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Quad Cities Chamber Announces 2018 Legislative Priorities

Local business leaders want state and local government to improve the economy and create a business-friendly climate. Tuesday, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce announced its 2018 legislative priorities.

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This has been tough year for America's west coast vineyards. Wildfires in October in Northern California and this month in Southern California have left acres of wine country scorched and black. While California's 2017 grapes have been safely harvested already, winemakers around the world are wary about a threat that is growing along with the frequency of wildfires: smoke taint.

QCSO

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra has hired a new Executive Director. Wednesday morning, the board of trustees announced Brian Baxter will start his new job in February. 

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

In making his "closing argument" for tax legislation expected to get a vote in Congress next week, President Trump announced that the changes would take effect early next year.

"If Congress sends me a bill before Christmas, the IRS — this is just out, this is breaking news — has just confirmed that Americans will see lower taxes and bigger paychecks beginning in February, just two short months from now," Trump said in a speech at the White House Wednesday

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice contestant turned White House aide, is stepping down from her post. In a terse statement Wednesday, the White House said she "resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities. Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service."

The nomination of Brett Talley, the Justice Department official in line for a lifetime judicial appointment, "will not be moving forward," a Trump administration official told NPR on Wednesday.

Talley had been rated "unanimously unqualified" for the post by the American Bar Association this year after an evaluation that questioned his experience. Talley had never argued a case, or even a motion, in federal court, he testified.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Al Franken's upcoming resignation.

Smith, a Democrat, will serve until January 2019. She also plans to run in a special election next year to serve out the entirety of Franken's term, which ends in 2020, according to a source who spoke to Minnesota Public Radio.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says his people no longer want the U.S. involved in brokering any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, after President Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week.

Abbas called Trump's actions a crime and said he'll appeal to the United Nations.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits — along with guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with an award for early influence — have been named as next year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

I always get excited about putting together Goats and Soda's list of most-read stories of the year. To me, it reveals a lot about how our audience feels about the world — what did you find surprising? Share-worthy? Illuminating?

You loved the stories that got you woke: how to ethically take selfies while volunteering abroad; how the Western media visually portrays women and girls in the developing world.

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WVIK Podcast

The Great Quad Cities Listen is an attempt to collect and share our diverse stories. By doing so, we hope to build connections and create a more compassionate Quad Cities.

WVIK Podcast

Examining the equity (and the lack thereof) in art museums. Produced in partnership with the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art and the Figge Art Museum.