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  • Demolition by Neglect: Does Davenport Have “the Stomach for the Fight”? PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 03 February 2011 05:33

    When the Davenport City Council ended an 18-month ordeal in December by allowing John Wisor a permit to demolish a designated historic home at 1125 Jersey Ridge Road, Mayor Bill Gluba called for a moratorium on the demolition of historic properties.

    He refused to sign the demolition resolution – delaying but not stopping it from going into effect – and the Quad-City Times quoted him as saying: “I hope it sends a signal to Mr. Wisor or anyone else who seeks to flaunt the gaps in the ordinances. This council will stand up to those people.”

    Those wer771-Cover-Hore big words, and the council will soon have the opportunity to back them up.

    The core issue here is “demolition by neglect” – when the owner of a historic structure lets it deteriorate to the point that it becomes financially impractical to repair or restore. This is one way that property owners get demolition permits for buildings that are protected as historically or architecturally significant or part of designated historic neighborhoods.

    Later in December, the Davenport City Council passed a moratorium on issuing demolition and building permits for historic properties, allowing for a review of city code. The moratorium expires on April 1, and recommendations for code changes are expected to go before the Plan & Zoning Commission and the city council in March.

     
    Eleven Dancers! Five Days! Seventeen Minutes of Music! Go!: Ballet Quad Cities Veteran Lynn Andrews Choreographs for "Love Stories," February 12 and 13 PDF Print E-mail
    Dance
    Written by Mike Schulz   
    Wednesday, 26 January 2011 06:00

    Jacob Lyon and Heidi Dunn in Love StoriesSince it’s called Love Stories, you’d rightfully expect Ballet Quad Cities’ latest presentation to be chockablock with stirring physicality and sensual pas de deux. And indeed, this Valentine’s Day-inspired outing given the same title as last February’s Ballet Quad Cities production, but boasting new vignettes by a quintet of choreographers – will find the company’s professional dancers expressing, in thrillingly nonverbal fashion, what Executive Director Joedy Cook describes as “the many angles to love.”

    Yet for her contribution to Love Stories, 29-year-old choreographer and Ballet Quad Cities veteran Lynn Andrews appears to have been inspired less by romantic love than her sheer love of dance. That, and perhaps her love of a challenge.

    “We did it in five days,” said Andrews of the clever, exuberant piece that I watched, in rehearsal, during our early-January conversation. “And it was crazy. It was like, ‘Eleven dancers! Five days! Seventeen minutes of music! Go!’

     
    An Icon Restored: A Night at the Hotel Blackhawk PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Devin Hansen   
    Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:34

    I’d read the reviews of the restored Hotel Blackhawk – all the fawning and fanfare. So I wanted to see if the fuss was warranted or just a bunch of civic cheerleading. My 15th wedding anniversary seemed like the perfect excuse for a stay, along with the discounted $79 room rate for locals that ended the next day on December 30. I also have an empathetic respect for people that put their heart, mind, and money into restoring dilapidated buildings, as I had done once with an abandoned cinema. I believe Amrit and Amy Gill of Restoration St. Louis deserve a lot of credit for taking such a risk with the Blackhawk, especially after others had forsaken the downtown-Davenport landmark.

    So I went to the Hotel Blackhawk about an hour before my wife was to arrive, enough time for a few drinks at the “belly-up” bar in the lounge. It was designed to encourage folks to stand rather than sit by removing the chairs on the side of the bar that opened up to the lobby and having sparse seating along the other three sides. And I have to admit: This magical feng shui worked. It was open and welcoming, and its proximity to the check-in allowed me to sip on a Templeton Rye while watching the line diminish.

    I tried to get our room key before my wife showed up, so I could surprise her with a bottle of Brut and a dozen roses in the ice bucket, but I didn’t have the credit card that we used to reserve the room; it was in my wife’s purse. Half-joking, I asked woman behind the desk if they took cash. She ignored me. I don’t know if it was my lack of credit, the bag filled with wine bottles clinking at my side, or my insistence on getting a room with a hot tub at the discount rate, but she made me feel like some kid on prom night trying to scam a room. I will say she was the only one during our entire experience that raised my hackles. The rest of the crew was very cordial, even when the experience was occasionally below expectations.

     
    William M. Johnson, RIP (1922-2010) PDF Print E-mail
    In Memorium
    Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
    Wednesday, 05 January 2011 05:48

    William M. Johnson

    William M. Johnson was my maternal uncle, who joined his wife of 62 years, Carm, when he passed quietly on December 30, 2010. He was 88 years old, and a treasure to me who, over these past four years, shared a rich and detailed view into my family’s history. His perspectives and memories of his generation’s era are invaluable.

    Bill led a charmed life. He was a Depression-era child in Rock Island and fondly recalled how he used to join dozens of neighbors hunting worms at night in Longview Park so they could fish for their suppers from the Mississippi. Decades later he retired from Deere & Company, having served for 36 years as executive pilot, coming on board at the genesis of Deere’s aviation department after World War II. Bill is survived by two sons and daughters-in-laws – Bill and Neva, and Tom and Kathy – 16 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. And me and my husband, Todd. We could not have loved him more.

     
    Inspiring Action: Students and Colleagues Rise to the Aid of Injured Moline Teacher PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Tushar Rae   
    Wednesday, 29 December 2010 10:27

    Curtis Butterfield, Sarah Mason-Butterfield, and their daughter Clara. Photo courtesy Sarah Mason-Butterfield.He was a frightening figure when I first met him, with tattoos of verses in Arabic and lines from literature on his arms, a shaved head, a ragged beard, and the combination of a stern voice and piercing gaze.

    As an Indian who is often mistaken for someone from the Middle East, I had received plenty of negative attention from people who looked like him. But I could not avoid him.

    It was 2002, and Curtis Butterfield was my freshman biology teacher and my coach for the junior-varsity academic team at Moline High School.

    Early in the school year, Butterfield gave me a confrontation, but not the one I had been dreading.

    “You know this is not your best work,” he said, with the voice and glare used to full effect, “and if you think you’re staying in my class, you need to start doing better work.”

    Butterfield “doesn’t invite people to come in and learn; he demands that students learn,” said Nicholas Pitz, a Moline High German teacher and varsity academic-team coach. “Learning is not an option.”

     
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