number of other "Oscars".  The contest began in February with a call for entry.  Teens could chose among three themes related to their favorite book--outtakes, book trailer or missing/unwritten scene.
For information contact Christie at 563-326-7893.

Jaden and Will Smith in The Pursuit of HappynessTHE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A few days ago, in preparation for my forthcoming year-end recap, I was perusing the list of movies I've caught in 2006, and among my favorite cineplex offerings, I noticed several rather surprising themes. Very few family-friendly works, and none that were animated, despite the release of what felt like a new one every other week. An unusual preponderance of sequels and remakes. And, oddly, almost no works that really got to me emotionally - very few that made me cry.

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