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Name the most indelible icons that have defined and connected the Quad-Cities and its residents over time, and more than likely your list will include corn, John Deere and the Mississippi River.

The three are like threads woven into the rich fabric that is the Quad-Cities. Their relationship to jobs might be immediate, like corn's connection to a grain dealer, or distant, like the golden crop's link to the waitress who serves your morning coffee.

See how these three iconic threads create jobs by reading the stories in Q-C Connected, the 2011 progress reports published today, Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.

Today's report features stories about Quad-Citians whose jobs are connected to corn. Week 2 of Q-C Connected will report on jobs related to John Deere (the man and the company). Week 3 will conclude the series with stories about jobs connected to the Mississippi River.

As for corn, it's true that fewer individuals are farming as a result of the consolidation and corporatization of family farms. However, many Quad-Citians still make their living as a result of corn -- a plant first cultivated by American Indians and grown in such communities as Saukenuk, the Sauk village that was located on the banks of the Rock River in present-day Rock Island.

By the 19th century, corn "was closely tied to the development of the Midwest," according to the paper "Origin, History, and Uses of Corn" by agronomists Lance Gibson and Garren Benson of Iowa State University. Since then, the corn industry has continued to affect and create employment for countless people.

Today's stories include jobs directly related to corn, such as farmers, crop dusters and grain handlers, as well as jobs indirectly related to the commodity, mechanics, a cafe owner and distillery operator among them.

Look inside for these and other great stories and photographs.










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  Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.








(More History)