Once the next best thing to a ticket to the World Series, a stopped watch

Before the era of radio or television, The Rock Island Argus “broadcast” the World Series and all important national and world events from the “Bulletin Board” on the front building of its awesome corner lot downtown.

Thousands would sometimes line the streets to “watch” the games on The Argus building.

More on that later. To my point:

Why is this incredibly historic Rock Island building sitting empty?

I don’t get it.

The former Rock Island Argus building downtown has been sitting empty for a long time now. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only person who thinks it’s special.

I’m not. In fact, the city of Rock Island declared the building one of Rock Island’s “Top 100 Most Significant Unprotected Structures” in 2009.

It is just sitting there like a grand lady. But she’s a grand lady who says, “That’s fine, just keep walking by and ignoring me, my day is coming again.”

The building itself might not look like much from the outside. I think it looks awesome and classic, but I understand some might think differently.

But, oh my gosh. You should see the inside.

I had the privilege of working inside that building for a year when I moved back to the Quad-Cities from Los Angeles many years ago.

I can say, without hesitation, it absolutely was the coolest newspaper newsroom architecturally that I ever have worked in. Even cooler than the former Detroit News building, which became the Detroit/News Free Press building, and also was sitting empty in that city for a while.

Until someone saw it for its worth.

Check out this remarkable transformation.

The Argus building is similar to The Detroit News building many ways, but not nearly as big, and minus the over the top managing editor’s office.

Think about how many awesome old newspaper buildings might be sitting empty around the U.S. right now. Smart cities have assisted in turning them into new uses. If it’s Rock Island, that probably would be condos and/or apartments.

That would be better than nothing, I guess, but definitely a last resort, if you ask me. Office space, like the former Detroit news building? It could only house one major tenant from the way I see it, with smaller offices on the mezzanine. A fine restaurant would be better.

It would be incredible. A restaurant of the quality of Le Figaro, yet dare I say with a building more appropriate for serving scrumptious, delectable, quality food.

The building has amazing karma. I felt a calming presence there even during a particularly difficult time of my life.

A 2015 Quad-City Times story reported the building is owned by Davenport Realtor Thad Denhartog, whose name is on the leasing sign hanging out front. A quick search of the Rock Island County property tax database did not return a result for 1724 4th Ave., Rock Island.

Life in the Argus fish bowl

When I worked in the Argus building, I had a fish bowl on my desk with two giant goldfish in it. Another assistant city editor, Jackie Chesser, became concerned they would die without aeration.

That’s when the bubble machine came – the air pump and charcoal filter I bought at whatever Pick-A-Pet became, I cannot immediately recall.

The acoustics in the Argus building are incredible – if Augustana gets their hands on it, it will become a theater, which also would be cool.

In fact, it already has been a theater — one of The District’s theater’s many homes, for a time in 2015.

Back to my point. Soon, my bubbles became the white noise every zany newsroom needs.

And the bursting water bubbles from the fishbowl aerator slowly destroyed the city editor’s files, which were sitting on a rack not far from the fishbowl, across from my desk.

Will a Stern or a Stanley Goldman step up to save the Argus building?

The Argus building has soaring ceilings. An ornate egg-and-dart design on the ceiling, like those found in ancient Greek buildings, keeps watch over a mezzanine and a large room below.

An Argus, by the way, is a creature in Greek mythology with eyes all around its head.

Think about what you could do with the mezzanine. A bar separate from the restaurant? How about a Greek restaurant, complete with flaming cheese. Opa!

Speaking of mezzanines, who can forget the one inside the Stern Center, formerly Hyman’s furniture, and of course McCabe’s Department Store before that. Lolly lolly get your S & H Green Stamps here.

Would you like a grilled cheese platter while you shop? Get it in a full-service diner overlooking the (once) fine department store.

What the Sterns have done for that building is true community service. It goes without saying that Stanley Goldman did more than his fair share as well, and both will forever be considered among Rock Island’s great contributors.

The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus moved the news operation to the Dispatch building many years ago.

If Moline and Davenport can do it, why can’t we?

I think about cities like Moline and the amazing redevelopment projects that go on there, and of course Davenport, too – the Blackhawk Hotel is a stunning example. To me, The Argus building needs to be considered of that import.

The city should help facilitate a deal to get that building occupied with an appropriate use. That building’s open yet ornate style is the type that attracts entrepreneurs with cool ideas.

Or will it sit like the armory and fall into pieces until someone falls through the roof? And then…WRECKING BALL!

Not that the wrecking ball demolishing the armory was bad. To me, Schwiebert Park is an incredible addition to our city. I love it.

But we can’t let a place like The Argus building end up like that, and I think it could. Maybe Rock Island could give Restoration St. Louis a jingle. Or let Brian Hollenback apartmentize it, but it can’t just sit there empty. It’s been too long already.

And I don’t see how you could apartmentize it without ruining the spirit of the interior – the acoustics, the ceiling, the mezzanine, large exterior windows, etc.

World events ‘broadcast’ from Argus ‘Bulletin Board’

Hopefully you made it this far, because this is the best part of the column. Check out this little piece of history about The Argus building, from the city’s website:

One of the most important features of the exterior of the building was the bulletin board in the days before radio and television. It was placed over the entrance at a 45-degree angle. To operate the bulletin board, someone had to climb through the trap door in the newsroom into a pit. Here the operator could post latest news, including the scoreboard of the World Series. Operators watched the Western Union ticker and then moved the ball around the field and the players around the bases on the scoreboard. It was not unusual for hundreds and sometimes thousands of spectators to stand outside and watch the scoreboard during the entire game. A projection machine was also sometimes used to project bulletins on a transparent screen located directly behind the plate glass. After the emergence of television in the 1940s, the paper no longer used the scoreboard and eventually stopped using the window for bulletins. In 1992, the window was removed and replaced by a large bronze sign that identified the building as the home of The Rock Island Argus

Old girl’s got kick. Like the millions of out-of-work newspaper people who have had to reinvent themselves over the past decade, she’s spunky and will rise again. Somebody’s gonna see her for the beauty she is eventually.

Finding fierce banana kush at the corner of Fox and Warner

Fox Cannabis

It has been the talk of my PTSD and Illinois Medical Cannabis Card groups on Facebook: Has anyone tried Banana Kush?

Wouldn’t you know, nobody could find it. But I did! At the corner of Fox and Warner.

The budtender at Fox Cannabis dispensary was delightful. She explained that Banana Kush is quite popular right now among people with PTSD and is of the indica strain, commonly remembered as the “in da couch” strain. You wind up calm, relaxed, and asleep after smoking it.

At any rate, I’m doing backflips over scoring that at the corner of Fox and Warner, just one block from the Quality Inn Cannabis Plaza here in Central Denver.


I woke up this morning irritated, as often is the case. Right now I seriously could not care less, but this morning I got an email that said a I had a “Google Voice message from a prisoner in the … “ and then it cuts off.

I used the Google Voice account once for a project I was doing for John Deere that required interviewing people in Germany. Who would have that number. I don’t even know what the number is.

I realize these things just happen. But they happen to me all the time. Every day. Internet, phone, nothing ever works. It’s a daily non-stop occurrence for which nobody ever has any explanation.

But to have the Google Voice prisoner thing happen the day after a tour of Sweden was booked on my bank card, lol, well…I was ready for some of that delightful banana kush this morning.

The banana cream pie I just ate was delightful too. I was going to take a picture of it but I forgot and I ate it.

Fox dispensary has PTSD-specific cannabis

So, the dispensary thing is a racket. Some of the ones that look really fancy…the product is nothing special. I am very excited about the Banana Kush I purchased from Fox cannabis center.

Another strain I purchased is called “Hell’s Fire,” which, like “Hell’s Angel,” is used for PTSD breakthrough symptoms. I have been feeling really good and am not sure why I have not yet had a little dance party in my room. I am very disappointed that I forgot to pack my Braven Balance.

So, after I devoured my banana cream pie, I just ordered sirloin tips with mashed and gravy and green beans. Then I’m getting a piece of coconut cream pie to go.

Oh, here it is, just delivered to the table. Marvel:


So yeah, it’s pretty much Village Inn, pipe hits, blog posts, sleep, etc. this week. Not a bad life, for sure.

My life is so cool it’s ridiculous. Sometimes I don’t even know how to begin to thank God, to tell you the truth. I try to my best each day.

My initiation this morning as a victim of credit card fraud: Yah, yah

Yah Yah

For the second day in a row, I awoke this morning at 4 a.m. after eight solid hours of sleep, happy and rested.

Then I turned the phone on.

“URGENT: Suspicious Activity Detected on Your Account,” read the email from my bank’s “Fraud Service Center.”

When I clicked to see the suspicious transactions, I learned that apparently, I was headed for a tour of Sweden!

Yes, a Swedish tour company in Helsingborg called Stena Line Travel Group had charged my card $346. Two minutes later, a “charitable organization/non-profit” in Roanoke, Va. called Minute Clinic 71109 sent through a charge of 76 cents, no doubt as a test that would be followed by a much higher charge. That information I received from my bank’s Fraud Center.

The bank sent me an email one hour after the transactions occurred, at 5:30 and 5:32. It instructed me to dial a number, which was a horrifically aggravating experience and I won’t get into all of that. I do have a very, very difficult time understanding people who speak limited English, and I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in the Quad-Cities or what. But when I don’t understand what they’re saying, or see myself getting overly frustrated with customer service reps, I just hang up.

And that’s what I did. Twice.

I handled it about an hour ago with my lovely bank manager, Ann. While I might be tight on the cash for the rest of the trip, this is far from a catastrophe and could have been much, much worse.

I’ll tell you this – I was grateful to have my “Hell’s Angel” cannabis strain for breakthrough PTSD symptoms. Made the morning much easier. And dealing with this on vacation in Colorado is a lot better than being at home and having it happen, even if not financially so.

The charges still were pending and were denied. The only down side to all of this is that they had to cancel my card, so I don’t have access to the money left in that account and will be more reliant on my credit card now while I’m here.

The Sweden thing makes me laugh because Sweden has a “zero tolerance” drug policy. Maybe the queen was trying to fine me for coming to Colorado for a cannabis tour.

A disgraced graduate of the royal family’s beloved Augustana College, lol.

My only other issue today is that the hotel wi fi is not working, nor is my tablet hot spot working. And I really do continue to work when I’m on these vacations, so thank God for Village Inn!

Many things to be grateful for this Monday. Have a blessed day.