It feels like a broken record, but it’s a broken record that keeps playing on the jukebox of 2020 and into 2021 – we NEED some good news! With everything negative happening in the world right now, we need positive news more than ever!

That’s why, every month, we give you What’s The Good News? a look around the Quad-Cities at the positive things happening in our community. We run the column here on QuadCities.com, and in conjunction with our media partners at KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live,” I go on PSL to chat about some of the awesome things we list here.

So, need some good news?

We’ve got it here.

For January, 2021, HERE’S the good news:

Davenport Teacher Learning New Ways To Reach Kids Through YouTube Channel

Mic Seifert, a veteran physical education teacher in Davenport, has exercised a new muscle this year he never thought he had before – computer literacy.

Like all teachers nationwide, Seifert, 47, was forced by the Covid-19 pandemic this past spring to come up with virtual content for his classes at Madison Elementary School. He’s in his 22nd year of teaching and virtual fitness lessons have become an international viral sensation.

Mic Seifert (left), with his daughter Shelby, wife Jennifer, and son Alec.

His YouTube channel, P.E. with Mr. S, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/c/PEwithMrS/videos. Since May, Seifert has made 40 videos, and already the channel’s 2,700 subscribers have viewed its videos over 80,000 times.

His most popular video, On the 1st Day of Fitness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcw3mdoRDwU – has received 32,823 views in the five weeks it has been online.

A video called I SPY with my PE Eye, Winterfest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlqcMiNs4Sc – has received 21,522 views since it was uploaded Nov. 30.

Earlier this year, Seifert realized that kids needed more encouragement to keep physical fitness top-of-mind – especially during a pandemic when they had to spend so much time indoors. He began to come up with ideas that combined his many energetic interests, which include games, superheroes, and videos.

“It’s been a big learning curve,” Seifert said recently. “In March, when we went on break, we never returned. So after my initial self-pity, feeling sorry for myself, my focus turned into — what are my students and families going to go through now? I didn’t know how to do any of this technology.

“Between Twitter and Facebook, continuous in-services, I was looking for people to give me inspiration,” he said of creating the videos. “If I saw something I liked, I wanted to learn how to do it myself. I would ask people’s questions. There are so many phenomenal educators around the world. I kept learning how to do things.”

Raccoon Motel Reopening In March

The new Raccoon Motel bar and live-music venue plans to open St. Patrick’s Day 2021 at the old Abernathy’s in downtown Davenport, with live music starting in early summer, one of its partners said Wednesday.

John McDermott, a Quad-Cities commercial lender who’s friends with original Raccoon Motel music booker Sean Moeller, is partnering with

John McDermott, co-owner of the new venture, sports a Raccoon shirt at The Drawing Room QC.

Moeller and Eric Swanson to resurrect the Raccoon – which operated from March 2017-August 2019 at 304 E. 3rd St. (now Devon’s Complaint Dept.), averaging about 150 live shows a year.

The new Raccoon already has been selling some new hoodies, stocking hats and T-shirts, and will have a pickup later today (12/23) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Drawing Room QC, 318 E. 2nd Street, Davenport — within spitting distance of the future spot for the new Motel.

McDermott said they will be renovating the gutted 4,000-square-foot-space formerly occupied by Abernathy’s apparel and accessories store, 315 E. 2nd St., which was flooded out in spring 2019, reopening that August at 432 W. 3rd St.

“I’m an entrepreneur, business guy by nature. You find ways to invest in the down times, the tough times,” McDermott (who works at Fortress Bank) said. “It will put us in place to succeed, not only for us,  but bands coming back. A lot of venues are closing and there’s going to be a void in the market. As music lovers, we don’t want to be that void. We’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

Genesis Receives Major Award

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Genesis earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport additionally received the Association’s Stroke GOLD PLUS Honor Roll Elite Award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Genesis Medical Center for a commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

Whitey’s FINALLY Names Its Shake Of The Month

Maybe this is why 2021 has started off feeling so off? Because Whitey’s has waited this long to name its SHAKE OF THE MONTH!!!

Well, you can rest easy, because the famous ice cream shop has finally, FINALLY, named its coveted Shake of the Month honor.

And the Village People approve, which, really, is what’s important here, people.

And that Shake of the Month is… Hot Chocolate.

So, here’s what the good folks at Whitey’s had to say about this Very Special shake, and how things are going to SHAKE out over the next month… or two:

Sorry we are a little delayed on announcing the Shake of the Month, but we are going to have this one stick around for January and February!

We can all pretend to warm up with the Shake of the Month, Hot Chocolate! For the next two months this shake will be on sale for the price of a Hot Fudge Shake!

Ok, Whitey’s, we love you again.

Fair enough, we never stopped loving you in the first place.

Quad-Cities Businesses Helped By More Than $275 Million In Illinois Covid Aid

Hundreds of Quad-Cities arts, entertainment and leisure businesses and similar businesses statewide — including Rust Belt, Ballet Quad-Cities, RIBCO, Playcrafters, Black Box Theater and more — were given a helping hand today as Governor J.B. Pritzker announced more than $275 million for hard hit businesses across Illinois.

Over 9,000 emergency assistance grants have been made to small businesses in over 600 cities and towns statewide through the Business

Rock Island Brewing Co. in The District saw its 2020 schedule of live music decimated.

Interruption Grants (BIG) program, according to the  Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), making it the biggest program of its kind in the United States, Pritzker said.

Some notable Quad-Cities recipients included RIBCO ($20,000), Rust Belt ($110,000), Black Box Theater ($5,000), Spotlight Theater ($15,000), Big Swing ($35,000), Futureappletree studios ($5,000), Rozz Tox ($10,000), Skellington Manor ($20,000), Huckleberrys ($20,000), Quad City Botanical Center ($150,000), Hickey Bros ($15,000), Cool Beanz ($20,000), Wake Brewing ($5,000), Ballet Quad Cities ($65,000), Billy Bobs ($20,000), Bent River ($20,000), Icons ($15,000), Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau ($150,000), and more.

According to the business grant website, the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program was developed by Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide $580 million in economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. BIG – the largest program of its kind in the nation – leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.

The BIG program consisted of $290 million for child care providers and $290 million for other small businesses throughout Illinois. As part of this program, DCEO has issued over $275 million through nearly 9,000 grants to small businesses located in over 600 cities and towns, and 98 counties throughout Illinois. In addition, $7 million has gone to forgive Illinois Small Business Emergency Loans, and up to $5 million is in the process of being issued for the Livestock Management Facilities Program.

Quad-Cities Cultural Organizations Receive $7 Million In Grants

Eleven cultural organizations and three artists in the Quad-Cities were among those to receive a share of $7 million in new grants announced Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

A total of 267 cultural organizations and 152 artists serving 118 Iowa communities will get funding, made possible by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The list of recipients includes some of Iowa’s longest-running music venues, arts and cultural heritage festivals, and theaters, along with

Photos from the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Fest at Rhythm City Casino.

artists and community arts councils, historical museums and university performing arts centers.

The Q-C institutions to receive funding (a total of $500,100) are:

Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society: $2,500

Family Museum, Bettendorf: $41,800

Figge Art Museum, Davenport: $111,500

Galvin Fine Arts Center Auditorium, St. Ambrose University: $27,300

Genesius Theatre Foundation, based in Rock Island: $5,000

German American Heritage Center, Davenport: $41,500

Junior Theatre, Davenport: $5,000

Mississippi Valley Blues Society: $5,000

New Ground Theatre, Davenport: $5,800

Putnam Museum and Science Center, Davenport: $175,000

River Music Experience, Davenport: $79,700

“The Iowa Arts and Culture Recovery Program stabilizes a vital part of Iowa’s economy by helping our arts and cultural sector build a much-needed funding bridge for a stronger recovery,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) director Chris Kramer said.

Historic Deanery Being Turned Into Music School

Hannah Holman, principal cellist with the Quad City Symphony has gotten the keys to the historic Deanery at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Davenport to open a new music school!

Hannah Holman

She’s had a longtime dream to start a new music school, which she did online in September, and she is Executive Artistic Director of the Quad City Music Academy. Following months of negotiations between the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral’s Vestry and her academy’s Board of Directors, Holman now has a 15-year lease on the 90-year-old building and the QCMA will rename it The Deanery School of Music.

“It’s so exciting,” she said Monday, on her way to hold her first private lesson there. The building will be a venue for high-quality music instruction, performance and collaboration. Private and group lessons will be offered, initially in cello, violin, viola and bass for students seeking advanced training in preparation for careers in music.

The building at 1103 Main Street is an imposing 90-year old stone and concrete facility, whose original use was as a residence, and has been vacant for over 10 years. It is about 5,500 square feet and will offer multiple-sized areas for instruction and performances.

It was originally was built as a residence for the Bishop, the chief cleric of a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. The Deanery was last used as a residence in 2009. The church researched possible uses for the building which would be compatible with the church’s mission, ideally augmenting and enhancing it.

The Deanery is located in the heart of the Hilltop Campus Village Main Street district, and is a contributing building to the College Square Historic District.

“This is a solid example of positive historic presentation and reuse of great older buildings in a positive way,” said Scott Tunnicliff, director of the Hilltop Campus Village (HCV), who’s also a member of Trinity Cathedral and on the QCMA board. HCV was active in trying to find a user for the building, he said.

Circa ’21 Brings Us A Virtual ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’

Coming to your homes on February 6 is the bluegrass musical BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN!

If you’re a fan of the film   O’ Brother Where Art Thou   and   the Circa ‘21 favorite   Southern Crossroads,   you’re going to love this show.

A merry band of misfits sneak into a theatre hoping to stay out of trouble, but instead find themselves front and center in this story about the power of music and seconds chances.

Add a down on her luck theatre owner and her wacky assistant, a clueless town mayor, his scheming wife and bumbling sheriff and you’ve got yourself an evening of music and fun that will have you grinning from ear to ear!

Streaming begins February 6 at 7pm and will be available on demand for the entire month!

Tickets are available now by visiting ShowTix4U.com and searching Circa ‘21 or clicking this link: https://www.showtix4u.com/events/17497

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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.