Perfect weather for start of Channel Cat Water Taxi service on Mississippi River in Quad Cities.

Yellow cornflowers sway in the summer breeze as bees flit from flower to flower seeking pollen.

Artist John Bloom's "Waiting for the Ferry" sculpture of two young boys graces the Mississippi Riverfront near Lindsay Park, Davenport.

Construction work on support piers for the new Interstate 74 bridge between Bettendorf and Moline now is under way.

Bettendorf casino reverses decade long decline; new land-based facility ups admissions, revenues

The move to a new land-based casino in June of last year has reversed a decade long decline in gamblers and gambling revenue at Bettendorf's Isle of Capri.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, the Isle (now owned by Eldorado Resorts, Inc. of Reno, NV) attracted more than 1 million gamblers, up more than 30 percent from fiscal 2016. With more admissions, the Isle's adjusted gross revenue climbed to $77.5 million, up more than 11 percent compared with the previous fiscal year.

Both numbers are still far below the heyday for casino gambling. Admissions at the Isle of Capri peaked at more than 2 million in 2000, while adjusted gross revenues reached a high of $105 million in 2004.

Lee Enterprises looks to widen use of cash beyond debt reduction; may include print, digital acquisitions

After reporting an upswing in third quarter earnings Thursday (8/3), Lee Enterprises, Inc. executives told analysts the company will look to widen the use of cash flow beyond debt reduction and may seek additional print or digital acquisitions.

The Davenport-based media company acquired its Quad Cities newspaper competitor, The Dispatch-Argus, in June for $7 million. The Dispatch-Argus primarily served the Illinois Quad Cities (East Moline, Moline and Rock Island), while the Quad City Times serves mainly readers in the Iowa Quad Cities (Bettendorf and Davenport).

"We expect the acquisition to be accretive to earnings and free cash flow in our September (4th) quarter," President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray said. "The transition is off to a good start and we are pleased with the contributions we are already seeing from the Dispatch-Argus."

Bettendorf taxpayers to pay far more for sports complex streets, sewer and stormwater detention

Bettendorf taxpayers will pay far more for streets, sewers and stormwater detention than the $3.87 million stipulated in the contract with the Bettendorf sports complex developer.

In private 3-on-3 meetings with aldermen July 5, city officials outlined a summary of estimated infrastructure costs for the sports complex showing construction bids received so far are $844,000 above the cap set in the development agreement between the city and developer Douglas Kratz.

And then there was only one. . .

The news surprised no one in the Quad Cities news business.

The Dispatch-Argus succumbed to the same malady facing newspapers from coast to coast: falling subscribers, Googlizing of news into an everywhere commodity, double digit declines in display advertising, and loss of classified advertising to Craigslist and dozens of other online marketplaces.

The biggest question was why it took Lee Enterprises (with its competing Quad City Times) so long to gobble up its rival.

Ex-Davenport city administrator files libel lawsuit against Quad City Times and two reporters

In a libel lawsuit filed last week, ex-Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin claims the Quad City Times published false and misleading statements to "run him out of town" because of "his leadership in expanding access to public information, which the Quad City Times openly opposed."

The lawsuit filed June 15 in Scott County District Court names Lee Enterprises, owner of the Quad City Times, in addition to the newspaper and reporters Barb Ickes and Brian Wellner.

Lee Enterprises, Inc. to acquire Dispatch-Argus newspaper in $7.15 million transaction

More than 150 years of newspaper competition in the Quad Cities will draw to an end later this month with purchase of the Dispatch-Argus and its digital portal QCOnline.com by Lee Enterprises, Inc., owner of the Quad City Times.

The $7.15 million acquisition (including an adjustment for working capital) was announced today (6/19) and is expected to close by the end of the month.

CLICK HERE for observations on the newspaper sale by John Beydler, who recently retired from the Dispatch-Argus after a career of more than 40 years.

Anti-tax group avoids taxes faced by Iowa taxpayers; charitable endowments provide majority of funding for Iowans for Tax Relief operations

Iowa's leading anti-tax group – Iowans for Tax Relief – claims thousands of grassroots supporters but in reality the vast majority of its funds come from revenue – all untaxed – generated by multi-million dollar charitable endowments and private trusts established by the organization's founder, David M. Stanley.

Stanley, of Muscatine, died in August 2015, but his endowment funds and trusts continue to pour millions of dollars into the operation of Iowans for Tax Relief (ITR) and four other charitable organizations espousing a similar mantra of limited government and anti-tax messages, and funding like-minded conservative politicians for state and federal office.

The endowments underwrite more than a dozen management and staff positions in organizations pumping out a steady stream of propaganda on tax and government spending issues.

Davenport/Bettendorf achieve big reductions in sewage overflows; court ordered fixes address dumping of sewage into Mississippi River

Upgrades to the jointly owned Davenport/Bettendorf sewage system over the past four years has led to "marked reductions" in untreated and partially treated sewage being dumped into the Mississippi River during flooding and after heavy rainfalls.

According to the annual report to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) filed April 1, the improvements to the sewage treatment plant and sewage collection systems in the two communities have "reduced sewer backups and overflows.

Lee Enterprises second quarter earnings flat after adjusting for one-time insurance boost a year ago

Lee Enterprises – owner of the Quad City Times – reported second quarter earnings Thursday (5/4) of $6.4 million, down 67 percent from the same period a year ago when a one-time insurance settlement added more than $13 million to the company's bottomline.

Net income for the three months ended March 26 was 11 cents per share compared with 36 cents per share for the same period a year ago.

Mayor enlists friends to lobby fellow city council members; push for city sports complex incentives

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher – apparently fearing fellow city council members might reject millions in taxpayer funded incentives for a proposed sports complex – sent an email to friends and associates last week urging them to lobby the city council in support of the venture.

"I have learned that people who detract from projects organize and gather to be heard," Gallagher wrote in the email. "While those who trust their elected officials and support wonderful projects, usually don’t make it a point to be heard. That is human nature. I need you to please be heard on this one!"

Gallagher attached a copy of a "city incentive versus city benefits" memo which claims the $45-million sports complex would provide a $2.95 million "net benefit" to the city. However, the analysis failed to include an estimated $14 million in tax rebates the developers would receive under the 20-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) deal.

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