Taking Care of a Wood Burning Fireplace

Chilly nights have returned and you’re ready to make the most of the wood-burning fireplace in your home. Consider a few suggestions to ensure the safety of your fireplace. You’ll be well on your way to relaxing comfortably in front of the crackling, glowing blaze.

Call In A Professional

Call a licensed professional to have your chimney inspected. Homeowners should expect chimney inspectors to be certified by the Chimney Institute of America or the National Fireplace Institute. It’s common practice to insist on seeing the inspector’s credentials, proof of insurance and references before hiring. Choose a certified, experienced professional for peace of mind that your fireplace is safe to use.

The Inspection Is Recommended

A thorough chimney inspection identifies physical defects in the firebox or flue, any build-up of creosote, the blackened remnants formed from burned wood, or the presence of any other blockages. Chimney inspections can also reveal leaks and cracks in the structure than can affect the stability of the stack. There are three inspection levels, so be sure to ask for the one that fits your needs when making the appointment. A level one inspection includes a visual check of the fireplace and chimney without any special equipment or climbing on the roof. This initial visit will determine if you need a chimney sweep or if your fireplace is ready to use.

You’ll Need A Chimney Sweep

The role of the chimney sweep, also known as chimney technician, is to clear the ash and soot that collects inside the fireplace unit. They also perform masonry and relining work when needed. A chimney sweep does not play any role in the inspection of the chimney. Because soot and ash build up over time, it can hinder proper air flow and become a fire hazard. Cleaning out the chimney should be done once a year.

Gather The Wood And Light It Up

Use hardwood that has been split and dried for at least six months to a year. Seasoned hardwood logs should be dark and cracked at the ends, and they should make a hollow sound when knocked together. Gather kindling like expired newspapers or remnant mailings to lay beneath the logs. Light the kindling, fan the flame until the wood catches on fire and have a metal poker nearby to shift the wood around as needed.

Find more tips for homeowners.

March Events

Looking for a few things to do this month.  There’s something for everyone.

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Bash at the Mississippi Valley Fair Grounds

March 13-14

St. Patrick Society Grand Parade starting in Rock Island and ending in Davenport

Saturday, March 14 at 11:30am

One Night of Queen at the TaxSlayer Center

Wednesday, March 18 at 7:30pm

Trebuchet Saturday at the Family Museum in Bettendorf

Saturday, March 21 at 10am

Harlem Globetrotters at the TaxSlayer Center

Sunday, March 22 at 2pm

Flashlight Tag Tween Night at Kewanee YMCA

Friday, March 20 at 7pm

Paw Patrol Family Night at the Discovery Depot in Galesburg

Friday, March 27 at 5:30pm

Dueling Pianos at Wild Rose Casino & Resort Clinton

Friday, March 27 at 6pm

What’s Happening in September?

Fall is around the corner and there is plenty to do this month. What are you waiting for?

Corn Crib Fall Festival

Saturday’s and Sunday’s September 14th – October 27th 9 am to 5 pm

Come have fun and make some memories at our annual Fall Festival. Find your pumpkins for carving, cooking and decorating!

Brew Ha Ha in LeClaire Park in Davenport

September 21st from Noon to 5 pm

The Quad Cities favorite craft beer tasting event! 

TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon

September 21st & 22nd

This is more than a marathon.  There is a Kids MicroMarathon, 1 mile run/walk, 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay and full Marathon. Not a runner?  Come out and cheer on over 5,200 participants as they run through 4 cities, over 3 bridges, in 2 states and 1 island!

Quad City Hot Air Balloon Festival

September 27th & 28th

There will be tethered hot air balloon rides, activities for kids, face painting, and lots of food for purchase.

Geneseo Brewing Presents: Bones & Brews Block Party

September 27th & 28th

There will be tethered hot air balloon rides, activities for kids, face painting, and lots of food for purchase.

2019 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals Announced

Eleven agents with Mel Foster Co. were recently named one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents in Iowa or Illinois by REAL Trends and Tom Ferry International. Congratulations to the following agents on their well-deserved recognition.

To qualify, an individual must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in sales volume in 2018.  All production numbers are independently verified by a third-party to ensure accuracy and report integrity.

Individuals by Volume in Iowa Top 10

Individuals by Sides in Iowa Top 100

Individuals by Sides in Illinois Top 200

July Events Around QCA

Looking for some running, blues music, spectacular golf, or a good ole fashion fair? Check out these local events happening in July.

37th Annual Genesis Firecracker Run in Downtown East Moline

July 4 at 7:30am

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival at The Bend in East Moline

July 5-6 at NEW location

John Deere Classic

July 8-14 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis

Click for details.

Walcott Truckers Jamboree

July 11-13 at I-80 Truckstop in Walcott

Click for details.

Brady Street Sprints in Downtown Davenport

July 25 at 7pm

Arconic’s Jr. Bix in Downtown Davenport

July 26 at 6pm

Downtown Street Fest at 2nd Street in Downtown Davenport

July 26-28

Quad City Times Bix 7 in Downtown Davenport

July 27 at 8am

Mississippi Valley Fair at the Fairgrounds in Davenport

July 30-August 4

Click for details.

Farmers’ Markets in the Area

For fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, beverages, crafts and much more, visit one of our local farmer’s markets.

Davenport Farmers’ Market at Northpark Mall

Wednesdays & Saturdays May through October
8 am to Noon

Bettendorf Farmers’ Market at 2117 State St next to Alter Building

Thursdays May through October – 2 pm to 6 pm

Freight House Farmers’ Market downtown Davenport

Saturdays May through October (outdoor season) 8 am to 1 pm
Sundays 10 am to 2 pm
Wednesday 4 pm to 8 pm

The Growers Market at Southpark Mall

Saturdays  – 8 am to 2 pm

The Growers Market at Skate City parking lot in East Moline

Wednesdays & Saturdays – 8 am to Noon

Geneseo Farmers’ Market at City Park on Pearl Street in Geneseo

Saturdays June through October  – 8 am to Noon

Galesburg Farmers’ Market on E Simmons St in Galesburg

Saturdays June through October – 8 am to Noon

Dubuque Farmers’ Market at 1300 Iowa St in Dubuque (Iowa’s Oldest)

Saturdays May through October – 7 am to Noon

Galena Marketplace at 123 Commerce St in Galena

Saturdays May through October – 9 am to Noon

Lyons Farmers’ Market at Lyons Four Square Park in Clinton

Wednesdays – 4 pm to 7 pm & Saturdays – 8 am to 12 pm May through October

Kewanee Farmers’ Market at the corner of Third & Tremont in Kewanee

Wednesdays & Saturdays May through October – 7:30 am to 11 am

Keeping Pets Safe in Winter

Our region is getting hit with wind chills dropping well below zero this week.  Help keep your pets safe during these cold days and nights.

Keep your pet inside the home, if possible, or a garage or even a shed.

Check their paws and ears for frostbite and wipe paws down from any rock salt

Know their limits.  Just like people, pets cold tolerance can vary based on their coats, body fat stores, activity level and health. 

Feed them well.  During winter months, they need the extra fat to keep warm.

For outdoor dogs, make sure doghouses are elevates with dry, clean bedding and straw.

Prevent Pipes From Freezing

Cold temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze and cause the pipe to burst and likely lead to serious flooding, if no one is home. The best prevention against frozen pipes is to keep them warm enough to stay above the freezing point. Here’s four simple tips to help.

Turn up your heat. Now is not the time to reduce home temperatures.

Open bathroom and/or kitchen cabinets. If your sinks are near an outside wall, it’s a good idea to leave your cabinet doors open so that warmer room temperatures can flow into area.

Allow the faucets to drip. Water moving through your water lines should prevent the line from freezing. 

Use a space heater.  A space heater in rooms that are prone to frozen water lines, but make sure you’re home when using. Do not leave unattended.

Invest Your Bonus In Home Improvements

Investing your holiday or year-end bonus in home improvements is smart thinking. While planning a getaway to Hawaii sounds like the perfect way to spend that windfall, consider how using that money on your home instead will increase its long-term value.

$500 Bonus: Focus on the details

Add curb appeal. Try adding or updating some of the basics like a new mailbox, flower boxes, new house numbers or outdoor lighting and shrubs. Small touches can make for noteworthy differences. Take your exterior upgrades up a notch by painting your front door for a clean look.

$1,000 Bonus: Enhance and improve

Upgrade your water heater. Swapping a standard water heater for a tankless model isn’t a fun purchase but will save energy and money because it heats the water only as needed.

$2,000 bonus: More glam is worth it

Upgrade your home’s lighting. Switch out flush-mount fixtures for pendants or chandeliers, as this deliberately brings the light down and provides balance to the room. Change out your incandescent bulbs for LEDs. These bulbs help you save energy and come in warm and cool colors and a variety of wattages.

$3,000 bonus: Think return on investment

Add a backsplash to your kitchen. Kitchen upgrades often have the highest return on investment when it comes to home improvements. If you have neutral cabinets and floors, opt for tiles with big, bold prints. Or buy peel-and-stick backsplash tiles, which are inexpensive and removable, but provide texture and interest to the room.

$5,000 bonus: Have fun with the big projects

Create a simple outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen allows you to cook and enjoy your outdoor gathering at the same time. Try purchasing a pre-made grill island or structure that has countertops and storage space. Add a mini refrigerator and some outdoor furniture. Don’t forget proper outdoor lighting around your new party zone.


Contact a Mel Foster agent to find out what improvements will give you the greatest return on your investment.

Mel Foster Co. REALTORS® Earn Emeritus Status

Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co. Inc. is pleased to congratulate Sherry Frankville and Kelly Welsh of their Moline office, and Marge Stratton of their commercial office for receiving the prominent REALTOR® Emeritus Status by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).  This prestigious honor is awarded to licensed real estate professionals who have held membership in the REALTOR® organization for a minimum of 40 years.  They were recognized during the Quad City Area REALTOR® Association’s Holiday Party and Installation Celebration on December 7th.

Sherry Frankville

Sherry Frankville has been a licensed REALTOR® for 40 years and joined Mel Foster Co. in 1988.  She is licensed in Iowa and Illinois.  Sherry’s achievements include Chairman’s Club, Executives Club, President’s Club and Honors Club levels for Mel Foster Co.  She is a member of the Quad City Area Association of REALTORS®, the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, the Iowa Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Marge Stratton started and worked in real estate with her father.  She owned her own real estate company and joined forces with Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate in 2013 and has earned Chairman Club recognition with Mel Foster each year.   She was inducted into the 2017 Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame.

Marge Stratton

Licensed Broker in Iowa and Illinois, she is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, Illinois Association of REALTORS®, Iowa Association of REALTORS®, Quad City Area REALTOR® Association, and the Society of Industrial & Office REALTORS® (SIOR).  Since 1996, she has been a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) and has served on several national committees, as well as the past present for the local SIOR Chapter. The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) is recognized as the leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association.  She is one of the 2,7000 members of SIOR whom have attained the highest level of knowledge, production and ethics in the real estate industry.  She has represented several Fortune 500 companies, in addition to many local landlords and tenant in the Quad City area.

Stratton’s dedication to the community is currently serving on the board of Downtown Davenport Partnership, Gilda’s Club, and Quad Cities Area REALTOR® Association.

Kelly Welsh

Kelly Welsh began her career in real estate with Dasso Realty in 1978 then Boeye Realtors in 1992 and continued with Mel Foster Co. in 1992.  Kelly served on the Board of Directors and on the Education Committee on the Rock Island County Board of Realtors prior to the merger with the Illinois and Iowa Board of Realtors.  She has earned designations for Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) and Certified Real Estate Specialist (CRS).  Kelly’s other achievements include Chairman’s Club, Executive Club and President’s Club at Mel Foster Co.

She is licensed in Illinois and Iowa and a member of the Quad City Area Association of REALTORS®, the Iowa Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.  Kelly has two sons and daughters-in-laws and four grandchildren all who reside in Phoenix, Arizona.

“The Mel Foster Co. family congratulates Sherry, Kelly and Marge for their high achievements in their real estate careers,” said Lynsey Engels.  “To be recognized for 40 years in real estate is amazing! We are fortunate to have their wealth of experience and knowledge on our team.”


© 2021