WQAD News

Dubuque officials endorse brewery redevelopment plans

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque City Council is supporting plans to turn a crumbling 120-year-old brewery complex into apartments and retail space.

City Council members voted unanimously this month to support developer Stephen Emerson’s application for state workforce housing tax credits for the project, the Telegraph Herald reported . The program gives tax benefits to developers looking to turn abandoned, empty or dilapidated properties into housing.

Emerson is president of the architecture and design firm Aspect Inc., which is looking to redevelop the brewery. He purchased the complex for $865,000 in 2017. Emerson’s application to the state Economic Development Authority outlined plans to redevelop the complex into 80 one- and two-bedroom units.

“When I heard there was a buyer for it, I was thrilled and so grateful someone else saw its potential,” said Council Member Kate Larson, who represents that area of the city. “It could be a crown jewel of the North End again and a shining example of what makes Dubuque special. Reviving it to a mixed-use property could fill a much-needed workforce housing gap, but it will definitely take some hefty public-private partnerships to get there.”

Emerson said he plans to invest $30 million into the project. He said he’s already acquired a federal redevelopment grant for the project and is pursuing state and federal historic preservation and new market tax credits.

“The intent is to keep lease rates down so it’s not high-end housing and is truly workforce housing,” Emerson said.

Plans are still being finalized, with the goal of beginning construction in late summer or early fall, pending the approval of tax credits for the project, Emerson said.

Bon-Ton stores across the country, QCA begin liquidation sales

"Going Out Of Business" Sales are starting at Bon-Ton Stores across the country.

As WQAD News 8 first reported last week, Bon-Ton is closing all of its nearly 250 stores by the end of August, including the Younkers in both Davenport and Moline. Here are some of the other stores in our area that are closing.

In the meantime, we're finding out that the company faced a big dilemma that other retailers are dealing with as well. Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski appears live on Good Morning Quad Cities every Monday and says Bon-Ton's situation is very similar to what happened to Toys "R" Us and it's not particularly surprising:

"[Bon-Ton] carried a massive debt and it failed to capture the shift to online sales," he explained. "The challenge with carrying a massive debt, as we saw with Toys "R" Us, is it takes a lot of cash to fund the principal and interest payments - cash that could have been used to advance its online platform and in-store sales strategies. And like Toys "R" Us, it needed a successful retail holiday shopping season to prove to potential buyers it could operate as a viable entity. Once this failed, its collapse was pretty much inevitable."

However, Grywacheski said the retail industry remains strong. To find out why, click here to see our full conversation on GMQC.

Hero customer rushes Waffle House killer and rips away his assault-style rifle

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ANTIOCH, Tennessee — As soon as gunshots tore through a Waffle House, James Shaw Jr. bolted and hid in a restroom.

But he kept an eye and an ear out for the gunman. And the moment the shooter paused, Shaw decided to ambush him.

“I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it,” told reporters Sunday.

That heroic act by a customer saved countless lives at a Nashville-area Waffle House, where a seminude gunman killed four people early Sunday morning.

Shaw “saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped,” Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.

“So he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter. At that point, the gunman then fled.”

Shaw was grazed by a bullet on his elbow while grappling with the gunman.

He also burned his right hand grabbing the barrel of the weapon, which police called an “assault-type rifle.”

Shaw “is the hero here, and no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter and prompting the (gun)man to leave,” the police spokesman said.

Witness Chuck Cordero saw everything unfold from outside the Waffle House’s famously wide windows.

As he ran away, “I looked back and there was a gentleman wrestling with the gunman,” Cordero told CNN affiliate WSMV.

“He was a hero … had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant.”

But Shaw, 29, insists he wasn’t heroic. He says he was actually being selfish.

“I did that completely out of a selfish act,” Shaw told reporters. “I was completely doing it just to save myself.”

“I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that,” he added.

Shaw said he felt uneasy knowing that the gunman was still on the loose, and hoped law enforcement would track him down soon.

Still, that didn’t stop Shaw from going to church with his father Sunday morning, mere hours after he’d confronted the gunman.

“I don’t think it really has hit me,” Shaw told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield.

“But I know it’s going to take time. I’m going to try to talk to some professional help, ’cause I know what I saw is probably not normal or average.”

In his interview with WSMV, Shaw broke down thinking about the people he couldn’t save and apologized to their families.

“There’s four families that are grieving right now. So much life was lost for no reason. I feel like it could be very selfish of me if I didn’t point it out. And I apologize,” he said.

Shaw said he wants to stay in touch with those families, as well as the survivors.

“I would love to talk to you and know that you’re OK,” he said.

His first step in giving back to the families was creating a GoFundMe page Sunday to assist the victims of the shooting, a GoFundMe spokeswoman told CNN. Within hours, the $15,000 goal had almost been met.

“I am creating this page to help the families of the victims,” he says on the fundraising site.

On a personal note, Shaw is grateful he survived to see his 4-year-old daughter again. He wants her to grow up in a world with less tragedy.

“I hope we can bring violence in all facets — not just gun violence, but all facets of violence — to an end,” he said.

Waffle House shooter trespassed at White House last year; dad returned weapons after FBI seized them

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The man suspected of killing four people at a Waffle House in Nashville on Sunday was previously arrested by the US Secret Service for trespassing and being in a restricted area near the White House, authorities said. The AR-15 he used in the shooting is believed to be the same one his father returned to him after the FBI seized his weapons.

In July 2017, Travis Reinking told a uniform Secret Service officer that he must get into the White House to speak with the President, according to an arrest report. Reinking told the officer that he had to speak with the President and that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had a right to inspect the grounds.

After the officer told Reinking to move twice, the report states that Reinking took his tie off, balled it into his fist, began approaching the officer and walked past the security barriers.

“Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have to,” Reinking said, according to the report.

Reinking was detained but refused to leave the secured area, so he was arrested and charged with unlawful entry, the report states.

According to court records, Reinking entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with community service on July 26, 2017. On November 17, 2017, the court determined Reinking had successfully completed the program and the case was dismissed.

Shortly after his release, Reinking was interviewed by the FBI in Illinois, where he lived at the time.

Tazewell County, Illinois, authorities revoked Reinking’s firearm authorization and seized four weapons after the interview.

According to a report from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, authorities seized a Kimber 9 mm handgun, a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, a CZ-USA .22-caliber rifle, a Remington 710 and random ammunition. The AR-15 style rifle listed was the same weapon used in Sunday’s Waffle House shooting, which killed four people, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police.

Police later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, and told him to keep the weapons secure and away from his son. However, Nashville police learned Sunday that Jeffrey acknowledged giving the guns back to his son, police said.

Reinking moved to Nashville in 2017 and worked in construction, police said. He had been fired from one job in April and began another construction job on Monday, but didn’t show up for work Tuesday.

On Sunday, police said a gunman arrived at Waffle House in a vehicle registered to Reinking. After sitting in the truck for a few minutes, the gunman came out wielding an “assault-type rifle” and fatally shot two people outside the Waffle House, police said.

Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said the gunman then went inside the restaurant and continued firing. Some witnesses suffered cuts on their faces from shattered windows. Two more victims inside the restaurant were fatally shot.

The shooting ended when a patron was able to wrestle the weapon away from the gunman, who then ran away.

Authorities said Sunday that they were drafting murder warrants against Reinking. Nashville police are asking residents to lock their doors and stay alert as they continue to search for the gunman.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear.

It’s what we’ve been waiting for all year, but where’s the rain?

One week ago today, it snowed.

But that's history because our weather pattern has turned decidedly Spring-like. It's almost certain that we are done with snow, as the latest snow ever recorded in the Quad Cities occurred in early May and the trend shows at-or-above normal temperatures into early May.

There are only two cold fronts on deck this week, one on Tuesday, and another Thursday.

Rain chances look slim to none. There's a chance we could have a few sprinkles on Tuesday with some scattered showers in the morning on Friday. After that, a major warming trend into the weekend and early next week. There's a slight chance we could near 80 degrees if we can keep the rain away next week!

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

The Score Sunday – Ivy Envy, Tae Kwon Do, Glen Cook, FCA

The Score Sunday features Corey Fineran from Ivy Envy.  We talk cubs baseball and about their podcast.  Martial Artist from Spellious Tae Kwon Do and Chung Kim's Black Academy demonstrate what they do and what you can gain from doing Tae Kwon Do.  Glen Cook has the entire Rockridge community behind him as he battle cancer.  FCA story of the week features Jesper Andreassen a Foreign Exchange Student from Norway.

She Blamed Genes for Mysterious Weight Gain – Until Doctors Found a Massive Tumor

CHICAGO -- A woman who thought the extra weight around her stomach was due to bad genes, was stunned to learn what was actually behind it.

Kim Turner lives Bloomington, Illinois, and three years ago she noticed she was gaining weight--but she couldn’t seem to lose it. She also didn’t have much of an appetite.

Turner knew  something was wrong, so she sought medical consultation at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. It was there oncologist Dr. Ajay Maker discovered she had a massive, 20-pound tumor.

Dr. Maker performed a 3.5 hour surgery to remove the tumor last August.

The hospital says the tumor was so large, a staff member had to leave the surgery to purchase an extra-large container from a hardware store to transport the tumor to the pathology department.

Turner returned to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Friday to speak with media alongside Dr. Maker.

In a statement from the hospital, Tuner said, “I am feeling much, much better and so much lighter,” she says. “I had no idea the way that I felt wasn’t normal. The red flag was that my belly kept getting bigger, even though I didn’t have an appetite. I knew then that something was wrong. If there is anything I can share with others about my experience, it’s to always follow your gut instinct.”

Community mourns 20 year-old man who died in a skateboarding accident

HENRY COUNTY-- A 20 year-old man from Hooppole died after a skate boarding accident on Friday evening.

In a press release, Illinois State Police said a small group of people on skate boards were using a truck to pull them up to the top of a hill at the Johnson Sauk Trail State Park in Henry County, Illinois.

Police say Brett Meier was one of the skate boarders and that he was holding onto the truck while being pulled up the hill.

They say he fell from his board and died on the scene. The crash is still under investigation.

Brett Meier had attended Annawan High School and was a football player for the Titans team.

The team tweeted out their condolences and a picture of him wearing his number 65 Jersey.

The tweet reads:

We've been blessed with some incredible moments at A-W. This day, and this pic... Is one of the best.
we love you Brett. RIP.

 

 

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In the middle of the Annawan High School football field an American Flag was put in place along with some flowers and footballs with his Jersey number 65 written on them as a tribute to Meier.

The tribute also had a Titan jersey and a couple of crosses, one of the crosses read: RIP Brett Meier, We Love You.

 

Four Presidents Come Together to Pay Tribute to Barbara Bush

A touching photograph of several generations of presidents paying tribute to the late Barbara Bush is being warmly and widely circulated on social media.

The remarkable photo features four former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush — along with first lady Melania Trump and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

The photo, taken Saturday by Paul Morse, a former White House photographer for George W. Bush, was initially tweeted by Jim McGrath, the spokesperson for George H. W. Bush in his post-White House years.

President Donald Trump is notably absent from the photo, as he did not attend the funeral in Houston on Saturday. The White House released a statement saying he decided not to attend the funeral in order “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service.”

The decision was not uncommon for a sitting president. Neither Obama nor the younger Bush attended the funerals of first ladies during their respective terms. Clinton did attend a graveside service for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994.

Many were quick to praise the photo, with some commenting on the character of the former leaders — and possibly making veiled digs at the present commander-in-chief.

David Preiss, who served in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as an intelligence officer, wrote, “Each president in this photo did things I disagreed with politically. Quite a lot, in fact, for most of them. And yet I never doubted that every single one of them acted based on core values, including love of country — not, primarily, love of self.”

Michael Hayden, retired four-star general, former director of the National Security Agency and former head of the CIA, retweeted Preiss and added, “Ain’t that the truth.”

Hours before the funeral, Trump had been tweeting insults about New York Times chief White House correspondent Maggie Haberman after she reported on his sometimes poor treatment of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who the newspaper said might ultimately cooperate with federal officials investigating him.

After leaving his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, at just before noon, the President tweeted about Barbara Bush along with a photo of her White House portrait.

“Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family,” he wrote. “In memory of First Lady Barbara Bush, there is a remembrance display located at her portrait in the Center Hall of the @WhiteHouse.

Police hunt continues for Illinois gunman who fatally shot 4 people at Tennessee Waffle House

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee  —  Nashville police are asking residents to lock their doors and stay alert after a seminude gunman killed four people at an area Waffle House early Sunday.

Police are also asking for the public’s help in finding suspect 29-year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Illinois. Authorities said the gunman arrived in a vehicle registered to Reinking, though he walked away from the restaurant, naked.

“Keep your doors locked, keep your eyes open. If you see this individual — if you see a nude guy walking around this morning — call the police department immediately,” Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.

The melee started around 3:23 a.m. (4:23 a.m. ET) in Antioch, southeast of Nashville.

After sitting in the truck for a few minutes, the gunman came out wielding an “assault-type rifle” and fatally shot two people outside the Waffle House, police said.

Travis Reinking, 29, is a person of interest in a shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House on April 22, 2018.

“He then went inside the restaurant (and) continued firing,” Aaron said.

Some witnesses suffered cuts on their faces from shattered windows. Two more victims inside the restaurant were fatally shot.

Chuck Cordero, who was on break from his job as a 24/7 roadside serviceman, was about to walk in to the restaurant when the shooting took place.

“I was very lucky — where I usually sit, one woman was killed and another was shot,” he told CNN. “I was very fortunate to have not gone into the Waffle House and sat in my car.”

Cordero added: “My friend ‘T,’ the cook at Waffle House, died trying to get away.”

The carnage stopped only because of the heroics of a customer who heard the gunshots and hid near the restaurant’s bathrooms.

Police said the customer, identified by a relative as James Shaw Jr., monitored the gunman’s moves from afar and jumped into action when he saw an opportunity.

“He saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped. So he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter. At that point, the gunman then fled,” Aaron said.

“He is the hero here, and no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter, and prompting the man to leave,” he added.

Police said the assailant shed his jacket and fled on foot. Later Sunday morning, he apparently “clothed himself with a pair of pants,” Aaron said.

“A man believed to be Travis Reinking was last seen in a wood line near Discovery at Mountain View Apts. on Mountain Springs Drive near the Waffle House,” police tweeted. “The man was seen wearing black pants and no shirt.”

Authorities have started drafting murder warrants against Reinking. But so far, the motive for the shooting remains unclear.

Waffle House, which has more than 1,500 locations across the country, offered its condolences.

“This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family,” the restaurant chain tweeted. “We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.”

Western Big 6 Baseball and Softball, North Scott Girls Soccer

On the Western Big 6 Baseball Fields pitching ruled the day. Moline gets a 1-hit performance from Jordan Benson in game 1.  The Maroons sweep the Rocks to stay undefeated in the conference.

Alleman gets a no-hitter from Sam Mattecheck in game 1. The in game 2 the Pioneers turn to the bats to earn the sweep over Quincy.

Galesburg also with a strong pitching performance. Nick Fields throws a no-hitter against United Township in game 1.  The Silver Streak sweep the Panthers in baseball.

Rock Island softball sweeps Moline. The Lady Rocks used the long ball to cruise past the Maroons in game 1, 12-1.

 

In Soccer, North Scott Girls beat Xavier in a battle of top 10 teams in the state.  Paige Tomlinson would score the games only goal just before half.  Lady Lancers Goalie Heather Hoeger would make that goal stand pitching the shutout 1-nil.

Augie students shave heads to raise money for children with cancer

 

Some Augustana students are going bald for a good cause.

On April 21st, Augie hosted their annual  Saint Baldrick's-Bring a Shave for Kids with Cancer.

The event raises money for childhood cancer research grants.

This year 25 students took on the challenge and had their heads shaved.

The students raised around $12,500 dollars for the Saint Baldrick's organization.

 

Crews work to put out fire at Arconic in Bettendorf

BETTENDORF, Iowa-- Fire crews from River Dale, Bettendorf and LeClaire all responded to a structure fire located off State Street in Bettendorf at the Arconic manufacturing corporation,  Saturday, April 21.

Arconic Community Relations Manager John Riches says the fire started on top of a furnace towards the east end of the building.

"Crews were able to put the fire out quickly, no one was hurt, and no one had to be evacuated," says Riches.

The fire started around 6:30 p.m.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Trump Considering Pardon for Boxer Jack Johnson

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President Donald Trump said Saturday that he is considering granting a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson on the advice of actor Sylvester Stallone.

“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for “immoral” purposes. The Mann Act purported to prevent human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution, but critics have argued it was applied inconsistently to criminalize African Americans and those with dissenting political views.

Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in less than two hours and was imprisoned for a year. The sentence and imprisonment destroyed the boxing career of the “Galveston Giant.” He died in 1946.

In 2016, then-Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, along with Reps. Peter King and Gregory Meeks, petitioned the Obama administration to grant a pardon to Johnson. The bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the White House asking that the pardon be given in honor of the 70th anniversary of the boxer’s death.

“While it is unfortunate that this unjust conviction was not corrected during the boxer’s lifetime, a posthumous pardon today represents the opportunity to reaffirm Jack Johnson’s substantial contributions to our society and right this historical wrong,” the letter said.

In March 2017, Sen. Cory Booker joined with McCain, King and Meeks to reintroduce a resolution urging Johnson’s pardon.

“Despite this resolution passing both chambers of Congress several times in recent years, no pardon has been issued to date,” McCain said in a statement at the time. “I hope President Trump will seize the opportunity before him to right this historical wrong and restore a great athlete’s legacy.”

The White House did not immediately return CNN’s request for further comment on the President’s tweet.

WQAD Sports April 20th

-Bettendorf Girls soccer

-Bettendorf Boys best Central

-Alleman softball hammers Quincy

-Illinois and Iowa State Volleyball

-MLB baseball

After baby hears for first time in viral video, mom works to empower other parents

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The emotional video shows Baby Charlotte, or Charly as she's affectionately known, go from fussing, to a smile, to almost crying as she hears her mother's voice for the first time.

The moment, possible thanks to Charly's cochlear implants, has been viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube.

"I could see in her eyes and her face that she was really, really happy," Christy Keane told WTKR.

When Charly was born, she failed her first hearing test. Christy, who was formerly a NICU nurse, didn't think anything of it. She chalked it up to fluid in the ears. But four days and more failed tests later, Christy and her husband learned Charly was born profoundly deaf.

Charly

"I cried, I didn't understand and I didn't know what life was going to look like," said Christy.

But that attitude quickly changed after doing some research. Christy decided she would do whatever it took to improve Charly's future.

"We're choosing to do cochlear implants for her and we're doing total communication, so we're learning to sign and she's going to hopefully develop beautiful spoken language as well with those resources," said Christy.

However, that decision was met with some criticism online since Christy openly shares Charly's journey on Instagram. But Christy knew in her heart she was making the right decision for Charly and encourages other parents to do what they think is right, regardless of what the critics say.

"She is deaf, even with the cochlear implants. That doesn't cure deafness. As soon as she takes off the external device, she's deaf and always going to be. I just want to make sure she has all the resources to feel comfortable talking and communicating with people in any situation," said Christy.

Sharing Charly's journey with others has also been tremendously positive, Christy said.

"It's special she's touching so many people. She's meant to be who she is, just the way she is," Christy said with a smile.

Christy Keane

Christy has become a hearing loss advocate and posts plenty of videos and photos of her two daughters to her Instagram account, which has more than 80,000 followers.

"Other people reach out to me and say how she's changed their lives or made their day or they just found out their kiddo is going deaf or is deaf and seeing her journey has made them feel more positive about the experience and cope with it," said Christy, who embraces every message and loves being part of a deaf culture that's still new to her. "It feels like a huge responsibility, but I love it. And I hope any parent who finds themselves in that position comes to me."

Charly

Locally, Christy said she couldn't have gotten this far and remained this positive without a great support system. The Virginia Hearing Aid Loan Bank donated Charly's current hearing aids and once Charly gets her cochlear implants, she'll give them back. CHKD has helped Christy set up speech therapy for Charly and that's where her implant surgery will be performed. All of this is inspiring Christy to do even more for the community.

Christy will be hosting a story time session for both deaf and hearing children at Hooray, a children's entertainment center in Virginia Beach May 2 at 10:00 a.m. She hopes parents will bring out their children, deaf or hearing, and see the two aren't very different at all.

Record Store Day 2018: As vinyl sales surge, a look back at the celebration’s beginnings

CHICAGO – The vinyl record, it’s not just for parents and grandparents anymore as record sales and the independent record store have had a resurgence in popularity in the last decade.

Now there is even a day to celebrate! For one Saturday every April, people come together in countries across the globe to celebrate Record Store Day. Record Store Day falls on the 21st in 2018.

It’s a day for record store staff, customers, and musicians to get together and celebrate the culture of the independent record store. The first record store day was back in 2007, an idea that was sparked by an email from a record store employee in Portland, Oregon. The comic book industry has “Free Comic Book Day” every May, so, it was argued, there should be something similar for the record collecting crowd.

Metallica kicked off the first record store day by appearing at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, California and there were a handful of special Record Store Day releases by bands like Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M, and Jason Mraz. The following year, Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes declared himself the “Record Store Day Ambassador” as a way to show how important the independent records stores are to the artists. That tradition stuck, and in the years since, artists like Ozzy Osbourne and Iggy Pop have been record store day ambassadors. This year, hip hop artists Run the Jewels will serve as Ambassador, and they’ll celebrate with a special release, as they do every year.

Great things have been happening for the industry since record store day started. There’s been an uptick in vinyl album sales every year since, sales went up 9% from 2016 to 2017, according to Billboard Magazine. Vinyl sales made up 14% of all physical album sales last year and the top sellers included the Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Pink Floyd and the soundtrack to La La Land.

Records are gaining in popularity as new releases – as well classic albums – are issued and re-issued on vinyl. Big name retailers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon offer deals and subscription services like Vinyl Me Please, which are helping to increase sales.

As the sales of vinyl records continue to grow, Record Store Day is a great way to get into collecting and supporting small businesses all at the same time.

Bettendorf “Big Table” discussion bridges generation gaps

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Age was nothing but a number at the Girl Scouts' Big Table Friday, April 20th.

The "Big Table" is a community-wide effort to get people in the Quad Cities talking.  More than 5,000 people were expected to take part in the discussions across the area.

Twelve people taking part in the Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa's table started with an open-ended discussion.  It didn't take long before they started unveiling their biggest concerns and aspirations for the community.

"I look at the younger generation and I want you to stay," said the organization's CEO Diane Nelson.  She opened up a conversation about what it would take to keep the next generation living and working in the Quad Cities.

The group also brainstormed ways to decrease the negative stigma that is carried with mental illnesses.

"Teenagers don't want to tell people like, "Oh I think have depression," because some people feel embarrassed and like it's their fault," said Pleasant Valley student Savannah Ervin.

"I feel like there's a difference in people's minds between physical illness and mental illness," said Pleasant Valley student Sarah Danielson. "Like if they have depression they can somehow do something to make themselves feel better."

Other topics that came up included cell phone use taking over face-to-face conversations.

The table agreed that they would start making changes by getting to know their neighbors and talking to people around them.  The group of 12 talked about hosting block parties as a way to celebrate the community and to get to know people.

Click here to register for an upcoming 'Big Table' discussion.

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