West classroom building now open at Scott Community College’s Urban Campus

DAVENPORT - One of the building's at Scott Community College's Urban Campus is now open.

It's the first building open since the college announced the expansion back in 2014.

The building is located at 3rd and Main Street downtown and it's a former bank.

Crews put together computer labs and the new furniture for the classrooms.

The building is now open for students who need to register before classes start.

All of the classes previously held at the Kahl Education Center have been moved to the new building.

For the college, it's the first step in it's vision of transforming three buildings in Downtown Davneport in the Urban Campus.

"We're so excited, this has been a great project and a labor of love for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Scott Community College all of our faculty and staff and we're so excited to welcome our students to this beautiful building," said Lyn Cochran, Scott Community College President.

Classes begin on January 16th.

Bettendorf Schools able to finance $60 million in projects

BETTENDORF - The Bettendorf School District could do $60 million in upgrades without raising taxes.

The projects they are looking at include renovations to the high school, middle school, consolidating two elementary schools and moving Edison Academy to another facility.

The school district currently has zero debt and board members looked at three different scenarios to finance it's large list of projects.

The district's finance director says it's not a matter if they can afford it but what fund to get the money from.

"We are a very strong district financially we have the capacity to be able to do the financing that we would need in order to execute this plan over the period of time that we want to but to do it in a way that is fiscally sound and that minimizes the impact that we have for our taxpayers," said Dallon Christensen, Director of Finance.

The project plans will be discussed in more detail at a public meeting on January, 8th, 2018 at a meeting at 6 p.m. in the Bettendorf High School Performing Arts Center.

Police: Davenport man admitted to taking inappropriate pictures, recording women in public

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A Davenport man has been arrested for allegedly taking pictures and recording video underneath a woman's skirt.

Police say Christopher Serrano, 37, was at a Davenport Goodwill store back in November when he crouched down next to a woman to take pictures.

Police say Serrano admitted to taking the pictures and video but also admitted to taking video of other women in public.

Serrano has been charged with three counts of invasion of privacy.


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Amtrak train fatally strikes Florida 11-year-old wearing headphones, looking at phone

HAINES CITY, Fla. – An 11-year-old Florida girl died Wednesday afternoon after she was hit by an Amtrak train while crossing the tracks, according to police.

The train’s engineer told investigators that the girl, identified as Yazmin White, of Haines City, had headphones in her ears and was looking at her cellphone when the train hit her, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, just a few hundred feet from her family’s home.

“She certainly didn’t hear the train or she wouldn’t have walked up on the track,” Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference Thursday. “The engineer blew that horn solid for probably a quarter of a mile.”

The train, with 12 passenger cars and two locomotives, was traveling at 68 mph at the time of the accident, according to officials.

The conductor, who isn’t expected to face charges, said he tried to brake and blew the horn multiple times but White never looked up, WFTS reported.

Relatives told the station that the middle schooler had dreams of a career in music and loved the piano.

Judd said he could think of at least five children who had died locally in the last couple years after being hit while listening to headphones.

“You don’t die when you’re 11 years old, you’re teflon, you’re going to live forever,” Judd said. “The absolute last thing she thought about was being run over by a train.”

He added that his words shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation of the young victims, who are not thinking about death when they’re listening to their favorite music.

“It rips our heart out,” Judd said. “That could be our child or grandchild, just as easy.”

Family returns from vacation to find Illinois home flooded, frozen

LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. – The bitterly cold weather that has  gripped the Midwest can be hard on the water pipes in homes – something one suburban Illinois family found out after returning from a Florida vacation.

Vanessa and Max Carranza had been enjoying a winter getaway with their two daughters in the Sunshine State, where they visited family and Disney World.

All the while, the greater Chicago area was in the throes of an extended, deep freeze.  In Lake in the Hills, even on a relatively warm day, temperatures struggled to reach to 13 degrees.  The neighborhood was frozen solid along with their pipes.

When they returned from Florida Thursday, the signs of trouble were there on the front porch.

“A neighbor heard water pouring from our roof,” Vanessa Carranza told WGN after she returned to find burst pipes had severely damaged the family's home in Carranzas Lake in the Hills.  Inside, the carpet squished with floodwater.

“We think one of our pipes probably burst due to the multiple days of cold weather,” she said.  “We completely lost the ceiling.  All the drywall is down, but just from that you can see it trickled, followed the rafters, all the way into the kitchen."

The surface of the walls bubbles and blisters in sections while water drips easily through leaking floors and ceilings.

“We’ve got leaks everywhere,” Vanessa Carranza said. “The house is completely flooded. We’ll probably have to replace all the floors, the carpet, roof, walls.”

It can happen anytime there's extreme cold and the pipes aren’t used for days. It’s something Vanessa Carranza said she’ll never forget when she goes out of town.

“Next time we’ll definitely let a neighbor know that we’re going and maybe have somebody stop by take a look, run things for a couple of days.”

The Carranza family will stay with relatives for now as they figure out insurance and repairs.

Local organization sees increase in human trafficking survivors seeking help

DAVENPORT, Iowa--Human trafficking is modern day slavery that affects more than 21 million worldwide including some in the Quad Cities.

According to Braking Traffik, more human trafficking survivors from the area are seeking help.

The program increased from 39 to 60 survivors in the last year. The majority of them are from the Quad City area.

"They get to gain a new opportunity to live out their lives, to fulfill their dreams," said Mansfield.

Last year, 42 cases of human trafficking were reported in Iowa. Most of them were calls with tips from community members , according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

"Community members know their community best. They know the people they interact with at school they know the people they interact with at work . They're(...) most aware when something is off or something doesnt seem right." said Mansfield.

Mansfield says keeping community members aware of the signs of human trafficking is key to helping victims.

Signs of victims include inappropriately dressed for the weather, signs of physical abuse, and stealing food or basic needs.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month and the group has a whole list of plans to continue educating alerting the community on what to look for and how to help.

"If we are educating everyone, we have that much likelihood that all survivors will access services and (get) the help that they need, said Mansfield.

The first awareness event will take place on Friday, January 5th, at the Island United Methodist Church in Muscatine at 3:00 p.m.

"Our ultimate goal is to continue to empower survivors provide assistance...and our long term goal is to end the demand for commercial sex and unsafe labor," said Mansfield.

Braking Traffik is a Family Resources anti-human trafficking program that provides services to survivors in several Eastern Iowa counties and Rock Island County in Illinois.

Full list of awareness events can be found here.