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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 Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)