• U.S. Bank and Firstar Bank will offer discounted loans to individuals in cities and surrounding communities of Moorhead, Minnesota; Fargo and Wahpeton, North Dakota; and Davenport, Iowa. The discounted loans, which will be available April 30 through May 18, are designed for customers who have flood-related expenses or who need to repair their homes because of the rising waters.

As the Davenport City Council nears its final consideration of a financing mechanism to pay for road improvements for a Super Wal-Mart store at 53rd Street and Elmore Avenue, there are plenty of reasons to take a hard look at the issues.

This Friday's gallery hop in The District of Rock Island has a more aggressive flavor than past installments with the theme "Art Attack." The quarterly event kicks off at 5 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m., featuring dozens of artists.

• Davenport has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess brownfields, areas of former industrial sites. The area to be studied includes most of west Davenport in the vicinity of the Mississippi River and the area surrounding Nahant Marsh - the largest urban marsh on the upper Mississippi and a recently completed EPA Superfund project.

East Moline

• About 70 percent of the Quarter re-development project in East Moline is cleaned up and ready, but East Moline Mayor Bill Ward said it needs money and building-specifications to continue.

Publisher's Note: We picked up this story from a fellow independent paper, the San Antonio Current. This is critical information in the new and emerging economies of data, access and information.

• The Junior League of the Quad Cities is working in conjunction with the City of Bettendorf to add a play area in McManus Park (better known as Rocket Park) just off Interstate 74 to meet the needs of children with physical disabilities.

Since losing the contract to run Davenport's bus system at the end of 2000, MetroLINK has begun to aggressively expand its services, and planned bus routes to rural areas and nearby college towns could be just the first step.

• The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has resumed monitoring ground-level ozone, often called smog. State and local agencies use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index to provide general information to the public about air quality and associated health effects.

Have you read the one about corporations planning to charge you hundreds of dollars a month for your tap water? Or the one about military "psychological operations" specialists manipulating viewers of CNN? What about the highly skilled programmers in Silicon Valley who, because they are immigrants, are laboring under sweatshop-like conditions?

If none of these stories rings a bell, it's not because you've missed the latest e-mail hoax.

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