John Deere Classic Tournament Director Clair Peterson talks about the past success of Birdies for Charity on Monday during the annual kickoff event at the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline.

Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad-City Times

Thumbs up to John Deere Classic's Birdies for Charity.

The Quad-Cities' annual rite of spring kicked off this week. Last year, it raised $10.5 million for 500 charities.

Backers pledge cash for every birdie during July's JDC tournament. Deere and Co. matches every pledge dollar for dollar.

JDC is a cool event. And thanks to Birdies for Charity, it does a lot of good throughout the Quad-Cities. 

Thumbs down to the misers in Des Moines who hope to gut important state programs, including Iowa Flood Center at University of Iowa.

The flood center was birthed in need, after the 2008 floods caught too many communities off guard. Since its creation, the clearinghouse for meteorological and geographical information has become a vital asset for Iowans and local officials.

But faced with slumping revenue, state lawmakers are targeting programs such as these. Lawmakers also are moving to cut more funding for Iowa Regents, which can only end with tuition hikes.

Doing so is an outright rejection of the purpose of government. 

Thumbs up to Arconic for completing the installation of its massive metal stretcher.

The promise of the $150 million piece of equipment was instrumental in landing several big contracts.

Arconic's customer portfolio includes aviation giant Airbus and automotive titans Ford and Toyota.

It's investments like these that keep manufacturing strong in the U.S. Arconic is taking steps to maintain its Quad-Cities operations for years to come.

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