$67.8 Million Capital Project Will Create Around 400 Jobs; Leverage Private Investment

MACOMB - April 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined state and school officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the $67.8 million Performing Arts Center at Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb. This is one of the largest university construction projects in the Governor's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, and construction work is expected to create approximately 400 jobs. The state's investment will help WIU leverage a significant private donation to support the center's operation.

"This project is an investment in the future of Western Illinois University, and in this region's economy," said Governor Quinn. "Not only will this project create jobs during construction, it will also enable WIU to increase its educational offerings and provide the people of Macomb with a state-of-the-art facility for music, dance and theater productions."

The Performing Arts Center will include a 1,400-seat auditorium, a 250-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre; dance, jazz and theatre rehearsal studios; dressing rooms; a scenery/design workshop and costume shop; and a loading dock to accommodate large vehicles for touring companies and orchestras.

The design phase of the project is underway, with construction bids scheduled for later this year and completion in 2014. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Silver certification will be sought for the project, a testament to its energy efficient and environmentally friendly design. The project is administered by the Capital Development Board (CDB), which manages all state-funded, non-road construction projects.

"The WIU Performing Arts Center has become a reality. I cannot thank enough our legislators, campus community and many friends, including Governor Pat Quinn, for their support of this cultural center, which will be an incredible asset to this region," said WIU President Al Goldfarb, who is retiring this month.

"The Performing Arts Center project will employ hundreds of construction workers and provide enhanced educational opportunities for Western students once it's complete," said CDB Executive Director Jim Underwood. "This will be CDB's largest ongoing construction project, and we are thrilled that Governor Quinn is moving it along."

Joining Governor Quinn, Goldfarb and Underwood at today's ceremonial groundbreaking were State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), and Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead.


Nebraska City, Neb. (April 25, 2011) - Iowa's Arbor Day is nearly here, and the best way to observe the holiday is to plant trees. Arbor Day in Iowa will be celebrated on National Arbor Day, April 29.

Before you get started, you want to make sure you're planting the right tree in the right place. A tree serves many purposes. It is wise to first determine which functions are most important to you when selecting a new tree to plant.

The main functions of a tree are:

  • Shade: Trees are an excellent source for cooling because not only do they block the rays of the sun, they add water to the air through transpiration. Plant where you want the shadow during the hottest time of the year.
  • Beauty: Trees add color and can enhance your home depending on where it's planted.
  • Windbreak: These are most effective when you plant trees in a dense, step-like arrangement of both conifers and deciduous trees.
  • Boundaries: Trees can help delineate your property.

Once you determine the tree's function, you need to pick the best spot to plant it. To help ensure that you plant the right tree in the right place, there are a few things to consider:

  • Short flowering trees are ideal planted under power lines. These trees will not clash with the lines and will add color and beauty to your yard. Some examples of short flowering trees are redbuds, dogwoods and crabapples.
  • Large deciduous trees are best used to shade your home and yard. These trees should be planted on the southeast, southwest and west side of your home to provide cooling shade in the summer and won't obstruct the low winter sun. Examples of large shade trees are maples, oaks, spruce and many pine species.
  • To slow strong winter winds, many people use evergreen trees, but large deciduous trees work well, too. Windbreaks should be planted on the north side of your home, a fair distance from the nearest structure. Spruce, firs and pine trees make fine windbreaks.

Before you plant, you should also discover which trees grow best in Iowa. To do so, consult the Arbor Day Foundation's Hardiness Zone Map at www.arborday.org/treeinfo, or contact a local nursery or arborist.

Once you've determined the function of your tree and which species you'd like, you're ready to plant. You must take special care of your tree during planting time to ensure that it will grow healthy and strong.

When planting a containerized tree, there are six steps you need to take.

1. Call before you dig. Call the 811 hotline to have underground utilities located.
2. Handle your tree with care. Always lift it up by its root ball and keep its roots moist until you plant it.
3. Dig the proper hole. Dig 2 to 5 times wider than the diameter of the root ball with sloping sides.
4. Dig to the proper depth. The trunk flare of your tree should sit slightly above ground level.
5. Back fill the hole with native soil. That is, unless the soil is all clay. Tamp soil gently to fill large air spaces.
6. Mulch your new tree. Add 2-3 inches of mulch around the planting area but keep it 1-2 inches away from the trunk.

Planting instructions for bare-root trees and ball and burlap trees can be found at http://www.arborday.org/trees/tips/treePlanting.cfm.

Americans have been planting trees on Arbor Day since 1872. Nebraska City, Neb., resident, civic leader and agriculturist J. Sterling Morton urged Nebraskans to "set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit." The tree-planting holiday was so popular that by 1920, more than 45 states and U.S. territories annually celebrated Arbor Day. Today, the tree-planters' holiday is observed in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.


About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education of more than 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.

New Tracking of "Dooring" Crashes Will Identify Problem Areas

CHICAGO - April 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the state will begin tracking "dooring" crashes - accidents involving bicyclists who are struck by opened doors from parked cars. The change will take effect immediately to help determine locations where road improvements and public outreach efforts may be necessary to protect bicyclists from these dangerous collisions.

"As more people are riding bicycles and embracing other green modes of transportation, we need to ensure that Illinois collects data that presents a complete picture of what is happening on our roads," said Governor Quinn. "This new initiative will address a major safety issue for bicyclists and drivers, and will make our roads safer for everyone."

The new policy is the result of collaboration between Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Active Transportation Alliance. Prior to the change in policy, dooring collisions went unrecognized in IDOT's annual reporting of traffic statistics because a moving motor vehicle was not involved.

The data collected and analyzed by IDOT can be used to plan for improved roadway designs and additional communication with motorists in areas with high concentrations of bicyclists.

"We appreciate Governor Quinn's action on this issue," said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for walking, biking and transit. "Data on dooring problem spots will help communities take steps to reduce these collisions. We are grateful IDOT will track these crashes, and look forward to working with them to increase safety and education surrounding dooring."

To assist police in submitting the correct information, IDOT's Division of Traffic Safety is reaching out to law enforcement agencies across the state with instructions on how to begin recording dooring crashes. Police departments that have already have begun tracking dooring collisions, including Chicago, will have their data included in the state's traffic statistics, retroactive to May 2010.

"We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to make roads safer for bicyclists," Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. "Safety always will be a top priority at IDOT. The recognition of dooring accidents is another step in the right direction."



WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 - TODAY, Roger Beachy, Director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will hold a national media conference call to help announce research, education and extension grants to institutions across the country aimed at reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. The long-term goal of USDA-sponsored obesity research is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents. This year's funding is focused on supporting research programs aimed at obesity in children ages two through eight. Projects were funded in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.


Monday, April 25, 2011

1 p.m. EDT


WHAT:          USDA NIFA Director Roger Beachy will hold a national media conference call to help announce research, education and extension  grants to institutions to help reduce childhood obesity



DIAL IN: 800-593-9988; 1-312-470-7224 International

Passcode: USDA (Given Verbally)

Troubleshooting: 202-720-8560


All callers using the above pass code will be placed in listen only mode. To join the Q&A portion of the meeting, these callers are instructed to press *1 on their touch tone phone.


State College, PA April 25, 2011 -- As the onslaught of drenching, and in some cases severe thunderstorms continues into Wednesday, new flooding issues will inevitably develop from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma.

"Inches of rain have already inundated this area since Friday," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Katie Storbeck.

Rainfall totals over the past three days are approaching 8 inches in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Muskogee, Okla. is near the 7-inch mark.

The ground from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma cannot handle any more rain, but drenching thunderstorms will not stop, lasting into Wednesday.

In some cases, the thunderstorms will also turn severe with damaging winds, hail and even a tornado.

The potential exists for an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain to pour down through Wednesday with locally higher totals.

That amount of rain will only lead to more serious flooding problems.

Already-swollen streams and rivers will rise further out of their banks, inundating more neighboring land, roads and homes. Flooding will also worsen in low-lying, urban and poor-drainage areas.

"Feet of water could wash across area roadways," Storbeck reported.

Motorists should heed all road closures put in place by officials. Even if barricades are not in place, "Never attempt driving through flooded streets, as it only takes a few inches of flowing water to sweep away a vehicle," Storbeck warned.

Even where flooding is not under way, motorists will be faced with reduced visibility and a heightened risk of vehicles hydroplaning.

Fortunately, relief from the onslaught of rain will finally come Thursday and Friday.

The dry weather will give flood waters a chance to recede. The exception will be along larger rivers, where flooding problems will last longer, as runoff from smaller streams will continue to drain downstream.

The rain-free conditions will only be brief, as more thunderstorms are in the forecast for this weekend.

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist

The Bettendorf Discovery Shop invites you to join them Monday, May 2nd for our Garden event. We are ready to welcome spring by filling the shop with all of the beautiful spring things that have been donated over the last year.

The store will be bursting with lovely items for your home and garden. Plants, flowers, pictures, dishes, yard decorations, birdhouses, wicker furniture, the list goes on and on. We will also have lots of beautiful flowered clothing and accessories to brighten your day. There will be a lot of great things to see, so we hope that you can stop by and take part in the fun!
The Discovery Shop is an upscale resale shop that is celebrating 23 years of successful fundraising in Bettendorf. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Discovery Shop raises money by selling gently used items donated by individual donors and local businesses. Helping to make the shop such a success is the staff of wonderful volunteers that donate their time, if you are interested in joining our volunteer team we are always happy to have extra hands to help. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society for cancer research, education, patient services and advocacy.

Donations are accepted anytime the shop is open and a tax receipt is always available. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm., Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm. and Saturday from10 am to 4 pm.

We are thankful for all the wonderful donations and excited to have this fun event for our customers.
Tom Birkhofer Benefit
Tuesday, May 17, 2010
5:00-9:00 pm
Mulligan's Valley Pub 310 W 1st Ave., Coal Valley

The Tom Birkhofer Benefit on Tuesday, May 17, will help this Bettendorf father of three and son-in-law of former St Ambrose and North Scott coach, Larry Lake, who suffered a spinal cord injury in August, 2010 when he fell from a tree while trimming.  Tom spent one month at the University of Iowa hospitals and one month at Genesis West rehab.  He is now home and continues with therapy.  While he is making good progress, he will be unable to return to his profession as an electrician.

The benefit features great raffle prizes such as an I PAD, a 32" flat screen TV, a remote car starter,  2 Iowa Tickets to the Northwestern game, a $100 necklace from Diamonds on the Avenue, a GPS system, and 2 John Deere Classic tickets combined with a hotel stay at HomeRidge Inn and Suites and a $50 dinner at Bennigans.  In addition, there will be several gift baskets for raffle and great tacos for only $5.  Raffle tickets for major prizes are available in advance and you need not be present to win.

All proceeds will benefit the Birkhofer family who is struggling to return to "normal" life after this tragedy.  If you can't attend but wish to donate, please send your donation to:  Tom Birkhofer Benefit fund, c/o First Midwest Bank, 1975 Kimberly Road, Bettendorf, Iowa 52722.

For information call: (563) 340-6755.

Handmade City will host it's second indie arts+crafts show at the new venue Rozz-Tox in Rock Island this Saturday April 30, from 11am-4pm. Free to attend with over 20 local vendors selling amazing handmade items. Free to attend after party starts at 7:30pm with free cupcakes and live music from Centaur Noir, Chad Gooch and I Eat My Friends. Rozz-Tox will be selling beer and wine. DIY unique art & crafts all day long, unlike any other show in the QC!!!

Who is Handmade City?

We are an indie arts + crafts collective that supports and promotes local handmade artisans. We pride ourselves in being different and creating unique, high quality handmade items. Living in the Midwest we are surrounded by traditional craft shows with the same art and items you can find anywhere. We decided it was time set up our own DIY collective and host our own events.

Handmade City provides an outlet for artists who don't belong in a traditional show. We host art & craft events that are free to attend, affordable to sell at and unique compared to other craft shows in the area. We appreciate handmade, high quality art with an indie twist!?

Handmade City supports this art community online as well, showcasing featured artist interviews, vendor spotlights, artist updates and links to artists' shops. We want our handmade items to be just as available to the public as traditional art & crafts. Different is good, different is art!

When is the next show?

Handmade City's Spring 2011 Craft Show will take place April 30, 2011, from 11am - 4pm at Rozz-Tox- a new venue located downtown Rock Island Illinois. (2108 3rd Avenue) This show is FREE to attend!

There will be over 20 vendors at the Spring show! Things you will find include : knits, ceramics, art prints, original artwork, photography, home decor items, jewelry, hand-spun yarn, candles, pet goods, terrariums, accessories, baby items, handmade handbags, clothing, handcrafted bicycles, self-published books & more!

There will also be a  FREE to attend Handmade City after-party featuring live music from local bands Centaur Noir, Chad Gooch and I Eat My Friends. Party starts at 7:30pm with FREE cupcakes. Rozz- Tox will be selling beer and wine... it is going to be a good time!

Visit us online at handmadecity.org

Full Vendor List:

Betty Round?: housewares, jewelry, re-purposed clothing, spring accessories, spring (lightweight) knit goods.?
Calluxcity?: Hand-spun yarn and knits?
Dark Highlands: literary and art publication?
Doug Jack & Me?: unique paper goods
Eden Accessories: fun hair accessories (baby, girls, womens)
Eric Thomas Wolever?: Handcrafted ceramics?
Fannie's Closet?: clothing and t-shirts?
Helena Sophia: girls tutus, mini-quilts, make-up bags, stuffies, and handspun yarn?
Kara's Collections: sewn accessories, bags, aprons?
Ladynoble: jewelry, original artwork, art prints, decor items
Leah Leah:  knit hats, flower pins, art prints?
Lil' Squeaks?: Pet Items & coin purses?
Luminology: handcrafted soy candles?
Photography by Tassy?: photo prints/artwork?
Plaid Peony?: toss pillows, headbands, appliqued children's clothes/onesies, burp cloths, cloth wipes, baby blankets?
Seeded Earth Growers: flowers, terrariums & bottle crafts?
Team Tall Bike?: handcrafted bikes and bike accessories
The Adventure Orange: sewn goods, decor, art and other random awesomeness?
Undone?: small soy candles, handmade boxes

Friday, April 22, 2011 (Moline, IL) -- Nearly surrounded by the floodwaters of the mighty Mississippi, employees of one Quad-City company are demonstrating their endurance through this Spring's floods. Doug's Heating and Air Conditioning, located at 4530 River Drive, Moline, has never had to close because of flooding in its entire 65 years of business. Doug's is now surrounded by sandbags filled and placed in mid-March by employees and the company's insurance agents. Doug's has survived three floods since 2005 alone.

Employees have worked tirelessly to elevate the merchandise they have in stock to higher ground to protect it from water that has seeped into the basement. So far, Doug's remains mostly dry inside and open for business. Dedicated employees have had to park blocks away and hike across railroad tracks and plywood bridges to get to work. But customers should see virtually no impact from the floods. "We like to think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate our dedication to serving to our customers," said Matt Hines, owner of Doug's. "We sandbag so we can keep our business open. It's required a lot of extra work, but it is the cost to have our great location."

On Friday, April 22, 2011, Doug's had two installations scheduled. The units were shipped to the customers' homes, instead of the warehouse, which has almost become an island in the midst of floodwaters along a closed River Drive.

For more information on this story, or to schedule an interview, contact Leigh Geramanis @ 309-786-5142 or e-mail leigh@medialinkinc.com.

The love of reading takes center stage next month with Get Caught Reading Month, part of a nation-wide campaign to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read!  Launched in 1999, the Get Caught Reading Campaign is promoted throughout the year by the Association of American Publishers.  Some of the nation's most celebrated public figures, celebrities, and beloved characters have championed the campaign with their visions of getting caught reading - from Laura Bush to Rosie O'Donnell to Clifford the Big Red Dog!

Research shows that the development of literacy skills through early experiences with books and stories is critically linked to a child's success in learning to read and overall success in school, yet fewer than half of young children in the U.S. are read to daily.  Research shows that children who aren't fluent readers by the end of third grade may never catch up to their peers.  Early reading experiences are recognized as being of such importance that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians prescribe reading activities along with other instructions given to parents at well-child visits.

Get Caught Reading Month is a terrific opportunity to give thought to the role of books and literacy in your child's life.  Rivermont Collegiate prepares young children to read by laying a strong foundation in oral and written experiences prior to kindergarten.  In preschool and junior kindergarten, lessons in Open Court Reading present rich language experiences through fingerplays, rhymes, songs, and poems.  At Rivermont, all first grade students read chapter books by the end of the year.  As students move into the Middle and Upper Schools (grades 6-12), they are challenged daily to participate in in-depth discussions of texts and understand the relevancy of literature to both individuals and the global community.

What are you waiting for?  Get a head start on your celebration of Get Caught Reading Month by joining us for an Open House to discover Rivermont Collegiate!  No appointment required - drop in Thursday, April 28th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. to tour campus and explore our curriculum and programs.  Celebrate Get Caught Reading Month by sharing the love of the written word with a child you know - and explore what Rivermont has to offer your young scholar.

Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.  Visit us online at www.rvmt.org!

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate or Thursday's Open House, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org

For additional information on Get Caught Reading Month, visit www.getcaughtreading.org