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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Local artists Alan Sweet, left, and Bret Dale perform at UP Skybar in Davenport as part of the Alternating Currents Festival. This year's festival will return Aug. 19-22.

Thumbs Up … to the Alternating Currents entertainment festival, which kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday in the Quad-Cities. This year, it is expanding to three cities, with acts taking place in Davenport, Moline and Rock Island.

More than 120 live performances will take place across 30 venues, including musical acts, film screenings, comedy and art-related events. Most of the venues will be in Davenport, but there are six in Rock Island, with Moline’s Bass Street Landing also joining in.

Founded in 2017 and organized by the Downtown Davenport Partnership, Alternating Currents is a great opportunity to meander through the downtowns of our Quad-Cities while sampling a wide array of entertainment.

The festival’s web site says it is cognizant of the pandemic and adds "we encourage attendees to wear masks indoors in all public areas and participate in festival activities that fit your level of comfort.” But it adds each venue will determine its own guidelines.

We’re looking forward to another great festival.

Thumbs Down … to the loss of more than 81,000 COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Iowa. Officials in the state had to toss them as the state’s uptake of the vaccine has dropped drastically since its peak this spring.

The Des Moines Register reported the development earlier this week.

The loss of these vaccines is less than the 217,000 the state warned last month might be wasted. Still, it is unconscionable that these life-saving vaccines are going to waste, even as billions of people around the world don’t have access to inoculations.

In Iowa, just 59% of the eligible Iowans have been fully vaccinated.

This isn’t just happening in Iowa. Across the country, doses are expiring.

We have urged that, for the safety of our community, that more people get the vaccines. But the idea that in this, the richest country in the world, these vaccines are going to waste while only 1% of the population in Africa has been inoculated, should make us all reconsider our good luck — as well as our responsibilities.

Thumbs Up … to the new grant program announced by the State of Illinois that’s aimed at helping tourism. The $10 million program is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Businesses can apply for grants between $10,000 to $1 million to improve or expand upon events or facilities that would occur or be used during this year or the next. The grants are being awarded on a quarterly basis, and they can be used for a range of things, including capital improvements, housing, equipment and receptions.

Like most industries, tourism took a hit from the pandemic, and the ARPA funds are aimed at helping in the recovery.

We hope that some of that money lands in the Quad-Cities.

Thumbs Up … to government officials and private sector advocates seeking additional investments in the Hennepin Canal. As Lisa Hammer reported in this newspaper earlier this week, there is concern about the guard lock system at Rock Falls.

The state of Illinois recently spent $10,000 to repair a nearby washout, and an official with the state DNR said it is committed to canal maintenance. However, advocates for the canal are urging that the state do more to ensure its long-term viability.

As Hammer reported, Zack Sullivan, executive director of the Geneseo Chamber, identified preservation of the canal as one of its three top priorities, and he said without funding for repairs at the guard lock system, there is a risk of losing the canal. “The Geneseo Chamber is calling upon the state of Illinois to assist with these critical repairs,” Sulllivan said

The private group Friends of the Hennepin Canal also has identified the guard lock system as its top priority.

The Hennepin Canal is a vital regional destination, and we add our voices to those who see it as an important asset. We hope the state is listening and it gets the repairs needed.

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