The latest local news

$3.5 million expansion allows for speech pathology graduate program at Augustana College

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois--  A new master's degree program at Augustana College could soon be joining campus once accreditation is approved.

A new building, named Bodahl, made room for the speech-language pathology program with more classrooms and space for students and clients.

"The ability to do more innovative things in our therapy sessions and new classrooms, that's one concern that our old building, had we had limited classroom space," Allison Haskill, Director of the Center for Speech and Hearing at Augie said. "Our new one has significantly improved facilities for that."

The $3.5 million investment was spearheaded by a$500,000 anonymous donation.

"Our center serves individuals of all age groups with a variety of communication impairments," Haskill said.

"From late talking children to adults who've had a stroke to individuals who need voice therapy, so having more space and improved facilities will just allow us to continue to grow that."

The building is set to open in the spring.

Once Augie receives accreditation for the master's program, the speech and hearing department hopes to enroll students by summer of 2020.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange loses bid to delay hearing

WQAD News -

Demonstrators hold banners and placards calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be freed and not extradited to the US outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on October 21, 2019 ahead of a case management hearing in Assange’s case. – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was ordered Friday to make his first in-person London court appearance to determine whether he can be released from prison as he fights extradition to the United States. The 48-year-old Australian has been in custody at the high-security Belmarsh prison in southwest London since being dramatically dragged from Ecuador’s embassy in April. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a U.K. court Monday to fight extradition to the United States on espionage charges, and he lost a bid to delay proceedings so that his legal team would have more time to prepare his case.

Assange defiantly raised a fist to supporters who jammed the public gallery in Westminster Magistrates Court for a rare view of their hero. He appears to have lost weight but looked healthy, although he spoke very softly and at times seemed despondent and confused.

Assange and his legal team failed to convince District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that a delay in the already slow-moving case was justified. The full extradition is still set for a five-day hearing in late February, with brief interim hearings in November and December.

Assange hadn’t been seen in public for several months and his supporters had raised concerns about his well-being. He wore a blue sweater and a blue sports suit for the hearing, and had his silvery-gray hair slicked back.

After the judge turned down his bid for a three-month delay, Assange said in halting tones he didn’t understand the events in court.

He said the case is not “equitable” because the U.S. government has “unlimited resources” while he doesn’t have easy access to his lawyers or to documents needed to prepare his battle against extradition while he is confined to Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London.

“They have all the advantages,” the 48-year-old Assange said.

U.S. authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

Lawyer Mark Summers, representing Assange, told the judge that more time was needed to prepare Assange’s defense because the case has many facets, including the very rare use of espionage charges against a journalist, and will require a “mammoth” amount of planning and preparation

“Our case will be that this is a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is legally unprecedented,” he said.

He also accused the U.S. of illegally spying on Assange while he was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking refuge and taking other illegal actions against the WikiLeaks founder.

“The American state has been actively engaged in intruding into privileged discussions between Mr. Assange and his lawyers in the embassy, also unlawful copying of their telephones and computers (and) hooded men breaking into offices,” he said.

He did not provide evidence of these charges, which likely would be part of Assange’s defense against extradition when the full hearing is held next year.

Summers said the initial case against Assange was prepared during the administration of former President Barack Obama in 2010 but wasn’t acted on until Donald Trump assumed the presidency. He said it represents the administration’s aggressive attitude toward whistleblowers.

Summers asked for a three-month delay to the full hear but was rebuffed after lawyer James Lewis, representing the U.S., said the U.S. opposed any delay to the proceeding.

The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, including former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and outside the courthouse others carried placards calling for Assange to be released. There were chants demanding he be freed.

The judge said the full hearing will be heard at Belmarsh Court, which is adjacent to the prison where Assange is being held. She said this would be easier for Assange to attend and contains more room for the media.

Assange’s lawyers said the five days wouldn’t be enough for the entire case to be heard. They are expected to ask for more time at a later date.

Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.

Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.

A number of media freedom groups have said the use of espionage charges against Assange represents a threat to all journalists.

11-year-old breaks Guinness World Record at IMT Des Moines Marathon

WQAD News -

It’s not very often a world record is broken in Des Moines, especially when the record-breaker isn’t even in high school.

That’s exactly what Des Moines got at the IMT Des Moines Marathon on Sunday- and it’s five years in the making.

11-year-old Aiden Jaquez is smaller than most of the other runners at the marathon, but what he lacks for in size, he makes up for in experience.

As of Sunday morning, he’s become the youngest person to run in a half-marathon in every state.

His first marathon was five years ago. He rode in a stroller while his grandma, Kathleen Taylor, pushed him along.

He’s been running ever since.

Vietnam veteran in hospice gets to see his beloved dog one last time

WQAD News -

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A Vietnam veteran living out his finals days was able to see his beloved dog one last time.

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared the emotional story along with photos on their Facebook page.

John Vincent was admitted to the Hospice Center at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center last week. Since he has no family in the area, he had to surrender his dog Patch to the shelter.

“John Vincent may not have much time left,” said Amy Neal, a palliative care social worker and he had only one request. “Vincent wanted to see his dog one last time,” the shelter wrote in the post.

On Friday, the shelter’s director and team members made that happen and brought Patch in to see John.

“It was such a heart warming moment! They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true,” they concluded.

Patch is now back at the shelter and already has an interested adopter.


Residents of northeast Syria city pelt departing US troops

WQAD News -

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Angry over the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, residents of a Kurdish-dominated city pelted departing American military vehicles with potatoes Monday as they drove through.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said U.S. troops will stay in eastern Syria to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at least the coming weeks and he was discussing options to keep them there.

A video by the Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of armored vehicles driving through the northeastern city of Qamishli. People in the street hurled potatoes at the vehicles, shouting, "No America," and "America liar," in English.

"Like rats, America is running away," one man shouted in Arabic. Another shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held areas who have died in the Turkish offensive.

The scene encapsulated the Kurds' feelings of betrayal and added a new indignity to an American withdrawal that has been rushed and saw several close brushes with Turkish-backed forces.

The Kurds were stunned when President Donald Trump two weeks ago abruptly decided to pull U.S. troops out of border areas, abandoning their allied Kurdish-backed fighters ahead of Turkey's invasion. After the assault began Oct. 9, Trump ordered a general withdrawal from Syria.

At another location, near the town of Tal Tamr, a group of protesters raised banners to departing US troops late Sunday, according to an Associated Press video.

One man blocked the way of a U.S. van with a poster reading: "Thanks for US people, but Trump betrayed us."

The Kurdish-led force were the U.S.'s ally in the long and bloody fight that eventually brought down the Islamic State group's rule over northeast and eastern Syria. Abandoned by U.S. forces, the Kurds agreed to a cease-fire deal brokered by Washington that requires them to leave a section of the border, handing it over to Turkish-backed forces.The Kurds were stunned when President Trump two weeks ago pulled U.S. troops out of border areas, abandoning their allied Kurdish-backed fighters ahead of Turkey's invasion.

Esper said he is discussing an option that would keep a small residual U.S. military force to secure oil fields located in eastern Syria and continue the fight against Islamic State militants.

Speaking during a visit to Kabul, he said he has not made a final decision on that option and has not yet presented it to Trump. He underscored the importance of protecting the oil fields from IS to ensure the militants don't profit from them

He said American troops who are working with Kurdish-led forces to guard the oil fields are still in place. The withdrawal could take weeks, he said, and troops around the town of Kobani on the border with Turkey are the first leaving.

As part of the cease-fire deal, Kurdish forces on Sunday pulled back from the border town of Ras al-Ayn on Sunday, paving the way for Turkish troops deployment in the area. Under the deal, the Kurds are to withdraw from a stretch of territory 120 kilometers (75 miles) along the border and 30 kilometers (19 miles) deep. Qamishli is east of that area.

A senior Kurdish official, Redur Khalil, said Monday his forces are complying with agreement and are preparing to complete the withdrawal. He called for an international mechanism to protect Kurdish civilians who want to stay in their towns after Kurdish-led fighters leave.

Most Kurdish civilians have fled Ras al-Ayn, fearing killings or repression by Turkish-backed forces, and any still in the territory that the Kurdish fighters are leaving are likely to do the same.

Khalil said Turkey continues to violate the cease-fire, accusing its troops of shelling a village at dawn and seeking to carry out military operations. He criticized the U.S. as guarantor of the cease-fire deal, saying it has not forced Turkey to adhere to it.

On Monday, Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, accused the Kurdish-led forces of 30 live fire violations of the four-day-old truce, including an attack that killed one Turkish soldier. He said Turkey retaliated against these attacks.

Cavusoglu renewed warnings that his country will resume its military offensive in northeast Syria if Kurdish fighters don't vacate the region before the cease-fire is set to end Tuesday evening.

"If they don't withdraw, our operation will re-start," Mevlut Cavusoglu said speaking in Istanbul. He added, however, that Kurdish fighters were complying with the deal and withdrawing.

Turkey says it wants to return Syrian refugees to the areas evacuated. A crucial meeting between Turkish and Russian leaders is expected to further address arrangements along the Syria-Turkish border.

Man sprays bear repellent during California Trump protest

WQAD News -

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Southern California say a supporter of Donald Trump was arrested after spraying bear repellent on a small crowd protesting the president at the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica police say pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators were shouting at each other Saturday when a scuffle broke out.

video posted online shows a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat circling the crowd and then unleashing a torrent of spray from a canister. Officials say nobody was seriously hurt by the repellent, which is similar to pepper sprays used by police.

The Los Angeles Times reports authorities arrested a man who could face charges including violating the terms of his parole from a previous weapons violation. His name was not released.

Investigators are trying to determine whether a second man also sprayed the crowd.

Munchie Mondays: Trader Joe’s snacks

WQAD News -

We went on a bit of a health kick Monday, October 21. News 8's Jonathan Ketz, Angie Sharp and Storm Track 8 Meteorologist Morgan Strackbein tried a lot of snacks from Trader Joe's.

It started a couple weeks ago, when Angie and Jon had their first store experience. Angie brought some different snacks, and she, Jon and Eric tried them on the air.

The closest Trader Joe's to the Quad Cities is a little more than an hour away, in Coralville, Iowa.

So, Monday, they tried some more snacks that they missed.

The first thing they tried was something similar to the celery snack "Ants on a Log:" Peanut Butter and Peppers. The combination is actually based off the name of a fitness blog. "Peanut Butter and Peppers" takes everyday food and makes it healthier to enjoy.

That's not the only thing they tried.

They enjoyed a jar of Speculoos Cookie Butter. Trader Joe's makes a version that's similar to the original Lotus Biscoff spread, which is from Belgium.

And, it's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? The anchors popped open a bottle of Charles Shaw wine, which only costs three bucks. It used to sell for a dollar cheaper. At the time, it was called "Two-Buck Chuck."

The last thing they tried was a box of Maple Leaf Cookies, which is also a customer favorite.

They didn't get to try all the snacks, but click on the video above to see what they thought of these snacks.

Man found alive a week after car careened into wooded area near Missouri highway

WQAD News -

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (WDAF) – A Missouri man has been found alive after vanishing nearly a week ago.

Ryan Linneman, of Lee's Summit, was taken to the hospital in critical condition after an off-road dirt biker found his car crashed in a wooded area Wednesday near Interstate 470 and Raytown Road.

"He originally thought it was just an abandoned vehicle," Sgt. Bill Mahoney with KCPD said. "When he got up on it, he saw someone inside it. He initially thought he was dead and only realized he was still alive after a couple minutes."

Lee's Summit police said the 37-year-old was last seen on Oct. 9 driving a tan, 2004 Honda Accord.

Friends and family were concerned about his well-being. Investigators said there wasn't a trace of him anywhere and there weren't any "digital breadcrumbs." No cellphone or debit/credit card activity. License plate readers didn't pick up his car.

But then around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Linneman was found inside his car that had traveled 175 feet off the south edge of the highway, struck a sign and fell down a 50 foot decline.

"We think he was injured by the crash, and he couldn't get out of the car, couldn't really help himself." Mahoney said. "Had that dirt biker not come upon him, I don't see how anyone would have found him."

Linneman's family said he's dealing with multiple medical issues, and they're asking for privacy at this time.

Rock Island musical duo coming home to perform at Rust Belt

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois-- Two brothers from Sherrard are performing a homecoming show after moving to Nashville, Tennessee.

The Cerny Brothers are playing at the Rust Belt on Saturday, Nov. 2. The concert starts at 7 p.m.

Robert and Scott Cerny were raised in Sherrard, Illinois and went to college in Los Angeles. Pursuing their music career, they eventually moved to Nashville, performing in bars, living rooms and theaters.

They recently signed a contract with Cleveland International Records and have released several albums and singles over the years.

Tickets are available for the Cerny Brothers' concert next week. They're $15.

The Score Sunday – Mediapolis VB, Morrison FB, Jake Meeske, FCA

WQAD News -

This week on The Score Sunday we talk with the 39-1 Mediapolis Volleyball Team.  The Bullettes are ranked 2nd in the State in Class 1A as they get ready for post season.  Morrison Football is off to an 8-0 start and ranked 4th in Class 4A.  Jake Meeske from East Moline is ready for his final year at St. Ambrose.  The FCA story of the week features Tevin Baker from Wethersfield H.S. who is leaving a lasting legacy.

Two Buffalo churches hit by vandals Saturday night, suspects unknown

WQAD News -

BUFFALO, Iowa -- Two churches almost next door to each other were the subject of destruction when vandals reportedly broke into them Overnight on Sunday, October 20th.

St. Peter Catholic Church and Cavalry Lutheran church, only two doors apart, both sustained heavy damage, such as shattered glass, toppled statues, broken electronics, and destroyed tabernacles.

Jim Matthys, a parish member and finance council president of St. Peter's, says the vandals likely came in through a window just above an air conditioning unit, when they likely received cuts that are the probable source of blood stains found in the church. He also says St. Peters is not missing any valuables, but estimates that the damage could cost up to $40,000.

St. Peter's Sunday mass was moved to sister parish St. Alphonsus In Davenport, where the community expressed support for the small parish. "We were at mass this morning at St. Alphonso, and the priest and also the bishop of the diocese was there, he said we`re going to pray for these people because obviously that`s the only thing we can do to help them," says Matthys.

Police are investigating the incident.

Tracking storms and gusty winds for Monday

WQAD News -

A strong storm system is cranking up this evening over Nebraska and the Dakotas that will bring rain, a few thunderstorms, and strong winds to the Quad Cities on Monday.

The area of low pressure will pass to our north meaning we'll be on the warmer side of the system with rain and a few thunderstorms overspreading the region after midnight Monday morning. Any severe storms will remain south of the area, but some heavy downpours will be likely. We'll see a couple waves of rain, with the heaviest being during the morning hours before a few showers takeover for the early afternoon. All rainfall will end by the evening hours with mostly cloudy skies expected for the evening as the winds continue to increase.

We'll see a few breaks in the clouds by mid-afternoon before another round of clouds and more robust wind gusts move into the region. Winds will begin gusting close to 40 MPH by Monday evening with higher gusts likely into the early morning hours of Tuesday. These strong winds will last through much of the day Tuesday before diminishing Tuesday night. If Tuesday is your trash day, make sure that garbage tote is weighed down!

Total rainfall amounts will average around half an inch to three-quarters of an inch total by Monday evening. Some localized one-inch amounts will be possible, especially east of the Mississippi River.

Behind this storm system, we will see briefly cooler conditions for Tuesday with highs returning to the 50s. A weaker system will pass by on Wednesday into Thursday bringing us a brief period of warmer conditions before we cool down by the end of the week.

Overall the pattern looks like it will be locked into cooler temperatures as we head into the Halloween Holiday and even right into early November. Average highs this time of year range from the upper 50s to lower 60s for reference.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Here's a look at the hour-by-hour forecast from the StormTrack 8 Weather App:

Click on the links below to download our free weather app:

‘Appalling’ homecoming proposal shocks Wisconsin parents, administrators

WQAD News -

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. - A disturbing photo of a Wisconsin high school student's homecoming proposal is going viral.

Circulating on social media from inside Badger High School in Lake Geneva, the controversial image shows a student asking a friend to last Saturday's homecoming dance.

"I was appalled and wanted to cry," Karen Lake, a Badger High School parent, told WITI.

The words written on the poster read, "If I was black, I'd be picking cotton. But I'm white, so I'm picking you up for homecoming."

"It's absolutely ridiculous. There's no place for it in society. It's hatred," Lake said.

Lake has four children who attend school in the district and one recent graduate of Badger High School.

"Not only do I have two children that are mixed race, I just can't believe this would be tolerated in the school," Lake said.

Another parent, Danny White, said his children brought the shocking image, originally shared on SnapChat, to his attention.

"Thankfully, my kids are raised right and know how to treat people no matter what the color of their skin is," White said.

Badger High School administrators released the following statement:

"Last night, District and Badger Administrators became aware of a racially insensitive post involving a Badger High School student that began circulating on social media. The school district is investigating this situation and is working with students, parents, staff and local authorities.

"We want to be very clear: Badger High School is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry are respected and celebrated."

"Hopefully someone is held accountable and maybe they'll make an example out of her," White said.

Lake Geneva Schools Superintendent Jim Gottinger tells WITI appropriate disciplinary action has been taken. He could not go into detail.

Davenport coffee shop reportedly robbed early Sunday morning

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport's Coffee Revolution reports that it had been broken into and robbed in the early hours of Sunday, October 20th.

The coffee shop located on Brady Street posted pictures of damage and security footage from the the incident that was dated to 3:29 a.m. A young man broke into the building with a piece of concrete and reportedly robbed the store of its cash. The shop also says that the burglar had an accomplice waiting outside in a vehicle.

WQAD has reached out to the Davenport Police Department for more information, but has been unable to make contact at this time.


City of Davenport releases Halloween parade map, traffic closures

WQAD News -

The City of Davenport released a street map in a Facebook post detailing the planned route for October 26th’s Halloween Parade, and the streets affected by it.

The parade starts at 2 p.m. at the intersection of 3rd Street and Perishing Avenue. The procession will travel down 3rd Street until the intersection at Western Avenue.

The map also details road closures around the parade route, the times these roads close and open, and where parking is located.


Woman discovers tumor at physical therapy visit, and then beats cancer

WQAD News -

UnityPoint Health detailed a story about a woman who came in for physical therapy, but found out her problems were much, much worse.

According to the story, Karen Becker went to Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner, Iowa regarding discomfort near her armpit that she presumed was something like a punched nerve or pulled muscle. The physical therapist working with her, Justin Trainor, noticed something suspicious upon evaluation.

The care provider she was then sent to ordered a mammogram and figured out what it was. Becker had a cancerous tumor.

Over time, Becker would  go through 16 rounds of chemotherapy at Allen Hospital in Waterloo. Then, after a double mastectomy surgery, Karen Becker had successfully beaten cancer.

Becker is now cancer-free and living normally again. Dr. Wael Ghalayini, the physician who guided her through the chemotherapy runs, describes the feeling of of a patient making a full recovery from the doctor’s perspective, saying, ““That’s what really motivates us, as physicians: to hear people are getting back to their normal lives, that’s really what keeps us going – that we can make an impact on somebody’s life.”

Becker describes the ordeal’s effect on her and how it changed her perspective, saying ,”“My attitude has changed. Don’t wait if there’s pain. I know mammograms can be uncomfortable, but cancer’s way more uncomfortable. It’s so important, and I learned that the hard way.”


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