Thursday, January 17, 2019

THURSDAY DAILY

LONGTIME BASKETBALL COACH BILL FLEMING DIED EARLY THIS MORNING
FROM A LUNG DISEASE, AT HIS HOME IN THE DES MOINES AREA.    HIS LAST
VISIT TO MAQUOKETA WAS LATE LAST YEAR WHEN HE WAS HERE TO
AUTOGRAPH HIS NEW BOOK ABOUT HIS CAREER.     HE WAS COACH IN MAQUOKETA FOR 34 YEARS BEFORE RETIRING.    HE HAD MANY VERY SUCCESSFUL SEASON WITH THE CARDINALS.    NOTHING OFFICIAL, BUT I HAVE BEEN TOLD HIS FUNERAL
AND BURIAL WILL BE HERE IN MAQUOKETA SOMETIME LATE NEXT WEEK.
I DON'T HAVE HIS AGE, BUT BELIEVE HE WAS IN THE MID TO LATE 70'S.

DENNIS VOY



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WEDNESDAY DAILY

SAGE ROSENFELS GREW UP IN MAQUOKETA, WAS A GOOD  FOOTBALL PLAYER FOR THE CARDINALS, THEN STARTING QUARTERBACK ALSO FOR THE  CYCLONES AND WENT ON TO THE NFL AS A QUARTERBACK FOR  MORE THAN 10 YEARS.
HIS DAD OWNED A BUSINESS IN DOWNTOWN MAQUOKETA WHILE LIVING HERE.
HE DID A NICE TRIBUTE ON FACEBOOK FOR LEIGHTON.
THIS IS IT.




Growing up in rural Jackson county in eastern Iowa, listening to KMAQ was a staple of my youth. We heard all the daily happenings in and around Maquoketa. We found out what we were expecting for weather that week. We followed Ozzie Smith and the St Louis Cardinals every afternoon in the summer time, and even occasionally bought something from the Saturday morning auction show. While driving the dark gravel roads into basketball practice at 6am, I always knew what the grain prices would be that day, even if I had no idea what that actually meant at the time.

We also tuned in to listen to many of the high school football, basketball, and baseball games in the area. The vast majority of those games were called my Leighton Hepker, who passed away this week. Leighton had a distinct voice that I can, to this day, easily recall as he described the action on various fields and gyms throughout the state of Iowa. The excitement in his voice, and the detail by which he covered the battles, no doubt helped shape my love for sports. Maybe, just maybe, Leighton would be calling my name and jersey number some day as he covered my team.

That day did come and sure enough I found myself being interviewed by Leighton with his small metal microphone and basic recording device. He never asked a bad question, understood the various sports extremely well, and always understood the fact he was interviewing a 16 or 17 year old young man, not a 10 year pro athlete.

After my high school career, I came back to Maquoketa during my college and pro career, and occasionally Leighton would overhear I was in town and invite me in for an interview. I was always amazed how much he knew about what was going on with my current team, how our division had panned out, and what the main stories were throughout the NFL. Leighton obviously loved and paid attention to sports and competition at all levels.

I saw Leighton about 18 months ago at the Maquoketa Hall of Fame induction ceremony as we were entering the Hall together. The entire evening was a step back in time for me. I ran into people I hadn’t seen since graduation. I talked to former coaches, teachers, classmates, and a bunch of wonderful folks that were a part of my youth.

I knew Leighton had been sick and it was easy to notice he had lost plenty of weight. But listening to his speech, that voice of my childhood had not changed in any way. His speech was crystal clear, well thought out, organized, sincere, and included a witty joke or two. He was extremely appreciative to have called Maquoketa his home for the past 40 years, a place he met his wife, raised their kids, and held nearly every post possible in various business and charitable organizations in town. Leighton was a Maquoketan through and through.

During his speech, I closed my eyes and his voice transformed me back 30 years. I was again in the backseat of my parents’ Volkswagen van, driving on a random dark and meandering county road somewhere. Leighton’s play by play floated through the car speakers, placing me in a raucous gym a county or two away. I’ll never forget that memory. When I think of Leighton Hepker, I will be remembering that image and his voice.

Rest In Peace Leighton. Thank you for helping describe and share those special moments from my childhood. You may be gone, but your voice will forever be etched into my memories, and the call will always be crystal clear.

-Sage Rosenfels



THE MAQUOKETA CARDINAL BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM WON AGAIN LAST NIGHT AT MT. VERNON....AND ARE NOW 14 AND 0

DENNIS VOY