City Manager John Phillips announced his plans today to retire from the position of City Manager in October 2011. Phillips has served as Rock Island City Manager since 1987. He worked for the City of Rockford, Illinois prior to coming to Rock Island, and served five years as City Administrator there.

"By the time I retire next year, I will have served as a City Manager or Administrator for almost 30 years, with 38 years in local government service. I think it is time for someone else to step into the position," stated Phillips.

He continued, "I have had a very rewarding career in local government and Rock Island has been a great city in which to work. It has been an honor to work for the citizens of Rock Island with dedicated elected officials and staff."

Phillips said he informed the Mayor and City Council of his intentions at the annual goal setting session so that the Council could have a chance to consider this as they establish their plans for the coming year. He said that the early notice will provide ample time for the Mayor and Council to select a replacement.

Phillips said that he plans to remain in Rock Island but hasn't made any future plans. He would like to stay involved in the community and may consider other employment if the right opportunity presents itself.

"John Phillips is the best city manager in the business," said Mayor Dennis Pauley. "He has done an excellent job of managing the numerous departments and finances of the City. John has set a high standard and has put Rock Island in an enviable position for the future."

"We appreciate the advance notice from John. The process for selecting the next city manager is an important topic we will be considering," continued Pauley.


John Phillips graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, IA with a BA in political science. He received a Master of Arts in public affairs from Northern Illinois University.

During his time in Rock Island some of the City's accomplishments Phillips led include :

  • Restoring and maintaining the City's financial condition.
  • Supporting a strong economic development effort
  • Recruiting and retaining a quality staff team
  • Maintaining high standards for ethical and professional local government.

Some projects in which Phillips played an important role include :

  • Jumer's Casino
  • Whitewater Junction
  • Rock Island Fitness and Activity Center (RIFAC)
  • Centennial Bridge transfer to the State of Illinois
  • Schwiebert Riverfront Park
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center renovation and expansion

Phillips has served on several boards of directors in the community:

  • Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce
  • Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging
  • United Way of the Quad Cities

He currently serves on the following boards of directors:

  • Quad City Civic Center Authority
  • Development Association of Rock Island

At the state level, Phillips has been active with the Illinois Municipal League and Illinois City / County Management Association:

  • Past President of the Illinois City / County Management Association (ILCMA)
  • Chair of the ILCMA committee on professional conduct
  • Past Chair and current member of the Illinois Municipal League's municipal manager's committee

Over the years Phillips has received several awards:

  • Citizen of the Year for the City of Rock island
  • Outstanding Manager of the Year from the ILCMA Assistants' Group
  • Special Service Award from ILCMA

MILWAUKEE, WI - Vegetarian members of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, know that healthy, well-balanced meal planning is a key element to successful and lasting weight loss and maintenance.  The benefits of a vegetarian plan, or the exclusion or limitation of animal-based foods, can include reductions in risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and the prevention of some forms of cancer.  Plant-based foods also have significant amounts of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

In recognition of World Vegetarian Day (October 1) and the kickoff of Vegetarian Awareness Month, several vegetarian members of TOPS have shared their thoughts on why they've chosen a vegetarian meal plan and how it's helped them with their weight-loss journey. 

Robert and Gina Swindell

Robert and Gina Swindell have been vegetarians for almost two years.  He says that being an overweight vegetarian is an interesting quandary, because most people think that being vegetarian automatically means you're slim.  "Whether or not you're a vegetarian, you still have to make good choices," Swindell adds.  That's especially true when the couple goes out to eat.  "Most restaurants have limited vegetarian choices, but we still have to be smart," he explains.  "Mozzarella sticks are technically vegetarian, but they're fried and full of fat and calories.  The veggie burger is the healthier choice."

The Swindells switched to a vegetarian way of eating as part of their overall goal to embrace healthier lives.  Almost immediately, he says, they each lost weight:  20 and 30 pounds, respectively.  "Our weights have remained relatively stable, but we recognize that we have a lot more to lose," he continues.  "Eating vegetarian helps curb the urge to overeat, too, so that helps."  Swindell says that he and Gina regret not turning vegetarian sooner.  "We would be much further along the road to better health," he says.

Joanna Risley

Joanna Risley is a vegetarian who shares tips and recipes with her TOPS chapter.  She also tries to eat organic, natural, and unprocessed food as much as possible.  She and her husband buy many of their fruits and vegetables from local farmers, and they prepare their pizza crust by hand instead of buying it pre-made from the store.  "This can be a pain," Risley admits.  "But, believe me when I say, preparing our food like this keeps us from snacking!"  She also stressed that vegetarian meals cost less and pack powerful nutrition into every bite.

Kathy Davis

"I enjoy hiking and backpacking and don't want my weight or age to slow me down," says Kathy Davis.  "Last August, my cousin and I hiked over 12 mountain passes and 240 miles to climb California's Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet) on the final day of our trip - and we ate totally vegetarian for that whole trip."

Davis was raised as a vegetarian and only recently added chicken and some fish to her diet.  She says her weight was never really an issue until she hit menopause.  That's when she joined TOPS.  "Being a TOPS member keeps me accountable," Davis says.  "TOPS also taught me that I was eating too many carbohydrates and that I should substitute more fruits and vegetables."  The plan worked.  Davis lost over 20 pounds, reaching her goal weight in August 2005, five months after joining TOPS.

Lucy Munn

Lucy Munn also is incorporating a reduction of processed foods as part of her turn toward being a vegetarian.  She's been gradually eliminating meat from her meal planning for the past year, eating it only once or twice a week.  There are stretches of time when she goes without meat altogether.  "I'm not yet an official vegetarian," Munn clarifies.  "I'll consider myself that way when I haven't had meat for a few months."

Turning toward a vegetarian lifestyle is contributing to Munn's weight-loss efforts.  She says she feels full after meals but also full of energy and credits the healthy benefits of fruit, vegetables, and legumes.  "Meat tends to take longer to digest, and it slows me down," she explains. "I now get more nutrients, my hunger is satisfied, and I have great energy for everything I do, including working out."

  • A vegetarian meal can be as familiar as spaghetti with marinara sauce or as unique as grilled polenta with portabella mushrooms.  Choose vegetarian burger patties, hot dogs, or breakfast sausages on your next trip to the grocery store.  Soy foods come in many forms, including soybeans, textured soy protein, tofu, and soy milk, and are convenient, animal-based replacements.  Or, consider following the recipes below for an introduction to the healthy, vegetarian-based lifestyle.

Carrot-Rice Loaf

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 onion, chopped

Combine ingredients and put in casserole dish.  Bake at 350º F for one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes six servings.  One serving = one cup.

Nutrient value per serving, based on a 1,500-calorie diet:

Exchanges - 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 meat, 2 fats
Calories - 247
Calories from Fat - 117
Total Fat - 13g (26%)
Saturated Fat - 3g (20%)
Cholesterol - 71 mg (24%)
Sodium - 329 mg (14%)
Total Carbohydrate - 25g (11%)
Dietary Fiber - 5g (25%)
Sugars - 5g
Protein - 10g

Lentil Roast

2 cups hot cooked lentils
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1 can nonfat evaporated skim milk
4 T. olive oil

Mash hot lentils.  Add onion and dry ingredients.  Beat egg and stir into milk and oil.  Add to lentil mixture.  Pour into casserole dish.  Bake at 350º F for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes seven servings.  One serving = 3/4 cup.

Nutrient value per serving, based on a 1,500-calorie diet:

Exchanges - 1 1/2 starch, 1 meat, 3 fats
Calories - 293
Calories from Fat - 135
Total Fat - 15g (30%)
Saturated Fat - 2g (13%)
Cholesterol - 32 mg (11%)
Sodium - 334 mg (14%)
Total Carbohydrate - 29g (13%)
Dietary Fiber - 5g (25%)
Sugars - 6g
Protein - 12g

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss support and wellness education organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success.  Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness information, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.


The Machine Shed is taking entries from amateur cooks to compete in the upcoming "Iowa Pork Tailgate Challenge" with all proceeds going to the Child Abuse Council.

Up to 12 amateur grill contestants are invited to bring their own grill and equipment and prepare their recipes using Pork Tenderloin or Pork Loin (all pork will be provided to them). They will have approx. 2 hours to prepare and cook their entrée and present to a panel of judges as well as offer samples for "Peoples choice" throughout the day. There is no cost to enter, but contestants will need to call and register at the Machine Shed by Oct. 17th.

The Challenge will be held on Saturday, Nov. 6th at the Iowa Machine Shed and prizes will be awarded for the following:

Tailgate pork package for 20 people for "People's Choice" award
$150 gift certificate to the Shed for 1st Place Judges pick
$100 gift certificate to the Shed for 2nd Place Judges pick
$50 gift certificate to the Shed for 3rd Place Judges pick

Guests and visitors will be able to purchase a $2.00 ticket to sample the contestant's entrees and vote for their favorite. All proceeds go to the Child Abuse Council.

For more information, please call the Machine Shed Restaurant at (563) 391-2427 or visit The Machine Shed is located at I-80 and Northwest Blvd in Davenport, IA 52806.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Effective November 1, St. Luke?s Blood Bank will transition its blood donor collection services to Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC). St. Luke?s Hospital will remain a blood donation site for MVRBC and donors may continue to give at the Hospital or at MVRBC?s Cedar Rapids Donor Center (3235 Williams Pkwy.) and on mobile blood drives held by MVRBC in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding region.

MVRBC is a not-for-profit community blood center based in Davenport, Iowa that provides blood and blood components to 73 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. "MVRBC is a trusted partner with an established presence in Cedar Rapids and throughout eastern Iowa," said Carol  Collingsworth, Director of Laboratory Management. "We have been extremely proud of our blood donor service and of our associates who have been closely affiliated with the program over the last 30 years, but recognize now is the time to transition St. Luke?s blood donor services to MVRBC. MVRBC has a strong reputation in the blood donor services industry, with a proven record of safety and reliability. We are excited to partner with them to serve the future blood product needs of our community."

Collingsworth notes the level of investment needed to satisfy regulatory requirements for blood safety, as well as the increased efficiency provided by economies of scale, has led hospitals throughout Iowa and the United States to work with outside partners for blood donor services for patient care.

"Since 2006, MVRBC and St. Luke?s have been working together on a joint donation collaboration called "Give Blood, Share Life,?" said Collingsworth. "Now we are extending the partnership to ensure an ongoing ability to provide the right mix of blood products to meet our patient needs, while doing so in a cost-effective and efficient manner."

As the provider to hospitals throughout our region, MVRBC processes 170,000 units per year compared to St. Luke?s 6,000 units per year. Higher volumes lead to greater opportunities in efficiency, innovation and cost savings.  MVRBC?s commitment to operational efficiency is matched by their desire to make an even greater difference for patients in need of blood transfusions. MVRBC?s mission is to provide world class blood products for patients and communities in need. This mission aligns closely with St. Luke?s mission "To provide the healthcare we would like our loved ones to receive."

Including St. Luke?s Hospital in Cedar Rapids (effective Nov. 1, 2010), the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center?s service region includes 31 hospitals in eastern and southeastern Iowa. These range from Critical Access Hospitals in rural communities to large-scale urban facilities in larger cities. In total, MVRBC is the provider of blood and blood components to 74 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. To see the full list of hospitals served by MVRBC, go to and click on the "About Us" tab.

Hospitals in Iowa served by MVRBC

Davis County Hospital - Bloomfield, Iowa
Fort Madison Community Hospital - Fort Madison, Iowa
Genesis Medical Center - DeWitt, Iowa
Genesis Medical Center, East - Davenport, Iowa
Genesis Medical Center, West Central Park - Davenport, Iowa
Great River Medical Center - Burlington, Iowa
Henry County Health Center - Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Iowa City VA Medical Center - Iowa City, Iowa
Jackson County Regional Health Center - Maquoketa, Iowa
Jefferson County Hospital - Fairfield, Iowa
Keokuk Area Hospital - Keokuk, Iowa
Keokuk County Health Center - Sigourney, Iowa
Knoxville Hospital & Clinics - Knoxville, Iowa
Lucas County Health Center - Chariton, Iowa
Mahaska Health Partnership - Oskaloosa, Iowa
Marengo Memorial Hospital - Marengo, Iowa
Mercy Iowa City - Iowa City, Iowa
Mercy Medical Center - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Mercy Medical Center - Clinton, Iowa
Mercy Medical Center - Dubuque, Iowa
Mercy Medical Center - Dyersville, Iowa
Monroe County Hospital - Albia, Iowa
Ottumwa Regional Health Center - Ottumwa, Iowa
Select Specialty Hospital - Davenport, Iowa
St. Luke?s Hospital - Cedar Rapids, Iowa (effective Nov. 1, 2010)
Trinity Bettendorf - Bettendorf, Iowa
Trinity Muscatine - Muscatine, Iowa
The Finley Hospital - Dubuque, Iowa
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics* - Iowa City, Iowa
Van Buren County Hospital - Keosauqua, Iowa
Washington County Hospital and Clinics - Washington, Iowa

*primary external supplier of blood products, supplementing the blood program at the DeGowin Blood Center of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City.


Groundbreaking Ceremony Scheduled for September 23, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.

Davenport, IA - Family Resources, Inc. is poised to begin an extensive phased renovation project at the historical Annie Wittenmyer campus, located at 2800 Eastern Avenue in Davenport. A groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Thursday, September 23 at 9:00 a.m. Press is invited to attend.

Built in 1919, the 7,300 s.f. gymnasium facility, located on the southeast corner of campus, has had little to no remodeling work done to it since it was originally constructed 91 years ago. The upper level is used exclusively as a gymnasium, while the lower level currently contains a pool, locker rooms, and mechanical room. Both levels of the building will undergo extensive renovation work, while also remaining accessible to staff and students who use the building daily.

This phased construction on this project will include : removal and installation of windows and doors, construction of new lower level west entrance and north canopy, repair of missing and damaged exterior brick, roof, foundation, sidewalk and ramp repairs. Interior renovations include : patching and refinishing of the exiting gymnasium floor, removal of the existing unusable pool and painting around all windows and exposed surfaces. This project will also make the entire building handicapped accessible.

Since the entire Family Resources campus is listed on the National Register of Historic places the exterior renovation was required to recapture the original look of the building in order to receive approval by the City of Davenport's Historic Preservation Commission.

Partial funding for this $1.3 million dollar phased project was provided through the City of Davenport. Family Resources is working with several previous major donors to raise the additional funds needed to complete the project. Construction will be completed by May 2011.

"The gymnasium allows us to carry out our mission everyday with 150 plus young people in our alternative education program and 24 hour care facilities. We are grateful that the City of Davenport has identified this as a need and budgeted federal stimulus funding to help us launch the restoration. We are hopeful that we can leverage these dollars with local foundations and grants in order to complete all three phases of the project," stated Cheryl Goodwin, CEO of Family Resources.

Family Resources, Inc. is a not-for-profit social service agency with roots in the Quad Cities dating back to 1849. The services they provide have evolved based on the needs of our local communities and align with their mission to strengthen children, families and individuals by providing quality services that engage community resources to create effectives solutions. For more information on Family Resources, please visit their website at

Russell Construction, located in Davenport, IA is serving as the General Contractor on this project. In the past Russell constructed two residential additions for Family Resources, totaling $2.6 million. Gere Dismer will serve as the Architect.


Treasurer Fitzgerald reminds Iowans the deadline is September 30

DES MOINES, IA (09/20/2010)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald reminds Iowans that there is free money for college on the table. "We are giving away a $529 account in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of saving now for future college expenses," stated Fitzgerald. "Don't miss out on this great opportunity to jumpstart your child's college savings." To register and to see complete details, go to

Studies show that children who have money saved for them are almost four times more likely to attend a four-year college than those with no account.* This makes saving ahead of time one of the most significant things families can do to help make college a reality for their children. By starting early and saving regularly, families can watch their savings and their children grow side by side. September is College Savings Month, a time when families are encouraged to explore the benefits of saving through a 529 plan like College Savings Iowa.

College Savings Iowa is an affordable, tax-advantaged option for families who are saving for their children's college education. It takes just $25 to open a College Savings Iowa account, and investors can contribute as little as $25 when adding to the account. Participants who are Iowa taxpayers can deduct contributions up to $2,811 per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2010. **

Anyone can invest in College Savings Iowa on behalf of a child. Investors do not need to be a state resident and can withdraw their investment federally tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, books, supplies and certain room and board costs at any eligible college, university, community college or technical training school in the United States or abroad. *** To learn more about College Savings Iowa, go to or call 1-800-523-0644.

*From the Center for Social Development study: The Role of Savings and Wealth in Reducing "Wilt" between Expectations and College Attendance. William Elliott III and Sondra Beverly, 2010.

**If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income.

*** Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

Additional $3 Million Available on Sept. 24 to Save Consumers Money on Energy Efficient Replacement Appliances

CHICAGO - September 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged residents across Illinois to save money and go green by taking advantage of $3 million in rebates available on Sept. 24 for the ENERGY STAR Replacement Appliance Rebate Program. The program builds on last spring's popular appliance rebate sale and is designed to help Illinoisans reduce their energy consumption while boosting the state's economy.

"This is another great chance to take advantage of a program that boosts business throughout Illinois and helps our environment by reducing energy consumption," said Governor Quinn. "Now is the time to go out and replace your aging and inefficient appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers."

At 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, consumers upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances will be able to take advantage of a 15 percent point-of-sale rebate (up to $250 per appliance) at participating retail stores for as long as funds are available. The rebate may be used on ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers purchased at participating retail stores. The rebates are intended for consumers replacing an old unit; customers must certify that they are purchasing a replacement appliance at the time of purchase.

There are approximately $3 million in appliance rebate funds available for the final round of the program. Based on the success of the first appliance rebate offer, organizers expect funds to run out the same day (Sept. 24). While most rebates will be given out at the counter, retailers are also making them available by phone to people with disabilities.

"The first round of the ENERGY STAR rebate program helped people save money on nearly 47,000 energy-efficient water heaters, HVAC systems and appliances," said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. "Our goal is to encourage more people to get rid of old, inefficient appliances and replace them with more efficient models that will lower energy bills and reduce the state's environmental footprint."

Illinois has received a total of $12.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the ENERGY STAR rebate program. The first round of the program distributed $9.4 million in rebates, which generated more than $75 million in sales and 1.3 trillion BTUs in lifetime energy savings - the equivalent of taking 1,712 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

The Illinois ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebate Program is being managed by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance on behalf of DCEO. The state also partnered with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to enroll and coordinate the retailers in the program. More than 420 retailers are participating in the program. For more information, including a list of participating retailers, visit


Train to Nowhere; Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation, a just-completed documentary about those connected to the 2002 railcar deaths of eleven undocumented immigrants, will have its television premiere next month on Iowa Public Television. Advance screenings will also be held in three Iowa cities in October.

Film synopsis: When the bodies of eleven Central Americans and Mexicans were found inside a freight car in Denison, Iowa, the nation took notice. Reporters descended on the small farming community, searching for information about how and why this group ended up inside a locked railcar, where they would die horrific deaths. yet compassionate look at the 2002 railcar deaths of the eleven undocumented immigrants. It takes the viewers from the streets of southern Texas, to the hills of a Guatemalan farm, to the Iowa town where the bodies were found.

immigration story in examining the case from various viewpoints: that of one victim's New York brother, a long-time immigration agent, and a train conductor imprisoned for working with the smugglers who locked the railcar to throw off U.S. Border Patrol inspectors. Viewers will see beyond the superficial levels of the people involved in the story and understand the complexities of their personalities and the situation. The older brother from Guatemala, once an undocumented immigrant himself, struggles with anger and, sometimes, guilt. Even though he urged his little brother to remain in Central America, his own financial success showed the younger man what could be achieved. The immigration agent, who traveled north as a boy with his migrant farm worker grandfather and father, believes in strict border control yet often encounters those who question his loyalty to the United States because of his Mexican heritage. The former train conductor, once paid to help slip people into the United States by train, argues that he was trying to help the immigrants gain a chance at better lives. This is a crime story that also illustrates how immigration is such a complex issue, far from black and white.

The documentary, Train to Nowhere; Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation offers an honest, The film is part crime story, part immigration perspective. It breaks free of the standard Train to Nowhere is scheduled to air Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. CST on Iowa Public Television, the PBS affiliate covering the state of Iowa. A trailer for the film may be seen at

Train to Nowhere was directed and co-produced by Paul Kakert, the Davenport-based president of Storytellers International. Colleen Bradford Krantz, a journalist-turned-author from Adel, Iowa, wrote and co-produced the documentary.

Advance screenings of Train to Nowhere will be held in the Davenport, Des Moines and Denison areas in early October. Admission is free and donations to Storytellers International, a 501c3 non-profit that produced the film, are appreciated.

Advance screenings:

Sunday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m., Iowa Public Television's Maytag

1) Des Moines-area advance screening:  Auditorium, Johnston, Iowa.

2) Davenport advance screening:  Sunday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m., Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.

3) Denison advance screening:  TBA

One viewer described the documentary as "kind of a CSI thing" with Iowa ties. However, it has been the immigration perspective's balance that endeared it to some of its first viewers, including one who wrote: "I thought it was very powerful, in a way that I didn't anticipate. I was very much drawn in by the characters ... As filmmakers, you've chosen a distance to the material that I think is just right. If this were presented from the POV of an advocate (either a pro or a con) no one would really listen - the film would be viewed through prejudiced eyes, unconsciously. I had never really thought of that before: The best way to truly communicate anything concerning immigration requires a certain distance from the field of battle. It sounds paradoxical, but to really get people to connect deeply with this topic, you have to maintain a bit of distance in that respect. I think you gauged it right."

Following the broadcast premiere of the one-hour version, the full version of the film will be available on DVD and may be purchased at the film website In addition to the IPTV broadcast and DVD distribution, Storytellers International has worked with a high school social studies teacher who developed a lesson plan to go with the DVD. Educational bundles including the DVD and lesson plan for high school students are available for schools to purchase. (The content may be difficult for those under age 13).

Storytellers International, a non-profit dedicated to producing documentaries, was awarded a Humanities Iowa grant to help complete the documentary. The film is the first to be released by Storytellers International, a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization founded by Davenport filmmaker Paul Kakert. Kakert has been involved in video and animation production in the Quad Cities, and nationally, since 1991. In 2009 he founded Storytellers International to produce, promote and distribute documentary films from around the world.

The organization recently launched as a film enthusiast website and community interaction portal for promoting its films and receiving feedback and story ideas for its viewers and supporters.

Colleen Bradford Krantz, a former Des Moines Register reporter, has written a book, also called "Train to Nowhere; Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation," which served as the basis for the documentary. The book will be released in spring 2011 by Ice Cube Books, an Iowa-based publisher. Advance purchases of the book are possible through

The documentary and book describe events leading up to the deaths of the undocumented immigrants, and the subsequent criminal investigation. The bodies were discovered by a grain elevator worker in Denison, Iowa in October 2002. The eleven died of dehydration and hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature) in June 2002 after smugglers locked them inside the railcar to avoid detection by Border Patrol. The railcar's door could not be unlocked from inside. The smugglers eventually lost track of the train, and those inside died within a day or two. Four people were charged in connection with the deaths.

The documentary is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Everyone wants to make paying for a college education as painless as possible, particularly in these economic times.  With proper research and planning, paying college bills doesn't have to be difficult or devastating.  While most are aware of the value of scholarships and financial aid, many may not recognize the financial value of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP), which provides the opportunity to take college-level courses while still in high school and earn college credit.

Most students take five or six years, and sometimes even longer, to earn their bachelor's degrees at public colleges and universities.  Students who take longer to graduate from a public college or university can expect to pay between $8,000 and $19,000 for each additional year - and that figure can easily be over $26,000 at a private institution.  Studies have shown that AP students have significantly better four-year graduation rates than those who do not take AP - a 2008 study found graduation rates for AP English Literature students were 62% higher than for those who took other English courses in high school.*  In addition, many colleges report considering a student's AP experience when making scholarship decisions.  When these facts are taken into consideration, AP just makes cents!

Students at Rivermont Collegiate have virtually limitless options in selecting AP courses.  For the 2010-11 academic year alone, Rivermont students are enrolled in AP Calculus AB and BC, AP English Language and Composition, AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science, and AP U.S. Government and Politics.  Rivermont is especially excited to announce that Roshan Babu, Class of 2010, has qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.  Only about 18% of 1.8 million students worldwide performed at a sufficiently high level to earn an AP Scholar Award.  Roshan, son of Dr. Hari and Mrs. Shobha Babu of Rock Island, IL, is now attending the UMKC University of Missouri at Kansas City Baccalaureate-MD program.

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, contact Cindy Murray, Director of Admissions, at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or


* Costs include tuition, fees, and books only, and do not include room, board, and other living expenses. Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets, 2008-09 (Enrollment-Weighted). The College Board,"Trends in College Pricing," 2008.

SPRINGFIELD, IL (09/17/2010)(readMedia)-- The New Madrid Seismic Zone was the subject of a three-day conference here in which movers and shakers from all over the country, and Central and South America, met to plan for the eventuality of a major earthquake.

More than 250 National Guard leaders from more than 30 states - including Illinois and the seven other states that would be most affected by a major earthquake along the infamous fault line that once moved the mighty Mississippi River in 1812-met Sept. 14 to 16 to discuss capabilities, shortfalls and response planning.

Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are all members of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), whose mission is the reduction of deaths, injuries, property damage and economic losses resulting from earthquakes in the central United States.

The workshop was held at the National Guard Bureau's Professional Education Center, on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark., and included presentations by CUSEC, the National Emergency Management Association, the Arkansas Geological Survey, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Southern and Northern Commands. Even America's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, offered a look at its planned disaster response efforts.

It is widely accepted that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 or greater would quickly absorb the response capabilities of each of the directly-affected states. According to Brig. Gen. Steven P. Huber, Land Component Commander and Director of the Joint Staff for the Illinois National Guard, the main focus of the workshop was to proactively identify capabilities and gaps, and where the respective states could turn for help.

"I think the value is in getting to meet the people within the regions, specifically the folks around the impact area, and to do some coordinating," said Huber, a Chicago native. "We can talk about what we can bring to the table as well as what we feel we need. We would rather get to know these people and shake their hand here than at the scene of an incident."

Dr. Paul Stockton, the assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, was the keynote speaker on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Stockton gave a comprehensive presentation, centering on a unity of effort concept between the federal government, active duty military units, National Guard units, state governments and local emergency managers.

He led a discussion following his remarks, where he sought input from everyone in the room as to how best achieve unity of effort in the face of a catastrophe such as an earthquake in the center of the country.

According to CUSEC, there were no seismological measurements in 1812, but recent studies and contemporary reports suggest the magnitude of the largest of four earthquakes centering near New Madrid, Mo., was approximately 7.8. Fortunately, in 1812 the area was sparsely populated with few buildings and supporting infrastructure.

Today, the region is home to millions of people, including those in the cities of St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn. Adding to the danger, most structures in the region were not built to withstand earthquake shaking, as they have been in more seismically active areas like California.

According to Scott Ausbrooks of the Arkansas Geological Survey, one of the greatest dangers lies in the phenomenon of liquefaction, which occurs when loose, sandy, water-saturated soils are strongly shaken. According to Ausbrooks, the soils lose their capacity to bear any weight and can flow like a liquid.

Ausbrooks and many other experts in the room agreed that an earthquake of such magnitude would knock out communication and nearly all of the bridges in the Mississippi River basin in the affected states. Scientists estimate that a magnitude 6.0 or larger earthquake is overdue in the region and could hit the Mississippi Valley at any time.

"All of the available resources, military and civilian, will be consumed quickly," explained Maj. Gen. William Wofford, the adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard. "We will be overwhelmed.

"The response needs are going to exceed all of the available military and civilian assets," said Wofford. "The affected states will need to look to other states to fulfill any shortfalls."

Emergency Management Assistance Compacts between the states were at the center of many discussions at the workshop.

"We have a number of handshake agreements, but we have a lot of work ahead of us," said Wofford. "We all came to the workshop to work and to plan, which is key, but it's a work in progress."

According to Wofford, the agreements hammered out this year will be reviewed next year, taking into account troop deployments and operations considerations in the responding states.

"The planning aspect is the real benefit of a workshop like this, and having the National Guard Bureau, the federal government, civilian agencies and supporting states here is invaluable," said Wofford. "We've communicated, we've coordinated and now we're cooperating."