It’s the haunting month in the Quad-Cities, but there’s plenty of non-frightening, fun stuff going on in the area!

And every month we scare up plenty of positive news in the Q-Cs. There are always a lot of great things happening in the Quad-Cities, and every month, we here at QuadCities.com, in partnership with our friends at KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live,” present to you an array of some of the best of them. We call this What’s The Good News? and it’s a way for you to keep up with some of the awesome people, events and things going on here in our community.

So, what’s the good news for October?

Here ya go…

Quad City Strikers 2008 Boys Are Number One In Iowa!

Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!The Quad City Strikers Warriors 2008 boys soccer team is the top-ranked squad in all of Iowa!

The team, coached by Juan and Christian Nuci, is undefeated at 15 wins, zero losses and one draw, and has been ranked number one in the state at the 2008 boys level since the beginning of the fall season in all but one week. They’ve played the top-ranked teams in Iowa and Nebraska in various tournaments over the past months, defeating them all. Last weekend, they played some of the top-ranked teams in Illinois, and remained undefeated, beating Peoria 4-0 and Millenium 5-0 before winning the championship 5-1 vs. NSSC.

The squad includes Aiden Nuci, Caleb Hythecker, Colton Schuette, Connor Wehr, Derrick Partman, Drew Craig, Easton Bohnstengel, Fred “Yellow Card Freddie” Callender, Izaak Mejia, Jackson Leary, Javier Alvarado, Joseph Ly, Lance Brock, Nathan Winger, Payton Douglas, Seth Utsinger, and Wyatt Marshall.

Rock Island’s Denkmann Principal and Staff Shave their Heads for Student Battling Cancer

Sixth-grade student Jose Lopez was diagnosed this past spring with Leukemia after Denkmann’s school nurse, Ms. Zimanek noticed an issue with one of his eyes. The school nurse contacted Jose’s mother and got him into an eye doctor that day. Jose is currently in Peoria receiving treatment.

Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!Principal Versluis asked students and staff to bring any spare change they had and if the school was able to raise 2,021 dollars by the end of this month he would get a mohawk. Staff added more incentives to raise money and said whichever staff member collected the largest amount of money would shave their head. The school surpassed the goal within just a few days!

“As a Leader in Me School we really strive to follow the 7 Habits of Effective People and habit 5 is seek first to understand then to be understood which is really all about empathy and caring about each other and really truly listening and figuring out the situation and then trying to help solve the problem or support a situation and that’s what we did here,” said Principal Versluis.

Last week Principal Versluis shaved his head at school into a mohawk and then on Wednesday, September 29, Jose’s teacher, Ms. Kerr, Ms. Zimanek, and one of the building’s paraprofessionals, shaved their heads at a special assembly.  Jose got to watch over Zoom.

At the assembly, the school announced they raised more than $4,000! Plus another $7,000 from a GoFundPage Ms. Kerr started! In total, the family will receive more than $11,000! All proceeds will go directly to Jose’s family to cover medical and transportation costs.

“We are a caring, compassionate unit of people working together whether it’s in learning situations, a recess situation, and in this case collecting money for a family in need. We came together as a family to support them and I think that says a lot about who we are as a school unit and a family,” said Principal Versluis.

The school presented a check to Jose’s grandmother and aunt at the assembly.

Moline And Rock Island Team Up To Fight Hunger

The oldest rivalry in Illinois High School sports is coming together to fight hunger.

Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!During their football games this year, Moline and Rock Island High Schools are collecting canned goods to help fight hunger in the Quad-Cities, and the two high schools are competing to see who can collect the most food for hungry folks in the Quad-Cities!

Help fight hunger and check out the area football squads!

Quad Cities Community Foundation Gives Away Over $500,000

The Quad Cities Community Foundation today announced the recipients of a total of $566,000 through its Coordinated Field of Interest Grant program. Made possible by donors to the Community Foundation, this year’s program pools resources from 11 different Field of Interest Funds as well as the Quad Cities Community Impact Fund.

The Coordinated Field of Interest Grant program represents one of the largest single grantmaking distributions made by the Community Foundation each year.

Grants from the program cover a variety of specific focus areas, from basic needs and health to community development and arts and culture.

“The Coordinated Field of Interest Grant program is a wonderful example of how we work to find the intersection between the pressing needs in our community and the issues donors are passionate about,” said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “The 32 recipients of these grants provide a diverse range of resources and services to better our region, and it’s a privilege for us to help donor generosity support that work in the best way possible.”

Urban Exposure Indie Film Project Helping Minority Filmmakers

Jonathan Burnett established the Urban Exposure Independent Film Project at the Azubuike African American Council for the Arts seven Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!years ago to introduce students between the ages of 17 and 23 to the power of filmmaking, opening their minds to the educational and career opportunities available to them and inspiring them to tell their own stories. In that time, he’s seen participants go on to earn degrees in filmmaking, start careers in the industry, and win awards at international film festivals.

Now, with a two-year grant from the Quad Cities Community Impact Fund in the focus areas of arts and culture and youth development, Azubuike will be able to reach more Urban Exposure participants and grow the region’s status as a vibrant cultural center. Part of the funding will go toward recruitment incentives like scholarships to help students who need to earn money over the summer commit to the intensive program, which runs eight to 10 weeks. The grant will also fund a separate new initiative, the Quad Cities Film Production Incubator, to support filmmakers ages 20 to 28 from the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.

“This funding will begin to create a new generation of filmmakers who have the opportunity to make an immediate impact within the industry,” said Burnett.

Rock Island High School Teacher Performing On Tour With Foreigner

Over the fall break, RIMSD Orchestra teacher Matt Manweiler will be performing with Foreigner!

This will be Matt Manweiler’s second time performing on tour with Foreigner, the world-famous rock band that has sold 80 million albums Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!and is known for hits such as “I Want To Know What Love Is” and “Juke Box Hero”. He will be traveling with Foreigner for a run of shows in  Michigan and Ohio.

Foreigner is doing a special project that seeks to increase musical diversity by bridging the gap between classical and rock music by joining forces with a classical music ensemble. Mr. Manweiler is excited to help Foreigner bring their vision of a more inclusive and diverse performance to audiences.

Teaching music that is inclusive of many different styles and traditions is one of Rock Island Orchestra’s main goals, as the directors regularly teach styles of music from around the world through side by side concerts and workshops with well-known artists like Jesus Florido (Latin), The Turtle Island String Quartet (Jazz), Christian Howes (Latin and Jazz), and Mark Wood from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Rock).

“I’m hoping to use this experience to show my students what is involved in the production of large rock shows, as well as build connections that will benefit the students in Rock Island,” said Mr. Manweiler.

This will be Foreigner’s third time performing with staff and students from Rock Island School District.  In 2018 Mr. Manweiler toured with Foreigner on a Midwest tour. In the Spring of 2020, the Rock Island High School Choir performed with Foreigner on the song “I Want To Know What Love Is” at the band’s show in the Adler Theater.

Rock Island Names Its Citizens Of The Year

Each year, people in the community have an opportunity to submit a nomination for Rock Island residents who have made selfless Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!contributions of service to the community.

Rock Island High School dean Andy Campbell was chosen for the category of Education, RIHS coach Thurgood Marshall was chosen for the category of Individual, and RIHS student Riley Jones was chosen for the category of Youth. On September 27, they were honored at the city council meeting.

Theos Will Remain Open In Downtown Rock Island

Theo’s Java Club, a staple of the downtown Rock Island scene for over 27 years, has found a new owner, current owner and founder Theo Grevas told QuadCities.com today.

As previously reported on QuadCities.com, owner Theo Grevas had mentioned Oct. 2 as a potential closing date for the quirky and unique spot for coffee, sandwiches, tea and more which has been a haven for a wide variety of folks from creatives to tourists at 213 17th St., Rock Island since 1994. Grevas since pushed the end date to Wednesday, Oct. 6, and had Oct. 2 as the final open mic night under his ownership. Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!On that Wednesday night, the shop closed under the Theo’s banner for the last time.

However, it’s set to re-open in early November.

Grevas had been in negotiations with the new owner, who still wishes to remain anonymous, for the past couple weeks. A handful of other potential owners had also stepped into the ring, but had to withdraw either due to lack of funding, or interest. Grevas is retiring after 27 years in business, as owner of the Java Club, as well as the former Java Hut in downtown Davenport.

The shop will still close this week, albeit temporarily, as new ownership transitions into place. The venue will undergo some renovations, including a revamping of its performance area, which will be utilized far more under the new ownership, Grevas said.

“I’m happy that it’ll remain open beyond my ownership of it,” Grevas said. “I’m confident that the new owner will maintain the standards and quality we’ve had for the past 27 years, and I’m really happy that our customers and people who have supported us will continue to have a place to stop in for coffee and lunch and more.”

Grevas mentioned that he was looking forward to retirement, and taking a trip with his wife, but he’ll maintain contact with the new owners and will be available to consult with them during and after the takeover.

Current staff has been offered jobs with the new ownership, but it’s uncertain how many will be staying or have moved on to other opportunities.

“You’ll probably still see me in here from time to time,” Grevas said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the new owner is going to do with it, I’m sure it’s going to be great!”

For more ongoing coverage of this story, continue to check out QuadCities.com.

WIU Grad One Of Four Statewide To Win Grant

A 2020 Western Illinois University School of Agriculture alumna has been named one of four winners statewide of an agricultural grant which helps support and retain new teachers.

Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!Anna Shupe is in her second year teaching in the Paris (IL) School District. She was recently named a winner in the Illinois Agricultural Education Teacher Grant Program.

The grant was given to four Illinois agriculture teachers who are in their first-fifth year of teaching. She will receive $2,000 a year for the next five years, as long as she continues teaching agriculture in Illinois.

“I applied for this grant this past May after completing my first year of teaching,” said Shupe. “The application consisted mainly of setting goals for myself professionally and for my program.”

Shupe applied for the grant in May and said she realized she may be one of the winners after representatives from the Illinois Farm Bureau, Edgar County Farm Bureau, FCAE and IAA Foundation showed up at her school’s Homecoming celebration.

“At that point, I realized what was going on,” Shupe said. “I was absolutely speechless and had no idea what to think. Being a teacher isn’t the most glamorous, high paying job out there. It takes countless hours of work that no one sees and involves lots of unnoticed work. By receiving this award, it just validated that what I am doing is making a difference and that people are noticing all of the hours that I put into teaching and that I am doing something right. This was a huge honor, and I can’t thank the IAA Foundation and Illinois Farm Bureau enough for the opportunity.”

For more information about the grant program, visit iaafoundation.org. For more information on the WIU School of Agriculture, visit wiu.edu/agriculture.

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Looking For Some POSITIVE News? Check Out What's The Good News, Quad-Cities!
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.