U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he thinks the reports Wednesday that the Trump administration was considering leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement was a negotiating tactic and that the pact has been good for agriculture.
Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke with reporters from the Quad-Cities on Thursday after meeting with a delegation to Washington, D.C., led by the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. The delegation is in Washington this week for its annual meeting with area lawmakers and executive branch agencies.
Grassley, who has long been a champion of free trade, said there were two options floating Wednesday — renegotiation or withdrawal.
"I think the withdrawal one is posturing," he said.
President Donald Trump has long complained that NAFTA was a bad deal for the United States. And late Wednesday, there were reports that the Trump administration was preparing an executive order to withdraw from NAFTA.
Later, the president tweeted that he would renegotiate with Mexico and Canada instead.
Trade is an important part of the Quad-Cities economy, and Grassley said it has been good for Iowa agriculture.
On Thursday, the president told reporters he would seek to renegotiate, but he left open the option of terminating the pact if negotiations are not successful.
A Davenport man has been charged in federal court after police and prosecutors say he sold heroin to a confidential informant in December and January.
Prosecutors on Thursday unsealed a one-count complaint for distribution of heroin against Larry Lazzle Bolden, 48, in U.S. District Court, Davenport. A preliminary hearing and a detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, Bolden sold a substance suspected to be heroin to the informant three times and facilitated a fourth sale between December and January in Davenport.
The suspected heroin was tested at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Criminalistics Laboratory on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, according to the complaint.
The lab determined that one of the substances tested positive for heroin and fentanyl and another substance tested positive for acrylfentanyl, according to the complaint.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication that is said to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
The other substances submitted to the lab tested positive for heroin, according to the complaint.
Bolden was arrested in February and initially charged in Scott County District Court with two counts of controlled substance violation. The charges were dismissed Thursday when the federal case was unsealed.
He has multiple felony convictions for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, aggravated battery and forgery in Rock Island County.
In August, Bolden was charged in Rock Island County with obstruction of justice. He posted 10 percent of a $2,000 bond and remained out of custody until his arrest in the Scott County case.
In March 2002, he was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, to more than 13 years in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The sentence was reduced to more than 10 years in 2006, according to court records.
He was released in 2011 and was ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release. In August 2013, he was sentenced to almost 21 months in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release.
Bolden was released from custody in November 2014, according to Bureau of Prisons online records.
The Quad-City Mallards announced Thursday Axtell will be the head coach next season, moving quickly to keep the man they promoted in January to replace Terry Ruskowski.
It wasn't necessarily a no-doubt decision, not with names like Reading's Larry Courville and Alaska's Rob Murray on the coaching market. But by announcing the decision less than a week after the Mallards were eliminated from the playoffs, the Mallards made it clear they feel Axtell is the right man for the job, and eliminated any speculation or uncertainty.
Keeping Axtell was the right move, the latest from a team that is showing the willingness to try and bring a championship back to the Quad-Cities.
Firing Terry Ruskowski in January and putting a rookie Axtell in his place was a make-or-break decision. Ruskowski's resume could have made team owner Jordan Melville and team president Bob McNamara hesitant to make the switch and instead stay with the veteran for the rest of the season.
Giving the job to Axtell was a risk. McNamara said he felt the roster was good enough to contend, and if instead the team missed the playoffs, the organization would be forced to try and find another option at coach, perhaps resetting the timeline on when a championship could be realistically possible.
Instead, Axtell thrived. The team went 21-12-2 and went on an eight-game winning streak under his guidance. The Mallards scored over half-a-goal per game more than under Ruskowski, and played tight with the Fort Wayne Komets in the first round of the playoffs. Players responded to his coaching style and attitude, and the difference on the ice was obvious.
When the Mallards announced the decision to promote Axtell in January, McNamara mentioned how the team was no longer content with making the playoffs and losing in the first round, something that happened three of the four seasons under Ruskowski. Though the Mallards again exited early, they were competitive in the series with the Komets, taking two of the five games to overtime and keeping all but one of the games to a one-goal spread.
Now, there's a positive feeling entering the offseason. There's a feeling that this year's team — while good — may have been one year early from truly competing for a championship. There's a feeling that if Axtell gets the core of this team to return, while shoring up a few areas, that the Mallards might be the ones moving on next year instead of Fort Wayne.
There is still plenty of growth that needs to come from Axtell, and that's not unexpected. He was placed in a very tough situation, and he made the most of it, but he still is essentially a rookie head coach, with lots to learn and improve on. Every coach has to start somewhere, and what he accomplished in a half-season with the Mallards was a very good start to his head coaching career.
Now, he has to deal with things like trying to get players to return, something that Ruskowski struggled with, as well as recruiting players in the offseason to join the team. Ruskowski had a very good base of scouts and agents to draw on, but Axtell was also pivotal in landing several players from this year's team. He has a good eye for talent, and also has several connections, especially at the junior level. This includes Cedar Rapids coach Mark Carlson, whose RoughRiders team has been something of a pipeline for the Mallards recently.
He'll also have McNamara, who will retain his role as general manager and Jon Piche, director of hockey operations, there to help with this aspect, and those two will be valuable as Axtell settles into the role.
Axtell will have to deal with the stresses of the offseason and of coaching the entire season, not just half of it. And he'll also have to deal with the extra things like community involvement and media relations that Ruskowski's experience allowed him to treat as if second nature.
But Axtell impressed in just half a season, and the amount of growth from Jan. 20 to today was noticeable. It will be fun to see just how much more he grows next season, and the Mallards could continue to grow with him.
The Iowa Department of Transportation said this week it received 16 bids for various elements of a new Interstate 74 bridge and a pair of affiliated projects.
An official said, however, it will likely be at least another couple weeks before final awards are made.
The DOT gave contractors until Tuesday to submit proposals. Although some of the 16 bids overlap, the response appears to have been a robust one. Ten different companies or joint ventures submitted 16 bids on four different packages.
Sam Shea, a district transportation planner in the DOT's Cedar Rapids office, said Wednesday the agency is pleased, although it is still in the process of ensuring that the bidders were responsive to the solicitations and that they meet state's requirements to take on the project.
"We saw plenty of interest," Shea said.
Prior to the bidding, the DOT said it had estimated the cost of the contracts to be awarded at between $400 million and $450 million, and it looks as if the bids mostly came in under that.
The DOT allowed contractors to bid as a combined package on the part of the bridge going over Mississippi River channel as well a separate span that will lead from the water's edge and connect to the central span. Bids also were accepted for those as separate projects.
For the combined package, the bids ranged from between $322.1 million and $416.2 million. The lowest bid was from Lunda Construction Co. of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. The second lowest bid was at $357.8 million.
Two joint ventures bid the projects separately, and those came in at $393.6 million and $416.5 million between them. A separate joint venture bid on one of the projects, but not the other.
Separately, there were six bids on the viaduct over downtown Bettendorf and off-ramp leading to U.S. 67 there. Bids for that package were sought separately from the others. Those bids ranged from $30.1 million to $37.9 million.
The lowest bidder in this case was Civil Constructors Inc. of Freeport, Illinois.
The Iowa DOT's review process can take as long as 30 days, although it usually makes an award before that.
In this case, however, the size of the project may lead to a longer time frame, with the Federal Highway Administration's Iowa and Washington, D.C., offices both weighing in, Shea said.
"It looks like we are probably at least two weeks away, perhaps a little more," he said.
In Illinois, a contract is expected to be awarded in June for work from the river to 7th Avenue in Moline, which will include the viaduct over downtown and street improvements to accommodate the interchanges. That's estimated at $120 million. Then, likely in September, contracts will be awarded for work on the interstate from 7th Avenue to just south of Avenue of the Cities, as well as street improvements, including reconstruction of 19th Street. That work has been estimated at $128 million.
Construction on the I-74 bridge is expected to get underway yet this summer with work on the foundations in the Mississippi River. The span itself is expected to be built in 2019 and 2020, and the existing bridge is scheduled to be torn down in 2021.
A quick sample of competition at the major-league level during spring training only reinforced the determination of the Quad-Cities River Bandits’ infielder to see that plan through.
“To get that chance was pretty amazing,’’ De Goti said. “I tried to soak it up, learn everything I could. Now, it’s motivation.’’
De Goti was among a handful of Astros’ minor-league players who had a chance to play in major-league exhibition games last month, called up from Houston’s minor-league camp to provide depth and get a feel for the game at the big-league level.
He had that opportunity twice, including playing second base and going 0-for-2 at the plate after taking over for Jose Altuve for Houston in a 7-3 victory over Miami on March 28.
“For the guys who get the chance to go up for a game or two, it’s always a great experience,’’ Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn said. “Just to go up and watch how the players at that level prepare for a game and go about things during a game is such a valuable opportunity.’’
De Goti, selected by the Astros in the 15th round of the 2016 draft, found that to be reality.
“The entire spring was a chance for me to learn, to get to know everybody in the system and to have a chance to go up for a couple big league games was great,’’ De Goti said. “To have a chance to talk with Altuve was good. I asked plenty of questions and tried to soak up as much as I could.’’
Four days later, De Goti left the Astros’ new spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the Quad-Cities.
He is off to a solid start for the River Bandits, second on the team with a .328 batting average and currently ranks third in the Midwest League with 13 walks in his first 80 plate appearances.
De Goti gave himself an opportunity to make that happen after reaching a career-changing decision two years.
The Miami native played his first three seasons of baseball at Long Beach State, filling a reserve role but wanting more.
“I knew that if I wanted to have any chance to play pro ball, I had to find a place where I could play every day,’’ De Goti said. “I have to find an opportunity or it wasn’t going to happen for me. It was a decision I had to make for my career.’’
That led him home to Barry, an NCAA Division II program in South Florida which provided De Goti with an opportunity to play in all 49 of the team’s games last year. He hit .404 and earned Division II all-American honors, catching the attention of Astros senior scouting advisor Charlie Gonzalez.
“All it takes is one set of eyes and I was fortunate that Charlie Gonzalez liked what he saw in me,’’ De Goti said. “That gave me the chance to play pro ball.’’
De Goti spent 2016 at short-season Tri-City, batting .228 in 63 games, but more importantly adjusting to the pro game.
“I left there understanding what I needed to do,’’ De Goti said. “It wasn’t 140 games like this level, but it was 76 in 80 days and that experience taught me a lot about my body and how I needed to take care of it, from my diet to rest to strength, all of the things that go into being ready to compete at the highest level.’’
That work continued into the offseason, when he trained under the guidance of Barry pitching coach Alex Gonzalez, whose experience in sports performance training helped De Goti improve his strength, speed and mobility.
“I’ve learned to make moves that I couldn’t make before. It was extremely beneficial and it’s helping me compete now,’’ De Goti said. “I’m coming to the ballpark ready to work and ready to improve every day. That’s the goal.’’
Steinhorn sees that as well.
“He’s learned to take care of himself and he does what he needs to do to be prepared each day,’’ Steinhorn said. “He’s been consistent on the field for us, but equally important, he’s become a leader in our clubhouse with the way the way he handles himself. On and off the field, he has a very professional approach and that shows in his performance.’’
He joined the Quad-City Mallards as a volunteer assistant two seasons ago, was promoted to interim head coach on Jan. 20, and guided the team to its most wins since 2006 and its fifth straight playoff appearance, losing the interim tag in the process.
Thursday, he was rewarded for his efforts as the Mallards announced Axtell will be the head coach through next season.
"It is a proud moment," Axtell said. "Hard work pays off and it's great to see that system works.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity."
Axtell, 30, took over from Terry Ruskowski midseason this year and went 21-12-2 with the Mallards. The Mallards were eliminated in the first round by the Fort Wayne Komets in five games last week but finished the regular season 40-28-4.
"We’re very happy with the job he did after taking over under difficult circumstances this season,” Mallards owner Jordan Melville said. “He has more than earned the opportunity to continue after leading the team to 40 wins for the first time in more than a decade and reaching the playoffs. We’re looking forward to a very exciting future for the Mallards with Phil as our coach.”
The Mallards also produced an eight-game winning streak, its longest since 2004 and scored an average of 3.5 goals per game under Axtell, up from an average of 2.9 goals under Ruskowski.
“Phil is an excellent young coach who did great work this season. His team was not only successful but also exciting to watch,” Mallards president and general manager Bob McNamara said. “With a full offseason to prepare we’re confident next season will be another strong year for Phil and the team.”
Now that Axtell knows his immediate future, he can get to work putting together next year's team. The Mallards had five 20-goal scorers, including rookie Michael Parks, who led the team with 29 goals.
Goaltenders C.J. Motte and Adam Vay also each won 20 games for the Mallards, with Motte earning an all-star selection in his second year as a professional.
"We talked about the season ending and being over for 2016-17 but in my eyes, 2017-18 started Monday afternoon after exit meetings," Axtell said. "Focus on getting back a good core of this year's team and building on that, building around that. Looking at what we needed more of this past season and evaluating our needs and making sure that we find and sign players like that."
Axtell also said he would like to create an hockey video operations internship position to deal mainly with handling video during games and putting together video of future opponents for quick turnarounds.
Earning the job for next season is a big step for Axtell, who admits to having lofty goals. Just like the players he's coaching, he has desires to end up coaching in the NHL. This is a good start down that path, and while he's here, he'll be committed to putting a successful team on the ice.
"It's another level of coaching, another year of development as a coach and as a human," he said. "We always want to be better tomorrow than we were today, better today than we were yesterday. Never quitting and always striving to be better, raising the bar, every day.
"I'm going to work hard to reach my goals and to make the best of the opportunity to put an exciting team on the ice for Mallards fans and the Mallard community."
Parents of youngsters in the Rock Island-Milan School District are invited on Wednesday, May 3, to a kindergarten roundup for the 2017-18 school year.
Children must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 in order to qualify.
Specific times at each school are as follows: Denkmann Elementary, 4 p.m.; Earl Hanson Elementary, 3 p.m.; Eugene Field Elementary, 4:30 p.m.; Frances Willard Elementary, 3:30 p.m.; Longfellow Liberal Arts, 3 p.m.; Rock Island Academy, 3 p.m.; Rock Island Center for Math & Science (by invitation), 3 p.m.; Ridgewood Elementary, 3 p.m.; Thomas Jefferson Elementary, 2:45 p.m.
Find school boundary information and other requirements at rockislandschools.org. For questions on the Center for Math & Science, call the school at 309-793-5995.
Brandt Construction Co.'s last ditch effort to win the Rockingham Road reconstruction project has failed.
The Davenport City Council has approved awarding the contract to Langman Construction and denied the appeal of Brandt after its bid for the project was disqualified.
Rock Island-based Langman Construction's bid of $2.44 million was almost $200,000 more than the bid of Brandt, but Finance Director Brandon Wright deemed that Brandt was not a responsible and reliable bidder.
Attorney Greg Jager, from the Pastrnak Law Firm, represented Brandt through the appeal process. City Administrator Corri Spiegel previously denied Brandt's appeal.
The city gave Brandt the opportunity to appeal to the City Council, which Jager did at the council's Wednesday meeting.
Jager's defense centered on questions of whether the city followed its own purchasing guidelines, and he attempted, with the help of project manager Kevin Smiley, to explain delays with Brandt's completion of a project on Jersey Ridge Road.
In the report card for the Jersey Ridge project provided to Brandt, Jager said that it received a satisfactory score for both timeliness and the overall project and that there was nothing written in city code that indicated one factor could be used to disqualify a bidder.
"Over the past decade, Brandt has performed $24 million worth of work in the city," Jager said. "There haven't been any complaints given to Brandt, report cards given to Brandt until he was the apparent low bidder on the Rockingham Road project."
Summing up, Jager said that there was not enough evidence to support Wright's decision to disqualify Brandt from the Rockingham Road project.
Doug House, construction analyst for the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, supported the city's decision to disqualify Brandt, citing the lack of timeliness, safety violations and various disputes at Brandt.
House said his organization provided documents to the city about an East River Drive project, which also experienced significant delays and created additional work for staff.
Kathy Jones, one of the workers currently on strike at Brandt, chastised the company for its working conditions and labor practices.
"Brandt Construction is capable of making the right decisions when it comes to its workers, but they have decided not to," Jones said. "It's sad that employees are the ones suffering when it comes to their decisions to do the right thing."
Taking into account the current labor dispute and past problems with Brandt, Alderwoman Maria Dickmann, 2nd Ward, and the other members of the City Council voiced support for staff's recommendation.
"Considering Mr. Brandt has about a dozen striking employees that he has continued to refuse to meet with, I can't see how on earth they would be able to complete this project in a timely manner," Dickmann said. "This level of construction is going to need the utmost attention, and we do not want our friends down on the west end experiencing any more delays than is absolutely necessary."
Terrence Brandt disputed Dickmann's figures and said only three employees were on strike.
"We don't actually have a contract so theoretically they're on strike," Brandt said. "There is no bargaining unit whatsoever. We're an open shop company."
Dickmann fired back that whether or not they were fired to lower the number, they were still considered on strike.
"They won their National Labor Relations Board complaint, so I just don't think it's their opinion," Dickmann said.
Whether you frequent the North Family YMCA in Davenport or exercise there once every few weeks, you probably know Mr. Lewis — the smiling man behind the front desk — and he probably knows you.
“How we doing, sunshine?” he asked one member earlier this week as she arrived for her workout.
“Behave yourself today,” he said jokingly to a man on his way out the door.
For those who never have stepped foot in the facility at 624 W. 53rd St., meet Usular Lewis Bell, a part-time employee there whose greetings crack smiles as big as his.
“I like to know everybody that I come in contact with,” said Bell, sporting a pair of red Nike sneakers with a crimson uniform polo to match. “All of us have an interesting story.”
But the 52-year-old Davenport man's story, which has been riddled with health issues requiring medical leave throughout his 13-year career at the YMCA, may soon take another turn.
Following five years of tri-weekly dialysis treatments at Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, Bell received a new kidney on Jan. 1, 2013.
Two days later marked his last session of dialysis, a procedure that filters toxins and other substances from the blood.
The father of two and grandfather of three, who said he never was a heavy drinker or illicit drug user, later was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS. The rare disease attacks the kidney’s filters and causes serious scarring, which ultimately can lead to kidney failure.
He takes medicine to keep the disease at bay, but his cadaver organ is on the brink of failure, functioning at 20 percent of normal. Last week, he underwent a kidney transplant evaluation at University Hospitals in Iowa City and is awaiting a response from his nephrologist.
"It's a process," said Bell, who treasures his independence. "I'm trying to stay healthy right now until I get that call."
Meanwhile, a couple of his biggest fans at the Y recently stepped up to help their friend in need.
At the lead, retired hairdresser Kathie Heaps, along with fellow Y member Linda Garrett, have planned a benefit for Bell.
Heaps, 65, joined the Y in 2010 to take up swimming, which has turned into an everyday activity for her. Although the North Y’s pool is closed temporarily for electrical work, the retiree has not had any time for water aerobics lately.
Bell’s event has consumed a lot of her energy the past couple months.
“I’ve worked on it every day,” said Heaps, who has filled 100-plus gift baskets for the gathering on Sunday. “He’s just one of those guys. You can’t help but love him.”
Proceeds from the bash will help Bell, who receives disability benefits, pay for his medical expenses, which Medicaid and Medicare both partially cover.
On top of the hundreds of hours and dollars she already has invested for the cause, Heaps told Bell she wants to give him one of her healthy kidneys.
“It blew me away,” Bell, still stunned, said in response. “You don’t know how someone truly feels about you until something happens, and I’m just in awe.”
Heaps, who lives in Eldridge, said she has interviewed with Bell’s physician but will not undergo an evaluation until his test results come back.
“I realized that this man is in deep trouble, and this is something that I’m called to do,” she said. “It could save Lewis’ life, and he touches far more lives than I do.”
The tried-and-tested volunteer has done her fair share of good deeds.
Dubbed the “organizational queen” around town, Heaps has organized four benefits in the past, raising $20,000 to $37,000 at each of them. In 2005, her second fundraiser supported her then-3-year-old grandson, Chance Moen, who had acute myeloid leukemia.
Since the community comforted her family then, Heaps, who has solicited donations and assistance from friends and businesses, believes it is her mission to pay it forward.
Bell usually opens about 4:45 a.m. on the days he works at the Y, where he clocks in for about 29 hours a week.
At his post, he listens to the goings-on around him. The intuitive observer, who earned his liberal arts degree from Upper Iowa University in 2016 with a focus on psychology, said he has forged numerous bonds with guests over the years.
The Y's corporate communications director and branch executive, Frank Klipsch IV, called Bell "one of the best relationship builders around."
Although not much gets past him at his workplace, he does not know what to expect this weekend. In the meantime, he is just trying to keep his emotions in check.
"I'm a doer and a giver, so it’s been an extra humbling moment for me in my life," Bell said. "I've never had so many people go out of their way to do something like this for me."
Here's a no-cost option for your Saturday night. See Michigander, the moniker for Jason Singer, a singer-songwriter from Kalamazoo, Michigan, along with Moses Nesh, a blues act from Atlanta, Georgia. Music is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel, 304 E. 3rd St., Davenport. Free admission. Reserve your spot at raccoonmotel.com.
2. Spring wine walk
The Bucktown Center for the Arts is hosting a special spring edition of its Final Friday series. During the venue's Spring Wine Walk, stroll through art galleries and sample a variety of wines. You can purchase hand-painted wine glasses and five drink tickets for $20. Festivities are set from 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Bucktown Center for the Arts, 225 E. 2nd St., Davenport.
3. QCSO Family Concert
The Quad-City Symphony Orchestra, or QCSO, is taking on the Dr. Suess classics "Green Eggs and Ham" and "The Sneetches" during its annual family concert, set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport. The family-friendly tales will be told through the music of QCSO with support from on-stage actors, video and narration. Tickets, $3-20, are available at qcso.org.
4. Skellington Swerve
Skellington Swerve is hosting its spring bash this weekend. The live variety show, featuring live music, comedy, games and food specials, is slated for 8 p.m. Thursday at Skellington Manor, 420 18th St., Rock Island. Admission is free. For more information, visit skellingtonmanor.com.
5. Comedy showcase
The Establishment is hosting a comedy showcase featuring some of the area's top stand-up comedians. ComedySportz member Jeff Adamson hosts the night of jokes. The showcase starts at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at The Establishment, 220 19th St., Rock Island. Tickets, $5, are available at establishmentqc.com.
6. Reading series
SPECTRA, the poetry reading series, is back Thursday at Rozz-Tox, 2108 3rd Ave., Rock Island. An open mic is set for 7 p.m. and open to poets, storytellers, singers, comics, interpretive dancers and more. SPECTRA kicks off at 8 p.m. featuring out-of-town headliners Natalie Eilbert and Derrick Austin. For more information, visit rozztox.com.
Dr. Karmen Hopkins of Davenport has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. She is a 2000 graduate of the college.
Now a chiropractor and college instructor, Hopkins graduated from Sandburg with an associate in applied science degree in mortuary science. While attending Sandburg, she worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in the College’s Fitness Center, and she credited that experience with helping her decide to further her education in the health field.
She went on to attend Palmer College of Chiropractic, graduating in 2010 with her bachelor’s and doctorate, and she opened her own practice a month later in Davenport.
In addition to her practice, she provides chiropractic care for runners in the Special Olympics torch run, teaches fitness classes at the YMCA and teaches part-time at Palmer, focusing on techniques taught in the college’s curriculum.
A LeClaire man has been sentenced to three years of probation and a suspended five-year prison sentence for injuring his infant daughter last year.
Jonathan Clark Rose, 34, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury, a Class D felony.
If he fails to comply with the terms of his probation, Rose could be ordered to serve the prison sentence.
At a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Scott County prosecutors dismissed an additional charge of child endangerment-multiple acts.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by LeClaire police in support of the criminal complaint, Rose took his 2-month-old daughter to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, on July 25.
During an examination, medical staff noted the infant had a broken left leg and at least three broken ribs, according to the affidavit.
Rose said he became aggravated when he couldn't get her to stop crying and he tried to swaddle her, according to the affidavit. He said he then pushed on her hips to check her legs from a previous incident when he heard a "pop."
When asked about the infant's broken ribs, Rose said he squeezed her out of frustration, according to the affidavit.
A good, but wet, Thursday to all. Rain and cooler temps are in store for the Quad-Cities again today. Here are the weather details from the National Weather Service.
Showers are likely this morning with a high near 55 degrees. West winds will gust as high as 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent with new precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 41 degrees.
Friday showers are likely between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Skies will be cloudy with a high near 56 degrees. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent with new precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Friday night there's a 30 percent chance of showers before 1 a.m. Skies will be cloudy with a low around 43 degrees.
2. Ickes: Vet's Davenport house is constant battle
It's a pretty serious situation, even for a guy who has encountered worse.
H. Jermaine Cox, a Marine who served in Iraq, bought a house at 1023 W. 14th St. in 2002. For the first five years, everything was OK. No problems. But heavy rains in 2007 flooded the yard, which is the lowest lying in the Davenport neighborhood. With every heavy rain thereafter, Cox had to pump several feet of water off his property. But things got worse. Read what Times columnist Barb Ickes found out.
3. Levee Commission, city continue to spar over ordinance language
The Davenport Levee Improvement Commission and the City Council appeared to be on the same page when they agreed to rewrite the commission's ordinance to foster improvements in early March.
A newly crafted ordinance, however, prompted the commission to temporarily reject changes a few weeks later and the same issue has once again reared its head. Read more.
4. Timothy's House of Hope petitions Davenport council to stay open
As Margot Hary held up a rock in her clenched right fist in front of the Davenport City Council, she recalled a story a homeless gentleman told her about children beating him up with rocks.
Hary, who serves as homeless outreach coordinator at The Center, was trying to impress upon the City Council that the community should embrace organizations like Timothy's House of Hope, which helps the homeless, but was shut down by the city over zoning issues. Read more.
5. Five things to track this weekend at the Drake Relays
With the Iowa State High School Track meet less than a month away, this weekend provides a good gauge of who has a leg up going into the championship season. Times sports reporter Matt Coss takes a look at five stories to track this weekend at the Drake Relays.Read more.
6. Ask the Times: Animal bounties
One Times reader wanted to know if Iowa still has a bounty on pocket gopher feet and rattlesnake rattles, Ask the Times columnist Roy Booker went hunting for the answer. Read more.
Q. Does Iowa still have a bounty on pocket gopher feet and rattlesnake rattles? — Donald
A. We contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for more information. Alex Murphy, public information officer, responded:
"No, and to our knowledge, the DNR has never issued a bounty for either pocket gopher feet or rattlesnake rattles. We believe individual counties may have offered bounties several years ago on pocket gopher feet."
An article posted on Dec. 9, 2014, on KCCI 8, Des Moines, mentioned that 63 of Iowa's 99 counties responded to a survey about bounties. At that time, only eight of the responding counties in Iowa still paid bounties on gopher paws.
Regarding bounties on rattlesnake rattles, here is an excerpt from HerpNet.net:
"Bounties have been paid for rattlesnakes in several Iowa counties. The bounty was lifted, but by then many dens were destroyed. Iowa bounties claimed for C. horridus for three of the highest ranking counties from 1925 to 1952 showed an obvious decrease in numbers of snakes. Between 1941 and 1952, Allamakee County recorded a total of 4898 snakes with the maximum claimed in 1941 (860) and the Minimum in 1948 (188). Between 1925 and 1952, Clayton County recorded a total of 8095 snakes; max. 1932 (788) and min. 1951(39). Between 1926 and 1952, Dubuque County reported a total of 7249 snakes taken with the max. 1940 (1643) and min. 1948 (49)." For more information, visit qctimes.com/askthetimes.
Sierra Club Eagle View Group, in partnership with Earth Keepers, Progressive Action for the Common Good, and the Sage Sisters of Solidarity, will host a free climate rally from noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Modern Woodmen Park, 209 S. Gaines St., Davenport.
The rally will feature music, speakers, information about environmentalism, and on human-caused climate change. For more details, visit the Sierra Club Eagle View Group Facebook page or at sierraclub.org/Illinois/eagle-view.
Speakers include former Rock Island mayor Mark Schwiebert, Adriana McBride, entrepreneur and student at Black Hawk College, Rich Hendricks of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad-Cities, David Herrera of the Augustana College Sierra Club group, and Sage Sisters of Solidarity. Musical performances will begin at noon. Concessions will be available.
The Epilepsy Foundation will host the Quad-City Purple Dash 5K Run/Walk for Epilepsy on Saturday, April 29, at the PepsiCo Center, Augustana College, 1025 30th St., Rock Island. The event raises epilepsy awareness and funds for the Epilepsy Foundation’s camPossible!, a camp for youth and teens with epilepsy.
The 5K race/walk begins at 10 a.m.; the inside track Walk-About is 10:30-noon, and the Fun Run races for ages 12 and younger begin at 11 a.m. Participants can register at https://QuadCitiesPurpleDash.ItsYourRace.com or at the PepsiCo Center starting at 9 a.m. For more information, call 309-373-0377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Children under the age of four receive free admission.
Event activities include vendors, bounce-house, strolling magician, caricature artist, face-painting, games, silent auction, raffles, booths from local sponsors, and information from the Epilepsy Foundation and other non-profits.
The 5K participants will receive a race packet, goody-bag, and a T-shirt. T-shirts are not guaranteed for registrants on the day of the event.
As Margot Hary held up a rock in her clenched right fist in front of the Davenport City Council, she recalled a story a homeless gentleman told her about children beating him up with rocks.
Hary, who serves as homeless outreach coordinator at The Center, was trying to impress upon the City Council that the community should embrace organizations like Timothy's House of Hope, which helps the homeless, but was shut down by the city over zoning issues.
"He held up his blanket and ran down the street to get away from them," Hary said. "I want all of us to put our rocks down."
Timothy's House of Hope, which moved to 1602 Washington St. earlier this month from 1407 W. 4th St., has been a popular site to feed the homeless.
But because of its current C-2 zoning, General Commercial District, it's new location prohibits use of its kitchen for that purpose.
The city issued a cease and desist to the organization, but during Wednesday's Council meeting, members of the community and organization took the first step toward fighting back.
The Compassion Church, which operates the facility, has retained attorney Mike Meloy, who said the city is discriminating against the nonprofit and is violating the state and federal constitutions as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
"We are here to tell the Davenport City Council that the city of Davenport's actions violate Pastor (Jim) Swope and Pastor (Nick) Cantwell's religious freedom of association and religious rights protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (and) Article 1 section 3 of the Iowa Constitution," Meloy said.
Cantwell, the lead pastor at the church, said it's the mission of the church to reach out to all people, regardless of whether they have a home.
"We at Compassion Church believe that people are not bums, but are people," Cantwell said. "We also believe that it is not a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it is the right thing to do. We are asking you tonight to help us continue to help the people on Washington Street, people here in Davenport, Iowa, as we continue to reach out to the homeless."
Rebecca Selix, an alumni of Timothy's House of Hope, offered her own testimony of how the church helped her improve her life.
Selix also mentioned how caring people on the street were because of the contributions of Swope, Timothy's House of Hope and other nonprofits.
She took aim at Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, whose comments last week — “I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the homeless as other people do,” and other statements, caused outrage in the community, while she dispelled misconceptions about the homeless.
"As a former bum, I want you to know that my character has remained the same, whether I was homeless or had an apartment or was rooming with somebody," Selix said. "My character did not change."
Americans For Prosperity-Iowa State Director Drew Klein also issued a statement rebuking Ambrose for his comments and the city's decision to close the organization's operations.
“It is truly appalling that city officials are citing long ignored zoning regulations to shut down a ministry that has done nothing but serve underprivileged members of the Davenport community," Klein said. "Alderman Ray Ambrose’s words on this issue have been particularly distasteful, referring to members of the homeless community as bums and claiming he does not share his community’s sympathy for these individuals.
"We believe the individuals seeking to close Timothy's House of Hope should take a step back and ask themselves why people elected them to govern in the first place. Shuttering a ministry that is doing incredible work in the community is probably not what their voters had in mind.”
In making her comments in a public forum, Selix said she probably had outed herself as a former homeless person, which she has kept quiet because of the prejudices and difficulties the homeless face, but said the organization helped her get back on her feet.
"What Timothy's House does and what Compassion Church does is help people rise above their circumstances," Selix said. "It propels them forward."
After the meeting, Ambrose said that his objections were in reference to concerns he received from businesses and residents in his ward and his intentions were only to protect the neighborhood.
"I feel bad because I do homeless outreach, but my family focuses on the children that have some challenges," Ambrose said. "We work with kids whose families struggle. I'm not a hater of the homeless."
The Davenport City Council did not comment publicly on any of the testimony they received Wednesday evening. However, Mayor Frank Klipsch said the city was willing to work with Meloy and the organization to work out the issues.
"This was approached as a zoning issue not an anti-Timothy's House of Hope issue," Klipsch said. "We can definitely sit with them and staff and see what's involved."
John Brown, the longtime Rock Island County Clerk chief deputy, announced his retirement Wednesday, and County Clerk Karen Kinney named Rock Island County Board member Nick Camlin to succeed Brown.
Camlin’s appointment means he will resign from the county board where he represented District 15 in Rock Island. However, Camlin will be able to keep his position as Rock Island County Township Clerk.
Kinney said Brown’s service “has been invaluable in helping to keep all county elections running smoothly and I cannot thank him enough for all of his dedicated service to the residents of our county.”
Brown worked 1982 to 1997 under John Gianulis and then Richard “Dick” Leibovitz when they were the county clerk. He joined Kinney’s office in 2010.
Brown said he won’t be far away as he will remain active in the Rock Island County Democratic Party.
“This will allow me the time to work on the significant issues at hand,” Brown said Wednesday at news conference where he announced his retirement and Kinney named Caimlin as his replacement. “This is not the time to be silent.”
Outside of his political duties, Camlin, 29, said he has been working at Washington Junior High School in Rock Island as a grant coordinator.
Camlin said he is ready for his new duties. “John has been training me on elections. As a county board member I already know about the budgets and county policies, many of which I’ve written and I have a lot of experience with county operations.”
Camlin added that he will submit his resignation for his seat on the county board effective Monday.
County Board Chairman Ken Maranda said Wednesday that he will declare a vacancy at May’s regular meeting of the board. He has 60 days to then fill the post.
Since Camlin’s term expires Nov. 30, 2018, and there is less than 24 months left in Camlin’s term, Maranda can appoint a successor.
However, Maranda said Camlin was vice chair of the board and ran the committee-of-the-whole, which means there will be some changes to some committees.
“I’ve not made any decisions on who will be vice chair,” Maranda said. “I haven’t asked anybody yet. I just learned Nick (Camlin) was leaving a couple of days ago, so I don’t want to rush into anything.”
Blake Boldon has been on the job as the Drake Relays director for only about six months. Even so, the 37-year-old has put together quite a lineup for the 108th running of America's Athletic Classic.
In addition to bringing back fan favorites like Jenny Simpson and Shelby Houlihan, Boldon has invited nearly 75 past Olympians, 32 of those medalists, to compete this weekend at Drake Stadium.
He's also made some enhancements to the high school lineup.
A second section of the 400 hurdles has been added, giving 16 individuals an opportunity to compete. Also, to make the 3,000 (girls) and 3,200 (boys) runners feel more involved in the event, those races have been pushed back a couple hours into Thursday night's Distance Carnival.
And with the state meet less than a month out, this weekend provides a good gauge of which teams have a leg up going into the championship season.
Here is a look at five stories to track this weekend:
Knights look to retain Hy-Vee Cup
Davenport Assumption's girls track and field team won last year's inaugural Hy-Vee Cup, given to the school which registers the most points in four scored events — 400, 1,600, 3,200 and sprint medley relays.
Assumption edged Waukee for the title last year, 28-27.
The Knights are in all four events this week. They are seeded first in the 3,200 relay, second in the 1,600 relay and third in the sprint medley. Assumption is outside the top 15 in the 400 relay.
Standout Joy Ripslinger is entered in the 800 and 1,500, meaning she could participate in two relays. The three options are a leg on the 1,600 and/or 3,200 relays or anchoring the sprint medley.
The Knights have an opportunity to become the first school to win four straight 3,200 relay titles in the girls division.
"The Drake Relays always has meant a lot to our program," coach Tim O'Neill said. "It is our chance to go against the best of the best."
Does girls 1,600 relay title stay in Q-C?
It has been seven years since a school outside the Quad-Cities won the girls 1,600 relay at the Drake Relays.
Assumption prevailed in 2011, '12 and '14. Pleasant Valley secured it in 2013, '15 and '16. The Spartans nipped the Knights by seven-hundredths of a second last year after anchor Addie Swanson ran a 55.6 split to chase down Ripslinger.
Both schools are strong contenders again this season. Assumption ran a season-best 3 minutes, 59.94 seconds at its own invitational earlier this month, but that was without sophomore Carly King.
PV posted a 4:01.08 at its home meet with the quartet of Carli and Ellie Spelhaug, Rachel Tebbe and Swanson.
Bettendorf and North Cedar also are among the state's top 10 in the event.
Southeast Polk and Waukee figure to be the biggest challengers to Assumption and PV. The Rams have run a state-best 3:57.98 this spring.
Golden era for boys throws
Mount Vernon's Tristan Wirfs became the first boy since former Hawkeye standout and current Washington Redskins lineman Brandon Scherff in 2010 to throw the shot put 60-plus feet at the Drake Relays last year.
There have been six boys already eclipse 60 feet this season, creating quite a buzz for Thursday afternoon's competition.
Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central's Nick Phelps and Wirfs each have thrown 65-10 1/2. Western Dubuque's William Blaser has gone 64-6, followed by Iowa City Regina's Jared Brinkman (63-6), Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Jackson Coker (63-4) and Marshalltown's Maddux Richardson (60-4).
All but Richardson have distances that rank among the top 20 throws in the country this outdoor season.
The discus features nine individuals who have thrown at least 170 feet, including Bettendorf's Cole Webster (179-9) and PV's Cody Snyder (170-1). Also on that list are Iowa football recruits Coy Kirkpatrick of Madrid and Wirfs.
"You have to go back to the '70s to match this depth," public address announcer and track expert Mike Jay tweeted earlier this month.
Small-school jumping success
Calamus-Wheatland and Northeast have never won an event, boys or girls, at the Drake Relays.
That could end for one school in the boys high jump Thursday.
Cal-Wheat senior Cole Moeller, a two-time state champion in Class 1A, comes in tied for the second best leap of the spring at 6-9 -- just an inch behind Oskaloosa's J'Von Harris.
Moeller finished tied for second at Drake last year after clearing 6-5, but the Iowa recruit has consistently been over 6-8 this spring.
Meanwhile, Northeast has two boys in the mix with sophomore Braden Hoyer (6-8) and senior Axel Dondiego (6-7).
Q-C alums take to blue oval
The Drake Relays stirs up past memories for former Iowa high school track and field athletes who return to Drake Stadium as collegians.
Among the former Quad-City standouts representing the three state public universities this week are Iowa State's Emma Whigham (PV) and Allanah McCorkle (Davenport Central). They will compete in the heptathlon and long jump, respectively.
Muscatine grad Larkin Chapman figures to run a leg on the Cyclones' 3,200 relay.
Northern Iowa's Maddie Irmen (Assumption) is expected to run on the 400, 1,600 and sprint medley relays. Irmen was part of UNI's 1,600 relay that won last week's Musco Twilight Invitational in Iowa City in 3:44.95.
UNI's Jon Rus (North Scott) is entered in the 110 high hurdles and a member of its shuttle hurdle relay. Alleman alum Kyler Yodts, also at UNI, will throw the shot put. Durant's Anna Bentley is a participant in the javelin.
Iowa's Kelli DeGeorge, a four-time state high jump champion at PV, is in the high jump field. Erika Hammond, a state champion at Clinton, will throw the shot put while Columbus Community's Heaven Chandler is in the 100 hurdles.
There could be others, but relay names are not released until closer to the race.
It's a pretty serious situation, even for a guy who has encountered worse.
H. Jermaine Cox was at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in 2002 when his now-ex-wife bought their home in Davenport. A year later, the Marine was serving in Iraq, "as part of the first push into the country at the start of the war."
Back in Davenport, everything seemed fine.
For the first five years, Cox's house at 1023 W. 14th St. was OK. No problems. But heavy rains in 2007 flooded the yard, which is the lowest lying in the neighborhood. With every heavy rain thereafter, Cox had to pump several feet of water off his property.
Real estate disclosure laws were in place when the home was sold in 2002, but no disclosure was made regarding the serious and chronic flooding.
Cox went to every city official he could think of to get help. Was there a way to redirect the water? Were loans available to fix the problem? Could the city do anything, up to and including buying the property?
"I could never sell it to somebody else," Cox said. "I have a conscience."
Now deemed disabled for his severe PTSD, resulting largely from a deadly firefight in Iraq, Cox has becoming increasingly frustrated over the seemingly hopeless situation at home.
In a July 2015 email to Cox, Bruce Berger, Community Planning & Economic Development director for Davenport, wrote, "... we have the engineering recommendation that the water problem is too prohibitively expensive and/or impossible to rectify and so the house should be razed."
In other words, the city said the house is so bad, it should be torn down. But the declaration would represent the conclusion of the city's involvement, sort of.
"This is what ticks me off: The city said they would help," Cox said Monday. "As a disabled vet with child support to pay, it would exhaust all of my money to try to fix it or buy the pumps to keep it dry, and I wouldn't be able to eat.
"It's in the process of foreclosure now. Why make me go through foreclosure when no one can live in the house? The city has had three budget cycles to work this into, and they didn't. They also get FEMA money, but I evidently don't qualify, because my house isn't in the floodplain."
Cox offered to sell the property to the city for $50,000 but didn't reach a deal.
"There has to be a better solution than foreclosure," he said. "When that happens, it becomes the city's problem."
Some would say, because the city's problems are taxpayers' problems, waiting for foreclosure might be the more financially responsible position to take. If it goes into foreclosure and is deemed a nuisance property that cannot be repaired or sold, the city saves the $50,000 purchase price and pays only the cost of demolition, which is estimated at $20,000.
"His (Cox's) summary is accurate that we could not find a financial resource to acquire and demolish," Berger wrote in an email Tuesday. "We explored FEMA and other potential assistance opportunities, but nothing fit this situation.
"This property may fall into the category of abandoned houses that, unfortunately, are unable to be salvaged with the costs substantially outweighing the value. Ultimately, this outcome likely results in demolition. Jermaine was very forthright in discussing the situation and I know was hoping that the City or someone would acquire it. Maybe someone will still come forward to acquire, but in this situation, it will not likely be the City."
Less than 24 hours after Berger sent his email response to questions about Cox's property, an excavator showed up in Cox's backyard — parked right up to the garage door.
"The city taped a notice to my door in December, saying the garage was deemed a nuisance," Cox said Wednesday. "They said the siding wasn't in compliance. I fixed it once, but I suppose all the moisture in the walls froze and pushed it back out. I got an email from the city with several names on it, and I replied that I needed more time, because it was December.
"I didn't get a response.
"The garage door is brand new, and I have my snowblower in there. I just can't believe they didn't tell me when they were going to come tear it down."
Standing on his driveway Wednesday afternoon, Cox noticed someone had disconnected the power supply to the garage, presumably in preparation for demolition.
Late in the afternoon, Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason returned a phone call and explained about the garage demo. She said the city's Intent to Demolition was sent on Dec. 9. Given Cox was sent his first notice about the condition of his garage roof and siding in June 2014, she said, he had plenty of warning.
But I pointed out it's been four months since the city had any communication with Cox about the garage. Was anyone going to let him know when the demo crew was coming, so he could remove items of value?
"Honestly, probably every other property on the (city's demo) list is empty — vacant for years and years and years," she said. "So, that's a good point."
Gleason acknowledged it may be a good idea for Davenport to adopt a new policy that gives a second notice to homeowners whose property is not in compliance when they still are living there.
"This is a very unique situation," she said, adding that all 21 homes and garages torn down by the city last year were vacant.
It seems likely Cox's house soon will be vacant, too. He has run out of viable options.
"I'll be out a place to live and my credit score," he said. "I'm more than burned out on this. It's kind of depressing: You have a property you tried to save, and you're out of luck.
"I can't say I was a victim. I should have been wiser.
"Now my neighbors think it's my fault there are snakes all over here. I don't like them, either.
"Honestly, I don't know what to do. All I know is it's heading into foreclosure. I can't afford to fix it. If I had the money, I'd take out a billboard, saying, 'This property floods. Do not buy!'"
President Donald Trump's tax overhaul proposal was met with skepticism, even scorn, by Democrats representing the Quad-Cities in Congress, while Republicans praised the White House for starting the ball rolling, even as they steered clear of weighing in on the details or potential impact.
The White House plan, released Wednesday, calls for paring back the number of individual tax brackets, eliminating most itemized deductions, cutting the corporate tax rate and increasing the standard deduction for individuals, among other changes.
The proposal is the first step in what is likely to be a lengthy debate in Congress.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, reacted by saying the current tax code puts the U.S. at a disadvantage relative to other countries, and he praised the president.
"President Trump deserves credit for putting out an outline to get the conversation started," he said. "He’s correct to make promoting economic growth and job creation the top priority of tax reform."
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said a comprehensive review is "long overdue." She said she currently is reviewing the proposal.
Democrats, meanwhile, said the plan would boost the deficit and benefit the wealthy.
"Let’s be clear, his ‘plan’ would add dramatically to the national deficit to fund a massive tax giveaway to corporations and millionaires," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement.
He also called on Trump to release his tax returns.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said the tax code needs reforming, but rather than take a bipartisan approach, "President Trump is trying to give himself and other billionaires a massive tax break with absolutely no way to pay for it."
Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, echoed those concerns and said the proposal would "do very little to stimulate the economy, create jobs or provide tax relief to hardworking American families."
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., also said the president's family and his "ultra wealthy friends" would benefit from the plan.
A Davenport man on parole was back behind bars Wednesday after police say he robbed a person at gunpoint in March.
Dalonta Larenz Levy, 18, faces charges of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by a felon, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
He is expected to appear on the charges Thursday morning.
Just after 7 p.m. March 24, Davenport police responded to the 600 block of East 13th Street for a report of a disturbance.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by police, Levy and an unnamed co-conspirator held the victim, who was forced to drive them to the victim’s house.
Levy and his co-conspirator took gold, jewelry, $177 cash and frozen food while at the house, according to the affidavit.
In January 2015, Levy was sentenced to up to five years in prison on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, assault on a peace officer resulting in injury, third-degree criminal mischief and interference with official acts causing bodily injury.
Levy also was adjudicated as a juvenile on a felony burglary charge in 2008. As a convicted felon, he cannot possess or own a firearm.