[ {"id":"04fed3d2-c913-5087-890d-c92128912139","type":"article","starttime":"1480744800","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-03T00:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"A Christmas Carol","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_04fed3d2-c913-5087-890d-c92128912139.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/a-christmas-carol/article_04fed3d2-c913-5087-890d-c92128912139.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/a-christmas-carol/article_04fed3d2-c913-5087-890d-c92128912139.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":3,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Editor's note: \"Muscatine Memories\" is a feature produced in cooperation with the Muscatine Art Center, which provides photos and information for the series from its extensive collection of Muscatine history. The series will run on alternating Saturdays with the Musser Public Library's \"Photographic Memories.\" The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Ave. For more information, call 263-8282 or go to www.muscatineartcenter.org.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["doll","wood","reputation","cecil","muscatine art center","musser public library","linda musser"],"internalKeywords":["#hometown"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a","description":"Mrs. Cratchit, made by Ruth Cecil Bullard Weeks, circa 1950.","byline":"COLLECTION MUSCATINE ART CENTER","hireswidth":826,"hiresheight":1400,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3a/73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a/584117f9c4352.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"826","height":"1400","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3a/73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a/584117f98fb83.image.jpg?resize=826%2C1400"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3a/73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a/584117f98fb83.image.jpg?resize=100%2C169"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"508","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3a/73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a/584117f98fb83.image.jpg?resize=300%2C508"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1736","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/3a/73a80c4f-8be3-58cd-8911-6deb8aab422a/584117f98fb83.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe","description":"Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit made by Ruth Cecil Bullard Weeks, circa 1950.","byline":"COLLECTION MUSCATINE ART CENTER","hireswidth":835,"hiresheight":1600,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/1c/21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe/584117fa36abe.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"835","height":"1600","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/1c/21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe/584117fa35ac9.image.jpg?resize=835%2C1600"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"192","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/1c/21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe/584117fa35ac9.image.jpg?resize=100%2C192"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/1c/21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe/584117fa35ac9.image.jpg?resize=300%2C575"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1962","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/1c/21c91d61-eb06-5bcf-bb6e-68ec3f8853fe/584117fa35ac9.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375","description":"Scrooge doll, made by Ruth Cecil Bullard Weeks, circa 1950.","byline":"COLLECTION MUSCATINE ART CENTER","hireswidth":714,"hiresheight":1200,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9b/79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375/584117f9eb2f1.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"714","height":"1200","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9b/79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375/584117f9ea5f4.image.jpg?resize=714%2C1200"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"168","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9b/79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375/584117f9ea5f4.image.jpg?resize=100%2C168"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"504","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9b/79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375/584117f9ea5f4.image.jpg?resize=300%2C504"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1721","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9b/79b38851-14f4-5b23-8c2f-427751e9e375/584117f9ea5f4.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"04fed3d2-c913-5087-890d-c92128912139","body":"

Editor's note: \"Muscatine Memories\" is a feature produced in cooperation with the Muscatine Art Center, which provides photos and information for the series from its extensive collection of Muscatine history. The series will run on alternating Saturdays with the Musser Public Library's \"Photographic Memories.\" The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Ave. For more information, call 263-8282 or go to www.muscatineartcenter.org.

These dolls from \u201cA Christmas Carol\u201d, by Charles Dickens, were created in the 1950\u2019s by Ruth Cecil Bullard Weeks of Independence, Missouri. She began making portrait dolls of historical individuals in the 1940's and had established a reputation for figure accuracy and beauty. Weeks sculpted the faces with clay, and designed and sewed their clothes. Her husband, James, assembled the wires and wood that held the figurines together. Some of the dolls were used for more than 50 years as teaching tools about American democracy and tolerance.

The dolls were originally donated to Musser Public Library, by Linda Musser, cousin of Laura Musser. Musser Public Library donated the dolls to the Art Center in 2009.

"}, {"id":"03169dd3-fbb0-55f2-94a5-97dd26f6336c","type":"article","starttime":"1480744800","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-03T00:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"notebook-digest":"print-specific/notebook-digest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Registration opens for swim classes","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_03169dd3-fbb0-55f2-94a5-97dd26f6336c.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/registration-opens-for-swim-classes/article_03169dd3-fbb0-55f2-94a5-97dd26f6336c.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/registration-opens-for-swim-classes/article_03169dd3-fbb0-55f2-94a5-97dd26f6336c.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Black Hawk College in Moline is now enrolling\u00a0children for the next \"Swim School\" for youth ages 4-15 beginning in January. Cost is $45 for six classes. To register, call 309-796-5601. For more information, visit www.bhc.edu/swim. Attendees can choose from the following class dates and times: \u2022 Wednesdays, Jan. 4 to Feb. 8, at 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m. or 7:15 p.m.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["black hawk college","black hawk college aquatic center","swim school"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":1,"commentID":"03169dd3-fbb0-55f2-94a5-97dd26f6336c","body":"

Black Hawk College in Moline is now enrolling\u00a0children for the next \"Swim School\" for youth ages 4-15 beginning in January. Cost is $45 for six classes. To register, call 309-796-5601. For more information, visit www.bhc.edu/swim. Attendees can choose from the following class dates and times:

\u2022 Wednesdays, Jan. 4 to Feb. 8, at 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m. or 7:15 p.m.

\u2022 Saturdays, Jan. 7 to Feb. 11, at 9:15 a.m. or 10:15 a.m.

"}, {"id":"0268987c-e56e-5d1d-a8b8-55c2091de8ca","type":"article","starttime":"1480744800","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-03T00:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"notebook-digest":"print-specific/notebook-digest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Co-op offers scholarships for ag students","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_0268987c-e56e-5d1d-a8b8-55c2091de8ca.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/co-op-offers-scholarships-for-ag-students/article_0268987c-e56e-5d1d-a8b8-55c2091de8ca.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/co-op-offers-scholarships-for-ag-students/article_0268987c-e56e-5d1d-a8b8-55c2091de8ca.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"River Valley Cooperative is accepting applications for its 2017 scholarship program\u00a0for students seeking\u00a0two-year and four-year degrees. Applications and details are available at www.rivervalleycoop.com/scholarships. Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2017. Scholarship award recipients will be notified by April 1, 2017.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["river valley cooperative","agriculture scholarships","students","scholarship","awards","cooperative","river valley","recipient","senior","high school"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":1,"commentID":"0268987c-e56e-5d1d-a8b8-55c2091de8ca","body":"

River Valley Cooperative is accepting applications for its 2017 scholarship program\u00a0for students seeking\u00a0two-year and four-year degrees. Applications and details are available at www.rivervalleycoop.com/scholarships. Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2017. Scholarship award recipients will be notified by April 1, 2017.

Five scholarships worth $1,000 will be awarded to area high school seniors or college students pursuing four-year degrees in agriculture related fields. Nine scholarships worth $500 will be offered to high school seniors pursuing two-year degrees in agriculture-related fields at Black Hawk College-East Campus, Kewanee; Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, or Muscatine Community College. The $500 scholarships are eligible for renewal based on internship and job-shadowing opportunities.\u00a0

Scholarships are available to students who live in the River Valley Cooperative\u2019s trade area. Applicants do not have to be a member of River Valley Cooperative to be eligible. Awards are based on scholastic achievement, demonstration of community and school involvement, knowledge of cooperative system, and the perceived ability to contribute to agriculture in the future.

"}, {"id":"46f2e9df-e089-5e84-bd5b-1884be05249b","type":"article","starttime":"1480738500","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T22:15:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1480738989","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"From Elsa and Anna to Santa and song, Holiday Stroll draws visitors from near and far","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_46f2e9df-e089-5e84-bd5b-1884be05249b.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/from-elsa-and-anna-to-santa-and-song-holiday-stroll/article_46f2e9df-e089-5e84-bd5b-1884be05249b.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/from-elsa-and-anna-to-santa-and-song-holiday-stroll/article_46f2e9df-e089-5e84-bd5b-1884be05249b.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Emily Wenger\nemily.wenger@muscatinejournal.com","prologue":"MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2014 Residents of Muscatine and the surrounding area milled around downtown Muscatine Friday night with cups of cocoa in hand, visiting Second Street businesses during the 32nd annual Holiday Stroll. The festival is a Muscatine tradition with more than six city blocks of decorated storefronts, entertainers, shopping and activities for the whole family.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["stroll","anna","holiday","photo","hot chocolate","muscatine","santa clause"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc","description":"Laekyn Ball, 1, poses with Frosty the Snowman during Friday\u2019s Holiday Stroll in downtown Muscatine.","byline":"BETH VAN ZANDT/MUSCATINE JOURNAL","hireswidth":1314,"hiresheight":1722,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/8d/78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc/584245a27acfd.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1257","height":"1647","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/8d/78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc/584245a2245d5.image.jpg?resize=1257%2C1647"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"131","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/8d/78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc/584245a2245d5.image.jpg?resize=100%2C131"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"393","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/8d/78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc/584245a2245d5.image.jpg?resize=300%2C393"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1342","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/8d/78d2a823-419d-5a77-9e36-0967234feebc/584245a2245d5.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1342"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"46f2e9df-e089-5e84-bd5b-1884be05249b","body":"

MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2014 Residents of Muscatine and the surrounding area milled around downtown Muscatine Friday night with cups of cocoa in hand, visiting Second Street businesses during the 32nd annual Holiday Stroll.

The festival is a Muscatine tradition with more than six city blocks of decorated storefronts, entertainers, shopping and activities for the whole family.

\u201cMy favorite thing about the Holiday Stroll is the smiles on kids\u2019 faces,\u201d said Jaime Limoges, the general manager at the Muscatine Journal, which organized the event with Toyota of Muscatine.

Limoges dressed as an elf, and said she saw many children smiling as she walked through the Holiday Stroll. She said the Muscatine tradition is an important one to continue, because community members look forward to the event each year.

\u201cIt\u2019s always enjoyable to see an active Second Street,\u201d she said.

While walking down the street, residents could listen to live and recorded Christmas music, watch dancers dance, sip hot drinks from various businesses, and eat cookies. Santa Clause was also available for photographs at several locations.

Sarah Siler Photography was one of the locations taking Santa photos. Some children grinned with excitement; some young ones shed a few tears, but were quickly cheered by parents or Siler.

Bonnie Johnson, of Davenport, brought her 20-month-old son to see Santa. She said her family enjoyed attending the stroll.

\u201cWe just like coming down here and supporting local communities, it\u2019s fun,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cWe like the windows too.\u201d

By First National Bank, a small international village, with buildings and trees made by local school students, was lined up for stroll attendants to enjoy. Candy and hot chocolate was also available.

At We can Frame That, owner Flynn Collier, invited Elsa and Anna, characters from \u201cFrozen,\u201d to take photos with children. He said he wanted to do something a little different for local children.

\u201cI want to bring it back to its glory days, when we had 10,000 people downtown,\u201d Collier said. \u201cThat\u2019s why we went big, is the best way to lead is by example, and show people that you can make magic happen.\u201d

Hailey Wilson, 8, of Bettendorf, was at the Holiday Stroll for her first time, and had just seen Elsa and Anna.

\u201c[It was] awesome,\u201d she said.

Kate Casaletto, originally from Muscatine, said she enjoyed the weather, which was much colder the last time she attended the event, two years earlier.

\u201cI think it\u2019s a good use of the downtown area, there are some nice storefronts and it brings the community together,\u201d she said. \u201cI like it, it\u2019s a good event.\u201d

"}, {"id":"9f2e8618-9ba2-5af4-9e3d-f059fc379b66","type":"article","starttime":"1480734000","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T21:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Granger installed as Muscatine Postmaster","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_9f2e8618-9ba2-5af4-9e3d-f059fc379b66.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/granger-installed-as-muscatine-postmaster/article_9f2e8618-9ba2-5af4-9e3d-f059fc379b66.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/granger-installed-as-muscatine-postmaster/article_9f2e8618-9ba2-5af4-9e3d-f059fc379b66.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2013 The Muscatine post office has a new postmaster following the installation of Theresa (Terri) Granger during ceremonies conducted at the local post office on Cedar Street Friday morning. Thomas Allen, manager of post office operations for the Hawkeye District of the United States Postal Service, was on hand to perform the swearing in ceremony.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["post office","granger","letter carrier","postmaster","usps","katie","john"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6","description":"Theresa Granger is sworn in Friday morning at the Muscatine Post office, by manager of Post Office Operations, Thomas Allen, far right, while Granger\u2019s husband, John, holds the Bible.","byline":"BETH VAN ZANDT/MUSCATINE JOURNAL","hireswidth":2160,"hiresheight":1490,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/19/a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6/584200401faba.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1733","height":"1195","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/19/a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6/5842003fbe8f5.image.jpg?resize=1733%2C1195"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/19/a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6/5842003fbe8f5.image.jpg?resize=100%2C69"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"207","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/19/a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6/5842003fbe8f5.image.jpg?resize=300%2C207"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"706","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/19/a196789e-696f-52e8-ab6d-8aef09e0caf6/5842003fbe8f5.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C706"}}}],"revision":3,"commentID":"9f2e8618-9ba2-5af4-9e3d-f059fc379b66","body":"

MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2013 The Muscatine post office has a new postmaster following the installation of Theresa (Terri) Granger during ceremonies conducted at the local post office on Cedar Street Friday morning. Thomas Allen, manager of post office operations for the Hawkeye District of the United States Postal Service, was on hand to perform the swearing in ceremony.

Granger began her career as a city letter carrier for the USPS in 1985. She delivered mail for 22 years before moving into a clerk\u2019s position. After two years she hung up her craft shoes and switched to management working in the Rock Island and East Moline offices.

She was officially named the Muscatine Postmaster on Oct. 29. Granger and her husband, John, have two daughters, Katie and Erin Neumann.

"}, {"id":"ff078f2d-79ed-5ba1-a1d3-98f8d53c3efa","type":"article","starttime":"1480732200","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T20:30:00-06:00","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Energy efficiency? GPC\u2019s a leader","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_ff078f2d-79ed-5ba1-a1d3-98f8d53c3efa.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/energy-efficiency-gpc-s-a-leader/article_ff078f2d-79ed-5ba1-a1d3-98f8d53c3efa.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/energy-efficiency-gpc-s-a-leader/article_ff078f2d-79ed-5ba1-a1d3-98f8d53c3efa.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"DES MOINES, Iowa - Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) was recognized for its exemplary performance in reducing energy usage by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) at their 4th Annual conference Thursday. GPC was nominated for IAMU\u2019s \u201cLeadership in Energy Efficiency\u201d award by Muscatine Power and Water (MP&W).","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["grain processing corporation","dryer","program","rebate","mp&w"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35","description":"Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities Executive Director Troy DeJoode presents the \u201cLeadership in Energy Efficiency\u201d award to Bill Chrisman, Senior Process Engineer at GPC at the IAMU's conference in Des Moines earlier this week. MP&W\u2019s Director for Power Production and Supply, Gage Huston, and Energy Services Advisor, Paul Burback, were also on hand for the award presentation.","byline":"Submitted Photo","hireswidth":1662,"hiresheight":1247,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/9d/19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35/5842004048c4d.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1662","height":"1247","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/9d/19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35/5842004047f49.image.jpg?resize=1662%2C1247"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/9d/19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35/5842004047f49.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"225","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/9d/19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35/5842004047f49.image.jpg?resize=300%2C225"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"768","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/9d/19d8f475-fd3a-58e0-9daf-04303fe5ef35/5842004047f49.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C768"}}}],"revision":3,"commentID":"ff078f2d-79ed-5ba1-a1d3-98f8d53c3efa","body":"

DES MOINES, Iowa - Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) was recognized for its exemplary performance in reducing energy usage by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) at their 4th Annual conference Thursday. GPC was nominated for IAMU\u2019s \u201cLeadership in Energy Efficiency\u201d award by Muscatine Power and Water (MP&W).

\u201cGPC has done a fantastic job and we were happy to nominate them,\u201d said Erika Cox, Director of Employee and Community Relations for MP&W. \u201cWhat\u2019s truly rewarding is knowing that we were able to assist them in making Muscatine an even more energy efficient community.\u201d

Muscatine Power and Water nominated GPC for being a significant contributor to reducing energy use 10,231,425 kilowatts over the past year. A significant factor of the reduction in energy use is GPC\u2019s new dryer house. The new energy-efficient dryer house is one of the largest dryers of its kind and has replaced 11 existing dryers.

\u201cWe thank MP&W for the nominating GPC and we are thrilled to be recognized by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities for our dedication toward energy-savings,\u201d said Janet Sichterman, vice-president of communications and human resources for GPC. \u201cGPC is proud to have made this investment in people and jobs in our community,\u201d

IAMU\u2019s Executive Director, Troy DeJoode, presented the award to Bill Chrisman, Senior Process Engineer at GPC at the conference in Des Moines earlier this week. MP&W\u2019s Director for Power Production and Supply, Gage Huston, and Energy Services Advisor, Paul Burback, were also on hand for the award presentation.

MP&W\u2019s energy rebate program is available to both residential and commercial customers and reimburses those who purchase energy-efficient appliances that meet a certain efficiency standard. For more information on the energy rebate programs, contact MP&W at 563-262-3423 or visit mpw.org/rebates.

"}, {"id":"225aa5b0-9b3e-5cdf-a1ea-ae8b828afde2","type":"article","starttime":"1480731300","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T20:15:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1480738987","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Wapello Council donates family passes as incentives","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_225aa5b0-9b3e-5cdf-a1ea-ae8b828afde2.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/wapello-council-donates-family-passes-as-incentives/article_225aa5b0-9b3e-5cdf-a1ea-ae8b828afde2.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/wapello-council-donates-family-passes-as-incentives/article_225aa5b0-9b3e-5cdf-a1ea-ae8b828afde2.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"WAPELLO, Iowa - It may be a cooler and more active summer next year for six Wapello families after the city council agreed Thursday to donate six family passes to the city swimming pool. The council agreed to make the donation after receiving a request from the Nest of Louisa County, which will use the passes in its incentive program.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["mike delzell","shawn maine","auditor","council","city","wapello council","eric small"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":2,"commentID":"225aa5b0-9b3e-5cdf-a1ea-ae8b828afde2","body":"

WAPELLO, Iowa - It may be a cooler and more active summer next year for six Wapello families after the city council agreed Thursday to donate six family passes to the city swimming pool.

The council agreed to make the donation after receiving a request from the Nest of Louisa County, which will use the passes in its incentive program.

According to the website of the Louisa County Public Health Service, which assumed administration of the program after the Stork\u2019s Nest of Louisa County closed its doors earlier this year, income-eligible pregnant women and their children are eligible for incentives for practicing healthy behaviors.

The healthy behaviors include keeping doctor appointments and attending parent and preventative educational classes.

City Clerk Mike Delzell said the council\u2019s decision would not mean any loss of revenue for the city.

\u201cThese are (likely) going to be families that are not going to buy (a family pass),\u201d he suggested.

The only red flag that was raised over the suggested donation was an auditor\u2019s comment that was included in the city\u2019s recently completed audit.

Delzell said the auditors had questioned at least one donation made by the city last year, a $250 contribution to the American Cancer Society. Officials said the city had donated to a Relay for Life event in the county and auditors had commented the donation did not appear to serve a direct public purpose that would benefit Wapello residents.

\u201c(The pool passes) are a good-will gesture, but we need to be careful handing them out,\u201d Mayor Shawn Maine pointed out to the council after referring to the audit report.

Delzell agreed, but said city staff had been told the passes would only go to Wapello families.

Council member Eric Small questioned if the city should consider developing written policies to follow for future requests. The auditors had recommended that action if the city continued to make donations similar to the American Cancer contribution.

In addition to the donation comments, the auditors also flagged city purchases of services and supplies from businesses owned by city officials.

This past fiscal year the city used businesses owned by Maine and council members Gene Arnold and Brett Shafer.

Delzell pointed out in a small town it is often difficult to acquire some services without using businesses run by city officials. Council member Kenny Marlette did not disagree, but using Maine as an example suggested other businesses could be used.

\u201cI don\u2019t want to take money out of your pocket, but we have three places around town (where oil can be changed),\u201d he said.

He wondered if a rotating schedule might work, but no decisions were made.

In other action, the council agreed to transfer $987 from the city TIF Fund to the Debt Service Fund for payment of a storm sewer system promissory note.

The council also accepted the retirement of Kirk Heater from the city\u2019s public works staff.

"}, {"id":"ba801987-68cb-5b26-b1d9-ecc003fa5fcf","type":"article","starttime":"1480730400","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T20:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1480732625","sections":[{"muscatine":"news/local/muscatine"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Ann's children: Local preschool teacher shapes three generations of kids","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/article_ba801987-68cb-5b26-b1d9-ecc003fa5fcf.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/ann-s-children-local-preschool-teacher-shapes-three-generations-of/article_ba801987-68cb-5b26-b1d9-ecc003fa5fcf.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/muscatine/ann-s-children-local-preschool-teacher-shapes-three-generations-of/article_ba801987-68cb-5b26-b1d9-ecc003fa5fcf.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":4,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Liora Engel-Smith\nLiora.engel-smith@muscatinejournal.com","prologue":"MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2014 Ann Hart has hundreds of children. And on Tuesday morning, 12 of them sat in a half-circle, learning about the letter C. \u201cC says \u2018ka,\u2019 and sometimes \u2018cha,\u2019\u201d says teacher Barb Peak. She repeats the sounds a few times and the children repeat after her. \u201cListen to the sound,\u201d she tells the children as she presses a button on a toy.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["ann hart","barb peak","vivian","generation","teacher","preschool","amanda rangel"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"1fe6d39f-0d89-59c2-a42a-4372f7b35dfe","description":"Barb Peak helps Hanaliyah Guevara decorate a Christmas ornament Thursday afternoon at A Child\u2019s Place Preschool in Muscatine. 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MUSCATINE, Iowa \u2014 Ann Hart has hundreds of children. And on Tuesday morning, 12 of them sat in a half-circle, learning about the letter C.

\u201cC says \u2018ka,\u2019 and sometimes \u2018cha,\u2019\u201d says teacher Barb Peak.

She repeats the sounds a few times and the children repeat after her.

\u201cListen to the sound,\u201d she tells the children as she presses a button on a toy.

And most of them do. Vivian, a little girl with pigtails and a big smile wiggles on her mat. Her gaze moves across the room from the little snack tables to the block station to the wall where a dozen little winter coats hang. Finally, she gets up and walks around, only to return to her mat a moment later. When Vivian repeats the routine again, Amanda Rangel, an assistant teacher, gently escorts her back to the mat.

Some of the other children are engrossed with Peak, who now has plastic props in her hands. She shows the three- and four-year-olds a plastic cookie, a toy car, and a cat figurine. With each item, she asks the children if the item starts with c. They answer enthusiastically.

Next, she pulls out a brown plastic camel.

\u201cWhat is this?\u201d she asks.

\u201cA kangaroo!\u201d exclaims a little girl in a striped shirt.

\u201cCamel,\u201d Peak says gently.

A constant in a sea of change

While much has changed at Ann Hart\u2019s preschool (the children now use iPads sometimes for example), a lot remains the same as it was 51 years ago when Hart began her teaching career.

\u201cIt\u2019s always the same. The philosophy is the same, the goals are the same,\u201d Hart said.

It\u2019s a simple, yet fundamental goal.

\u201cIf each child is happy and has a positive experience in preschool \u2026 that\u2019s the foundation for lifelong learning,\u201d she said.

Becoming a preschool teacher and later a preschool owner was never one of Hart\u2019s goals. Circumstances stirred her to it. In 1949, Hart attended Stephens College in Missouri. The college had a child development class that she enjoyed.

\u201cI kind of thought that was a fit for me, Chemistry certainly wasn\u2019t.\u201d she said.

And there was a preschool on campus where children of faculty members attended. Hart worked at that preschool. She later attended the University of New Mexico and in 1959 she and her husband moved to Muscatine. By then, the couple had children of their own.

\u201cI thought there just needed to be something for them to do,\u201d Hart said. \u201cThere was no story time or anything, so I started a story hour at the library.\u201d

When the library moved, Hart moved her operation to the YWCA. Demand for her classes grew and Hart was ready for more.

\u201cSo I thought, preschool\u2014I\u2019m ready for that,\u201d she said.

In 1965, she would open Muscatine\u2019s first preschool at the YWCA. In 1980, the preschool moved to its current location on 6th and Oak and Hart changed the name to A Child\u2019s Place. Hart taught classes at the preschool for years, but has since transitioned to managing duties.

A legacy of teaching

Back at A Child\u2019s Place, circle time comes to an end. Peak and Rangel help the children wash their hands and they sit down for a snack of applesauce and Graham crackers. Rangel moves from child to child, pouring milk into white and purple paper cups.

The little girl who mistook a camel for a kangaroo shouts and Peak gently puts her hands on her shoulder.

\u201cThat\u2019s too loud,\u201d Peak whispers. \u201cYou got to use your inside voice.\u201d

Though Hart isn\u2019t in the room, that exchange is emblematic of her philosophy.\u00a0

\u201cEverything I do is influenced by her, I would say, because she\u2019s the one who taught me \u2018well, this is how you do circle time, and this is how you control the group,\" Peak said. \"You use a quiet voice and you go around in the back and tap them gently whispering in their ears in instead of shouting across the room. It\u2019s just a million little things like that that I\u2019ve learned over the years.\u201d

Hart, Peak said, is involved with the children\u2019s lives in other ways.

\u201cThere\u2019s nobody that cares more about children and education for young children than Ann does,\" she said. \u201cThat\u2019s been her life\u2019s work and this is her legacy that she has helped so many children.\u201d

Hart helps parents find funding for preschool and arrange carpools as needed.

\u201cShe has never turned anybody away for any reason,\" Peak said. \"We\u2019ve always gone the distance to help someone, whether it\u2019s behavior or developmental areas [or] transportation or money or whatever it is.\u201d

And she trains and advises the preschool\u2019s four staff members.

\u201cThrough the years she\u2019s definitely been my mentor, she\u2019s helped me be the teacher that I am,\" Peak said. \"She\u2019s had faith in me when maybe I didn\u2019t have that much faith in my ability. She always has been very encouraging.\"\u00a0

Three generations of learning

In her 51 years of teaching, Hart has seen three generations of Muscatine students\u2014hundreds of children, some of whom are adults now with their own children.

\u201cI see them at the mall,\u201d Hart said. \u201cI see them everywhere. It\u2019s wonderful. We now have children whose parents have come to preschool, and whose grandparents have come to preschool.\u201d

And though some people in her position may consider retiring, Hart said she will not.

\u201cI don\u2019t have time to retire,\u201d she said.

For now, Hart will continue to support a new generation of children as they learn their alphabet, sharpen their social skills and tell the difference between a kangaroo and camel.

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The first of Iowa's two popular shotgun deer seasons begins Saturday, but the smell of fresh venison burger already filled a rural Scott County home Friday afternoon.\u00a0

\"Want a bite?\" Don Stewart asked, telling his wife, Jan, to bring a visitor a clean fork.\u00a0

Stewart's son-in-law, Jeff Schulz, harvested their lunch on Black Friday with his bow.

\"Instead of shopping, I went to the grocery market in the timber behind my house,\" Schulz said with a smile from across the table. \"You know they're (deer) not getting injected with hormones, so that's a big thing for us. It's real lean.\"

By 5 a.m. Saturday, Stewart plans to be situated in his tree stand \u2014 positioned on wooded private property near DeWitt \u2014 with a handful of 12-gauge shotgun shells in his pocket. The veteran outdoorsman will join more than 70,000 hunters this weekend across the state, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, Illinois' second weekend of the firearm season began Thursday and ends Sunday.

Healthy herds make 'happy' hunters

During Iowa's first archery season, which ended Friday, hunters harvested 19,833 deer, according to Andrew Norton, biometrician and deer biologist for the DNR.\u00a0

Although the deer population has declined significantly\u00a0\u2014 by as much as 30 percent in some parts of the state \u2014 over the past 10 years, the preliminary archery harvest numbers surprised Norton.

\"That\u2019s higher than I thought it would be,\" he said, citing the unseasonably warm autumn. \"It's just another sign that the population statewide is probably on the uptick.\"\u00a0

Since 2013, the herd in east central Iowa, including Scott, Clinton and Jackson counties, has seen one of the more sizable rebounds in the state, Norton said.

Curt Kemmerer, a Maquoketa-based wildlife biologist for the DNR, said\u00a0staff will be roving around the state this weekend in efforts to collect tissue samples from hunter-harvested deer.

\"We pop in and out and show up at random times and visit with hunters,\" said\u00a0Kemmerer, who is specifically testing for chronic wasting disease, or CWD.

To date, Allamakee County remains the only county in the state where CWD has been detected.

Stewart, of Long Grove, said he recently counted 35 deer in his yard, 10 miles north of the Division Street hill in Davenport.\u00a0

\"Deer are healthier now than they ever have been,\" he said.\u00a0

Kemmerer, who oversees several public\u00a0wildlife management areas\u00a0in six counties on this side of the state, said hunters he knows \"have been happy the last couple years.\"

On the flipside, the number of hunters in Iowa has slowly but steadily decreased the past five to 10 years.\u00a0

Fighting the decline

To combat that trend, veteran hunters, including Schulz, are trying to pass love of the\u00a0the sport to their children.

On Friday, the married father of two and his 13-year-old son, Ben, organized their gear, blaze orange vests and all, for their first outing later this month during the second shotgun season.

Ben, who shot and killed a deer this fall during the designated youth season, enjoys the \"quality time\" with his father.\u00a0

Schulz, a professional bricklayer, cherishes the memories.

\"I remember my first deer, and I'm sure he'll never forget his first deer,\" said Schulz, who began hunting about 20 years ago after meeting his wife. \"I'm just glad I was with him for that.\"

He plans to take his 16-year-old daughter, Ally, hunting this year, as well.\u00a0

Both children enrolled and completed a 10-hour hunter education course, which includes lessons on safety and ethics, in hopes of tagging a deer this season.

Their mother, Kathy, is proud of her hunting family and the food the practice provides. She stressed that her children respect the power of the guns in their Donahue home.\u00a0

\"They've been brought up around guns, and they know how to handle them safely,\" she said.\u00a0

Schulz and his son also took aim on Friday, sighting in their shotguns on the Stewarts' three-acre property. They practiced shooting at a deer-shaped target 50 yards away.\u00a0

\"It's quite a bit easier than archery,\" Schulz said. \"You have more of a range with a shotgun, but you don't want to go out in the field without shooting your weapon beforehand.\"

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Employees at Exelon's Quad-Cities Station returned to work Friday not only relieved and ecstatic that lawmakers had secured their plant's future but also confident that they can finally move on with their lives.\u00a0

For the past two years, workers at Exelon's nuclear plant in Cordova and its Clinton, Illinois, plant, have lived under a cloud of uncertainty. Their questionable future put the workers' lives and many decisions on hold. Unsure if they would have jobs in Cordova or would be forced to relocate to stay with the utility, they awaited the news that came Thursday night: passage of an energy reform bill.\u00a0

\"We're on a high today. There's a sigh of relief,\" Diana Kraus, a chemistry technician with 14 years at Quad-Cities Station, said Friday morning.

\"I had a lot of hope, but we were going through the emotions of a shutdown,\"\u00a0Kraus, of Bettendorf,\u00a0said. \"We were getting cuts, people were leaving, people were not being hired ...\"

But all those emotions\u00a0eased after the Illinois General Assembly approved the Future Energy Jobs Bill, ensuring the two Exelon plants would operate at least another 10 years \u2014 protecting 1,500 jobs. Gov. Bruce Rauner still has to sign the bill, which plant officials said could happen next week.

As workers arrived at the plant for the morning shift Friday, they greeted one another with congratulations, handshakes, smiles and even some high fives and hugs.

\"It's definitely a different feeling today; we all know it's a good day,\" said Emily Bridgewater, a radiation protection clerical worker. With just 18 months on the job,\u00a0she first learned of the possible closing when she was hired. \"It's been a roller coaster since I started. I knew working here was a good job, so I stayed.\"

But like other Exelon workers, the job insecurity has forced\u00a0Bridgewater to delay\u00a0buying a house.

\"I went to an open house two weeks ago, but I couldn't put in an offer not knowing what was going to happen,\" said Bridgewater, 26, who lives with her parents in Kewanee, Illinois. \"I'm ready to make the move now.\"\u00a0

Economic boost

Likewise, John McClure, an 11-year chemistry technician, said he had tightened his spending during the time of doubt. The 36-year-old Bettendorf man put off some home improvement projects, worried that with a closure he could be relocated.

\"A lot of us are transplants, we moved here for this job,\" he said.

But with the plant's future now bright, he said, \"I wouldn't be surprised if there is an obvious economic (boost from spending) in the Quad-Cities because of all this.\"

With 29 years invested at Exelon, Derrick Lack was more concerned about the next generation of workers having the same opportunities he did.

\"I would have been able to ride it out to decommissioning (of the plant) if it closed,\" he said. \"But I think of the younger guys. Those younger guys are who I felt for the most.\"

Lack lives in nearby Port Byron, and he worried that a closure would decrease property values, raise property taxes and hurt communities that rely on Exelon, including the 4,000 workers it can bring in for an outage.

\"I've worked here during the poor performing period in the 1990s, but we're a high performance plant now,\" Lack said. \"It would have been a shame for this plant to be shut down because of money and politics.\"

Lots of smiles

Plant Manager Ken Ohr stayed at the plant late Thursday, watching the legislative action live on his computer and to monitor his staff.

\"There's been 16 hours straight of smiles,\" he said. \"But the real business at hand doesn't change; we want to be the best producer of power, the safest producer and really the best nuclear neighbor we can be.\"

While the legislation ensures Exelon will operate the plants another decade, Ohr said, \"We're looking to run this to the life of the plant's license, 2032.\" He added, \"Ten years gives you time for continued technological growth and continued policy growth.\"

Asked what made the difference, he credited the Quad-City legislative\u00a0delegation and lawmakers who personally visited the plant.

\"We'll never know what did it, but the passion of the (Exelon) folks on site to pick up the phone, meet with senators \u2014 bringing them to our home,\" he said.

\"We became more than a line item on a ledger,\" Ohr said of the multiple site tours the plant hosted. He said the visitors came to understand the value of 800 employees in Cordova and 700 in Clinton, as well as their impact and connections into the communities.

'Great place to work'

Employees such as Dave Duncan, a union steward and radiation protection technician with nine years at the plant, have followed the situation intently for the past two years, beginning with the first proposed legislation.

\"I was born and raised here, so being from here, I knew how great this place was to work,\" said Duncan, of\u00a0Morrison, Illinois. \"I knew this was going to be my career.

\"At the bottom of my heart, I felt we really were going to get this done,\" Duncan said, adding that it has been an emotional couple of days. He, too, was \"glued\" to his computer watching live-streaming of the General Assembly.\u00a0

\"Your life is in the hands of the Legislature, and that's a scary situation,\" he said, crediting the Quad-City delegation with \"working tirelessly for us.\"

When he saw the Senate pass the bill, Duncan said, \"I hugged my wife, and I cried. It was a mixture of excitement, shock and exhaustion all rolled into one.\"\u00a0

"}, {"id":"3accb895-f797-5fda-bf40-280e0034c8f5","type":"article","starttime":"1480723020","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T17:57:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1480735098","sections":[{"business":"business"},{"government-and-politics":"news/local/government-and-politics"},{"illinois":"news/state-and-regional/illinois"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Impact of Exelon energy bill uncertain for businesses, customers, opponents say","url":"http://qctimes.com/business/article_3accb895-f797-5fda-bf40-280e0034c8f5.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/business/impact-of-exelon-energy-bill-uncertain-for-businesses-customers-opponents/article_3accb895-f797-5fda-bf40-280e0034c8f5.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/business/impact-of-exelon-energy-bill-uncertain-for-businesses-customers-opponents/article_3accb895-f797-5fda-bf40-280e0034c8f5.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Dan Petrella\nTimes Bureau","prologue":"SPRINGFIELD \u2014 The communities that are home to Exelon Corp.\u2019s Quad-Cities and Clinton, Illinois, nuclear power plants finally have certainty about the future after the Illinois General Assembly approved an energy policy overhaul that will keep the plants open for another decade. But critics of the deal, which lawmakers approved in a bipartisan fashion Thursday on the final day of their fall veto session, contend that it means greater uncertainty for electricity customers across the state, from large manufacturers to individual families, who will pay for $235 million in annual subsidies for unprofitable assets of an otherwise profitable company.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["governor","bruce rauner","exelon corp.","illinois","exelon","nuclear power","quad cities nuclear generating station","renewable energy","tate & lyle","rock island county","abraham scarr","mark denzler","quad-cities","ameren illinois","illinois public interest research group","cordova facility","illinois general assembly","illinois clean jobs coalition","commonwealth edison","illinois retail merchants association","chris olsen","bill","state","cost"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7","description":"Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner","byline":"","hireswidth":1798,"hiresheight":1152,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/ef/4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7/584210e11f9aa.hires.jpg","presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1798","height":"1152","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/ef/4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7/581fad0eceba0.image.jpg?resize=1798%2C1152"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"64","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/ef/4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7/581fad0eceba0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C64"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"192","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/ef/4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7/581fad0eceba0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C192"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"656","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/ef/4ef64794-41ef-5e2d-b017-df1444083ae7/581fad0eceba0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C656"}}}],"revision":9,"commentID":"3accb895-f797-5fda-bf40-280e0034c8f5","body":"

SPRINGFIELD \u2014 The communities that are home to Exelon Corp.\u2019s Quad-Cities and Clinton, Illinois, nuclear power plants finally have certainty about the future after the Illinois General Assembly approved an energy policy overhaul that will keep the plants open for another decade.

But critics of the deal, which lawmakers approved in a bipartisan fashion Thursday on the final day of their fall veto session, contend that it means greater uncertainty for electricity customers across the state, from large manufacturers to individual families, who will pay for $235 million in annual subsidies for unprofitable assets of an otherwise profitable company.

Exelon says the subsidies are warranted because, like subsidized wind and solar power, nuclear generation doesn\u2019t emit climate-damaging pollution.

After late involvement\u00a0by Gov. Bruce Rauner\u2019s office, the final version of the bill included caps on rate increases for electricity customers of all sizes and other provisions meant to shield the state\u2019s largest energy consumers from price increases.

For the 13-year life of the bill, rate increases resulting from its provisions are capped at an average of 1.3 percent for industrial and commercial customers. For residential customers in Exelon subsidiary Commonwealth Edison\u2019s northern Illinois territory, the cap is 25 cents. For downstate customers of Ameren Illinois, the cap is 35 cents.

But for consumers large and small, the bill\u2019s frequent changes and quick passage have left many scrambling to figure out exactly how the caps will work, among other questions.

Chris Olsen is vice president of community and government affairs at Tate & Lyle, a multinational agribusiness giant that employs 1,000 people in Illinois, primarily in Decatur. Tate & Lyle, like other large industrial companies, had many concerns about the proposal and its potential impact on the cost of energy, which is among the company\u2019s biggest expenses.

\u201cIt is important for the state to make reasonable efforts to retain and attract jobs,\u201d Olsen said. \u201cAnd we appreciate the efforts of the governor and the General Assembly to try and reduce the rate hike impact. \u2026 But our concern with the bill is that it is over 500 pages and so complex (that) it\u2019s still hard to determine our actual increases.\u201d

The company\u2019s experts are still analyzing the bill to determine what its short- and long-term implications will be for energy prices, Olsen said.

\u201cEnergy cost is one of our major factors in determining where to invest our capital to grow and expand our business,\u201d he said.

Decatur\u2019s Archer Daniels Midland shares Tate & Lyle\u2019s apprehension.

\u201cWe have concerns about the long-term energy costs this bill will create for businesses throughout the state,\u201d ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said in an emailed statement. \u201cWe will be working to reduce the onerous costs the bill creates while focusing on continuing the benefits the deregulated energy policies of the past two decades have provided to Illinois ratepayers.\u201d

Effect on consumers

Big energy users aren\u2019t the only ones worried about what the package will mean for energy prices and whether customers should bear the cost of keeping open Exelon\u2019s nuclear plants.

The Illinois Public Interest Research Group, a consumer organization that had supported past proposals to increase in-state investment in renewable energy, broke with other members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition in opposing the bill.

\u201cWhen market conditions favor Exelon, shareholders make windfall profits,\u201d Abraham Scarr, the group\u2019s director, said in a prepared statement. \u201cWhen market conditions are less favorable, ratepayers, not shareholders, pay the price.

\u201cIt's disappointing to see powerful special interests distort our democracy. Due to their outsized influence, ComEd and Exelon were able to make it so that good policies, like fixing the state's renewable energy standard, could only pass as part of a package that is harmful to Illinois ratepayers and to Illinois' energy future.\u201d

In voting on the bill, lawmakers had to grapple with dueling projections about the impact closing the nuclear plants would have on energy prices and reliability of the electric grid.

One study, done on behalf of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and other business groups, projected that consumers would pay $3.1 billion more for energy over the next decade if the plants were to close. Others argued that there would be little, if any, price impact because Illinois already generates a surplus of electricity.

Groups that opposed the bill, including the Illinois Manufacturers\u2019 Association, argued the electric rate increases would jeopardize what they see as one of Illinois\u2019 few competitive advantages.

\u201cThere\u2019s no doubt that this is a guaranteed rate hike built into state law,\u201d said Mark Denzler, the association\u2019s vice president.

Rauner won't gamble

Rauner, who has vowed to sign the bill when it reaches his desk, spoke Friday at the association\u2019s annual conference in Chicago.

The governor said he, like lawmakers, received conflicting information from a range of experts and isn\u2019t certain what would happen to energy prices if the plants closed.

\u201cWhat I\u2019m not going to do is gamble on the communities of central Illinois and northwest Illinois, gamble with thousands of good-paying jobs and gamble on the loss of energy diversity and energy options in Illinois,\u201d Rauner said.

The Quad-Cities Station employs about 800 workers; the Clinton plant has about 700 workers. Together, they generate millions in local property tax revenue for schools and local governments.

The Cordova facility is the largest property taxpayer in Rock Island County.

"}, {"id":"f1b13835-8b90-52fe-90e0-745af1fbf3a6","type":"article","starttime":"1480721040","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-02T17:24:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1480735101","sections":[{"business":"business"},{"local":"news/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Exelon halts planning for 2018shutdown","url":"http://qctimes.com/business/article_f1b13835-8b90-52fe-90e0-745af1fbf3a6.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/business/exelon-halts-planning-for-shutdown/article_f1b13835-8b90-52fe-90e0-745af1fbf3a6.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/business/exelon-halts-planning-for-shutdown/article_f1b13835-8b90-52fe-90e0-745af1fbf3a6.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Jennifer DeWitt\njdewitt@qctimes.com","prologue":"For the past six months, a team of Exelon employees has worked painstakingly to determine all steps that would be necessary to close down the utility's Quad-Cities Station in Cordova. Although a new energy policy approved by the Illinois General Assembly paved the way for the Cordova nuclear plant and its sister plant in Clinton, Illlinois, to stay open, Exelon officials say the planning still serves a purpose.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["energy","nuclear technology","bill stoermer","exelon","bob larkin","quad-cities station","quad cities nuclear generating station","nuclear regulatory commission","cordova nuclear plant","plant","clinton","team","employee"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520","description":"Decommissioning team director\u00a0Bob Larkin talks Friday about the\u00a0planning that had been underway to shut\u00a0down the Exelon Quad-Cities Station in 2018\u00a0before Thursday's action by the Illinois General Assembly.","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1926,"hiresheight":1076,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/04/b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520/58421eb7e789c.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1926","height":"1076","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/04/b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520/58421eb7e6b94.image.jpg?resize=1926%2C1076"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/04/b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520/58421eb7e6b94.image.jpg?resize=100%2C56"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"168","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/04/b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520/58421eb7e6b94.image.jpg?resize=300%2C168"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"572","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/04/b0414a8e-f740-57f8-a1e5-4a7834c35520/58421eb7e6b94.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C572"}}},{"id":"3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9","description":"Bill Stoermer, communications manager\u00a0of Exelon\u2019s Quad-Cities Generating Station, talks Friday about the \"hugs and high-fives\" exchanged by employees after Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that will keep the facility open.","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1824,"hiresheight":1135,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/77/3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9/58421eb74199b.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1824","height":"1135","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/77/3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9/58421eb740939.image.jpg?resize=1824%2C1135"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"62","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/77/3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9/58421eb740939.image.jpg?resize=100%2C62"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"187","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/77/3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9/58421eb740939.image.jpg?resize=300%2C187"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"637","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/77/3774ea4b-e831-5a26-b53c-dcd4f03c9dd9/58421eb740939.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C637"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"f1b13835-8b90-52fe-90e0-745af1fbf3a6","body":"

For the past six months, a team of Exelon employees has worked painstakingly to determine all steps that would be necessary to close down the utility's Quad-Cities Station in Cordova.

Although a new energy policy approved by the Illinois General Assembly paved the way for the Cordova nuclear plant and its sister plant in Clinton, Illlinois, to stay open, Exelon officials say the planning still serves a purpose.

\"All the planning, the decisions that had to be made on how to decommission the plant has taken an enormous effort,\" spokesman Bill Stoermer said Friday. \"The benefit is all that preliminary fundamental work has been done, and it's not going to change for when we do decommission the plant. It's not work being done for naught.\"

The Cordova plant's license runs through 2032.

\"We'll be able to use a lot of the information we've been developing,\" said Bob Larkin, director of the decommissioning team. He said the details can provide direction and lessons for other Exelon plants that are decommissioning. Among them will be Oyster Creek, New Jersey, station, which Exelon had previously announced would close in 2018. It is the nation's oldest nuclear plant.

He said the team plans to document what learned in the planning process and critique the processes at both stations to share with Oyster Creek. The plans also could direct other future decommissions.

Had the Illinois legislation failed, Exelon said it would close Clinton in 2017 and Quad-Cities in 2018.

According to Stoermer, the 18-person decommissioning team was made up of plant employees who had been reassigned to work solely on planning for the closure. The team was created\u00a0in June when Exelon announced it was taking steps to begin closing the two facilities.

He said the team included veteran employees across a number of disciplines, including project management, engineering, maintenance, procurement, radiation protection, operations, security, chemistry and regulatory assurance. The Clinton plant had its own team working full-time on a plan.

Larkin said the team had already completed the plans for shutting down all the systems, how to cool the spent fuel in the reactors, removing the fuel and moving it to the dry cask storage.\u00a0 \"We were now identifying abandoning the buildings,\" he said, adding that a complete site demolition was planned to occur by 2068.

The Quad-Cities Station already had taken some of the necessary steps regarding its operating license with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC. With news that the plant will not close, Larkin said Exelon will need to pursue a license amendment with the NRC.

Additionally, Stoermer said since the plant had been proposed to close in 2018, staff had only planned for a one-year refueling cycle. \"We have to go back now and look at our 2017 refueling outage plans and go back to a two-year cycle.\"

Larkin said that given the detailed work required in a decommission \"We could not wait (to plan).\"\u00a0

\"We built this plant and now we were putting a plan together to tear it down,\" he said, adding that the work \"was not rewarding.\"

"} ]