Editorial: Cheers & Jeers

Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013, 3:25 pm
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Cheers to the news that downtown Moline has in the works not one, but two new hotels. They're certain to be needed as the long-awaited passenger rail service to Chicago is launched.

"Downtown Moline is positioning itself, especially with the new passenger rail system, to see an influx of new visitors," said Joe Taylor, president and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. We will need a place for those travelers to lay their heads. Two new hotels will help.

The first, a Hyatt Place Hotel, is planned for the John Deere Collectors Center building. The project's developer Neil Densmore said a market study has shown that more hotel rooms are needed. But that's not the only reason he chose the city. "We also really like downtown Moline. It is headed in the right direction," he said. The project won approval of the Moline Project Management Team.

So did a second hotel planned for the upper floors of a building being converted into a multimodal transportation station. The extended-stay Radisson, is proposed by The Amin Group -- owners of the Radisson on John Deere Commons. With approval of the development agreements by the public and private sector group organized by the city for that purpose, the projects move to the Moline City Council.

We anxiously await details of both as they move through the process.

Jeers to more reminders that athletes are not heroes. Unfortunately, too often we elevate them to a higher plateau simply because of their ability to run faster, jump higher, pedal longer and hit harder.

Yet we were shocked by a doping confession by Lance Armstrong and news that the story of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend, "Lennay Kekua," was a hoax.

As acolytes digest the Oprah Winfrey interview and T'eo scam, they would do well to recall names like O.J. Simpson, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Such stories include allegations of murder, child abuse, doping, lying, gambling and cheating.

Many seeking villains in the latest stories of deceit involving athletes will point to the media. We deserve a measure of blame because we help spread myths that turn athletes into paragons of public virtue. But the lion's share of the blame belongs to the athletes themselves and the public which adores them.

"I'm a flawed character," said Lance Armstrong in what we suspect was the most honest moment of the Winfrey interview. So are we all, if we continue to believe that greatness on the field of play translates into greatness in the game of life.

Cheers, cautious ones, to the latest effort to examine consolidating United Township High School and some of hits multitude of feeder districts.

We've been down this road before, of course, the last time in 2004. Most merger talks have gone nowhere. But reaction thus far is encouraging. East Moline Superintendent Kristin Humphries says, for example, if it's in the best interest of the kids, he has no problem losing his job. "I would rather lose administrators than teachers," he said. "The kids have to come first."

Hats off to United Township Superintendent Jay Morrow who met in May with school board presidents and other superintendents to gauge interest among the various players in another study.

With the last study more than eight years old, changing laws and worsening state financing, the time is ripe to take another look at everything from sharing more resources to a total marriage of all the parties is worth examining.

We salute all the players who are willing to put aside parochialism to take a deeper look at consolidation.

Jeers, extra ones to folks who SHOULD be our role models when they deeply disappoint.

Take Maria C. Waltherr-Willard, a Cincinnati, Ohio, The former teacher is suing the Mariemont School District claiming that she was discriminated against when she was forced into early retirement because of a debilitating phobia of young children. She says the district knew about her long-standing "severe anxiety around young children," but they assigned her to teach them anyway. Isn't that a bit like someone who can't stand the sight of blood becoming a surgeon?
What a wonderful lesson this teacher is imparting to Ohio children.

Cheers to leaders in Rock Island who could write a primer for governments looking to take on a major capital project. After an open and engaged process, that included tours of the Rock Island Police station, city staff has included a $19 million plan for a new police station in a five-year capital improvement plan recently presented to aldermen. The need for a new station comes as no surprise because city officials involved taxpayers in the matter from the beginning. The end results is that folks aren't debating whether a new police station is needed -- it is -- but how the city can make it a reality.


Local events heading

  Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.

(More History)