Valentine’s Day is this week, and we at QuadCities.com are giving you our own gift from the heart with the most and best positive news about the Quad-Cities!

So, in partnership with our friends at KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live,” every month we give you What’s The Good News? A column here on our site written by yours truly, and an on-air segment presented again by your truly on Paula’s show every month. It showcases some of the great things going on in our community, including some great opportunities for young writers in the Quad-Cities!

So, what’s the good news for February 2020? Here’s the rundown:

Athletes With Disabilities Invited To Join Top Soccer!

Athletes with mental or physical disabilities can check out the Beautiful Game with a beauty of a new program from East Moline Silvis Soccer Club!

EMSSC is proud to present Top Soccer!  This program is for athletes ages 5-22 with mental or physical disabilities who want to learn to play soccer.  This will be a four week session in May, where once per week athletes practice skills and then participate in a coach-led game!

Cost is $35, which includes registration and a t-shirt.  Register by April 1, 2020!  We look forward to having everyone learning a new sport and having fun, too! Email topsoccer@emssc.org!

For more info, see https://www.leagueathletics.com/Registration/Restrictions.asp?RegID=196111&n=146782&org=emssc.org.

EMSSC Players Make Illinois Olympic Development Team

East Moline Silvis Soccer Club is an organization on the rise in local youth sports, and the state of Illinois soccer coaches agree!

EMSSC is proud to congratulate nine of its Competitive players on making the Illinois Olympic Development Team!

“Thank you also to the parents and coaches who have helped make this possible for these young athletes,” said Mooch King, director of coaching for EMSSC. “They are bringing recognition to themselves and their Club. Proud of them all!”

The players selected are:

Olivia Davila 2004 Pool Team

Austin VanDegeest 2006 State Team

Deonte Nache 2006 State Team

Meaghan Rasko 2007 Pool Team

Addison Schatteman 2007 State Team

Logan Schaefer 2007 State Team

Elijah Nache 2008 State Team

Fermin Garibay 2008 Pool Team

Jonas Cortez 2008 State Team

Wax Museum Highlights Inventors

A revolution of ideas and imagination was celebrated at Rock Island’s Eugene Field elementary school this week, as the Wax Museum Science Fair featured sixth graders giving creative and elaborate presentations on a variety of impactful inventors who changed our world.

Parents, teachers and fellow students packed the hallways moving from vibrant display to display, placing quarters in tins at each station (with proceeds going towards school activities) to start each minute-long presentation and igniting their intellects with fascinating facts about the amazing inventors.

A stunning array of brilliant minds from Nikola Tesla (inventor of the radio and remote control) to Samuel O’ Reilly (inventor of the tattoo gun) to Wilhelm Roentgen (x-ray) to Almroth Wright (typhoid vaccine) were showcased, along with inventions from potato chips to Kool-Aid to bifocal glasses and more. It was a cool panorama of information and entertainment, presented by a talented group of students having fun and showing off their hard work of research and development over the past six weeks.

“It’s enticing, captivating, engaging, and fun,” said Lisa Maxwell, one of the two sixth grade teachers who led the project with her cohort and fellow sixth grade teacher Tyler Allison. “They learned so much, and it’s such a great project for them. They put so much work into this, and learned so much, it’s very motivating and rewarding. And to see them present it to the younger kids, they all look up to the sixth graders, and they look forward to doing this project themselves. And to see parents and families come out, it’s quality time and increases the level of community of the children and the school.”

“It’s great to see kids who sometimes don’t have the opportunity to express themselves in public speaking like this come alive and do things they never thought they could accomplish,” Mr. Allison said. “It’s priceless to see them exhibit such a genuine love for learning.”

Ride Some Derbies For Veterans

WQPT, PBS for the Quad Cities Region and the QC VET Center will host the 3rd Annual Patriot Derby Challenge on Saturday, February 15th at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities Campus (3300 River Drive, Moline). This unique pinewood derby race allows military veterans to race their service-themed pinewood derby cars against cars that scouts have built in a friendly competition that encourages interaction between the men and women who have served our country, and children who have benefited from their service.

The event is FREE and open to the public. Any Scout (i.e., Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Girl Scout, etc.) and active duty military or veteran is eligible to participate in the race.

Awards will be given to scouts for the most patriotic car, best paint job, most unusually shaped car, and fastest car.  Active duty member and veterans can win awards, as well.

WQPT will have games and activities for children to do while they’re not racing pinewood derby cars or talking to veterans.  Food and refreshments will be available, too.

Weigh-in will start at 10:00am and registration will close at 10:30am.  Racing will begin at 11:00am. To pre-register, people can sign-up at: https://tinyurl.com/PatriotDerby

“WQPT’s Embracing Our Military initiative is in its 7th year, and we’ve hosted or participated in countless military events during that time,” said WQPT Director of Education and Outreach, Michael Carton, “but this is easily one of our favorites!  It’s a great way for children to show their gratitude towards veterans for serving our country while also participating in some friendly competition.”

“Readjustment isn’t always easy for Veterans coming home from deployments.” said Shane Kern, Veterans Outreach Program Specialist for the Quad Cities Vet Center. “Integrating fun things that include family members have been proven to help that process.  Scouts are the future service members of America, so why not integrate the two!”

For more information, visit the WQPT Facebook Event Page ( facebook.com/wqptpbs/events ) or contact the QC Vet Center at 309-755-3260 or shane.kern@va.gov.

Local Faith Leaders Planting Trees To Help Environment

Local leaders in faith are planting trees and hoping to grow an environment not just of natural resources, but of acceptance and love.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 1115 Mississippi Avenue, Davenport, local faith leaders joined up at Temple Emanuel in Davenport to symbolically plant a sapling in a special pot. The sapling will be transplanted to mother earth later in the spring. February 9, is “Tu Bishvat” in the Jewish calendar, celebrating a “New Year of the Trees.”

This ceremony will kick off a campaign to plant 1000 trees in the Quad Cities to help mitigate our climate crisis. The Faith Leaders Caucus of Quad Cities Interfaith is partnering with Living Lands and Waters and a host of local environmental organizations for this timely, much-needed boost to our local oxygen levels. Orders for more than 10 trees per site/group are now being taken. Please specify how many Burr Oak, Red Oak, White Swamp Oak and/or Persimmon trees. The approximately 6” high saplings will be delivered in to various sites in April. Order by emailing richdhendricks@msn.com.

Churches, groups and organizations are advised to get their orders in this week, and no later than Valentine’s Day.

According to Rev. Rich Hendricks of Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities, an organizer of the event, “Planting trees is one of the most helpful, enduring things we can do to mitigate and heal our climate crisis.”

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another,” said Chris Maser, Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest.

“Now is the time for us to plant, a primeval act of hope,” Rev. Hendricks said.

Planting trees helps reduce erosion and runoff, improves our water and air quality and provides food and shelter for local wildlife and migratory birds.

This campaign needs you! We need people to plant a tree on your own property, to help us find homes for multiple tree plantings and volunteers to help plant the saplings provided free of charge by Living Lands and Waters.

Midwest Writing Center Offering Young Writers Studio

The Midwest Writing Center will host Young Writers Studio for young writers in the Quad Cities at their offices on the ground floor of the Rock Island Public Library Downtown branch on the third Thursday of each month in 2020. Dates are Feb. 20, March 19, April 16, May 21, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

The Young Emerging Writers (YEW) Studio is a new casual writing workshop/critique group for young writers in and around the Quad City area. The YEW Studio is an extension of MWC’s successful Young Emerging Writers Summer Internship Program, which is currently accepting applications for the summer of 2020.

All young writers (approximate ages 15-19) throughout the Quad Cities are welcome to come and share their poetry, stories, essays, plays, or any other kind of writing they are pursuing, with a group of their peers and receive constructive critical feedback, or they are welcome to listen and join the discussion. YEW Studio will also feature generative writing prompts and other opportunities, such a public readings, in the future.

The Young Emerging Writers Studio will meet at 6:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, January through May 2020, in the Midwest Writing Center’s offices on the ground floor of the Rock Island Public Library Downtown branch.

Young Writers Studio events are free and open to the public.

If you have any questions about the Young Emerging Writers Studio, please contact Ryan Collins at (309) 732-7330 or email him at mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org.

Rock Island High School Celebrates 15 Illinois State Scholars

Speaking of young people doing great things, Rock Island High School is proud to have 15 students named as Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission! The Board of Education recognized the students at the January 14 Regular Meeting.

The students are Bianca Brown, Logan Conner, Nilis Empen, Jaime Hill, Ashley Johnson, Spencer Mar, Ellie Maranda, Ryan Nickel, Olivia Panegos, Josie Pennington, Larissa Pothoven, Natalia Rosales, Katherine Shewell, Zoe Veasey, and Gwendalyn Waggoner.

The State Scholars are honored annually by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for exceptional academic achievement. The students represent approximately the top ten percent of high school seniors from 737 high schools across the state of Illinois. Honorees are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth-semester class rank.

Rock Island High School Engineer Students Leading The Way

A group of Rocky students are “leading the way” into the future of engineering!

The Engineering Design and Development (EDD) class is a Capstone course comprised of senior students that are part of the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program at the high school.

According to the Rocky website:

The program is a nationwide program that promotes an engineering-based curriculum for students beginning at the elementary level and continuing through High School. Students in the EDD Course have completed prerequisite PLTW courses, including Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) and Principles of Engineering (POE), or have demonstrated strong competency in any of the STEM disciplines.

The Rocky Capstone course is a year-long course, in which students choose a problem to research, brainstorm, develop practical solutions, design a product to address the problem, build and test their product, and then present this solution to a group of stakeholders.

This year there are eight seniors participating on 2 teams. One of the projects includes a wind/solar-generated display panel.

The Engineering Design and Development Red team placed an anemometer on top of the high school to collect wind speed data. Data collected from the anemometer will be used in preparation for their Capstone project to build a wind-powered display monitor. The hope is to use the monitor at the entry door to display daily news for students, staff, and visitors as they enter the building.

Rocky Instructor, Dr. Mark Laingen says the goal is to teach what we have learned to younger students in the RIMSD#41 system to promote a greater interest in the STEM fields.

“We want to emphasize that any student with an interest in the sciences, technology, engineering or math can find successful careers through their education,” said Laingen. “We are very excited about this opportunity for our students.”

RIPL Offering Free Movies For Kids And Teens

If you’re looking for free ways to engage your child or teen this February, the Rock Island Public Library has some pretty sweet deals planned for you.

Two free movies on the afternoon of Friday, February 14 will help give Rock Island and Milan children and teens something to do in their time off school. (Elementary students in the Rock Island/Milan School District have early dismissal on February 14, while junior high and high-school students are out for Parent-Teacher conferences.) Options include an animated movie for children at the Rock Island Southwest Library, 9010 Ridgewood Road, and a movie for teens ages 12 to 18 at the Rock Island Downtown Library, 401 19th Street. Both movies start at 2:00 pm, and include popcorn and refreshments. They are free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, February 18, the Rock Island Library Children’s Department offers a special “Big Screen Story.” The event features an animated version of the beloved story Knuffle Bunny, A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems on the library’s big screen, followed by a craft.  “After a day with Daddy at the Trixie quickly notices that her cherished Knuffle Bunny is missing and turns to her father to help her get him back.” The free event for ages 6 and under takes place from 10:30 am to 11:30 am in the Community Room of the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street.

February wraps up with an event four years in the making – a Leap Year Celebration! A Leap Year has 366 days instead of 365. The Rock Island Public Library plans to celebrate the extra day in February with a wide variety of drop-in Leap Day crafts and activities in the Downtown Library Children’s Room,  401 19th Street. Families may visit anytime between 1:30 to 3:30 pm on Saturday, February 29 for the free activities.

For more information about Rock Island Public Library events and services, visit the library website at www.rockislandlibrary.org, or call 309-732-READ. Rock Island Library events are also listed on Facebook and at Burbio.com.

QuadCities.com Is Seeking Interns!

Have you ever wanted to be a writer?

Here’s your chance!

QuadCities.com is seeking interested and hard-working high school and college students for our internship program. Interns will get professional experience (and potentially college or high school credit, depending on your school’s program) writing, doing videos and podcasting for the fastest-growing media site in the area, your site for fun, free, local entertainment and positive news, QuadCities.com!

Want to find out if it’s right for you? Send an email telling us why you want to be an intern and a couple of samples of your work (any writing work will do, but news stories, reviews, blogs or feature stories are preferred; if it’s video or podcasting you’re into, send us links to your work) to Sean@QuadCities.com or seanleary@seanleary.com.

What Are The Top Stories Of 2019?

Have you checked out our rundown of the top stories of 2019 yet?

Why not???

It’s fun, it’s FREE, and of course it’s local on QuadCities.com, and you can get the rundown of over 40 of the top entertainment, features and positive news stories of the year, as well as a look at some of the best photos and events of the last year here on your site for fun, free, local entertainment and features, www.quadcities.com!

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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.