Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekly Post?

Well, I took a week off from blogging for no particular reason. Here are a couple of websites I ran across during that time.

After reading this QCTimes article about Fejervary Park's progress, or lack thereof, I was doing some surfing around the internet. I found this page, possibly run by someone from long before my time called Captain Ernie. There also seem to be some things from former Alderman and Fejervary Park defender George Nikolas. If you look around that website there are a lot of neat old postcards and pictures. In the section about Fejervary, there are many images of Mother Goose Land. My parents always told me about going there as kids, and I always thought it would have been great to pan for "gold" right here in Davenport. Somehow I don't think whatever the city comes up with will be as fun.

The other website I found over the last week is called, and it has the audio from police radio frequencies from around the US, including some in the QC area. Check out the Iowa and Illinois pages, or almost any other state. They stream in Windows Media Player, which almost everyone should have. They can be kind of tough to follow, but its definitely cheaper than buying a police scanner. It also may include random frequencies like Bettendorf garbage collectors. I actually haven't listened to it enough to know just how good it is or isn't, but its definitely not perfect. Edit: I just discovered this site archives radio traffic, so you can listen to what went over the police radio on a certain day and time. I'll have to mess with this feature later.

I'm hoping to do a post one of these days on Bettendorf's "downtown" plans, but whenever I start writing about that particular town I seem to end up in a giant rant that I don't post. Maybe I can do better this time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Morning Assortment

Old News Department

-Last Sunday night, or really Monday morning, at about 1:30AM I went out to pick up a healthy meal at Hardees. As I was going out Brady I got passed by 2 squad cars at a high rate of speed, and then a police SUV. They all headed east on Kimberly, and then I saw another squad car go through Brady and Kimberly at a high rate of speed. I decided to take a small detour to see where they were off to. Over half a dozen police vehicles were at Las Bananas, so obviously that bar isn't totally cleaned up yet. Four or 5 years ago, half a dozen squad cars were there every week, so I suppose you could call that progress. Its too bad that the place hasn't been shut down.

-Back on May 17th, in Ask the Times, there was this blurb about some development on East 29th Street in Davenport: "Rita Pribyl, senior manager for the city’s community planning and economic development department, said plans are for the building to be demolished and replaced with 26 condominium-style, high-end apartments with rents ranging from $1,100 to $1,200 per month." This refers to the old nursing home just east of Brady. I'm pretty sure that I'm one of the few guys my age that never broke into that place at some point during my childhood. I don't think I missed anything, and its great to see this longtime eyesore going away. Its too bad they couldn't have rehabbed the building though.

Wind Turbine Update, or not
According to a more recent addition of Ask The Times, no one seems willing to say whose windmills are sitting in Mt. Joy. However, a commenter posted this in my photo thread:

The wind turbines are being stored and electronic components added by DH Blattner Energy Systems. They have a temporary location in Mt. Joy. I don't know if they plan on looking for a permanent site or not.

Hope they can join the QC Business community permanently!

So maybe that answers it? Or maybe its as inaccurate as many blog comments? Who knows.

Sad News
A longtime institution of the Hilltop neighborhood passed away last Sunday. Don Saforek, of Don's Barbershop, took some time off to have heart surgery a few weeks ago. He posted a sign that said "Back in 2 weeks (I hope!)." I had noticed he hadn't come back, and then I saw a sign that said he was still in the hospital and it would be a while longer. Then I was sad to see in the paper that he passed away. I think Don probably new every past and present politician in Davenport, and had thousands of stories ranging from the Cardinals to the Air Force to the history of the Hilltop area. There just aren't many barbers like Don anymore. He'll be missed by many.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Somebody order a wind farm?

The answer to this morning's "Where in the QC is this?" was answered by Anonymous at 7:11AM. The image was wind turbine blades stored at the former Caterpillar plant in Mt. Joy. I haven't seen a news story about this, so does anyone know any more about why these are being stored there? According to my source, they've been seen coming in from the north on Highway 61. I can't figure why they would bother unloading them in a parking lot just to have to reload them later. Apparently the manufacturers of the various parts must not have enough on-site storage. The only other possibility I can think of is that they're part of the shipment that Alter barge lines helped move last year. That only involved the blades though, whereas the blades, nacelles, and tower segments are all stored at Mt. Joy. I guess I should "Ask the Times." Here are some more images.

As a commenter said in the previous post, these the turbine nacelles look a lot bigger on the ground than they do at the top of a 200 foot tower.

For those who don't know where this is located, it is across from the Davenport Municipal Airport north of town. They are best seen from North Harrison, which is also 1st Street in Eldridge. To get there, take Brady/Highway 61 to the Mount Joy exit, and go west. When that road comes to a T at the airport, go right and start looking to your right. Unless they move these all out within days, you'll see the windmill parts.

Where in the QC is this #22

This should be an easy one, but I can give hints if people don't get it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lindsay Park Meeting

Lindsay Park patrons wary of changes -QCTimes

We were wary alright. Most even more wary than I was. Despite lots of people taking a turn at the microphone, no one said they were in favor of more surface parking being added to Lindsay Park. Only one business owner spoke, and he said his business does fine with the current parking situation. Several Aldermen were there, including Alderman Frink, Boom, Justin, Lynn, and Meeker. Alderman Justin went up to the mic to tell everyone that the elected officials were hearing us loud and clear.

Most of the meeting was actually about other issues than the rumored parking changes. With the large turnout relative to how little the city seemed to be pushing for the parking change, I almost wondered if it was a trick to get dozens of people to the meeting. Leak the idea that the city wants to get rid of the basketball courts, get 50 or 60 people to show up, and then try to get them to help design a new master plan for Lindsay Park. I don't think that's what happened, but it wouldn't have been the worst idea. There were several new processes for neighborhoods around the city that were discussed, but I'd suggest watching the meeting online or on the city channel rather than me trying to paraphrase it all.

After the meeting, I was talking to someone who hadn't been involved in this kind of thing in Davenport for very long. He seemed surprised that people would think the city would spring something like this on them. I told him the story of the River Vision meetings, which drew hundreds of people with hundreds of great ideas for Davenport's riverfront. Then at the final meeting, a little red box labeled "casino hotel" appeared on the map, which hadn't been talked about at any of the previous meetings. Davenport has actually been doing much better than that since, but the problem is that the city has a long way to go to regain people's trust.

I believe Lindsay Park is safe from parking lot expansion, but try getting some folks to believe that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

City does one thing right, figures they should screw up something else instead

So, the City of Davenport resolved their problem with handicapped signs. They took the good ideas, like checking occasionally to see if the signs were still in use and needed, and dropped the bad idea of charging $40 to have them installed. It was almost like a logical compromise.

Now that one issue was solved, apparently they felt the need to fix something that's certainly not broken, which is Lindsay Park.

Changes slated for Lindsay Park -QCTimes

Basically, some of the business owners down there want to move the basketball courts, thereby paving over an area of grass near River Drive, and replace them with a larger amount of concrete, in the form of a parking lot along 11th Street. Here's an overhead image, courtesy of Live Search, of the area. Incidentally, at whatever point during the winter this was taken, there was plenty of parking available. The basketball courts are located just to the west (left) of the baseball diamond. Their new location, from what I can tell, would be just to the east (right) of the city parking lot along Mound. So they'd like to trade in some park for some parking, to save people from having to walk a block or two from a city lot, or an on street parking spot. I personally have rarely had to park more than a block from anywhere in the Village. However, unlike visitors, I know that there's parking behind some of the businesses, such as Rudys. So maybe, as Barb Ickes mentions in her take on it, all the Village needs is more signage directing people to where parking already exists.

[Edit: Colonel Davenport, making a brief appearance in the comments of the previous post, suggests somewhat of a compromise. Remove the basketball courts (entirely?) and replace them with a path leading directly from 11th street to the city parking lot along Mound.]

If you want to tell those in charge where they can stick their parking lot idea, please attend the input meeting tonight (Tuesday) at 6:30 in the Park and Rec building. This was formerly the Art Museum, and is located next to the Putnam. I'm hoping to be able to make it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

4 Years

On May 9th, 2005, I introduced myself as a guest blogger on Daily Davenport Politics, hosted by Fly on the Wall. Here I've linked to a reprint of that first post, since DDP is no more. Four years of QCI. In some ways I can't believe that I've been doing this for that long, but in other ways it feels like its been longer.

When I started, the big issue of the day was whether the casino would build a new 10 story hotel in the riverfront. If you'd asked me back then what the status of that project would be in 2009, I would have guessed it would already be open by now. Instead we have a casino that treats us like 2nd class citizens to its "main" property in Bettendorf. Coincidentally, I've evolved from an IOC-defender to someone who believes the first step to getting the most out of our gambling license is getting it away from the Isle. People really do change their opinions.

On the other hand, 4 years ago people were complaining about the skybridge and the Figge and D1, etc. Four years later they still are. My feelings on downtown Davenport haven't changed a bit in the passing years. It is the heart of Davenport, and the rest of the city won't succeed without a healthy heart. Its time for some other people to change their opinions on that.

I got in around the peak of Davenport political blogging. Fly loved getting into the nitty gritty of campaign fundraising and politics, and people loved to send him juicy tidbits. Colonel Davenport had all the inside gossip, and I was there to stir up people and invite dozens of insults. It was rowdy but productive. Aldermen, activists, and other movers and shakers of Davenport were frequent commenters. Much of that seems to have died down. I do miss seeing debates play out between rivals like Bob McGivern and Niky Bowles.

Do I ever want to hang it up and retire from the world of blogging? Sometimes. While I'm always glad that the people who have nothing to bring to a debate except insults seem to disagree with me the most, sometimes the insults and lies get old. See Cruiser's recent post for the kind of garbage rumors that people start. However, I'm a fighter, and I don't like to give in to those kind of tactics. So I stay at it because I'm stubborn, but the bigger reason I stay at this is the comments, emails, and personal contacts that have come from writing this blog. A lot of people read but don't comment, and that's ok. The words of encouragement, the occasional great debate or discussion, and the frequent emails from people outside the QC interested in visiting this great community... those are the reasons I keep writing. So thanks to all my readers. And to those who just like to start rumors or espouse negativity, I'll still be here fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Drunken antics

Its always interesting what comes across the police radio in the middle of the night.

Last night, or this morning really, a car crashed into a tree near Central Park and Farnam, and then somehow managed to drive off, leaving a trail of fluids and debris. It ended up parked on Central Park near Grand. From what I could tell from the radio, the driver then got out, started walking away, and then came back and retrieved something and locked the doors before running off again.

According to the dispatcher, around this time the owner of the car called in to report his car stolen. This is pretty much standard procedure when the police have captured a car but not the criminal that drove it. Then it becomes the police who have to prove that it wasn't stolen. The officers figured they'd like to talk to the owner, who then changed his story to say that he was out of town. It sounded like they ended up getting the guy anyway though. If he was as drunk as it would seem, hopefully they lock him up for a while. He's just lucky it was just a tree that he ran over and not a kid or someone's grandmother.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

3 Saturday Morning Images

A few images to start the weekend:

First of all, today's the first outdoor Freight House Farmer's Market of the year. Just think, last year when they had their first Saturday market they had to have it on River Drive because the Freight House parking lot was flooded.

The sun rises over downtown Davenport. You can read into this as good things ahead for the heart of Davenport... or just think its a sunrise.

Much like last Saturday, here's the new building going up to replace 605 Main. Since its pretty much the biggest thing being built around here right now, I'm considering having a weekly Saturday image of the construction progress.