The Patriot Chopper, a custom motorcycle built in collaboration with the National Guard and Orange County Choppers, will be on display at this year's Sturgis on the River event held June 12 through 14. In July 2007, the National Guard encouraged soldiers from around the country to submit their ideas for the custom design of a National Guard-themed bike. For more information on the event, visit (


The Quad Cities will host the Upper Mississippi River Conference and RiverWay 2008 late this summer. The conference, which will take place August 21 through 23, will include three keynote speakers talking about ways to connect people with the river and how to enhance wildlife habitats. Although the event at the i wireless Center in Moline is geared toward city officials, architects, environmentalists, and teachers, it will provide a variety of activities for the general public. The conference partnered with River Action, which is producing RiverWay 2008, to offer events such as night bike rides, lock and dam tours, and canoing lessons. More information is available at ( - Marguerite Day


The Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce and the City of Bettendorf are bringing public art to the downtown corridor. This month, three sculptures will be placed, with an additional three pieces of art scheduled in 2009. The chamber is asking for donations to fund the art project and has raised $2,550 toward the $9,400 goal. A charitable not-for-profit foundation has been set up at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to Bettendorf Chamber Public Art, 2117 State St., Bettendorf IA 52722.


The LeClaire RAGBRAI Committee has won $1,000 from Our Iowa magazine in its Best Bloomin' Towns in Iowa contest. Plans for LeClaire include beginning a "downtown makeover" with barrels along the main street with planted flowers. Barrels with wave petunias will be in place by early June. LeClaire is the ending point for this year's RAGBRAI ride. On Saturday, July 26, more than 15,000 cyclists will be riding from Tipton to LeClaire. For more information about RAGBRAI in LeClaire, visit (


The City of Rock Island now offers customers the opportunity to pay bills online at the city's Web site ( Payments can be made by Visa, MasterCard, or electronic check. No service fees are charged to customers. To get started, customers will need to have a utility bill handy, as a city account number and telephone number are needed to create an online account. Billing history, meter-reading history, usage history, service information, balance history, and water and sewer rates are also available through the service. For more information, contact the City of Rock Island customer service at (309) 732-2000 or ( Customer-service hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Carmen Darland Deann Thoms, president of Quad City Arts, last week announced the appointment of Carmen Darland as executive director of the organization. Most recently, Darland served 18 years as vice president of marketing for Heart of America Restaurants & Inns and was previously with Davenport Bank & Trust Company (now Wells Fargo). The Des Moines native currently serves on the boards of DavenportOne, Goodwill of the Heartland, and North Scott Educational Foundation. Quad City Arts serves six counties in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. For more information, visit (


Piano Celebration, hosted by Piano for a Richer Life, raised more than $31,000 for the Ronald McDonald House. This year, more than 400 local celebrities, student pianists, and piano enthusiasts performed at NorthPark Mall in Davenport on three Yamaha Conservatory grand pianos with a dual purpose: to raise funds to support the local Ronald McDonald House and to emphasize that piano study enhances brain development. Iowa City Ronald McDonald House serves the families of thousands of children suffering from critical conditions. The event took place on Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20.


Amtrak has released a study on behalf of the Iowa Department of Transportation concerning the feasibility of passenger-rail service from the Quad Cities to Iowa City on a route originating from Chicago. Annual ridership on the full route is estimated at approximately 187,000 passengers, based on two daily round trips and track improvements being made to allow maximum speeds of 79 miles per hour. The states of Iowa and Illinois would share the capital-investment costs, and the estimated annual Amtrak operating-contract expense of roughly $6 million. The estimated cost to upgrade the railroad infrastructure in this example is $54.9 million. Reports and maps concerning this study are available at (


Dale Haake of Davenport is the fourth Quad City Poet Laureate, joining former laureates Dick Stahl, Rebecca Wee, and Kathleen Lawless Cox. The new Quad City Poet Laureate will officially begin his two-year term on Wednesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. at the Quad City Arts Center, 1715 Second Avenue in Rock Island. There, Haake will be formally introduced to the public and will give a reading of his work. The event is free and open to the public, and will be happening in conjunction with National Poetry Month.


Project NOW Incorporated has received an Energy Conservation Home Repair Grant to assist homeowners within a targeted area of Silvis with weatherization. The targeted area encompasses Second/Hero Street to Eighth Street and First Avenue to Second Avenue C. Qualified homeowners will receive assistance with home repairs including furnace work, attic and wall insulation, door and window repair or replacement, water-heater replacement, small plumbing and electrical measures, and minor siding repair. Interested applicants should contact the weatherization department at (309) 793-6391.