Two-time "Dancing with the Stars" champion and Mercury Nashville recording artist Julianne Hough has partnered up with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit, to map and rate playspaces everywhere online. Once it has this comprehensive user-generated playground audit, KaBOOM! will know which areas of the country have a great place for kids to play every day and which areas fall short. Toward this end, Julianne will donate $1 to select charities every time someone uploads a new place to play (up to $100,000).

The challenge runs 100 days, from March 23 - June 30, or until Julianne gives away $100,000 to national non-profits that have teamed up with KaBOOM! for this project: the YMCA of the USA, National Wildlife Federation, Shaping America's Health, Jumpstart, and America's Promise Alliance. To participate, users go online to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder (kaboom.org/playspacefinder), pick a great charity to earn money for, then post a picture they took of a place to play, and rate it. Julianne will then give the non-profit they selected $1 each time they load a new playspace to the map. In addition to benefiting charity, every playspace loaded counts as an entry in a sweepstakes to meet Julianne or win autographed merchandise. By using online technology to activate and engage individuals, the 100,000 Playspaces in 100 Days Campaign will alert communities of the importance of play, and motivate individuals to start taking action.

"In the U.S. childhood obesity numbers have tripled since I was little. Statisics say that nearly a third of our nations kids are overweight or well on their way. I have joined with KABOOM to try and make sure that kids have a place to play and run around every day," say Julianne. When complete, the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder will serve as a national audit of playspaces, allowing communities to evaluate how many there are, their quality, and how accessible they are.

Growing up in Utah, Julianne had a very active childhood. She and her siblings were always outside playing together as well as dancing and singing. She wants to help other kids have some of the same opportunities as she did.

To do something about the situation, Julianne teamed up with KaBOOM! to help them complete an online map of playgrounds, the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder. "I want to help parents know where all the great places are to play in their neighborhood," Julianne said. Once 100,000 new playspaces are entered onto the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder, KaBOOM! will have a national map full of places to play, parents can see where to take their kids, and KaBOOM! can spot areas that need attention.

The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder is a Google-based map that currently shows more than 16,000 user-generated entries with photos, amenities, and ratings of places kids play.  The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder includes all different sorts of places to play: playgrounds, athletic fields, ice rinks, basketball courts, skateparks, and swimming pools, even nature trails and community gardens. When complete, the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder will serve as a national audit of playspaces, allowing communities to evaluate how many there are, their quality, and how accessible they are.
Since 1995, KaBOOM! has constructed almost 1,600 playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also created the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play.



Five Quad City area employers have been nominated for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.  The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The nominees are:

 Bettendorf Police Department

Civil Constructors Inc., East Moline

Kelly's Medical Equipment and Supply, Davenport

Springfield Armory Inc., Geneseo

Superior Labels, Davenport.

More than 3,200 National Guard and Reserve members from across the country nominated their employers for their outstanding support. Many employers, for example, provided continued benefits, differential pay, family assistance and additional support. A national selection board comprised of senior defense officials and business leaders will select up to 15 recipients for this year's award. The Department of Defense will announce the 2009 Freedom Award recipients this summer. The 2009 Freedom Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., September 17th at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Center.


About ESGR

 Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 that seeks to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees. We recognize outstanding support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts through mediation. For more information, please visit www.esgr.mil.

About the Award

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. Previous honorees include American Express, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Sears, Home Depot, the State of Tennessee and the Winner School District of South Dakota. For more information, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil.

(Moline, IL)  Some of the county's newest voters are holding a news conference asking voters to approve the one percent sales tax referendum on the April 7th ballot.  These students have been in area schools for years and they know first hand the buildings need major updates.

The news conference is scheduled for Thursday, March 26th at 3:30 pm in the King Plaza strip mall in Moline.  The event will take place in front of Kinetic Fitness at 3620 Avenue of the Cities.

Student leaders from Moline, United Township and Augustana will be available for questions after the news conference.

The Musser Public Library in Muscatine will host the Iowa Egg Council's 2009 White House Easter Egg display throughout the month of April.  The exhibition can be viewed until April 30th and then it will move on to another city.

The 19 beautifully decorated eggs in this display are the creations of various Iowa artists.  The eggs were entered in the 2009 White House Easter Egg Decorating Contest, held during the 2008 Iowa State Fair. This contest invites Iowa artists to decorate an egg to depict a special feature, theme, icon, or location in/of Iowa. The winning egg is then sent to Washington, D.C. to be on display at the White House during the Easter season. 

At this year's contest, Marjorie Nedjl of Ely won first place, winning a cash prize plus traveling expenses to see her decorated egg displayed at the White House. Second place went to Carolyn Klein of Norwalk, and Marion Smith of Eagle Grove won third place. 

Each year the Iowa Egg Council sponsors the White House Easter Egg Decorating Contest during the Iowa State Fair. Entry forms can be requested each year by calling 1-877-IOWAEGG, Ext. 11 or be accessing the website at www.iowaegg.org.

Contact Info: Irene Warschauer, Office Manager, Musser Public Library, Ph: 563-263-3065, iwarschauer@muscatinelibrary.us

(March 23, 2009) -- Each year, The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, recognizes state legislators across the country who have initiated path-breaking animal protection legislation and demonstrably advanced reform in the policy-making arena. The organization is pleased to announce that Iowa state Rep. Jim Lykam is a Humane State Legislator Award winner for 2008.

Rep. Lykam is being honored for introducing and passing anti-dogfighting legislation. That bill, HF 2381, increased the penalties for being a spectator at a dogfight.

Continuing his leadership on animal protection policies into this legislative session, Rep. Lykam is also currently the sponsor of HF 486, which would allow the state to conduct inspections of USDA-licensed puppy mills in Iowa.

"Ending animal fighting in Iowa will only happen with penalties that serve as a deterrent," said Rep. Lykam. "It is my hope that we have taken a step towards this goal by enacting tougher penalties."

"Iowa Representative Jim Lykam has been a champion of animal protection since he came into office," said Carol Griglione, Iowa state director for The HSUS. "He has advanced the protection of animals in Iowa in a very meaningful way, and we are pleased to honor him with this award and acknowledge his dedicated public service."

Media Contact: Martin Montorfano, 301-258-3152, mmontorfano@humanesociety.org


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization - backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty. On the web at humanesociety.org .

As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, Partners in Job Training and Placement will receive funds to administer a Summer Youth Employment Program. Youth participating in the program will be placed in a variety of public and private sector worksites beginning in June. Jobs will include maintenance, clerical, grounds keeping, and other positions. Youth will receive minimum wage. Work related expenses such as physicals will be provided.  Your Rock Island County Extension unit has requested to secure funding for up to five youth under this program for the summer.  If you know of youth looking for a job and qualifies for the Partners in Job Training and Placement program please ask them to contact  Mr. David Flowers at: 309-736-9621, ext. 101, Mondays through Thursdays, between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Individuals appointments will be scheduled.

This program is income based. NOT ALL YOUTH WILL QUALIFY. Youth must be between the ages of 16 and 24 to participate.

DAVENPORT, Iowa–It took three years for St. Ambrose University Occupational Therapy alumna Angie DeLost to convince ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to choose her client's family for a home makeover. On Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m., St. Ambrose will hold a "Lunch and Learn" featuring DeLost, along with eight-year-old client Jake Grys, who suffers from the genetic disorder Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Rogalski Center, located at the corner of Ripley and Lombard Streets, one block west of Harrison Street. Reservations are recommended and those who attend are invited to bring a sack lunch.

Following a viewing of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Grys family episode, DeLost will discuss her work with show producers and her involvement in the home's modifications. Grys, along with his mother, Jean, will share their experiences with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, often referred to as "brittle bone disease," as well as answer questions about the home makeover process.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Rhonda Lane at 563/333-6277 or LaneRhondaL@sau.edu.


(from City of Davenport Media Release)

March 6, 2009

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Clarke has accepted an offer of employment to be
Davenport Public Works Director at a starting salary of $117,000, City Administrator
Malin announced.  Mr. Clarke is expected to start work in July, following retirement
from twenty eight years of service to the nation in the Army.  

LTC Clarke is currently serving as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. He has served in Iraq and
Afghanistan, serving as Chief of Construction for Afghanistan and the surrounding
region.  LTC Clarke has a degree in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion, a Masters
Degree in Engineering Management from California State University and has
completed the program at the Army Command and General Staff College.   LTC
Clarke has experience as a Director of Public Works in Taegu, South Korea and Fort
Stewart, Savannah, Georgia.  He has significant, hands-on experience in preparing
for and responding to emergencies, including a wide variety of natural disasters. 

In February, a thirteen member interview panel interviewed five semi-finalists
including LTC Clarke from a field of 32 applicants in a highly competitive national

LTC Clarke spoke highly of the Davenport Public Works Department, noting
"Davenport is a nationally accredited department through the American Public Works
Association and is a recognized regional leader at the forefront of best practices."  He
added, "I have been all around the world I'm happy that I'll have the ability to stay
in the Quad Cities after I retire from the Army.  I'm looking forward to moving to
Davenport and starting a new chapter in my career in public service".   

City Administrator Malin thanked the members of the interview panel and all the
members of the Public Works Department, for exceptional work through the past few
months.  He specifically thanked Dennis Ryan for his outstanding continuing service
as Interim Public Works Director.     

Questions may be directed to City Administrator Malin at (563) 326-6139 or LTC
Clarke at (309) 794-5253.

Following up on the soon-to-be completed Older Commercial Corridor
Revitalization Plan, the City of Davenport is launching an effort to continue
the revitalization of the corridor between St. Ambrose University and Palmer
College of Chiropractic.

Representatives from various businesses and institutions within the area
have been invited to begin the process by first defining the project area and
sharing initial thoughts about how stronger connections can be created. 
Invited participants include the anchoring institutions of St. Ambrose
University and Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport Schools, businesses
and organizations of the Hilltop area.

The meeting will be held:

Thursday, March 5, 2009 
4:00-5:30 p.m. 
JB Young Junior High School Cafeteria, 
1702 Main Street

Wider public participation will be sought once the project's parameters are
further defined through the input gathered at this initial meeting.

If you have questions, please contact Matt Flynn; Senior Manager-Planning
Division; Community Planning and Economic Development Department;
(563) 326-7743.

Jennifer A. Nahra
Communications Director

Funding from Economic Recovery Package Already Coming to the State.

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that the Iowa Finance Authority has been awarded $18,978,542 from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Projects through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These funds were contained in the Economic Stimulus Package that was recently signed into law and were allocated by annual HUD formulas. Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds housing initiatives.

"I cannot think of a more important need than housing - particularly for low-income Iowans. And for the money to be coming to our state one week after the President signed this bill last proves this recovery package is indeed timely and targeted," said Harkin. "These funds will allow low and moderate income households obtain affordable housing which will spur additional economic opportunities."

These funds will be distributed competitively and according to its allocation plan.