Runners, walkers and bikers enjoy the Mississippi Riverfront Trail thanks to the unusually warm February weather.

Sketch of apartments proposed for Twin Bridges Motor Inn site.

Jumer's Castle Lodge owner seeks 100% tax rebate for 10 years for redevelopment of hotel property

The owner of the vacant and dilapidated Jumer's Castle Lodge in Bettendorf would be given a full rebate of all property taxes for 10 years under a proposed development agreement scheduled for consideration at next week's (July 5) city council meeting.

The agreement and proposed Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) ordinance have been given aldermen for review and the council is expected to set a date for a required public hearing on the redevelopment plan.

Cricket Hollow's animals to be relocated by July 17; new locations seen as having similar shortcomings

The endangered tigers and lemurs ordered removed from Cricket Hollow Zoo will be sent to new facilities by July 17, but both locations face some of the same shortcomings cited by animal rights advocates in their federal lawsuit against the Manchester roadside zoo.

Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles ordered the endangered animals be removed from Cricket Hollow Zoo while the case is on appeal with the tigers going to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center near Centerpoint, Indiana, and the lemurs relocated to the Special Memories Zoo, near Greenfield, Wisconsin.

Bettendorf's new Forest Grove Park: six years and $4.7 million later first public amenity takes shape

Bettendorf's newest park – Forest Grove – will finally welcome visitors sometime late this summer with the opening of a small "Community Corner" consisting of a picnic shelter, restrooms, a children's playground and a 24-car parking lot.

The first usable feature of the park on the city's far north edge will be a notable event, but the long road to the first amenity hasn't been cheap: $1.8 million to date, not including $2.92 million the city paid for the 92-acres back in 2010.

QC area first in Iowa to exceed new ozone pollution standard; Scott County Park records exceedance

The Iowa Quad Cities achieved the dubious distinction earlier this week as the first metro area in Iowa to exceed the new, tougher health standard for ozone pollution.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reported Tuesday (6/14) the air monitor at Scott County Park, north of Davenport, recorded an 8-hour average for ground-level ozone (O3) of 71 parts per billion (ppb) Monday, June 13. The ambient air quality standard for ozone was lowered to 70 ppb from 75 ppm last December.

Isle of Capri Casino, Inc. earnings up for 4th quarter, fiscal year; lower debt, higher profits boost stock

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. – operators of Bettendorf's Isle of Capri Casino – reported improved earnings Tuesday (6/14) for the fourth quarter and fiscal year despite flat revenues for the 12-months ended April 26.

After company officials finished discussing the Isle's lower debt levels and improved profit margins in a conference call with analysts, the firm's stock price jumped nearly $1 per share (6 percent) to $17.32 in early trading.

The company reported fourth quarter net revenue of $265 million compared with $269 million for the same period last year. For the 12-months ended April 24, the Isle had net revenue of $979 million compared with $977 million for fiscal 2015.

Bettendorf responds to public, council feedback; adds topsoil retention to stormwater update

Proponents of a topsoil retention requirement in Bettendorf's new stormwater management ordinance got good news in the third – and likely final – plan rewrite.

Unlike the previous two drafts circulated to city council members, the latest stormwater management update includes a requirement residential developers retain all topsoil on-site and redistribute it on the subdivision lots.

Air quality exceedances fall sharply in 2015; Muscatine GPC pollution reduction main reason

The number of exceedances of National Ambient Air Quality Standards declined sharply in 2015 compared with 2014, due in large part to reductions in pollution emitted by Grain Processing Corporation's (GPC) corn-milling operations in Muscatine.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) air quality report for 2015, 17 exceedances of the sulfur dioxide ambient air standards were recorded and 8 exceedances of the PM 2.5 (fine particulate) standard.

All 17 SO2 exceedances and one of the eight PM 2.5 exceedances occurred at Muscatine air monitors.

Unsightly truck auctions now a city 'enterprise' thanks to $1.9 million state purchase for bridge

The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) this spring paid $1.9 million to acquire 3.8 acres of Bettendorf riverfront property – owned by the Goldstein family's Green Bridge Company – needed for the new Interstate 74 Bridge.

The land was part of the property once hyped as the future site of a Mark Twain-themed amusement park by gambling proponents setting off to lobby the Iowa legislature in the early 1990's.

Second quarter Lee Enterprise earnings increase thanks to one-time $30-milion insurance settlement

Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times and 46 other daily newspapers – reported Thursday (5/5) morning second quarter earnings of $19.5 million, or 36 cents per share, thanks largely to a one-time insurance gain of $30.6 million.

Without the insurance proceeds, the company would have reported a 1 cent per share loss for the 3-month period ended March 27, compared with a 3 cents per share gain for the same quarter a year ago.

Bettendorf borrows much of Davenport stormwater rules but topsoil standards don't make initial drafts

Much of Bettendorf's proposed new stormwater management ordinance is based on similar regulations put in place by Davenport two years ago.

But despite the wholesale borrowing of Davenport's stormwater ordinance language, one key section – requiring developers to amend new residential lots to absorb rainfall and provide homeowners with healthy organic topsoil – never made it into the two initial drafts circulated by Bettendorf city staff to city council members.

Why the soil infiltration standards for new residential developments went "missing" from the Davenport ordinance to the Bettendorf stormwater draft rules isn't clear.

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