A jumble of cranes overhang the concrete supports awaiting the steel superstructure for the main span of the new Interstate 74 Bridge.

The long-dead seed head of Achillea (yarrow) plants sport a white cap from recent snow.

Anonymous millionaires funneling 'dark money' into push to re-write Iowa's non-partisan selection process for state Supreme Court nominees

A right-wing conservative Republican group funded by anonymous millionaires is funneling some of its "dark money" into the push to re-write Iowa's non-partisan selection method for the supreme court.

Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) in Washington, D.C. set up a web site at "fairjusticeforiowa.com" disparaging Iowa's current nomination process, long-heralded as the most non-partisan system for selection of new justices in the country.

Ironically, JCN's mission states the organization is ". . .dedicated to the rule of law; with a fair and impartial judiciary."

Lee Enterprises, Inc. touts 8 percent increase in digital revenue during first quarter, but total company revenues fell more than 5 percent from a year ago

Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Dispatch/Argus and QC Times newspapers – Thursday (2/7) reported first quarter earnings of $10.7 million, or 18 cents per cent share, while touting its 8 percent increase in digital advertising revenue from a year ago.

Despite the improved performance of digital advertising, Lee's total revenue fell 5.3 per cent to $136 million for the three-month period. Digital advertising now accounts for nearly 34 percent of the media company's total ad revenues, according to the Lee news release.

Proxy battle heats up for three Lee board seats

An activist shareholder who owns nearly 5 percent of Lee Enterprises, Inc. stock has stepped up his proxy fight to oust three board members – including the board chairman and the CEO/president of the Davenport-based media company.

J. Cano Cannell who operates Cannell Capital LLC Monday (1/28) filed additional reasons his firm is seeking to replace Board Chairman Mary Junck, CEO/President Kenneth Mowbray and board member Herbert Maloney at Lee's February 20 board meeting.

Activist investor seeks to remove three from Lee Enterprises' board, including chairman and CEO

A Wyoming-based activist investor – who has publicly feuded with James Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" – wants Lee Enterprises, Inc. shareholders to replace three members of the Davenport media company's board of directors, including chairman Mary Junck and President/CEO Kevin Mowbray.

J. Caro Cannell in a filing Wednesday (1/16/19) with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) labeled the Lee board "stale, lethargic and devoid of any skin in the game." He urged shareholders not to re-elect Junck, Mowbray and board member Herbert W. Maloney III at the upcoming Lee annual meeting in February. Lee owns 46 daily newspapers, including the QC Times and the Dispatch/Argus.

Bettendorf sports complex developer wants to split future sales tax rebates rather than pay $556,000 due under development agreement with city

The developer of the Bettendorf sports complex wants the city to accept a portion of state sales tax rebates over a 10-year period, rather than pay $556,000 now owed under terms of the 2017 agreement.

The agreement with developer Doug Kratz set a cap of $3.87 million on city paid infrastructure for the so-called Bettplex at Middle Road and I-80. However, the cost of the streets, sewers, storm water detention and walkways exceeded that by $844,000.

Lee Enterprises' print circulation falls another 8 percent; company looks to future 'inflection point' where digital revenue will surpasses print ad dollars

Lee Enterprises, Inc. Executive Chairman Mary Junck told stock analysts last week the media company – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus – remains "steadfast in our optimism" with "a growth strategy aimed at achieving a digital inflection point when digital-related revenues exceed print-related revenues."

The company also reported higher earnings for the fourth quarter ($4.4 million versus $3.5 million a year ago) and for the full fiscal year ($28.6 million versus $18.4 million) ended Sept. 30.

The positive comments and financial results, though, weren't enough to lift the firm's stock price, which fell to a 52-week low of $1.87 Tuesday (12/18).

Bettendorf sports complex infrastructure costs reach $4.6 million; city has yet to seek any reimbursement for $760,000 overrun of development agreement

Eight months after the Bettendorf sports complex opened for business, the city has yet to determine how much developers will contribute to the $760,000 cost overrun for streets, sewers and storm water detention for the facility.

The city has paid $4.63 million for the project's entry roads, interior walkways, sewer and storm water facilities to date. That's $760,000 more than the city agreed to pay under its development agreement with BettPlex developers Doug Kratz and Kevin Koellner.

Sewage overflows return as flood water, heavy rains infiltrate lines; exceed treatment plant capacity

Flooding and heavy rains early this month once again forced Bettendorf to pump raw sewage into the Mississippi River.

That's because the Davenport Sewage Treatment Plant wasn't able to handle inflows to the facility and closed gates to the main interceptor along the Mississippi riverfront, requiring Bettendorf to pump sewage from its riverfront lines into storm water pipes that flow into the river.

If the city did not use the pumps, sewage could back up into riverfront businesses and homes.

Grain Processing to pay $50 million to compensate Muscatine residents harmed by plant's air pollution

Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) has been ordered to pay $50 million in damages to settle a class action lawsuit over air pollution from its Muscatine corn-milling plant that harmed thousands of nearby residents.

Iowa District Court Judge John Telleen gave preliminary approval of the settlement Monday (October 22), concluding six years of litigation over air pollution from the GPC facility.

Cricket Hollow Zoo owners facing another legal challenge over alleged mistreatment of animals

Cricket Hollow Zoo is facing another legal challenge from the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) over alleged mistreatment of animals remaining at its rural Manchester "animal park."

The roadside zoo was forced to give up its endangers lemurs and lions after a federal court ruling a year ago, and now ALDF has filed suit against zoo owners Pam and Tom Sellner in Iowa District Court alleging "persistent neglect of its animals," and "flagrant disregard for federal and state animal protection laws. . ."

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