Sports & Recreation
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Marco LaNave   
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:10

Despite a five-homer series, Quad Cities is swept in a road series for the first time this season

GENEVA, Ill. (August 3, 2014) – Left fielder Chase McDonald, first baseman A.J. Reed and catcher Brett Booth each hit home runs for the Quad Cities River Bandits, but every Kane County starter contributed to the team's 17 hits in a 9-5 Cougars win and three-game series sweep at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Sunday afternoon.

Cougars catcher Cael Brockmeyer hit his team's only home run of the three-game series, finished 3-for-5 and was one of three Cougars with two-RBI games. Cougars shortstop Daniel Lockhart and second baseman Chesny Young each had a double and three hits. Quad Cities (21-21 second half, 56-55 overall) has allowed 42 runs on 70 hits during its current five-game losing streak.

For the third straight game, Kane County (25-17 second half, 70-42 overall) took at least a three-run lead by the end of the second inning. Against right-hander Andrew Thurman (5-7), Cougars third baseman Jeimer Candelario led off the second inning with a triple to right field and scored on a single by Brockmeyer. Young doubled to right field, putting runners at second and third bases. Groundouts by right fielder Jeffrey Baez and center fielder Trey Martin made it 3-0. Both Baez and Martin joined Brockmeyer in having two-RBI games.

In the third inning, Lockhart doubled to right field and moved to third base on a wild pitch when Thurman walked first baseman Ben Carhart. Designated hitter Victor Caratini hit an RBI single to right field, extending the Cougars' lead to 4-0.

Cougars right-hander Daury Torrez (10-5) faced one batter over the minimum in the first three innings before Quad Cities cut into the deficit in the fourth. Right fielder Ryan Bottger hit a leadoff single to right field, and McDonald launched a ball into the trees beyond the signs in left-center field for his 12th home run of the season, shrinking Kane County's lead to 4-2. But the Cougars answered in the bottom of the inning, as Baez hit a one-out double and to left field and scored on a single by Martin for a 5-2 lead.

Torrez had set down seven batters in a row – including four on strikeouts – before Reed blasted a drive over the picnic deck in right field for his third home run in his first week in the Midwest League. Brockmeyer answered with his home run on Thurman's first pitch in the bottom of the inning. Young singled to chase Thurman, who allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits and three walks with two strikeouts in five-plus innings. Left-hander Albert Minnis entered to allow a triple to center field by Baez, who scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Shawon Dunston Jr. With two outs and the bases empty, Lockhart singled, stole second base and scored on Carhart's RBI single to make it 9-3. Minnis allowed two earned runs on five hits and a walk with one strikeout in two relief innings.

After Torrez allowed three earned runs on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in six innings, right-hander David Garner began the seventh inning, and Booth hit his fourth home run of the season off the video board in left field – the fifth different player to homer in the last two games for the River Bandits, who have hit 15 home runs in their last nine games.

Garner worked two innings, and right-hander Francisco Carrillo debuted for the Cougars in the ninth inning. Reed hit a leadoff double for his first two-hit game in the Midwest League and scored on Booth's sacrifice fly, but Carrillo completed the inning to seal the 9-5 final.

Quad Cities opens a seven-game homestand and three-game home series against Burlington at 7 p.m. Monday at Modern Woodmen Park. River Bandits left-hander Chris Lee (7-5) is scheduled to face Bees right-hander Garrett Nuss (5-1).

UP NEXT: On Markdown Monday presented by 97X, the River Bandits will offer $2 bleacher and berm tickets, hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, nachos, soda and beer. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. game, and an All-You-Can-Ride Amusements Pass is just $10. Tickets are available at To order any of the River Bandits 2014 ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership recently made one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 105 feet over the playing field, opened May 24, and Space Camp opened June 20; the newly expanded 300-foot long zip line has also reopened. Soon to come is another new ride, this one called a "Drop and Twist." In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. Last season, the team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.

NFL Must Take Action on Bird-Killing Stadiums PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Robert Johns   
Monday, 04 August 2014 08:49

Things have been going pretty well lately for the National Football League. Revenues this past year were around $10 billion. Arguably, football is the most watched and followed sport in this country. But developments surrounding the planning of a new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings offer a glimpse of an emerging unseemly indifference by the team’s owners and the NFL to wildlife impacts that is disturbing to millions of people who care about the nonhuman species that share our planet.

Plans for the proposed new stadium call for a massive wall of glass that experts say will assuredly kill thousands of birds over the life of the facility. Bird and wildlife advocates have raised this concern with stadium developers and with city planners. Reasonable solutions were offered from conservationists early in the process. The response from the team and the NFL has been as frigid as the Minnesota winters: the glass will go in exactly as planned. And this is in spite of a new resolution from the Minneapolis City Council calling for bird-saving preventative measures.

The stadium, which is expected to open in two years, will cost nearly $1 billion to build. The bird-friendly changes requested– installing “fritted” glass with ceramic dots that birds see and generally avoid—would cost about $1.1 million. For an outlay of one-tenth of one percent of the cost of the stadium, this problem goes away. This is pocket change to the NFL and team owners.

For some reason, team owners and the NFL feel empowered to ignore what in all likelihood will be daily avian carnage at their facility. The irony of that position is stunning: The NFL makes massive marketing use of birds like eagles (Philadelphia), falcons (Atlanta), cardinals (Arizona), seahawks (Seattle) and ravens (Baltimore) while at the same time sanctioning the building of stadiums with features that serve as bird death traps.

How big a problem is bird collisions with glass? Huge. A recent report from federal scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that bird-glass collisions are the second-leading human-caused mortality threat faced by birds, with between 400 million and one billion birds killed in the U.S. in that fashion every year. All kinds of birds are affected: hawks, falcons, owls, songbirds. It is one reason why over 200 species of birds are in decline or otherwise in serious trouble.

Team owners and the NFL would do well to recognize that Minneapolis is one of a relative handful of cities that have the laudable distinction of being federally designated as an Urban Bird Treaty city, which means that they have shown uncommon interest in protecting and conserving birds. Somehow, I think some have forgotten what that means— and how inconsistent current actions are with that notable designation.

I hope the NFL will step in and demonstrate some level of common sense and compassion for wildlife, encouraging the Minnesota Vikings (and other team owners with similar problems) to do the right thing. Absent that, about 100,000 Viking football fans will be exposed to a lot of “inconvenient truths” each game: the repeated thud as birds crash into a glass wall at 40 miles per hour, and the sight of birds littering the ground at their feet.

Dr. George Fenwick, 202-234-7181, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

President, American Bird Conservancy

Washington, D.C. 20009



News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Marco LaNave   
Friday, 01 August 2014 07:57

DAVENPORT, Iowa (July 31, 2014) – Quad Cities River Bandits third baseman Marc Wik tied a Midwest League record with three triples and had a career-high four RBIs Thursday night, but the Clinton LumberKings hit six doubles and two home runs among 18 hits in a 13-9 win in a series rubber match in front of 4,892 at Modern Woodmen Park.

LumberKings center fielder Isaiah Yates led all players with four hits – including two doubles – and five RBIs, while catcher Marcus Littlewood reached base in all six plate appearances, walking three times, finishing a triple shy of the cycle and scoring four runs. Eight LumberKings had a hit, and six had multi-hit games, while the team scored all its runs in five multi-run innings. The 13 earned runs and 18 hits were the most allowed by Quad Cities this season.

Clinton (15-24 second half, 45-62 overall) reached the scoreboard in the first inning against right-hander Michael Feliz (6-4), who had only allowed five runs – three earned – in his first 34 innings at Modern Woodmen Park this season. Designated hitter Luis Caballero walked, right fielder Chantz Mack hit an RBI double, and Yates hit an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. The River Bandits (21-18, 56-52) took their only lead in the second inning. Left-hander Blake Holovach (6-4) hit designated hitter A.J. Reed with a pitch and allowed a one-out single to catcher Brian Holberton. Wik drove a two-run triple to the right-center field gap and scored when shortstop Thomas Lindauer hit a two-out single. Lindauer scored on a two-out double by right fielder Brett Phillips.

With a 4-2 lead, Feliz retired the first two batters of the third inning before another LumberKings rally. Littlewood doubled and scored on left fielder Brett Thomas' single. Yates doubled to put runners at second and third bases, and a wild pitch scored Thomas for a 4-4 tie. Third baseman Martin Peguero singled to give his team a 5-4 lead. Feliz retired the next five batters in a row, before Littlewood started another rally with a one-out single in the fifth inning. Thomas walked, and Yates hit a two-run double, ending Feliz's night. Left-hander Albert Minnis later allowed a two-out infield single by second baseman Andy Peterson that scored Yates for an 8-4 Clinton lead. Feliz was charged with career highs of eight earned runs on 10 hits. In 4 1/3 innings, he walked four batters and struck out three.

In the bottom of the fifth, center fielder James Ramsay hit a leadoff triple and scored on a groundout by first baseman Chase McDonald. Left fielder Ryan Bottger reached on a two-out error by shortstop Jack Reinheimer and later score d on Holberton's single. Wik hit his second triple to right-center field, but was left at third base in an 8-7 game. Holovach allowed seven runs – five earned – in five innings.

Clinton restored its four-run lead in the sixth inning, when Minnis gave up his first home run since June 25, 2013, to Mack and allowed a two-run single by Yates to make it 11-7. Quad Cities tallied runs in the seventh and eighth innings against LumberKings right-hander Rafael Pineda. Reed led off the seventh with a double and scored on Wik's third triple to left-center field. Wik had two career triples entering Thursday and became the fifth player in Midwest League history – and first ever for Quad Cities – to triple three times in a single game. Wisconsin's Michael Reed was the last to do so, when he had three triples May 22, 2013, at Modern Woodmen Park. In the eighth inning, Lindauer singled and scored on Ramsay's sacrifice fly. Right-hander Emilio Pagan escaped the eighth inning with an 11-9 lead, and Littlewood's two-run home run in the ninth off right-hander Frederick Tiburcio, insured Pagan's 12th save after his two scoreless innings.

Quad Cities opens a three-game series against first-half Western Division champion Kane County at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. River Bandits left-hander Blaine Sims (2-2) is scheduled to face left-hander Tyler Ihrig, who will make his Cougars debut

Annual Parade to Kick-Off 2014 Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Lori Chappell   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 14:21

DES MOINES, IA (07/31/2014)(readMedia)-- The 2014 Iowa State Fair Parade is set Wednesday, August 6. The Parade will begin at 6:15 p.m. in downtown Des Moines and is the kick-off to this year's "Amazingly Amusing" Fair, August 7-17.

The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will serve as this year's Parade Marshal in honor of over 100 years of service to the Des Moines Area. The CVB draws millions of visitors to the area each year and serves as a resource for many local events including amateur, collegiate and professional sports in tandem with the Des Moines Area Sports Commission, a division of the CVB. In the last several years, the CVB has collaborated with the Iowa State Fair to bring even more events to the area including the NAIA Wrestling Tournament, Percheron Horse Association of America's World Congress and National Junior High Finals Rodeo.

The CVB is led by President and CEO Greg Edwards. In addition to his role with the organization, Edwards serves as Chair of the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Des Moines Affiliate, as a board member for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Destination Marketing Alliance and the Travel Federation of Iowa, and Past Chair of Destination Marketing Association International.

The Iowa State Fair Parade is the state's largest, showcasing nearly 200 floats, animals, vehicles, novelty and performing units. Staging will take place at the State Capitol complex. Parade entrants will then travel west on Grand Avenue to 13th Street. Dispersion will take place between 13th and 18th Streets.

Highlights of the gala event will be re-broadcast on parade night throughout central Iowa on KDSM Fox 17 beginning at 10 p.m.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2014 Iowa State Fair, August 7-17. The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines. Discounted gate admission tickets are on sale now through our convenient print at home ticket option at For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

Simon announces 2014 State Fair schedule PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Ken Lowe   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 14:08

Lt. Governor’s tent highlights Illinois Reads authors


SPRINGFIELD – July 31, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today announced plans for the 2014 Illinois State Fair, which include a Back-to-School Book Drive, a book giveaway and readings by Illinois Reads authors, including Newbery award-winning author Joan Bauer. Simon also will present the annual Agriculture Day awards and make her fourth annual appearance with her band, Loose Gravel.

“The Illinois State Fair is a much-loved tradition, and it is one that my family and I have enjoyed for many years,” said Simon. “This year I am excited to showcase Illinois authors, including a recipient of the Newbery Award, in my tent. I encourage families to stop by and promote a love of reading for all generations of fairgoers.”

As an ambassador to Illinois Reads, Simon is partnering with the Illinois Reading Council to showcase live readings, a book giveaway and a book drive at her tent during the 10-day fair. Visitors may drop off new or gently used children’s books to be donated to Springfield schools, and also register to win the 35 books selected for Illinois Reads 2014, a literacy project aimed at children and adults.

Illinois authors selected for Illinois Reads 2014 and 2013 will appear in Lt. Governor Simon’s tent, including Joan Bauer, a New York Times bestselling author, whose awards include the Newbery Honor Medal and the Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize. She will read from her youth novel “Rules of the Road,” named one of the top young adult books of the quarter century by the American Library Association. Bauer is originally from River Forest (see complete reading list below).

On Governor’s Day, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Loose Gravel will perform from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Shed. The Carbondale-based blues band debuted at the state fair three years ago and is the only group fronted by a constitutional officer to perform.

On Ag Day, Simon will celebrate Illinois’ rich agricultural heritage by presenting the Ag Day Awards to families who have farmed in the state for at least 100 years. A resident of southern Illinois, Simon is chair of the Governor's Rural Affairs Council and advocates for agriculture education. Simon’s husband, Perry Knop, comes from a family that has farmed over a century near Steeleville.

Lt. Governor Simon’s tent is located at the intersection of Main Street and Brian Raney Avenue, across from the Emmerson Building and will be open Friday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information about Illinois Reads, please visit


EVENT: Ag Day Awards
DATE: Tuesday, Aug. 12
TIME: 12:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Director’s Lawn, Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Avenue, Springfield

EVENT: Loose Gravel performance
DATE: Wednesday, Aug. 13
TIME: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: The Shed, Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Avenue, Springfield




Friday, Aug. 8


EVENT: “Hollywood on Lake Michigan” by Michael Corcoran

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A retrospective on a century of Chicago’s relationship with the movies. Author Michael Corcoran is a certified Chicago tour guide and lecturer. Recommended for students in grades nine through12.


EVENT: “The Fourth Stall” by Chris Rylander

TIME: 1 to 3 p.m.

A humorous tale of crime, betrayal and school. Author Chris Rylander lives in Chicago. Recommended for students in grades six through eight.


EVENT: “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” by Edward Kelsey Moore

TIME: 3 to 5 p.m.

The New York Times bestseller tells the tale of three small-town Indiana women as they stick together through 40 years of life, love, and the blues. Author Edward Kelsey Moore was born in Indiana and lives in Chicago. Recommended for adults.


Saturday, Aug. 9


EVENT: “Rules of the Road” by Joan Bauer

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Awkward, 16 year-old Jenna learns life lessons as she drives her crusty old employer cross country in a bid to save the family business in this New York Times bestselling novel. Newbery Award-winner Joan Bauer is originally from River Forest. Recommended for students in grades six through eight.


EVENT: “Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer” by Carol Brendler

TIME: 1 to 3 p.m.

Winnie Finn is determined to win a prize at the county fair for her worms, even though there’s no worm prize… Carol Brendler has lived in Palatine, Oak Park and Mokena. Recommended for students in kindergarten through second grade.


Sunday, Aug. 10


EVENT: “The Journal of Best Practices” by David Finch

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The New York Times bestselling story of the author’s journey of self-improvement after he and his wife learn he has Asperger Syndrome. David Finch lives in Northern Illinois. Recommended for adults.


EVENT: “Peep!” by Kevin Luthardt

TIME: 1 to 3 p.m.

A young boy makes a new friend when a baby duckling hatches and starts following him around. Author, muralist and University of Illinois graduate Kevin Luthardt lives in Illinois. Recommended for children up to age 4.


Wednesday, Aug. 13


EVENT: “Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper” by John V. Madormo

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Twelve-year-old private eye Charlie Collier is on the trail of a lost parrot in this puzzle-filled first installment of an ongoing series. Author John Madormo, lives in Naperville. Recommended for students in grades three through five.


Saturday, Aug. 16


EVENT: “1 Zany Zoo” by Lori Degman

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Foxes who steal keys, beavers who cook chili and hyenas who play the blues are some of the things you might see before the gates open at this zany zoo. Author, mother and special education teacher Lori Degman lives in Vernon Hills. Recommended for children up to age 4.


EVENT: “The Bully Book” by Eric Kahn Gale

TIME: 1 to 3 p.m.

Eric Haskins must find the mysterious Bully Book to figure out how he has been turned into the school’s punching bag. Born in suburban Michigan, Eric Kahn Gale lives in Chicago. Recommended for students in grades six through eight.


EVENT: “Dark Life” by Kat Falls

TIME: 3 to 5 p.m.

Set in a world where the oceans have risen and humanity lives partially undersea, a young ocean floor farmer must defend his home from outlaws. Kat Falls teaches at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston. Recommended for students in grades six through eight.


Sunday, Aug. 17


EVENT: “Dark Life” by Kat Falls

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Set in a world where the oceans have risen and humanity lives partially undersea, a young ocean floor farmer must defend his home from outlaws. Kat Falls teaches at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston. Recommended for students in grades six through eight.



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