(see letter from Chad below)

Documentarians Albert Maysles & Bradley Kaplan to feature Pregracke in a Mitchum Hardest Working film airing on Sundance Channel this Fall

(New York, NY - August 18, 2010) - At the culmination of Mitchum's four-month long "Hardest Working Person in America" (HWPIA) contest, America has named Chad Pregracke, the founder of Living Lands & Waters - a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cleaning up and preserving the nation's rivers - Mitchum's "Hardest Working Person in America." After receiving more than 50,000 votes, Pregracke was awarded the $100,000 grand prize from Mitchum and will be among the subjects featured in a short film by acclaimed documentary director Albert Maysles and partner Bradley Kaplan. The film is set to premiere on Sundance Channel this fall. Mitchum's "Hardest Working" campaign was Mitchum's first new brand campaign in five years and was created by director and producer Brett Ratner, founder of the creative content company Brett Ratner Brands (BRB).

"Chad Pregracke epitomizes the drive and dedication embodied in Mitchum's hardest working person in America contest," said Alan T. Ennis, CEO of Revlon, Mitchum's parent company. "Chad's work in preserving the Mississippi, Illinois and other rivers for the enjoyment of all truly justified America's decision to vote him the winner."

Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit organization based in East Moline, Illinois, in 1998, which cleans up and preserves our nation's rivers. Today, the organization has grown to include ten full-time employees and a fleet of four barges, a towboat, six workboats, two skid steers, five work trucks and a large box truck.  With this equipment, the crew is able to travel and work in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Potomac Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries.  Since the project's inception, Pregracke, his crew, and more than 60,000 volunteers have collected over six million pounds of debris from our nation's greatest rivers.

"I'd like to thank Mitchum and America for honoring me as the Hardest Working Person," said Chad Pregracke. "Although Mitchum's contest focused solely on my efforts, I can't accomplish the mission without the help from a dedicated bunch of conservationists and thousands of volunteers that allow us to keep the rivers clean."

As the Grand Prize Winner of Mitchum's HWPIA contest, Pregracke will be featured, along with other hard working Americans, in a short film by legendary documentarian Albert Maysles and award-winning co-filmmaker Bradley Kaplan. The film is scheduled to premiere on Sundance Channel this fall.

"Capturing Chad's work on the river, doing the job he loves and we admire, will be an important and inspiring story to tell," said Albert Maysles. "Along with the Mitchum brand, I am honored to profile Chad and his team as they tackle the Mississippi, and we hope to offer an engaging look at this conservation crusader, hero that he is."

Receiving the second highest number of votes, Ripley, West Virginia resident Jason Perlak was named the Second Prize Winner of Mitchum's campaign and will receive a $20,000 cash prize. He is the founder and camp director of The Wilderness Christian Camp, an organization dedicated to build character, respect, and leadership in young campers.  Mitchum and Brett Ratner also presented an "Audience Award" to Pregracke for his video, which received the most votes in the first round of the contest.  Pregracke will receive an additional $5,000 prize and a "golden" Mitchum trophy.

"From a drill sergeant, fighter pilot and working mother, to a custodian, blacksmith and an actor, Americans cast nearly 90,000 votes to determine the winner of Mitchum's Hardest Working campaign," said Brett Ratner. "Their reality films offered a rare bird's eye view into our neighbors' lives and provided a source of inspiration on the tireless efforts of Americans every day."

Mitchum's HWPIA campaign launched in May 2010 and was designed to find, highlight and reward the hardest working man or woman in the country. Mitchum received more than 150 video submissions from hard working men and women from across the country.  The top ten finalists were announced in July and Mitchum asked Americans to go to and vote for the person they thought most deserved the title.

Brett Ratner Brands worked in conjunction with CAA Marketing, a division of Creative Artists Agency, on the marketing aspects of this campaign.

Dear Friends,

Ever since Mike Rowe, Dirties Jobs host and Ford spokesperson, called to tell me he was nominating me for Mitchum's "Hardest Working ____ in America" contest, I've been amazed at the number of people who have come up to me in random places such as gas stations, boat ramps, on the street, etc. to congratulate me. Without your votes and support, I would not have made it into the top 10, let alone win the Grand Prize and the "Audience Award". In the end, I received over 50,000 of the total 90,000 votes!

Not only is the money unbelievably cool but Albert Maysles, a legendary documentarian, will be coming to the Quad Cities to film next week. He has filmed documentaries such as "The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit" and "Gimme Shelter", a film on the Rolling Stones. He has already given me backstage passes to all upcoming Rolling Stone shows (just kidding - they're not even touring)!

Again, I can't thank all of you enough for, not only this huge honor, but all of your support through the years.



Community Philanthropist to Lead Local Chapter

LOS ANGELES (August 18, 2010) - The Parents Television Council™, the nation's most influential advocacy organization protecting children from graphic sex, violence and profanity in the media, announced Beth Oerman as the director of its new Rock Island grassroots chapter.

The Rock Island Chapter, Illinois' fourth chapter, will be the go-to source for information on how local youth can be affected by the media, what content they are being exposed to, and what people can do about it.

"My goal is to see the day when it is possible once again for families to sit down together and watch prime time television while not having to worry about the constant onslaught of sex, violence, and profane language. I plan to lead Rock Island residents to become instruments of change. Together we will make sure local broadcasters know that we care what is shown on our public airwaves and that we expect better," Oerman said.

Each PTC chapter has campaigns related to broadcast and cable television, movies, the Internet and video games. Oerman is particularly interested in exposing the dangers of adult video games and how easily youth can acquire them today.

"With video game violence being more real and explicit than ever, more needs to be done to safeguard children from purchasing these titles," said Oerman. "This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss whether states can pass laws to keep adult games out of the hands of youth. With the amount of explicit violence in these adult games, I believe parents need legislation like this to help us keep these titles out of the hands of children."

Oerman is a leader in her community. She is the founder and director of Read to Succeed, a local non-profit that promotes the fundamentals of reading by building a fun and safe atmosphere. Education has always been a passion for Oerman. She served previously as a library helper, tutor and classroom helper.

"Beth is a great addition to our growing network of successful grassroots chapters in Illinois. Parents and families are concerned about the harmful effect media content can have on our children and grandchildren. With Beth's leadership, passion and integrity, we look forward to seeing great success from our newly chartered Rock Island Chapter," said PTC President Tim Winter.

The Parents Television Council® (®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members and 56 chapters across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Annual College Savings Iowa State Fair survey shows that most kids plans for the future includes attending college, but not before eating a corndog.

DES MOINES, IA (08/18/2010)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald announced today that 95% of the children that participated in College Savings Iowa's annual State Fair survey see getting a college education as a necessary step to achieving their career aspirations. "Iowa children are already planning for their futures," stated Fitzgerald. "This survey demonstrates how important it is for families to start planning and saving early to help make college a reality for their children."

"Every year we ask children visiting the fair what they want to be when they grow up and if they will need to go to college to achieve their career goals. Needless to say, we are always amazed by the responses they offer," Fitzgerald stated. Seventeen percent of the children questioned want to study veterinary medicine, with another 13% planning to become teachers. The health care-related fields came in third this year with 11% of the responses, and professional athlete with 7% ranked fourth. "One little guy plans to go to college to become a super hero, but not before eating his favorite State Fair food."

In addition to the questions about career and college goals, the survey also asks children to identify their favorite State Fair food item. "Corn dog was the hands down favorite with kids again this year," Fitzgerald said. Funnel cake was second on the list of favorites, with cookies, donuts and pizza tying for third place. "Kids are especially fond of food on sticks. I'm always amazed by the ones who come to State Fair looking for an egg on a stick."

"Families that save and invest for their child's college education will be better prepared to meet the challenge of paying for it when the time arrives, and College Savings Iowa is here to help," added Fitzgerald. Anyone - parents, grandparents, friends and relatives - can invest in College Savings Iowa on behalf of a child. This year Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $2,811 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income. * To learn more about College Savings Iowa, visit or call 1-888-672-9116.

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

DESMOINES, Iowa, Aug, 18, 2010 - TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new Recovery Act broadband projects that will create jobs and provide opportunities to rural residents in Iowa. The projects will provide access to improved service that can expand economic, health care, educational and public safety services to underserved rural communities. The announcement is part of the second round of USDA broadband funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).



DAVENPORT, IOWA, AUGUST 17, 2010 ---- Members of the ACLU Quad Cities Chapter and supporters are seeking answers from the ACLU Iowa State Board as to why they were suspended.

"We have been suspended without notice, without a hearing, and most importantly, without cause," said Jose Bucksbaum, President of the ACLU Quad Cities Chapter.   "The ACLU Quad Cities Chapter is one of the most active, vibrant and diverse chapters in Iowa," he added.

The State ACLU Board has a list of complaints which they refuse to release to the Quad Cities chapter.  The local chapter released a statement yesterday citing that they believe the complaints are unfounded and that is why they have not released them.

"In our opinion these stem from a mere difference of opinion on how we should run the local chapter," Mr. Bucksbaum stated.  "We think the principles of Due Process on which the ACLU was founded require the State Board to grant us a hearing on the merits of the complaints."

"The ACLU Quad Cities Chapter shares the values of both the Iowa and the National ACLU in defending the Bill of Rights, and hopes and expects that they will continue to defend them together," Bucksbaum added.


The ACLU Quad Cities Chapter goes back several decades. From 1956 to 1966 the President of the Chapter was prominent publisher Jack Sundine.  He was succeeded by Dr. John Wolf. Tom Benge became its president for 17 years, until in late in 2007 Jose Bucksbaum, then Affirmative Action Chair for the Democratic Party was elected by unanimity its new President.

The purpose of the ACLU is to promote, defend and support the Bill of Rights. At the national and state levels, there are legislative, educational and legal programs to foster the purposes of the ACLU.

Locally the ACLU QC chapter has served the community by organizing conferences, hosting speakers, by responding to local civil liberties inquiries and supporting the Bill of Rights.

The local chapter has hosted a string of guest speakers, including members of the clergy, senators, state representatives, judges, chiefs of police, county attorneys, and the most recent speaker last month was Iowa State Representative Phillis Thede lecturing on "The Evolution of Woman's Civil Rights in Iowa".

Under the leadership of Mr. Bucksbaum, the local chapter created an award recognizing leadership in the community. The award was named after a Chapter benefactor Mrs. Elfreida Hershal.  Mrs. Hershal bequeathed at her death a large sum of money to the Quad City chapter.  The recognition awards has been given five times , recognizing Senator  Maggie Tinsman, Todd McGreevy, Kathleen McCarthy, Tommy Miller, Mike McCarthy and Ernest Rodriguez.


Since 2001, 7 Minute Yenta has been responsible for marrying over 104 couples and introducing thousand's of friends. Speed dating is an excellent way for busy people who are looking for new friends, to meet one another in a safe, positive and fun environment. Couples are selected for sessions via age groups (25-35  35-45 45-55 55-65) and are invited to participate in a group of 8-10 couple's. The ladies stay seated as the men revolve around them every 7 minutes. Sessions are held at the ICON'S Martini Club in Rock Island, Il on Thursday evenings from 7-9. After the session, participant's can let the Yenta know their choices for another date and she will then make sure the intended gets your number.

People can sign up at or by checking out the Facebook page~ Yenta Suzon. You may also call 563-505-7790 Also, if you have participated in the past, you will need to sign up again.  Please leave your name, age and phone number and Suzon will call you back.

The Quad Cities Chamber Board of Directors this afternoon named Tara Barney Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the new Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and Rick Baker the President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the new organization. Chamber directors Steve Bahls, John Roche and Ken Koupal made the announcement after informing staff that Barney and Baker would join forces to lead the new organization. 

We hope you will join us in congratulating Tara and Rick on their leadership roles and thank them for their  commitment to the Quad Cities region.  With Tara's background in economic development and Rick's expertise in chamber operations, Quad City businesses will have an unbeatable combination of talent and skills working on their behalf.

For additional information on today's announcement, visit the website at

The King Center builds community, nurtures dreams and changes lives each and every day. Located in a distressed area, within a 2 mile radius of the Center more than 4,100 households live in poverty and have lives characterized by:
  • A 30% high school graduation rate with only 7% gaining a college degree
  • A teenage mother birth rate of 180 per 1,000 versus an Illinois average of 42/1,000
  • Approximately 600 youth with unsupervised time during high-risk evening hours
The Center's presence allows families striving to overcome the challenges of daily life an opportunity for hope and achievement.

The Project - The King Center's programs and services have evolved to meet the needs of the community, but the building must be renovated and expanded to provide more space for youth services including substance abuse prevention, job training, mentoring and after school activities. This facility will be able to serve over 200 youth and a community room will have capacity for 400. These will be spaces designed for the use intended versus the makeshift method the Center has been restricted to for 35 years.

Summary of Costs - Construction, renovation and related expenses are projected to total $3.6 million. To date we have secured $3.37 million toward our goal including funding from the City of Rock Island, the State of Illinois, the federal government and gifts and pledges from donors. Community support has been encouraging.

We must raise a little less than $230,000 to fully fund the project. We hope the community will choose to support the King Center with a contribution via pledge (payable over the next three years), online donation (, or by calling the King Center at (309) 732 - 2999. We are able to accept
cash, check, or credit card donations and all are tax deductable.

This financial support will directly impact the lives of the children and families the Center serves for decades to come.
Monday, August 23, 2010, is the entry deadline for the 2010 Rock Island Labor Day Parade. The 26th annual event is scheduled for Monday, September 6, 2010.

This year's Labor Day Parade theme is "Learning Comes to Life!" It was selected to acknowledge the many ways we learn or receive education. Ideas to consider include walking books, an entry honoring teachers, a float inspired by music or a painting, dancing computers, a particular story brought to life, members of a team, a family on vacation, or graduates of a particular class or program.

Non-theme related entries are always welcome. The Labor Day parade provides an excellent opportunity to promote an organization, to announce a special promotion, or to call attention to an upcoming special event.

Parade organizers are excited about the number of musical groups returning to this year's line-up. The Western Illinois University Marching Band will be back for a 12th year along with high school marching bands from Alleman and Rock Island. The outstanding Metropolitan Drill Team or "MetroSteppers" and the Blackhawk Bagpipers are also returning to the line-up.

Staging for the parade begins at 8:30 a.m. in the area around Washington Junior High School, located at 33rd St. and 18th Ave., with the start of the parade set at 9:30 a.m. The parade route travels west along 18th Ave., beginning at 33rd St., turns left on 24th St., and then right on 25th Ave. and disbands into the parking areas at Rock Island High School at 25th Ave. and 17th Street. The parade route is approximately two miles long.

The first Rock Island Labor Day Parade was held in 1984 as part of the Rock Island's Sesquicentennial (150th Birthday) Celebration. Over the past 26 years, the parade has grown into a popular event that averages 150 entries and draws thousands of spectators.

Interested parties should contact the City of Rock Island at 732-2923 for more information. Parade information and an entry form are also available from the City's website at


Informational meeting 10:30 am Wednesday, August 25

Share your knowledge and love of the visual arts with others by becoming a Figge Docent! Docent candidates are taught to look at, analyze and discuss works of art in order to engage visitors to the museum in conversations about selected works in the galleries. Candidates should have a strong interest in the visual arts, enjoy public speaking, and have a genuine appreciation for all visitors.

For more information, contact Dan McNeil, Director of Development, 563.326.7804 Ext. 2047;