The keystone section connecting the first of two basket-arches for the new I-74 Bridge between Bettendorf and Moline was put in place last week. The $1.2-billion bridge is a year behind schedule.

Demolition of Jefferson Elementary in Bettendorf is nearly complete. Students at the one-section school, built in 1949, are now attending the new three-section Mark Twain Elementary School at 18th St. and Lincoln Rd. A residential subdivision will replace the neighborhood school.

The dark red blossoms of an ornamental crab apple tree contrast with the bright blue spring sky.

The benefit that comes from perspective

The shackles could not hold us. The Evanses cast them aside last week and traveled to Bloomfield and Cedar Rapids to visit our parents.

There are few social distancing concerns when you are standing quietly in a cemetery with your spouse, and your thoughts.

Every time I make the trip to Bloomfield and stop at the neatly tended expanse up the hill from the Fox River, there are many topics I wish I could chat about with Mom and Pop. Most would deal with family – what Sue and I have been up to, our two daughters, and how much we wish Mom and Pop could have the pleasure of knowing these delightful young women.

Last week, I found myself wishing I could talk about the coronavirus epidemic that has left everyone’s lives topsy-turvy.

Most of all, I wanted to ask Pop about the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic that he lived through. He was 9 years old when it struck.

Cuts recommended to Bettendorf City Council

The Bettendorf City Council has moved discussion of the staff's recommended fiscal 2021 budget cuts (see below) until its June 15 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting.

Here is the list of cuts recommended by Bettendorf officials to the city council Tuesday (May 18). The council is now planning to discuss the recommendations at its June 15 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting.

Life Fitness Center sale among options being discussed to help offset pandemic revenue losses

As Bettendorf city leaders confront revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Life Fitness Center appears to have a big "sell me" target on its back.

In his presentation to alderman Tuesday (4/21), City Finance Director Jason Schadt listed "Divest of Loss Generating Enterprises" as one of the possible short-term objectives to trim city expenses.

And, in discussions earlier this month, city officials had a more specific phrase for "loss generating enterprises" – close and sell the Life Fitness Center.

Ten years after Animal Welfare Act violations surfaced, USDA reaches 'consent decision' to revoke Cricket Hollow Zoo license

More than 10 years after Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations began surfacing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reached a 'consent decision' Friday (April 10) to permanently revoke the Cricket Hollow Zoo license.

The order filed last Friday in Washington, D.C. came four months to the day when workers removed nearly 100 animals from the facility after a Delaware County District Court ordered the troubled roadside zoo closed.

Bettendorf, Davenport likely to avoid multi-million dollar overflow basin for sewage treatment plant; upgrades have led to lower stormwater infiltration

Owners of the Davenport Waste Water Treatment Plant – the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park – now appear likely to avoid building a multi-million holding basin designed to handle overflows of sewage and stormwater to the plant during flooding and after heavy rains.

The equalization basin – estimated to cost $25 million back in 2012 – was the most expensive requirement of a 2013 consent agreement between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the cities, which jointly operate the treatment facility along the Mississippi River on Concord Street, Davennport.

ZenCity translating 'Likes,' 'Shares' and 'Emojis' from web sites into 'insights' for Bettendorf officials

A week after Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher made his annual state-of-the-city speech, online surveillance firm ZenCity gave city officials its analysis headlined – "The State of the City address was well received, yet attracted low interest."

ZenCity is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to use its online algorithm to scoop up all manner of Comments, Likes, Shares, Emojis from more than 100 local web sites – mostly Facebook pages and Twitter feeds – that mention the city's name in conjunction with issues or events the city wants to track.

Lee Enterprises reports 49 percent drop in first quarter earnings; touts digital subscription growth

Despite a doubling of digital-only subscriptions to Lee Enterprise newspapers from a year ago, the company's first quarter earnings fell nearly 50 percent compared with the same period last year.

The company, owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus, earned $5.7 million (9 cents per share) for the three months ended December 29, compared with $10.7 million (19 cents per share) for the same period in 2019.

Online surveillance firm hired by City of Bettendorf dodges follow-up questions on privacy issues

The Israeli firm hired by Bettendorf to analyze all manner of information city residents post online wants your data, but prefers to avoid scrutiny of its privacy policies.

ZenCity, headquartered in Tel Aviv, is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to vacuum up posts by residents on social media like Facebook and Twitter and any and all other online sites that carry information or comments related to Bettendorf. CLICK HERE for a partial list of online sources to be scraped for community posts.

Lee Enterprises to buy Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper business; $576-million Berkshire loan to finance deal and refinance existing Lee debt

Lee Enterprises announced today (1/29) it would acquire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway newspaper group for $140 million with the help of a $576-million loan from Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper group, BH Media, operates 31 daily newspapers and their online news sites, and Lee has managed those properties since July 2018.

The Berkshire Hathaway loan will not only pay for Lee's acquisition of BH Media, but refinance Lee's existing $435 million debt and provide sufficient cash to terminate Lee's existing revolving credit line.

City administrator strikes secret deal with alderman to avoid move to cancel surveillance contract

Bettendorf's city administrator struck a secret deal with an alderman to convince him not to seek reconsideration of contract with an Israeli online surveillance firm.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, Second Ward Alderman Scott Naumann told City Administrator Decker Ploehn Monday, Dec. 16 he planned to ask the council rescind the $18,000 contract with ZenCity at the council's Dec. 17 meeting. The council had approved the agreement Dec. 4 with no discussion.

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