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.

Riverdale flies the RFD flag at half staff today. Here’s why …

Riverdale flies the RFD flag at half staff today. Here’s why …

The flag for the Riverdale Fire Department will be flown at half-staff today to honor the life of Firefighter Analiese Chapman. The Celebration of Life Ceremony for Analiese will take place at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf today at 1pm. The event is open to the public, but please keep in mind that seating is limited.

Fire trucks and other emergency service vehicles are expected to travel from the convention center to the cemetery in Le Claire where Analiese’s remains will be interred. That journey will take them up State Highway 67 (State Street) past the Riverdale Fire Station.

By proclamation of the mayor, the department flag will continue to fly on the pole at City Hall for the remainder of the month of February to honor the service provided by the men and women of the Riverdale Fire Department.

Visitation and Celebration of Life planned for fallen Riverdale firefighter

Visitation and Celebration of Life planned for fallen Riverdale firefighter

Riverdale bids goodbye to Firefighter Analiese Chapman who passed away on February 2 due to complications from Cystic Fibrosis. A visitation is planned for Friday (02/07) and a Celebration of Life service on Saturday (02/08) at the Waterfront Convention Center. Both the visitation and the Celebration of Life service are open to the public, but seating is limited.

Fire departments from Riverdale, Le Claire and around the greater Quad Cities will join together to celebrate a life taken too soon.

Visitation will be held at the Waterfront Convention Center (2021 State Street in Bettendorf), starting at 3pm on Friday, February 7th.

The first responder community in the Quad Cities has shown their solidarity with Riverdale and Le Claire fire departments for their loss already and are invited to participate in the visitation on Friday. Fire departments and other emergency service providers attending in their service vehicles are asked to stage their vehicles at 6:15pm at the convention center. Service personnel are encouraged to participate in a “Sea of Blue” starting at 7pm and continue until all personnel have had an opportunity to express their condolences.

A Celebration of Life service is planned for 1pm the following day (Saturday, February 8th) at the Waterfront Convention Center, as well. Dennis Glew, a Riverdale resident and the RFD’s chaplain, will speak at the ceremony. A luncheon is planned following the service and will be held at the Le Claire fire station (201 North 15th Street in Le Claire, Iowa).

The City of Riverdale will commemorate Analiese’s passing by lowering the flag for the Riverdale Fire Department (located at City Hall) to half-staff again on Saturday, from sunrise to sunset. The flag was also lowered on Tuesday to mark Analiese’s return home to the Quad Cities from Iowa City where she was undergoing care.

The City will continue to fly the department flag throughout the month of February in honor of the men and women of the Riverdale Fire Department who set a great example for all residents with their love and compassion for their 20 year-old colleague. A Mayoral Proclamation will be presented and read into the record at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting to commemorate the events of the past week.

More information about Analiese, her journey and the shared memories of friends and family can be found on her online obituary page. Donations can be made to the Team Analiese Memorial Fund. For more information about that fund, please check out the Team Analiese Facebook Page.

Images from Analiese’s Celebration of Life Service

Check out this gallery of pictures from Tim Olk, a photographer from Chicago who came to the Quad Cities to shoot photos of the event and share them with the Riverdale Fire Department and our community. Thanks, Tim!

Riverdale mourns loss of firefighter Analiese Chapman

Riverdale mourns loss of firefighter Analiese Chapman

You can download this memorial graphic (righ-click and save) and add it to your social media profile.

Riverdale firefighter, Analiese Chapman, passed away from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis on Sunday, February 2, 2020. Analiese was a twenty year-old from Le Claire, Iowa and was remembered by her brothers and sisters at the Riverdale Fire Department for her spunk and great attitude.

“She joked around with everybody and pulled pranks on people,” Assistant Fire Chief Brian Ballard told Linda Cook, reporter for the Quad-City Times. “She was a very, very strong girl, probably the strongest girl I’ve ever known.”

“Her optimism really affected the department,” recalled Mayor Mike Bawden. “The guys and gals who make up the Riverdale Fire Department family were solidly part of ‘Team Analiese’ – showing their support and love for this young woman and her family in a truly extraordinary way.”

“It’s just one more thing that makes the Riverdale Fire Department a vital part of who we are here in Riverdale,” the mayor explained. Even though most of the fire department’s volunteers live outside of the City (like Analiese did), the RFD provides a shared “home” for everyone – and it’s been that way for over fifty years.

In a related story on the KWQC-TV website, reporter Courtney Spinelli, shared some footage of Analiese from an earlier story, detailing her fight against Cystic Fibrosis and her brave recovery attempt.

The statement provided by the Riverdale Fire Department announcing Alanliese’s passing, issued on Sunday afternoon, read:

It is with great sadness that the Riverdale Fire Department shares with the community that Riverdale Firefighter Analiese Chapman passed away on February 2, 2020 from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis.  Firefighter Chapman has been a member of the Riverdale Fire Department since November 2017.   Firefighter Chapman was blessed with a lung transplant in 2019 and unfortunately became ill this past December.  Firefighter Chapman will always, and forever be a firefighter and part of the Riverdale Fire Department family.  We ask everyone to please keep the Chapman family and the brothers and sisters of the Riverdale Fire Department in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  Funeral arrangements will be released in the upcoming days. 

The City will fly the Riverdale Fire Department flag at half-staff in her honor on Tuesday, February 4. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Riverdale to work with The Schebler Company to address traffic concerns

Riverdale to work with The Schebler Company to address traffic concerns

Located on Fenno Road, south of Hwy 67 (State Street), The Schebler Company employs dozens of workers who have to turn on and off of the busy state highway on their way to and from work every day. Late last year, Jim Anderson, the CEO of The Schebler Company asked for help from Riverdale, Bettendorf and the Iowa DOT to address what he saw as a growing safety concern for his employees and other motorists on the highway. 

Friday, Mayor Mike Bawden and Interim City Administrator, Lisa Kotter, met with Mr. Anderson and his team as well as representatives from IDOT, the City of Bettendorf, the Bi-State Planning Commission and the Quad City Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to quantify the issues at hand and discuss possible solutions. As a result, Riverdale will initiate requests with IDOT to conduct an independent study of traffic on that section of State Street and to identify possible traffic control solutions such as lights, barriers or other construction that will help make the intersection safer for motorists.

Riverdale and Bettendorf will also work together to increase enforcement of the speed limit on that section of State Street. Although the limit is set at 55 mph, cars are frequently traveling at higher rates of speed which makes it difficult for drivers attempting to cross traffic to evaluate whether or not it’s safe to venture across lanes of on-coming traffic.

Touring the plant

Following the meeting, Mr. Anderson and Lance McDanel, Vice President at The Schebler Company, gave a personal tour of their manufacturing facilities and offices to Mayor Bawden and Administrator Kotter.

Mayor Mike Bawden and Jim Anderson, CEO of The Schebler Company located on Fenno Road, south of State Street in Bettendorf.

The Schebler Company has been located next to Riverdale since 1990 and has grown to include a large custom fabrication operation in addition to its industrial chimney and HVAC fabrication operations. They aggressively invest in manufacturing technology and training to keep them competitive in the markets in which they operate. Products manufactured at their Bettendorf location are shipped to customers throughout the US and some international destinations.

According to material provided by the company:

Schebler has a reputation for exceptional workmanship and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which sets them apart from their competition. Each of their products and services offer a unique value proposition through product design, delivery period, customer support, engineering, quality and/or manufacturing capabilities. Whether delivering a product or a service, Schebler strives to provide individualized solutions that meet the specific needs of their customers.

Riverdale is proud to have The Schebler Company as a good neighbor and looks forward to an on-going, mutually beneficial relationship in the coming years.

Beware of scam text messages offering $1000 gift cards!

Beware of scam text messages offering $1000 gift cards!

Text messages being sent to Riverdale residents informing them they’ve been randomly selected to win a $1,000 gift card from Walmart are a scam. Innocent recipients of the message click on the link in the text and are taken to a website where their phone may become infected with a virus or where they’ll be required to provide personal, identity data in order to receive their prize (which never comes).

It’s a scam that’s been around for nearly ten years, first making news in this Consumer Reports article in 2012.

According to Walmart, the company does not participate in these kinds of promotions. Walmart does give away gift cards to randomly-selected people who participate in their customer service online surveys. Notification to winners comes via certified mail, though, not as a text message over your phone.

Riverdale and the Quad Cities are not the only targets for this scam. Fraudsters are hitting communities and users around the country. Here’s a news update from WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC, on the matter:

New traffic signals at Arconic gate entrance should be operational by January 8th.

New traffic signals at Arconic gate entrance should be operational by January 8th.

Woods Estates of Riverdale developer, Seth Woods, informed the city that he’s finally received confirmation of a plan to have the new traffic control lights at the Arconic main entrance operational by the close of business on Tuesday, January 7th.

“Davenport Electric is done. MobioTrex is contracted by them (DECCO) and the City of Bettendorf to do the hook up in the control box and that is scheduled for January 7th – which is the soonest they were available to come.” Mr. Woods then continued, “If nothing goes wrong, the lights will be working by the end of the day.”

Concerns about the way traffic was being handled at the intersection of State Street/Hwy 67 and the new Madison Drive (leading into Woods Estates) have been raised by citizens, Arconic, the City and the Developer. The mayor and Mr. Woods have been busy contacting contractors and Bettendorf and DOT officials to try and accelerate bringing the new lights at the intersection on line.

The result has been a reduction in the time usually required to bring new lights and cameras online. “It usually takes as long as a year to get everything done,” explained Mr. Woods. The light poles (with lights and cameras) were installed at the intersection less than 90 days ago.

In the interim, the Developer erected a temporary stop sign to remind motorists leaving the Woods Estates subdivision they had to stop and yield to traffic on State Street.

But what about the lights at Bellingham?

For residents wanting to know the status of the lights and cameras at the Bellingham/State Street intersection (near the entrance to Brenny’s), work on that intersection is not currently scheduled. The City and Arconic will be meeting in 2020 to discuss the future of Bellingham Road which has not been significantly improved since its construction nearly 60 years ago. The cost of bringing Bellingham Road up to SUDAS standards is estimated to be $1.5 – $2 million and will require support from sources other than the City of Riverdale.

The lights at the intersection are in need of new cameras, timing and integration into the traffic control system managed by the City of Bettendorf. The estimated cost for that is $25 – $30,000 and would, ideally, be included in the re-build of Bellingham Road, if that project can get funded.

So, for now, no modifications are planned for that intersection.

City to repair RFD air compressor

City to repair RFD air compressor

At its last meeting of the year, the Riverdale City Council agreed to fund repairs to the Riverdale Fire Department’s air compressor system (not to exceed $8,000 in expenses). A copy of the resolution and copies of estimated costs of repair can be found here.

Part of a larger discussion

The discussion concerning the nature, cost and funding of the repair (versus replacement) touched on a number of key factors facing the Council and fire department for 2020. Chief among them was whether or not the cost for purchasing, managing and maintaining the air compressor system should be a cost born solely by the City of Riverdale when other departments in the county benefited from using the system – whether the balance of the RFD is present at the site of the fire, or not.

The air compressor is approaching the end of its serviceable life (20 years) and everyone acknowledged that the approved repair would only be a stop-gap measure at best, so discussions about what kind of system should replace it and how it should be funded will be a high priority item for next year.

The compressor is currently mounted on a truck. If the replacement compressor is significantly larger, it may require modifications to the existing truck or a different vehicle, altogether.

The Riverdale Fire Department has been working with Council Member Paul DCamp on a long-range plan for the department that takes the needs and capabilities of surrounding departments and major industrial concerns (like Arconic and the Magellan Tank Farm) into consideration. There is not a delivery date set for that plan as of today.

 

After violence occurs in our community, what’s next?

After violence occurs in our community, what’s next?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

And that’s no comment on this weekend’s fatal shooting of one Riverdale resident by another. That matter, the first murder in our community that I know of, is in the capable hands of the Scott County Sheriff’s department. There’s also plenty of news coverage (KWQC-TV   |  WQAD-TV  |  Quad-City Times), so there’s no need here to go into the details surrounding the chain of events.

But a recent comment on one of the City’s news stories summed up the feeling of concern I’ve heard from a number of residents:

“It saddens me to hear about the shooting-murder in Riverdale. The only shooting i remember was my dad shot and killed a rabid skunk in Rex Concannon’s driveway when dad was town marshal! We are truly living in the end days, of no respect for life! God help us all!”

– Dennis Speth

So, what can be done to address the fear and concern in our community that serves as a kind of “emotional hangover” from the event itself?

Things we can do to make Riverdale a more secure community

We’ve come a long way from the days when running the stop sign at the top of Manor Drive, chasing teenagers out of our parks after dark or dispatching the occasional rabid skunk were our most pressing problems. Riverdale is in the unusual position of being a very small city in the middle of a relatively large metropolitan community.

It can be the best of both worlds … and sometimes, the worst of both.

Challenges facing law enforcement and public safety officials are different when you talk about large communities and small towns. And somehow, Riverdale needs to manage a path between the two.

But in my research, the answers I’ve found all seem to point to finding ways for citizens to engage more directly with law enforcement and with each other as a key to creating a safer community. In Riverdale, we rely on the Scott County Sheriff’s office to provide support when crimes occur. Bettendorf PD may be available to respond to an urgent request (as they did last weekend), but Riverdale is in the jurisdiction of the county sheriff.

If fire or a medical emergency occurs in our city, we have a great, volunteer fire department that is able to respond. But in many cases, they’ll show up along with the Bettendorf Fire Department since the two departments work so closely together (it often works the same way for Bettendorf fires).

So how do we engage with these professionals (and highly skilled volunteers)? When it comes to finding ways to help communities connect with their public safety personnel, some of the ideas I’ve discovered include:

•  Increasing the effectiveness of neighborhood watch programs by capitalizing on activities that naturally occur in the community – like piggybacking on existing community walking groups or establishing a “Dog Walker Watch” program.

•  Establish a “Coffee with a Cop” program to help individual officers connect with members of the community.

•  Hold a “Coffee, Cars and Cops” annual car show featuring new and classic public safety vehicles.

Another key factor is finding more ways for neighbors to know their neighbors and be aware when tough domestic situations arise. By knowing and responding to a neighbor in need, it’s possible we (as a community) could be helping reduce the possibility of that situation spiraling into violence. It’s not a guaranteed answer, but an act of kindness, compassion and love never hurts.

Finally, knowing what kinds of resources are available to residents in need of financial, legal or mental help assistance is key. I’m working on pulling together information from the county and other resources at the City’s disposal who might be able to provide assistance in each of these areas and hope to add that information to this website in the coming months.

That being said, any thoughts or advice you might be able to share are more than welcome. Please leave your comments below.

Thanks to you all.