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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Thumbs Up … to the City of Davenport’s infrastructure push this summer. The city puts the cost at projects that are completed or underway at about $30 million. The work has been evident to those who have tried to make their way around the city this year. The most visible projects to us have been the work on Division Street, between 5th and 9th streets, along with the project on 53rd Street east of Brady Street. There are others, though. As Tom Barton reported, work "has progressed on an estimated $10.6 million project to replace a 1930s sewer line that runs along the Mississippi River, from McClellan Boulevard to past Howell Street."

There also are significant projects on Locust and 13th streets.

This is a team effort. The vast majority of the Division Street project, for example, is being funded by the State of Iowa, which has had more financial resources since raising the fuel tax in 2015.

We – along with many others – have complained about the state of infrastructure in the City of Davenport, so we are happy to see the city is responding.

Thumbs Down … to the challenges facing the 2020 Census. The coronavirus pandemic has made getting an accurate and robust count even more challenging than in previous years. As of this week, only about 71% of households in the Quad-City area have self-reported. And while that is higher than the national average, it still falls short of the final self-response rate in the 2010 Census.

In fact, David Geneen, a Rock Island alderman who is a key local player in getting an accurate count, said we may not be able to reach our 2010 response rate, according to an article by our Sarah Hayden.

An accurate Census count is vital in order to adequately draw political boundaries and dispense billions of dollars in federal funds.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration is making it even harder to get an accurate result by moving to end the count a month earlier than it had planned.

Acknowledging the challenges of the pandemic, the administration said last spring it intended to complete the count at the end of October. But last month, the administration reversed course and said it would end the count a month early, in September.

Critics say this will lead to an undercount, especially in poor and minority communities, which are historically hard to reach anyway.

A legal challenge has been filed to try to stop the early end, and last week a federal judge in California temporarily ordered a halt to the administration’s plans to stop early, pending a hearing on the matter in the middle of this month.

We are hopeful the count is allowed to proceed. The Census is conducted once every 10 years, and it is vital that it be done correctly. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

Thumbs Up … to St. Ambrose University for the addition of two sports to its lineup available to student-athletes. Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, the university will add programs in men’s wrestling and co-ed competitive winter guard.

"Wrestling is a great addition that makes a lot of sense for St. Ambrose,” the university’s athletic director, Mike Holmes, said in an article in this newspaper earlier this week.

We agree. Wrestling is a strong sport in the Midwest. Iowa, in particular, has had a long and successful history in wrestling, so it makes a great deal of sense that it is offered to students at St. Ambrose.

The first team is expected to include about 20 student-athletes, with plans to expand later.

In addition, the co-ed competitive winter guard sport is being added.

As Steve Batterson reported, "the program combines color guard, winds and percussion participants who compete in five-to-six meets regionally during a season which runs from February through April."

In addition to college students, high-school student-athletes will be eligible to participate.

Earlier this year, Augustana College officially announced that it will be expanding its athletics program, adding men's and women's water polo for the 2021-22 school year. The university also said it would add women's wrestling next year, too. Augustana already offers a men's wrestling program.

The university's construction of the new $18 million Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance includes a new aquatic center and natatorium, which will accommodate the new water polo teams. The center is slated for completion next spring.

We're encouraged by the additions. They will make both institutions more attractive to prospective students as well as enrich the opportunities for those who already are there.


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