Michelle O'Neill

WVIK News Editor

Officially my title is WVIK News Editor which really just means I wear many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. I have to add that I'm a multimedia journalist, too, since along with serving as assignment editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, and anchor, I also take photos and videos, and write and produce content for WVIK.org and social media. (I don't think I actually own a hat for each of those roles.)

In 2015, I won top honors for radio reporting in two states. In the Illinois AP Broadcast Journalism Excellence Awards, judges named me the Best Reporter in the Local News division (e.g., Lack of IL Budget Affects Tourism and Jobs). And in the Iowa Broadcast News Association's 2015 contest, I got first place in Overall Excellence in Reporting in the Large Market division, along with winning first place in two other categories (QC Campuses Fight Sexual Violence and Water Quality and Farming). 

In the 2014 Illinois AP contest, the judges gave me first place for Illinois Victims' Rights Proposal in the Hard News Feature category for Downstate Radio.

 When not working, I read, walk the dog, crochet, play drums and sing backup at church, plus go to lots of my nephew's baseball games. 

Kensington, baying beagle bunny killer

Since adopting Kensy, I've learned all about how to deal with a hound who counter-surfs and devours whatever happens to be there (e.g., a box of high fiber cereal, a large chunk of fudge, and a few Beano tablets). The resolution of one of these extra meals involved hydrogen peroxide, a baster, and heavy gloves. 

Just for fun, here's a flood widget for the Mississippi River I learned about while working on a couple of features.

We may be seeing a downward trend, but there are too many factors to know for sure. That's what Ron Fournier from the Corps of Engineers says about barge traffic in the Quad Cities in 2013. For all of last year, 13.7 million tons of freight travelled through Lock 15. That's about 44 percent lower than the record tonnage of 31.2 million set in 1999.

The National Guard needs new ambulances, and they're being made in the Quad Cities. This morning the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center rolled out one of the new ambulance kits on Arsenal Island.

The "desert tan" ambulance sits on the frame of a hum-vee, which is built elsewhere. And it's one of 500 that arsenal employees will make make, assemble, and paint.

Douglas Curel works in Washington DC as "Resources Manager" for the Army National Guard.

"If you don't do anything to save your ash trees now, the Emerald Ash Borer WILL kill them." In a nutshell, that's what government officials are telling cities, counties, and property owners in the Midwest.

High state income taxes cause people, businesses, and money to move out of the Quad Cities, and the Midwest. That's according to author and small business owner, Travis Brown. This week, the St. Louis entrepreneur is in Illinois to talk with legislators and others about tax policy and his book. It's entitled, "How Money Walks - How Two Trillion Dollars Moved Between the States and Why It Matters."

Tonight, developers of the old CNH property in East Moline will announce plans to build a hotel, homes and stores as part of the project. The owner of the site, River Eagle Investments, is working with a Chicago-based company, Beitler Real Estate Services, which is calling it "Fountainhead Quad Cities."

East Moline Mayor, John Thodos, says the master plan includes a 220 room Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel. And Beitler has hired architect Helmut Jahn to design it. The mayor thinks it's fantastic news because currently the city doesn't have a hotel.

Moline has found a couple of companies to develop new hotels, in historic downtown buildings. Next week, the city council will consider agreements with the Amin Group and the Moline Hotel Group.