Runners, walkers and bikers enjoy the Mississippi Riverfront Trail thanks to the unusually warm February weather.

Sketch of apartments proposed for Twin Bridges Motor Inn site.

The sun peaks through the clouds as it starts to climb back from its low point on the horizon on the winter solstice, Dec. 21.

Bettendorf betting $11.2 million on sportsplex to kickstart development at I-80 and Middle Road

After secret briefings given Bettendorf aldermen in mid January, the city added $11.2 million in bonds to its proposed budget to pay for roads, sewers, stormwater detention and developer loans and rebates for a sports complex at Forest Grove and Middle Road.

According to documents and emails obtained by Bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, city officials in those non-public sessions discussed with aldermen the impact the sports complex would have on next year's capital improvement plan (CIP), city tax levy and debt margin.

The project was outlined a month later at a news conference Feb. 17 by Mayor Robert Gallagher and developer Douglas Kratz, but aldermen have yet to publicly discuss the sport complex plans or its financial impact on city finances at an open city council meeting.

Only six exceedances of ambient air standards recorded in 2016; none recorded in Muscatine

Only six exceedances of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) were recorded in Iowa during 2016 with none in Muscatine – long the state's hot spot for air pollution.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resource's Air Quality Bureau reported four exceedances of ozone standards and two exceedances of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns) standards for last year.

Twisting arms in Washington, D.C. to protect Rock Island Arsenal jobs, programs gets more expensive

The cost of twisting arms in Washington, D.C. to support Rock Island Arsenal jobs and interests just got a lot more expensive.

Local governments have been paying $125,000 annually to beltway lobbyist Hurt, Norton and Associates to keep an eye on government agencies and proposed legislation which might impact Arsenal employment and operations.

With the intent of "going on offense rather than playing defense," the Bi-State Regional Commission Wednesday (2/22) hired a new firm – The Roosevelt Group – for $240,000 a year, or nearly double the previous contract.

Isle of Capri reports higher third quarter results thanks in part to new land-based Bettendorf casino

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. reported higher third quarter earnings Thursday (2/23) compared with a year ago, thanks in part to improved results at its new land-based Bettendorf Isle of Capri gambling facility.

Net income totaled $8.2 million (15 cents per share) for the three months ended January 22, compared with $6.6 million (13 cents per share) for the same period a year ago.

Investment firm specializing in 'out of favor companies' takes 7 percent stake in Lee Enterprises

A Stamford, CT investment firm that specializes in "stressed, distressed and out of favor companies" has acquired a 6.9 percent stake in Lee Enterprises, the Davenport-based media company which owns the Quad City Times.

Archview Investment Group L.P. reported today (2/14) that it had acquired 3.8 million shares of Lee stock as of Dec. 31, 2016. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules require disclosure when an individual or company acquires 5 percent or more ownership in a publicly traded firm.

'Sports complex' allocated millions in proposed city budget; project yet to be publicly discussed

The proposed Bettendorf city budget would allocate more than $15 million to build a "sports complex" that has yet to be discussed publicly by aldermen.

The budget – which will be discussed at an all-day public work session Saturday (2/11) – includes $2 million for purchase of land for the "sports complex," more than $2 million for roads, lighting and sewer extensions for the project, and lists the issuance of $11.2 million in debt (bonds and notes) to finance the facility construction.

EPA rejects IDNR effort to loosen water quality standards; change pushed by industry lobbyists

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rejected an effort to loosen water quality protection rules in Iowa, saying proposed changes to "antidegradation standards" sought by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) violate federal rules.

In a letter to the IDNR January 19, the EPA's Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague wrote the state was "seeking to establish a one-size-fits-all rule that only projects costs less than 115 percent of base costs optimize 'the balance between water quality benefits and project costs.' "

Lee Enterprises, Inc. earns $12.4 million in first quarter despite 7% drop in operating revenue; promises focus on more cost reductions in 2017

Lee Enterprises, Inc. earned $12.4 million in the first quarter ended Dec. 25 despite a 7.2 percent drop in operating revenues for the three-month period compared with a year ago.

The Davenport-based company Thursday (2/2) reported earnings of 22 cents per share, compared with 21 cents per share in the first quarter of 2015.

After 4 days of testimony at Davenport hearing, USDA administrative law office judge to decide if Cricket Hollow Zoo certificate should be yanked

After four days of testimony pitting U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials against Cricket Hollow Zoo owners, an administrative law judge will decide later this spring if the roadside zoo near Manchester, Iowa will retain its federal license.

The hearing before the administrative law judge was held in Davenport beginning Tuesday (1/24) and included testimony from USDA Veterinarian and Inspector Heather Cole, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Compliance Investigator Doug Anderson, zoo owners Tom and Pamela Sellner and Robert Gibbens, Western Regional Director of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Fort Collins, CO.

The USDA complaint against Cricket Hollow runs more than 20 pages and cites dozens of violations of the Animal Welfare Acts (AWA) by the zoo in 2014 and 2015.

Cricket Hollow Zoo faces criminal investigation over treatment of lion removed from Manchester facility

An animal rights group has asked the Delaware County Sheriff to file criminal animal cruelty charges against the Cricket Hollow Zoo owners over care of a lioness rescued from the roadside facility near Manchester, Iowa last August.

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