The latest local news

NOAA says record rain, snow fell on Iowa over last year

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The Des Moines Register reports that the state saw nearly 51 inches of precipitation from June 2018 through May of this year. That’s about 16 inches more than the 34.42 inches the state averaged per year from 1981 to 2010.

State climatologist Justin Glisan says the past 12 months have been the wettest since 1895, the year officials began keeping weather records.

He says Iowa can expect more rain as temperatures increase this summer, because higher temperatures create more water vapor in the atmosphere.

The USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames is predicting higher than average rainfall for most of the summer.

Iowa officials investigating death of man in police custody

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MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — Eastern Iowa officials are investigating the death of a man in police custody.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says in a news release that the death happened Saturday morning after Jackson County Sheriff's deputies and the Maquoketa Police Department were called to an address in Maquoketa for a fight.

The incident lead to the arrest of Drew Edwards, of Marquoketa, on suspicion of assault-related violations. Officials say that soon after Edwards' arrest, he began showing signs of a medical emergency and medics were called to help.

Shortly after being transported to the Jackson County Medical Center, Edwards was pronounced dead.

Edwards' death is being investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Jackson County Attorney's Office.

6 injured in Des Moines when someone fires into crowd

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Police say those hurt in the shooting early Sunday, June 16 were taken to hospitals and were all in stable condition.

The shooting happened about 1:30 a.m. when a vehicle approached a group of people who were standing in a street after a party ended. Someone in the vehicle fired multiple shots into the crowd, injuring three females and three males.

Police say the victims are 16 to 20 years old.

Police: 4 family members shot, killed in West Des Moines

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The bodies were discovered Saturday morning at the home in West Des Moines, The Des Moines Register reported .Authorities identified the victims as 44-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, 41-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara, and two boys aged 15 and 10 years, according to a police news release. Autopsies were being performed to determine the cause of death.Real estate records indicate the family had owned the home since March.

West Des Moines police Sgt. Dan Wade said there was no threat to the community and that investigators were trying to determine exactly what happened. Police said the relatives who discovered the bodies — also two adults and two children — had been staying with the family as guests.

West Des Moines police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation were investigating.

"This tragedy will impact family, friends, co-workers, anyone that knew this family," Wade said. "We are continuing to work through this investigation. We will follow through until we have answered as many questions as the evidence allows."

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Chandrasekhar Sunkara worked for the department's information technology unit for 11 years. He was not a sworn officer.

NASCAR overturns victory for first time since 1960

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Chastain led the final 141 laps of Sunday’s 200-lap race, but series managing director Brad Moran said the winning No. 44 was too low when it was measured with NASCAR’s height sticks.”The height sticks have warning yellows in them and reds, and it was right off of all of them, so unfortunately it was extremely low,” Moran said.

The disqualification was the first under strict new rules put into place at the start of this season to deter the culture of cheating — and it delivered a much-needed win for Moffitt, a native Iowan racing at his hometown track.

“I think, for the integrity of the sport, it’s the right thing to do,” said Moffitt, who never led a lap in the race.

“Obviously I came out on the good end of it. If I was in Ross’s shoes, I wouldn’t be too thrilled about it.”

Niece Motorsports tweeted after the race that it will appeal the decision. Team owner Al Niece said in a statement that the truck passed opening and pre-race inspections.

“We believe that the No. 44 truck sustained minor damage, which left the truck too low following the race,” Niece said.

NASCAR said the last time it disqualified an apparent race winner was April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank. But the last driver to be stripped of a victory was Mike Skinner in a 1999 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Skinner led the final 41 laps but NASCAR said the next morning his car had an unapproved cylinder head. The win was handed to Dave Blaney and Skinner was dropped to 43rd and last in the field.

Skinner and his team filed an appeal, which was overturned two days later. Skinner was once again awarded the victory, but did not receive the usual first-place earnings.

NASCAR announced in February that thorough post-race inspections would take place right after the race at the track instead of midweek at the sanctioning body’s research and development center outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Winning teams found in violation of the rules in previous seasons were penalized with post-race fines, point deductions and/or suspensions. But drivers didn’t have victories taken away from them until Chastain was stripped of the victory Sunday.

The decision could prove to be devastating for Chastain’s season.

Chastain recently switched the championship he’d compete for in 2019 from the Xfinity Series to Trucks, a risky move that left him at the bottom of the standings. The apparent win at Iowa meant that Chastain would only have to finish 20th or higher in the Truck standings to receive a playoff berth, and the driver nicknamed “The Melon Man” was so thrilled about it that he smashed a watermelon to the ground in victory lane.

Instead, Chastain has now been scored as if he finished last, and his victory and bonus points have been stripped away. Chastain also lost the $50,000 he had won for taking first in the “Triple Truck Challenge” marketing promotion that included the Iowa race.

Chastain, who spoke at a news conference after his apparent victory, could not be located for comment after his disqualification was announced.

As for Moffitt, he said he had been drinking beers in his motorhome and on his way to the airport in nearby Des Moines and was “mad as hell” about losing when he got the call informing him that Chastain had been disqualified.

Moffitt and his beer buzz were summoned back to the track for the second winner’s news conference of the day.

“I went from drinking my sorrows away to being happy,” Moffitt said.

Authorities say they are closing in on the person who ordered the hit on David Ortiz

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(CNN) — Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they are getting closer to arresting the person who ordered the shooting of baseball star David Ortiz.

“His time has come. He won’t see the sun again for 40 years,” prosecutor Milciades Guzmán told reporters on Friday, referring to the still-unnamed individual who led what police have called a “complex” assassination plot against the beloved former Boston Red Sox slugger.

The brazen shooting, and news that it was an orchestrated hit involving at least a dozen suspects, has rocked the Dominican Republic.

Ortiz, nicknamed “Big Papi,” was sitting on a crowded bar patio in Santo Domingo the night of June 10 when a gunman walked in from the street, pulled out a Browning Hi-Power 9mm and shot him once in the lower back before fleeing.

The bullet passed through Ortiz, perforating his intestines and internal organs, and hit TV talk show host Jhoel Lopez, a friend of Ortiz’s who was sitting with him, in the leg.

The alleged gunman, Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, fled the scene on foot, but his alleged getaway driver, Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, stalled out his motorcycle as he attempted to flee and was pummeled by an enraged crowd before being turned over to police.

Ferreira Cruz was arrested Wednesday and has confessed to the shooting, prosecutors told CNN. Ferreira Cruz also has told reporters he meant to shoot someone else, a claim that prosecutors say is absurd considering that Ortiz is one of the most recognizable people in the country.

Dominican officials have released video that they say shows Ferreira Cruz and Garcia speaking with people inside a car parked near the club, allegedly to coordinate the attempt on Ortiz’s life. The car and another vehicle fled the scene immediately after the shooting.

While many occupants of the bar dove for cover following the shooting or chased after the suspects, a friend rushed Ortiz to the hospital, where doctors saved his life but had to remove parts of his damaged intestines, liver and his gallbladder. Ortiz was flown to Boston the next day for further treatment.

Trying to make sense of a senseless act

Immediately Dominicans asked themselves who would order the assassination of a sports hero in public without apparently fearing any reprisals.

While nearly three million American tourists visit the Dominican Republic for its luxury hotels, turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, the country has a dark side.

The murder rate stands at 12.5 killings per 100,000 people, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world, according to the US State Department. In April the State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans to “exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.”

Much of that crime is gang violence driven by the Dominican Republic’s increasingly key locale as a trans-shipment point for cocaine leaving South America for the United States and elsewhere.

“Nowadays, the Dominicans are buying cocaine in Venezuela, contracting Venezuelans to make the hazardous journey across the Caribbean, then taking direct control of loads as they hit the island,” said a 2018 report from InSight Crime, a foundation that tracks organized crime in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Traffickers often bribe poorly paid Dominican officials to turn a blind eye to their smuggling operations, US officials say.

Accustomed to the way in which many local criminals evade arrest, many Dominicans wondered if whoever ordered the hit on David Ortiz would also escape justice.

But on Friday prosecutors vowed that everyone involved in the Ortiz hit would be arrested and the full plot to assassinate the former MLB star would be revealed.

“Next week we hope to be able to give details of the motive, the intellectual authors and be able to offer the complete narrative of the case,” said a release from the prosecutor’s office.

Ten suspects are already in custody

So far 10 suspects are in custody and facing charges for the Ortiz shooting. In addition to the unnamed mastermind, police say they also are searching for an 11th suspect, Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, who goes by the nickname “El Cirujano,” or “The Surgeon.” Authorities in the US say Rivas-Clase may also be wanted for an April 2018 shooting in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Dominican prosecutors said two of the suspects — Carlos Alvarez, nicknamed “Carlos Nike,” and Jose Eduardo Ciprian Lebron, nicknamed “Chuky” — may have helped plot the hit on Ortiz while serving time in a Dominican prison.

According to court documents, both men are serving sentences for homicide in the 15 de Azua prison. Even though they were behind bars, prosecutors say they helped coordinate the shooting and distributed a $7,800 payment to his would-be assassins.

Many of the men arrested come from poor neighborhoods, are covered in gang tattoos and appear to be foot soldiers in an alleged plot against one of the greatest athletes the Dominican Republic has ever produced.

Several of the suspects cried out “It’s a mistake” or “It wasn’t me” Friday as masked police officers hustled them into court for a hearing. At the hearing a judge ordered nine of the suspects to remain in jail for at least a year while awaiting trial.

The tenth suspect is expected to appear in court on Monday, prosecutors said.

For Ortiz’s legions of Dominican supporters, the attack on their hero is a national embarrassment and a sign of how the country is changing, even if “Big Papi” never did.

“He is the same David Ortiz,” said Felix Martinez, who grew up with the famed slugger. As young boys they would sing to people on the street to earn a few pennies to buy candy, he said. “What happens when a person comes from poverty, what they want … when they come to their home country is to be with their people.”

But Martinez said he now worries that Ortiz’s celebrity, which once protected the MLB star from the violence of his native country, has now made him a target.

“There’s people that are full of envy,” Martinez said. “That wanted to have that pride, that success.”

Strawberry Moon 2019: Best times to watch and a special viewing bonus

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(CNN) — It’s time for another noteworthy celestial event. Be sure to cast your gaze toward the sky for 2019’s Strawberry Moon. And for the keen-eyed, there’s a heavenly bonus with a prominent appearance from one of our fellow planets.

So you’re not disappointed or confused, first things first: The moon isn’t going to actually look like a big, round strawberry. That’s because in North America, the name comes from Algonquin tribes of Native Americans. This full moon was their sign to harvest wild strawberries, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

This moon has other names in other parts of the world. In Europe, you may hear it called the Honey Moon, Mead Moon or the Full Rose Moon. In the Southern Hemisphere, it can go by Oak Moon, Cold Moon or Long Night Moon, according to EarthSky.org.

What’s the best time to see it?

The peak of the full moon happens depending on your time zone.

In the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, that will happen at 4:30 a.m. Monday, June 17. On the West Coast with Pacific Time, the peak will be 1:30 a.m. On the other side of the globe, New Delhi, India, will see peak time of 2 p.m.

See the upper right side of the timeanddate.com page to get the time for your location.

But remember, peak time doesn’t mean your only viewing time. As The Old Farmer’s Almanac points out, the moon will appear full to viewers on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 16) shortly after sunset.

For the best impression, take a look not at peak time but while the moon is still low on your horizon, says CNN meteorologist Judson Jones.

“My favorite time to watch the full moon is as it is rising over the eastern horizon. When the moon is low on the horizon, it allows you to capture the view with objects in the foreground, making the moon appear bigger,” Jones said.

“Say you are in the city, and you’re watching between a couple of buildings or over the skyline, it will make it feel that much bigger and give it more impact.” He adds that if you’re around the ocean, a lake or mountains, the perspective could be very pleasing.

Special guest

Now, about that heavenly bonus. You may notice a bright object floating just above the moon. That will be not a star, but Jupiter.

The solar system’s largest planet actually made its closest approach to Earth in 2019 back on June 10, but it’s still showing prominently in the night sky. Even ordinary binoculars should yield impressive viewing results.

What’s next?

For those who like to follow earthly and celestial events, we’ve got the summer solstice coming up in just a few days — on Friday, June 21.

And the next full moon after the Strawberry is the Full Buck Moon on July 16.

Minnesota 4-year-old takes great-grandfather’s SUV to buy candy

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BLAINE, Minn. – A four-year-old with a powerful sweet tooth reportedly took his great-grandfather’s car over a mile to a Speedway in search of candy, KMSP reported.

Sebastian managed to navigate through rush hour traffic in his great-grandfather’s Hyundai Santa Fe Tuesday morning, police said.

KMSP said the boy used a walker to reach the keys on a hook and then took off to the vehicle.

Witnesses said they saw Sebastian – barely able to peer over the steering wheel, driving erratically at about 15 miles per hour. Police quickly met him in the Speedway parking lot.

According to KMSP, Sebastian dinged the SUV on a tree and left part of its bumper at a neighbor’s house. Despite this and the fact Sebastian was not wearing a seatbelt, nobody was injured on the boy’s joy ride.

Now, the family said they will be keeping keys locked up and keeping a much closer eye on Sebastian.

Babe Ruth’s jersey sold at auction for a record-breaking $5.6 million

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It’s been more than a century since Babe Ruth started his baseball career, but the Bambino is still breaking records.

A Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey from 1928-1930 fetched $5.64 million at auction Saturday, making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, according to the auction house. The previous record was a 1920 Babe Ruth jersey that went for $4.4 million.

The record-breaking jersey was part of a collection of artifacts related to “The Sultan of Swat,” as Ruth was also known, sold by Hunt Auctions at Yankee Stadium. The auction house said in a statement it partnered with the baseball legend’s family and had select additions from “elite third-party collections” for the massive display.

“Babe’s collection has remained largely unknown to the general public, and we felt it was time to bring these amazing pieces of his life to light,” Linda Ruth Tosetti, Ruth’s granddaughter, said in a news release.

The auction house certainly hit a home run with this collection, though it wasn’t a huge shock.

“While the record-setting prices attained today are certainly astonishing, I am not surprised at all given the incredible materials and the mythical status the Babe holds in the history of this country,” David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, said in a news release.

Ruth’s legendary baseball career spanned 22 seasons and included 714 home runs and four World Series titles, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While he’s known for playing for the Yankees, Ruth also spent time with the Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves.

In 1936, he became one of the five inaugural members elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

‘He gave his life for our country’: Remains of WWII pilot found at sea, returned home

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CLEVELAND -- It was a touching and fitting tribute nearly eight decades in the making.

The remains of World War II Lieutenant James Lord were returned to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Saturday.

Lord was flying a mission targeting gun positions over Italy near the France border when his plane went down into the sea near Corsica. The crash happened in 1944 when he was just 20 years old.

His flagged draped coffin was received with full military honors as the sound of bagpipes filled the air.

Police and a Patriot Guard Riders' motorcade escorted Lord's hearse from Hopkins to the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut, his hometown.

Lord was listed as missing in action for 74 years, until his remains, despite the remarkable odds,  were recovered during a diving mission last year. He was identified by dental records, and material evidence found at the crash site.

Lord's cousin Rick Gleason, a Commander in the Navy, hopes other missing war heroes can also be recovered and come home someday.

"My cousin James Lord was an absolute hero. The good thing to know is that our government is out there looking for these men and women that are missing in action in hopes that we can bring them all home," Rick Gleason said.

Vietnam veteran Richard Gleason was two years old when his cousin James Lord died flying his mission.

"He gave his life for our country, and there's nothing more impactful or higher than a young man or woman could do, and they went into battle and they were brave," Richard Gleason said.

Sadly, Lieutenant Lord's brother Bill Lord was also killed serving in World War Two. His body has never been recovered.

There will be a wreath presentation to honor Lt. Lord at the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Charlie McGeever with the Ohio Patriot Gaurd Riders said officers from Moreland Hills, Eastlake, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Conneaut Police and volunteers from C.C.I.P. assisted with the escort.

Volunteers hold flags along Centennial Bridge for Flag Day

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Stars and stripes lined the Centennial Bridge on National Flag Day, thanks to local volunteers.

The goal was to have 200 people holding flags along the bridge, as drivers crossed between Iowa and Illinois.

The event was organized by Karen Buchanan.  2019 was the second annual "Fly the Flag High" event.

Senator Dick Durbin tours flood protection in Rock Island

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the Rock Island levee could be an example for other Mississippi River communities.

On Friday, June 14 Senator Durbin was at Schwiebert Park touring the area as the Mississippi River recedes from record flooding.

The flood wall there was built nearly 50 years ago and spans four miles.  In 2019 the city saw little damage from the river's crest.

"It's made a dramatic difference what happened on this side of the river as opposed to the other side of the river," he said.

In Davenport, the Mississippi River breached the HESCO barrier on April 30, spilling water into part of the downtown, leaving damage at many businesses. 

 

Arsenal joins partnership for ambulance production

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- A new partnership aimed at bringing more ambulance production is coming to the Quad Cities.

The announcement came Friday, June 14, 2019.  Military vehicle maker AM General and the Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center announced the partnership to build the most modern ambulances in the Army's fleet.

JMTC will make the shell of the ambulance and AM General will build the base.

"No matter the equipment or the part, when a war fighter needs something, the country`s industrial base delivers to ensure the Army is ready to carry out its mission," said Major General Daniel G. Mitchell, Tacom Commanding General.

Over the course of five years, the JMTC has helped produce more than 2,000 ambulances for the National Guard, Army Reserves and foreign allies.  They're used for evacuations in combat zones, disaster relief and homeland security efforts.

Dairy cows fuel up on coffee creamer daily at local Iowa farm

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DONAHUE, Iowa – Cinnamon Ridge Dairy Farm is ranked number two in the country for milk production and it may be because their cows are fed a different ingredient.

It might sound utterly weird, but the dairy cows at Cinnamon Ridge run on coffee creamer.

“This is an oddball ingredient,” says John Maxwell, farmer and owner of Cinnamon Ridge. “It does sound a little cannibalistic, but that’s not true at all.”

He says it’s the sugar in the creamer that helps his cows produce some of the best milk in the nation.

“This is energy in my hand, energy that produces milk” Maxwell explains. “Sugar and all those carbohydrates produce milk.”

The creamer is mixed with other cow favorites like hay, so – like humans – they eat all their fruits and veggies.

“What is it called in human terms? This is “MyPlate” all put together,” Maxwell comments.

The farm has bags on bags of coffee creamer that are helping their environment.

“I always thought food waste was to clean up your plate like your mother taught you to, but that’s not true,” Maxwell says.

Maxwell and his crew can cut down on the landfill waste by taking in 2,000 lbs. of creamer that would otherwise be thrown away.

“Dairy sustainability defined for me is good for the planet, good for the people, and it’s profitable,” Maxwell explains.

½ lb. of coffee creamer is fed to each cow every day, which adds up to 4 lbs. of milk per cow daily.

Before feeding the cows creamer they used to feed them chocolate cake mix, but found more benefits from the coffee creamer because of the higher sugar levels.

Cinnamon Ridge Dairy will be having “Lunch on the Farm” on Saturday, June 22nd from 11AM-2PM.  It’s an event for kids to learn more about agriculture while eating cheese curds and grilled cheese made from the dairy cows at Cinnamon Ridge.

To register click here to sign up for the event.

Car club creates extreme road conditions to teach teens about the limits of their cars

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BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Teen drivers are some of the most inexperienced ones on the road and they cause the majority of fatal accidents, according to the non-profit Tire Rack Street Survival. The national driver education nonprofit on Sunday partnered with a local car club to help change that statistic.

Volunteers with the Sports Car Club of America - Great River Region had transformed North and South parking lots at Bettendorf High Schoolinto a sort of obstacle course.

"We’re putting on this event to help students understand the characteristics of their cars, at the limit," said event chair Tim Govier.

Govier and other volunteers with SCCA Great River Region were out moving traffic cones, directing traffic, and pouring corn over parts of the pavement to mimick gravel.

There was the accident avoidance exercise, where an instructor in the student's car yelled out last-minute directions to simulate a sudden hazardous road condition. There was a slalom, "to help get the feeling of going in between and forth and look farther ahead," Govier explained.  There was the threshold braking exercise, "It gets the student familiar with how the ABS (anti-lock braking system) feels."

"The goal is for them to gain the knowledge and experience of driving their vehicles in situations  where there might be a surpise on the road," he said.

Students drove their own vehicles to class, so they could become more familiar with their car.

17-year-old Katie Garner became the owner of a 2005 Mustang this past winter.

"I came out here to just kind of learn what my car can do, how to push it, how to handle situations," she said.

Volunteer instructor, Les Shields, a retired police officer was sitting beside her throughout several exercise courses, having her simulate an accident avoidance maneuver, and explaining the "squeeze the orange" method before she hit a curve covered with corn.

Organizers said the Street Survival Program lets new drivers experience extreme road conditions in a safe environment.

"So its not surprise when it happens out on the road," said Govier.

Katie said she learned about car control while racing at the SCCA with her dad, but road conditions there were different and she still took away some valuable lessons today.

"I learned how to do threshold braking," she said, adding that her Mustang had a manual transmisison and no ABS. "So the wheels block up when I try to stop fast."

Govier said many young drivers believe they were good drivers.

"Even if you think I already know all this stuff, you can always be a safer driver," Katie said.

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