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Cheers to a Moline nonprofit helping make the bedrock of our communities, our neighborhoods, thrive. A standing ovation, too, to the caring neighborhoods and community leaders working with the Moline Community Development Corporation to make them shine.

We're familiar with some of the good things such partnerships have done. But John Marx's Tuesday report outlined a number of recent collaborations that are especially impressive.

They include the 100 flowerpots planted by volunteers and distributed to Stephens Park neighbors, creative banners that soon will punctuate Floreciente, and the flags that will be flying in the city's Overlook and Wheelock-Velie neighborhoods.

Not every volunteer lives in the neighborhoods they're beautifying. Take the Bluffs and Overlook Historic Neighborhood Association's mural project. Augustana College and Trinity Lutheran Church are working with neighbors and the CDC to create these visual showstoppers.

Such projects couldn't happen without city support and grants from organizations including the Moline Foundation, Global Communities and Augustana College.

Or without willing volunteers like the Stephens Park Neighborhood Group, which President Bill Abel said got its start when residents began working with Moline's Community Oriented Policing Team (COP) to make the neighborhood safer.

"With a strong presence of the COP team in the neighborhood when needed, our focus is now less about crime watch and more about neighborhood infrastructure and beautification improvement, relationship building between neighbors, and closer ties with city of Moline officials," Abel said.

That's the genesis for many of the neighborhood groups working to make our region a safe, welcoming and attractive place to live, work and play.

Kudos and thanks to all these community builders.

Jeers to state Rep. Tony McCombie's decision to co-sponsor legislation to kick Chicago out of the state. Divorcing the Windy City is a silly idea, and not a new one. It is regularly resurrected by downstaters understandably weary of Chicago's dominance of Illinois. As we said of them in 2011, "sometimes it seems as though Chicago pols are from a different planet, let alone another state. But we suspect few of us would go so far as to file for divorce. The social and economic fallout from that messy dissolution would be disastrous for the City of Big Shoulders and every other corner of the state."

It should be noted that McCombie, R-Savanna, doesn't want or expect it to happen. "I understand the good things Chicago brings to Illinois," she said. Rather, the legislation is "about reminding Chicago and Cook County legislators that there's more to Illinois than just Chicago. It's just a statement."

Unfortunately, it's been made so often, it's usually white noise to Chicago leaders. What's different now is that McCombie, the new chair of the House Republican Organization's political action committee, signed on.

That's surprising since she's leading the effort to attract Republican candidates, not just in the bill's "Republic of Forgottonia," but the entire state, including Chicago, which is home to some wealth HRO donors.

McCombie is right, however, that "we as a state should be collectively working together."

It might help if instead of refiling recycled divorce papers, Chicago and downstate leaders focus on building the healthy relationship needed to grow every region of Illinois.

Cheers to Bob and Blenda Ontiveros for the $40,000 grant that built a new shade structure for Niabi Zoo's majestic giraffes.

The Rock Island County-owned animal preserve near Coal Valley on Wednesday celebrated the new structure  that will keep the sun off  Kenya and Twiga, and zoo-goers who feed them.

"Our battle cry is to restore, conserve, learn and play," said Forest Preserve Commission President Kai Swanson. "It requires the support of a community that believes in those principles."

Thanks to the Ontiveras family for leading that charge.

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