Q: Do you have any information on kid-friendly haunted houses? In the past they've had some where they have the lights on, and it's not so scary for the little kids.
- Linda, Bettendorf
A: Here are some houses we've received information about that have upcoming children-friendly sessions scheduled:
-- Davenport Jaycees, 318 Western Ave., Davenport, noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. Free.
-- Halloween House of Wonders, Eagle Point Park Lodge, Clinton, Iowa, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. $2.
-- Terror at Skellington, 420 18th St., Rock Island, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. $6 for all ages.
-- Mummy Madness, Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, explore the museum by flashlight and watch Halloween "shorts" on the IMAX screen, 6-9 p.m., Oct. 29. $8, $5 for museum members.
-- Gilson Haunted School, 1264 Hamilton St., Gilson, Ill., 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30. $2.
Q: Why does Scott County have to pay a consulting firm to fix the Scott Emergency Communications Center computer problems when they should just go back to the company that installed it and tell them to fix it?
- Kathy, Davenport
A: Brian Hitchcock, director of the emergency dispatching center, said the complications involved with the new product go further than just the software from New World Systems.
"This software is utilized across several networks, personal and mobile computers, most of which SECC does not have control over." he said. "Other factors include wireless air cards used to communicate with the patrol cars on the road, varying business processes at each of the entities and the human nature of implementing a new system such as this."
Another aspect is what was asked for in the original contract. "Comparisons need to be made to ensure that expectations are not being made that were not originally asked for in the contract with the software company," he said.
The emergency center's board will pay California-based Deltawrx $30,000 to negotiate testing and implementation plans with New World Systems and monitor progress on solutions for the $2.7 million computer-aided dispatching system.
The problem with the software is only part of the problem, Hitchcock said.
"The consulting firm hired has had experience working with this software company and a multifaceted, multi-agency implementation, such as ours. Having an outside agency review and make recommendations without prejudice or interest in any one agency is very valuable," he said.
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The communications center dispatches police, fire and Medic EMS for all agencies in Scott County.
Moving records back and forth between mobile units and data servers is the root of the problem.
Emergency dispatching isn't affected.
Q: Several years ago during the American Heart Walk, they had to reroute the walk to use the sidewalk along River Drive by the Freight House and I complained to the city how dangerous the sidewalk is. With all the hype and money spent on the Freight House, River Drive updates and the city redoing the parking lot for the Freight House, why haven't they repaired or replaced those sidewalks?
- Charles, Davenport
A: Steve Ahrens of the Davenport Levee Improvement Commission reports that as part of the Front Porch Parkway River Drive median project and during the River Drive resurfacing project, a new sidewalk is being constructed along the north façade of the Freight House.
(Answers provided by Times reporter Kurt Allemeier and news clerk Heidi Engel.)