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items tagged with Rock Island

Beginning with the End: The Hauberg Civic Center Has an Ideal Suitor, but the Rock Island City Council Should Take Its Time
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2016-02-04 11:14:20

If the City of Rock Island is unwilling to devote the resources to operate and upgrade the Hauberg Civic Center, it’s hard to imagine a better owner than Bridges Catering.

Bridges – now based in Princeton, Iowa – is an established family company whose owners have deep roots in Rock Island. It plans to renovate and maintain the Hauberg mansion consistent with its historic character, expand public access, and use the site for both food preparation and events with fewer than 100 people. Shifting the mansion, its carriage house, and grounds into Bridges’ hands would add property and sales taxes to Rock Island’s coffers, and eliminate from the budget an event-rental facility (operated by the Parks & Recreation department) whose financial performance is in the red and getting worse.

In an interview last week, Bridges co-owner Bill Healy was as good a salesperson as one could hope for – promising to be a good steward and willing to contractually commit to his pledges.

“I don’t see as a Rock Island resident how this plan can be a bad thing,” he said. “We’re trying to bring a lot of jobs into Rock Island. We’re trying to bring a very, very big sales-tax base. We trying to put something on the property-tax roll. And we’re trying to take something that is not being used [much] at all and use it for the exact function” for which it’s intended.

Yet as the city council wrestles with whether to start the process of selling Hauberg, it has to understand that the land and buildings shouldn’t just be considered “surplus” property and handed to what the council deems the best bidder. Because of its significance as a historic property and the fact that it was given to the city, its future deserves a thorough discussion – of both the Bridges proposal and alternatives. The prospects for that still look dubious given the plan on the table, and it could go either way – a too-quick embrace of private ownership, or a knee-jerk rejection of it.

As a Rock Island resident and taxpayer, I’m excited about the possibility of Bridges Catering taking over the Hauberg Civic Center (located at 24th Street and 13th Avenue) – if the city would otherwise let it languish. But I desperately wish the timing and process were better, and I hope the city council takes time to evaluate all its options.


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A Question of Competitiveness: The Cases for and Against the Rock Island County Sales-Tax Referendum
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2009-03-26 14:21:43

If you paid attention to the Davenport Promise proposal, the arguments in favor of a 1-percent sales tax for school construction in Rock Island County will sound familiar: This is the way we can be competitive with surrounding areas; this is the way to attract and retain residents; this is what we need for the future workforce.

There are three key differences, however: The Rock Island County proposal - which is on the April 7 ballot - is easy to explain and grasp; the vote will be held in a Democratic and union stronghold; and it involves a new tax, rather than shifting an existing one.

The first two factors should work in favor of the referendum, and it will almost certainly get more support than the Promise, which only garnered 39 percent of the vote on March 3.

But the sour economy hasn't put voters in a giving mood. The Illinois General Assembly in 2007 allowed counties to seek a sales-tax increase for school construction; eight of 10 referenda have failed.

The leaders of the Rock Island County Kids First organization - the primary force pushing for the sales-tax increase - said they are concerned about the Promise results, but they also highlighted the differences.

 


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Video: One Hundred Thousand Trees in Two Days
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2009-03-04 17:30:43

Over one hundred volunteers turned out from 3-8 pm at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, IL Tuesday March 3, 2009 to help prepare sapling oak and pecan trees to be distributed and planted throughout six states this spring.

The effort is part of Living Lands and Waters 1 Million Trees Project started in the fall of 2007, with goal of growing 1 million trees in the next 5 -10 years.

Education Coordinator, Tammy Becker, stated, "The main motivation behind this effort was to plant trees to create a food source for wildlife. Because over the years we've lost a lot of our hardwoods that produce nuts and fruits. Trees also help clean the air we breathe and when planted near water they help reduce erosion and clean the water before it hits the waterway."



These trees were grown from seeds at a LLW nursery in Beardstown, IL and included six varieties of Oak and one Pecan tree.

According to Programs Coordinator Denise Mitten, organizers and volunteers were working on bagging and sorting close to 100,000 trees over two days.
Volunteer efforts continue on Wednesday March 4 from 3 to 8 p.m. and organizers say the advance volunteer call ins for Wednesday's second shift are not as full as they would like.

Volunteers can show up to the QCCA Expo Center at 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island, IL or call 309-236-6279. More info can be found at www.livinglandsandwaters.org


Video: Atanasoff Documentary Filmed at Hunter's Club
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2009-03-04 07:55:11

Kirwan Cox and a crew from EyeSteel Films (www.eyesteelfilms.com) visit Hunter's Club in Rock Island, IL. The Canadians were here to film a portion of a documentary they are producing for the Canadian version of History Channel about John Vincent Atanasoff. Atanasoff testified in the seminal 1970's Rand Sperry patent trial over the rights to the fundamental elements of modern computing. Atanasoff, a mathematician professor from Iowa State in Ames testified that he conceived of the four principles of the modern calculator as it was known at the time.

1. Binary arithmetic 1's and 0's rather than decimal arithmetic.

2. Use regenerative memory to store information.

3. Use logic instead of enumeration of numbers.

4. Use vacuum tubes to count.

Using vacuum tubes meant electrons which became resistors.



The invalidation of Sperry IBM's patent claim 30 years after Atanasoff conceived the ideas allowed innovation to prosper and changed the world foerver, says producer and historian Kirwan Cox from Montreal, CA.

His crew filmed a visit from Intel researchist Dr. John Gustafson, who built the replica of the BerryAtanasoff computer. Dr. Gustafson had never been to Hunter's. His first visit to the hallowed ground of where modern age computing concepts were born was captured on film for the documentary.



In this clip Kirwan Cox talks about how Atanasoff came to Rock Island in the winter of 1937, the importance of his stop at Hunter's, and how he feels he has proven Hunter's is the famous "roadhouse" Atanasoff testified he conceived the basics of modern day computers.

Hunter's owner Brad Emmert talks about Paul Fessler who explained the intent of the film makers. Fessler is cited by Cox to have recorded an audio interview with Dr. Atanasoff who shared with him the details of the route he took across the Mississippi River.



Responses to Economic-Growth Questionnaire
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2008-11-05 08:37:45

Included here are the responses we received to our economic-growth questionnaire, which was sent to 20 representatives of local governments and economic-development organizations.


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