The week started out with the tragic death of a teenager. As it wound down, community leaders unveiled an effort to improve the Quad-Cities' quality of life over the next few years, and this weekend, we're celebrating our Independence Day in communities large and small.

1. Teenager loses her life

Ayana Culbreath, 15, called "Lady" by family and friends, didn't live on this earth long enough. Her life was cut short last Sunday when bullets flew at a backyard gathering at a home in the 4200 block of Warren Street, Davenport. No arrests have been made, and information about what led to the shooting is scarce. Meantime, a benefit car wash was held Saturday, and another benefit is from 3-9 p.m. today at Shenanigan's in downtown Davenport.

2. Illinois has a budget – sort of

The week started with dire warnings about major road projects and airport projects that would be halted if the Illinois leaders continued their inability to agree on a budget. Thursday afternoon, with only hours to spare, lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner finally signed off on a spending plan that took effect Friday. Although schools are funded for a full year, however, other spending covers only six months, setting up another battle in December.

3. A path to success

In the Quad-Cities on Thursday, however, there was excitement. Community leaders gathered at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport and laid out a vision for the future. Called the Q2030 Regional Action Plan, it's a roadmap to guide the Quad-Cities over the next 14 years or so, leading to a cool, creative, connected and prosperous future.

4. Meb is on his way

There was great news on the Quad-City sports front last week, and you would have seen it first in the Quad-City Times: Meb Keflezighi is going to run in this year's Quad-City Times Bix 7 after all. It had appeared Meb wouldn't be in the race this year, because it would conflict with his training for the Olympic marathon three weeks later in Brazil. Instead, his schedule allows him to make the Bix 7 his last tune-up before the Olympics. He has run the Bix 7 eight times and won it twice, becoming one of the race's most popular participants.

5. Big contract for Alcoa

Speaking of great news, Alcoa Davenport Works got some last week. Alcoa Inc. landed a $470 million contract with Embraer, which needs aluminum for its newest generation of jets. The sheet and plate aluminum will be manufactured at the Davenport Works plant in Riverdale and at a plant in Kitts Green, United Kingdom. The aluminum will be used in the production of Embraer's new E-Jet E2 aircraft.

6. Schools face tough decisions

The news wasn't as good coming out of the Davenport Community School District. In fact, School Board President Ralph Johanson called recommended budget cuts "disastrous." The district is trying to save $1 million in the 2017-18 budget and has been looking at schedule changes or increased class sizes at the high schools to do it. At a meeting last week, board members wanted more input from teachers, but decisions on cuts will have to be made soon.

7. The onslaught has started

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The election still is four months away; the national political parties haven't even held their conventions yet. We still have only "presumptive" presidential nominees, not real nominees. But we're already seeing the political ads on TV. Democrat Hillary Clinton has taken to the airwaves to try to redefine herself to voters, and a Super PAC that supports her is bashing Republican Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Trump is continuing his campaign tactic of scoring interviews with TV personalities; that's free publicity. Our political reporter, Ed Tibbetts, laid it all out for you last week.

8. Rolling on the river

The Delta Queen, an icon among Mississippi riverboats, may be making a comeback. The ship has plied the river through the Quad-Cities for years, but it was docked in 2008 when it lost an exemption to a 1966 federal law that prohibited overnight excursions on wooden vessels. Now, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee has agreed to reinstate the exemption. If it moves through the legislative process, the bill could mean the 89-year-old vessel will again pay us a visit.

9. Home on canvas

Two weeks ago, a fire destroyed an 1861 Victorian home at Locust Street and Grand Avenue in Davenport, and that story brought out a interesting side story last week. Jack Cullen, who produces his Notes @ Noon column Tuesday through Saturday, talked with Sue Cone, whose mother once lived in the house. Sue told Jack about a painting of the house done by none other than Paul Norton. It's a story you only saw in the Times, and be sure to check out Jack's column online at qctimes.com/noonnotes.

10. Big time, small town

It's a big weekend for fireworks, obviously, but it will be really impressive in Grand Mound. It always is, and if you picked up Saturday's paper, you could have read all about it. Grand Mound has about 600 residents and sits in southwestern Clinton County. On the Fourth of July, however, it attracts up to 15,000 for its fireworks display, town leaders say. The parade, 1 p.m. Monday, also is a fun time. Fireworks at dusk.

And if you don't want to miss the big stories coming up this week, call 563-383-2210 or visit qctimes.com/services to start your subscription. And stay on top of the news 24 hours a day at qctimes.com.

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