The February sun tries to break through the gray clouds, which match the slate color of the Mississippi River.

The concrete support piers for the new I-74 Bridge – gracefully designed as intersecting arcs – rise from the Bettendorf riverfront.

526,000 tons of nitrates 'exported' into Iowa rivers and streams in 2016; improved monitoring network providing better tracking of farm chemical runoff

An estimated 526,000 tons of nitrates were "exported" into Iowa rivers and streams in 2016, eventually flowing down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and adding to the so-called "dead zone" where fish cannot survive.

According to the Annual Progress Report of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) group released last week (12/12), more than 29 pounds of nitrogen from each of Iowa's 35.75 million acres of crop land ended up in state waterways.

Park board expected to sign off on $2 million upgrade for city's Palmer Hills Golf Course

A $2-million plan to add a six-hole pitch-and-putt course and an 18-hole putting course to Bettendorf's Palmer Hills Golf Course is expected to get the green light Tuesday (12/19) at the city Park Board meeting.

At the same meeting, commissioners also are expected to approve a $1 hike in green fees that would increase annual revenues from green fees by $24,500 annually.

10 years of swimming against the digital currents leaves Lee Enterprises, Inc. at half its former self

Back in 2007, Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times and now the Dispatch/Argus – reported daily circulation of just over 1.6 million at its 51 newspapers. Today, that number is down to 788,000 at 47 newspapers, according to the company's latest annual report filed Friday (12/8).

Falling coal-fired power plant use helped lower state-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent in 2016

Falling electric production from coal-fired power plants during 2016 helped lower state-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the second year in a row, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

A decade after initial animal welfare violations and two years of legal proceedings, USDA revokes Cricket Hollow Zoo license, fines owners $10,000

A decade after animal welfare violations were initially documented and more than two years of legal proceedings, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revoked the license of Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, Iowa, and fined owners Thomas and Pamela Sellner $10,000.

The USDA decision announced November 30 would appear to spell the end of operations at the troubled facility since the zoo must have a USDA license to continue to operate.

A fast track is the wrong track for water quality

Editorial from Cedar Rapids Gazette. Used with permission.

We read news this week that water quality legislation may be placed on a fast track when lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey wants it to happen. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she hopes “it’s the first bill I get to sign as governor of the state of Iowa.”

That sounds like good news. That is, until you dig into the details.

Mayor would give up power to appoint police, fire chiefs under proposed city ordinance change

The power to appoint future police and fire chiefs in Bettendorf would switch from the mayor to the city administrator under an ordinance change expected to be approved by the city council this week.

The current city ordinance gives the mayor the power to appoint (with city council concurrence) those positions. The new ordinance, up for the first reading at Tuesday's (11/21) council meeting, would give the city administrator authority to appoint, with council approval, future fire and police chiefs.

A news release we'd like to get someday from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 8, 2019

Iowa DNR investigating discharge and likely fish kill in Gulf of Mexico

RACCOON RIVER WATERSHED – A pipe draining water from a corn field about five miles southeast of Adel in Butler County sent Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) staff to the farm Saturday to investigate.

Eldorado Resorts – new Bettendorf Isle of Capri owner – reports big jump in operating income

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. – the new owner of Bettendorf's Isle of Capri Casino – reported (11/2) third quarter net income of $29.6 million, or 38 cents per share.

Eldorado Chairman and CEO Gary Carano told analyst during a conference call the company "could not be more pleased with our progress (integrating the Isle of Capri casino properties) to date."

While total revenues at the Reno-based firm fell 1 percent compared with the third quarter a year ago, operating income at the company's casinos was up more than 40 percent compared with the same three-month period in 2016.

Plan submitted for first commercial development at sports complex; Middle and Forest Grove Road intersection upgrade yet to be finalized

Plans for two commercial buildings and a restaurant – part of the sports complex at Middle and Forest Grove Roads – are headed for Bettendorf City Council approval, but improvements to that key intersection have yet to be finalized by the city.

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