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QCA Today: August 31, 2015 PDF Print E-mail
QCA Today
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 31 August 2015 06:20

This feature collects articles published online by the following Quad Cities-area media outlets: Quad-City Times, Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch, River Cities’ Reader, KWQC, and WQAD. It also includes items from CapitolFax.com, the Des Moines Register’s “Iowa Politics Insider,” and the State Journal-Register’s “The Dome.”

If you'd like your media outlet included in this list, contact Jeff at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Recent Items from Quad Cities Media

August 31, 2015

 
Bigger Than Baseball: Owner Dave Heller Helps the River Bandits Transcend Sport PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 06 August 2015 05:30

Dave Heller. Photo by Kevin Schafer (KRichardPhoto.com).

It goes without saying that Dave Heller is a baseball guy. He is, after all, the Quad Cities River Bandits’ managing partner, and he has an ownership stake in three other minor-league teams.

He talks about his first ownership experience – as a business partner with legendary players Don Mattingly (Heller calls him “Donnie”) and Cal Ripken Jr. And about road trips to see his baseball idol Tom Seaver when he pitched for the Mets and Red Sox.

When I inquired about his favorite River Bandits player, he quickly answered, “Carlos Correa, without question. ... Great work ethic, great natural ability, great with kids. He’ll be a special star. ... The idea of having an overall number-one pick like Carlos here is really exciting to us. Two years later, and he’s in the major leagues and tearing it up.”

Heller grew up in Baltimore, but he wasn’t an ardent Orioles fan. “I wasn’t passionate about the Birds the way other people were,” he said. “I really kind of just loved baseball writ large. I could watch a Cardinals-Cubs game and enjoy myself every bit as much as watching an Orioles-White Sox game.”

Yet the 53-year-old doesn’t run the River Bandits – or any other team he owns – like a sports enterprise. In an hour-long conversation last week, the game itself felt incidental. Heller said his model for the myriad improvements, additions, and promotions at Modern Woodmen Park during his tenure was “county fairs. ... I think the idea of bringing some of that county-fair atmosphere into a ballpark is really healthy and fun and productive.”

Treating the ballpark like an amusement park might rankle baseball purists, but it’s good business – particularly when one considers that minor-league owners manage the venue and not the team. The goal is to get people through the gates – and all the better if some of them only know ERA as an acronym for the Equal Rights Amendment.

 
Putting the Brakes on Traffic Cameras: The Iowa DOT’s Regulations Are a Good Start, but the Issue Begs for Legislative Action PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 25 June 2015 05:10

Davenport started Iowa’s debate over using cameras to ticket vehicle owners for speeding and running red lights, so it’s appropriate to look at one of its intersections as an illustration of the current situation – 11 years after the city began automated enforcement.

From 2001 to 2004 – before any traffic cameras were installed – Kimberly Road and Elmore Avenue averaged 7.0 red-light broadside crashes per year. From 2011 to 2014 – years when speed and red-light cameras were in operation – it averaged 1.0 red-light crash annually, a drop of 86 percent. The percentage decrease is slightly greater if one only considers red-light crashes in the directions of camera enforcement – east- and west-bound speed and red-light cameras.

From the city’s perspective, this represents clear evidence that the traffic cameras have improved safety at the intersection.

Yet earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) ordered that the City of Davenport turn off traffic cameras at Kimberly and Elmore, which it did in April. While the city presented data on broadside crashes – those in which somebody running a red light was a direct cause of an accident – the state looked at all crashes within 150 feet of the intersection.

And here the picture becomes muddled. In three pre-camera years, total crashes averaged 10.3. The DOT evaluation found 15.5 total crashes per year after camera activation, including 23 in 2013.

Gary Statz, a traffic engineer with the City of Davenport, said those numbers aren’t really in conflict: “In 2013, we had a spike in crashes out there, and I don’t know why, but we just did. So the average of [total crashes] those two years was pretty high, and they came to the conclusion that the cameras weren’t effective ... .

“My argument would be that most of the crashes had nothing to do with the cameras. The red-light crashes were almost nonexistent, but we had a lot of rear-end crashes that were well back from the intersection. Traffic backed up further than people thought, [and they] just weren’t prepared to stop. That seemed to be most of them. ...

“I found the vast majority of the rear-end crashes occurred well back from the intersection” but within 150 feet of it. “We only found three [in 2013] ... that occurred during the yellow or at the beginning of the red. ... When it happens five seconds after it’s red, and it’s 10 car lengths back from the stop bar, you can safely say the camera had nothing to do with it.”

Ultimately, though, the City of Davenport opted not to appeal the DOT’s order at Kimberly and Elmore. “I didn’t really agree with what they said,” Statz said, “but we didn’t argue it.”

This anecdote highlights a few key elements of the present battle over Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE).

 
Funny Businesses: Patrick Adamson, Andrew King, and George Strader Discuss the Area-Comedy Renaissance PDF Print E-mail
Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 28 May 2015 06:00

George Strader, Andrew King, and Patrick Adamson“Is that ahi tuna?”

“No. It’s a-ha tuna. This is a comedy interview.”

So went a not-atypical exchange during my recent conversation with area comedians George Strader, Patrick Adamson, and Andrew King. (It was George who asked about the tuna and Patrick who ordered it. If you were wondering, Andrew had a burger.) But while the jokes and laughs tended to come fast and furious during our chat, there was one thing this trio was dead-serious about: The Quad Cities’ comedy scene has, since the beginning of this decade, been enjoying a pretty dramatic renaissance. A pretty inspiring one, too.

 
Dove Bard: Magician David Casas at Area Venues April 30 through May 3 PDF Print E-mail
Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 06:00

David CasasNear the end of our recent interview, I ask David Casas a question that, I think, most people would want to ask a professional magician who spends much of his time making doves appear and disappear: “Has anything really awful ever happened during your act?”

He smiles and replies: “The only thing that’s really happened was at one of my first shows. Every time I used to produce a bird, I would always hold them close to me. So I was doing that at one show, and people started laughing, but I didn’t know what they were laughing at. So I just kept going with my act, and they kept laughing, and I think I went to grab a silk or something ... . And then I see this big line of bird poop running down my coat.

“And I was like, ‘Oh-h-h-h ... now I get it,’” says Casas. “I just shook my head and said, ‘That’ll happen with birds,’ and kept going, you know? And I learned that when I produce the bird, I need to hold it out.”

 
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