American bald eagles are reflected in the water of the Mississippi River near Lindsay Park, Davenport.

Operating cost reductions, digital revenue growth boost Lee Enterprises' net income in third quarter

A 15 percent increase in digital revenue plus a 15 percent decrease in operating expenses led to a $2.1-million profit for Lee Enterprises, Inc. in the third quarter ended June 25.

Lee, headquartered in Davenport, owns more than 70 newspapers and online news sites including the Quad City Times and Daily Dispatch/Argus.

Privacy lawsuit against Lee Enterprises will proceed

by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
July 31, 2023

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging an Iowa newspaper publisher violated customers’ privacy rights through information sharing with Facebook.

The Iowa-based newspaper chain Lee Enterprises is facing a potential class-action lawsuit alleging it has shared readers’ personal information, including the videos they watch on Lee websites, with Facebook in violation of federal law.

Developer wants to convert old library building along Grant Street into neighborhood bar

The old city library at 2211 Grant Street, Bettendorf, would be converted into a bar under a development plan to go before the planning and zoning commission Wednesday (June 21).

The developer, EPH LLC, has already obtained a variance from the city's board of adjustment for an outdoor patio with alcohol service (outdoor music on the patio is prohibited until adjacent properties are no longer of residential use).

Who cut your pork chop, Governor DeSantis?

by Art Cullen, Iowa Capital Dispatch
May 30, 2023

Ron DeSantis was railing on about illegal immigration while grilling pork chops at the annual picnic May 13 in deep-red Sioux Center hosted by Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull. The crowd cheered him on, knowing full well that immigrants cut the chops and work the dairy barns around Northwest Iowa.

It’s an open secret that the livestock economy vitally depends on immigrants, mainly from Latin America, to put cheap pork on your grill and cheese in your larder. Everybody knows we couldn’t get by without them. Yet we cheer on the most strident anti-immigrant outrage.

What gives? Do they resent that corporations have taken over pork and dairy production? Because they scarcely could exist without immigrants. Help-wanted signs are everywhere. You hear it all the time: We just can’t find help. The Legislature wants you to prove work for welfare with a 2.8% state unemployment rate. It just loosened up child labor laws, too.

In rural food processing hubs like Sioux Center or Storm Lake, it takes someone bent on the American Dream to scoop manure or work in the blood-drying room. Tyson pays $21.50 to start at the Storm Lake pork plant and cannot keep the roster full. How would you like to load turkeys on a truck at 2 a.m. when the sleet whips sideways and that squawking feathery rage is coming right at you?

Yet we clap when someone talks about keeping Venezuelans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Hondurans and Mexicans out.

Donald Trump made fear-mongering over foreigners his theme, and won Iowa handily despite the fact that it is a land full of folks descended from Germans, Dutch, Norwegians and Swedes.

University researcher says senators sought to silence him by threatening stream monitoring funds

by Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch
May 3, 2023

A researcher at the University of Iowa says two Republican senators pressed the university to halt his blog — which included unflattering critiques of the state’s agricultural practices and water quality — by insinuating that university funding was at risk, according to the researcher.

Chris Jones, a research engineer for the university’s Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, said he agreed with his superiors to cease his writings on the university’s website. He had anticipated some sort of threat from lawmakers who disagree with him, and he was nearing retirement anyway. His last blog post published April 2.

Jones alleges the threat came from Sens. Dan Zumbach of Ryan and Tom Shipley of Nodaway. Zumbach denied the allegation. Shipley did not respond to requests for comment.

Iowa Supreme Court says open records lawsuit against Governor Reynolds should proceed

by Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch
April 14, 2023

A lawsuit by three journalists who allege Gov. Kim Reynolds violated the state’s Open Records Law should continue in district court to determine whether her responses to their requests were timely, the Iowa Supreme Court decided Friday.

The suit was filed in late 2021 by the journalists of three organizations — including Iowa Capital Dispatch — after the governor’s office had failed to respond for up to 18 months to their records requests. The office provided the records less than three weeks after the lawsuit was filed.

“The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously determined that Gov. Kim Reynolds cannot violate Iowa’s Open Records Law by failing to respond to journalists’ public information requests,” said Thomas Story, an attorney for the ACLU of Iowa, which filed the suit on behalf of Iowa Capital Dispatch and the other plaintiffs

Truth but no truth

If I hold to be true that absurdity determines my relationship with life, if I become thoroughly imbued with that sentiment that seizes me in the face of the world’s scenes, with that lucidity imposed on me by the pursuit of science, I must sacrifice everything to these certainties and I must see them squarely to be able to maintain them. Above all, I must adapt my behavior to them and pursue them in all their consequences. I am speaking here of decency. But I want to know beforehand if thought can live in those deserts.French/Algerian writer and philosopher Albert Camus

In geology, ‘drift’ refers to all the debris transported and deposited by glaciers or their meltwater, and this glacial garbage in Iowa can be as much as 500 feet thick. Glaciers spread it across the landscape like peanut butter on an English muffin, masking surface roughness and leaving much of the landscape approximately level.

In this part of the North America, little was left untouched by glaciers save a roughly oval piece of plain muffin we call ‘The Driftless’ that covers 20-70 miles east of the Mississippi River from Durand, Wisconsin down to just south of Galena, Illinois. I’m sorry to tell my fellow Iowans (and Minnesotans) that we’re really just Driftless wannabes; our part of the ‘Driftless’ isn’t without drift, it just looks like it. But that’s a story for another day and for convenience I’m just letting that go for now.

Lee Enterprises execs get pay boosts despite steep earnings decline, forced furloughs in 2022

Amid a steep fall-off in earnings, forced unpaid furloughs across its 77 news properties, significant staff cuts and a continued stock price decline, top Lee Enterprise, Inc. executives received increased compensation packages from 7 to 62 percent during 2022.

The executive compensation detailed in the company's proxy to shareholders, shows President and CEO Kenneth Mowbray's total compensation went up 7.2 percent to $2.33 million. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Timothy Millage had his compensation upped 33 percent to $1.05 million. Operating Vice President and Vice President - Audience Strategy Nathan E. Bekke's compensation package increase 62 percent to $1.12 million.

And, past CEO Mary E. Junck, who serves as executive chair of the board of directors, received a $30,000 hike in her compensation to $430,000 ($250,000 in fees paid in cash and $180,000 in stock awards).

For the company's fiscal year ended Sept. 25, 2022, Lee lost 35 cents per share compared with a gain of $3.98 per share for the previous fiscal year.

Late fiscal 2022 financial report from Lee Enterprises shows net income down 35 cents per share

Lee Enterprises, Inc. finally filed its full fiscal 2022 financial report Tuesday (Feb. 27) with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), two months later than normal.

The annual 10-K report showed the company lost 35 cents per share for the 12 months ended Sept. 25, or 14 cents more than preliminary numbers released Dec. 8 as part of its fourth quarter financial results.

Lee is publisher of the Quad City Times and Daily Dispatch/Argus and some 75 other newspapers and online news sites including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Buffalo News and the Omaha World-Herald.

Succession plan for Bettendorf city administrator position doesn't include timeline for transition

The Bettendorf City Council last month approved a succession plan for its city administrator without knowing when the transition would occur.

The week before Christmas, Bettendorf City Council members gathered in groups of three to avoid having to make public their meeting with City Administrator Decker Ploehn and Human Resource Director Kathleen Richlen. The purpose was to discuss a succession plan developed by Ploehn.

Ploehn, 70, had told the council over several years that he planned to retire once the new Interstate 74 Bridge was complete. The bridge opened last fall after a 10-year effort of planning, funding and construction.

But prior to completion of the bridge, Ploehn changed his mind. He now says his retirement might be "in six months or in two years."

Pages

Subscribe to Bettendorf.com RSS
Go to top