Living Lands and Water Barge Tour

During Tugfest 2014 in Port Byron, Illinois the Living Lands and Waters barges were berthed offshore and open for tours. Here’s a short tour and quotes from Chad Pregracke’s dad and one of his former board members. Chad wasn’t there Saturday or else I would have interviewed him too.

Tugfest is an annual event held on the Mississippi River in Le Claire, Iowa and Port Byron. Teams play tug-of-war with a giant rope stretched across the river. The festival offers rides, arcade games, live music, food vendors and fireworks.

Memorial Day at Rock Island Arsenal

Slide show:

Please note: I ordinarily never retouch my photos or video except for using editing practices that are common in all news photography. Common practices are: cropping to better emphasize a subject, color correction, exposure corrections, adding movement to still photos in video (aka the “Ken Burns Effect”), or inserting text like dates, ownership, or captions into a photo.

In this slide show I removed names from headstones and badges out of respect for survivors and the military. I made that decision after searching for Associated Press photos of national cemeteries and noticed many of those cemetery photos, not all, have the names on the stones out of focus or hidden in other ways. This was an exception I made for this particular story.

The Annual Festival of Trees

Nov. 28, 2013 Deck the halls with boughs of everything because it’s that time of year again. Quad City Arts has kicked off the holiday season with its annual fundraiser, the Festival of Trees.

Since 1986 Quad City Arts has invited businesses, individuals, and charitable organizations to create all kinds of holiday décor available for purchase for eleven days at the start of the season. These gift baskets, holiday trees and decorations raise thousands of dollars to support local arts every year.

The creativity and whimsy of the decorations is new every year. But along with that, the 11 day event features performances from various schools, clubs, and other performing artists.

Officials say 99 percent of donations are purchased by the end of the festival. Those rare items that are not sold are donated to local non-profits.

Dec. 1 was the last day of the festival but here is a video to remember it by.

Before he Became President, He Visited Iowa Too

Feb. 15, 2012 :

Xi Jinping, Vice President of China in 2012, went to Muscatine, Iowa to visit the family he stayed with when he was a university student in 1985. Protestors and supporters gathered in the neighborhood. Created with an Aiptek HD camcorder.