The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved the City of Rock Island's plans for flood protection during the Armory Park construction project. This permits Williams Construction Management/Valley Construction, the city's construction manager, and its subcontractors to proceed with starting the permanent flood-protection system north of the existing Armory building and then demolishing the Armory. The first step in the process is to install steel sheet piles on the north side of the Armory, followed by demolition of the Armory building. No date has been set for the demolition. The project is expected to be completed in 2010.

The new "2+2" agreement between Black Hawk College and Western Illinois University will allow students enrolled in engineering, nursing, and liberal-arts-and-sciences degree programs to complete courses at both schools simultaneously. Students who receive financial aid can save up to 25 percent over four years as they earn a bachelor's degree. Studies have shown that community-college students who simultaneously take university courses have a 15- to 20-percent higher rate of success. For more information, call the Western Illinois University Quad Cities campus at (309)762-9481 or Black Hawk College at (309)796-5100.

Of the 70,312 registered voters in Davenport, only 15,961 (22.7 percent) voted in the March 3 election for Ward 2 alderman and the citywide Local Option Sales Tax/Davenport Promise referendum. Of those who voted on the referendum, 6,235 (39.1 percent) voted yes, and 9,717 (60.9 percent) voted no. For more information on the election, visit

St. Ambrose University has established a new downtown-Davenport presence in the NewVentures Center, located at 331 West Third Street. St. Ambrose will initially use office space and state-of-the-art "smart classrooms" to administer the Master of Organizational Leadership degree program and offer several MBA courses. St. Ambrose will continue to develop a strategic vision for its downtown presence, including other business and leadership-development initiatives. Already in place, a collaboration between St. Ambrose and the Figge Art Museum has resulted in several exhibits, and other joint projects and initiatives are under consideration.

The Quad Cities Mississippi River Project Office's new administration building was recently opened in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, near Lock and Dam 14. It is the largest project office in the Rock Island District and the largest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presence in Iowa. The roughly $2-million facility will serve as the planning and operations center for 314 miles of the Mississippi River from Cassville, Wisconsin, to south of Hannibal, Missouri. It will be responsible for managing roughly 300 federal employees and more than 96,000 acres of federal land, including 55,000 acres of natural floodplain forest, 12 lock-and-dam sites, and 26 recreation sites.

Bettendorf Transit has secured a $1.4-million grant through the Iowa Clean Air Program for the "Riverfront Circulator" program establishing a limited-stop route through four Quad Cities downtowns. The grant will help purchase four low-emission buses and fund operating costs of the three-year project, a joint venture supported by fiscal commitments from Metro as well as Davenport Citibus. It is meant to move tourists and locals among the four downtowns.
Trinity at Terrace Park will celebrate its fifth anniversary of operation by hosting a free community birthday party from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 22, at the hospital (4500 Utica Ridge Road in Bettendorf). The event will feature activities for children. The hospital officially opened its doors to patients on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - the same day it ceased operations at the hospital it replaced, Trinity Medical Center's North Campus in Davenport. Since opening, nearly 1,400 babies have been born in at the hospital, and almost 70,000 patients have been treated in its emergency room. If you'd like to attend, call Trinity's My Nurse at (877)242-8899.

Scott Community College is building a new science addition featuring a large, high-tech lecture hall with comfortable seating; updated lab facilities; and full multimedia classrooms and labs. The building will house the college's chemistry, physics, and physical-science classes. Construction began this winter on the south end of the campus. It is expected that construction will be completed in October, and classes will be offered in spring 2010. This project is one of three capital-improvement projects planned on the Scott Community College Belmont Road campus in Bettendorf. Other improvements include a second college entrance and a renovation/addition to the Applied Technologies building.

The Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport will store and display much of the permanent collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art and will also host some of its traveling shows and University of Iowa Museum of Art-organized exhibitions. With the exception of a selection of nearly 250 works of art that returned to campus in October, the collection has been in storage in Chicago since it was moved during the June 2008 flood. The University of Iowa Museum of Art staff is currently working to finalize plans to install a special exhibition of masterworks, including the museum's famous Jackson Pollock Mural, for public viewing at the Figge in April.

The forum "Democracy's Challenge: Reclaiming the Public's Role" will be held on Thursday, January 22, at 6 p.m. at the new County Extension Office, 321 West Second Avenue in Milan. It will address the issues of public engagement, why civic duty is important, and our role as citizens in the democratic process. The cost is $5 per person and includes an issue book produced by the Kettering Foundation. Programs are open to adults and high-school students. Register online at For more information, call (309) 756-9978.