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.

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.

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.

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