A female tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucas) feeds on the nectar of a hyssop flower.

Demolition of Jefferson Elementary in Bettendorf is nearly complete. Students at the one-section school, built in 1949, are now attending the new three-section Mark Twain Elementary School at 18th St. and Lincoln Rd. A residential subdivision will replace the neighborhood school.

The dark red blossoms of an ornamental crab apple tree contrast with the bright blue spring sky.

Why are we tinkering with voting laws?

There have not been a lot of bright spots since coronavirus began sickening Iowans.

So far, 685 people have died in our state from the virus, and another 26,000 have been infected. Unemployment in Iowa is in the double digits. We have already begun hearing of business owners throwing in the towel and closing permanently.

But one thing has gone phenomenally well during the pandemic, and that was the primary election on June 2.

Which leads to this question: Why did the Iowa Legislature decide last week to tinker with the election laws in the closing hours before adjourning for the year? The changes amount to little more than a solution in search of a problem.

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."

Decision on fitness center delayed until October

The Bettendorf City Council Tuesday (June 16) voted to delay a decision on closing the Life Fitness Center until October when the city will have better information on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council also agreed to cancel the annual July 4th parade, delayed the July 4th fireworks display until a later (undetermined) date and put on hold the hiring of additional firefighters until this fall.

Life Fitness Center sale among options being discussed to help offset pandemic revenue losses

As Bettendorf city leaders confront revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Life Fitness Center appears to have a big "sell me" target on its back.

In his presentation to alderman Tuesday (4/21), City Finance Director Jason Schadt listed "Divest of Loss Generating Enterprises" as one of the possible short-term objectives to trim city expenses.

And, in discussions earlier this month, city officials had a more specific phrase for "loss generating enterprises" – close and sell the Life Fitness Center.

Ten years after Animal Welfare Act violations surfaced, USDA reaches 'consent decision' to revoke Cricket Hollow Zoo license

More than 10 years after Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations began surfacing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reached a 'consent decision' Friday (April 10) to permanently revoke the Cricket Hollow Zoo license.

The order filed last Friday in Washington, D.C. came four months to the day when workers removed nearly 100 animals from the facility after a Delaware County District Court ordered the troubled roadside zoo closed.

Bettendorf, Davenport likely to avoid multi-million dollar overflow basin for sewage treatment plant; upgrades have led to lower stormwater infiltration

Owners of the Davenport Waste Water Treatment Plant – the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park – now appear likely to avoid building a multi-million holding basin designed to handle overflows of sewage and stormwater to the plant during flooding and after heavy rains.

The equalization basin – estimated to cost $25 million back in 2012 – was the most expensive requirement of a 2013 consent agreement between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the cities, which jointly operate the treatment facility along the Mississippi River on Concord Street, Davennport.

ZenCity translating 'Likes,' 'Shares' and 'Emojis' from web sites into 'insights' for Bettendorf officials

A week after Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher made his annual state-of-the-city speech, online surveillance firm ZenCity gave city officials its analysis headlined – "The State of the City address was well received, yet attracted low interest."

ZenCity is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to use its online algorithm to scoop up all manner of Comments, Likes, Shares, Emojis from more than 100 local web sites – mostly Facebook pages and Twitter feeds – that mention the city's name in conjunction with issues or events the city wants to track.

Lee Enterprises reports 49 percent drop in first quarter earnings; touts digital subscription growth

Despite a doubling of digital-only subscriptions to Lee Enterprise newspapers from a year ago, the company's first quarter earnings fell nearly 50 percent compared with the same period last year.

The company, owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus, earned $5.7 million (9 cents per share) for the three months ended December 29, compared with $10.7 million (19 cents per share) for the same period in 2019.

Online surveillance firm hired by City of Bettendorf dodges follow-up questions on privacy issues

The Israeli firm hired by Bettendorf to analyze all manner of information city residents post online wants your data, but prefers to avoid scrutiny of its privacy policies.

ZenCity, headquartered in Tel Aviv, is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to vacuum up posts by residents on social media like Facebook and Twitter and any and all other online sites that carry information or comments related to Bettendorf. CLICK HERE for a partial list of online sources to be scraped for community posts.

Lee Enterprises to buy Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper business; $576-million Berkshire loan to finance deal and refinance existing Lee debt

Lee Enterprises announced today (1/29) it would acquire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway newspaper group for $140 million with the help of a $576-million loan from Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper group, BH Media, operates 31 daily newspapers and their online news sites, and Lee has managed those properties since July 2018.

The Berkshire Hathaway loan will not only pay for Lee's acquisition of BH Media, but refinance Lee's existing $435 million debt and provide sufficient cash to terminate Lee's existing revolving credit line.

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