With the doldrums of winter weather upon us, there’s a need now more than ever for some journalistic sunshine in our lives, and you’ve come to the right place! Every month we look at some of the great positive news going on around the Quad-Cities, and, in partnership with KWQC-TV6’s “Paula Sands Live,” we shine the spotlight on the GOOD news in the area!

Let’s get started!

 

Like, OMG Becky, We HAVE To Go To This Fest!

Crafted QC will be hosting its sixth indie arts festival, OMG Beckyfest, Friday, December 6, 6-9 PM and Saturday, December 7, 10 AM-4 PM,  in the Great Hall of the RiverCenter, Downtown Davenport, IA. This shopping event features over 130 vendors from the QC and all over the Midwest selling unique handcrafted items and vintage finds. Sixteen kid makers (under age 18) will have their own booths with handmade items ranging from sewn cat toys, to jewelry, to original paintings.

Concessions, including alcoholic beverage sales, are being provided by the RiverCenter.

Live acoustic music will be provided by the River Music Experience featuring:

Friday, Dec. 6:

6:00pm – 7:15pm – Charlotte Boyer

7:45 – 9:00pm – Alan Sweet

Saturday, Dec. 7:

10:30am – 12pm – Lewis Knudsen

12:30 – 2pm – Bobby Ray Bunch

2:30 – 4pm – Mo Carter

Admission to this is event is a suggested donation of $2 which will be given directly to the River Music Experience to support youth education in the Quad Cities.

For further information, including vendor profiles can be found at https://www.facebook.com/omgbeckyfest/

 

Family Fun In Winter Snowfalling Into Family Museum

The Family Museum will continue its tradition of seasonal, family-friendly activities with WinterFest on Sunday, December 8, from 12:00-5:00 pm. Back by popular demand, guests will meet a real reindeer and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Visitors are invited to make a variety of holiday crafts and enjoy performances by the Family Museum Dance Company and other local musical groups. Admission to this event and the Family Museum’s hands-on gallery is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item or monetary donation to the River Bend Foodbank. This event is sponsored by U.S. Cellular -Wireless Central. The reindeer is sponsored by Northwest Bank & Trust Company.

Activities include:

Live Reindeer One of Santa’s reindeer is making a visit to the Family Museum – don’t miss seeing this furry friend.

Photos with Santa Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Parents, don’t forget to bring your phone or camera to capture the perfect picture!

Snowman Gift Boxes Build a snowman that won’t melt – complete with buttons and a scarf – that doubles as a festive holiday gift box.

Letters to the North Pole Write a letter to Santa, stick it in our holiday mailbox, and send it to the North Pole! Stick around to pick up unique toys and stocking stuffers at the Fox & Bee shop.

Arctic Family Photo Station Grab a pair of polar bear ears and snap a photo as a family.

Jolly! Hands-On! SCIENCE! See if you can become a present-stacking engineer and make twinkle lights glow!

North Pole Scenes Craft a miniature North Pole landscape, complete with snow, a festive tree, the famous red-striped pole, and more!

Holiday Gnome Hunt Oh gnome they didn’t! Some silly bearded friends have made their home in Fox Hollow…can you find them all?

Snowman Ornaments make your own Frosty friend to decorate your tree.

 

Arctic Ice Block Excavations Use science to chip away at a chilly block and free a penguin or polar bear friend to take home!

Performances

Quad City Symphony Youth Choir (1:00 – 1:30 pm)

Family Museum Dance Company performing A Nutcracker “Sweet” (1:30 and 3:00)

Bettendorf High School Choir (2:00 – 3:00)

RiverBend Bronze Bell Choir Quintet (3:30 – 4:15)

Displays

A huge, 300 square foot train set will be set up again this year, and the Great Hall will be decorated with lights, stars, trees, and animal displays. The centerpiece window dressing is the last set of animated figurines from the Petersen Harden Von Maur store in Davenport. Created by the (George) Silvestri Art Manufacturing Company, this Santa’s House scene includes a Living Room with a decorated tree and fireplace, a Kitchen with a very busy stove, a Workshop where elves are busy making toy trains, and a snowball battle in the woods among the elves who are gathering firewood. The display was built in Chicago during October of 1966, and was donated to the Family Museum in 1990 when the store was sold.

The Family Museum is located at 2900 Learning Campus Drive. For more information, please call (563) 344-4106 or visit www.familymuseum.org.

 

Get In Tune With Tuneful Tuesdays!

A little music can brighten your whole day. Tuneful Tuesdays, the Rock Island Public Library’s noon-time music series, resumes in January!

 

The Rock Island Downtown Library, 401 19th Street, hosts free musical performers in their Community Room from noon to 1:00 pm on the first Tuesday of every month. Events are open to all ages, and attendees may bring a lunch to enjoy while listening to the music.

 

Performances in the series include:

 

January 7: Chordbusters “VLQ” (Very Large Quartet) performing a cappella vocal music

February 4: Alto Saxophonist Danelle Kvapil, performing classical, jazz, big band brass music

March 3: Blackhawk Pipes and Drums of the Quad Cities, performing a variety of traditional tunes, just in time for both St. Patrick’s Day in March and Tartan Day in April.

April 7: Macomb-area singer, songwriter, and roots musician Chris Vallillo, performing “Parallell Paths,” a program of poetry by Carl Sandburg and songs by Chris. The final performance in the series is also supported by the Louise McCarty Memorial Fund.

 

The hour-long concerts all start at noon at the Downtown Library and are free and open to the public.

 

For more events at the library, visit the library website at www.rockislandlibrary.org, call 309-732-READ, follow the Rock Island Library on social media, or sign up for free community calendar alerts from Burbio.com.

 

Happy Joes Keeps Joe’s Legacy Alive

Joe Whitty may have passed on, but his legacy remains alive and well.

This week, once more, Happy Joe’s kicked off the holiday spirit with their annual parties for children with special needs. There were four parties in total at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline on Tuesday, December 3 and Wednesday, December 6. Parties were held both days at 9:30 am and 11:30 am. Along with Happy Joe’s famous pizza and ice cream, Joe’s special kids enjoyed an all out dance party with Happy Joe’s Hip Hop Dancers, Happy the Dog, and other special guests and of course Santa Claus! Children attending the party received a special gift of a book provided by Books a Million (BAM).

Volunteers helping with the party included area Optimist Clubs, Pieler Productions, North Scott High School students, Pepsi, Kemps Ice Cream, Goodwill, MSpark, Burke Corporation, and many others dedicated to helping Happy Joe’s provide the best holiday party ever!

This year’s parties hosted approximately 1400 children with their aids from the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. In the early days, Happy Joe’s hosted parties at their individual restaurants and many locations still do that; however, for the Quad Cities, the parties moved to a venue that can support their growth.

Happy Joe’s has its own Foundation known as Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation which sponsors the party at no cost to participants. If you are looking for a worthy cause to support this holiday season, please visit www.HappyJoesKids.org or on Facebook @happyjoeskids.

 

Local Union 25 Bags Up Help For Veterans

 

Family fun and philanthropy were “in the bag” as Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 25 sponsored its third annual Veteran’s Bags Tournament in support of the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, and raised over $4,000 for the charity.

 

On Saturday, November 9, the union headquarters in Rock Island opened its doors to the community as people of all ages enjoyed the relaxed fun of the popular backyard picnic game of competing to toss beanbags into remote targets. In addition to the competition, there was food, drinks, games, a silent raffle, an online raffle and tickets for other prizes that spilled across three long tables. But the real reward was in the memories made with friends and family, funds raised for local veterans and the opportunity to send 1-2 Local Union 25 members along for the next Honor Flight.

Conducted by non-profit organizations and volunteers, the Honor Flight is dedicated to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials of the respective wars they fought in — at no cost to the veterans.

It was a good time for a good cause and Local Union 25 officials were pleased with the response.

“It feels great to be involved,” said Wayne Corlett, a Navy veteran and member of the Local Union 25 Veterans Committee. “It’s great to have an event like this where we can raise money for fellow veterans.”

 

 

Storm, John Deere Help Out United Way

 

The Quad City Storm and John Deere certainly have given United Way of the Quad Cities something to be thankful for this holiday season.

The two paired up for John Deere night at a recent Storm game, Nov. 22, during which players wore custom John Deere jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. In total, the Storm and John Deere ended up raising $12,500 for United Way of the Quad Cities, making for a great Thanksgiving for all involved!

 

 

STEM Scholarship Monies Available

 

It’s time to apply for the Thomas K. Evans Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 award that will help one student pursue higher education in science, technology, engineering or math. Deadline to apply is noon March 2, 2020.

Complete information about the scholarship, including directions and application materials, is available online at www.americanpowerinc.com/scholarship.

To be eligible to apply, a student must be graduating from a school located in Bettendorf, Davenport, East Moline, Eldridge, Moline, Pleasant Valley or Rock Island. In addition, he or she must plan to matriculate for the first time into an accredited college program in 2020 with a major or specific focus in a science, technology, engineering and/or math discipline. More information is available on the website.

The Thomas K. Evans Memorial Scholarship was created in 2017 to honor the founder of American Power Systems, Inc. (APS), a Davenport manufacturer of DC power systems that serves military, defense and commercial clients in the US and around the world. APS fully funds the scholarship.

Questions may be directed to scholarship@americanpowerinc.com.

 

Q-Cs Honored With Employer Innovation Grantees

 

Governor Reynolds announced 22 recipients of the Employer Innovation Fund, a matching grant that helps employers provide postsecondary training and education opportunities for their employees. The second round of Employer Innovation Fund Grants will distribute $568,000 to employers and employer consortiums across the state. A third round application period with $244,200 in remaining funds will open Dec. 3 and close Dec. 17.

“Future Ready Iowa provides Iowans with life-changing opportunities while simultaneously helping employers grow their local workforce talent pipeline,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The program’s Employer Innovation Fund fuels grassroots innovation, empowering Iowa businesses and communities to create solutions that help Iowans find a good-paying job in a high-demand career. We are excited about this program’s initial success and see even greater opportunities in the future.”

The purpose of the grant is to create more opportunities for working Iowans to earn non-credit and for-credit postsecondary credentials leading to high-demand jobs in the state. Employers, community leaders and others can apply by submitting a proposal for implementing a creative solution to their local workforce needs.

“Employers’ efforts to develop their own workforce through upskilling, training and education programs, are key to help Iowa meet the 2025 goal of 70 percent of Iowans having postsecondary credentials,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “The Employer Innovation Fund is unique to Iowa and will help employers leverage their existing resources with a state match to upskill even more of their workforce.  It also helps community organizations work with local employers to provide training dollars that also help develop a skilled workforce. We want to award all of the $1.2 million the legislature appropriated to the fund this year so we strongly encourage employers to apply for the third round of grants.”

The Quad-Cities Employer Innovation Fund Recipients Include:

Redstone Content Solutions LLC –  Davenport: Funding will support opportunities for 2 interns to work in software development resulting in valuable IT experience and Java certification.  Award total: $21,000

Family Resources – Davenport: Family Resources will implement a Family Resources Behavior Disorder Counselor Internship program for 18 interns over 2 years to obtain experience and education needed in the difficult to recruit field of human services.  College credit will be earned by participants. Award total: $20,681

 

Vera French – Davenport: Funding will help lower the financial barriers working adults face in pursuing education in the community mental health field. This funding will support current employees at Vera French Community Mental Health Center as they upskill and pursue careers in this high-demand area.  Award total: $20,000

 

Scott County Family YMCA/John Deere Foundation – Davenport: The program provides at-risk teens and young adults with critical services that help address the multiple barriers they face getting on a sustainable path of education and employment. The program provides mentoring, job training, and resume building coaching among other employability skills.  The program serves the homeless, teenage parents, juveniles with a criminal record and others facing multiple barriers. Award $16,667

 

The third round of Employer Innovation Fund applications will begin Dec. 3 and close on Dec. 17, 2019. Applications must be submitted through IowaGrants.gov.

For more information about the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, visit www.FutureReadyIowa.gov/innovation

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.