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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 Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Yesterday some bold thief stole a full bolt of calico from a box in front of Wadsworth's store, where it was on exhibition.
1889 -- 125 years ago: A team belonging to Peter Priese got away from its driver and made a mad run across the Rock Island Bridge. The driver was thrown from his seat but not hurt.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Carlton Taylor was appointed district deputy grand master for the 14th
Masonic District of Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Moline's million dollar municipal airport was dedicated to air transportation and the national defense by Lt. Gov. John Stelle.
1964 -- 50 years ago: THE ARGUS will be election headquarters for Rock Island County tomorrow night, and the public is invited to watch the operation. The closing of the polls at 6 p.m. will mark the start of open house in the newsroom. Visitors will see staff members receiving, tabulating and posting returns.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Few bricks actually tumbled, but no one seemed to mind as about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the formal start of demolition at the site of a downtown civic center.




(More History)