GAITHERSBURG, Maryland -- The Izaak Walton League of America, a national leader in community-based conservation, presented former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert with the League's prestigious Honor Roll Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the conservation of America's natural and renewable resources.

Under the leadership of Mayor Mark Schwiebert, the city of Rock Island is going green. Mayor Schwiebert formed a City Hall Green Team to work on local sustainability. The city bought a fleet of hybrid vehicles and changed building codes to encourage green practices. The city also purchased an abandoned hydropower plant and is outfitting it with new turbines to create carbon-free power that will meet more than 50 percent of the city government's power needs. Mayor Schwiebert has encouraged citizens to plant rain gardens and otherwise reduce surface water runoff, and the city reimburses homeowners for a part of the cost. The city also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to decontaminate two brownfields areas and turn them into city parks.

"Community-based conservation programs are critical to solving our current environmental crisis," says Mike Williams, the League's national president. "We are thankful for Mayor Schwiebert's initiatives on behalf of the citizens of Rock Island and proud to honor his service in protecting America's outdoors with this award."



Hidden Camera Footage Reveals Chicks Being Thrown, Mutilated, and Ground-Up Alive - Group Calls for Warning Label on Grocery Egg Cartons

Davenport, Iowa - Hidden camera footage revealing shocking cruelty to animals at the Spencer facility of Iowa-based Hy-Line International, the world's largest hatchery for egg-laying breed chicks, will be released at a news conference tomorrow morning by Mercy For Animals (MFA), a national animal protection organization. The footage - covertly recorded by a hatchery employee earlier this year - reveals chicks being thrown, dumped, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, injured and killed by the industrial equipment, left for days without access to food or water, and fully-conscious male chicks being ground-up alive.  Prompted by the findings of the investigation, tomorrow MFA will call on the nation's 50 largest grocery chains to require that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label reading, "Warning: Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry."

Date: Tuesday, September 1st

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Radisson Hotel (Moline Room), 111 E 2nd St., Davenport

The undercover footage was recorded between May and June 2009 at Hy-Line in Spencer, Iowa - where over 30 million chicks are killed annually. Abuses include :

  • Male chicks being dropped into a grinding machine while still alive, where they were tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator.  These males are deemed useless to the egg industry because they do not lay eggs or grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat.
  • Employees and machines roughly throwing, swinging, and dropping the fragile animals - with little consideration for their welfare.
  • Chicks being snapped by their fragile necks into a rotating machine, which used a laser to remove part of the birds' sensitive beaks without painkillers.
  • Machinery injuring, killing, and scalding live chicks in wash cycles.

After viewing the footage, Dr. Nedim Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, stated: "(T)he manner in which the chicks depicted in the videotape were treated subjected them to pain and substantial stress. It was cruel by any normal definition of the word."

On Tuesday, MFA will send letters to the nation's 50 largest grocery chains, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, and West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, urging them to mandate that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label warning consumers of the gruesome method used to kill male chicks

"If hatchery employees threw, mutilated, or ground-up live puppies or kittens like they do to chicks, they could face imprisonment on grounds of cruelty to animals," says MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "In a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animal from needless suffering, including those raised for food."

Broadcast quality undercover footage of conditions at Hy-Line will be aired and distributed at the news conference.


You are invited to attend the 2009 Quad City Earth Charter Summit on Saturday September 26th at Augustana College, Rock, Island, IL. Registration is from 9-10am, Summit is 10-3:30pm.

Progressive Action for the Common Good (PACG) will present this year's Quad City Earth Charter Summit, with the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Augustana College, The Riverboat Development Authority and the Doris & Victor Day Foundation as major sponsors.

Local Food is the theme of the 2009 Earth Charter Summit, focusing on PACG's Local Foods Initiative whose goal is to promote and assist in the development of a healthy, safe, sustainable, local food supply for the Quad Cities and to support local sustainable agriculture.

The Summit will include local and regional speakers and informative workshops focused on how we can create locally sustainable agriculture and a local food plan on an individual level and at an institutional level as the result of working together as a community.

The Earth Charter Summit day will also include a delicious local lunch prepared by the Augustana Food Service which is modeling the practices we are organizing around.

Additional sponsors to include Quad Cities Chapter-Buy Fresh Buy Local, Neighborhood Housing Services of Davenport, Quad City Chapter- Sierra Club, Radish magazine, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and the Faithful Pilot Café & Spirits

Join us! Together we can help educate and mobilize QC citizens, municipalities and organizations to strengthen the Quad City area and foster a source of healthy, local food.

For more information or to register please contact Rachel Griffiths at 309-721-3204 or Caroline Vernon at 563-676-7580.

Registration is $10.00 / $5.00 for students and includes lunch. Seating is limited. Scholarships are available.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that Scott County has been awarded a $234,683 grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.  Harkin has been a steadfast supporter of the grant program, which funds many drug fighting initiatives across the state.  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"The people who put their lives on the line for us deserve our support and our gratitude," said Harkin. "This grant will help to keep them on the job, working to keep drugs off the street and our communities safe."

Details of the grant are as follows:

$234,683 to Scott County for the HIDE Unit, operating under the Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group (QCMEG). The county's goal is to reduce the amount of illegal narcotics available to the public and arrest those who distribute illegal narcotics.

The Byrne Grant Program, named after a police officer killed by a violent drug gang twenty years ago, is the only source of federal funding for multi-jurisdictional efforts to prevent and fight crime.  The program funds drug task forces that have been vital in reducing methamphetamine labs in Iowa and around the country. Byrne also helps pay for police, technology and crime prevention programs. The grants have resulted in major innovations in crime control, including drug courts, gang prevention strategies and prisoner reentry programs.


Hear a poet's perspective on a uniquely articulate president when Brian "Fox" Ellis portrays American poet Walt Whitman in an Evenings at Butterworth performance at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 11th at the Butterworth Center, 1105 8th St., Moline. No charge for admission; refreshments following.

President Abraham Lincoln was particularly fond of Whitman's work. Following the president's assassination, Whitman gave regular lectures on Lincoln, weaving in his Civil War poetry. The lectures also included recollections of a misty morning encounter with the President during the war.

A renowned storyteller, author and educator, Ellis has gained an enthusiastic following in the Quad Cities. Previous local engagements include the Butterworth Center, where he performed as Austin Gulihur, Lincoln's boyhood friend, and at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, where he performed as naturalist and artist John James Audubon. As a storyteller, author and educator, Ellis has done extensive research on many historic figures. A museum consultant, he's also worked with the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Looking for Lincoln Tourism Board.

Event funded by the William Butterworth Memorial Trust. For more information, call (309) 743-2701;


Trees are hardy plants, and their roots fight back against man-made limits around them. In the urban and suburban landscape, tree roots often are forced to grow between buildings or under driveways and walkways. As roots grow, they will break walls, pipes and patios, causing damage to properties.

Plan before you plant
"Before you plant a new tree in your yard, you need to understand how a tree could damage your property and take appropriate measures to prevent that damage," advises Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association.

Woody tree roots thicken as they grow, gradually pushing shallow roots toward the surface. Since soil near the surface is best suited for root growth, most tree roots are just below the surface - putting them in conflict with man-made obstacles. Where the soil is covered by a solid driveway or patio, upward growing roots don't experience the normal signals (increased light and air) that they are reaching the surface. As a result, they often grow against the underside of pavement.

"Most damage is found six feet or less from the tree," notes Andersen, "since roots become smaller and less damaging the further they are from the trunk. Keep this in mind before you plant. That small sapling could become a large shade tree with roots spreading 30 or 40 feet outward from the trunk."

Fixing the problem
Some homeowners, masons and landscapers deal with intrusive roots by grinding down or removing them. This can be expensive and is very harmful to the tree. Wounding a tree's roots creates points of entry for pathogens, leaving a tree vulnerable to disease. Cutting major roots also reduces a tree's ability to take up nutrients and water, leaving it more susceptible to drought. Finally, reducing a tree's structural support from the roots increases the danger the tree will topple onto your house in high winds.

Keep these cautions in mind when dealing with a problem tree:

  • The farther you cut from the trunk, the less threat to the tree's health, and the less danger of creating a hazard.
  • Try not to cut roots greater than 2 inches in diameter.
  • Roots recover better from being severed when you: cut them cleanly with a saw instead of breaking them with a backhoe; mulch and water well after pruning; and fertilize in early fall or spring.
Deciding what to plant
TCIA advises selecting trees for your landscape that will cause less damage, that match species with site conditions and - most importantly - that you do not plant large shade trees within 12 feet of hardscapes (sidewalks, driveways). Since the health of trees in your yard is put at risk whenever root systems are cut back or damaged, anything that can be done to reduce the damage caused by tree roots will also benefit your trees.

In areas within 5 to 7 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas within 7 to 10 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 50 feet. Reserve trees that mature higher than 50 feet for areas with at least 12 feet of clearance. This allows adequate space for the roots. Also, before you plant check for overhead utility lines and leave adequate space for that tree to mature.

Find a professional
A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees to plant. Contact the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a 71-year-old public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2,000 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation's only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the "Locate Your Local TCIA Member Companies" program. You can use this service by calling 1-800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP code search at

Braley introduced legislation creating "Clunkers" program in March

Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will hold a press event in Bettendorf to discuss the success of "Cash for Clunkers" on the widely popular program's last day.

At the event, Braley will be joined by John McEleney, Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and Gary Thomas, President of the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association.

"Cash for Clunkers" gives consumers rebates of up to $4,500 to trade in old gas guzzlers for new, fuel-efficient cars. Braley introduced the original "Cash for Clunkers" legislation with Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton in March. Visit for additional details.

WHAT: Press event on Cash for Clunkers

WHO: Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) along with John McEleney, Chairman, National Automobile Dealers Association, Gary Thomas, President, Iowa Automobile Dealers Association and Craig Miller, General Manager, Lindquist Ford

WHEN: TODAY, Monday August 24, 2009 @ 11:00am CDT

WHERE: Lindquist Ford, 3950 Middle Rd, Bettendorf, Iowa.

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MONTICELLO, IA - On August  29th Gayla Drake Paul will perform in the Sill Barn at Camp Courageous in Monticello Iowa as part of a the Bear River Creek summer concert series.  She will perform with Eric Douglas on drums and Dan Johnson on base. Together they form GDP 3.

GDP3 is a group performance that music lovers will not want to miss. Gayla Drake Paul is ranked as one of the top 100 acoustic guitarist on the planet by They also recommend her solo guitar CD in their top 10 Suggested Listening for Acoustic Guitar and recently chose her Broken Blues as one of the top 100 acoustic CDs of all time.

Eric Douglas has been a drummer for over 25 years.  In 2008 Eric was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Musician Dan Johnson is fast approaching the 6,000 gig mark- that's an average of 250 concerts a year, proving his status as one of the most in-demand musicians in the Midwest. In the 1980's Dan toured with Terry Lawless and is currently the keyboardist for U2. In 2007 Dan was inducted into the Iowa Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Doors for the August 29th performance open at 6:15 with concert starting at 7 PM at Camp Courageous.  The camp's Sill barn is an awesome place to experience a concert.  It is a  post and beam barn that looks like it was built 100 years ago yet it has central air conditioning, a bathroom and is handicapped accessible. Musicians loves the acoustics. There is a $10.00 per person suggested donation for the event with proceeds to benefit Camp Courageous and the Grant Wood Country Foundation for the Arts. A portion of this concert has been underwritten by a grant from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

Camp Courageous is located at 12007 190th Street  Monticello, Iowa 52310.  For more information go to Please call 319-465-4069 to reserve a seat.

Olivia Grubbs, a sixth-grade student at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport, will receive a second place award from the national level of Modern Woodmen of America's 2009 School Speech Contest on Friday.

For her achievement in the fraternal organization's annual contest, Grubbs earns a $1,500 savings plan and two award plaques - one for herself and one for her school. Modern Woodmen Representative Ruth Ahnen, Davenport, will present the award. Grubbs is the daughter of Steve and Kelli Grubbs of Davenport.

The topic for this year's nationwide contest was "A person who has touched many lives." Modern Woodmen's tagline reads "Touching Lives. Securing Futures.®" This year Modern Woodmen asked each student speaker to help uncover and tell the story of an individual who embodies the spirit of the tagline.

Grubbs chose to discuss Jerry Galloway, the late doctor and missionary who spent 20 years in the Congo. "He has touched many people through his medical work and his passion to live what he believed," she said. "He is the reason I've been inspired to be a more selfless person." Galloway left behind his family, friends and all possessions to touch lives in Africa. He set up a healthcare system, taught others how to perform surgeries and developed schools. "What defines Jerry Galloway is the contrast between the life he could have lived and the life he chose to live," said Grubbs.

The School Speech Contest, one of six Youth Educational Programs sponsored by Modern Woodmen, is provided to schools across the country at no charge. For more than 60 years, students have gained confidence and improved their communication skills by participating in this contest. More than 100,000 young people competed in 2009, of which 23 advanced to the national judging in June.

Founded in 1883, Modern Woodmen of America touches lives and secures futures. The fraternal benefit society offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that a total of $1,990,572 in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the Economic Recovery Package, has been released to Davenport and Bettendorf from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Subcommittee that funds transportation initiatives.

"Strengthening our municipal transit systems helps our citizens get around more efficiently and, at the same time, boosts the growth of Iowa's economy," said Harkin.  "These funds will allow the people of the Quad Cities to more easily get to work and run errands."

The Economic Recovery Package, signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009, includes $36 million for transit capital improvements in Iowa.  This law implements the transit formula program related provisions of the ARRA and provides program and grant application requirements for these funds, to be made available through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assistance programs.

Details of the grants are below.

Bettendorf- $539,497 to purchase three 30 foot ADA compliant, medium duty buses
Davenport- $1,451,075 to purchase four 35 foot light duty transit buses