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Mayor institutes a burn ban until August 28

Mayor institutes a burn ban until August 28

In a letter sent out via email to all residents, Mayor Mike Bawden implemented a ban on outdoor burning of materials until August 28, 2020.

In that letter, Mayor Bawden implemented a burn ban in the City of Riverdale until power can be restored to the City and most of the clean-up work has been completed. The City will be picking up debris from Monday’s storm this weekend and possibly next. Additionally, the City has placed dumpsters in three locations for residents to use to dispose of tree limbs, leaves and other organic matter as a result of the storm.

Burn Ban Specifics

The Mayor explained that the ban has been enacted at the request of several citizens:

At the request of several citizens, I am ordering a ban on burning leaves, wood and other materials outside until all the power is restored to the City and most of the clean-up work is done. We have several residents who are senior citizens and others with breathing conditions who have to leave their windows open in order to get air circulating in their house. Smoke from a fire in the
neighborhood makes it nearly impossible for them to breath comfortably.

This burn ban effectively suspends the open burning of “Disaster Rubbish” which is allowed under Chapter 105.5 (1) and the burning of “Landscape Waste” which is allowed under Chapter 105.5 (3) of the City’s code of ordinances.

Please be respectful of your neighbors and hold off burning until the burn ban is lifted at the end of the month.

Also, please note that the City’s ordinances about burning remain in effect at this time. That means the following acts are prohibited even after the burn ban is lifted:
• No burning in city streets, curbs or gutters or in alleys (Ch. 135.08)
• No burning of combustible materials except through a chimney or stack (Ch. 105.05)
• No burning of waste gases.
• Burn barrels are prohibited
• The burning of garbage is prohibited (Ch. 105.12)

If you have a question or see someone burning anything in their yard or driveway between now and August 28, please notify City Hall (563-355 2511).

How to respond to warnings from the National Weather Service

How to respond to warnings from the National Weather Service

Riverdale Council Member Anthony Heddlesten offers some great advice on what to do if you receive a warning from the NWS or hear the storm sirens go off. (Taken from Facebook)

Post-derecho I’ve seen several Facebook friends post about NWS warnings and sirens and their lack of understanding or maybe better understanding post disaster. I’ve been getting daily NWS briefings from 3 offices for about a decade now. I respond to disasters, and know some things, but I’m not a perfect fount of knowledge either – reach out to your local city, EMA, and NWS professionals for more (and probably better) ideas!

Here are some things I think you should know:

1) there’s a cool color coded warning system for severe thunderstorms (light green, green, yellow, orange, red, pink) after looking at these reports and responding to disasters for a decade, I have developed the following risk stance towards these colors (meh, better bring an umbrella, better know where a sturdy shelter is at all times, better be within walking distance of a sturdy shelter at all times, I’m not leaving the house today, I’m not leaving the basement today; respectively)

2) on literally every day that’s been orange, red, or pink in 10 years, a tornado has hit within that area listed. Often times I’m not effected, but someone is catastrophically impacted. Every. Single. Time. In. Ten. Years.

3) sirens blow for things that will ruin your month. Not your afternoon, not your event that you’re at, your month. Sirens are for catastrophic damages somewhere within earshot of you. They are meant to get you to a sturdy shelter ASAP.

4) you need to learn how to read NWS text write ups for storms – there is a ton of fast moving info that is very succinct and is constantly being field verified. Be particularly mindful for “spotter indicated” vs “radar indicated”. There is a ton more data that they provide than what a weather app has. Why doesn’t NWS have a weather app?! I’m completely baffled.

5) GOES-R came out a couple years ago and made everything better and smarter, but anyone who’s studied hydraulics of fluids (air is a fluid) knows how hard it is to categorize and define movement of fluids in a three dimensional system as robust and intricate as our atmosphere. Learn about GOES and what it does and ask that it continues to be funded. That’s not a guarantee.

6) find more ways to get notified – storm sirens aren’t meant to be heard in your home – NOAA weather radios are. Set your Facebook/social media feed to bring your local NWS and EMA office Messages front and center! See if your county has other sorts of emergency notification system like Nixle or reverse 911 and SIGN UP NOW. it will text you things you need to know. Go to iNWS and sign up for automated alerts for areas that are important to you – you literally can draw a polygon on a GIS server and select which watches and warnings you want to receive. It’s super easy.

These are simple things you can do to be safe(r) during an emergency situation. Good luck!

Storm Update: The Clean-up Continues!

Storm Update: The Clean-up Continues!

Neighbors, contractors and City staff are working together to help Riverdale recover following Monday’s fierce storm that saw winds in excess of 90 mph bring down trees and snap power poles, leaving most residents and businesses in the city without power and in some cases, phone and Internet service.

First Responders respond first

Special thanks to Riverdale’s maintenance man, George Miller and seven other members of the Riverdale Fire Department who worked into the night on Monday to make roads passable in the City. They worked on South Bellingham, Elmhurst Lane, South Kensington and at the site of a massive limb completely blocking Circle Drive.

What to do with all the tree limbs and debris?

Clearing the streets of debris was the first priority for the City who ordered the delivery of three dumpsters for resident use on Tuesday. Those dumpsters, located at Volunteer Square Park (in the parking lot), Peggy’s Park (next to the playground) and Fieldcrest Road (at the dead end) are there to collect yard and tree debris only, not for garbage. The dumpsters will be replaced with empty dumpsters on Friday or Saturday and remain through next week and are scheduled for pick-up on August 26.

On Wednesday, following emergency update phone calls between City Administrator Kent Royster, members of the City Council and Mayor, it was decided to engage a private contractor to pick up debris from resident yards this weekend (depending on rainfall on Saturday, pickup may not start until Sunday). The contractor, TJ Schwartz Excavating, will be going from neighborhood to neighborhood with a large dump truck to collect debris from their curbside locations.

Debris should be cut into 5-foot sections so they can be composted at the Scott County Compost Facility. All disposal fees are being waived, so making sure our material can be processed is essential. To make pick-up go as efficiently as possible, we are asking residents to stack the debris as neatly as possible.

Other yard waste can be put in paper bags and left at the curb for Monday pick-up by Republic Services.

Depending on an assessment of the amount of damage in the community on Monday, the City may engage the contractor to come back for another pick-up in the community the weekend of August 22. Please check this website and the Riverdale Resident’s Page on Facebook for further updates.

Cleaning Up the City’s Parks

There was some extensive limb loss in Volunteer Square Park and major tree damage in VanGundy Park. Quercus, the City’s landscape contractor sent an emergency crew to help clean up and care for/remove damaged trees. The Mayor and City Administrator will discuss the extent of the damage with Quercus next week and start formulating a plan to deal with the lost trees for Council review in September.

The playgrounds at Peggy’s Park and Bicentennial Park both appear to be in fairly good shape.

Additional Disaster Relief

City Hall has limited power (thanks to the emergency generator) and while the main office is not air conditioned while operating on emergency power, Council Chambers is. As a result, the City will keep Council Chambers open to the public from 8am – 5pm every week day until power is restored to the City. While in the City’s Council Chambers, residents can re-charge their electronic devices, use the public-access wi-fi and escape the heat. 

Occupancy is limited to seven people at a time and those who use the room will be asked to socially distance from one another. 

If you have any questions, please call Administrator Royster at 563-355-2511.

Also, for residents who have lost food as a result of the power being shut-off, there is some government assistance available through the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program. The program can help recover the cost of car repairs, food replacement and temporary housing expenses.

You’ll find more about it in this press release from Governor Reynolds’ office. If you or anyone in your family needs help applying for any of these programs, please contact Administrator Royster at City Hall and he can help with the application process.

When Will the Power Come Back On?

Quite possibly the biggest frustration people are feeling at the moment relates to the lack of progress being made on restoring power to homes and businesses in Riverdale. Most residences and many businesses in the city remain without power as of Thursday and may not see power restored until the weekend.

According to Mid-American Energy, a little over 2/3rds of the residents in the Quad Cities who were knocked off the grid had their power restored by Thursday morning. Crews continue to work in 16-hour shifts and there are over 1,000 out-of-state utility and contract linemen and tree crews who have been brought in to deal with the situation statewide.

We have posted the full announcement from Mid-American on our website – it has a lot of important information that will help residents monitor progress on restoring power. And if you’re home suffered a direct tree-strike that may have dislodged a utility box or service entrance, please make sure you’ve notified Mid-American.

Mid-American provides update on power restoration work

Mid-American provides update on power restoration work

Mid-American Energy Company issued a comprehensive statement to city officials on the progress the company has been making to restore power to areas affected by Monday’s storm.

MidAmerican’s storm recovery and restoration efforts continue with substantial progress made Wednesday. In 24 hours, our crews, supported by utilities from across the Midwest and beyond, restored more than 63,000 customers’ power. Put another way, since the peak when we had 280,000 customers out, almost 200,000 customers have had power restored in 65 hours. Here is the latest breakdown by location:

Peak outages

Outages as of 11 AM Thurs

Restorations completed

DM

145,000

39,742

105,258

QC

106,000

30,927

75,073

IC

28,000

8,669

19,331

System-wide

279,000

82,000

199,662

MidAmerican linemen and tree crews, along with more than 1,000 out-of-state utility and contract linemen and tree crews on the ground assisting us, continue to work around the clock, 24/7. The crews are working 16 hour shifts, mostly 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, with some working 3:00 PM to 7:00 AM staggered shifts to support the all-day coverage.

As you may know, we prioritize restoring service starting with the parts of our system that serve the most customers and this includes the rebuild of the large transmission lines and substations. Additionally, facilities that are critical to communities, such as public safety communications, hospitals, water treatment facilities, etc. are at the top of the list. We then work our way down to medium-sized and smaller circuits along with the individual service lines.

Once the “backbone” of our system, which is the larger transmission and feeder lines, was repaired, we started working in the neighborhoods to focus on restoring local service. This work continues in earnest today and we anticipate restoring most customers by the end of the day. However, some customers may remain out into Friday and part of Saturday due to the sheer volume of incidents and extensive damage.

You may get questions from customers about why their neighbors nearby or even across the street are on but they don’t have power yet. There could be a number of reasons, including that they may be on separate circuits, there may be line damage on their property or somewhere nearby, or perhaps a line feeding into the neighborhood is damaged. As you are aware, our utility infrastructure is complicated and often times there are many sources into a neighborhood and community that allow for us to manage the safety and reliability of the system.

As you know, safety is our top priority for all of our customers and employees. If you see trucks in your neighborhoods, either driving by or idled, they are an integral part of our restoration process. These individuals are assisting with assessing and reporting damage, looking for situations where a simple repair will restore service, and in some cases physically watching downed wires that may be energized to ensure people in the area stay away and stay safe.

Please help us to share information regarding who is responsible for certain equipment and connections on their property. If the customer-owned “weatherhead” or “weathercap”, the service head or service entrance cap, is pulled away from the house or if there is damage to the meter box, an electrician may need to make repairs prior to our crews being able to restore power. We have posted a graphic on our website to help our customers understand their electric service connection.

We continue to encourage customers who are experiencing an outage to report them to us as quickly as possible so we can pinpoint areas of greatest need. Outages can be reported on our website, via private message on Facebook or Twitter, or by phone at 888-427-5632. For gas leak emergencies, call 800-595-5325.

Finally, but most importantly…THANK YOU!!! We so appreciate the countless ways you have stepped up to help…including your support, assistance, coordination, communicating information, and so much more.  We know we are in this together…as there are so many working to support the recovery efforts across all parts of the communities that were hit by this historic storm. This recovery is a monumental task…and in partnership we are strong and resilient.

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Don’t forget: new fireworks regulations are in effect

Don’t forget: new fireworks regulations are in effect

Last year, the Riverdale City Council passed some revisions to the City Code about the use of fireworks. While fireworks are not prohibited for celebrations like the 4th of July, there are some rules you need to know.

Please keep in mind that people are restricted from having “Display Fireworks” which includes fireworks “containing any explosive or flammable compound” which are not considered to be “Consumer” or “Novelty” fireworks (e.g. firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets, sparklers, spinners, etc.). In short, to commercial-grade fireworks.

It is against the law for people under the age of eighteen to discharge a firework without parental supervision. And you can only discharge a firework at your own premises or at another premises where you’ve been given permission. Finally, it’s important to understand that if you discharge a firework, you assume all responsibility for what happens when it goes off.

With specific regard to this weekend’s activities, fireworks can only be discharged during July 3rd and July 4pm between the hours of 2pm and 11pm.

Please be safe, have fun and post photos and videos of your fireworks display to the Riverdale Residents page on Facebook.

 

Water fighting in Riverdale

Water fighting in Riverdale

On June 13, the Riverdale Fire Department hosted their annual water fight competition. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was the first water fight that many of the departments invited were actually able to attend, so it was an impressive turnout of firefighters and their friends and families having a good time.

The competition was re-named this year as the “Analiese Chapman Memorial Waterfight.” In addition to naming the competition after Analiese, who passed away earlier this year from Cystic Fibrosis, the department also unveiled new #TeamAnaliese decals that will be on all RFD apparatuses.

The event was also covered by WHBF and KLJB TV:

There are two (or more) sides to every issue …

There are two (or more) sides to every issue …

Thanks in large part to outrage expressed by some members of the biking community on social media, Riverdale has found itself, once again, in the media’s spotlight. This time, the controversy swirls around the City’s decision to erect a barrier fence along the Mississippi River Trail behind some homes on Wisteria Lane and across a city-owned lot with a cement path that connects the MRT to Kensington Street. By blocking this path with the fence, Riverdale effectively cuts off access to a public road that bikers and pedestrians can take between the MRT and the Duck Creek Bike Trail which terminates in VanGundy Park just a few blocks away.

Members of the Quad City and Des Moines bike riding community seem to think I’m a tool.

Even though this has been a major subject of discussion at Council Meetings and Town Hall Meetings for the past two years, the snow fence erected while Kensington and Wisteria road resurfacing work caught many in the bike community by surprise. The City’s reluctance to remove the snow fence as the road project reaches its conclusion has pushed more outspoken members of the bike community well beyond surprise to indignation.

I’ve included some of the comments made by bike riders in this post so you can see what people are saying to me and about Riverdale during all of this. And while I’ve had to remind a few residents to tone down the rhetoric a time or two, Riverdale residents, by and large, are asking good questions and expressing their points of view fairly openly.

That includes a resident or two who don’t necessarily agree with the City’s decision and have made a point of calling that out on social media as well.

And that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

So here’s mine.

According to some bikers, I lie for a living. And as for the north side of State Street – I’m not shifting responsibility there to them – the north side of State Street between Duck Creek and Brenny’s is in Bettendorf.

I, quite literally, don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m the mayor of Riverdale and a user of the MRT and DCBT. I’ve used the connector at Kensington and I’ve had a bike rider who wasn’t paying attention hit my car with his bike while I was waiting for him to pass over my driveway to get onto State Street (fortunately neither the biker nor my car were injured).

I have a lot of friends who bike on the trails. Some of them understand the frustration of the Riverdale residents most affected by the bike and pedestrian traffic using the connector trail to go up and down Kensington, some of my friends do not. But because they’re my friends, they’ve taken the time to reasonably and patiently explain their positions to me.

And, of course, I have lots and lots of friends in Riverdale. Several live right down there in the Havens Acres neighborhood and have had to deal with what all of them (to a person) say is a major inconvenience to the “quiet enjoyment” of their life in the neighborhood. I understand that. I used to live in the McClellan Heights neighborhood in Davenport and although the Bix 7 race was fun every year, dealing with the straggling joggers and walkers doing the “Bix at Six” training runs a month or two before the big race could be a real hassle.

So, it’s as mayor of Riverdale that I approach this problem. And as the mayor, it’s my job to be the point-guy to take the questions and to reach out to those affected most to see if we can work out a solution that will work for everyone in a way that reassures people the roads they travel are safe and that their property rights are being respected.

What that probably means is that NOBODY is going to be 100% satisfied with the solution that eventually results. So, now you’re warned.

I’m a person who tries to deal fairly and from a position of fact and knowledge. That’s a little unusual for someone who trades in emotion, humor and rhetoric for a living, but it’s who I am. And maybe because I work with words and with journalists, I really don’t like exaggerations made to make a point and I abhor intentional misstatements of truth. Those are shenanigans that decrease the power and potency of the person making the claims in my book … and there’s been plenty of that in this latest tempest.

What Do People Have Wrong?

There are incorrect, inaccurate and possibly intentionally misleading claims being made by some people in the bike community that don’t help their argument and undercut the offers to help made by leadership from community bike clubs who want to help us find a solution. One news report showed a member of the bike community say that Riverdale was not allowing people to ride on Kensington Street. “Any cyclists who are using the Mississippi River Trail can no longer use this public street,” said James McAdams to WQAD’s Bianca Reyes.

So, I’m guessing if there’s a lawsuit over this issue, we’ll have the Quad City Bike Community to thank for it.

That’s not true. The streets in Riverdale are public thoroughfares and can be used by anyone. What Riverdale is restricting is access across city-owned property at the end of Kensington Street.

But this is just one of several incorrect portrayals of what’s really going on. I’ve also found references made by members of the bike community to Riverdale’s intention of cutting off or blocking the MRT. Again, that’s not true.

In fact, we want people to use the MRT. As it was originally designed. Ride in at 42nd Street and Duck Creek, peddle behind the Havens Acres neighborhood to Bellingham Road, cross State Street at the federally-approved bike crossing that’s there and then continue down the MRT back into Bettendorf.

But trail users want to be able to make a connection between the MRT and the DCBT and for them, the option of turning left at Brenny’s when they cross State Street isn’t a good option. Some – including the board of the Quad City Bike Club – feel the crossing at State Street isn’t safe.

That’s understandable. It’s common sense that going under a road is safer than going over a road. But to me, this is more about making a desperate argument to forestall the inevitable fence and gate that will be installed over the connector at Kensington Street than it is about safety.

In the nearly 2-1/2 years I’ve been mayor, I’ve received 0 complaints from bike riders or pedestrians about the safety of the Belligham/State Street intersection. During the same time, I’ve received over 400 calls from residents in Havens Acres complaining about bike and pedestrian traffic on Kensington. Recently, I was told that on a good day now, residents in the neighborhood are seeing between 500 and 1,000 people bike, walk or jog up and down Kensington Street.

And therein lies another problem.

Anecdotal claims are interesting, but not necessarily helpful. Is there a lot more bike and pedestrian traffic on Kensington when it’s a nice weekend day? I don’t doubt that. How much more? I don’t know.

I will tell you this, though, I’ve seen bike riders ride through a resident’s yard to get from the MRT to the street. I’ve seen the disrespect shown both directions. And I’ve seen glass and broken rock put on the connector between Kensington and the MRT.

And I’ve seen how the bike community talks about the residents of Riverdale on social media.

None of those things are helpful or acceptable.

So, What Do We Really Know?

Here is a message I sent to a resident who was “ashamed” of Riverdale’s decision. I understand her point. She says she worked with the residents who managed to bring the MRT into reality nearly ten years ago and she’s a frequent user of both bike paths and the connector between them on Kensington Street. But just as she’s questioned residents about the claims they’ve made associating neighborhood crime with the MRT, she makes similarly questionable claims of her own.

All I have to go on is what I’ve seen first-hand and the people I’ve spoken to, personally. These are the things I think are fairly certain about this situation:

1. There has been persistent trespassing by people using the trails:

•  I’ve spoken to bike riders who have apologized for cutting through the city-owned lot before there was a cement connector path for about 3 years.

•  The existence of the connector trail, itself, speaks to the persistent trespassing across the city-owned lot. I’ve spoken with our maintenance man, George Miller, who recalled being instructed on multiple occasions to re-seed and restore the goat path/cow trail the bikers and pedestrians had created on the city-owned lot. He said the City finally had Kenny Mahler just pave the path to cut down on the mud and debris being left in Kensington Street.

•  I’ve seen photography of tire tracks across Mike Steen’s yard from the MRT to Kensington (or, possibly the other direction)

•  I’ve personally witnessed a biker pedal across someone’s yard on Wisteria to make his way from the MRT to the city street.

2. There are not good records of the intentions or plan for the MRT or for the connector path in the City’s archives. According to what I’ve been told by previous mayors, there has been long-standing reluctance to document things because of the City’s history of litigation.

3. The QCTimes report on the original extension of the MRT in 2012 documented the Havens Acres neighborhood’s resistance to the path and their request for a fence to keep people from cutting through the city-owned lot at the end of Kensington.

4. That same article quoted the mayor at the time (Jack Franklin) saying he recommended the fence, but the City Council didn’t vote for it.

5. I personally witnessed previously-elected officials disparaging residents in the Havens Acres neighborhood as being poorer, unintelligent and not worth the effort when it came to dealing with this issue.

8. Home values in the neighborhood have not changed appreciably in the 8 years since the MRT was put in. In fact, the City’s assessed property values have not changed significantly in either direction since the total elimination of the state’s M&E tax in the early 2000s.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I will continue to meet with the Quad City Bike Club and other area bike clubs to make sure they understand that Riverdale will work with them to address the concerns of their members when they’re in our city. That’s an obligation of any elected representative and it’s the right thing to do. One of the first things we’ll be working on is improving and replacing signage for trail users so they have a better understanding of how to make the connection between the trails safely and efficiently.

I will also meet with Bi-State this week to discuss setting up a traffic study at the connector between the MRT and Kensington Street so we can get an accurate count of peak traffic volumes using the connector (and Kensington Street) between the two trails. This will be an inconvenience for residents in Havens Acres (again) for a period of time, but the data collected is really important.

The City has good relationships with both the City of Bettendorf and the Iowa DOT. If there is going to be any work performed on alternate connection routes, those parties need to be a part of the conversation. The north side of State Street (between Duck Creek and Brenny’s) is in Bettendorf and the sidewalk on the south side of State Street (between the Pancake House and Bellingham) is almost entirely within the Iowa DOT’s right of way for Hwy 67.

And here’s the thing, the very first question they’re going to ask is: “How many people are we talking about, anyway?” If we want to make sure something happens, we need hard numbers, not anecdotal claims that opposing sides will question whether they’re accurate or not.

I will continue to reach out to the businesses affected by this decision. There is an impact felt by both the Duck Creek Pancake House and My Place – and we need to be a constructive partner in helping find and develop a solution.

And finally, we need to realize that we have an obligation to work through this issue in its entirety. We can’t just build a fence and call it a day. We need to understand and respect the concerns raised by bikers and walkers on the MRT – and if there’s a way to help them feel safe making the connection between trails while they’re in Riverdale, we owe that to the community at-large. But, by the same token, I am responsible to the City and its residents to make sure our homeowners feel safe in their homes and to reduce or remove nuisances that make the “quiet enjoyment” of their neighborhood difficult.

Nobody is happy now. Nobody is likely to be happy once we’ve worked out a solution. But then again, maybe that’s how we know things were handled equitably?

More Comments from Unhappy Bikers

Here are some of the comments I’ve seen in the past day or two. There are new ones out on Facebook now, more misstatements and misinformation. Some of it, I’m sure, is unintentional (it’s not a particularly easy subject to research and understand if you don’t live here already). But a lot of it is just trying to wind people up.

So, spoiler warning, a lot of these comments say nasty things about Riverdale, Havens Acres residents and me. If that is likely to upset you, don’t waste your time reading them.

Riverdale Fire Department leads a birthday parade for local kids

Riverdale Fire Department leads a birthday parade for local kids

(From a Facebook Post by Council Member Anthony Heddlesten)

Thank you all so much. Truly, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Today, CJ, pretty much my favorite person in the whole wide world turned 5. Unfortunately, the whole wide world is a mess. I’m going to attempt to cover the greatness that has occurred over the past few days:

1) I saw a cool birthday parade and asked if Riverdale Fire Department would do something like that in our town. Brian Ballard, our assistant fire chief, got it all planned out and said we were good to go.

2) I shared the plan on our Riverdale Residents group page and another family pointed out they had a birthday coming up, so we got a whole group together and did a birthday parade last weekend for another little boy down the street.

3) Birthday cards started flowing in this week (my piano is fully covered) Neighbors, friends, and family members filled our mail box with love from afar. Thanks to Dorla Dubbels, Stacey Christensen, Lisa Mintz Kotter, Darold Heddlesten, Yvonne Heddlesten, NaNa Pugh, Melissa Roling-Maher, Jimmy Maher to name a few.

4) Last weekend, our preschool teacher stopped by and dropped off a present and said hello.

5) Friday, Miss Taryn, another preschool teacher met up with me and gave us a present since she couldn’t get to the parade this weekend.

6) This morning, while CJ was sleeping in, our neighbors (Amy Walker Kramer) snuck into the yard with a giant inflatable birthday cake.

7) Ky (Anthony’s wife) and I got some great 5 year old photos of our favorite little guy and then walked down the street to get some additional pics with his new best friend, and Riverdale Heights favorite, Molly Curran.

8 ) we got a fun good morning happy birthday message from cousin Ben.

9) we had a zoom birthday party and got WAAAAYYYY too many LEGO.

10) Just before the parade was supposed to start we got to have a birthday party with the other side of the family.

11) We got a message from another YWCA of the Quad Cities daycare teacher that she is in a Quad Cities Jeep group that’s just driving from party to party. Several Jeep owners, who we’ve literally never met, even provided some cool Jeep related presents. (Keep an eye out for the minion mobile QC!)

12) I GET A PARADE TOO?!?! CJ exclaimed as RFD and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office rolled by tooting their horns and flashing their lights. Followed by neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc.

13) Many of the drivers threw out additional surprises (cards, candy, a minion doll, even toilet paper!)

14) Facebook messages galore have come in throughout the day.

15) A few friends also trickled through after the parade singing happy birthday, wishing us well, hosting an impromptu Wisconsin Jump Around equipped with New Glarus beer, and reminding us how fortunate we all are.

So, again, thank you. Today was more than we could’ve hoped for. So much more. CJ is in seventh heaven today.

Yes, we are still trapping coyotes in Riverdale.

Yes, we are still trapping coyotes in Riverdale.

Several residents have complained about coyote activity in the wooded area to the northwest and north of the Woods Estates Subdivision and in the wooded area owned by the City to the west of the Circle Drive area, north of Fieldcrest. As a result, the City has asked Jason Harkness and his team at River Valley Wildlife to move the snares they had set in the wetlands near the Arconic facility to locations along the north edge of the Woods Estates Subdivision.

Developer Seth Woods was contacted and gave permission to the City and its contractor to set up snares on the land owned by Woods Development.

Photographic surveillance of the area over the last four weeks showed a significant amount of coyote activity in the area and specific paths coyotes were using to travel through the ravine. Harkness and his team have set snares in the area.

When an animal is caught in a snare, River Valley Wildlife is notified and they check the trap – releasing any animal that isn’t a coyote. This includes domesticated dogs as well as rabbits, possum and other woodland creatures. Coyotes on the other hand, are euthanized and then disposed of after their vital information is recorded.

Why Trap Coyotes?

Click here to download “Solving Problems with Coyotes” from the Humane Society of the USA.

Coyotes have been in the area for a long time and, in all likelihood, will remain here permanently. But reports of conflicts between coyotes and domesticated dogs are on the rise in the area. Residential areas provide food, water, shelter and space for coyotes – many of whom come to rely on garbage, pet food and yard compost as food sources.

The coyotes in Riverdale, Bettendorf and other urban parts of the Quad Cities can’t be relocated to “where they belong.” They were born and raised in urban areas and have adapted to the relatively easy life cities provide. In fact, coyotes often thrive in urban environments.

Studies show that coyote relocation is not effective. In fact, a relocated coyote will often travel long distances (up to 300 miles in some cases) to get back to their capture site. Relocation also facilitates the spread of disease from one location to another.

How Do We Deal With Coyotes?

Trapping coyotes is a short-term fix. Trapped coyotes must be killed once they are captured, but this is not a permanent solution. A community has to remove the “attractants” in order to remove the problem. This means educating ourselves about coyote behavior and modifying our own behavior when it comes to feeding our pets outside, allowing dogs and cats outside on their own, leaving garbage out, and reacting in a more aggressive way when we see coyotes in order to discourage them from interacting with people or pets (a process known as “hazing”).

Here’s a link to a book about coyote management from the Humane Society. If there’s significant interest among residents to deal with this problem more aggressively, bring your thoughts to a Town Hall meeting so we can get the process going.

Not Sure Where We’re Trapping?

Here’s a map provided by Jason Harkness and his team at River Valley Wildlife Specialists showing where they are setting snares to capture the coyotes. Please stay clear of these areas and allow Jason and his crew to do their job for the city.

Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Riverdale residents were drenched Friday night with nearly 4 inches of rain in a very short span of time, causing basements to fill with storm water, flash flooding over saturated lands and hillsides, and mounds of mud and debris at intersections along Hwy 67 throughout the City.

Here are my notes (Mike Bawden) from the 3 hours I spent checking out various spots in the City …

Fenno Road/Hwy 67

Water was standing in ditches, with trash and other debris obstructing many of the culverts that would allow water to pass under the highway and make its way toward the river. No word how businesses located south of State Street (Schebler, Arconic and others) fared or were handling the runoff. The neighborhood up and on top of Fenno Hill appeared no worse for wear although we didn’t have a chance to speak to any residents.

SCC Entrance (College Drive)

The entrance to Scott Community College was buried under nearly 8 inches of mud which seems to have come up from the storm water pipes located under the road. Mayor Mike Bawden worked with SCC Dean Matt Schmidt to get a crew from the college out with a skid loader to scoop the entrance out so cars and bicyclists using the MRT could pass.

Arconic Learning Center

There appears to have been a washout under the eastern entrance to the Arconic Learning Center, resulting in the driveway collapsing. The MRT running from the SCC entrance to Manor Drive had standing water on parts of it (and didn’t appear to be draining) but was otherwise passable.

Manor Drive/Circle Drive

Residents living on top of Riverdale Hill reported that their sump pumps were running throughout the night. Some escaped with little to no damage while others had nearly a foot of water standing in their basements when they went down to check on things in the morning. Add to these problems the recent announcement by Republic that it was suspending bulky waste pick-up for the foreseeable future, and there are issues the City will have to deal with on Monday morning.

Woods Estates

Developer Seth Woods was on his tractor first thing in the morning, scraping mud out of the Gwyneth/State Street intersection and putting it back into the development. While the seeding and matting Woods Development had done on the north side of Gwyneth held firm, the bare land left by contractors installing gas and electric lines created an opportunity for the minor mud-slide Woods and his employees had to deal with.

To his credit, Woods was on the scene before the site was inspected by the City. He also had his employees work on parts of the MRT that were covered with mud and debris so bikers could continue to use the trail rather than ride in the street.

Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic

The Brenny’s complex weathered the storm in fine fashion, although some erosion appears to have taken place under the drainage pipes leading from the new building. Mayor Mike Bawden stopped by to check on Mark Brenny and his crew who were still hard at work, doing business in spite of the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and extreme weather.

Havens Acres

Inspection of Havens Acres showed this neighborhood showed it weathered the storm as well as expected – many of the homes in the area were already dealing with a river and creek at or near flood stage. Pumps were moving water to the street and storm water system. Much of the work that will be done on the roads in the neighborhood this summer will address the catch basins and drainage areas in addition to the street surface and driveway entrances. Some work (behind the curbs) will begin in the next month (weather permitting).

Belmont Road

Taking a quick look at the state of Fox Creek (which runs from by SCC and then under Belmont Road toward the river), there was a lot of debris and the water levels ran high overnight, but we didn’t see any major damage. Flow through this area has increased significantly due to parking lots and other development by PVCSD and SCC. I did not have a chance to speak to residents up by the bend in Belmont Road to see if there were any unique problems.

Photos from my “disaster tour” of Riverdale can be found below:

Flood preparations begin

Flood preparations begin

Plans to deal with spring flooding in the Havens Acres neighborhood of Riverdale began this past week with the order of 1,000 sandbags as part of a countywide order coordinated through the Scott County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA). City staff has asked the Bettendorf Public Works Department to hold the bags in reserve and assist in filling them should they be needed to help hold Duck Creek in its banks as it crests throughout the spring.

To further prepare for coming rains and floods, the City will be holding a meeting with concerned residents to discuss flood preparation, plans for distributing sand bags and pumps (if needed) and after-flood cleanup activities. The date for the meeting has not yet been set and will depend upon flood forecasts received from the National Weather Service and Army Corps of Engineers.

“There are supplemental funds in the City’s budget to cover the cost of pumps, sandbags and dumpsters if they’re needed this spring,” explained Mayor Mike Bawden. “Residents were involved in the planning last year and we hope to build on what worked well with that arrangement for this year as part of an annual ‘flood mitigation’ strategy for the Havens Acres neighborhood.”

Affected residents will be notified of the time and place for the flood meeting once a reliable forecast is in hand and preliminary arrangements for materials have been made. Current forecasts say the chance of a major flood currently stand at 50% although there is no projected date for when that flooding is expected to occur.

Quad Cities Red Cross is giving away smoke alarms

Quad Cities Red Cross is giving away smoke alarms

The RED CROSS is currently providing free smoke alarms to residents in need of new or replacement alarms. You can book one today by going to www.getasmokealarm.org or by calling the Quad Cities Red Cross: 309-277-4040.

The alarms and installation are free. Appointments to install the alarm only takes 20-30 minutes.

So, why should you install a smoke alarm?

A typical smoke detector will last 10 years. If yours is older than that, you should consider replacing it.

(From the Consumer Product Safety Commission) … Every year in the United States, about 2,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. In a fire, smoke and deadly gases tend to spread farther and faster than heat. That’s one reason why most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not from burns. A majority of fatal fires happen when families are asleep because occupants are unaware of the fire until there is not adequate time to escape. A smoke alarm stands guard around the clock, and when it first senses smoke, it sounds a shrill alarm. This often allows a family the precious, but limited, time needed to escape.

About two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and could reduce by almost half the risk of dying from a fire in your home.