The deadline for nominations for the Athena Business Woman's Awards is January 18. The awards honor area business women who have achieved a significant level of success, are leaders and role models, and contribute to the community. For more information, visit ChamberLink.org/IQCCC/athenanominations.htm.

On December 1, the Quad-City Times ran 29 square inches of copy on the not-for-profit organization Skills Inc. shutting down at the end of the year. The Rock Island Argus ran an eight-square-inch brief on its front page.

This can be seen as a microcosm of the Quad Cities' two daily newspapers. A River Cities' Reader analysis found that last week, the Quad-City Times devoted 80 percent more space to local news content than the twin Illinois papers, the Rock Island Argus and the Moline Dispatch.

For the week of November 29 to December 5, the Times had 91 articles, editorials, and columns written by staff members or Lee Enterprises bureau reporters concerning local and state issues and news, totaling 2,300 square inches. The Argus/Dispatch had 69 such articles, totaling 1,274 square inches.

Including letters to the editor, the Times had more local news content each day last week than the Argus or Dispatch. Outside of Saturday's paper -- in which the amount of local news content was nearly the same -- each day the Times devoted at least 23 percent more space to local news content than the Argus/Dispatch did. On Monday, the Quad-City Times featured 307 square inches of local news content; the Argus/Dispatch had 30 -- all letters to the editor.

Fifteen area women pooled their funds to increase the impact of their giving, and awarded Hand-in-Hand - an organization that assists local families with special needs - a $1,000 grant. They call themselves the Women of Wisdom Giving Circle and focus on helping women and children in the Quad Cities area. The Women of Wisdom were established in June 2009 and will make grants approximately every four months to a charitable organization or program of their choice. Hand-in-Hand is the recipient of their first award. For more information about giving circles, visit CFGRB.org.

Illinois had the sixth-most carbon-dioxide emissions from coal power plants in 2007, according to a new study. Iowa ranked 23rd. The Baldwin Energy Complex coal-fired power plant in Baldwin is the dirtiest power plant in Illinois based on carbon-dioxide emissions, and it's the 30th-dirtiest plant in the country, according to a new analysis titled "America's Biggest Polluters: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants in 2007." For a copy of the report, click here.

The Christian Care Board of Directors, facing an operating-budget deficit, has reduced personnel by close to 50 percent. The faith-based, not-for-profit organization in Rock Island has provided food and shelter to record numbers this year - 42,193 meals and 10,346 nights of lodging to those in need. The organization has two facilities, a domestic-violence shelter for abused women and children and a rescue mission for homeless men, at which it also hosts a community meal site. The organization does not receive any funding from the state or federal government. To find out more about Christian Care, visit ChristianCareQC.org.

Scott HarrisonClarity is important for water, and it's also true for charity.

When Scott Harrison founded charity: water in 2006, he was targeting people who were "disenchanted with charity," he said in an interview last week. "Most of my friends said the main reason they weren't giving to charity is because they didn't know how much of their money was actually going to go to people in need."

Harrison's solution was to connect donors to their gifts. "We'll never do a [water] well unless we can get a GPS, a photo, a name, and population ... and publicly place them all on Google Earth for transparency," he said.

And 100 percent of donated money from the public goes to water projects in developing nations. Harrison didn't have this worked out initially but has developed the concept of "The Well," in which benefactors give $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000 a month to support the charity's operational costs. That allows the organization to use public donations exclusively for water projects.

charity: water also places an emphasis on design. "I wanted charity to look like Apple," Harrison said. "Why shouldn't we be telling stories with sophistication, with elegance, with authenticity? And telling them in a newsy way?"

Water for Christmas, a local fundraising campaign for charity: water, will be bringing Harrison to the Quad Cities for a number of events November 21 through 23, including an Iowa Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce dinner. (See the schedule here.) Water for Christmas has raised more than $100,000 for charity: water in the year it's been active.

Each year, Project Censored selects 25 "important national news stories that are underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by the U.S. corporate media."

For the full summary for each of this year's selections, including the original sources and Web resources, visit ProjectCensored.org/top-stories/category/two-thousand-and-ten-book/.

1. U.S. Congress Sells Out to Wall Street

Federal lawmakers responsible for overseeing the U.S. economy have received millions of dollars from Wall Street firms. Since 2001, eight of the most troubled firms have donated $64.2 million to congressional candidates, presidential candidates, and the Republican and Democratic parties. As senators, Barack Obama and John McCain received a combined $3.1 million. The donors include investment bankers Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, insurer American International Group, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Some of the top recipients of contributions from companies receiving Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) money are the same members of Congress who chair committees charged with regulating the financial sector and overseeing the effectiveness of this unprecedented government program. In total, members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs, Senate Finance Committee, and House Financial Services Committee received $5.2 million from TARP recipients in the 2007-8 election cycle. President Obama collected at least $4.3 million from employees at these companies for his presidential campaign.

Nearly every member of the House Financial Services Committee, which in February 2009 oversaw hearings on how the $700 billion of TARP bailout was being spent, received contributions associated with these financial institutions during the 2008 election cycle. "You could say that the finance industry got their money's worth by supporting members of Congress who were inclined to look the other way," said Lawrence Jacobs, the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics & Governance.

For instance, in 2004 when the Securities & Exchange Commission adopted a major rule change that freed investment banks to plunge tens of billions of dollars in borrowed money into subprime mortgages and other risky plays, congressional banking committees held no oversight hearings. Congressional inaction also allowed mortgage agents to earn high fees for peddling loans to unqualified homebuyers and prevented states from toughening regulations on predatory lending practices.

Author Matt Taibbi writes that some of the most egregious selling of the U.S. government to Wall Street happened in the late 1990s, when "Democrats, tired of getting slaughtered in the fundraising arena by Republicans, decided to throw off their old reliance on unions and interest groups and become more 'business-friendly.' Wall Street responded by flooding Washington with money, buying allies in both parties." In the 10-year period beginning in 1998, financial companies spent $1.7 billion on federal campaign contributions and another $3.4 billion on lobbyists. Wise political investments enabled the nation's top bankers to effectively scrap any meaningful oversight of the financial industry.

The Palmer College of Chiropractic Board of Trustees has announced the unanimous selection of Dennis Marchiori as chancellor of the school. His appointment will take effect December 15. Marchiori will succeed William Wilke, a Quad Cities-area businessman and a member of the Palmer board since 1998. In December 2008, following the departure of Chancellor Larry Patten, the board asked Wilke to serve until a thorough search could be conducted. An investiture ceremony is being planned for early next year.

A citizen survey will be conducted starting this week in Rock Island. Residents may receive a phone call from PMR Personal Marketing Research asking questions about the community. Every two years Renaissance Rock Island conducts citizen phone surveys to learn more about community perceptions of the city, along with how to attract and retain residents, businesses, and visitors. Eight hundred Quad Cities-area residents will be surveyed, creating a margin of error of 3.5 percent at a 95-percent level of confidence.

Fall/Winter 2009 Dining Guide. Click to download.The fall/winter 2009 Quad Cities' Dining Guide is now available, featuring listings for more than 700 area restaurants.

You can get the Dining Guide three ways:

  • Pick it up in the October 29 issue of the River Cities' Reader.
  • Download a .pdf of it here.
  • Browse and search the listings online at RCReader.com/dining, at which listings are regularly updated.

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