1. Audit problems
For a while now, United Neighbors Inc. has been in a bit of limbo as the Iowa Finance Authority investigated the Davenport agency's rental assistance program. Last week, the authority sent United Neighbors a letter saying the agency didn't follow federal rules for use of the money and will no longer get funding for the program. The investigation began after Evelyn Nelson took over as United Neighbors' executive director and notified the state that there might be problems.
2. Longer sentence
Lamaree Wilson-Neuleib pleaded guilty in the shooting death of Zachary Phillips in May 2015 and the wounding of his friend in Moline. He was sentenced to 60 years, but he was able to withdraw the plea and vacate the sentence. The second time around, he decided on a trial, in which he was found guilty. Last week, he was sentenced again, this time to 62 years. He'll have to serve 60.2 years of that.
3. Case continues
Stanley Liggins sought to have the case against him dismissed in the killing of 9-year-old Jennifer Ann Lewis in 1990, but the Scott County judge handling the case said the trial will go forward. It is scheduled to begin May 22 in Black Hawk County; it was moved out of the Quad-Cities because of pretrial publicity. This will be the third trial for Liggins on the charges. He was convicted twice previously, but those decisions were thrown out by appeals courts.
4. Rape investigations
More than 4,200 rape kits gathered from women who said they had been assaulted are sitting untested in law enforcement offices across Iowa, including 463 at the Davenport Police Department. A new state program will allocate money that will allow the kits to be tested by labs, which could result in DNA matches to known criminals. There are several reasons the kits haven't been tested, including that the victims didn't want to pursue the case.
5. Traffic trouble
The intersection at West Kimberly Road and Division Street in Davenport is a busy one, and it's not the safest in the world either. Traffic congestion, as well as businesses along every approach, leads to crashes, especially with one car rear-ending another that's trying to turn into a parking lot. Help is on the way, but it's likely to create headaches for drivers over the next four months. A $1.6 million project that got started this past week will result in wider roadways that will accommodate turn lanes and better traffic flow.
6. Candid cameras
A plan to place public safety and traffic cameras along a stretch of Washington Street in Davenport hit a slight snag, but the city says they should be up and operational in about a month. The cameras are designed to help police keep an eye on what's going on along the street between West Locust and Clay streets. If the pilot program goes well, the city is planning to expand the program to other parts of the city.
7. Big Moline plans
Moline High School will be the latest in the Quad-Cities to get a top-notch performing arts center after the Robert E. Bartlett Family Foundation offered a $7 million donation toward building the $10 million facility, which will be named the Bartlett Performing Arts Center. The Moline-Coal Valley School Board voted last week to enter into a development agreement on the project, which will be an addition to the high school's existing auditorium.
8. Ash pest
The emerald ash borer, a tiny beetle that is wiping out ash trees all over the Midwest and East, is taking its toll in Davenport. The city's arborist, Chris Johnson, briefed City Council members on the damage last week, and he said the city will step up efforts this year to remove trees infected by the pest. A total of 500 ash trees will be cut down from city right of ways, parks and golf courses out of the city's 3,000 ash trees. That number doesn't include trees on private property.
9. Stepping up
A new organization has sprouted in the Quad-Cities to push back against intolerance and hate. One Human Family QCA was founded a few days after last year's election, and group members held a news conference Thursday to announce the progress members have made. Rabbi Henry Karp of Temple Emanuel, Davenport, is among the leaders and said the group hopes to stave off some of the incidents that have occurred in other parts of the country. "We are a welcoming and inclusive community," Karp said.
10. Get ready to run
The 43rd running of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 will be Saturday, July 29, and registration for the race opened this past week. At a kickoff news conference and party Wednesday, race director Ed Froehlich announced that the Bix 7 again will serve as the USA Track and Field National 7 Mile Championships for both men and women. It's the fifth time the Bix 7 has hosted the U.S. championships. Go to register.bix7.com/registration-info to join the fun.