String players, are you ready for your Quad City Youth Orchestra and Youth String Ensemble auditions? Will you be at your best?  Get free professional coaching on the required musical excerpts on July 15 courtesy of the QCSO. The sessions are 60-minutes long and be sure to bring your own music stand.

Date:Thursday, July 15, 2010
Location:Grace Evangelical Free Church, 5520 Eastern Avenue, Davenport
Youth Orchestra excerpts: 11:30 AM-12:30 PM
String Ensemble excerpts: 1-2 PM

Please bring a wire music stand with you to the clinic.

Those students who are unsure of which group they should be auditioning for should prepare both sets of excerpts. They are encouraged to come to both clinic times.


Amendatory Veto Eliminates Requirement that Voters Publicly Declare Party Affiliation in Primary


CHICAGO - July 13, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today acted on legislation to encourage citizen participation in Illinois government by eliminating the requirement that Illinois residents must declare a party affiliation when voting in a primary election.

"This bill is an important step towards making our primary elections fairer and more competitive, but it does not go far enough," said Governor Quinn. "We cannot allow party affiliations to stand in the way of meaningful choice. Today's action will protect the privacy of voters' party preference and encourage greater participation in primary elections."

Today Governor Quinn issued an amendatory veto of House Bill 4842 to create a fairer primary election system in Illinois. The Governor's amendatory veto eliminates the requirement that a voter publicly declare political party affiliation when voting at a primary election. Under current Illinois law, a voter must declare a party affiliation before voting in the primary election, which is then recorded as public record.

As passed by the Illinois General Assembly, House Bill 4842 requires the Illinois State Board of Elections to produce an Internet voters' guide prior to the primary election, as is already required for general elections.

The Internet guide would include a photograph and short statement written and submitted by each candidate. Governor Quinn supports the use of electronic voter guides and the amendatory veto maintains all elements of the original bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago).

From Governor Quinn's amendatory veto message:

"Voting is a sacred right and as long as I am Governor, I will do everything within my power to protect each citizen's ability to cast a ballot. With my recommendation today, a voter's partisan preference will no longer be known to others. The decision to cast a primary ballot for one party or another will be strictly a matter of personal choice."


Senator Chuck Grassley's regional director, Penny Vacek, will be holding open office hours in Scott and Clinton counties on Tuesday, July 20. These office hours provide an opportunity for Iowans to obtain casework assistance or to express views.

Vacek's schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1 - 2 p.m.

Scott County


Eldridge City Hall

Council Chambers

305 N. 3rd St.

Grassley's offices in Iowa regularly help constituents contact federal agencies to sort through problems with Social Security payments, military service matters and immigration cases.  His state offices are located in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and Waterloo.

Here is a comment from Grassley about his staff's upcoming office hours:

"These open office hours are designed to help more Iowans access the assistance that is available from the office of their United States Senator.  I hope any Iowan with federal agency-related casework will take advantage of Penny's visits."

Should constituents have any questions please contact Grassley's Davenport office at 563/322-4331.

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today a total of $5.1 million in grants for cities in Iowa's First District. The grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will be used to stimulate the local housing markets.  

"These grants invest in eastern Iowa's economic future at a very critical time," Braley said. "As Iowa continues to recover from the economic downturn, investing in the housing market and Iowa's local economies is key to achieving successful growth. This grant will directly benefit middle class families in Iowa and help our local economies get back on track."

The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program is sponsored by HUD and aims to develop housing and expand economic opportunities specifically for low to moderate-income workers.  The HOME grant program helps expand housing available to low and very low-income families by providing grants that meet local needs and priorities.

The grants will be distributed as follows:


Davenport          $1,883,503

Waterloo             $1,507,033

Cedar Falls          $335,659


Davenport          $713,195

Waterloo             $673,556

# # #

This Saturday, July 17th, representatives from Churches United of the Quad City Area will have an informational booth at the Freight House Farmers' Market, downtown Davenport.  The booth will be open from 8am until 1pm, the usual Saturday hours for the Farmers' Market.  The booth will be located inside the market building, near the patio side entrance.

Churches United would like this opportunity to "Raise Awareness" - to educate and inform the general public about the programs, resources and services provided to the community by our organization.

Hunger Ministries

  • 26 area food pantries

  • 3 meal sites

  • Souper Bowl of Caring

  • C.R.O.P. Walk

Shelter Ministries

  • Winnie's Place for women

Jail Ministries


Week of Christian Unity

Festival of Thanksgiving

Yom HaShoah

Pacem in Terris Award

For more information on Churches United, please contact us (309)786-6494 or visit

"In the Garden with Eric Carle" - a program inspired by the works of Eric Carle.

This summer's theme for the Conservatory at Vander Veer revolves around children's author, Eric Carle. He is a beloved author of such books as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Very Grouchy Ladybug" and many more. This display was inspired by local woodcarver Thom Gleich's donation of a five foot caterpillar and large wooden ladybug to the park last fall. Four of Gleich's delightful carvings are featured.

Through storyboards and display elements the story of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is recreated inside the Conservatory. Three additional Eric Carle book story stations are also included in the display; "The Very Grouchy Ladybug", "The Very Busy Spider" and "The Honeybee and the Robber" in various vignettes. This allows repeat visitors an opportunity to enjoy the display in new ways each time. A fun "Eric Carle Eye Spy" worksheet is a hunt and find game for all ages and sure to keep you busy exploring!

A Quad City Arts Access grant provided funding for the display and the opportunity for partnering with local storyteller, Jessica Sheridan to read the Eric Carle books aloud for the preschool summer programming on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. outdoors near the playground. Jessica is a Davenport native and actor extraordinaire. She also is featured before each outdoor concerts in the park from 6-6:30 p.m. Our next concerts will be Thursday, August 12 and Thursday, August 26 from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Come join the fun at Vander Veer Botanical Park Conservatory. "In the Garden with Eric Carle runs through Sept. 26! The Conservatory is open to the public from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $1 for anyone over 16 years old. Tuesday it is free to the public.

We would love to have ANY Eric Carle books in good condition donated to us for use in our Fall Festival event. Books may be donated by dropping them off to the Park Store at Vander Veer or to the Fairmount Library bookstore or their drop box. Donors will receive a free one time family pass (up to four adults) for admission to the Conservatory. Please only drop them off at The Park during our business hours - Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon - 4 p.m. Donations will be accepted through Sept. 10.

Our observational bee hive is back for another season. Come in and read "The Honeybee and the Robber" by Eric Carle right next to our real beehive!

For more information: Call the Park at 563-326-7818 or 563-323-3298


The new business will bring a unique new tourist attraction to LeClaire and the Quad Cities metro area.

LeClaire, Iowa -- July 12, 2010 - Work began today on a new building in downtown LeClaire that will soon be the new home of Mississippi River Distilling Company. With plans to open on the banks of the Mississippi in late 2010, Mississippi River Distilling Company will produce handmade, premium spirits made from locally grown grains.

This start-up business will be the first whiskey distillery in the Quad Cities area since prohibition. Once in operation, the public will be able to tour the facility daily to see the production of vodka, gin and bourbon whiskey up close.

"We are so excited about the potential for our company in LeClaire," said company partner Garrett Burchett. "The town fits our company's image and the proximity to Interstate 80 gives us a steady stream of potential tourists to visit our facility. The community has been a great partner in bringing this dream to reality."

People who visit the distillery will be able to witness the entire process of liquor creation on site. From the milling of the grain to the fermentation, distillation, aging and bottling; everything from grain to glass will be done at the distillery.

A new Iowa law that went into effect on July 1 allows micro-distilleries in Iowa to offer limited retail sales and tastings on the distillery premises. Mississippi River Distilling Company plans to be the first new distillery in Iowa to open after the passage of this legislation.

As the building is being constructed, operators are also awaiting the construction of a 1,000 liter handmade German pot still that will be the focal point of the facility. This copper and stainless steel instrument takes craftsmen up to six months to fabricate. Once shipped from Germany and installed, it will be the only one of its kind in the Midwest. The steam heated still gives producers the flexibility to create vodka, gin, whiskey and other spirits.

Aside from the production facility, the building will also house a retail area and large tasting room. Tours will conclude in the tasting room that will feature a large glass window looking into the production facility as well as a large window view out to the Mississippi River.

This building is the first of four to be constructed that will extend the existing downtown retail area of LeClaire to the north and develop a block of land that has stood empty for several years. This commercial expansion in LeClaire has many business people excited.

"LeClaire is experiencing continued growth and this development will enhance the experience of our visitors," said Deb Mulvania, the president of the LeClaire Chamber of Commerce. "We are excited that Mississippi River Distilling Company has chosen to locate their unique new business in our downtown area. They will compliment our existing businesses and create excitement for further economic development."

The construction of this facility has been the culmination of efforts from many entities across the region. Mississippi River Distilling Company has worked closely with the City of LeClaire, First Central State Bank in LeClaire, New Ventures Initiative in Davenport and the Iowa Department of Economic Development to develop and fund the project. "We can't say enough about the community support we've received throughout this process," said Burchett. "It really strengthens our connection to the local community to have such wonderful support from LeClaire, the greater Quad Cities region and the State of Iowa."


Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, Steve Winwood, Kings of Leon, Rihanna, Ben Harper, Train, Timbaland, McCoy Tyner, Kelly Clarkson, and Many More Celebrities Team Up With High-Profile Music Industry Executives To Choose 2010 ISC Winners

July 12, 2010 - The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has put together the most high-profile and prestigious judging panel in its nine-year history. Known for its high caliber of judges, ISC offers songwriters and artists the unprecedented opportunity to have their music heard by some of the world's most iconic and successful recording artists, as well as many major and indie record label presidents.

Now accepting entries for the 2010 competition, ISC gives away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes (shared among the 66 winners) including an overall Grand Prize consisting of $25,000 (US) cash and $20,000 in prizes.

To enter, go to

Open to both amateur and professional songwriters, ISC offers 22 categories to enter, representing all genres of popular music. Past winners have included artists at all levels, from Grammy winners to hobbyist songwriters and everyone in between. To better level the playing field for unsigned artists, ISC has added this year the "Unsigned Only" category which is open to songwriters and artists not signed to a major label record deal, publishing company, or distribution deal. This category provides an excellent opportunity for unknown artists to compete against others on a similar level.

Winning ISC can be a tremendous career booster. In the past five years, three of the Grand Prize winners have been signed to major label deals (Universal and Epic). Many more winners have secured publishing deals, smaller label deals, licensing deals, and distribution deals in addition to getting more gigs, fans, and recognition.

Monte Lipman, President of Universal Records, talks about his role as an ISC judge: "We're always been impressed with the talented songwriters who participate in the ISC. This is a great A&R source to find new artists."

ISC judges include :

Recording Artists: Peter Gabriel; Rihanna; Kings of Leon; Tom Waits; Ben Harper; Jeff Beck; Kelly Clarkson; Timbaland; Keane; McCoy Tyner; Ben Folds; Train; Wynonna; Robbie Williams; Michael W. Smith; John Scofield; Jerry Lee Lewis; Regina Spektor; Alejandro Sanz; Jeremy Camp; Terence Blanchard; Ray Wylie Hubbard; Montel Jordan; John Mayall; Craig Morgan; Jazmine Sullivan; DJ Tiesto; James Cotton; Sandra Bernhard; Robert Earl Keen; Baaba Maal; John Digweed; K'Naan; Adele; Black Francis (The Pixies); Robert Smith (The Cure); Chris Hillman (The Byrds); Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Toots Hibbert (Toots & The Maytals); Matt Thiessen (Relient K); and more to be announced...

Industry Executives: Monte Lipman (President, Universal Republic Records); Amanda Ghost (President, Epic Records); Rick Krim (Exec. VP, Talent & Music Programming, VH1); Brian Malouf (VP A&R, Walt Disney Records); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Angel Carrasco (Sr. VP A&R, Latin America, Sony/BMG); Ric Arboit (President, Nettwerk Music Group); Daniel Glass (Founder/CEO, Glassnote Entertainment Group); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Dr. Demento (Radio Host, The Dr. Demento Show); Steve Lillywhite (Producer); Dan Storper (President, Putamayo World Music Records and Putumayo Kids); Lisa Ramsey Perkins (Sr. Director, A&R Sony Nashville) Kim Buie (VP A&R, Lost Highway); and more to be announced.

Please visit for an entry form or more details.

ISC Sponsors: ASCAP, Berklee College Of Music, Disc Makers, D'Addario, Shure, Thayers, Onlinegigs,, The Music Business Registry, Independent Mastering, Indie Venue Bible, George Stein, Esq., Sonicbids, Taxi, music Submit, and Alphabet Arm Design


CORVALIS, Ore., July 12, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced Recovery Act investments for 11 businesses in 9 states to strengthen rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Victor Vasquez made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack at the annual conference for the National Rural Economic Developers Association.

"Our farmers are the most productive in the world, supplying much of the nation's food, and in so doing, are creating the create jobs that are necessary to strengthen our economy," said Vilsack. "By connecting farmers and ranchers more closely with consumers of food, we are creating new economic opportunities for producers and helping consumers to access healthy, nutritious food."

These announcements come as part of USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, which seeks to create new economic opportunities, to promote local and regional food systems that help keep wealth in rural communities, and to encourage a national conversation about what we eat and where it comes from in order to benefit producers of all sizes.

"The Obama Administration and USDA are committed to strengthening and supporting rural business and regional economies in order to revitalize our small towns and communities," Vasquez said. "This funding will help create and save jobs and build on America's economic recovery."

For example, in O'Neill, Neb., Garden Fresh Vegetables, LLC was selected to receive a $3.9 million guaranteed loan to expand its greenhouse business by purchasing a 10-acre greenhouse, and by constructing a new facility. The expansion will create an estimated 35 new jobs in the community. The company is one of the largest employers in O'Neill, whose population is 3,733. Garden Fresh Vegetables currently employs 50 full time and an additional 10 part-time workers and also offers seasonal employment opportunities to high school and college students. Their produce is currently used in many local grocery stores and they also participate in the local Farm to Schools program.

Meanwhile, in Dundee, Ore., the Torii Mor Winery, LLC was selected to receive a $6 million guaranteed loan that will enable the company to restructure debt and establish a working capital reserve to create and retain jobs -- including preserving nine existing positions. Established 17 years ago, the business is in the heart of Oregon wine country and is an integral part of the local value-added agricultural economy. The winery purchases nearly 90 percent of its grapes from local vineyards, which helps sustain additional jobs and agricultural businesses in the region.

The loan guarantees announced today are from USDA Rural Development's Business and Industry (B&I)Guaranteed Loan Program, which received $1.57 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to help rural businesses stimulate their economies and support local communities. Under the B&I program, eligible applicants include private businesses, cooperative organizations, corporations, partnerships, non-profit groups, Federally-recognized Indian tribes, public bodies and individuals. The funds are targeted to create and retain quality jobs and serve difficult-to-reach populations and areas hardest hit by the current economic downturn.

More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at More information about the Federal Government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at

A list of borrowers receiving loans is shown below. Funding is contingent upon borrowers meeting conditions in the loan agreement.


  • North American Co-Pack, LLC; Iowa State Bank: $1,890,000 loan
  • World Food Processing, LLC; Bank Iowa: $8,000,000 loan

Willard White and family friend Sklyar Zesch are in the midst of a 3,333 mile trek. They are pedaling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean to raise money and awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. Willard says he hopes the three-month trip will raise at least $10,000. White's wife Laura and their daughters are following the pair in a van filled with supplies.

Willard and family will be in Davenport on Friday, July 16th.  They will be on Paula Sands Live at 4:30pm on KWQC-TV 6.

Each the White's three adopted daughters has a complicated medical history which required either life-saving or life-altering care. Now, White is charting his own expedition to thank the hospital that made that care possible.

"I am pedaling several million times to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children® to give back for all they have done for my family and many others," he said.

The Whites credit Shriners Hospitals for Children® ? Salt Lake City Chief of Staff Jacques D'Astous, M.D., with saving the life of their oldest daughter Marcela. When she arrived in the U.S. from a Bolivian orphanage, the 12-year-old had severe scoliosis. Laura White says her daughter's spinal deformity had progressed to the point it was compressing down on her lungs, "If they hadn't put the rod in her back, she would have died in her twenties. Shriners Hospitals for Children® gave her a chance to live."

Marcela experienced complications during her 22-hour spine surgery due to another rare and undetected condition. As a result, she underwent another twelve surgeries within two weeks. The Whites say Dr. D'Astous stuck with them throughout.

"I've never been around such compassionate care," Willard said. "I just remember him crying and hugging me. It was a miracle he got her to pull through."

Marcela was never expected to walk, but after months of intense physical therapy and years of hard work, she can now walk with a crutch. At age 22 she is a happy newlywed and animation major at Brigham Young University.

The Whites also adopted two other girls. Baya has cerebral palsy and has received surgery and therapy at Shriners Hospitals for Children®. A third daughter, Faith, sustained a brain injury before birth that causes her to walk on her toes. The hospital system has helped her by providing physical therapy and orthotics.

Willard logs 50 - 60 miles a day on his bike. Along the way he shares his story about the expert pediatric orthopaedic care his daughters received at Shriners Hospitals for Children®.

Willard and Skylar are expected to reach Coney Island in August. You can follow their progress at and donate through the White's personal fundraising page, which is on the Shriners Hospitals for Children®  website at .

To create your own personal fundraising page to support the life-changing care provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children®, visit