Nearly two-thirds of Scott County voters decided the fate and direction their country, state, and county will take in the future. Of 112,075 registered voters in Scott County, 63 percent cast ballots. A mere 56 percent of voters (24,530 out of 13,729) in Bettendorf and a disheartening 49 percent (32,588 out of 66,685) in Davenport could be bothered to vote. Some of the outlying cities weren't much better with 61 percent voting in Eldridge, 57 percent in LeClaire, and 60 percent in Princeton. Riverdale had the high for Scott County with 68 percent of registered voters doing their part for democracy. These figures are better than the nation as a whole, in which only 50 percent or so of registered voters cast ballots. The United States still ranks the lowest of all democracies in the hemisphere in the percentage of people exercising their right and privilege to vote.

Reuters Health reports that scientists can now explain why smoking marijuana can dilate human airways but can also cause bronchial spasm in some asthmatics. The discovery might lead to the development of cannabinoid-based cough and asthma medicines. The reason lies in the state of the airway when exposed to marijuana - a factor that scientists might be able to control. Current cough suppressants work by inhibiting the brain "cough center." The side effects of current drugs often cause sedation. This contrasts to medicines developed from marijuana which might work by suppressing airway nerve endings.

Palmer College of Chiropractic might be building a third campus in partnership with a Florida city. City officials in Port Orange, Florida, have asked Palmer to consider establishing a campus in the city. It would cost $7 million to $10 million and would probably be paid for with Palmer and government money. The envisioned campus is part of a plan to bring a chiropractic program to the State of Florida through Florida State University. Eventually the facility could have at least 500 students and would be part of a master plan for Port Orange. Palmer's other campuses are in Davenport and San Jose, California.

The Darwin Awards are named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, and commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it through absurd fatal accidents. The 2000 Darwin Awards have been awarded and include a man who handed his son a knife during a heated argument and insisted that his son stab him if he hated him so much - which the kid did. Also winning this year was a man who died in a fork-truck accident while filming a video on fork-truck safety. Runner-up awards go to a man who tried to play Russian roulette with a semi-automatic pistol, and men who parachuted from airplanes they had just hijacked - and didn't survive due to stupid mistakes. You can find out more about the Darwin Awards and all sorts of interesting information on human stupidity. Look at (

A recent study by ABT Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has found that pollution in the Quad Cities is three times as bad as in Houston, Texas. The report, financed by environmental groups, found that pollution from coal-fired power plants kills nearly 300 Iowans each year and sickens thousands more. Cutting those emissions by 75 percent would save the lives of 183 Iowans and 18,000 other Americans a year. Based on deaths per 100,000 people, Davenport ranks worst in Iowa with 23.8 deaths from toxic emissions. As a comparison, Chicago has 20.3 deaths per 100,000. You can find out more about the lethal air in the area and around the country, including a copy of this report, at The Clean Air Network Web site at (

If you are an artist planning a community art project, or if you need help bringing art to your neighborhood, school, or church, pick up an application for Quad City Arts' Art Dollar$/Access re-granting program for funding of projects between February 15 and December 21, 2001, in the visual, performing, literary, or interdisciplinary arts. Individual artists may apply for grants up to $1,500. Not-for-profit organizations may receive funding up to $2,000. To qualify for a grant, applicants must carry out projects of high quality that are oriented toward community arts and provide payment to participating local artists. Applications are available at the ArtsCenter Gallery, 1715 2nd Avenue, Rock Island. Deadline for applications is November 30. For more information about this program or any other Quad City Arts program, call Susan Wahlmann at (309)793-1241.

The Quad Cities Better Business Bureau (BBB) has recently announced the winners of its 2000 Integrity Awards, which are given annually to companies whose business practices and related activities exemplify the BBB's mission and principles. All Iowa and Rock Island County businesses and organizations are eligible for the award. The 2000 Integrity Award recipients are: Great River Bend Transit, Modern Woodmen of America, K&K True Value Hardware, and Fluegel's Dairy Foods, Inc.

Cell phones and the 911 system don't work very well together. While cell phones enable quick notification of police and emergency agencies, the location of the caller is unknown because addresses and phone numbers don't show up on the computer screens at the Iowa State Patrol, which handles all emergency calls made via cell phones. Callers are many times unsure where they are. The FCC will require that cell phone companies provide dispatchers with a caller's approximate location by fall 2001. Iowa officials are working on a plan that would give a caller's specific location and would be implemented by October 1, 2001. How the new system could work hasn't been determined yet, but it will tie in with a system going into effect January 1 in which the state's 911 system is revamped. Part of the new plan will have cellular phone callers located by tracing the call to the closest cell tower, and then sending the call to the nearest law-enforcement agency.

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) of 1987 as amended in 1992 means new standards for environmentally friendly washing machines that will cost a great deal more and not work as well, but will use 22 percent less energy. Washing machines that meet federal standards have already started arriving in stores, and by 2004, you probably won't be able to buy an older style machine. This program follows in the footsteps of a similar program in which federal regulators banned the traditional 3.5-gallon toilet tank in favor of 1.6-gallon models that frequently clog and have sparked a thriving black market for the older models.

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