Thumbs Up … to the 18,068 people in Scott County who, according to unofficial results, voted in Tuesday’s elections. That’s about 14% of registered voters.
We’re not exactly proud of the overall turnout. Voter apathy toward city and school board elections is long ingrained in Iowa's population. Still, we think those who did stand up and exercised their civic duty should be congratulated.
Typically, school board races don't draw much interest. This year was different. Debates over pandemic restrictions and how the history of this country is taught in schools, or not taught, were controversies that animated the electorate more than normal.
There was some of that in the Quad-Cities, though not so much as in districts in some other parts of the state. Here, we were pleased to see the candidates who won, and even some who didn’t, were mostly focused on the future and had a strong grasp of what it means to be on the school board; they were solid on questions like local control, funding and providing a guiding hand to administrators who run the day-to-day operations.
We congratulate those who won. And we are grateful to all those who turned out on Tuesday to vote.
Thumbs Down … to the pending departure of Jim Snider as Rock Island County administrator. Snider, who took the job three years ago, was good for the county, which only began hiring professional administrators less than a decade ago.
We haven’t always agreed with Snider (for example, we expressed grave doubts about selling the Hope Creek Care Center to Aperion Care, a sale that eventually fell through). Nonetheless, he has been a solid professional who has contributed to more responsible budget practices and worked diligently to put the county on a strong footing for the future.
Snider announced he is taking a job as administrator in the town of Washington, Ill., which is closer to where he’s from.
We’re sorry to see him go, but we wish him well and we thank him for the years of service he gave to the people of Rock Island County.
Thumbs Up … to the City of Moline’s “river to river” recreational trail plan that will, eventually, link the Mississippi and Rock rivers.
As Barb Ickes reported earlier this week, the goal at the moment is to extend the riverfront path through part of downtown and south to Avenue of the Cities. (This part of the plan has a $4 million budget, with $2.3 million coming from the state.
Next year, as Ickes reported, "the zig-zag of the bike path near the city's water-treatment plant at 18th Street will be realigned, so it runs along the Mississippi River behind the plant. While the Ben Butterworth Parkway picks up to the east along the river to the East Moline border, the new leg will head south."
The really cool thing about this is that the city is working to keep bicyclists and pedestrians separate from vehicular traffic. In some parts of the Quad-Cities, bike and pedestrian paths run along cars and truck with little separation. We know that is unavoidable in spots, but where there can be separation, this makes it safer and adds so much more enjoyment to people and families that want more options to get out on the trails.
We were especially inspired by the words of Dean Mathias of the Quad-Cities Bicycle Club, who contemplated this new trail connecting with the path running across the new Interstate-74 bridge and beyond.
"Imagine that: People on the hill in Moline can ride down to the riverfront trail and hop on the I-74 bridge and connect with the trails in Davenport and Bettendorf," he said. "That's pretty exciting in a lot of ways."
We couldn’t agree more.
Thumbs Up … to the beginning of the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign, with the theme: “Hope marches on.”
The effort was launched Friday in Milan.
The bell ringers who spread out across the Quad-Cities raise money for charity and are a sure sign of the holiday season, as well as a reminder to consider those who are less fortunate.