Thumbs Up ... to the news that the John Deere Classic will take place in July. Tournament Director Clair Peterson made the announcement earlier this week, along with the launch of the Birdies for Charity fundraiser.
The tournament will allow a limited number of spectators, but it will take its place on the calendar, the week before the British Open.
This is great news — and it is yet another sign of our steady progress toward a post-Covid footing. We would note the Birdies program raised more than $12 million last year even without the tournament. We look forward to seeing how it does this year with a tournament — not to mention the resumption of top flight golf at TPC at Deere Run.
Thumbs Up ... to the state of Illinois for becoming the first in the nation to expand Medicaid benefits to new mothers to a full year postpartum. The Biden administration approved the extension, from 60 days, earlier this week. Women with incomes up to 208% of the poverty line will qualify.
Officials say the extension will help narrow the racial disparities in pregnancy-related deaths and other health outcomes for women.
Capitol News Illinois reported, "The Illinois Department of Public Health developed a report in 2018 that found Black women were six times more likely to die of a pregnancy related condition, with a lack of care continuity and coordination contributing to over 90 percent of preventable pregnancy-related deaths in that demographic."
We're happy the Biden administration approved this request, and that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra is encouraging other states to follow Illinois' example.
Thumbs Down ... to Davenport Alderman Ray Ambrose for the bizarre comments he made this week regarding a resolution acknowledging the value of energy and resource conservation and adapting to climate change.
The measure is fairly tame. It doesn't outline emission reduction goals or spending plans; mostly, it acknowledges existing city practices and encourages staff to keep looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. It also supports efforts to seek out grants in line with these goals.
The measure was so anodyne it passed unanimously.
Still, it met with Ambrose's scorn.
"I’ve listened to this discussion and I think back to 1960 with the Communist Soviet Premier (Nikita) Khrushchev came to the United Nations … warning the people of the United States that the communists would take over the country from within," Ambrose said. "I think they’ve accomplished it. This is just my view. I think the Communist Party of America now is the progressive Democrat party."
Yes, folks, this is an elected alderman.
Ambrose also suggested the Catholic Diocese of Davenport and others, who supported the measure, had been duped.
We're used to this. For years, Ambrose has offered this kind of nonsense.
The fact is, other communities are far more aggressive in dealing with the very real threat of climate change, and this new resolution is only a modest step forward; it's unfortunate it was still too much for an alderman who can't be bothered with common sense.
Thumbs Up ... to the hiring of Anamaria Rocha as director of Mercado on Fifth in Moline. The non-profit that supports Hispanic culture and minority-run businesses, is best known for its outdoor summer market, which didn't take place last year because of Covid.
However, the market is planning to resume in June, with restrictions, which is great news. Rocha, meanwhile, says a primary goal of hers will be to expand the organization's reach with the building it purchased last year; the idea is to offer a year-round cultural hub.
We've always been big fans of Mercado, and it's expansion can only benefit the community.
Thumbs Up ... to the Creative Arts Academy of the Quad-Cities, whose students took part in a commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in a Zoom presentation earlier this month. The students presented four dances, called Warsaw Ghetto Stories, which were part of a program that also featured a live online walking tour of the places where the Warsaw Ghetto once existed, as well as presentations from Holocaust educators and cantors.
During World War II, the Nazis killed 400,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, including those who were starved to death or died from disease.
The more-than-hourlong Zoom presentation, which took place on April 7, was a moving remembrance and involved people in different parts of the world, who took part in the program or watched online.
A great many organizations across Iowa and Illinois were sponsors of the event, and the Academy's presentation was an impressive part of the presentation. The students there, and their teachers, should be proud of their work and so should the Quad-Cities.