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Davenport RAGBRAI route, dip site and logo announced

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- When thousands of weary-but-elated cyclists roll into Davenport on July 28 after a week-long sojourn across the Hawkeye State as part of RAGBRAI, they will dip their fires at the base of Marquette Street, smack in the middle of downtown Bix weekend festivities.

The last time RAGBRAI ended in Davenport in 2015, the dip site was at Credit Island. This time, the route in from Iowa City via Blue Grass will take riders close to the Davenport Street Fest, Freight House Farmers Market and a "RAGBRAI Village" in LeClaire Park.

At a press conference on Thursday, April 19, members of the Davenport RAGBRAI committee unveiled the new route and dip site, as well as theme, which for 2018 is "Make it Here." The theme is to connect the ride - one of the most popular in the country - with the Quad Cities "creative, hands-on essence which is full of entrepreneurs, innovators and collaborators," the organizers said in a media release.

Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said the change up in route and dip site will be a fantastic way to showcase many of the positive changes downtown on a big day of celebration.

"We're thrilled to see the dip site at Marquette in addition to the new RAGBRAI Village site adjacent to LeClaire Park on Beiderbecke Drive," Carter said. "Both locations will help bring riders in to the heart of downtown where we'll feature the best of our beautiful riverfront, Street Fest and Bix7 excitement, and dozens of downtown amenities, restaurants, and shops."

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch urged residents to make the riders feel welcome and to take in the hospitality of what is always one of the biggest festival weekend in the Quad Cities.

"We would like to encourage residents along the RAGBRAI route to cheer on the cyclists as they complete the 428-mile ride," Klipsch said.

Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau head Joe Taylor echoed the mayor's comments.

"When cyclists finish the whole ride across Iowa they have a great feeling of accomplishment, and the last day has such a celebratory feel when they dip their tires into the Mississippi River," Taylor said.

One other way to support RAGBRAI Davenport is by purchasing t-shirts that will soon be available at locations around the Quad Cities and online at

CHEF SCOTT: Stuffed Poblano Peppers

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF, Iowa – If you love peppers,  we've got a dish for you.

"I've got a dish here today that vegetarians will love," says Chef Brad Scott, director of Scott Community College's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Center.

"You can use it as an appetizer or eat it as a meal."

It's a stuffed Poblano peppers with cream cheese and coconut milk.

1. Cut a Poblano pepper down the center and clean it out
2. Add 1 lb. of softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl
3. Add 1 cup of generic stuffing
4. 3 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese
5. Add 1 Tbsp of garlic powder
6. Add 3 Tbsp of coconut milk
7. Mix into a batter
8. Fill each Poblano cavity with the mixture
9. Top with Parmesan cheese
10. Put on a broiler for 3 to 4 minutes
11. Serve with garlic bread and fruit

"This works as a full entree, a vegetarian dish, or an appetizer," says Chef Scott.


What to expect from tomorrow’s massive National School Walkout

WQAD News -

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If you think students are done protesting gun violence, get ready for the National School Walkout.

On Friday morning, students from more than 2,500 schools across the country will stream out of class to demand lawmakers take action.

While the theme is familiar, this event is different. Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s student-led movement:

Why is this happening Friday?

April 20 is the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were killed.

That mass shooting took place 19 years ago, before today’s high schoolers were even born.

But many students — including current Columbine students — say their lives have been shaped by sporadic school massacres, and not enough has been done to help prevent them.

What exactly will happen Friday?

At 10 a.m. in each time zone, students will walk out and observe a moment of silence for shooting victims.

What happens after that will be up to each school’s walkout leaders.

One sample agenda suggests marching to a local lawmaker’s office; allowing open-mic time for students to share concerns; and helping register those who are eligible to vote.

“For the rest of the day,” the sample agenda reads, “students won’t return to class, but will make calls to their Senators’ offices and flood social media with calls for reform.”

Who started this?

Lane Murdock, a 16-year-old sophomore from Ridgefield, Connecticut, launched the National School Walkout.

She was disturbed by her own reaction — or lack thereof — to the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

“When I found out about the shooting at MSD, I remember I didn’t have a huge reaction. And because of that, I knew I needed to change myself, and we needed to change this country,” Lane said.

“We should be horrified, and we’re not anymore. It’s American culture.”

What are the goals of this walkout?

“Empowering students to do the walkouts and become leaders in their communities, speaking up when they see inaction,” Lane said.

The movement also encourages young people to push for legislation at the state level if Congress doesn’t act.

“The federal government can set standards and practices that apply to all states around gun safety. But states have the option of passing additional measures to protect their own residents from gun violence,” the website says.

Such measures could include:

— Banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks

— Mandating universal background checks

— Placing a minimum age of 21 on all gun purchases

— Implementing waiting periods between a gun purchase and gun transfer

— Allowing families to petition a court to remove guns from individuals at risk of injuring themselves or others through extreme risk protective orders (ERPOs)

Didn’t we already have national protests after the Parkland massacre?

Yes. On March 14, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland tragedy, students walked out of school nationwide to honor the victims and demand stricter gun control.

And on March 24, students from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of other sites to “March For Our Lives.”

On that day, volunteers registered more than 4,800 new voters at dozens of “March for Our Lives” events.

So why have another walkout?

“This issue needs constant attention if we hope to change anything,” the National School Walkout website says, “so multiple events on multiple days is a productive way to help fight for our cause, a safer country.”

What’s changed since the Parkland massacre?

While there hasn’t been major congressional action, some cities and states have toughened gun control.

In Florida, after Parkland students rallied at the state Capitol, Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun bill called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. The new law:

— Raises the minimum age to buy any firearm in Florida to 21

— Allows certain school staff members to be armed, if they’re trained and if local officials approve

— Bans the sale or possession of bump fire stocks

— Adds $69 million in funding for mental health services in schools

And in Vermont, Republican Gov. Phil Scott banned bump stocks; limited the size of magazines; expanded background checks for gun purchases; and the raised the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.

Is Robert De Niro trying to help?

Yes. The acting legend wrote a letter for students to give to their principals, asking to excuse them for the walkout.

“Please excuse ____________ from classes on April 20th to participate in the National School Walkout,” De Niro wrote, as confirmed by his representative.

“I’m asking you to excuse ____________ for the same reasons I’ve asked for my children to be excused in the past.”

Those reasons include health, community service, good citizenship and education.

“What an opportunity to teach these kids history by encouraging them to make history,” De Niro wrote. “Thank you for helping our children discover the power of their voices in our democracy.”

Downtown Davenport YMCA preschool gets extra layer of security

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A Davenport preschool is getting some help keeping its kids safe, thanks to help from a pair of area businesses.

Earlier this week, the YMCA Palmer Early Learning Center received three new door-blocking security devices called Sleeves - made by Muscatine-based Fighting Chance Solutions. The sleeves work by allowing room occupants to slide it over a hinge, securing occupants inside a room from outside intruders. The product has exploded in popularity following the recent spate of school and workplace shootings.

The YMCA preschool in downtown Davenport got its sleeves thanks to a donation from Modern Woodmen of America.

Deb Gustafson, executive director of childcare and family services for the YMCA, said employees and parents are thankful for the donation as it gives them more peace of mind.

“We have great security in all our buildings, but any time we have the opportunity to increase security we’re certainly interested in doing that," she said.


Standing Rock & Cheyenne River nations not allowed involvement in court-ordered review of DAPL

WQAD News -

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has rejected the request by two American Indian nations to be more involved in a court-ordered environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg last June ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to further review the pipeline’s impact on tribal interests, though he allowed oil to begin flowing.

In December, he ordered Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to produce an oil spill response plan for Lake Oahe, the Missouri River reservoir in the Dakotas from which the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux draw water. Boasberg also ordered a review by an independent engineering company on whether the pipeline complies with federal regulations.

The two nations have said they were being left out of the process and they asked Boasberg to order that they be given more involvement. Corps and company attorneys accused the nations of being difficult to work with.

Boasberg wrote in an order dated Monday that “the parties engage in a lengthy dispute over who is refusing to talk to whom.”

“The court does not believe that further inserting itself into the minutiae of this disagreement is either permissible or wise,” he wrote.

Boasberg also noted that ETP submitted the spill response plan and the independent review on April 2, making any request for additional tribal involvement in that work moot. The Standing Rock nation has started raising money for its own spill response program.

As for the Corps’ additional review of the pipeline’s impact on tribal interests, Boasberg said the nations can continue to press their argument that the study is flawed when that work is completed and presented to him.

The Corps had anticipated an April 2 completion date, but that has been delayed by what the agency maintains is difficulties obtaining needed information from the nations.

Standing Rock attorney Jan Hasselman in a statement to The Associated Press said the Corps “is missing the opportunity to engage with the Standing Rock nation meaningfully on its legitimate concerns about the safety of this pipeline, and continuing to accept without question Energy Transfer’s shoddy technical work.”

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River nations are leading the four-nation lawsuit against the $3.8 billion pipeline that is moving oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. They fear environmental and cultural harm. ETP says the pipeline is safe.

Lawsuit challenges ban of handguns in home day cares

WQAD News -

 SHELBYVILLE, Illinois — Several gun rights groups have joined a central Illinois couple in a federal lawsuit challenging a ban on handguns in home day cares. The lawsuit filed against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services contends the prohibition violates the rights of home day care operators. Jennifer Miller operates a licensed day care out of her Shelbyville home. She contends owning a handgun is her Second Amendment right, adding she and her husband have gone through background checks and firearm training.Miller and her husband, Darin, both have firearm owner’s identification cards and concealed carry permits.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Illinois and DCFS from enforcing the handgun restriction and asks the court to declare the rule unconstitutional.

A spokeswoman for the agency declined to comment on pending litigation.

Student goes from not knowing any English to Ivy League acceptances

WQAD News -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Amal Altareb came to the U.S. from Yemen in 2011 only knowing the phrase, “I don’t speak English,” now she has a bright future after being accepted into some of the country’s most prestigious colleges.

Amal Altareb grew up in Yemen. When she was 11, her dad took a new job in the U.S., according to WREG.

"What was happening in Yemen in 2011 and 2012, with the Arab spring, was one more reason to unite the family in one place. It would be a more stable and safe place," Altareb said.

But once she got to the U.S. she had another problem; Arabic would not help her in Memphis.

"I didn't speak any English except for one phrase: 'I don't speak English,'" Altareb said.

She said learning a new language wasn't easy. She took English as a Second Language, and her classmates became her only friends.

"They were Hispanic and Vietnamese. We couldn't communicate, but we shared the same experience. We would use sign language, drawings and a couple of English words," Altareb said.

But she soon realized she would have to mostly teach herself to learn how to speak English.

She used what she already had: her textbooks.

"I stayed up many nights translating my books so I could understand the lesson and it paid off. By the ninth grade I didn't have to take ESL classes," Altareb said.

By senior year at Central High School, she was taking five Advanced Placement classes and earned the title of valedictorian.

She also started a group called "Speak 901" where she and other students get together to talk about the world.

"What I've learned coming from a different country is to be open," Altareb said.

She said she's also traveled as far as Colorado and Russia for academic trips and knows she represents Yemen, Muslims, and women when she's there.

"You're not yourself. You're a whole country, a whole religion, and a whole culture," she said.

The 17-year-old has now gotten into colleges like Yale and Georgetown.

She will decide in the next two weeks where to attend.

She said she wants to be a surgeon or a political scientist who solves problems around the world and in the Middle East.

There’s only one reason a Meteorologist can be this excited

WQAD News -

Get ready for the best stretch of weather since last Fall! Temperatures are set to rise into the middle 50s today with 60 degrees possible on Friday. Multiple days of 60s are expected next week. And with that, a final farewell to Old Man Winter.

This weather is so good, I may have pulled something during our 5am hour of Good Morning Quad Cities. Watch:

As far as consecutive days in the 60s and 70s, there’s a good chance of seeing both over the next two weeks. In addition, a ramp-up to severe weather season.

The only drawbacks with this weather will be the need to start mowing lawns and taking medication for seasonal allergies.

It’s been a long time coming but this warm weather will last well into May which means that yesterday’s snow is almost certainly the last we’ll see until November or December.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen


NEW THIS MORNING: Crews battle barn fire in rural Scott County

WQAD News -

Firefighters have a barn fire under control in rural Scott County, Iowa.

Crews responded to the 21000 block of Utica Ridge Road, which is northeast of the Rhythm City Casino, around 3am on Thursday, April 19th.

No one was injured in the fire. There were cars inside the barn when it happened.

WQAD News 8 is on the scene. We will have live updates throughout Good Morning Quad Cities.


Longtime customer remembers glory days of Bergner’s in Galesburg

WQAD News -

GALESBURG, Illinois-- Mindy Walberg-Webster remembers the first day she stepped foot inside Bergner’s in Galesburg.

“It is my favorite store since 1975… we walked in and saw Bergner’s and it was the most glamourous store we had ever seen,” says Walberg-Webster.

That’s why she says she is disappointed to find out the store is closing.

This Bergner’s in Galesburg is one of hundreds of bon ton stores shutting its doors for good. It's also one of the few stores left in the entire Sandburg mall.

RELATED: Yonkers stores could shutter across Iowa as part of bankruptcy

But some still have hope in the old mall.

“We`ve seen indoor malls transition to outdoor malls (and) lifestyle centers, so there`s a number of options. Something is going to happen there for sure,” says Ken Springer, president of the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development.

Stores are set to close at the end of August.


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