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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Quad Cities International Airport

A redesigned atrium area will have new restrooms and a nursing suite installed as part of the $20 million to $40 million in renovations planned for the Quad-Cities International Airport.

Thumbs Up … to the significant improvements in the offing for the Quad-Cities International Airport.

Plans for the $20 million to $40 million investment, the biggest in 20 years, were announced on Tuesday, and construction of outdoor patio areas already is underway.

As Sarah Hayden reported, interior upgrades included widened walkways with additional check-in kiosks, a widened TSA security checkpoint, renovated and additional restrooms – and nursing suites – along with lounge seating. Outside, there will be covered parking with solar panels, an indoor/outdoor viewing space and garden area with a water feature mimicking the Mississippi River. There also will be space to watch takeoffs and landings.

"Now is the time to refresh the airport in name, look and space," Ben Leischner, executive director of the airport, said. "Updating our look and refining our messaging allows us to communicate with our travelers more effectively, leave a positive impression and ultimately influence Quad Citizens to choose the Quad Cities International Airport as the first step in every venture, big or small."

The airport is rebranding itself, with a slight change to the name ("Quad-Cities" airport, not "Quad-City" airport), along with a new logo and web site. Airport officials say they’re in a decent financial position, in large part due to federal funding. The improvements will be paid for with cash on hand, federal grants and debt, if necessary.

The airport is, for many, the front door to the Quad-Cities, and we’re happy to see it get a new look.

Thumbs Down … to Ray LaHood, the former Republican congressman from Illinois and federal transportation secretary in the Obama administration, who got a $50,000 loan he failed to disclose and tried to conceal, according to federal officials.

Federal prosecutors said this week that LaHood got the loan from a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman, but that he failed to disclose it on government forms, as required. He also made misleading statements when asked about the loan, according to authorities.

News reports say LaHood denied getting the loan until authorities presented him with the $50,000 check.

LaHood was having financial difficulties when he got the loan in 2012, according to the Justice Department.

LaHood, 75, is from Peoria. His son is a member of Congress.

The transaction was discovered while the government was investigating campaign contributions made by the foreign businessman, Gilbert Chagoury. The LaHood matter was described by federal authorities as unrelated to the larger inquiry

As part of a non-prosecution agreement signed in December 2019, LaHood agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation, repay the loan and pay a $40,000 fine.

The agreement, while reached more than a year ago, was only disclosed by the Justice Department earlier this week.

Thumbs Up … to the Bettendorf couple that gave a $10 million gift to endow the head coaching position at the University of Iowa.

Will and Renee Moon, whose family runs the Iowa 80 truck stop, are Iowa graduates.

University of Iowa officials say the gift is one of the largest to the Iowa athletics program.

As Steve Batterson wrote, "Iowa officials say the gift from the Moon family includes $5 million for the endowment fund to support the football program, $3 million to support football and other athletics initiatives as determined by the director of athletics and $2 million to the Kinnick Edge project that funded construction of a new north end zone grandstand and amenities at Kinnick Stadium."

Thumbs Up … to the state of Iowa for extending the due date for individual state income taxes. The state's department of revenue announced this week the deadline was extended until June 1.

This is good news. The federal government had already extended its deadline from April 15 until May 17. The new Iowa deadline comes two weeks later, which makes sense. Iowa’s usual deadline is two weeks after the feds’ regular deadline.

Illinois had already announced it was moving its deadline from April 15 to May 17.

We’re happy to see the state and federal governments recognize the disruption the pandemic continues to have, and we know this will help families manage the load.

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Thumbs Up … to the efforts by local and state health departments to ramp up interest in Covid vaccinations. It’s clear the pace of vaccinations have slowed somewhat over the past couple weeks nationwide. So we’re happy to see state and local officials in the Quad-Cities ramping up their efforts to drum up additional interest and put shots in arms where they can find them.

What happened in Moline’s elections last week is a rarity in the Quad-Cities. We can’t remember the last time voters rejected a mayor and all the incumbent aldermen in an election. The closest we can recall was in Davenport in the late 1990s when nearly all the council was turned out largely because of a controversial development project.

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