Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A different perspective on traffic cameras

This was sent in by longtime reader Alfred. It certainly speaks to the argument that traffic cameras are the first step on a slippery slope towards constant surveillance. There's plenty of room for debate on this one.

For you people who are 1) exuberant about the city's spy cams, 2) tolerant of them because they do bring in money, 3) nonchalant about them because you "never" speed so why should you worry about them, or 4) just don't care one way or the other, this article ought to warm your little law-n-order hearts.

Alfred sent me the entire text of the article, but I'll just post a quick excerpt. Links to the full text can be found below.

The technology would be integrated with the Australian company's existing red light camera and speed camera systems. It allows officials to keep full video records of passing motorists and their passengers, limited only by available hard drive space and the types of cameras installed. To gain public acceptance, the surveillance program is being initially sold as an aid for police looking to solve Amber Alert cases and locate stolen cars.

"Imagine if you had 1500 or 2000 cameras out there that could look out for the partial plate or full plate number across the 21 states where we do business today," Elsadek said. "This is the next step for our technology."

ATS likewise is promoting motorist tracking technologies. In a recent proposal to operate 200 speed cameras for the Arizona state police, the company explained that its ticketing cameras could be integrated into a national vehicle tracking database. This would allow a police officer to simply enter a license plate number into a laptop computer and receive an email as soon as a speed camera anywhere in the state recognized that plate.

Here's a link he sent me to a blurb on the subject from John C Dvorak's blog, who is a bit of a legend in the computer/nerd world.

Here's a link to the full article.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Downtown loft construction images

I went downtown this morning to get some shots of various things, but due to the low light at 7am the only ones that turned out were of the former Salvation Army building. I'll have to get back down there to take some better pictures of the new Freight House deck, the basically-finished police station, and the former cement plant property at 4th and Iowa.

Here are 3 shots of the former Salvation Army building, which is either called the Riverwalk Lofts, or Riverview Terrace Apartments, depending on who you ask. Neither name is all that great, although Riverwalk is probably better, as the apartments are nowhere near Riverview Terrace Park.The less-finished east side of the building, as seen from Ripley Street.

The west side of the building, taken from Scott Street. Most of the new windows are in on the bottom 2 floors, and they're either starting to paint the columns, or experimenting on colors.

I'm liking the blue-black-tan color scheme, but I don't know if its the final plan. They are some colors not really found elsewhere in downtown buildings. Getting a good mixture of colors and styles is what makes for an interesting downtown, in my opinion.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another wild night, but with better aim

Yet another night of shootings and criminal activity.

Early in the evening you had the carjacking/car-chase/demolition derby thing running from the West Kimberly Walmart all the way downtown. The guy wanted out of Rock Island was caught. Maybe this will show some folks that a good way to catch bad guys is to chase them. Here's the Times article on that one.

Then after midnight there were a number of shots fired calls that may or may not have been real, including one officer's warning that some of these thugs have police scanners. At one point several officers heard shots fired, and the phone calls started coming in. When they arrived at the area of the shots, 10th and Grand, at a house referred to by the dispatcher as "the Howard house," they found 2 people shot. One officer said a shotgun may have been used. The QCTimes also has a small article about that one.

Then sometime between 3 and 4, there was some kind of incident on Division bear the Putnam. I heard about officers chasing people on foot, and then calling for Fire and Medic. Apparently a car had rolled over in the street near there. I was never quite sure what all was going on with that one, but one officer did report that one of the victims had run off.

This kind of publicity does untold damage to the image of Davenport, not to mention the quality of life of those living SoLo. It seems to all involve thug on thug violence, but since they're using guns, it endangers all of us. If we could somehow get them to fight their family/gang wars with swords and maces I'd almost endorse letting them fight it out at this point. Some of these folks just don't seem to understand that we're not living in a movie or video game.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Conceptual plans for the new library

I did manage to make it to the meeting, and I took some pictures of a few of the PowerPoint slides showing some of the conceptual plans.
This image is looking north at the library with greenspace behind it towards the Prairie Heights subdivision.

Here's an overall interior shot.

A couple of more detailed interior plans. One of the best ideas shown was combining the cafe (which hasn't done well at the Fairmount Library) with the Friends of the Library Bookstore, which is staffed by volunteers. This would allow different options on providing food service.

Here's the overall site plan. A couple people seemed concerned about the fact that there's only one driveway to the parking lot, but as I pointed out at the meeting, the Fairmount branch only has one as well. Sorry about the images being somewhat angled; I didn't sit facing the correct screen. I'd imagine the Times will have a better image in the morning, or even post the entire PowerPoint.

Update, 9-17 6:30AM
Here's the link to the QCTimes article about the meeting, which quotes Art McGivern without mentioning that he's part of the development on the other side of Eastern that will benefit from this library. I sure hope he's generous with the donations to Friends of the Library. After the meeting I drove around the Prairie Heights area, and saw that the first house looks occupied, and at least 2 others are under construction now. The baseball diamonds and their parking lots look to be finished as well.

Also, if you don't like backing up a quarter of a mile or doing a lot of 3 point turns, be careful which streets you cruise down in that area. For example, 67th Street west of Eastern does not yet go anywhere, or have a place to turn around. A couple of streets within the subdivision also end rather abruptly. Seems like they should make sure the Road Closed signs stay in place instead of laying off in the weeds.

Library, signs, and the other bridge

A few assorted items this morning...

Public offered sneak peek of new Davenport library -QCTimes
Tonight (Tuesday) at 6 PM
at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 5520 Eastern
If you don't go to the meeting or somehow let your input be known, you lose the right to complain later. Folks still will, of course. I'm hoping to attend, but may not make it.

Shrunken SCC sign still irks neighbors -QCTimes
These folks need to get a hobby. Anyone who moved into that area in the nearly 40 years since the campus opened in 1969 knew that they were moving in across from a college. If they'd looked into it at all, they could have easily found out that the college planned to grow. Common sense says they don't have all that land for nothing. If you don't want signs or headlights, don't move to a decently busy street near a high school and college! For those neighbors that have lived there since before 1969, it is indeed unfortunate.

As always I don't want to start a Democrat vs Republican political debate on here, but does anyone find it interesting that our inaccurately-labeled "bridge to nowhere" is now a long way from being the most famous one?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few upcoming events


2008 Vander Veer Fall Festival -includes an Art & Garden Fair, frog jumping contest, doll buggy parade, fishing derby, apple baking contest, and a number of other activities for kids and families. There will also be a public input meeting about potential plans to reopen the south entrance of the park.

First Congregational Church, 2201 7th Ave., Moline, will hold a rummage sale benefiting Davenport firefighter Bob Juarez from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Call (866) 323-1631 for details.

Fejervary Children's Zoo, 1800 W. 12th St., Davenport, will celebrate its 103rd Birthday by offering free admission from 10 a.m-.5 p.m. Call (563) 326-7830 for details. This is on both Saturday and Sunday.

Also, at noon the University of Iowa is scheduled to beat some other team from Iowa.


St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church's Oktoberfest -"11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. right on Rusholme Street with an authentic German Dinner to be served in Denning Hall, 11:30-3:30 P.M. There will be plenty of food, entertainment, games and fun for all, plus the Big Raffle with $3,000.00 in Cash Prizes." -St. Paul's website


5:30 PM City Council Work Session about Traffic Cameras
Here's QCOnline's story on it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Morning Assortment

Friday night activities
Listening to the police radio Friday night, I heard a call of shots fire near the Skybridge. It caught my attention because as I've said on here many times, that sort of thing doesn't happen in that part of downtown. And I was right, because it didn't happen. Apparently the Children of the Corn remake is being filmed at least partly in downtown Davenport, and they were filming Friday night. I haven't seen the original, but I pictured it using more rural locations. All I can figure is they were using the fronts of maybe the USBank and Redstone building, which could maybe look at home in a county-seat sized farm town.

Unfortunately, I heard yet another call to the Mississippi Lofts. Fortunately it was nothing major, but it is still not good. I hope the group that will be managing the apartments being built in the former Salvation Army building takes note of the fact that less mixed income apparently means more problems. The downtown core is safe, so the last thing we need is some of our newest developments bringing in bad elements.

Ballpark hosts Riverfront Pops concert -QCTimes
I have been to quite a few of the Riverfront Pops concerts, and this one was about the best they could have hoped for without using LeClaire Park. Everything ran smoothly, and the actual music was great. As I commented on the article, it just didn't have the same feel as LeClaire Park. I think being able to see the river from just about any seat, and watching dozens of boats bobbing in the river nearby really adds something. Also an our of cold rain doesn't help. I'll probably put some images of the concert and the crowd up later sometime.

Gluba has global vision for Davenport -QCTimes
I'm surprised at the negative reactions to this one, although I shouldn't ever be surprised at negative reactions on the internet. What's the harm in working with sister cities to potentially lure new businesses and manufacturing on the QC area? Sure, it may not work, but I appreciate the effort. People don't seem to understand that the city is capable of doing more than one thing at a time. Just because the Mayor is trying to drum up business overseas, doesn't mean that the rest of city functions will suffer.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

LST 325 Open Thread

I only took a few pictures during the excellent self-guided tour, so here are 3 of them. I was happy to see that 16,000 people took advantage of this great opportunity to visit a piece of WWII history right here in the QC.

Here's one of several 20mm deck guns, and a shot of the long line people were willing to wait in for a tour. Despite getting there at 9:05 Monday morning, my dad and I still waited in line for half an hour before we got onboard.

Other than the LST stuff, consider this an open thread.

Monday, September 01, 2008

LST 325 and Jumer's Casino

Today and tomorrow (Tuesday) are your last chances to see the LST 325 Memorial docked in Moline. I plan to tour it today. I was over there on Saturday, and the line stretched about 2 blocks long. I'd say the ship is being very well received in the Quad Cities, and hopefully they're raising a lot of money for its restoration and upkeep. If I get any good additional pictures during the tour I'll also post them.

LST (Landing Ship Tank) 325, ready to help invade Moline.

Also today, I have a few construction shots of Rock Island's new Jumer's Casino, submitted by a helpful reader. With gas prices being what they are, I don't make it all over the QC to take pictures anymore.

As far as I know, this casino still has a Styrofoam basement with water running underneath it, waterfilled bladders supporting the floor, or some similar trickery to be considered a "floating casino."

So although I posted images of 2 things that could technically considered boats, I don't think they could possibly be more different from each other.

And finally, happy Labor Day folks.