ROCK ISLAND, IL (01/29/2010)(readMedia)-- Augustana College is pleased to announce the fall graduates of 2009. Students were awarded their Bachelor of Arts degree at the completion of fall term in November.

From your area, the following students graduated:

  • Andrew Brown from Port Bryon, IL who majored in business management
  • Katherine Caldwell from Moline, IL who majored in theatre
  • Adam Friedrich from Port Bryon, IL who majored in philosophy
  • Clayton Holst from Davenport, IA who majored in biology
  • Emilie Malone from Davenport, IA who majored in sociology
  • Zachary Newcomb from Rock Island, IL who majored in philosophy
  • Kate Nielsen from Davenport, IL who majored in biology
  • Mourad Belahsen was awarded their Bachelor of Arts degree at the completion of the summer term in August.  Belahsen, from Moline, majored in business finance.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 60 majors and areas of study. Augustana employs 226 faculty and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) sent a letter to President Obama today supporting Governor Culver's request that two federal disaster declarations be issued for areas of Iowa affected by December's blizzards and January's ice storms.

"These storms severely damaged businesses, homes and roads, isolating many rural residents and putting the welfare of thousands in jeopardy," Senator Harkin said. "Resources and manpower have been exhausted at the local, county and state level, and so I am urging the President to declare the affected counties disaster areas so that we can recover."

Iowa has had an unusually brutal winter, logging the most snowfall in over one hundred years and extremely low temperatures.  The counties requesting a federal disaster declaration are Adair, Audubon, Calhoun, Cherokee, Fremont,  Carroll, Emmet, Guthrie, Buena Vista, Cass, Franklin, Harrison, Ida, Monona, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux, Madison, Lyon, Osceola, Pocahontas, Woodbury, Mills, Page, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Crawford.

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WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today asked President Barack Obama to grant requests made by the state of Iowa for federal assistance after several severe storms ransacked much of the state in December 2009 and January 2010.

"Parts of Iowa were brought to a standstill after ice and snow covered the state.  Iowans have had a terrible time restoring power and digging out after record snowfall and ice storms moved through," Grassley said.  "Quick approval of the requested assistance would go a long way in helping Iowans recover from these record storms."

Grassley sent separate letters on the state's requests.  A copy of the text of the letter regarding the January storm is below.  Copies of both letters can be found on Grassley's website.

January 29, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I respectfully ask that you grant the request made January 28, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe winter storm that began January 19 and continued through January 26, 2010.  The Governor determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments to handle effectively and federal assistance is needed.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.


Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator



A local foods breakfast prepared and sponsored by the Quad City Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local will be served Saturday February 13th from 9-11am at Nan's Piano Bar, 421 W River Drive, Davenport, IA.  Local ingredients from area Buy Fresh Buy local farmers will be used to create a delicious, exclusive breakfast menu.  Stuffed French toast, crepes, egg strata, roasted potatoes, steel-cut oatmeal and more will be served. Dishes will be prepared with local Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Potatoes, Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Honey, Oats and more.

A delectable Buy Fresh Buy Local pastry table will complete this charming Valentine's breakfast.

Last fall in Washington D.C. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan launched a new USDA initiative, 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' to build up a national conversation about developing local and regional food systems and finding ways to support small and mid-sized farms.

Right here in the Quad Cities Buy Fresh Buy Local is helping to connect people to local growers and producers.  "Buying locally produced foods is good for our local economy, good for the environment and good for your health.  Plus it tastes great," states Phil Crandall Buy Fresh Buy Local-Quad Cities Chapter Director.  Quad City Buy Fresh Buy Local works to educate consumers about local food choices available to them. They annually print a directory of area Buy Fresh Buy Local members and host a variety of events and educational classes about local food.

"It's a Labor of Love," states Buy Fresh Buy Local member Cathy Lafrenz, "Buy Fresh Buy Local farmers work the land to bring the freshest, most delicious, locally grown and produced foods to the people of the Quad Cities.

Tickets to the Buy Fresh Buy Local Valentine's Breakfast are $12.50 each.  All proceeds benefit the Quad Cities Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local. Seating is limited through advanced ticket sales. Tickets are available at the Buy Fresh Buy Local booth at the Freight House Farmers market on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm or through Phil Crandall email or call 309-799-7420 or go to

Buy Fresh Buy Local members contributing to the Breakfast menu include :

Geest Farms-Blue Grass, Iowa

Allens Grove Greenhouse-Donahue, IA

Miss Effie's Country Flowers & Eggs-Donahue, IA

Crandall Farms-Coal Valley, IL

The Bakery,-Bettendorf, IA

Heilman Hawkeye Acres Organic Farm-Gooselake, IA

Oak Hill Acres Organic Farm- Atalissa, IA

Nostalgia Farms-Walcott, IA

Blossom Farms-Fulton, IL

Rhonda's Garden-Davenport, IA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $439,776 in additional funding will be coming to Iowa for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) this year.  SCSEP is a community service and work-based training program for older workers.  It provides part-time, community service-based job training for unemployed low-income persons 55 or older.  Through this program, older workers have access to the SCSEP services as well as other employment assistance available through the workforce investment system.

"The unemployment rate for Americans age 55 and over is at a historic high, and this is particularly true for those with lower or outdated skills.  I am pleased that today's funding will provide the resources and training to give older Iowans the tools they need get back to work and make a good living," said Harkin. "We must continue to support programs that help all Americans find good jobs during these tough economic times."

Today's funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor.  Harkin is Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds labor initiatives.

Additionally, Iowa may stand to receive more support than the award announced today because national grantees also provide services in the state.

The following local students have been named to the President's List at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. This academic honor is achieved by earning a straight-A grade point average of 4.0 during the Fall 2009 semester at Drake.

Kelsey Berneking of Bettendorf, IA

Lauren Brandt of Bettendorf, IA

Stephanie Gibb-Clark of Moline, IL

Drew Luder of Moline, IL

Steven Merrick of Eldridge, IA

Erika Milas of Bettendorf, IA

Taylor Odegard of Le Claire, IA

Marshall Phares of Princeton, IA

Caitlin Pryor of Bettendorf, IA


Abby Sheehan of Bettendorf, IA

Rachel Vogel of Moline, IL

Kelsey Wells of Bettendorf, IA

The following local students have been named to the Dean's List at Drake University. This academic honor is achieved by earning a grade point average of 3.5 or higher during the Fall 2009 semester at Drake.

Jonathon Allred of Davenport, IA

Christopher Beck of Bettendorf, IA

Kristin Blough of Davenport, IA

Leah Christensen of Bettendorf, IA

Emily Cleek of Moline, IL

Scott Copeland of Davenport, IA

Ryan Curtis of Donahue, IA

Aaron Dammann of Bettendorf, IA

Jared Dammann of Bettendorf, IA

Alise Farrell of Davenport, IA

Katherine Foley of Davenport, IA

Eder Fonseca of Moline, IL

Andrea Glasgow of Walcott, IA

Kathryn Hamilton of Blue Grass, IA

Ryan Hendricks of Rock Island, IL

Evan Lawrence of Moline, IL

Jami McCubbin of Long Grove, IA

Stephanie Merrick of Eldridge, IA

Anthony Milas of Bettendorf, IA

Mary Miller of Milan, IL

Jordan Porter of Eldridge, IA

Chelsea Rink of Davenport, IA

Charles Schwartz of Bettendorf, IA

Erika Sevigny of Davenport, IA

Elizabeth Thoms of Rock Island, IL

James VanEchaute of Moline, IL

Phillip VerBeke of Port Byron, IL

Leah Wrath of Moline, IL

Drake is a private, independent university in Des Moines, Iowa, with an enrollment of approximately 3,200 full-time undergraduate students from 45 states and 62 countries. Drake University's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments and responsible global citizenship. The Drake experience is distinguished by collaborative learning among students, faculty and staff and by the integration of the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation.

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Jan. 29, 2010 - For the third straight year, Genesis Health System has been recognized by SDI as a one of the nation's Top 100 health systems for integrating services to improve quality and operate efficiently.

Genesis moved up from No. 93 in 2009 to No. 71.

"This ranking is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the staff, physicians, volunteers and leadership of Genesis Health System,'' said Doug Cropper, President and CEO, Genesis Health System. "This ranking also is recognition of the quality of care and financial stability of Genesis that allows us to continue to provide that quality care

The 2010 edition of the rankings from SDI identifies the top 100 Integrated Health Networks (IHNs) from a universe of 593 local and regional health networks in the United States that meet critical success factors.

The ratings are based on SDI's IHN Rating System, which evaluates each network's ability to operate as a unified organization in eight categories: integration, integrated technology, contractual capabilities, outpatient utilization, financial stability, services and access, hospital utilization, and physician participation.

SDI is a Pennsylvania-based healthcare analytics organization that provides innovative services that help the healthcare industry solve a wide range of business challenges.


$1.2 Billion Award will Fund Chicago to St. Louis Corridor; Create 6,000 Jobs

CHICAGO - January 29, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin kicked off a series of announcements in Chicago today to discuss details about Illinois' $1.2 billion federal award to bring high-speed passenger rail service to Illinois by 2014. Illinois is among only three states to receive at least $1 billion for high-speed passenger rail, which will make the trip between Chicago and St. Louis faster than driving and will provide new train equipment.

"Illinois was one of only three states in the country to receive over $1 billion for high speed rail. We appreciate the confidence of President Obama to bring high-speed rail to Illinois," said Governor Quinn. "Thanks to hard work and perseverance, our vision to have Illinois serve as the nation's high speed rail hub is becoming a reality, bringing jobs and economic growth to our communities."

The Obama Administration announced the competitive awards Thursday as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program. The investment from the federal government is expected to create approximately 6,000 jobs in Illinois. Illinois received the third largest award among 31 states chosen to share in the $8 billion made available nationwide for high-speed passenger rail. Thirty-seven states applied for funding.

"Investing $1.2 billion into improving our rail system is going to mean more jobs - jobs for today and jobs for the future," said Senator Durbin. "Today's announcement assures that Chicago, already a major rail hub of the nation, will soon become the major high-speed rail hub of the Midwest and nation.

"Today, President Obama's vision is bringing high-speed rail to Illinois and the rest of the United States," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  "This groundbreaking program will put many people back to work in Chicago and across the country, and it will also help transform transportation for the entire Midwest region."

Illinois' high-speed rail signature route, Chicago to St. Louis, will receive $1.1 billion for corridor improvements. Improvements to this 284 mile route will allow passenger rail service to operate at speeds up to 110 mph, reducing the total trip time from Chicago to St. Louis by over an hour. The improvements include an overhaul of track, signal systems and existing stations as well as the implementation of state-of-the-art train control technology that will improve train safety. In addition, Illinois will receive $1.25 million to complete an environmental impact study for a second track along the same route.

The award for Illinois includes $133 million to build the Englewood Flyover on Chicago's South Side, a Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project which will clear one of the largest rail bottlenecks in the nation. The improvement will eliminate significant delays for commuter trains, Amtrak trains and freight trains.

"This is great news for Illinois and the Midwest," said Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. "I commend President Obama, Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin and the entire Midwest region for their leadership and commitment through a long and competitive process. I also want to express my gratitude to the staff at the Illinois Department of Transportation who have remained focused and dedicated on efforts to make high-speed passenger rail a reality in Illinois."

Thanks to multi-state steering group formed by Governor Quinn, Illinois will benefit from awards to several other neighboring states that make up the Chicago Hub Network. The region received a total of $2.6 billion - more than any other regional network. The network is designed to connect cities throughout the region to Chicago with reliable high-speed and conventional intercity rail service.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received 259 grant applications from 37 states and the District of Columbia requesting nearly $57 billion in funding - far exceeding the initial $8 billion available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In total, 79 applications from 31 States were selected for funding.

For more information on the awards to Illinois and the other Midwestern states for high-speed rail, go to


Monticello, IA–Camp Courageous is planning a "Dad & Daughters" dinner and dance. This special event is scheduled on Valentine's Day, Sunday, February 14, 2010 in the camp's main lodge.

The evening begins with arrival at 5 p.m., followed by dinner served at 5:30 pm and dancing until 7:30 pm. Musical entertainment will feature selections sure to please both Dad and his Daughter(s) as they enjoy a unique evening together.

Tickets for the event are available for $25.00 a couple and $10.00 for each additional daughter.  Tickets need to be purchased in advance. For tickets or more information contact Sharon Roller at (319-465-5916 Extension 2200) or June Fellinger at Treasured Weddings (319-480-0952).  All proceeds for this event goes to benefit over 5,000 campers with special needs who visit Camp Courageous each year.

Camp Courageous is a recreational and respite care facility for individuals with disabilities.  It is run on donations, without government support, without paid fundraisers, and without formal sponsorship.

WASHINGTON. D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $871,300 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) from the Department of Energy (DOE) are coming to Davenport.  These funds were awarded to help the city improve its energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions and create green jobs locally.  Harkin is a senior member of the panel that funds energy initiatives.

"Iowa is already a leader in clean energy production and energy conservation. This funding will further our efforts to reduce energy costs in Davenport," said Harkin. "Additionally, these projects will create good 'green collar' jobs in Iowa and support our local economy."

Nationally, this block grant program provides funds for energy audits and building retrofits in the residential and commercial sector, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements.

With 19 percent growth from just one year ago, Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) has set a new enrollment record for its spring session of 8,336 students.

EICCD includes Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges. The current enrollment easily eclipses the previous record of 7,145 set in 2005 and is more than 1,300 students higher than the 7,005 attending in the spring, 2009. The spring numbers follow a similar record set by the three colleges this past fall.

"There is a great sense of excitement at our colleges as we welcome so many new students," said EICCD Chancellor Dr. Pat Keir. "Other than possibly in the early years immediately after the colleges were founded, we have never seen such a dramatic growth in a single year.  It is a very satisfying feeling to know that students put such great trust in us and our educational offerings."

All three colleges registered enrollment gains for the spring semester with Clinton Community College reporting 1,855 students, Muscatine Community College, 1,534, and Scott Community College, 4,945.

The Clinton Community College (CCC) number is notable because it is the highest the college has ever registered in any semester, fall or spring. The total tops CCC's previous record of 1,596 set this past fall.

"We have many people to thank for making this happen; first and foremost are the more than 8,000 students who have chosen to continue their education with us," Dr. Keir said. "In addition to that are all the faculty and staff who have worked so hard to accommodate our students. Even with this sudden growth, their work is making it possible for us to provide the same quality education to students as we always have."

College officials mention current economic factors as one of the reasons for the record enrollment. Many of the new students are individuals who have been recently laid off and are entering one of the colleges' more than 50 career programs for re-training in a new job field. Approximately 2000 of the colleges' students are 30 years of age or older.

The colleges are also seeing an increase in the number of traditional age students just graduating from high school. Those students and their parents are turning to the community colleges as an affordable option for the first two years of a four-year degree program or for their career training.

EICCD maintains formal transfer agreements with area private colleges and the state universities, making it easy for students to transfer their credits once they graduate from the community colleges.

Tuition at the three colleges is $112 per credit hour, roughly $3,500 per year for a full-time student taking 16 credit hours per semester.

"While we did raise tuition this past academic year to react to cuts in our state funding, we made every effort to keep it as minimal as possible," Dr. Keir said. "We are committed to keeping our tuition among the lowest in the state so that a college or technical education is available to everyone."

Government grants are available for those in need of financial assistance. In addition, all three colleges have foundations that provide scholarship opportunities for students. Some of those scholarships are based on need but many others are based on academic ability, the student's program of study and a number of other factors. Everyone is encouraged to apply for scholarships, even if they think they won't qualify. The deadline for filing for the fall 2010 session is April 1.

Other growth areas for EICCD have been its online programs and high school delivery.

Through a cooperative effort with other Iowa community colleges, students can earn their Associate in Arts degree entirely via the internet. In addition, the colleges offer career training in such areas as Health Information Technology and Health, Safety and Environmental Technology. More than 1,000 students are enrolled in the college's online classes.

The district also works closely with many high schools in its service area to offer college-level classes to current high school students.

Many of those classes are held in the high schools, making it convenient for students to attend as part of their regular class schedule.

To make room for the increased student enrollment, Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges will soon be opening new science additions at each college. Clinton Community College opened its new Maquoketa Center last summer and Scott Community College will be opening a new Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Center in July.  All of these additions were made possible thanks to a bond referendum passed by voters in 2007.

For more information about EICCD or any of its colleges go online to or call 1-888-336-3907.