Candidates for RI Township government talk about community gardens, seniors, jobs

Originally Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013, 10:08 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 24, 2013, 10:09 pm
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By Kevin Smith,

Democrats gunning for a spot in Rock Island Township government laid out their visions on how government can better serve those in need at a forum Thursday night.

The two candidates for township supervisor and four of the six Democrat seeking four trustee positions fielded questions from township residents at the Rock Island Public Library a month before the Democratic Party primary election scheduled Feb. 26.

The main goals of township government is to assess property value and provided help to those in need, said pre-school teacher Heather Gray, a township trustee since 2008.

The "life-long resident" of Rock Island said she hopes to encourage youth involvement by creating a community garden and using the township's facilities as a resource for younger students.

"Education only leads to better things," Ms. Gray said.

Vince Thomas, another current trustee who said he has lived 54 years in Rock Island, agreed more could be done to help the "vast" amount of children in lower-income families in the city.

Incumbent James Kerr, who became a trustee in 1992, said township government has been able to work well to achieve its goals in the past.

"We've got a good team that really tries to help those in need," he said. Still, he said, more canbe done to engage the community and drum up volunteerism. He suggested the township consider sending out a newsletter to better inform residents.

Trustee-hopeful Rita Kirk said the township government to expand its programs for seniors and low-income residents. Currently a bookkeeper for the township, Ms. Kirk said her unique perspective gives her insight into what she can hope to improve as a board member.

Supervisor candidate Alan Carmenagreed community involvement is critical to better serve the public.The retired Planning and Redevelopment Administrator for the city of Rock Island said there are low-cost options to make township government more accessible to the public, such as meetings and social media.

His opponent, Glen Evans, said the township should focus on helping residents find employment. "We just need to give them an opportunity to work," said Mr. Evans, a minister at Wings of Faith Ministries in Rock Island.

Current township supervisor John Brown has announced he will not seek re-election. The new supervisor and four trustees will be elected on April 9.No Republicans have filed for the posts.

Running unopposed are township assessor Brenda Carmen and township clerk Joan Clark. Both also were at the forum to address concerns from the audience.


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.

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