A towboat pushing a load of barges approaches the current and future I-74 bridges between Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline, Illinois.

The new plaza in front of Bettendorf City Hall and the downtown fire station was recently named "Hutchinson Plaza" in honor of former Mayor Ann Hutchinson, who served as the city's top elected official from 1991 to 2003.

Iowa’s caucuses need to be more inclusive

Some of my friends who are Democrats are asking Iowa party officials some very uncomfortable questions these days.

I applaud these people for standing up. Their questions go something like this:

Is the Iowa Democratic Party more concerned about keeping the Iowa caucuses first in the nation in the presidential nomination process, even if the caucus structure prevents countless Democrats from participating?

Bettendorf eyes spending $61,000 to prove Trump's 'Buy America' requirement a bad deal for taxpayers

Bettendorf aldermen are considering spending $61,000 to prove President Trump's "Buy America" requirement is a bad deal for local taxpayers, costing tens of thousands of dollars more to build the free-standing elevator connecting the Mississippi River recreation trail with the new I-74 Bridge.

Lee Enterprises earns 10 cents a share in 3rd quarter despite 4 percent drop in operating revenues

Lee Enterprises – parent company to the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus newspapers – earned $6.17 million, 10 cents per share, during the third quarter ended June 30, up slightly from 8 cents per share for the same period a year ago.

Third quarter operating revenues totaled $127.3 million, compared with $132.6 million a year ago, a 4 percent drop, according to the Davenport-based firm that describes itself as "a leading provider of quality, trusted, local news, information and a major platform for advertising in 50 markets."

Environmental council analysis shows Iowa nutrient reduction strategy a very slow road to nowhere

Big ag groups like the Iowa Farm Bureau along with Iowa Republicans like to tout the state's Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) as the path forward to reduce pollution of state streams and rivers from farm runoff.

A new Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) report issued Tuesday (July 16) paints the NRS as a very slow road to nowhere.

20 days, 10 pumps and 448 million gallons of sewage-contaminated water flushed into Mississippi

For 20 days beginning May 27, Bettendorf continuously ran 10 pumps along its riverfront to flush 448 million gallons of sewage-contaminated water into the Mississippi River.

The latest Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) "Event" was again the result of rain and flood water clogging the main sewer interceptor line to the Davenport Waste Water Treatment Plant.

To prevent the treatment plant was being inundated with the huge flows and avoid sewage back-ups to businesses and homes along the Bettendorf/Riverdale riverfront, gates to the main sewer line were closed May 27.

Iowa's greenhouse gas emissions back on the rise, 3.5 percent increase in 2017 to 131 million tons

Increased use of coal- and natural gas-power plants for production of electricity and two new fertilizer plants helped pushed up Iowa's greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 percent in 2017.

The hike in emissions came after two years of statewide declines. Even with the increase, total greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were nearly 6 percent lower than 10 years ago.

Bettendorf, Riverdale, Panorama Park sewage pumped into Mississippi River for 14 days

Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park sewage was flushed into the Mississippi River between April 29 and May 9.

The City of Bettendorf pumped 179 million gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater runoff into the river, according to reports filed with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Neither the city or the state estimate how much actual sewage is pumped directly into the river as a result of such "Sanitary Sewer Overflows" (SSO's).

Lee Enterprises' news release buries second quarter earnings number on second page, 17th paragraph

Lee Enterprises – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch-Argus – reported its second quarter earnings last week (5/10), but readers had to plow through 16 paragraphs of information to find the financial bottomline buried at end of page two of the news release.

The company lost $2.7 million, 5 cents a share, in the second quarter ended March 31, compared with a gain of $2.2 million, 4 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. When including re-valuation of company stock warrants, earnings totaled $75,000, compared with $1.7 million, 3 cents per share, a year ago.

No one home at the REAL Coalition; MidAmerican admits to being part of 'solar tax' lobbying campaign

Iowa's largest utility MidAmerican Energy got $308 million in state and federal tax credits in 2018 for generating wind energy, then hid behind a front organization called the REAL Coalition to push legislation to add a tax on customers who install rooftop solar panels.

The utility admits it is a member of the shadowy lobbying organization. However, that's about the only thing the privately held utility – part of the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway run by Warren Buffett – will disclose about the secretive lobbying effort.

Bettplex developer states he's 'offended' by city 'worrying about less than $600,000 of cost overruns'

Bettplex developer Doug Kratz – signing emails "frustrated" and demanding city legal staff rather than his attorneys draft revisions for an amended development agreement – stands to get an additional $1 million subsidy from city taxpayers for his sports complex.

The amended development agreement – scheduled for consideration by the city council Tuesday (March 5) – increases the city's cap to pay for streets, sewers, sidewalks and storm water infrastructure at the sports complex from $3.78 million to $4.65 million.

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