The latest local news

Davenport officials raise concerns about higher rail tracks

WQAD News -

Davenport officials say Canadian Pacific Railway didn’t need permits or city approval for the work that began March 28 because the company has right of way.

The aldermen and city administrators raised concerns Tuesday, April 2 about accessibility and the possible disruption of road traffic at seven railroad crossings in the city, the Quad-City Times reports. Some aldermen say they want the state to intervene.

Canadian Pacific spokesman Andy Cummings said in a statement Tuesday that the company has been in “close contact” with the city about the permanent “upgrade.”

Public Works Director Nicole Gleason says the company notified the city of its intentions but didn’t provide a start date.

Mom says terminally ill son was exposed to measles at hospital

WQAD News -

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A terminally ill child was exposed to measles while he was being treated at UC Davis Medical Center back in March, according to KTXL.

On Tuesday, 7-year-old Jackson was full of energy - but looks can be deceiving. Jackson has around 100 small tumors and a few very large ones on his brain.

"It’s terminal and he will succumb to his disease at some point," Souza told KTXL.

Diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis at 4 months old, Jackson has been in and out of hospitals since he was an infant.

On March 17th, Souza brought Jackson to UC Davis Medical Center after he began having seizures. Days later, doctors told Souza that during his hospital stay her son had been exposed to measles.

"When I found out I felt mortified. My son's already terminal," she said. "I don’t have any area to risk any potential anything with him because I’m just, like, walking around him with a plastic bubble just trying to keep him here as long as I can."

Tuesday was Jackson’s first day home. He had to be quarantined at the hospital for a number of days.

Souza claims doctors told her the source was another child who had come in with measles whose parents had not vaccinated her. She caught the disease while overseas.

"Jackson was in the room, the emergency department room, where this other patient was seen," said UC Davis Health Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg. "It was less than an hour separation between them. So, there was potentially still measles virus in the air."

Dr. Blumberg said even though Jackson was exposed, he does not believe the child has measles. However, Souza says she’s seen all the symptoms.

Blumberg added it's hard for most doctors to identify a measles case because they’re so rare. It took days for doctors to confirm the young girl was in fact infected with the highly contagious disease.

At the time that Jackson was put into the room, it was not yet known that the girl had measles, according to Blumberg.

"Oh, not at all. It wasn’t even suspected at that point," Blumberg said.

Souza feels the negligence of other parents may shorten her son’s already delicate life.

"People making irresponsible decisions for their family and their child need to really, really look and see how that could affect other people because I still could lose my son," Souza said.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help Jackson's family and the Hope for Jackson Facebook page follows his journey.

Wisconsin parents plead for liver donor to save 5-month-old’s life

WQAD News -

Baby Marcus

WAUWATOSA, Wis. - It is a race against the clock. The parents of a 5-month-old boy named Marcus are making a public plea for help.

Marcus is living with liver failure and is in desperate need of a liver donor. His parents, Whitney McLean and Tony Albers, say Marcus has just weeks to live without the organ, according to WITI.

Marcus has been hooked up to machines at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for three weeks and counting. So far, attempts to find a donor have not worked.

Possible candidates must have O blood type, weigh less than 150 pounds, younger than 40, in good health, and not recently pregnant.

Doctors only need 25 percent of the liver and said it will grow back within six months.

"We just took his 5-month picture. Little different from the 4-month one. Yeah," Albers told WITI.

But instead of growing stronger and bigger, little Marcus is doing the opposite.

"The last couple weeks have been really rough. His health - he has as good day and then he has a bad day," Albers said.

Marcus suffers from Immunodeficiency 47 - a rare genetic disorder. There are just twelve known cases in the world passed down through the mother. Only baby boys are at risk of showing symptoms.

Baby Marcus

"My grandmother had all girls, my mom had all girls," said McLean.

The disease essentially attacks the liver - giving patients just weeks to live.

Unable to donate part of their own livers, McLean and Albers found a donor for Marcus. But shortly before the transplant was scheduled for Tuesday morning, April 2, they received devastating news. It was not a perfect match.

"We thought we'd be talking about him in surgery right now -  and please have your prayers, because he is in surgery," McLean said.

Now the Waukesha parents are back to square one.

"Waiting is the hardest part," McLean said.

"The helplessness feeling, is what it is," Albers said.

The couple hopes to give their young son a second chance.

"We'll keep fighting and hopefully he'll hang on," McLean said. "He's fighting so we have to fight."

"Exactly, is how I feel about it," Albers said.

If you believe you may be a donor candidate, please contact the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on Facebook or visit chw.org.

Slain college student’s boyfriend was tracking her ‘on the phone’ while she was in wrong car

WQAD News -

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The boyfriend of a murdered University of South Carolina student said at a vigil on Tuesday he was on the phone tracking her location when she got into the wrong car, according to WGHP.

“I was on the phone tracking her to make sure she got home safely and immediately knew there was something that was wrong,” Greg Corbishley said, holding back tears. “Unfortunately, I was two and a half hours away. I would do anything to go back.”

Samantha Josephson, 21, was killed early Friday morning after getting into a black Chevy Impala she thought was her Uber. Josephson’s roommates began to worry when they hadn’t heard from her later Friday morning. They called the police around 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Her body was discovered a day after she disappeared. The coroner said she died from multiple sharp injuries.

Josephson’s father also spoke at the vigil.

“He was a monster, right?” Seymour Josephson said about Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, who has been arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping. “What he did, I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did as a parent.”

Building security installed at Rock Island County Office Building

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — The Rock Island County Office Building now has building security in place, according to a press release from Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos.

The new measures are precautionary, Bustos told News 8. Employees in the building had expressed desire for more security.

The press release, sent out at 10:09 a.m. on April 4 on their Facebook page. Increased security was approved in the 2019 budge.

“All visitors visiting any office or attending any public meeting within the county office building shall now pass through security screening,” the release states.

The building now has only one public access point on 3rd Avenue. Residents will have to pass through an X-Ray machine. There will also be a sheriff’s deputy and a bailiff present.

Show us your “Safe Place Selfie”

WQAD News -

Grab your cell phones and head to your severe storm shelter! It’s Safe Place Selfie Day! This campaign was created by The National Weather Service to drive awareness about the importance of having an action plan in place for when severe weather strikes.

WQAD is an ambassador of the weather service’s Weather-Ready Nation, an outreach and education program dedicated to raising awareness about severe weather safety. Each year through classroom and small group visits, it is our mission to make sure that every individual in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities is prepared for when severe weather strikes.

Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, lightning, all of these hazards pose a substantial risk to life and property each year.

Here are some helpful suggestions from the National Weather Service:

  • Think about all of the possible hazards that you would need to seek shelter from, not just tornadoes. Storm shelters, safe rooms, and basements are all good places, but what other locations could be utilized in a different type of emergency?
  • Do you have a NOAA Weather Radio? Emergency kit? Family communication plan? Don’t rely on cell phone communication to be present after a storm has passed. Be ready to seek alternative methods of communication. Have a predetermined central meeting place in case your family becomes separated from one another.
  • Are the contacts in your phone up to date? Make sure you have all the crucial phone numbers stored, along with insurance information.

Practice, practice, practice! It’s the easiest way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Join the movement and show us your Safe Place Selfie! We’ll feature them Thursday morning on Good Morning Quad Cities.

-Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Unused cafeteria food turned into take-home meals for students

WQAD News -

ELKHART, Ind. – An Indiana school district has partnered with a non-profit organization for a pilot program to make sure kids get enough to eat at home, WSBT reports.

Students at Elkhart Community Schools get breakfast and lunch at school, but sometimes they may be without food at home on the weekends.

The district has partnered with the non-profit organization Cultivate to provide weekend food to a group of students at the elementary school by using unused cafeteria food.

“Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system,” Jim Conklin with Cultivate told WSBT. “You don’t always think of a school.”

“Over-preparing is just part of what happens,” said Conklin. “We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it.”

“At Elkhart Community Schools, we were wasting a lot of food,” said Natalie Bickel, student services. “There wasn’t anything to do with the food. So they came to the school three times a week and rescued the food.”

According to WSBT, 20 students will receive a backpack with eight individual frozen meals every Friday until the end of the school year.

The district says it hopes to expand the program to other schools.

Woman buys out Payless store’s shoes to aid Nebraska flood victims

WQAD News -

HAYS, Kan. – A woman bought all 204 pairs of shoes left at a Kansas Payless ShoeSource liquidation sale to help Nebraska flood victims, according to the Hays Post.

The shoes were marked down to $1 per pair at the Big Creek Crossing location in Hays, but Addy Tritt reportedly contacted Payless and worked out a deal to buy every remaining pair for $100.

“I have been so blessed,” she told the Post. “There have been so many great people in my life who have inspired me. I see so many horrible things in the news. So many people have helped me when I was down, I want to help if I can.”

The haul included 162 pairs of baby shoes, 44 pairs of women’s shoes and 2 pairs of men’s shoes. Payless announced in February that all of its 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico would be closing.

The care package was part of a drive by the Sigma Alpha sorority at Fort Hays State University.

Officials say that extensive flooding has caused over $1 billion in damage to farms in Nebraska and Iowa, a number that is expected to increase as the floodwaters recede.

Related: Military dropping hay from helicopters for cows stranded by floodwater

Tritt says she hopes her act inspires others who have also been blessed to volunteer and donate.

‘Used to date a stripper with the name Miranda Rights’ Illinois man says while being arrested

WQAD News -

PEORIA, Illinois — A man was arrested at a strip club on Friday, March 29, when police say he refused to pay what he owed, according to a report from the Journal Star.

Police were called to Big Al’s Speakeasy at 11:40 p.m. when the man refused to pay $25 for unknown  services, the report states.

The patron tried to run when officers arrived, but police were able to catch and detain him.

As the man was escorted to a squad car, an officer read him his Miranda Rights, the report states. The patron commented that he had never had his rights read to him before.

“Used to date a stripper with the name Miranda Rights,” the man said.

According the the report, the man was intoxicated at the time of arrest.

He was taken to Peoria County Jail and charged with assault and theft of labor or services.

Opportunities for rain this week keep rivers full

WQAD News -

Our dry and quiet pattern will come to an end Wednesday as a new storm system enters the Midwest bringing a new round of widespread rainfall.

The rain will hold off until Wednesday evening as moisture begins to creep further northward. Widespread rain will continue through much of Thursday before coming to an end by the evening hours. Several locations are set to pick up at least a quarter of an inch, with some localized amounts near half an inch possible in select areas, especially north of I-80.

This new rainfall comes at an inopportune time when the Mississippi River will be nearing a crest, while our other tributary rivers are slowly falling. The added rainfall will run off the saturated ground and head for creeks, streams, and eventually area rivers. The Mississippi River in the Quad Cities will crest on Sunday, rising another foot then. This additional rainfall will keep the Mississippi River in major flood stage through next week, and cause rises on other tributary rivers this weekend.

Looking a little more long range, another storm system arrives by the end of the upcoming weekend with showers and a few thunderstorms by Sunday. Many areas in northern Minnesota have snow on the ground and with some heavy rain projected there, we could see additional crests on the river in the coming weeks as all of this water runs off. Any additional rains we receive here will also further aggravate the flooding situation.

Our average amount of rainfall each month will continue to creep up as the rest of spring rolls on. With rivers already in flood stage, we will likely be talking about river flooding in the months ahead, especially if we have an active weather pattern that carries us through much of the season.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Wrigley Field renovation adds wheelchair-accessible seating

WQAD News -

CHICAGO (AP) — Wrigley Field’s renovation has added wheelchair-accessible seats following a federal lawsuit filed last year.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that upgrades include more elevators and accessible bathrooms too.

The lawsuit was filed by the father of a fan with a form of muscular dystrophy. It claimed that previous renovations had reduced seating in the bleachers and behind home plate. It said seating was moved farther from the field and left disabled fans without a clear view when others stood.

Julian Green is spokesman for the Cubs, the landmark ballpark’s occupant since 1916. He would not comment on the lawsuit.

Adam Ballard is a policy analyst for the disability advocacy group Access Living. He says the Cubs have made vast improvements but sports teams must “make sure they are including our community.”

Funeral set for Illinois trooper Brooke Jones-Story struck during traffic stop

WQAD News -

WARREN, Ill. (AP) — The funeral is set for an Illinois State Police trooper killed when she was struck by a truck during a traffic stop.

Services for Trooper Brooke Jones-Story are planned Wednesday afternoon at Warren High School in the northern Illinois town of Warren near the Wisconsin border. A procession will follow.

Jones-Story died Thursday in the crash along Route 20 near Route 75 in Freeport. She was a 12-year veteran of the state police from District 16 in Pecatonica. The 34-year-old is one of three Illinois troopers killed in traffic crashes so far this year.

Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the crash. Thursday’s accident was the 15th time since January that a state trooper or a police squad car has been struck by motorists. That’s double last year’s total of eight.

Jones-Story’s family remembered her as a “strong woman” who “had a passion for service.” They say she worked with rescue animals on her farm, was a Chicago Cubs fan and liked working out and Disney movies.

Child Abuse Prevention month has begun with the first pinwheel garden being planted

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Nationally, one in seven children have experienced child abuse or neglect. In the Quad Cities, that evens out to about 10,000 children at risk.

According to the Department of Child and Family Services that number could fill nearly twenty school buses with neglected children.

"It is prevalent in our community, there are kids affected by child abuse and neglect in our community but the most important thing to know about child abuse is that it's preventable so with education and with prevention programs in place child abuse can be prevented," said Brooke Hendrickx, with Child Abuse Council QC.

Blue pinwheels will start to pop up throughout the month through a partnership with Child Abuse Council QC. The pinwheels signify the goal of a happy and safe childhood for every child.

"The pinwheel gardens provide that awareness piece people ask questions they want to know more and that brings them to our programs, brings them to other community agencies that have support systems to get the help that they need or the help that they need for their neighbors," said Hendrickx.

A key idea to this program is educating the community on how to prevent and spot child abuse.

On April 5, the Child Abuse Council is asking the community to wear blue for a blue out, and use the hashtag #blueoutqc on social media to show support for child abuse prevention.

Council approves Lisa Kotter as Moline’s new city administrator

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois - During a April 2nd meeting, The Moline City Council unanimously voted in favor of Lisa Kotter filling the city administrator role.

Lisa Kotter, who is currently serving as city administrator in Geneseo, has about 25 years experience as a city administrator.

She is set to begin the role in Moline on April 29, filling the position that has been vacant since Doug Maxeiner left back in January 2019.

Kotter will now lead the search for a new police chief in Moline, following the resignation of Chief John Hitchcock last year.

She will also be in charge of finding a new Economic Development and Planning Director, following the departure of Ray Forsythe.

Kotter tells News 8 she is eager to get to work developing parts of Moline that show fresh potential.

"Obviously, the I-74 bridge is a big priority to the elected officials," said Kotter. "To determine  the footprint of the bridge once (the construction is) gone in a few years, what we're going to do downtown."

Kotter said her experience in economic development was a big focus point of discussions with Mayor Stephanie Acri and Moline city leaders during her interview process.

Kotter also said she is excited to get to know her new team.

She acknowledged that moving from the role in Geneseo to the role in Moline will be a learning curve, because Moline is a bigger city.

However, she said she is excited to make the move and begin leading larger teams.

“While we all have part-time elected officials who set policies, it's helpful to have someone in a city administrator position be professionally trained," Kotter said while talking about fiscal responsibility and transparency. "Just to be a really good tool for our department heads and managers who are there on a daily basis helping to provide services to the public.”

Kotter made headlines in April 2018 after concerned citizens moved to have her removed from office in Geneseo.

A petition surfaced accusing Kotter of misusing city funds.

The petition allegedly gained hundreds of signatures but was never turned in, and the mayor and city council of Geneseo stood behind Kotter during that time.

Kotter was open and transparent about that time when asked about it during an interview with News 8 on April 2, 2019.

"Its an unpopular position sometimes, but I think what I assured the elected officials in Moline is that, even when decisions are unpopular, I will make them, and I will make them consistently, and that’s what you have me there for," said Kotter.

Kotter is a native of Milwaukee and has a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

She will move to Moline in the next 6-months and said she is excited to make the move.

"Anything that we can do to be a high performing team, that I can help facilitate as a leader in the community is really important to me," she said.

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