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Rock Island finds ways to keep cool in June heat wave

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Schwiebert Park is the place to be on a hot Tuesday in Rock Island. As temperatures hover near 90 for another day, kids blow off steam and keep cool with the water. Dozens of youngsters and grown-ups enjoy the activities.

"It's great," said Rock Island parent Tarah Houk. "I take my shoes off, put my feet in the water, and they run around and get to play and burn off some energy."

Loud pounding leads the way to a roofing project.That's where a construction crew learns to deal with the elements.

"The wind and the heat is a big factor," said Tim Raley, B & W Construction.

Workers like Tim start at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the most intense heat. But by late morning, bright sunshine is already taking a toll on the roofers.

"I'm hoping tomorrow is a much cooler day than today," Raley said.

So far, area hospitals report fewer heat-related problems as a result of the high temperatures. But on Monday, Genesis Health System treated 17 patients with heat-related illnesses at Davenport and Illini campuses.

Summer day camp is a reason to jump around the the Martin Luther King Center. Nearly 150 youngsters are participating in the six-week program. But when temperatures get too extreme, activities adapt to the uncomfortable climate.

"If it's too hot, we come inside," said Connor Perkins, a camp leader. "We do dancing in the rooms, or we watch movies and color."

Plenty of water breaks keep the kids hydrated on a hot day. It's all about good common sense.

"Their health is our main concern," said Desmond Cunningham, camp supervisor. "We really don't want to keep them outside too long."

Back at the spray park, there's lots of cooling fun to go around. And on a day like this, kids don't mind splashing around.

"They seem to enjoy it," Houk concluded. "They know when they're hot. They ask us to go in. It works out."

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