The new I-74 Bridge takes shape in the background of the wide and calm Mississippi River on the first day of fall.

A bee enjoys the nectar and pollen of a bright yellow sunflower.

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.

City administrator strikes secret deal with alderman to avoid move to cancel surveillance contract

Bettendorf's city administrator struck a secret deal with an alderman to convince him not to seek reconsideration of contract with an Israeli online surveillance firm.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, Second Ward Alderman Scott Naumann told City Administrator Decker Ploehn Monday, Dec. 16 he planned to ask the council rescind the $18,000 contract with ZenCity at the council's Dec. 17 meeting. The council had approved the agreement Dec. 4 with no discussion.

Horrors of Cricket Hollow Zoo expose need for reform of state, federal enforcement agencies

Viewpoint by Tracey Kuehl, of Bettendorf, one of the seven plaintiffs who filed lawsuits filed against Cricket Hollow Zoo.

When Cricket Hollow Zoo was ordered closed by a district court judge Dec. 4, it was the end of a long-running tragedy for hundreds of animals that suffered from neglect and cruelty.

But the lengthy legal battle over operation of the roadside zoo near Manchester also exposed an equally despicable condition – apathy and neglect by government agencies charged with protecting those animals from deplorable conditions and mistreatment.

Regulatory inadequacies and lax enforcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) paved the way for more than a decade of animal suffering at the zoo.

Lee Enterprises 4th quarter earnings plunge; stock sinks more than 8 percent to $1.73 per share

The stock price of Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus – fell more than 8 percent Thursday (12/12) after the Davenport-based media company reported 4th quarter net income fell 70 percent compared with the same period last year.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 29 totaled $1.35 million (1 cent per share), compared with $4.44 million (7 cents per share) in 2018. For the full fiscal year, Lee reported net income of $15.9 million, compared with $47 million in fiscal 2018.

Workers remove hundreds of animals from troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo; nearly 200 others 'missing'

Approximately 100 animals were removed Monday (12/9) from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, but workers are still searching for some 200 others that were not found during the court-ordered animal rescue operation.

The roadside zoo owned by Pamela and Thomas Sellner was found in violation of Iowa animal cruelty standards by a Delaware County District Court judge November 24 and the judge ordered removal of the 300 exotic animals from the facility. The Sellners asked the Iowa Supreme Court to stay the removal order, but the high court denied the request December 4.

Bettendorf planning to hire Israeli firm to use artificial intelligence for monitoring citizen interactions on Internet platforms, including Facebook, Twitter

Bettendorf plans to hire an Israeli-based company that would use artificial intelligence software to monitor citizen interactions on Internet platforms including Facebook, Twitter and local news sites.

The $18,000 annual contract with ZenCity is on the council's consent agenda that is expected to be approved without discussion at tonight's city council meeting (12/4).

According to the council information, the firm would monitor "social media, news outlets and other sources, tracking trends on topics that are being circulated on various media platforms. . ."

Cricket Hollow Zoo owners file appeal with Iowa Supreme Court; seek halt to remove of animals

The Iowa Supreme Court has been asked (11/27) to halt the removal of exotic animals from Cricket Hollow Zoo while hearing an appeal of the district court decision that found treatment of animals at the roadside zoo violated Iowa's animal cruelty standards.

Appeal of the Delaware County District Court decision and stay of the removal order was filed by Pamela and Tom Sellner, owners of troubled roadside zoo near Manchester.

In the appeal, the Sellners claim the judge was not "an impartial decision maker," and that the judge "took an advocacy role on the side of the Petitioners. . ."

CLICK HERE for further information on the zoo and the district court decision of Nov. 25.

Judge orders removal of 300 remaining animals from Cricket Hollow Zoo in decade-long legal battle

An Iowa District Court judge Monday (11/25) ordered the removal of the remaining 300 animals confined at Cricket Hollow Zoo, apparently ending a nearly decade-long legal battle over cruel treatment and neglect of endangered and exotic animals at the troubled roadside zoo near Manchester.

In the most recent lawsuit brought by four Iowa residents and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in 2018, the roadside zoo owned by Pamela and Thomas Sellner was found to violate Iowa's animal cruelty standards.

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