DES MOINES — Many times, state lawmakers are in complete agreement on legislation, and a bill passes unanimously. Many times, a bill divides lawmakers by political party; all Republicans support a bill, and all Democrats oppose it, or vice versa.
And every once in a while, there is near-unanimous agreement on a bill, except for a solitary member.
There were 11 “lone wolf” votes — in which nearly all legislators voted in favor of a bill and just one voted against it — cast during this year’s legislative session through the end of last week.
That’s a tiny number of the nearly 300 bills voted on this year in the Iowa House and Senate — 3.8 percent, to be exact — and the reasons vary for those solitary stands.
According to the legislators who cast those lone wolf votes, some were the result of general opposition to a state program. Others were based on ideology. And sometimes, the vote was cast in error.
Whatever the reason, legislators said it can feel strange to look at a final vote tally and their name as the only dissenting voice among all of their colleagues.
“It makes you laugh a little bit. It’s like, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” said Rep. Skyler Wheeler, a first-year state legislator from Orange City who cast one of those 11 lone wolf votes this year. “But it’s just one of those things. You have to stand by what you believe in.”
Of the 11 lone wolf votes cast this year, nine have been cast in the Iowa House, by nine different members. Two have been cast in the Senate, both by Sen. Tony Bisignano, a Democrat from Des Moines.
Both of Bisignano’s lone wolf votes were on bills related to liability. One bill said property owners were not responsible for duty of care to a trespasser; another said the Iowa State Fair would not be liable for injury or death caused by pathogen transmission caused by animals at the fair. Both bills passed 48-1.
Bisignano also cast one lone wolf vote each in 2015 and 2016. He is among a group of four legislators with multiple lone wolf votes over the past three years. The others are Reps. Bruce Hunter, Chuck Isenhart and Jake Highfill.
“You vote your conscience, vote your district, vote what you feel is right, and it doesn’t really matter if you’re the only ‘no’ vote there,” said Highfill, a Republican from Johnston.
Two legislators have cast three lone wolf votes in a single session over the past three years.
Sen. David Johnson of Ocheyedan cast three lone wolf votes in 2016 while he was a Republican. He changed his party affiliation to independent before the 2017 session.
Rep. Dan Kelley, a Democrat from Newton, cast three lone wolf votes in 2015. He lost his 2016 re-election bid in a primary.
There were 20 lone wolf votes cast in 2016 and 21 in 2015. Many of the legislators who have cast lone wolf votes said they wear those votes as a badge of independence.
“It’s a point of pride to me because I like to tell my people back home that I don’t just follow the company line. I don’t just do what my caucus and leadership tells me to do, and I’ve got multiple examples that prove that,” said Rep. Bruce Bearinger, a Democrat from Oelwein. “And I vote for the people within my district, and I listen to the people in my district.”
Here are some examples of lone wolf votes cast over the past three years:
Rep. Skyler Wheeler
Wheeler was the lone vote against a House bill that updates state alcohol regulations by, in part, allowing small distilleries to sell their product on site, similar to small breweries and wineries.
The bill passed the House on a 93-1 vote; it has not yet been debated by the full Senate.
Wheeler said he voted against the bill because he viewed it as the expansion of alcohol production and consumption in Iowa, which he said he thinks is not good for the state.
Wheeler said he thinks the late Dwayne Alons, who represented northwest Iowa in the Iowa House from 1999 to 2014, also would have voted against the bill for the same reason.
“I think it increases the consumption and production of alcohol, and I’m not for that,” Wheeler said. “Ultimately, that’s what it came down to. It passed, and I’m not going to lose sleep over it.”
Wheeler also said his vote proves his independent thinking on proposed legislation.
“If you’re the only ‘no’ vote, you’re the only ‘no’ vote. It happens sometimes,” Wheeler said. “You get to kind of go back home and tell people, ‘Hey, you know what? I don’t just vote straight party line. I don’t just vote how somebody tells me to vote. I vote what I feel is right and what I ultimately feel what my district would want me to vote.”
Rep. Bruce Bearinger
Bearinger was the only legislator to vote against a bill that proposes the state public defender coordinate representation of indigent persons who have been arrested and charged with a crime.
The bill passed the House on a 93-1 vote and has not yet been debated by the full Senate.
Bearinger said the voted against the bill because of an amendment that would have the state public defender’s office, when involved in a case regarding a violation of a local law, seek reimbursement from that local government.
Bearinger said he thinks that is shifting the cost to city governments, and he fears it will force cities to either find money to cover the additional costs or local police will attempt to prevent any additional costs by bringing fewer criminal charges.
Bearinger said that concern was not expressed, even by his Democratic colleagues, but he contacted his local police chief, who shared the concern.
“I voted against it because I believe it’s soft on crime by forcing cities into that position,” Bearinger said. “And it is a further example of (state lawmakers) saying we love local control until we don’t.”
Rep. Tim Kacena
Kacena, a first-term Democrat from Sioux City, cast the lone vote in opposition to a bill that would add certain designated lanes to legal turns on red at stoplights.
The bill passed the House, 95-1, passed the Senate on a unanimous 49-0 vote and on March 23 was signed into law by the governor.
Kacena, a retired firefighter, said he voted against the bill because he thought it was a safety issue.
“I’ve been on way too many accidents, and now you can double lane turn on red,” he said. “Basically, it wasn’t good for traffic, I didn’t think.”
Despite being the lone voice of opposition, Kacena said the vote did not feel different from any other he has cast this session.
“Basically, it was like any other vote,” he said.
Rep. Cindy Winckler
In 2015, Winckler, a Democrat from Davenport, was the lone vote against a bill that would have extended the deadline for contributions to the state’s college savings plan.
The proposal passed the House, 94-1, but was not voted on by the Senate.
Winckler said this week she recalls her vote was a mistake, that she intended to support the bill.
It is not uncommon for legislators to cast a mistaken vote, especially on days when they vote on numerous bills, which often have numerous amendments. Legislators have the option of changing their vote in the official record.
“Sometimes, you try and juggle a little too much, which is part of the job, and I accept that,” Winckler said. "But mistakes happen with those kinds of things."
Davenport Central High School's theater students staged "Little Shop of Horrors" this year, and that title is one description for what the cast and crew have gone through to put on a show this year.
Central's theater department has been without a normal stage all school year: The new auditorium is set to be unveiled in early May, and the former space was repurposed.
In the meantime, the actors have practiced in hallways — with other students striding through their scenes at times in Central's cafeteria, in the basement at one student's home and at the Blue Grass home of the drama teacher, Thea IntVeld.
IntVeld spoke on a cellphone as she sped home to where the students were waiting to begin a practice for the spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast."
If the musical sounds familiar, that's because it is now a hit Disney movie and also was recently staged at Bettendorf High School.
The Central version is going to be staged at West High School, and IntVeld could not stop giggling at times as she listed the number of issues the students have faced this year.
The drama students should be appreciated for what they've gone through but still put on quality shows, said IntVeld, who was teaching in Colorado when she was hired eight years ago by Davenport schools.
Some of the issues:
• When practicing for "Little Shop of Horrors," the performers used Central's hallways for rehearsal space. They posted signs about what they were doing, but other students would inevitably walk through a scene, IntVeld said.
• The next production was "A Streetcar Named Desire." At first, the hallways were used for rehearsals, but that space was too loud when practicing for the intense drama. The students ended up in Central's cafeteria, where they were interrupted by other folks who use the space, including weightlifters, the boy's basketball team before games and, one time, a program to rent tuxes for prom.
• Finally, they met in the basement at one student's home until they could get into the rehearsal space at West. IntVeld said they had just one dress rehearsal and then staged the show "without any issues."
"In all three performances, the audiences would not have known that the kids didn't practice as usual," she said.
She thinks the students are "numb" from lack of practice space. There has been a lot of sharing going on, IntVeld said, adding there are 46 students in Central's performing arts program.
The teacher is thankful for help that's come from the Davenport Community School District, as well as outside businesses, such as Advance Homes. The construction firm built a castle for the musical and is storing it until she can get the stage time at West.
Storage space for sets was found at various locations, including Brady Street Stadium. When all the wood that is used for productions disappeared during Central's construction, more was found to replace it, via the district's facilities director, Mike Maloney.
"Everything I thought might go wrong, went wrong," said IntVeld, who describes herself as normally calm and mellow.
She told the students to simply practice their lines and let her worry about the practice spaces and set construction.
Jeremy Weinstein, 17, starred in all three productions, and said he's been constantly adapting to the circumstances.
"We weren't sure where to go for each show, and we had to adapt for each structure," he said.
The changing performance venues, especially when the shows are at West, meant the students had to improve their messaging, or advertising, so their fans would know where to go.
On the bright side, Jeremy won't be likely to forget this challenging year. The junior was dentist Orin Scrivello in "Little Shop," Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar," and he plays LeFou, the Josh Gad character in the current "Beauty" movie.
IntVeld is looking forward to using the new Central theater, and she stays philosophical, even as she waits to use the West facility because the floor recently was repainted and needs to "cure."
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has given preliminary approval to the final piece of financing needed to turn Davenport's old Buchanan school into 18 senior apartments, developer Chris Ales said Tuesday.
Development authority representative Tina Hoffman said a final decision is expected "soon."
Ales said he has been told he will receive $3 million from the authority's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program. These are federal funds made available to communities affected by the 2008 floods and designated for projects that create new housing.
Work on the $5.4 million project is expected to begin in 60 to 90 days, with occupancy in 2018, Ales said.
Buchanan is located at 2104 W. 6th St., off Telegraph Road, southwest of the Putnam Museum and Fejervary Park. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is architecturally and historically significant, designed by the noted architectural firm of Clausen Burrows, whose work helped shape Davenport.
The building has become an eyesore in recent years, however, with some windows boarded up or broken out. The site itself is surrounded by a chain link fence with overgrown vegetation. It is "in dire need of preservation," Ales said.
The school was built and opened in 1904, according to research by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center of the Davenport Public Library.
The building closed in 1940 and apparently was vacant until being purchased in 1951 for use as a U.S. Naval Training Center. The Navy stayed in the building until 1978, when the building again became vacant, according to library researchers.
It was purchased in 1988 by Donald "Bobe" Lopez, who has used it as storage space for his antique auto parts business on West 2nd Street, Ales said.
The project is "shovel-ready" because all other prep work already has been done, including marketing and environmental studies, final construction drawings and approval of all the other financing, Ales said.
In supporting Ales' request for the block grant funding originally filed in 2014, Bruce Berger, the city's community development director, called it an "exciting project" that would make high use of a building that "the neighborhood has been looking at for a long time."
In addition to the block grant, other pieces of financing include about $2 million in equity from the sale of federal and state historic preservation tax credits, benefits from the city's Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption program and the state's former Enterprise Zone program and conventional financing, Ales said.
The school was designed in the Georgian Colonial and Renaissance Revival architectural styles. It is made of brick and limestone and features arched doorways, three window shapes and a red clay tile roof.
Two other Clausen Burrows properties have been converted into apartments in recent years — the former Taylor School at 901 W. 5th St. and the former Pierce School in the Village of East Davenport. Taylor school is targeted for seniors.
Of the 18 apartments at Buchanan, several will be income-restricted, reserved for people with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income, Ales said.
The Buchanan school at 4515 N. Fairmount St. that is in use today opened in 1971-72.
When Ricky Davis was inducted into the Quad-City Sports Hall of Fame last spring, it was clear he was holding out hope of somehow continuing his basketball career.
The former Davenport North and University of Iowa star felt he still had some spring in his legs. He knew he still could knock down jump shots.
He’s now found an outlet for his skills: He is going to be a co-captain for one of the teams in a new 3-on-3 basketball league featuring former NBA players.
The BIG3, founded by rap artist Ice Cube, begins play this summer and already has a television contract and a long list of former NBA players who are eager to stay involved in the sport they love.
That includes Davis, who scored nearly 10,000 points during a 12-year career in the NBA but has not played in a competitive basketball game since he was with the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA’s Developmental League in 2014.
“This is a great opportunity,’’ Davis said. “There’s a lot of guys who would like to still play in the NBA but don’t get picked up so I think this will be a great thing.’’
Davis is hardly an old man at 37 although he now is seven years removed from his final NBA game with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’ve been working out every day and I’m in real good shape,’’ he said.
He added that it helps that he works out regularly with a 16-17-year-old AAU team he has formed down in Pearland, Texas, where he now lives.
The BIG3 is the brainchild of Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. Almost immediately after announcing their idea in January, they began lining up players, starting with 11-time All-Star Allen Iverson. Dozens of other former players have hopped on board, including Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, former Iowa star Reggie Evans and former Illinois stars Kendall Gill and Brian Cook.
Davis first heard about it from 14-year NBA veteran Mike Bibby, who already has been named the captain of one of the teams, the Ghost Ballers. Davis has been announced as his co-captain.
“After awhile, it just got super big and started picking up a lot of players and gained speed,’’ Davis said.
A combine for prospective players and a formal draft among the eight teams will be held sometime this spring.
Ice Cube, in his first announcement of the league a few months ago, said he wanted to bring together some of “the baddest names to ever play the game.’’
He has enlisted former NBA Players Association deputy director Roger Mason Jr. to serve as the commissioner of the new league.
“Every year there’s new players that still have some gas in the tank,’’ Mason told NBA.com in an interview. “Maybe they can’t play back to backs. Maybe they can’t do the full wear and tear of an 82-game season.
“But it’s not like, after 10 to 12 years in the NBA, that their fans forget about them. And it’s not like their game goes to (bleep). They don’t have the athleticism. But in a halfcourt game, one game a week? They still have something to offer. We’re just the landing spot for those guys.”
The league will play a 10-game schedule at various sites around the country, starting with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 25.
The BIG3 also will include some special rules, the most unusual of which is the creation of a 4-point field goal.
“I think the NBA wants to try a 4-point shot so I think this will be a great experiment for that,’’ Davis said.
Fast-food joints offer better service than Veterans Affairs' suicide hotline.
That's the takeaway from a scathing report released late last month by VA's Office of the Inspector General.
The VA has, in large part, been an easy scapegoat for politicians who glibly send Americans off to war and refuse to fund the consequences. But structural failings persist within the VA's Crisis Line, investigators found after one veteran's family complained following a tragedy in Wisconsin. And some of the errors are downright bush league.
Order a cheeseburger at any McDonald's and restaurant staff are under strict mandates for wait times. Veterans, in too many cases, don't even get that level of service, according to the 16 recommended changes listed in the report.
The IG report actually recommends VA brass "establish wait-time targets for call queuing and rollover" and "require contracted backup have the same standards...," reads recommendations six and seven.
We've waited for months for the IG report into the tragic death of local veteran Brandon Ketchum. Meanwhile, the VA's outrageous inability to react to crisis after crisis continually comes front and center.
It's unreasonable to expect the VA to half veteran suicide rates so they're in-line with the civilian population. No bureaucracy can grapple with such complicated problems. Post-traumatic stress and guilt are highly subjective.
Again, the blame falls squarely at the feet of the elected class and its merry band of saber rattlers.
But, as exposed in the IG report released last month, the aversion to change among VA brass is costing lives.
Just last year, the IG issued a veritable take-down of the agency's response to the suicide crisis. It included seven recommended policy changes that would, in many instances, make a difference. Not one was implemented.
In other words, don't get your hopes up.
The March report includes suggestions that would seem common sense to most casual observers. Delineate between clinicians and administrators. Have managers bother monitoring more than a tiny fraction-of-a-percent of calls to gauge employee effectiveness. Hell, bother analyzing call recordings for information.
None of this is new or revolutionary. Private companies and state agencies years ago adopted these strategies to improve service. And, in most cases, they're not facing life or death situations.
The VA's two call centers in New York and Georgia can't keep up with call volume, VA officials claim. Five-hundred thousand calls a year is simply too much. There's little doubt that the cheapskates in Washington haven't carried their end of the deal. Suicide prevention, regardless of service history, is no place for the ever-present mantra of "do more with less."
But, as it sits, U.S. veterans, grappling with a legitimate existential crises, are simply seeking the support promised to them. They need to talk. They're looking to vent.
About 10 days in to his new venture, the owner of Pee Wee’s Restaurant in west Rock Island totally lost his cool Sunday when a familiar face walked through the door for the first time.
Fending off tears Monday during an interview, Will Clay said he "was blown away" when Rock Island native Booker Edgerson, a starting cornerback for the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s, unexpectedly showed up at his eatery.
“I gave him a hug like I would hug my dad,” said Clay, who noted his late father, Wayland “Pee Wee” Clay Sr., and Edgerson were "great friends" back in the day.
Sunday marked the end to the business' second weekend in operation, and the response from customers has been "unbelievable," Clay said.
Pee Wee's, located at the corner of 9th Street and 21st Avenue at 2035 Martin Luther King Drive, offers a variety of soul food and Cajun-Creole fare.
Lunch and dinner specials include red beans and rice, collard greens, gumbo, candied yams, po' boy sandwiches with shrimp or catfish and boudin, sausage stuffed with rice and seasonings.
For breakfast, which Pee Wee's began serving this week, Clay, who lived in New Orleans at one point, recommends trying their shrimp and grits.
"What we have on our menu, you won't be able to find anywhere else in this area," he said, calling his honey butter cornbread "off the chain."
During his weekend visit, an overwhelmed Edgerson said he ordered a po' boy sandwich with shrimp, red beans and rice and collard greens. His "lady friend" ordered fried chicken.
The former football and track star at Rock Island High School lives in Buffalo, New York, but returns "home" to the Quad-Cities a few times a year. He predicts Pee Wee's will be successful, and he plans to go back for their smothered chicken, his old friend's signature dish.
"A lot of folks will brag about their barbeque, but Pee Wee bragged about his smothered chicken," Edgerson said Monday by phone. "It was very good."
Clay, who also lettered in football and track at Rocky and competed in both sports for two years at Augustana College, hopes the recipe, which features a gravy of some sort, carries on his father's legacy.
"I always want to remember my dad, and I want people to remember my dad," he said.
Sandwiched between Aunt Bea's Cafe to the south and Big JJ Fish and Chicken to the north, the entrepreneur said his place is a "great fit for the neighborhood."
"I'm hoping there's enough (business) for all of us and more," said Clay, who stressed that side of town needs attention. "There's room for more businesses, so I hope I can be an inspiration."
Clay, 51, said he purchased the property in November 2015 from the owners of Sid's Italian Beef, just a few months after his father passed from liver cancer.
Before investing all of his hours into renovating the building, Clay worked full-time as an electrician for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 145.
Consumed by his responsibilities at Pee Wee's, he said he has not worked a union job in about five months. Once things settled down at the restaurant, however, Clay plans to get back to the trade he picked up 20-plus years ago.
His family deserves a lot of credit for their "tremendous" help, too, Clay said.
On Monday, for example, the restaurant was closed, but Clay's older brother, Wayland Clay Jr., drove to Chicago to stock up on produce, meat and dairy.
Back in Rock Island, Clay's girlfriend, Angela Anderson, helped prepare a fresh batch of collard greens.
Clay's mother, Wilhelmenia Clay, a real estate agent, also pitches in when she can.
"I couldn’t do it without them," Clay said.
In 2013, Clay's younger sister committed suicide, a loss that still haunts him in his sleep.
Since opening two weeks ago, Clay has been piloting an emotional high that completely lifted his spirits and "heavy heart."
"This has helped keep me busy," he said, holding back more tears. "I know my sister and my dad would be proud."
A Davenport man has been sentenced to nearly 11 years in federal prison for robbing two banks in April 2016.
Shawn E. Lee, 39, must serve three years of supervised release once he completes his prison sentence, Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger ordered during a sentencing hearing Monday in U.S. District Court, Davenport. There is no parole in the federal system.
Lee pleaded guilty in November to two counts of bank robbery, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Court documents say Lee robbed Northwest Bank & Trust, 1454 W. Locust St., on April 25 and US Bank, 3624 N. Division St., on April 27.
In both robberies, Lee handed the teller a note and demanded money, prosecutors claim.
Lee was arrested the same day as the US Bank robbery.
The Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration will help the public safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription pills and patches from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29 at the Rock Island County Justice Center, 1317 3rd Ave., Rock Island.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps.
In October, Americans turned in 366 tons of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.
In its previous 12 Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3,500 tons of pills.
The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses because of these drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods from disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Emily Skahill, sales manager at Hotel Blackhawk, will serve as the first corporate chair of the Quad-Cities Walk to Defeat ALS, one of the primary fundraisers for Iowa’s fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS.
The 2017 walk will be held Saturday, Aug. 19, at Modern Woodmen Park, Davenport.
Over the past five years, the walk has raised more than $189,000 to assist Iowans affected by ALS. The goal for the 2017 walk is $60,000.
“I’m proud to support such a dedicated organization and its fight to defeat ALS,” Skahill said. “My dad lives this fight every day, and the walk is a great way every year to keep the fight against ALS on the community’s radar. The walk is a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for all of the individuals in Iowa who are affected by this horrible disease.”
A fire that damaged a business and apartment Tuesday morning in Rock Island is being blamed on a fire pit that was improperly extinguished.
Firefighters were called to 4510 7th Ave. at 4:23 a.m. for a report of a structure fire.
Two residents of an apartment in the upper level were home and safely escaped.
The fire began on the outside of the structure on a second-floor deck and spread into the second-floor apartment and into the finished attic, according to a news release from the Rock Island Fire Department.
The fire was under control within 20 minutes.
The Red Cross of the Quad-Cities is providing assistance to the two displaced residents.
There were no injuries.
Damage to the upstairs apartment and to Brien Chiropractic, the business located on the first floor, is estimated at $100,000.
The Rock Island fire marshal has determined the fire was caused by a fire pit that had been used on the second-floor exterior deck the night before. The fire was not properly extinguished and wind contributed to the fire spreading to the deck below the fire pit and into the structure, the report said.
The fire is being ruled accidental.
As warmer weather approaches and residents return to outdoor activities such as recreational fires, the Rock Island fire marshal is recommending using extreme caution any time a recreational fire is used.
Recreational fire pits and solid fuel grills should never be used on combustible decks, above ground level, or within 25 feet of any combustible structures such as houses, garages and fences.
A good Tuesday to all. Here are the weather details from the National Weather Service.
It will be cloudy through mid morning, then clearing with a high near 58 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 39 degrees.
Wednesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 70 degrees and a low around 51 degrees. There's a 50 percent chance of overnight showers with new rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
2. 7th Avenue traffic rerouted in Rock Island by house fire
Firefighters were on the scene of a house fire this morning in the 4500 block of 7th Avenue in Rock Island. Multiple fire units were battling the blaze. Traffic near the scene is being rerouted around the fire.
The alarm came in about 4:30 a.m.
More details as they become available.
3. Fresh Thyme to open April 26 in Davenport
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will enter the Quad-City market with the April 26 opening of its new Davenport store. The store at 2130 E. Kimberly Road is the second Iowa store for the Midwest-based specialty retailer. The first was in West Des Moines.
Featuring healthy and organic products and groceries, the store is part of a new Kimberly Crossing retail redevelopment. Fresh Thyme occupies the former Incredible Pizza property. Read more.
4. Davenport man charged in beer bottle assault
Bond was set Sunday at $10,000 cash or surety for a Davenport man accused of assaulting a man with a beer bottle, causing him to lose an eye, in February.
Kenneth Obrian Olija Coleman, 23, faces one count of willful injury causing a serious injury, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A preliminary hearing is slated for Friday.
Davenport police were dispatched at 1:52 a.m. Feb. 4 to Godfather's Bar and Grill, 1402 W. 7th St., for a report of an assault. Read more.
5. Street closures in Clinton
The city of Clinton reports that because of curb repairs, 18 Place from 15 Avenue South to Iowa Avenue will be closed beginning today and continuing through April 26.
Also curb repairs will be performed along Myra Place, from Rock Creek Lane to Florence Avenue. Myra Place will be closed until April 19 for this project.
For more information, call 563-244-3423 with questions.
6. Bike path to close for work on Duck Creek
Beginning today, the Duck Creek Bike Path will be closed between the access point at 30th Street and the access point at Farnam Street for streambank repairs, according to the city of Davenport. Riders and pedestrians will be detoured at either of the access points to 30th street to avoid construction.
Work should be completed and the section re-opened over the Easter holiday weekend.
Bonus 6: --it happens
One can only imagine the expletives uttered by a Bavarian driver and his teenage daughter after a farmer accidentally filled their convertible with a trailer full of manure.
German police say the incident happened near the town of Altomuenster, about 30 kilometers northwest of Munich.
The 52-year-old father and his 14-year-old daughter were parked by the roadside when a tractor pulling a trailer of liquid manure swung in their direction.
The maneuver sent the entire load pouring into their Renault convertible,covering the occupants from head to toe with slurry.
Stephanie (Quinn) Fitzsimmons has been named vice president of corporate communications at FleishmanHillard Atlanta. She is a graduate of Assumption High School, Davenport, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University, Ames.
Fitzsimmons is an accredited public relations practitioner who serves on the board of the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In her new role at FleishmanHilllard, she will provide counsel and communications expertise to corporate clients including health care and technology.
The Center for Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI) is hosting its bridal garage sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at CASI, 1035 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport. Admittance is free to the event, but donations are accepted.
Past brides can set up a free table to sell gently used wedding items. For vendors promoting wedding services, tables are $40. If electricity is needed, cost is an additional $5. For more information or to RSVP, call 563-386-7477.
Soon-to-be brides can shop the various vendor stations as well as the garage sale tables that include everything from centerpieces to napkins, and bridesmaid dresses.
The Rock Island Parks and Recreation Department is offering more than 6,500 square feet of clothes, toys, dishes, furniture, trinkets and other items at the Spring Community Garage Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at upper Longview Park, 1601 18th Ave.
For more information call 309-732-7275.
In the event of inclement weather, the rain date for the sale is Sunday, April 30. Call the rain line at 309-732-RAIN (7246) to check event status.
Genesis Medical Center, Silvis, the Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department, and the QC Heart Beats is sponsoring the 10th annual health fair from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, April 28, in the Larson Center, 855 Illini Drive, Silvis.
Dr. Param Puneet Singh will present the keynote address at noon. For more information, call 309-281-4290.
The health fair will include wellness and informational booths, including free screenings for body fat analysis, blood pressure, balance assessment, pulmonary screening, and more. There will also be door prizes and snacks.
Gilda’s Club is hosting a free Lymphedema and Tai Chi workshop, led by Caleen Pagel, from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at in the second-floor Gathering Room of First Presbyterian Church, 401 Iowa Ave., Davenport.
Participants should use the 4th Street entrance. For more details and to register, call Gilda’s Club at 563-326-7504 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone impacted by cancer is welcome to attend.
Lymphedema impacts many cancer patients, especially those who have lymph nodes removed. It is most commonly associated with breast cancer, but does affect both men and women.
Pagel, a licensed Iowa physical therapist since 1980, will discuss how tai chi can reduce stress and help drain the lymphatic system. Participants are encouraged to join in a short tai chai exercise. Pagel also has experience in pulmonary, cardiac, and neurology rehab, women's health, and torticollis in infants. Pagel will present on the following workshop topics:
The annual Nahant Marsh spring cleanup will be 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.
Volunteers will pick up litter along the roadways of South Concord Street and Wapello Avenue in southwest Davenport, and pull garlic mustard around the marsh. Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that spreads rapidly by seed, and is a major threat to woodlands.
Volunteers will be provided with gloves, tongs and safety gear, as well as water stations and light snacks. Participants should wear comfortable, durable clothes, a hat and shoes that can get dirty. There may be wet areas, so rubber boots or water-resistant shoes are recommended. Volunteers may also bring a reusable water bottle.
Nahant Marsh is a 265-acre nature preserve in southwest Davenport. The largest urban wetland on the upper Mississippi River, it is part of a 513-acre wetland complex that is home to 410 plant species, 151 bird species, 34 mammal species, nine reptiles and amphibians, and numerous fish and invertebrate species.
DES MOINES — The Iowa House spent more than five hours Monday night debating a GOP-sponsored “election integrity” bill it had passed earlier in the session.
Despite Democrats’ labeling House File 516 a “voter suppression” bill that would raise costs to county taxpayers, the House voted 56-40 to amend the Senate version and send it back to that chamber for concurrence. The Senate earlier vote 26-21 to amend the House’s original bill.
HF 516 would require all voters at the polls to provide proof of eligibility as well as all absentee ballot requests to contain a personal voter identification number.
That’s a lot of changes, costly changes, Rep. Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, said during nearly 5.5 hours of debate. It would make changes to voter registration cards, absentee balloting, early voting, to acceptable IDs to use when voting and proof of identity.
“It create barriers, hurdles, for Iowans without driver’s license, the elderly, students, for minorities and chance are, it will produce some problems for constitutionality,” she said. “So it’s evident we will need money for these constitutionality cases.”
“Efforts to improve this amendment were rejected by the body and at what cost? Not just in dollars. Not just in ease or access to voting, but in integrity,” Lensing said. “This bill will cost us dearly.”
In route to approving the bill, the House amended it to postpone the absentee ballot provision until Jan. 1, 2018, take the bill back to the original House language with regard to the Secretary of State issuing the initial voter identification cards to the 5 percent of Iowans who are voters but don’t have a driver’s license or non-operator ID and county auditors issuing subsequent cards. It also would postpone until Jan. 1, 2019, a provision that would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by Election Day.
Among Democratic amendments were ones to require a voter ID be sent to every registered voter and another to require overnight delivery of those IDs, to expand the forms of ID accepted at the polls to include fishing licenses, public assistance cards, college IDs and credit cards, delay implementation until the state has had three consecutive fiscal years without a budget de-appropriation or spending cash reserves, upgrade the statewide voter registration system that now runs on Windows 95, restore 11 days of early voting cut in the Senate amendment and restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentence, parole or probation even if their fines, fees and restitution have not been paid.
They were defeated, largely along party lines, during debate that continued until 11:30 p.m.
The Kwik Star Criterium will donate to Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities.
“We at Kwik Star are delighted by the fact that more of our veterans will be able to go to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials,” said Carl Rick, public relations specialist and third-generation owner. “It only seems appropriate on a holiday dedicated to the remembrance of our nation’s war dead that we thank those who offered the same sacrifice and yet are still with us today.”
The Kwik Star Criterium, which originally was known as the Moline Criterium, began in 1965 and has evolved over the years, eventually landing on Memorial Day in 1975. Since then it has joined with area races to form the Iowa Memorial Weekend Cycling Classic.
Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities began in 2008 to fly veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to them. Top priority is given to World War II- and Korean War-era veterans, or any veteran with a terminal illness. Veterans within a 75-mile radius of the Quad-Cities are encouraged to apply.
DES MOINES — A ban on texting while driving is on the way to Gov. Terry Branstad, who made the legislation one of his priorities this year.
The GOP governor expressed appreciation Monday for the bipartisan support that Senate File 234 received, as the House voted 90-6 and agreed with the Senate to make texting while driving a primary offense.
Floor manager Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, said he would have liked a ban on the use of all hand-held communication devices, but said the bill “accomplishes a lot of things that we’ve been trying to do for several years.”
Although short of a ban, Worthan said SF 234 will allow police to pull over drivers for using a phone to write, send or view electronic messages and texts, viewing social media and engaging in gaming.
SF 234 would allow motorists to still use their device as a telephone, Worthan said, as well use GPS devices.
Still, he said, law enforcement sees the bill as a “huge improvement” over current law that classifies texting while driving as a secondary offense — meaning drivers can be cited for texting while driving only if they are stopped for some other offense.
In the House version of the legislation, only warnings would have been issued during the first year. Worthan anticipates drivers will tell officers they were dialing a number, not texting, if they are stopped.
“But the stop has still happened. The conversation about the danger of texting while driving has happened,” he said.
The bill requires officers to get a search warrant if they seek to find if the driver was dialing rather than texting.
Worthan said the ban on texting while driving was warranted because of the increase in crashes attributed to distracted driving. The Iowa Department of Transportation reported earlier that there were 1,100 crashes and 14 fatalities in 2015 as a result of drivers distracted by a phone or other electronic device. The total number of crashes caused by drivers distracted by a phone or other electronic device increased by 29 percent, and the number of fatalities doubled, between 2014 and 2015.
An amendment calling for an effort to identify the prevalence of racial profiling in Iowa was withdrawn and another establishing rules for motor vehicles passing bicycles was ruled not germane to the bill.
Trespass bill passes
The House voted 92-0 to add its approval to Senate File 260 and send the changes in Iowa trespass law to the governor. Under the bill, the owner, renter or lawful occupant of property has no duty of care to a trespasser. It does not change the common law doctrine of attractive nuisance, which imposes a duty on a landowner to protect children from dangerous conditions or from items that will attract kids on to the property.
It was approved earlier 48-1 by the Senate.
'Right to try' amended
Terminally ill patients would have a “right to try” by gaining more access to experimental drugs under Senate File 404, which was approved 96-0. The Senate approved it 49-0 earlier, but an amendment means it needs to return.
It would permit manufacturers of investigative drugs, biological products or devices to make them available to eligible patients with terminal illnesses for use as a treatment so long as they provide written consent.
Bill manager Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, offered an amendment to make clear the right-to-try legislation “shall not be construed to allow a patient’s treating physician to assist the patient in committing or attempting to commit suicide” as prohibited by law. It was approved on a voice vote and returns to the Senate.
On a 95-1 vote, the House joined the Senate in approving changes to the state civil asset forfeiture law and sent it to the governor.
The state can seize property if it can show by a preponderance of evidence it was used to facilitate a crime, furnished in exchange for a crime or is the proceeds of a crime.
Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Dallas-Melcher, said there have been cases around the country where asset forfeiture has been used in “lesser degrees of suspected criminal activity.” In some cases, the property owner could be innocent yet have property seized without due process.
“In some cases the legal cost to prove innocence and reclaim seized property greatly exceed the value of the property,” Heartsill said.
Under Senate File 446, prosecutors would have to convict a suspected offender of illegal activity before seizing property valued under $5,000 believed to have been associated with crime.
SF 446 would require forfeiture proceedings under $5,000 to go through a criminal process, rather than the current civil proceeding that does not require a conviction.