A towboat pushing a full load of barges heads down the Mississippi River on a sunny, pleasant November morning.

The Arsenal Island and downtown Davenport shoreline are reflected by the calm water of the Mississippi River.

A BNSF freight train lumbers along the Mississippi Riverfront headed north on a fine fall morning.

Bright red leaves of an ornamental apple tree stand out against the deep blue fall sky.

There are many reasons for gratitude

With all of the frustrations, the tragedies and the maddening political chaos that have been with us this year, I have the perfect recipe for our Thanksgiving celebrations.

No, it is not a new take on green bean casserole. It’s not some newfangled way to ease the strain on our belts after a holiday meal.

More than anything else, what our celebrations need this year is an extra helping of gratitude.

Iowa's ag college experts on nutrient reduction say their role is to educate, not regulate farm operations

Mandating measures to control and reduce chemical pollution from farm fields should begin, University of Iowa water quality researchers say.

But, don't expect Iowa's land-grant agricultural institution – Iowa State University – to join the call for regulation or any government measures to limit the use of fertilizer on ag land.

Researchers at the University of Iowa Hydroscience and Engineering Department have been analyzing farm field runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus for decades.

Election didn't ‘validate’ governor’s response

Gov. Kim Reynolds is claiming the election results were a “validation” of her approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year, Iowans validated the direction of our state by expanding the majority in the Iowa House and maintaining the strong majority in the state Senate,” she said Thursday. “… In addition, it was a validation of our balanced response to COVID-19, one that is mindful of both public health and economic health.”

She said that with a straight face, as the pandemic is surging out of control in Iowa, setting new records almost daily for new infections, hospitalizations and deaths. She said it as two face-masked hospital executives stood by, preparing to plead for Iowans to consider exhausted health care workers and stretched hospital resources before they make their holiday gathering plans or decide to go maskless in public.

Voluntary efforts will never achieve Iowa's goal to curb nitrogen runoff, water quality researcher says

Iowa will never achieve its goal to reduce nitrate runoff from Iowa farm fields relying only on voluntary actions of farm operators, according to a hydrologist who has done extensive research on the state's waterways and water quality.

The state has not only has failed to achieve its goal to reduce nitrogen runoff by 45 percent over the past eight years, the 5-year average of nitrate flowing into the Mississippi River has increased, up more than 100 percent between 2003 and 2019, according to Larry Weber, Ph.D, a research engineer with the University of Iowa's IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering Department.

The governor has to follow the law, too

When the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public records law 50 years ago, lawmakers wanted to guarantee that anyone could obtain copies of state and local government records that are not designated by statute to be kept confidential.

There is no asterisk in the law. There is no exemption saying the governor can ignore the statute.

But there is evidence Gov. Kim Reynolds believes otherwise.

Lawyers representing the governor made a troubling admission this month in a Polk County District Court lawsuit. They acknowledged that a member of Reynolds’ staff directed the Iowa Department of Public Health on more than one occasion to disregard a request for public records about coronavirus testing.

Bettendorf to Riverdale: Plow your own streets, do your own engineering if you keep trail access closed

Unhappy Bettendorf City Council members are sending a stern message to the City of Riverdale and Mayor Mike Bawden: You can plow your own snow and handle your own engineering services if you're going to close down the Mississippi River Trail connection along South Kensington Street.

Lee pays Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway $37 million in debt repayments after furloughing staff, cutting pay

After furloughing hundreds of Lee Enterprise employees during the coronavirus economic downturn last quarter, the media company was able to pay billionaire Warren Buffet's finance company $36.7 million under the debt refinancing deal agreed to earlier this year.

Lee – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus and 75 other daily newspapers and online news sites – owes Buffet's BH Finance LLC more than $539 million, which carries an annual interest rate of 9 percent.

Farm bureau crows about water quality progress; nutrient reduction report stats show otherwise

The Iowa Farm Bureau unleashed its public relations machine after release of the 2018-19 Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) Report July 2, heralding what it called "clear and significant strides" on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus leaching from farms fields into state streams, rivers and lakes.

Problem is the farm bureau either failed to read the report statistics on nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, or simply chose to ignore the research results and spin the findings.

Admissions, revenues at Bettendorf casino plunge as pandemic shutters facility for more than two months

Admissions and revenues at Bettendorf's Isle of Capri Casino fell to lows not seen since the launch of its predecessor Lady Luck Riverboat Casino in 1995 after the COVID-19 virus shuttered the facility for two and half months this spring.

For the 12-months ended June 30, the Isle – now owned by Eldorado Resorts, Inc. – reported gross revenue of $51.2 million and admissions of 627,436. That would be the lowest revenue and admissions since the fiscal 1995 results when the Lady Luck Riverboat generated $10 million in revenue and attracted 325,698 gamblers in operating less than three months.

Lee Enterprises reports $5 million 2nd quarter loss

Lee Enterprises – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus – has reported a $5 million loss (9 cents per share) for the second quarter ended March 29. That was nearly double the loss ($2.3 million, 5 cents per share) for the same period a year ago.

Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray in the company's earnings news release June 18 stated he was "pleased to announce our solid second quarter financial results."

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