Q. Under what circumstances may the U.S. Postal Service open and inspect a properly sealed package bearing the correct amount of postage? I recently received such a package with a stamped message on the exterior, "Opened For Inspection by the USPS." I asked my carrier about it, and he assured me it was not opened in Davenport. — Robert, Davenport
A. We contacted the Postal Service to find out. Michael J. Haase, supervisor, customer services, for the Postal Service in Davenport, said, "Anything other than first class, priority or express mail is subject to inspection." He said the main reason is that people attempt to send items such as tools or other items that are not classified as media mail because of the lower rate. It is basically a way to make sure customers are paying the appropriate postage for the items they are shipping. If the item is not media mail, the Postal Service forwards it on with postage due.
Q. Out of curiosity, when a person is selected for a game show (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, etc.), do they get any expenses such as travel, food, lodging paid for by the show? — Bob, Davenport
A. We contacted Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! because those were the specific shows you mentioned. Wheel of Fortune has not responded as of the time of publication. The Jeopardy! team responded: "For Jeopardy! regular contestants must pay for their own travel, but the $1,000 3rd place and $2,000 2nd place monies are usually more than enough to cover expenses. Returning champs receive airfare. We cover all expenses for tournament contestants. I couldn't tell you about any of the other shows."
Q. I would like to know if there is a place or organization that recycles no longer needed dentures (false teeth) or somewhere fairly close in the Quad-Cities that will take them. — Jack, Bettendorf
A. We contacted the Iowa Dental Association to find out. Lawrence F. Carl said he contacted a board member in the Quad-Cities area and received the following response:
"Basically, dentures and partials are not recyclable.
"A denture or a partial would not fit another person, they are custom fit to all of the characteristics of one person's mouth. The bacteria on and into a denture or a partial could not be eliminated, as sterilization would involve temperatures that would melt the acrylic. The acrylic cannot be melted down and used again, as the chemical nature would not permit it to be formed to a usable substance.
"As far as the teeth, most denture and partial teeth today are acrylic, so all of the sterilization and melting down again would not be a usable option. Porcelain teeth would not melt in sterilization, but the labor to get the teeth out of the denture or partial would cost more than buying a new denture tooth. The metal of most partials is not worth much to recyclers, most recyclers will not take a partial."
Two weeks into their stay down south, the Living Lands & Waters crew already has removed 118,000 pounds of garbage from waterways in and around Memphis.
The East Moline-based nonprofit environmental organization is hosting its annual alternative spring break trips for college students this month, and founder Chad Pregracke called to say he is having a blast.
“This is one of the best times I’ve ever had in Memphis,” he said by phone Friday. “We’re crushing it down here.”
In addition to the help they received from students, the crew got a hand this week from fellow Quad-Citian Mike Wolfe, the co-star and creator of “American Pickers," Pregracke said.
Before their trip, Quad-City Times photographer Andy Abeyta and I spent some time with the team as they prepped their equipment — and themselves — for another year on the water.
When I introduced the story idea to Pregracke's wife, Tammy Becker, she warned me how difficult it can be to keep up with her high-energy husband.
"Wear your running shoes," she said.
Whether he is catching up with his crew in their shop or getting his hands dirty in the field, Pregracke's passion for conservation is contagious, making it easy for those around him to follow suit.
"I really want to be known not only for doing environmental work, but just individually as hard-working Americans," Pregracke said. "That’s truly what we are."
Read more about Pregracke, his crew and their lives before a season of river cleanups, in this week's Big Story in the Sunday edition of the Quad-City Times and online Saturday at qctimes.com.
A Davenport man was sentenced Thursday to one year and a day in federal prison for accepting bribes over several years while working as an electrician for the city of Bettendorf.
Robert W. Webster, 66, must pay $50,000 in fines and serve three years of mandatory supervised release once he completes his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge John Jarvey ruled at a lengthy sentencing hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Davenport.
There is no parole in the federal system.
Webster pleaded guilty on July 22 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving governments receiving federal funds and two counts of bribery concerning governments receiving federal funds on the third day of his trial.
According to federal prosecutors:
From at least 2004-10, Webster conspired with employees at Brown Traffic Products Inc. of Davenport to accept all-expenses-paid trips. including airfare, lodging, meals, drinks and entertainment, intending to be rewarded or influenced in connection with business transactions with the city of Bettendorf.
He admitted that in March 2009, he accepted $2,700 from an employee of Brown Traffic Products in the form of a check issued to Webster's wife and deposited into her credit union account.
Webster further admitted that in September 2009, he accepted payment for golf at the Kokopelli golf course in Gilbert, Arizona, from an employee of Brown Traffic Products as a reward or as influence for transactions with the city, according to federal prosecutors.
Webster was indicted on the charges in January 2014.
He worked for the city for 32 years as an electrician in the Community Development Department and was paid an annual salary of $62,173 before becoming the subject of a federal investigation in October 2010. The city conducted its own investigation but ended it without reaching a conclusion when Webster resigned one month later in November 2010.
Defense attorney Murray Bell wrote in a memo submitted prior to sentencing that Webster has never denied the “actual conduct at issue,” which is that he received the benefits from Brown Traffic Products.
“He has simply denied that his receiving those benefits under the facts of this case constituted the crime charged,” Murray wrote. “He has believed he was being compensated for many hours of work, as more than 800 hours, he completed for the benefit of BTP (Brown Traffic Products).”
Bell also disputed the amount of monetary loss that was attributed to Webster and said Webster believed he is the victim of "vindictive and selective prosecution."
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Jarvey sentenced Webster to one year and one day on the conspiracy charge and one year and one day on each of the bribery charges. The sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time.
The judge also found that Webster had obstructed the “due administration of justice and had not accepted responsibility for his crimes,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Co-defendant Robert L. Budd Jr., a former manager at Brown Traffic Products, was sentenced in January to four months in federal prison.
Co-defendants Daniel O. Fuchs and David Schiltz, also former employees of Brown Traffic Products, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with the case.
Fuchs was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $17,500 fine. Schiltz also was sentenced to three years of probation, as well as six months of home confinement and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine.
After spending the first half of Wednesday last week shooting the Iowa high school boys' state basketball tournament in Des Moines, photographer Kevin Schmidt left the Wells Fargo Arena, seeking a change in scenery.
The photo editor for the Quad-City Times first made his way to the Iowa State Capitol and photographed Gov. Terry Branstad as he addressed a group of visitors in the rotunda.
But that was not the destination he had in mind.
Schmidt, 56, got back in his vehicle and drove about 20 miles east to his getaway spot, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City.
Schmidt, however, did not stop snapping photos when he arrived. He said he views his camera as a tool, one that accompanies him on short excursions such as this, allowing him to capture moments and tell a story if one is lurking.
It is part of his routine when he travels to Des Moines — the motivation for his detour.
“I’m always looking for something different each time I go,” said Schmidt, who noted this trip marked his fourth visit to Neal Smith since 2010. “I know what types of pictures I have from the last time.”
The refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is home to 54 bison, 26 elk and thousands of acres of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and grassy meadow.
The animals — Schmidt’s primary subjects — roam within a fenced 800-acre enclosure, which includes a five-mile roadway open to visitors.
Already familiar with the area, Schmidt landed on a spot somewhere along the stretch, opened his sunroof and waited.
The patient photographer sat on the edge of his roof for 45 minutes, his zoom lens focused on one lone grazing bison.
When the married father of three has free time, he enjoys photographing natural landscapes and wildlife.
"I could disappear in the wilderness for days and not have a problem with it," said Schmidt, who lives in Maquoketa.
He stressed that Quad-Citians in search of new places to explore do not have to travel far. He suggested checking out Lost Grove Lake in Scott County, for example.
"You don’t have to go out to Yellowstone or some place like that," he said.
As Schmidt walked through the prairie at Neal Smith, the Minnesota native, who spent his formative teenage years in the Great Plains of North Dakota, felt right at home.
“All you hear is the wind blowing through the tall grass," he said. "It calms you down.”
Outside and free of distractions, Schmidt used his time away from the city to relax before covering another basketball game that night.
"When I have the opportunity, that's what I do," Schmidt said. “It makes for a really nice break when you’re constantly working."
A Davenport woman was sentenced this week to a suspended five-year prison sentence and placed on three years of probation in connection with the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.
Tabatha Jo Howard, 33, also must register as a sex offender, according to a sentencing order filed Thursday.
She pleaded guilty in January to lascivious acts with a child, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dismissed two counts of third-degree sexual abuse.
Prosecutors say Howard entered into a relationship with and performed sexual acts on the teen sometime between February and July 2016.
The assembly line was hectic at the food-packing plant in Aurora, Illinois, as Smart Intermediate School students were on the front end, filling rice packets as part of an outreach effort to feed hungry children.
The Davenport youths handed off completed packages to football players, who also had volunteered at the "Feed My Starving Children" facility in Aurora. The gridders were from North Central College, Naperville, Illinois.
It was hard to keep up, sometimes, according to Megan Dunn, a seventh-grader on the trip.
Led by social studies teachers Ellen Weishaar, Hailey Thompson and James Pigney, the field trip was an exciting climax to several projects related to classroom work on the continent of Africa.
The events this year during Smart's social studies classes at times involved the whole school, located in the west end of Davenport.
Pigney, a native of Aurora, suggested the meal-packing project in his hometown. With the backing of the Smart administration, teachers planned the trip to culminate the academic research.
Africa outreach projects started weeks ago with the students picking a charity. The students had seven to choose from, and after watching a series of YouTube videos, they voted on "Feed My Starving Children."
From the website — fmsc.org — Pigney found a packing site in Aurora, and the field trip for March 7 was arranged.
The group of Davenport volunteers was booked at the same time as the North Central College students, and that added speed to the packing process. About 50 to 60 football players were involved, Pigney said, but he characterized the routine "like a well-oiled machine."
The students spent almost two hours filling rice packets and weighing them, which could be a challenge, Megan said.
The rice products were specially mixed to be consumed by starving children. As the students had learned, some of the children they helped might weigh only 9 pounds, at 3 years old. The right mix of nutritious food would help the children to grow to a healthy weight in several months.
Packages handled by the Davenport students were sent to Haiti and Nicaragua, but Feed My Starving Children helps in countries all over the world, with many in Africa.
The project was embraced by the students, including Rhiannon Gomez.
"To actually go and help, I was ecstatic and so happy," she said. "I want to know I actually help starving children ... I was very proud to do this."
In total, the Smart kids filled 223 boxes, for 48,168 meals, which could feed 132 children for one year. The value of the students' efforts is $10,596.96.
The field trip was part of several projects that netted more than $660 for Feed My Starving Children.
The most popular event was a Pajamas Day: Students — and teachers — paid $1 for the privilege of wearing pajamas to school.
Another fundraiser was at Buffalo Wild Wings. The value of 10 percent of food consumed one night was donated to Smart's hunger project.
There was a popular dodge ball tournament: Teams of teachers took on students for the price of $12 per team and $1 to watch the event.
In addition, the seventh-graders sold gum and bottled water to others at the school.
Seventh-graders some times can be selfish and not realize what they actually have in their lives, Megan said.
"All these efforts made students appreciate what we do have," she said.
Asrielle Allen of Rock Island has achieved the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, through Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.
Her project was to empower girls in the Rock Island-Milan School District to become leaders.
She created Girls Leading the Way, a student organization for girls at Rock Island High School. Through the student organization, girls learned to become aware of their talents, utilize them in leadership positions and then teach other girls to do the same.
To share their message, Girls Leading the Way members organized a conference for younger girls at Rock Island elementary schools.
This week on the podcast, reporters discuss Rep. Steve King's latest comments regarding Western civilization, as well as the 2018 election cycle.
On Iowa Politics is a weekly news and analysis podcast that re-creates the conversations that happen when Iowa's political reporters get together after the day's deadlines have been met. This week's show features James Q. Lynch, Christinia Crippes, Bret Hayworth and Ed Tibbetts.
The co-owner and a manager of a Bettendorf jewelry store have been given a deferred sentence and one year of unsupervised probation for buying stolen jewelry and not returning it to its owner when she went to the store.
Jeffrey Taylor Hughes, 45, of Long Grove, and Shane Michael Tague, 41, of Davenport entered Alford pleas in January to conspiracy to commit a serious misdemeanor.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that prosecutors likely would win a conviction at trial.
In exchange for their plea, prosecutors dismissed the more serious charge of first-degree theft.
The two men originally were scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, but their sentencing hearing was moved up to March 3, according to court documents.
If they fulfill the terms of their probation, the conviction will not be entered on their records. They also were ordered to pay a $625 fine plus court costs.
According to arrest affidavits filed by Bettendorf police:
Hughes is the co-owner and Tague is the store manager of Premier Jewelry & Loan, 875 Middle Road.
In February 2016, the two purchased stolen jewelry, valued at approximately $16,000, from Trevor Scott Moss, 22, who had brought it to the store to pawn. They claimed all the jewelry, except a large carat diamond, had been destroyed as scrap gold.
Despite numerous requests from the victim and police, Tague and Hughes refused to say where the diamond had gone. They eventually told police that it had been recut and sold to a diamond wholesaler, but they refused to say which one and who bought it.
Police obtained a search warrant for Premier and Revell Jewelers, which also is co-owned by Hughes, to search for the stolen jewelry and records relating the jewelry.
Records show the diamond was sent by Hughes from Revell Jewelers to Hamburg, N.Y., to be recut. It was then shipped back to Hughes.
The recut diamond was then shipped by Hughes to a New York City company for grading. The diamond was still at the company at the time police executed the search warrant.
Hughes admitted that the recut diamond still belonged to Revell Jewelers and himself even though it was in New York for grading. Hughes turned the diamond over to police when it arrived back at Revell Jewelers.
Tague and Hughes maintained that the rest of the stolen jewelry already had been scrapped.
Records show that the recut diamond was received back at Revell Jewelers on Feb. 13, 2016, and was shipped for grading three days later.
Police learned the recut diamond had been at Revell Jewelers when the victim went to Premier to try to recover her stolen jewelry and was told that the diamond was no longer in their possession, according to the affidavits.
Moss pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft and was given a suspended prison sentence and placed on three years of probation, according to court documents.
A whimsical look — or two — at Vander Veer Botanical Park has been installed on the walls of a room that overlooks the park at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport.
The park is just across the street from St. Paul, 2136 Brady St. The two pieces of art were created by Jason Platt, Davenport-based artist and cartoonist.
Platt, who is a member of the church, was asked to do the work late last year. The two pieces were hung the first of March.
Church officials knew they wanted local art in the space, which is a conference room with several windows.
"It's always a delightful experience to see what the artistic minds come up with," said Ann McGlynn, director of communications at St. Paul.
She said artistic church members have created works that hang in a few locations on church property. Platt was asked to keep the theme at the park.
"We have a lot of church members involved with the gardens at Vander Veer, and it's an important place to us," McGlynn said.
Platt took two views of Vander Veer. One, in the wintertime, is of the frozen pond. Kids are playing hockey, and people carrying mugs walk by.
The artist likes to incorporate people in his work and to use diversity, including in the ages of the folks he paints.
"I want to show the park being enjoyed by all sorts of people," he said.
In a second painting, it is summer, and Platt takes a look down the "grand allee," or walkway of trees between the conservatory and fountain in the central-city park.
Both pieces of art are full of color. Platt works digitally, and he had the illustrations printed on good-quality ragstock paper.
"The colors are just out of sight," he said. "I love to look at the colors."
Platt and his family are members of St. Paul, and he also was asked to do a special book for Lent two years ago. He was hired to illustrate children's stories from the Bible, and he did 10 to 15 different ones, for each week of Lent.
"That just knocked our socks off," McGlynn said.
Church officials decided to make the illustrations into a book. It was handed out to the Lenten participants and copies remain at St. Paul.
"It's a really great little keepsake," Platt said.
Platt lives near Vander Veer and walks there often. When he was asked to create some art that revolves around the park, he was glad to accept the offer.
A good Friday to all. Let the St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin.
Here's the forecast from the National Weather Service.
Today scattered showers are possible before 9 a.m. Otherwise the day will be cloudy through mid-morning then gradually clearing with a high near 55 degrees. South winds between 10 to 15 mph will become west in the afternoon and could gust as high as 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
Tonight will see increasing clouds with a low around 32 degrees. Northwest winds will gust as high as 20 mph.
Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high near 46 degrees and a low around 29 degrees. Northwest winds will gust as high as 25 mph.
Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near 58 degrees and a low around 45 degrees. There's a chance of overnight scattered showers and thunderstorms.
Have a good one.
2. The weekend's made for parades, fun runs and all things green
While Des Moines is home to Iowa’s largest parade and Chicago’s green-dyedriver draws hundreds of thousands each March, the Quad-Cities has formed its own St. Patrick’s Day style over the years.
Organizers expect tens of thousands of people to congregate Saturday in and around downtown Rock Island and Davenport for festivities, centered around the annual 5K race and bi-state parade.
The St. Patrick Society Grand Parade XXXII steps off at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of 4th Avenue and 23rd Street in Rock Island and crosses the Centennial Bridge into downtown Davenport before ending at the RiverCenter.
The celebration continues at the Post-Parade Bash from 1-4 p.m. at the RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd Street. St. Patrick Society members get in for free, and non-members will be charged $15 at the door. The party includes food, drinks, live Irish music, Irish dancers and the presentation of parade trophy winners.
• The 35th annual CASI St. Patrick's Day Race returns Saturday to downtown Davenport. Proceeds will benefit the Center for Active Seniors, or CASI. A child-friendly Tot Trot kicks things off at 9 a.m., followed by a one-mile family funrun at 9:30 a.m. and 5K at 10 a.m.
Organizers expect as many as 3,000 runners and walkers decked in festive costumes to participate this year.
4. Man faces 25 years for peddling drugs near Davenport school
An 18-year-old East St. Louis, Illinois, man is facing 25 years in prison for selling drugs near Davenport’s Monroe Elementary School. Dyon Armongelo Thomas, of 1520 N. 45th St, East St. Louis, is charged with one count of distributing a drug within 1,000 feet of a school. The charge is a Class B felony under Iowa law that carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years. Read more.
5. Iowa State moves on to second round with win over Nevada
Monte Morris had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Iowa State outlasted Nevada 84-73 on Thursday night to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Iowa State (24-10) will try for its third Sweet 16 appearance in four years when it takes on No. 4 seed Purdue on Saturday.Read more.
6. Augustana's road run continues at Final Four
When the Augustana men’s basketball team talks about its Road to the Final Four, it’s a bit of an understatement. The Vikings are the only team that will take the court today in the NCAA Division III Final Four having played all of its postseason games on the road. Augie meets Williams at 6:30 p.m. Read more.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands wasn't in a reflecting type of mood late Thursday night.
Brands wasn't in a sour mood. No, Brands was sending a subtle message to his Hawkeye wrestling team that had six wrestlers advances to the quarterfinals and all nine of its qualifiers still alive after a solid first day at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships at the Scottrade Center.
Iowa sits in fourth place with 24.5 points, one behind Oklahoma State, 1.5 behind Ohio State and just six behind defending champion Penn State.
"Day two is on the horizon," Brands said. "We have a one-pound weigh-in, a one-hour weigh in and we have a lot of wrestling left to do and that is where I'm at and that is my assessment."
Brands got for the most part exactly what he needed out of his team Thursday. The Hawkeyes scored 9.5 bonus points, only topped by the 15.5 scored by Penn State and 13.5 by Ohio State. He saw unseeded Cash Wilcke pull off a first-round upset at 197, and Alex Meyer, seeded 11th at 174, rally to top sixth-seeded Ryan Preisch of Lehigh, 7-5.
In addition to Meyer, top-seeded Thomas Gilman at 125, fourth-seeded Cory Clark at 133, fifth-seeded Brandon Sorensen at 149, second-seeded Michael Kemerer at 157, and third-seeded Sammy Brooks at 184 also advanced to the quarterfinals where Iowa has some huge head-to-head matches against teams above them in the team standings.
"We have a lot of big matchups tomorrow, not that any wouldn't be a big match up but it is going to be head-to-head for the teams that are in it for the team race," Brands said. "We got to be ready to go."
Gilman, who registered a pair of major decisions, including a 22-8 win over Campbell's Nathan Kraisser in the round of 16, will face Nicholas Piccininni in the quarterfinals. Sorensen, 6-2 winner over Andrew Crown to get to the quarterfinals, has a rematch against Mitch Jordan of Ohio State, who beat him in the Big Ten semifinals. Alex Meyer gets Bo Jordan of Ohio State, and Assumption grad Topher Carton will face the Buckeyes' Luke Pletcher in an elimination match at 141.
Carton started his day with a 4-0 preliminary decision over Joshua Heil of Campbell before falling to Virginia’s George DiCamillo by a 13-4 major decision in the first round.
Carton bounced back in the consolations with a 16-4 major decision over Cole Martin of Wisconsin.
Sorensen, the Cedar Falls native, scored early and often in his opening two wins and says he needs to stay active if he wants to get back to the finals.
"I got to keep my hands and feet moving because that is where my best wrestling comes from," Sorensen said. "That is what we need to happen. I got to keep that high pace and wrestle like I know how."
Brooks, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3 minute and 44 second pin of Dakota Geer of Edinboro, hopes to shake his quarterfinal jinx today against Emery Parker of Illinois, who upset defending champion Myles Martin of Ohio State in the round of 16.
"Yeah win instead of lose like I did the other years," Brooks quipped. "It's just the same thing I've been saying.
“Just taking it one match at a time. This is the big daddy and everybody is in the zone. Everybody’s got their best wrestling, so I have to take it one match at a time. Relax when I need to relax and come here ready to whip some tail.”
Iowa State saw two of its three qualifiers eliminated and only all-American Lelund Weatherspoon at 174 is alive. Two-time all-American Earl Hall at 133 and sophomore Marcus Harrington at 197 both went 0-2.
Rock Island grad Barlow McGhee of Missouri bowed out of nationals at 0-2 at 125 pounds. He lost in overtime to Gabe Townsell of Stanford and then fell to Dylan Peters of UNI by a 4-3 decision.
Illinois defending national champion Isaiah Martinez cruised into the quarterfinals with a pair of victories over Shaun’Qae McMurty of Northern Illinois and Nicholas Wanzek of Minnesota.
IOWA CITY — During the team shootaround before Iowa's opening game of the WNIT, Davenport Assumption grad and Hawkeye senior Hailey Schneden went up to Ally Disterhoft and delivered a message.
"She said, 'Ally, just don't put too much pressure on yourself,'" Disterhoft said. "I think I just needed to hear that from her. To go out there, obviously play aggressive, take the shots when they were there but continue to play team basketball."
Disterhoft stayed true to the message and in the process became the program's all-time leading scorer, passing Cindy Haugejorde with 2,061 points. She has at least another game to build on that total as Iowa beat Missouri State 95-74 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes will host South Dakota in the second round Saturday at 3 p.m.
Disterhoft, who finished with 21 points, set the mark with four minutes, six seconds left in the fourth quarter. In a game Iowa never trailed, the senior drove the lane, put up a layup and drew the foul.
As she was down on the court, the ball went through the hoop, and Disterhoft’s place in Iowa history was made. There was a brief stoppage in play as the announcement was made and the senior received a standing ovation from the 3,226 fans in attendance.
Disterhoft missed the free throw.
"It's hard not to get emotional because I've had so many people support me along the way," Disterhoft said. "My coaches have been incredible, my teammates, my family. So, relief, but happy with that."
The Iowa City West grad tied the mark set by Haugejorde in 1980 with 9:36 left in the game, and even though Iowa (18-13) was leading 72-51, she asked to be kept in and given a chance to break the mark.
It took her a little longer than expected, as she missed a 3 and a pair of layups, much to the chagrin of the fans.
"I knew it, because I would miss and they would go, 'Oh' and I was like, 'Sorry guys, we'll get the next one, I promise,'" Disterhoft said. "But the crowd, our fan support in my four years here has been incredible. There's nothing like being an Iowa Hawkeye, running out of that tunnel, hearing the fans cheering you on."
Disterhoft was a force inside all game, attacking the rim early and drawing some quick fouls. By halftime she had 13 points and Iowa led 43-30.
"Quite fitting I thought that she tied it on a layup and then got the record off of a driving drive as well," head coach Lisa Bluder said. "Just really, really proud of her. To come in here and to accomplish something like that is amazing. Really happy that I got to be a part of it."
Somewhat lost in Disterhoft’s mark was another record set by sophomore Megan Gustafson. Gustafson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, setting the school’s single-season mark for rebounds with 307, passing Amy Herrig's mark set in 1999.
"I love rebounding, that's something that I'm kind of meant to do here," Gustafson said. "I kind of think of it as whenever I get a rebound it's not my rebound, it's Iowa's rebound."
Though Disterhoft took the spotlight at the end, the Hawkeyes put together a team win. Iowa had five players score in double figures and finished with 23 assists. Iowa also dominated the Lady Bears (16-15) inside, outscoring Missouri State 50-28 in the paint. The Hawkeyes' unselfish play stood out to Missouri State coach Kellie Harper, particularly in regards to Disterhoft.
"In the first half, there was a fast break opportunity, I thought she should have gotten to the basket, and she dished. I'm thinking, 'This kid's going to try and break a record and she's passing the ball," Harper said. "So I've always had a lot of respect for her game."
Iowa now has to prepare to face South Dakota, who won the WNIT last year. After having two weeks off from their Big Ten Tournament loss to Northwestern to Thursday night's win, the Hawkeyes now have less than 48 hours to prepare for their next opponent.
An 18-year-old East St. Louis, Illinois, man is facing 25 years in prison for selling drugs near Davenport’s Monroe Elementary School in early March.
Dyon Armongelo Thomas, of 1520 N. 45th St, East St. Louis, is charged with one count of distributing a drug within 1,000 feet of a school. The charge is a Class B felony under Iowa law that carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years.
Thomas also is charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a Class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
According to the arrest affidavit filed by Davenport Police Detective Bill Thomas, at 11:30 p.m. March 4, Thomas sold marijuana to a 14-year-old male in the parking lot of the Sugar Shack, located at 1939 W. 4th St.
The Sugar Shack is located directly across the street from and within 1,000 feet of Monroe Elementary School. The delivery was captured on video from a nearby business. The address of the school is 1926 W. 4th St.
Thomas was arrested Wednesday and was being held Thursday in the Scott County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Operation Engage America will hold a resource fair Saturday for veterans, active military and first responders and their families who want to learn more about post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and military-to-veteran issues.
The event is free and open to the public.
The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Rogalski Center, 518 W. Locust St., on the campus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
Operation Engage America was founded by Lisa and Jeff Naslund of Galva, Iowa, and Jean and Howard Somers of San Diego, California, after they lost sons to post-traumatic stress combat-related suicide.
The goal of Operation Engage America resource fairs is to create an invigorating and educational day of awareness and a one-stop shop of resources for veterans, first responders and community members.
Speakers for the event include Naval Reserve Capt. Jeff Weyeneth, psychiatric hospitalist at Genesis Medical Center, who will speak about post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and the brain. Col. Jeff Zust, chaplain at the Rock Island Arsenal, will speak on the moral injury of war. Cpl. Mitch Chapman and Specialist Jay Blakely, veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, will speak about their experiences in the military and the invisible scars they carry. Chris McCormick-Pries, of Vera French Mental Health Center and the wife and mother of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, will lead a family member panel.
Quantrell L. McDaniel was sentenced Thursday to up to 50 years in prison for fatally shooting Brandon M. Smith in September 2015.
The man who prosecutors say gave him the gun, Dantawn L. Cole, was sentenced to up to five years in prison.
The two men, 20 and 25, respectively, were sentenced Thursday in separate 30-minute hearings in Scott County District Court.
McDaniel declined to make a statement before District Court Judge Mark Lawson handed down the sentence.
In a written statement to the court, Cole apologized for his “immature” and rash decision the night Smith was killed.
“I want to apologize to the family of Brandon Smith for causing such havoc … for that I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
About 9:30 p.m. Sept. 24, 2015, McDaniel and Cole went to the EZ Mart, 2923 Brady St., where they saw Smith make a purchase and leave the store, according to police.
After exchanging words, Cole retrieved a stolen .22-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun from a home in the 2800 block of Brady Street and gave it to McDaniel, who used it to shoot Smith twice around East Garfield and Dubuque streets, according to police.
Smith, 29, of Davenport, was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, where he died from his injuries.
McDaniel, who originally faced a first-degree murder, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Feb. 28, the day attorneys finished selecting jurors to hear his case.
During the plea hearing, McDaniel admitted that he did not act in self-defense and apologized to Smith’s family.
On Wednesday, he filed a handwritten motion seeking to take back his guilty plea, saying that he was a “little pressured by my attorneys to take the plea agreement and had very little time to think on my own.”
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, he decided not to pursue his motion to take back his plea.
During the emotional hearing, Smith’s sister, Sharice Hanson, said her brother was her protector, someone who helped her when she was in the “lowest times of my life as an early adult.”
“He came and saved me, drove hours to find me across cities to bring me home, to feed me, give me a place to stay, give me the love I needed to get back on my feet,” she said through tears. “The biggest thing that hurts me and the biggest things that hurts my heart is that I couldn’t protect him from you. I couldn’t save him the way he saved me. You stole his life, you stole my brother.”
April McIntire, a victim’s advocate with Horizons Survivor’s Program, read letters at both sentencings on behalf of Smith’s mother, Jennifer Pieper, who sat in the courtroom gallery.
In the letter read by McIntire, Pieper wrote that she will “not stand here and speak of my loss, my heartache, precious moments I hold dear of my son, his hopes his dreams, with the very killer who took his life.”
“Those precious things belong to me, our family, friends and those who loved Brandon,” she said.
Pieper wrote in the letter read at McDaniel’s sentencing that she will never forgive him.
“If there is a breath in my body or muscle that moves in 35 years, I will be there to remind everyone why you should never be paroled,” she said. “Maybe then I’ll be able to speak of my pain. And if I can’t be there, Brandon’s sister will be there. His daughter will be there to speak of her life without her father. We will never forget, and we will never forgive. Brandon Smith mattered. My son mattered.”
Lawson sentenced McDaniel to up to 50 years in prison, the mandatory sentence under Iowa law.
McDaniel must serve 70 percent, or 35 years, before he can be considered for parole. He will be given credit for time already served in the Scott County Jail. He also must pay $150,000 in victim restitution.
Cole, who also faced a first-degree murder charge, pleaded guilty in March 2016 to involuntary manslaughter by commission of a public offense and going armed with intent, both Class D felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison.
Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Cole was cooperative from the beginning of the case and he thinks Cole acted without premeditation that night.
However, Cole did make a choice to give McDaniel the weapon that was used to kill Smith, Walton said.
Smith’s father, David, said at Cole’s sentencing that everything started with Cole when he made the decision to give the gun to McDaniel.
“You need to take responsibility for your actions, and the court should consider your direct involvement in this crime,” he said.
David Smith talked about Cole’s plea hearing, where he was asked to tell the judge in his own words what happened that night. Cole, David Smith said, asked his attorney and asked him what his son’s name was.
“You didn’t know,” he said. “After everything that happened, after all that time in jail, after all the proceedings, you didn’t know the name of the man you helped to murder. His name is Brandon Smith, and although not perfect, and none of us are, he was precious and loved, and he was kind and generous.”
Cole’s attorney, Jonathan Stensvaag, asked Lawson for a sentence of probation or, if prison was appropriate, to run the sentences concurrently, or at the same time.
Cole said during his statement to the court that he has participated in programs at the jail, one of which that has helped him to control his anger, and is working toward getting a GED and that he has a family support system in the community.
“I’m done making immature decisions and (am) starting to think before I act,” he said. “Your Honor, I’m ready to accept any punishment you feel I deserve for my ignorant decision.”
Lawson said the fact that a death was involved “makes probation problematic.”
“Frankly, in this community, settling disputes with guns has simply been entirely too prevalent,” he said. “I believe that sentencing you to a term of imprisonment, I hope, does some small part in sending a message to the community that this has got to stop.”
Lawson ruled that Cole’s sentences will run concurrent, for a total of up to five years. Lawson said he based that decision on Cole’s cooperation in the case, his lack of a significant criminal history and a lack of infractions committed during his time in the jail.
He added that he thinks Cole was willing and able to change and that he hopes this will be a “watershed moment for you.”
Lawson also ordered Cole to pay $150,000 in victim restitution.
DES MOINES — The Iowa House on Thursday approved an overhaul of the state’s 104-year-old workers’ compensation law that majority Republicans said was needed to rebalance a lawyer-driven system that’s making it hard for businesses in Iowa to compete.
The system was established so employees would have a “certain and easy process to follow in case of a workplace injury,” floor manager Rep. Gary Carlson, R-Muscatine, said in introducing House File 518. The idea was to avoid the costs and complications associated with litigation for workers and limit overall costs for employers.
“Today,” Carlson said, “due to a number of court rulings and commission rulings, Iowa’s workers’ compensation system has lost its intended balance.”
Some fixes might be necessary, but not the wholesale changes envisioned in the business- and industry-backed bill, argued Rep. Jerry Kearns, D-Keokuk.
“If you’re going to do me wrong, do it right,” Kearns said, quoting from a country western song. “Majority members, you’re far from doing this one right.”
The bill's critics argued Iowa already has a good workers’ comp system with premiums 11 percent below the national average, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and have decreased in three of the last four years. Iowa’s system also received an A rating from the Insurance Journal, which found no weaknesses and said its strengths were low politicization, efficiency and market competitiveness.
“This bill is not necessary,” said Rep. Marti Anderson, D-Des Moines. “This bill guts the rights for injured workers. I don’t understand why we’re doing this at this point.”
As an example, Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, the owner of a trucking firm with one-and-a-half employee positions, said he pays $991 a month for workers’ comp insurance. Across the state line in South Dakota, his rate would be $412 a month less. That works out to about 2.7 cent per mile traveled.
“I compete every day with South Dakota trucks in an industry where we measure improvements in tenths of a cent per mile,” he said.
House Commerce Committee Chairman Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines, cited a case in which an Iowan who worked in another state filed a workers’ comp claim in Iowa.
He also referred to a ruling that allows injured workers receiving workers’ comp benefits to also collect unemployment insurance.
“When you’re on workers’ comp, you’re being compensated for being injured at work, but can’t work,” he said. “If you’re on unemployment, you’re supposed to be looking for a job.”
After more than six hours of debate, the House voted 55-38 — mostly along party lines, but with Rep. Rob Taylor, R-West Des Moines dissenting — to send the bill to the Senate, where a similar bill is on the debate calendar.
A Democratic amendment to replace the changes with a study committee representing labor, management, insurers, agriculture, lawyers and health care was rejected 37-58.
Republicans also refused to defer a vote until Monday that would give lawmakers time to gather more information.
Even as the Rabbi Henry Karp cites a worrying statistic about hate crimes in America, he recalls the support in the U.S. Congress when President Donald Trump spoke out against anti-semitism.
All of the members of Congress stood up against acts that included vandalism in Jewish cemeteries, said Karp, who led a news conference Thursday about the activities of a new local organization.
One Human Family QCA was created late last year as a measured response to acts of hatred and hate speech seen around the United States.
In the 10 days after the presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 867 reports of hate incidents, said Karp, rabbi at Temple Emanuel, Davenport.
The center is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation and based in Montgomery, Ala.
On the down side, Karp said, the election "encouraged those who hate to step from behind the shadows and assert their bigotry openly."
Although such incidents have plagued other areas in the United States, the Quad-Cities has largely been spared.
"We are a welcoming and inclusive community," Karp said.
The news conference included presentations from One Human Family task force leaders in four areas: Bob Babcock, community education and awareness; Glenn Leach, immigration; the Rev. Rich Hendricks, resource list development and data collection; and Viminda Shafer, school safety.
Leach, active in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, offered what he called the saddest of the reports. Leach is the son of an immigrant; his father was a soldier in World War II who got his citizenship papers after he was honorably discharged from the service.
"But I have the saddest duty of all," Leach said, talking about the toll among immigrant families who are frightened about their futures. Such families no longer attend church, and the children return home from school, scared their parents may have been taken away by officials, he said.
In addition, Leach said parents no longer go out together, always making sure one adult is home with the children.
"We are preparing for when this is all a reality," he said, adding most immigrant families are a mix of people who are citizens, legal permanent residents and those who here without documentation.
Concerns about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have caused the affected families to carry extra medications, in case they are unexpectedly delayed, Leach said. Many also make sure bills are promptly paid.
Nothing can be done to change the immigration law right now, he said, but the plan is to be prepared for eventualities.
Preparedness also is the goal for Hendricks, who spoke of a form to report hate incidents that might occur in the Quad-Cities. Viminda Shafer discussed getting information from schools on ways to prevent bullying of transgender and gay students.
Imam Saad Baig of the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities told the crowd of about 60 people that One Human Family will soon have a website. Students from Western Illinois University-Quad-Cities, Moline, have applied for a grant to develop the website, he said.
Babcock, a Davenport activist, discussed new yard signs now available. These say, in three languages, "No matter who you are or where you're from, we're glad you're our neighbor."
Babcock also promoted an upcoming session on how to communicate respectfully in a diverse world. "Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts" is 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, and is sponsored by One Human Family. It will be held at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 725 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf.
Des Moines is home to Iowa’s largest parade and Chicago’s green-dyed river draws hundreds of thousands each March, but the Quad-Cities has formed its own St. Patrick’s Day style over the years.
As many as 50,000-75,000 people are expected to congregate Saturday in and around downtown Rock Island and Davenport, according to the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, for festivities centered on the annual 5K race and bistate parade.
"The Quad-Cities is normally known for its strong summer festivals, but we're finding spring and fall are becoming strong as well," said Joe Taylor, president and CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. "St. Patrick's Day is one of those big weekends, and a lot of that is because of the parade. It's one of the Quad-City's favorite parades."
The weekend’s main event, the St. Patrick Society Grand Parade XXXII, generates more than $1.3 million in annual spending around the Quad-Cities, the visitors bureau reports.
Read on for all you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day weekend in the Quad-Cities.
Gear up for the parade
This time of year, the Q-C’s lucky claim to fame is hosting the only bistate St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, which means you’ll see a wave of green floats, crowds and bands Saturday on both sides of the Mississippi River.
The St. Patrick Society Grand Parade XXXII steps off at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of 4th Avenue and 23rd Street in Rock Island and crosses the Centennial Bridge into downtown Davenport before ending at the RiverCenter.
To grab your spot amid expected large crowds, Taylor offers this advice: "Come very early."
"Part of why it's so big is the time of year; it's been a while since our last parade, and people are ready to be outside," Taylor said. "It also unites two downtown areas, and you don't normally have that. You have one mega-green downtown."
Traditionally, the Roman Catholic holiday recognizes St. Patrick, known for bringing Christianity to Ireland, so the celebration begins following a 10 a.m. Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rock Island.
Joe Dooley, president of the St. Patrick Society, said this year’s two-mile procession features 65 entries, including “quality” floats, marching bands and, wait for it, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
“It takes a lot of time and dollars, but it’s a labor of love,” Dooley said of the volunteer-run production, which took several months to plan. "A lot of people think the cities put this parade on, but they do not."
Former Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, whose mother was born in County Galway, Ireland, will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, and longtime parade-enthusiast Linda Phelan Shaw of Eldridge was crowned the Irish Mother of the Year.
Prior to the march, keep your eyes peeled for the River Bend Foodbank truck, which will be collecting monetary donations along the route to help feed the hungry in the Quad-City area.
Continue the celebration at the Post-Parade Bash from 1-4 p.m. at the RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St. St. Patrick Society members get in for free, and non-members will be charged $15 at the door. The party includes food, drinks, live Irish music, Irish dancers and the presentation of parade trophy winners.
Faux pub in town
A recent installment on the route at 224 W. 3rd St., Davenport, also may stand out to parade-goers.
From afar, it appears a new Irish pub opened in the former home of Del-Rich Pawn Shop, sandwiched between The City Church and Infinity Salon & Spa. Up close, you'll discover it's just a mirage.
JJ Condon, who owns the building and is renovating the bottom floor, slapped a 14-foot by 24-foot shamrock-green depiction of a pub on the exterior wall, temporarily covering up plywood.
“The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a really big deal for us, and we wanted to make sure we are looking our best when the parade comes by,” Condon said.
Before purchasing the property a few years ago, Condon, who lives above the vacant space with his wife, Amy, and their 1-year-old son, marched in the parade.
The owner of Davenport-based Applestone Homes won prizes for his St. Patrick's Day-themed floats four years in a row.
“Since we bought the property, we sadly haven’t been in the parade,” said Condon, whose wife is pregnant with the couple's second child, due in September. “This is a fun way for us to participate, even though we’re not in the parade."
Behind the poster, which One Step Print Solutions designed and produced, Condon said they are redoing the façade. Urban Farmhouse, a home decor store in Geneseo, eventually will move into the space once the project is complete.
On your mark, get set ...
The 35th annual CASI St. Patrick's Day Race returns Saturday to downtown Davenport. Proceeds will benefit the Center for Active Seniors Inc., or CASI.
A child-friendly Tot Trot kicks things off at 9 a.m., followed by a one-mile family fun run at 9:30 a.m. and 5K at 10 a.m.
Organizers expect as many as 3,000 runners and walkers decked in festive costumes to participate this year.
Saturday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high around 45 to 50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, Davenport. It may get a bit breezy, however, as winds are expected to reach 15 to 25 mph.
Register online by 11 a.m. Friday at bit.ly/2n41gpV. Latecomers can register in person starting at 7 a.m. on race day at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.
Online registrants can pick up their packets from noon to 6:30 p.m. Friday and from 7-9:50 a.m. Saturday inside the museum.
From 1-6 p.m. Friday, trainers and representatives from area fitness and running clubs will be on hand at the Figge’s Bechtel Plaza for the inaugural “Fit and Fun” Expo.
Because of construction downtown, participants should return to the plaza for this year’s after party, which includes Irish music, a bagpiper, snacks and beer, starting at 11 a.m.
Last year’s event raised almost $100,000 for senior services, including the senior emergency food pantry, fans for seniors and Jane’s Place adult day services program, according to CASI.
Where to park; how to get around
When asked how people should navigate downtown on Saturday, Davenport Police Lt. Shawn Voigts offered simple instructions: “Don’t.”
Iowa-bound lanes on the Centennial Bridge will be closed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the St. Patrick Society Grand Parade XXXII. Police will shuttle traffic between Rock Island and Davenport on the Illinois-bound lanes.
Additionally, various stretches of 3rd Street between North Division and LeClaire streets will be closed in the morning and early afternoon. Parking will be prohibited along that section and along 2nd Street between Ripley and Brady streets from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While temporary street closures during the parade and race may stymie access, parking will be available throughout the day in the city’s three garages:
• RiverCenter Parking Ramp, 102 E. 2nd St.
• Redstone Parking Ramp, 101 Main St.
• Parking Ramp, 331 W. 3rd St.
Voigts, who noted 25 Davenport police officers will help direct traffic from the start of the race until the end of the parade, suggests people park their cars at least a couple blocks away from the action and walk.
“If you’re a runner, that gets you out of the area a lot quicker,” he said. “Leave early and just take your time.”
Looking to get around without a car this weekend? Citibus route detours also will be in effect from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Also, ride-sharing apps such as Uber are available in the Quad-Cities. Kelly's Irish Pub & Eatery is offering $5 off Uber trips for party-goers Friday and Saturday. A similar app, Lyft, arrived on the Davenport scene in January. To use Lyft, download the free app via Google Play or the iTunes store, sign up and add a payment method. Then request a ride and get matched with a nearby driver in minutes to set up your ride. When you get dropped off, pay through the app on your phone.
There’s just something about the National Invitation Tournament that resonates with Iowa basketball fans.
Despite having only a couple of days to sell tickets, the Hawkeyes drew a crowd of 12,864 for their 87-75 victory over South Dakota in their NIT opener on Wednesday night.
That was nearly double what any of the other first-round NIT games attracted. The second largest crowd was 7,247 for BYU’s home game with Texas-Arlington in Provo, Utah. The average for the 15 NIT openers other than Iowa was 3,793.
Iowa will host TCU in the second round Sunday at 4 p.m. The game originally was announced to have a 6:30 start, but NIT officials changed it Thursday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Tickets, priced at $20 for adults and $5 for children, went on sale Thursday. They are available during normal business hours at the athletic ticket office at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, by phone at 800-IA-HAWKS or online at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.
Drawing big crowds for NIT games isn’t anything new for Iowa. The last time it played in the tournament, in 2013, it sold out home games against Indiana State and Stony Brook.
So head coach Fran McCaffery wasn’t surprised to see another large throng Wednesday, even with the students on spring break.
“Just very thankful,’’ McCaffery said. “I know the players and the coaches really appreciate that kind of support. That was an unbelievable atmosphere in here tonight, and we're very thankful.’’