A good Wednesday to all. Preparing to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday? You'll encounter high winds and plummeting temperatures. Here are the weather details from the National Weather Service.
1. High wind warning
The Quad-City region is under a National Weather Service high wind warning until 6 p.m. West to northwest winds will be between 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph expected. These damaging winds may blow down trees, branches and power lines. Power outages will be possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles and along north to south oriented roads. Outdoor decorations may get damaged.
Today will be cloudy with a temperature falling to around 34 degrees by 5 p.m. It will be windy with a west wind 30 to 35 mph decreasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy and blustery with a low around 28 degrees. Northwest winds between 15 to 20 mph will decrease to 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Thanksgiving Day will bring increasing clouds with a high near 37 degrees and a low around 32 degrees.
Friday rain is likely after noon. It will be cloudy with a high near 41 degrees and a low around 37 degrees. The chance of precipitation is 70% with new precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
2. Iowa-bound I-74 on-ramp at 6th Avenue to open today
Beginning today, weather permitting, a new Iowa-bound I-74 on-ramp in Moline will be opened at 6th Avenue to allow drivers to avoid train delays.
Drivers can continue using 19th Street to River Drive to get on Iowa-bound I-74. But when there are train delays, drivers will now have the option to take the new Iowa-bound I-74 on-ramp at 6th Avenue. To get to the ramp, drivers can take northbound 19th Street and turn right onto 6th Avenue then left onto the new ramp. One lane of traffic on the new I-74 lanes will then make a U-turn on the new structure to take the new off-ramp down to River Drive and continue onto the Iowa-bound I-74 ramp.
Signs on I-74, Avenue of the Cities and 19th Street will announce train delays so you know when to take the 6th Avenue ramp. (See map)
New Iowa-bound traffic route beginning late December
Beginning in late December, weather permitting, Iowa-bound traffic in Moline will be shifted to the newly paved I-74 lanes. Instead of exiting at Avenue of the Cities and taking 19th Street, local Iowa-bound traffic can remain on the new I-74 lanes all the way to the Mississippi River. Two lanes of traffic will continue until about 7th Avenue, where drivers can exit to 7th Avenue or merge into a single lane and continue on I-74. Drivers will then make a U-turn on the new structure to take the new off-ramp down to River Drive and continue onto the Iowa-bound I-74 ramp.
• Also, traffic notes for Davenport: The medians on River Drive between Perry and Iowa streets have been removed and the road re-opened. Periodic lane closures are possible as the contractor returns for finish work.
Check out these road closures (see map) for the Thursday morning Turkey Trot.
3. Iowa DOT director: I-74 progressing, money still in dispute
More progress has been made on the arches for the new Interstate 74 over the past month than was made all summer. Even so, it is unlikely the sudden burst in momentum will make up for delays.
"We're 11 to 12 months behind," Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe said Tuesday of the timeline for bridge construction. "I don't see us, at this point, making up time on that.
"Phase two — Iowa bound — is projected for completion in August of 2020. Illinios bound is projected for 2021 with the caveat we have more complex portions of the project to go."
In a meeting Tuesday with the Times, Lowe spent more than an hour detailing disputes between the state and bridge contractor Lunda Construction. The parties have been in discussions and in negotiations in recent months over money, design, contract terms and building methods. Read more.
4. 'If we fight in our neighborhood, we might die': Davenport student tells superintendent it's safer to fight in school
It's safer to fight in school. That's a message Davenport Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Kobylski heard when he spoke with a teenager following a recent fight at Davenport North High School.
"It caught me completely off guard," Kobylski said Monday. "To hear that students fight in school, because it's actually safer, left me speechless. The student said they know there will not be guns in schools. And they know there will be someone there to break it up.
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"Then the student told us something I'll never forget: 'If we fight in our neighborhood, we might die.' It was unbelievable to hear that."
As the Thanksgiving break approaches for students, Kobylski is in the midst of reassigning some of the district's security guards, re-evaluating bullying policies, listening to teachers, administrators, parents, and students about a level of violence he said "seems to be the only option in some students' lives."
"The vast majority of our 14,000 or so students are great kids and don't have problems," Kobylski said. "As usual, it is a relatively small number of kids who create the greatest problems.
"But I'm not willing to simply write off any kid — especially the kids who are struggling with problems. We have what I like to call a lot of 'off-ramps' for kids — ways to take them out of the educational environment. What I would like to do is to create more 'on-ramps,' ways for kids to continue to learn and get the help they need." Read more.
5. Jersey Farms residents prevail, secure 55-foot building height limi
Residents of the Jersey Farms neighborhood can breathe a sigh of relief: The maximum building height near their homes will be lowered to 55 feet.
The bitter, months-long dispute between residents of the neighborhood and developers of nearby plats ended Tuesday night when the Davenport City Council voted unanimously to reduce the building height cap from 120 feet to 55 feet. Read more.
6. With vocal dissent, Davenport approves new civil rights commissioners
The Davenport Civil Rights Commission has three new commissioners and another who’s been reappointed. But the appointments have already generated resistance.
On a 9-1 vote, the City Council approved Tuesday night the appointments of attorney Janelle Swanberg, who served at Iowa Legal Aid; Henry Karp, rabbi emeritus at Davenport’s Temple Emanuel; and Pastor Richard Pokora, former pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, in Bettendorf. Ruby Mateos, an adjunct professor at Des Moines University and Ph.D. candidate at Capella University, was re-appointed after being named to the commission in April.
The dissenting vote came from Alderman Ray Ambrose, Ward 4, who criticized Mayor Frank Klipsch for appointing members “so late” in his term when Alderman Mike Matson, Ward 7, will be sworn into office in January. Read more.
6. 'Steady' Ruff captains QCT All-Metro volleyball team
Raised in a household with a mother who coaches volleyball and two older sisters who have played competitively, Kora Ruff has had plenty of opportunities to glean insight from her family about the game.
"The amount of matches I've watched, it has really helped build my volleyball IQ," the Pleasant Valley setter said. "When I'm watching, I'm always wanting to learn or scout even when I'm trying to watch for fun."
Ruff has been a quick study.
The sophomore is the captain of this year's Quad-City Times All-Metro volleyball team after leading the Spartans to a 30-win season, a Mississippi Athletic Conference title and the Class 5A state semifinals. Read more.
6. BONUS SIX: Crime/courts and public safety headlines