Q. Are there any public underground fallout shelters in the Quad-Cities? – Sandra

A. We contacted emergency management services in Scott County and Rock Island County for more information. Dave Donovan, emergency management coordinator, Scott County Emergency Management Agency, responded:

"None that I am aware of. Many of the locations of those fallout shelters still remain — for example, the basement of the Scott County Courthouse was a designated fallout shelter. Those shelter locations were designated in large underground or basement locations, usually in public or accessible buildings, of substantial construction type (reinforced masonry typically with no windows).

"Those locations were marked with placards and stocked with supplies to support large numbers of the public to take shelter and avoid exposure to radioactive fallout — hence the name. However, the national civil defense program was discontinued or redirected decades ago, when the risk or threat of nuclear attack was thought to be reduced — or at least the perception of that threat and how to prepare for it changed. Most (again, if not all) of the supplies in those shelters have not been maintained. I would suspect most of those supplies have since been disposed of or repurposed years ago. Most of the shelter placards have been removed over the years as well."

Jerry Shirk, Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, responded:

"Not that I know of. I remember public schools and some public buildings were designated 'fallout shelters' when I was a kid. But I know of no public shelters."

The Quad-City Times posted a gallery on Oct. 17, 2017, on the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis containing photos and articles about Q-C fallout shelters from the Cold War. Here is a link http://bit.ly/2AWULaK

Q. Sometimes I receive a free "thank you gift" from charitable organizations, along with a request for a donation. An example would be a tote bag, for instance. What happens to these gifts if I write "Return to Sender" on the envelope and put it back in the mail? Do things that are returned to these organizations via their non-profit postage get back to them, or are they thrown away by the post office? -- Bettendorf Reader

A. We contacted the U.S. Postal Service to find out. Stacy St. John, strategic communications specialist, for the U.S. Postal Service, responded:

"A company sends you a gift in the mail — a tie, a good luck charm, or a key chain. You didn't order the gift. What do you do? Many people will feel guilty and pay for the gift. But you don’t have to. What you do with the merchandise is entirely up to you. If you have not opened the package, mark it "Return to Sender." The Postal Service will properly handle the return or disposal. If you open the package and don't like what you find, throw it away. If you open the package and like what you find, keep it — free. This is a rare instance where "finders, keepers" applies unconditionally. Whatever you do, don't pay for it — and don't get conned if the sender follows up with a phone call or visit. By law, unsolicited merchandise is yours to keep."

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Ask the Times appears on Thursdays and Saturdays. You can call 563-333-2632, email ask@qctimes.com or write Ask the Times, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801.