On some fall days, Silvis is a cloud of smoke amid clear Quad-Cities skies. Neighboring communities in both states have banned the odious practice of burning yard debris, in exchange for environmentally friendly methods of disposing of fallen leaves and the remains of backyard flower beds and gardens. On Tuesday, voters in that city will get a chance to weigh in on the issue in answering the straightforward question: "Do you support banning outside burning within the city of Silvis, except controlled recreational fires." Though some aldermen object to even asking the question, we agree with Ald. Caryn Unsicker, 4th Ward, who said every year she fields questions from "umpteen" people regarding leaf burning. "We thought that, once and for all, we would let the voters decide," she said. She's right. The question comes in a year in which drought conditions already have drastically reduced the number of burn days for residents. We hope that the experience of this season will help voters to decide in the affirmative regarding this issue. Yes, burn bans make it harder to get rid of yard waste. And it can be more costly, which is why cities should do everything they can to create programs that help the cash-strapped use other methods of leaf disposal. But the benefits to the overall public health far outweigh the inconvenience. In recommending voters say yes, we also urge Silvis residents to remember, when leaves are burning, it isn't just their air space being violated.
Today is Monday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2013. There are 22 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: All last week were favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather. The mercury ranged from 40 to 65 degrees and the ice is entirely gone out of the river. 1888 — 125 years ago: W.D. Reimers was given charge of the Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann mill in Davenport. 1913 — 100 years ago: Eight hundred or more tons of earth in six landslides, covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 — 75 years ago: Patrolman Joseph H. Schnelder, of Moline, has been awarded four medals for proficiency in marksmanship. He is the crack pistol shot of the Rock Island district. 1963 — 50 years ago: For the 83rd year, George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" was performed at Augustana College ushering in the spiritual aspect of the Christmas season. 1988 — 25 years ago: A water main break Thursday night, the fourth this week, affected 35 homes near the 2200 block of 39th Street, Rock Island, city officials said today.