No doubt about it, these have been some tough times we’ve been going through. But even through all of the negative events going on, there has been some good news, and that’s what we concentrate on here, in our What’s The Good News? column on QuadCities.com and KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live.”

So, what’s the good news for this month?

Creature Feature Creeping In

The Quad Cities has a new remedy for all that ails them, as Dr. San Guinary brings his Creature Feature T.V. program to the Saturday night airwaves at 11 p.m. starting on July 4th on COZI 6.3.

The one-hour program, hosted by Doc and his cast of cutie nurses and wacky characters, showcases a wide variety of horror and science fiction schlock classics, as well as locally produced material and shorts from around the globe. The show, which sometimes gets a little risqué with its cheesy comedy, is aimed at teenagers and adults, with lots of pop culture references and in-jokes from the last 40 years, as well as borrowing and taking inspiration from film, TV, and news headlines from yesteryear through today.

An interesting aspect of Creature Feature is its connection to the community. Palmer explains, “Jones utilized the San Guinary character to raise thousands of dollars each year for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, as well as other charities. We have continued the tradition, holding Creature Feature Blood Drives, clothing collections and food drives for Omaha shelters. Now that we are in the Quad, we will be holding blood drives for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. Doc is always first to roll up his sleeve. Learn by example.” The first blood drive slated to be held at the Midwest Monster Fest horror convention in East Moline on September 5th, with shelter drives slated for early fall.

Dr. San Guinary’s Creature Feature can be watched online at www.CreatureFeatureTV.com, and further information regarding the show may be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrSanGuinaryTV/.

Truckers Jamboree And Bix Fest Go Virtual This Year

Two huge local festivals, the Truckers Jamboree and the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival, are going virtual this year due to covid-19.

As for the Truckers, After 40 years of drawing crowds to Walcott, Iowa, off I-80, the annual Truckers Jamboreee will be virtual this July 9-11, including an online Antique Truck Show; Super Truck Beauty Contest; Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest and free meals for drivers.

“The good news is we will most definitely continue with our long-standing tradition of Celebrating America’s Truckers,” Heather DeBaillie, Vice President of Marketing for the Iowa 80 Truckstop, said in a recent release. “While we can’t host 45,000 people at Iowa 80 to celebrate, we will take the Jamboree virtual and still celebrate the important job of the professional driver.”

The Antique Truck Display will move online for this year with a slideshow of all who want to provide photos and information about their antique trucks. Likewise, this year’s Super Truck Beauty Contest will also be a virtual event. Drivers will have the opportunity to enter online, choose competitive categories, submit photos and the public will vote on their favorites. Winners will be announced on July 11th and they’ll receive their trophies.

The same goes for the Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest. Drivers are encouraged to register their pet and submit the requested photos or video to compete. Entries will be voted on and prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Owner Look-alike and Best Trick.

Registration for all competitions has an entry deadline of June 30.

On the Bix side, Joining the cavalcade of Quad-Cities cultural offerings impacted by Covid-19, the 49th-annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in Davenport also is moving online this year, July 31 and Aug. 1. Bands  will record videos that can be seen for free, said Steve Trainor, Bix Society board president.

“I think the majority of the board of directors of the Bix Jazz Society had felt, almost from the beginning that this was not going to be your typical year,” he said Monday.

“And like everyone else, the more we learned every day, every week, the less reasonable it seemed to hold a live festival and we were still holding out hope. But it kept getting to a point where we really had to decide to do something.”

One of the biggest concerns of the board was, many performers and visitors would not be able to travel to attend, Trainor said, noting a majority of patrons come from out of state.

The scheduled bands this year are: Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles (from Denver); Chicago Cellar Boys, led by Andy Schumm; Vine Street Rumble (Kansas City); NOLA Jazz Band (Des Moines), and from the Quad Cities, the Josh Duffee Quartet, Manny Lopez Big Band, and the Bix Youth Band, comprised of area teens.

The Bix fest attracts an older-age demographic, who are also at higher risk of contracting the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, Trainor said.

Putting on an annual festival the size of this musical tribute to Bix is tremendously expensive and ticket fees alone cannot begin to sustain it, according to bixsociety.org. Continued success is dependent upon grants, sponsors, and donations large and small from Bix fans.

Trainor said donations can be made to BBMS, 129 N. Main St., Davenport, IA  52801. BBMS is a non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible. Or, if you like, call 563-324-7170, for the various donor levels or check the website on the Sponsorship Opportunities page.

Trainor said next year’s festival is planned for Aug. 5-7, 2021.

A Heroic Story For Fourth Of July

Eight months after its stirring premiere at the Putnam Museum Giant Screen Theater in Davenport, “A Bridge Too Far From Hero Street” – a new film that tells the true story of one local soldier’s involvement in the largest air assault in history – will be shown in two free online screenings over the July 4th weekend.

Moline-based Fourth Wall Films and the Putnam Museum will screen the documentary at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 5, followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle. An encore presentation will stream at 7 p.m. Monday, July 6. Viewers are invited to visit Facebook.com/HeroStreetMovie or HeroStreetMovie.com 10 minutes prior to each scheduled event for an introduction.

RIHS Scholarships

Like most everything else in this time of social distancing, the annual awarding of scholarships and other recognition for Rock Island High School students was done online last month.

The Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation (RIMEF), led by executive director Monta Ponsetto, assembled a video presentation to detail and honor the accomplishments of 114 RIHS students, including awarding nearly $90,000 in scholarships. You can see the video at YouTube.com .

The ceremony recognized the top 10 students in each Rocky class, the departmental AAAA winners, and scholarship winners through the RIMEF Austin Academic Achievement Awards. Top Ten Certificates and scholarship award letters were mailed to the recipients’ homes.

Moline Foundation Scholarship Winners

The Moline Foundation made the day for 29 scholarship recipients recently, when they were asked to participate in a Zoom conference call. Excited cheers and applause broke out as the high school students found out during the call that each would get at least a $1,000 scholarship award from the foundation – totaling $83,000 in scholarships altogether, from 34 funds.

Compared to a typical year, the committee overseeing the 34 scholarship funds made additional money available for the student recipients, 26 of whom are 2020 high-school grads.

Mercado Gets Grant

Mercado on Fifth in Moline has won a big financial boost from the state of Illinois.

The five-year-old nonprofit in Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood was approved by Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for nearly $500,000 as part of $11 million in state funding for 32 minority-owned businesses and business incubators, from the Minority-Owned Business Capital and Infrastructure Program.

These grants will equip minority-owned firms with resources to create jobs, build capacity, increase revenues, and revitalize properties in underserved communities.

Mercado’s $495,700 grant will enable expansion into a much-needed incubator facility to create more equitable growth in the community. Finance director Chris Ontiveros said Tuesday that Mercado applied last year for the maximum amount from the state.

“We felt we had a strong case for Mercado on Fifth, the city of Moline and the Floreciente neighborhood, that our vision could benefit the community greatly, and the state of Illinois agreed.”

Mercado and West Gateway, both managed by members of the Ontiveros family, are renovating the 6,300-square-foot building into a business incubator and event space at a cost of over $500,000, including a new outdoor patio.

This will allow Mercado’s food and retail vendors year-round opportunities to sell their products, rain or shine. Mercado executive director Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers also anticipates using the space for small-business training, mentorship, and for private events.

Transitions Golf Tournament

Transitions Mental Health Services is excited to announce that their 10th Annual Golf Outing, scheduled for July 24th, will continue as planned. As a precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all guidelines put forth by the Governor, as well as the recommendations from the CDC will be followed.

Transitions also said this year’s golf outing will place high focus on unity, comradery, positivity and, of course, mental health.

The event will take place at Highland Springs Golf Course, 9500 35th Street West, Rock Island, with sign-up beginning at 11:30am and start time scheduled for 1:00pm.

Registration is now open. Early bird registration will continue through July 10th, following with regular registration until the day of the event. The link to the registration form can be found online at www.transmhs.org, or on Transitions Mental Health Services Facebook page.

For further information or to register, Courtney Stenzel can be contacted at 309-230-6579 or cstenzel@transmhs.org.

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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.