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Ask the Journal: Is the killer still walking free?

Ask the Journal: Is the killer still walking free?

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 How about the 1996 killing of a man on Park Avenue? Is this case now closed? Is the killer still walking free?

According to Lt. Brett Talkington of the Muscatine Police Department, unsolved murder cases are never closed.

Talkington believes the incident in question relates to the shooting death of Scott Tompkins, who was 23 at the time of his murder. The incident occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 1995, near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Harrison Street.

No one has been charged with his murder and the investigation is still open through the Muscatine County Attorney’s office.

— Melissa Regennitter of the Muscatine Journal

What do the call letters of the radio station KWPC stand for and when did the radio station first come on the air?

KWPC, which went on air in 1947, stands for “Keep a Watch on the Pearl City.” Years ago, the call letters read “Keep Watching the Port City,” but station officials said that it’s more pertinent to use Pearl City today.

According to former resident Emily (Evans) Clairmont, several weeks before the station went on air, the Muscatine Journal ran a box containing the station’s letters, which it ran until the station came on the air.

“We saw these letters (KWPC) in other places throughout the city, with no notice of what they meant,” Clairmont, now of Cohoes, N.Y, said. “The first day the radio station came on the air, the announcer mentioned what the call letters meant, and I’ve never forgotten them.”

— Bryon Houlgrave

of the Muscatine Journal

What is the Cedar/Muscatine County Decategorization Board and what does it do?

According to Kas Kelly, a member of the Cedar/Muscatine County Decategorization Board, “Decat” receives funding through the Department of Human Services and the Department of Human Rights’ Office of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning.

The Iowa Department of Human Services provides state funding to each county in certain categories for local usage. Whatever money is not used at the county level  goes back to the state and is then decategorized. That lump sum is divided up and a percentage goes to the county decategorization boards along with the juvenile justice funding.

The purpose of the county decategorization boards around the state is to keep children ages birth through 18 who are at risk of entering or re-entering the welfare or juvenile justice system out of the governmental process, through prevention programs.

“It gives us local control and flexibility to utilize the funds and determine where the money goes,” Kelly said.

The Muscatine County decategorization money has gone to Community Partnership, Lutheran Services Start program and Lutheran Services Family Advocacy.

Kelly said Cedar County and Muscatine County decategorization boards hold joint monthly meetings, but vote separately on where their share of the money goes.

The joint board has one staff member, Sandra Potter Marquardt. Board members representing Muscatine County are Steve Roelle, Kas Kelly and Mike Johannsen. Representing Cedar County are and LeRoy Moeller and Charles Hubble. Representing both counties are Jim Cruchelow, Pat Hendrickson and Judge Gary Strausser.

— Connie Street of the Muscatine Journal

The City of Muscatine doesn’t appear to enforce its ordinance that requires property owners to have their sidewalks cleared of snow and ice 24 hours after a storm. Why?

Enforcing the ordinance is a multi-step process that begins with a complaint, according to city administrator A.J. Johnson.

“We respond primarily on a complaint basis, given the problem,” Johnson said.

If staff from the city’s department of planning, zoning and building safety determine a problem exists, Johnson said the property owner will be notified and given an opportunity to rectify the situation before city staff shovels the sidewalk and assesses the costs.

A similar process is used to enforce other nuisance ordinances.

Johnson said such ordinances are a “lower priority” for the city when allocating resources.

“We have limited resources,” he said. “We do the best we can; we do respond to complaints.”

Johnson said he has personally received fewer than 12 complaints this winter.

— Jennifer Meyer of the

Muscatine Journal

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