Seventeen cities and counties across Iowa will receive 23 "Great Places" grants totaling $1.9 million. Davenport will receive $100,000 for a Centennial Park "sprayground" and $100,000 for the "Front Porch Parkway." The program is in its fifth year and is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit

Olympia DukakisThe second season of Eastern Iowa Community College's Viewpoint Distinguished Speakers Series features Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis (October 6), bestselling author Scott Turow (January 26), and the first female president of Ireland, Mary Robinson (April 13). Tickets for the series are $84, with single-performance tickets also available, and can be purchased through any Ticketmaster outlet and the Adler Theatre box office. All performances will be held at the Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street in Davenport) beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the series, call (563)336-3321 or visit

Father Patrick DesboisIn the early 1940s, mobile Nazi killing squads traveled across Ukraine executing an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews. The locations of some of the estimated 2,000 mass graves may well have remained undiscovered if not for the research of Roman Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois, author of The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews. On Thursday, August 27, at 7 p.m., Desbois will be at St. Ambrose University to discuss his work. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Rogalski Center, located at the corner of Ripley and Lombard streets in Davenport. A book-signing will follow, and donations in support of Desbois' work will be accepted.

Modern Woodmen of America has agreed to incorporate the parking lot east of its office building into the design of a new riverfront park. The agreement will also provide some additional parking that will be used by the organization during office hours and by park users evenings and weekends. Armory Park will cost $12.35 million and will be funded through the Downtown Tax Increment Finance District. The new park should be complete in 2010.

Dean Klinkenberg virtually lived in the Quad Cities in the summers of 2007 and 2008, exploring any place that might interest visitors. He then wrote The Quad Cities Travel Guide. The book can be purchased online at and at tourist-oriented retail outlets.

The Figge Art Museum and Blick Art Materials have created a one-year artist-in-residence pilot program at the museum for emerging student artists at the master's level and above. Two participants began their residencies earlier this month. Included in the program are free studio space in downtown Davenport overlooking Second Street, free housing two miles away from the studio space, a flexible job at one of the sponsoring organizations, free art supplies provided by Blick Art Materials, the opportunity to exhibit on a monthly basis in downtown Davenport, free limited health insurance, and free marketing of the artists' work and exhibitions in printed material and online sources. For more information about the Figge Art Museum, visit

The Iowa Whitewater Coalition has announced the Clean Rivers Team Stewardship Program -- a mini-grant program to help fund local river cleanup activities across Iowa. Any community group or organization in Iowa may apply for a grant of up to $500 for expenses related to river cleanup. Grants are limited to a maximum of $500. Details are available at Questions can be addressed to Peter Komendowski at (319)269-8493.

Seniors are invited to the Davenport Public Library's Fairmount Street location on Wednesday, July 29, at 1 p.m. for the fourth-annual ice-cream social. The free event's featured entertainment will be the two-part PBS documentary Pioneers of Television. For more information, call (563)888-3371 or visit

Susan Uthoff, Iowa State University Program Assistant, will discuss current food-preservation techniques at the program "Why Grandma's Canning Methods Won't Work." Call (563)359-7577 to register for the morning or afternoon session. This workshop is free and will be held on August 10 from 10 to 11 a.m. or 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Scott County Extension Office (875 Tanglefoot Lane in Bettendorf).

Local not-for-profit organizations are invited to participate in a fundraising opportunity with local Younkers stores. The company's Community Day Event will be held on Saturday, November 14. Not-for-profit organizations can sign up at This event provides an opportunity for local organizations to gather the donations needed to support their missions.

The Putnam Museum's Egyptian Gallery is undergoing a renovation - and the museum is looking for a new gallery name to go with its new look. The gallery has housed two mummies since the 1960s and is slated to reopen August 22 with several updated components, including new flooring, new lighting, new mummy cases, and a touch-screen video monitor that features results from the CT scans performed at Genesis two years ago. Name suggestions should be sent to by July 30. The winner will be notified in August, will receive a lifetime membership to the Putnam, and will be invited to the gallery's VIP premiere on August 21.

On Wednesday, July 22, a team of cyclists participating in the Journey of Hope will arrive in Davenport as part of a nine-week, 4,000-mile cycling event across the country to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities. The team will arrive in the afternoon and then have dinner and a friendship visit at 1757 West 12th Street beginning at 5 p.m. Visit for more information, or call (704)504-2400 extension 159.

Two new park concepts are being developed by the Rock Island Parks & Recreation Department: Old Chicago Park and Douglas Park. Old Chicago Park, located on Ninth Street east of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, will be a brand-new park. The designs can be viewed here. Comments and suggestions on the plans are being accepted by e-mail ( and phone (309)732-7275. A finalized design will be created and presented for public comment in the coming months.

The Goldman family has donated six properties in the 1600 block of Second Avenue to Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation. Stanley and Ann Goldman, owners of Hyman's Furniture Store, were honored Friday for their contributions to the community, including the recent property donations. The properties, valued at nearly half a million dollars, are slated to become a business incubator and housing.

After being in Davenport for 42 years, the International Woodcarvers Congress is moving its annual show to Bettendorf's new Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center. The event runs Thursday, June 25, through Sunday, June 28, and is the longest-running and most-prestigious competitively judged woodcarving art show in existence. Featuring exhibits from all over the United States, Canada, and some countries overseas, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 2021 State Street. Admission is $4, but children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit

St. Anthony's Catholic Church (at 417 North Main Street in Davenport) broke ground on Sunday, June 14, on a new multipurpose hall, an education center, a gathering center, parish offices, a warming kitchen, a patio, and a distribution window out of which meals will be served to the homeless and underprivileged. The $1.8-million expansion project will be completed by June 2010. For more information on St. Anthony's, visit

The Iowa Finance Authority has been awarded $73 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Treasury to ease pressure on the housing market. The Treasury Department will work with state housing agencies to jump-start the development or renovation of qualified affordable housing for families across the country.

Jim LeachPresident Barack Obama has picked Davenport native and former Republican member of Congress Jim Leach of Iowa to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. In a statement, Obama described Leach as "a valued and dedicated public servant" who can carry on the endowment's "vital mission of ... giving the American public access to the rich resources of our culture." Obama has proposed increasing Natinal Endowment for the Humanities funding to $171.3 million in 2010. In March, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution to name the federal courthouse in Davenport in Leach's honor.