Thursday, June 26, 2008

Open Thread

I've been busy this week, so not much in the way of posting. A know there are things going on out there other than flooding and the air show.

It sounds like the QC may be getting its first Panda Express soon. They've been running ads for hiring employees, but I don't know what location they're talking. Anyone know?
Edit: A visit to Northpark last night allowed me to see that Manchu Wok has bitten the dust, so I suspect that's where Panda Express will be going in.

Will Alderman Ambrose's homophobic comments and vote against the gay pride festival hurt his reelection chances? Its not like he's ever denied his feelings on the issue, making such odd statements over the years such as trying to connect pedophiles to the Rainbow District. Davenport's a decently liberal town, so I think this kind of thing may catch up with him one of these years. Lisa Lewis should already be planning to play this up for younger, more tolerant voters.

In a related note, yes, the Fairgrounds aren't the best place for motorcycle rallies or frequent festivals, but can't the neighbors put up with these things on the rare occasion that LeClaire Park is unusable? Where else should this stuff be held during floods?

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Quad City Air Show

Here are a few images from yesterday's air show. For a more complete set of images, check out my post on's forum. It was a great day for the air show, and a great day for taking pictures. I would say that despite fuel prices, this year's show had some of the best displays I've seen in several years.

The United States Navy Blue Angels.

A wing walker, and the heritage flight involving a WWII P-51 Mustang and a modern F-16 Fighting Falcon.

I was impressed by this one. The helicopter in the back is a CH-53 Sea Stallion. This aircraft is frequently rumored to be attending the air show, but it almost never does. This year may be the first time I've seen it. The helicopter on the left is the familiar CH-47 Chinook, like the Iowa Air National Guard in Mt. Joy fly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Solo & Quadsville Open Thread

A couple non-flood things:

In response to the questions about the SoLo blog floating around, I don't know much more than you folks. I need to email Ambrose Fulton and see if I can find out what's up. I know the blog shows up as locked to non-admins, but as I am an admin of SoLo I can tell you that there's nothing new up there. I suppose this is a way to essentially take the blog down, but without losing all the data, or allowing some cyber squatter to come in and take over the address. I'll let you folks know if I hear from Ambrose Fulton.

Also, today the QCTimes publicly revealed their new social networking website, If you have a QCTimes.comments user name, you're already signed up for it. The website is obviously not as in-depth as something like MySpace or FaceBook, but it certainly does fill some needs. Frequently you could tell that commenters on the QCTimes website wanted to chat amongst themselves, not necessarily about a particular newspaper article. Prior to Quadsville, there really wasn't a way to do this. There were no profiles associated with the user names, nowhere to give someone your email address without giving it to everyone on the internet, etc. Now not only can people private message back and forth, they can start groups, discussion threads, or blogs of their own. A group of folks called the Quadsville Council will try to moderate things and keep a handle on offensive material and such. It also allows you to post and share pictures and movies. I've already started a group called "People who actually like Davenport" to give people who may disagree with the flood of online negativity about our city. 14 members and counting! I suppose Jim Fisher and Keith need to start the opposite group: "People who seem to despise the Quad Cities and never say anything positive about them." That's a pretty long group name though.

The website's worth checking out, and it will be neat to see how it evolves as more of the thousands of QCTimes commenters get involved.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Modern Woodmen Park: Flood 2008

I didn't make it to last night's game, but I took a walk up the Centennial Bridge to get some pictures of Modern Woodmen Park surrounded by the Mississippi River.

I know its a bit dark, but I just built a new computer and don't have any photo editing software installed yet. Also, it was a bit dark.

Most of last night's heaviest rains appeared to miss the downtown area. I know at least some areas got hail.

The temporary bridge to MWP had to be extended and sandbagged in preparation for the game, but it seemed to be working fine.

The Skybridge continues to provide great flood views.

Also, I'd like to wish all fathers out there a happy Fathers Day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back to the Mississippi Flood

With the cleanup underway along Duck Creek after yesterday's flash floods, I took a drive along the Mississippi to get some images of the floodwaters down there.LeClaire Park, showing that the water level is already higher than it got back in April. Fortunately the river would have to rise another 16 feet or so to affect the Figge's art collection that Mr. Fisher was so concerned about last time.

The temporary berm protecting a few blocks of eastern downtown is being raised to protect against up to a 25 foot river crest. This area has some of the largest pumps around busy keeping the water on the wet side of the levee.

Modern Woodmen Park, which hosted nearly 5000 fans last night, has even offered its field to the Iowa Cubs, whose park is flooded. See Pioneer's post about last night's game here. I'm considering going to tonight's game. It would definitely be a unique experience.

Friday, June 13, 2008

2008 Duck Creek Flood

While most of us were worrying about the Mississippi, 3-5 inches of rain has caused Duck Creek to sneak up behind us.

In my opinion, this is the worst the creek has flooded since the terrible 1990 floods brought national media attention to Davenport. In some ways I guess we were getting off too light compared to other cities around Iowa. Between the fire downtown and the creek and street flooding, I'd say we've had our share now.

As of 8am, Brady was open only in one lane, with public works employees letting one car through at a time to cross through 8 or 10 inches of water. Everyone I talked to said the water levels were dropping fast however, so it may well be below that level now.

Here are some images from the area around Brady:

Here's a video of cars driving through the water on Brady:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

River Bandits have a great night

The River Bandits had quite a night last night, including a record-setting crowd of 6,822. This is the most people that have attended a game since the stadium's renovation several years ago. At one point the line to simply get into the stadium was out to River Drive, and I parked farther away than I have any other time except the AllStar game. The new owners are making a difference like I never would have imagined possible. If attendance keeps going up the way it has been, they may need to add some more seats!No, its not the air show yet, just a Tuesday night baseball game in Davenport. There were also fireworks and a 2-plane formation flyover. I've literally seen less ceremony and excitement at some Major League Baseball games.

The box seats and club seats were sold out, and the berm and bleacher seating was packed. We'll see if the city has to build the bridge to the ballpark again this week, and if the Midwest League allows us to host games with the stadium surrounded by water. I hope they do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Brady/Harrison/Welcome Way Stuff

Davenport aldermen want improvements in Brady and Harrison corridors -QCTimes

I attended the council work session on the Brady, Harrison, and Welcome Way corridor study, which was held last night at the Design Center. Most of the council attended (I don't recall seeing Lynn or Gilmour, but they could have been there) and a probably a dozen or so community members, with another dozen or more of city staff. The Mayor and some Aldermen seemed to be disadvantaged by the fact that this process began before they were even elected to the council. It always disappoints me when elected officials ask questions that even I know the answer to.

Edit: Wow, where was my brain this morning? Gilmour wasn't there, nor is he an alderman, but Jeff Justin was there and is the actual 6th Ward Alderman. Alderman Lynn had a prior engagement.

Here's a link to the study, in .pdf format.

As many of the Aldermen complained about, we've been hearing about this for years, so much of the stuff in the plan isn't anything we haven't heard. I do like the ideas of concentrating on 3 areas to start with, and also getting moving on some of the projects yet this year. The idea to connecting 32nd street to Brady behind Sanchos is one of the better ones in the whole study. Its pretty silly the amount of traffic that cuts through the Wayne Montgomery lot right now.

I was also surprised at the lack of outrage at the idea of decreasing the number of lanes in order to make for a better pedestrian experience. A couple of people worried about rush hour traffic fitting into 3 lanes, and also what happens when the beer trucks block off yet another lane. The answer to that is easy; stop allowing beer trucks to block a lane of traffic! Anyone who has walked along the sidewalk on Harrison between 12th and Locust knows that wider sidewalks and slower traffic would make for a less terrifying experience. It will be interesting to see how much of this gets implemented before we're right back into election time and a new council having to re-learn all about the proposals and studies.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Prairie Heights and the Brady/Harrison Corridor

This shot was taken last week, of the foundation of the first home in the QC's first attempt at new urbanism, Prairie Heights. I still don't think Ruhl is marketing this subdivision enough, but there is at least a website at

In other news, it seems almost like the Brady Street corridor that was struggling to the point that we needed to study ways to revitalize it, has begun revitalizing itself. Starting at the bottom, you have the new 605 Main halfway house beginning construction to replace the dated former-hotel currently being used, all the Palmer progress and future plans, and the new Walgreens going up at Brady and Locust. As I posted about a while back, Pleasure Pools is building a new place on the former Buysee Dodge lot, with another TBA business going in on the other half.

Now today's QCTimes article reveals that the Handicapped Development Center is renovating and adding on to the former Halftime Sports Bar on the other side of Brady. All of this is in addition to the new Menards, and the fairly trustworthy rumors about TriCity and others redeveloping the former hotel and movie theater site. Not a bad list of things for a corridor that was or is considered to be blighted.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Open Thread -Back from Sioux Falls

Since I just got back into town from a trip to our neighbor to the West, South Dakota, I'm just sticking up an open thread for now.

This wasn't my first trip to Sioux Falls, but I definitely have to recommend it to anyone in that area. Falls Park is a good example of what Davenport and Rock Island's riverfronts could be someday. While we don't have falls, we could make some natural-looking rock fountains somewhere, and we do have a little thing called the Mississippi to look at. From what I've heard, the area near the falls in Sioux City had a pretty bad reputation 20 or 30 years ago, so its also a good example of how a city can turn around a blighted area with a plan and some money.