The latest local news

Thousands gather to commemorate 400 years since American slavery began

WQAD News -

Four hundred years ago, a ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived in Point Comfort on the shores of Virginia. The landing marked the beginning of slavery in British North America, forever transforming the modern world.

Thousands of people gathered at that same port this weekend in what is now Hampton, Virginia, to honor those Africans who were instrumental to the founding of the United States.

“It marks the beginning of the foundation of this nation, of which slavery is deeply embedded,” said Asia Leeds, co-director of African diaspora studies at Spelman College. “So we have the beginnings of not just US governing systems, right? They emerge out of this colonial history. But also the foundation of American wealth.”

Over the course of three days, people came together at Fort Monroe to remember and reflect on the 400th anniversary of one of the darkest moments in US history, in a program organized by the Hampton 2019 Commemorative Commission.

They experienced what shackles would have felt like. They took pictures at the historic marker where the English ship White Lion arrived. They whispered prayers for the enslaved Africans on that ship and for those who did not survive the voyage, and sent flower petals floating out into the Chesapeake Bay.

“The ghost of the past is still alive with us today,” said Qahit Abdur-Rahman, who attended the commemoration. “You can feel it as you walk around and look at the backdrop here.”

Sunday, August 25 the last day of the program, was designated as “Healing Day.”

A 70-pound, free-standing bell rang continuously Sunday for four minutes — one minute for each century of African American history and culture. Organizers invited communities across the country to join them and ring bells in solidarity, in a moment meant to “capture the spirit of healing and reconciliation.”

Tanya Woolfolk, who attended the events this weekend, sai the commemoration was a reminder of how far her people have come. She said one of her ancestors was enslaved at a plantation in South Carolina and could be traced back to Cameroon in the 1700s.

“Four hundred years ago my ancestors started a passage to America. This is how we started coming out here,” she said. “Although bonds and chains, this is how we started out. Now we’re engineers, lawyers, doctors, presidents, maybe a future female president. But we’ve come a long way in 400 years.”

Woolfolk brought her four-year-old son with her to the commemoration because she said it was important for him to recognize the people who came before him.

“I want him to know about his full history and all his ancestors,” she said. “The Middle Passage, how we came over in slave ships and how far we’ve risen above.”

The Eric Factor: What we’re doing right when it comes to climate change

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As human activity continues to accelerate the warming of our planet, it's not all bad news. 

Iowa is one of the leading states when it comes to clean, wind energy. By 2020, the Iowa Wind Energy Association forecasts 20,000 jobs in the state as a result of developing wind energy.When it comes to the resource, the Plains is where there is even more energy potential. Texas has realized the potential, while states like Nebraska and Missouri are underperforming when it comes to potential wind energy growth.

The experts at Climate Central have developed a new tool that helps quantify the amount of green energy we are using in the Quad Cities.

Click here to see wind and solar generation for other cities

You can see from the info above that we receive a lot more wind energy than solar energy. That's in part due to the part of the country we live in (where breezy days are more common than sunny days).

Breezy conditions across Iowa and Illinois will give a boost to green energy over the next few days. 91% of homes will be powered by wind on Tuesday with a surplus of wind energy on Wednesday. 

The maps above show where sunny skies are expected each day (yellow) and where winds will be at optimum speeds for wind energy production (blue).

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Gas explosion heard for miles hits Maryland office, shopping complex

WQAD News -

A powerful natural gas explosion badly damaged a Maryland office complex and shopping center Sunday morning, ripping away part of the facade and exposing twisted metal, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the thundering blast, which occurred at about 8 a.m. It came after authorities said they had evacuated the area around the complex because of a suspected early morning gas leak near the complex in Columbia, Maryland.

Fire crews responded about an hour before the explosion because of a fire alarm that was upgraded to a report of a gas leak in the parking lot, officials said. When fire personnel arrived, they immediately evacuated everyone from the surrounding area and made sure the building was vacant.

The subsequent explosion ripped away a significant part of the facade, scattering debris.

"It was so powerful it could be heard in communities many miles away," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement.

No businesses were open, said Stephen Hardesty, the battalion chief of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. He said the time of day played a major role in the lack of injuries, and he described it as one of the worst explosions he's seen.

"The building is at risk of collapsing, so we're working with some building inspectors and the property owner to figure out what our next steps are to secure the building and help out as much as we can with the investigation that's going to ensue with this," Hardesty said.

Gov. Larry Hogan thanked first responders for being on the scene within minutes. The governor said the Maryland Joint Operations Center and the State Fire Marshal have offered their full support and assistance.

"This massive explosion was felt in many of the surrounding communities, a shock to families across the area," Hogan said in the tweet. "Thankfully, no injuries have been reported so far."

Ball said the county will be helping affected businesses and workers.

"I have mobilized our team from the Howard County Economic Development Authority to assist those businesses and works who may find themselves displaced by this event," Ball said. "We will do everything possible to minimize the impact of this explosion (on) those who are affected by it."

Columbia is about 20 miles (32) southwest of Baltimore, Maryland, in a populous area between Baltimore and the nation's capital.

Oft-injured Colts QB Andrew Luck, 29, announces retirement

WQAD News -

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official: The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

"I'm in pain, I'm still in pain. It's been four years of this pain, rehab cycle," Luck said. "It's a myriad of issues — calf strain, posterior ankle impingement, high ankle sprain. Part of my journey going forward will be figuring out how to feel better."

Luck wasn't planning to make the announcement following Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. But when ESPN first reported the news during the fourth quarter, Luck changed the plan for a Sunday afternoon announcement.

Instead, he held a 25-minute impromptu news conference.

At times he sounded wistful. At others, his voice cracked with emotion.

One thing was clear: The endless barrage of injuries stripped away his joy for the game and prompted him to walk away so he could enjoy the life he wants.

"There's no doubt when you hear him talk about the cycle of pain and injury and rehab, you can hear that," coach Frank Reich said. "There's a saying in football that everyone knows and everybody lives by, it's next man up and even though this situation is unique, no one is exempt."

That task now falls to Jacoby Brissett, a fourth-year player whom the Colts acquired in a cutdown weekend trade two years ago who has been practicing with the starters since April.

He went 4-11 as a starter in the 2017 season after taking over for opening day starter Scott Tolzien.

But the Colts had already been preparing for the possibility Luck might not be ready for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. Luck was diagnosed with a strained left calf in March and team officials kept him out of all of the team's offseason workouts.

He returned to limited action when training camp opened in late July. After three practices, though, the lingering pain near his ankle forced him back into rehab. He hadn't practiced with the team since, though he did throw passes in pregame warmups before last week's preseason game.

"I had a thought that it might be my last time throwing at Lucas Oil as a current member of the Colts team," Luck said. "And I wanted to make sure I could go out and enjoy it."

It wasn't just the leg, though.

He played with shoulder pain for most of 2015 and 2016, and his 2015 season ended when he suffered a lacerated kidney. He missed all of 2017 following shoulder surgery and then the happy-go-lucky former Stanford star dealt with more pain and more endless months of rehab.

The Colts bet big on Luck in 2012.

They cut an injured Peyton Manning to take Luck with the top overall pick, fully believing he would be their franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years.

Team owner Jim Irsay called it a "no-brainer" because his aging team needed to rebuild.

"I never felt that he (Luck) owed me to play until he's 40 or until he's 36 or whatever," Irsay said. "I mean, this is an unusual situation."

Luck delivered quickly on his promise.

He led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons and to the AFC championship game after the 2014 season — without missing a start. But a subpar offensive line struggled to keep Luck upright and in 2015, the shoulder and kidney injuries forced him to miss nine games. The Colts finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

In 2016, after Luck opted not to have shoulder surgery, then coach Chuck Pagano gave Luck extra days off to try and keep him healthy. Luck made 15 starts that season though the Colts again finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

While Luck had surgery for a partially torn labrum in January 2017, he never felt right and after throwing for two weeks in the fall was shut down for the rest of the season.

Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field after the Indianapolis Colts preseason game against the Chicago Bears after it was reported that he would be retiring at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Last year, Luck looked like his old self. He established career highs in attempts (639), completions (430) and completion rate (67.3 percent), throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as he led the Colts back to the playoffs, earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection and was the runaway winner of the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

Then came the mysterious calf-ankle injury that again never felt quite right.

So after marrying his longtime girlfriend this spring and now awaiting the birth of his first child, Luck called it quits.

"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Players around the league were just as stunned as the Colts.

"It was mind-blowing," Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said. "It's something that of course caught everyone off guard. He can control his own future. He's a great player. He's a great quarterback. One of the top five quarterbacks in the league. He's doing it for the right reasons for himself."

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the reigning MVP, said: "Knowing Andrew he's a great football player, of course, but he's also a great human being — I know that he's going to make the right decision for himself and his family."

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who was in the same draft class as Luck, said he found out from offensive tackle Duane Brown before the Seahawks' game against the Los Angeles Chargers and was surprised, like everyone else.

"We all expect we're going to play this game forever. The reality is for most players, it's not very long," Wilson said. "I've always loved being around him, and the times we've gotten to be around each other. I know this has to be really hard on him. Just praying for him to stay encouraged."

Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted — and certainly didn't expect.

"Teams win, don't write the end of the story yet," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. "I'm telling you the story's not over yet."

Luck finishes his seven-year career with 2,000 completions, 3,290 attempts, 23,671 yards, 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions and those stinging boos as he left the field.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't hear the reaction," he said. "It hurt, I'll be honest with you, it hurt."

QC faith leaders hold rally to combat climate change

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Faith leaders from across the Quad Cities held a "Climate Crisis Rally" to urge surrounding citizens to act now against climate change.

On Sunday, August 25th, Quad Cities Interfaith's Faith Leaders Caucus welcomed all religions, people, and backgrounds at Schweibert Park downtown. The rally featured speeches from the various faith traditions, chants and music.

Olivia Dorothy, with the Upper Mississippi River Basin for American Rivers, was among those who gave a speech. Dorothy said due to climate change, American Rivers listed the Upper Mississippi as America's third most endangered river this year.

"Climate change is here. Now." Dorothy said. "The decision, which we actually made back in January, coincided with one of the wettest springs in the Midwest that led to one of the worst floods on record."

Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, with Temple Emanuel Reform Synagogue, said as human beings, everyone has the capacity to change.

"We have the ethical capacity to look at ourselves and the road we’re walking on and say ‘we are on the wrong path,’" Bertenthal said. "To turn a new direction and move towards responsibility and goodness."

Among those in attendance was Miryam Stone, a mother of two girls. And for Stone, the threat of climate change is a direct threat against her children.

"Nobody is untouched by climate change," Stone said. "I want (my kids) to live in a world where they can play outside and enjoy this beautiful earth and not have to stay inside because they have asthma or there's pollution."

Stone is a mother looking out for Mother Nature and all her children.

"I’m not a scientist and I’m not an expert in the solutions. But I really like the message I heard today that we can act, and we must act," Stone said. "That we can vote, consume less and simplify (our lives)."

Organizers hoped the rally would encourage and energize those in attendance to push elected officials and candidates for public office to vouch for positive policies for climate change.

News 8 also sat down with two Co-Chairs for the Quad Cities Interfaith's Faith Leaders Caucus. WATCH to hear what Rev. Rich Hendricks and Amber Bordolo had to say:

Sterling Football Preview

WQAD News -

After a second straight trip to the Class 5A State Semifinals, the Golden Warriors are ready for more success.  They will begin play in the Western Big 6, which should offer Sterling a challenge each week.

Tracking rain and a few storms Monday

WQAD News -

On the radar early Sunday evening we're tracking a few scattered showers across the Quad Cities. Many of these are light and last long enough to just wet the pavement. This trend will be changing as we head into the early morning hours of Monday as an area of low pressure moves just to the south of us.

The combination of more energy and a bit more moisture will lead to widespread rains for Monday morning as the low-pressure system inches closer. A few heavier downpours are likely at times along with some rumbles of thunder. Rainfall amounts will generally range from a quarter of an inch to one-half in the heavier batches.

The heaviest rains are likely to hang out along and east of the Mississippi River through much of Monday morning before the activity scatters and diminishes for the afternoon.

While mostly cloudy skies are expected to stick around for much of the day, any breaks in the cloud cover will go towards energizing our atmosphere for the afternoon and evening round of storms. This activity will remain scattered, but any sunshine we pick up during the early afternoon will go towards fueling an isolated strong to a severe storm, especially south of the Quad Cities come Monday afternoon. The main threats with any stronger activity will be large hail and damaging winds. However, both of these threat areas remain extremely conditional and it is likely we'll remain in the clouds for much of the day keeping the severe weather threat further south of the Quad Cities. We'll continue tracking this potential.

Otherwise, expect little change in terms of temperatures as this system moves through. We'll see many locations rise into the 80s Monday afternoon with temperatures only cooling by a few degrees for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Michigan mom gives out over 200 backpacks to kids in her neighborhood

WQAD News -

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — What started out as a simple effort to help kids properly start their school year has turned into a major community initiative, thanks to a mother with a big heart.

Angela Sharifsain got the idea last year to do a backpack giveaway.

“I said, 'I’ll put it into plan' and just started buying backpacks last year," Sharifsain said. “Then I just kept seeing backpacks and I just kept buying backpacks.”

Before long, Sharifsain had gathered more than 200 backpacks and enough supplies to fill them. Her effort was mostly self-funded, boosted with contributions from Robinson Popcorn and Starbucks.

A block of Prince Street Southeast was closed off Saturday for Sharifsain's "Backpack Bash."

The backpacks were each filled with supplies to cater to the specific age of each student. There was something for everyone, from children in kindergarten to seniors in high school.

Sharifsain was a foster parent for more than 20 years, so she knows kids need more than school supplies to feel confident in the classroom. That's why she made sure to include hygiene products in the backpacks, too.

“We want the kids to go to school and be fresh and ready for school," she said.

Along with a bounce house, food and a mobile zoo with exotic animals, kids at the event also got a lesson in compassion. Zenia Bates, the founder of the Compassionate Awareness Autism Center was present with coloring books and conversation about understanding autism.

“They’ll be more equipped to go into schools and to foster a sense of community among those who are different," Bates said. “I thought it was great that (Sharifsain) was doing this and that she allowed our autism center, Compassionate Awareness Autism Center to come and partner so that we’d have a holistic approach to sending the kids back to school.”

Sharifsain said she hopes to do the event again next year and reach more children.

‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ will be released in October

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After months of swirling rumors and teases for a “Breaking Bad” movie, Netflix released the film’s trailer Saturday.

“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” will be available on the streaming service Oct. 11. The sequel will pick up shortly after the series finale, which aired six years ago on AMC, and it should answer the cliffhanger “What happened to Jesse Pinkman?”

Emmy-winner Aaron Paul returns as the drug dealer turned meth cook. Fans last saw him in the finale, when drug kingpin Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, helped rescue him from a gang that forced him to make the illicit drug.

Pinkman was seen getting in an El Camino, speeding away, and driving through a locked gate.

“In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future,” reads Netflix’s description for the new film.

Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote and directed the movie. It’s unclear if Cranston, whose character died at the series’ end, will make an appearance in the film.

“Vince absolutely crushed this thing on the page and on film,” Paul tweeted Saturday night. “Thrilled for the world to finally see this piece of cinema history.”

In the trailer, police are looking for Pinkman and local news has reported about the conditions of his captivity.

“I have no idea where he is,” says Skinny Pete, a longtime friend of Pinkman from early in the series, in a police interrogation room. “And yo, even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you. Because I’ve been watching the news same as everyone else. I’ve seen that little cage of his they kept him in.”

As the trailer ends, he says, “No way I’m helping you people put Jesse Pinkman back inside a cage.”

Last month, Cranston and Paul epically teased a reunion, only to announce their partnership in a new brand of mezcal.

‘Black Panther’ sequel release date announced

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“Black Panther” fans can finally mark their calendars for the highly-anticipated sequel.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took the stage at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, along with film director Ryan Coogler, to announce that the second movie of the “Black Panther” saga will debut in theaters May 6, 2022.

The Disney-Marvel movie won three Oscars for original score and production as well as costume design.

Since hitting theaters in February 2018, “Black Panther” has grossed more than $700 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Surveillance video shows car smashing through Arizona bus stop, narrowly missing woman in wheelchair

WQAD News -

PHOENIX (KNXV) — Surveillance video captured the moment a car smashed through a bus stop Friday morning – narrowly missing a woman in her wheelchair.

Phoenix police said the car was driving in the area of 32nd Street and Van Buren around 9 a.m. when the crash happened.

The driver told officers her brakes went out, causing her to veer and crash into a bus stop. A surveillance camera at a gas station located behind the bus stop captured the moment the car crashed into it.

The car veers, crosses oncoming traffic, and collides with the bus stop, narrowly missing Laura Smith in her wheelchair. One person appeared to be hit by the car as it headed through the bus stop shelter and toward the gas pumps.

“Suddenly I hear someone slamming on their brakes swerving over this way towards me,” Smith said. “Headed straight for me, I thought it was gonna take me out. Whew, it didn’t.”

Smith said she looked up, saw the car and froze.

“It was heading straight for me, so I just stopped where I was,” she said.

She had only time for one thought.

“Well, I guess it’s time for me to go, here I come Lord.”

Phoenix police described the injuries in the crash as minor and said no one was transported to the hospital.

It was not clear whether any charges would be filed against the driver.

New York Times: Astronaut accessed estranged spouse’s bank account in possible first criminal allegation from space

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NASA is examining a claim that an astronaut improperly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, The New York Times reported Friday — potentially the first criminal allegation from space.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain told investigators she had accessed the bank account of her spouse while on a six-month mission aboard the ISS in preparation for her role in NASA’s anticipated first all-female spacewalk, the Times reported.

McClain’s spouse, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, brought a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that McClain had committed identity theft, despite not seeing any indication of moved or spent funds.

Worden’s parents then brought another complaint with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, alleging McClain had improperly accessed Worden’s private financial records and conducted a “highly calculated and manipulative campaign” to gain custody of Worden’s son.

McClain’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the Times “she strenuously denies that she did anything improper” and “is totally cooperating.”

He added that McClain was monitoring the account to ensure the well-being of Worden’s son, who they had been raising, using the same password to access the account as she had throughout their relationship.

Investigators from the NASA watchdog office have been in touch with both women to address the accusations, the Times reported.

Worden told the paper the FTC has not responded to the identity theft allegation, and that investigators including Michael Mataya, a criminal case specialist, were assessing the complaint to the inspector general.

“I was pretty appalled that she would go that far. I knew it was not OK,” Worden told the Times.

The inspector general conducted an interview with McClain under oath last week, and she claims she is only continuing existing behavior Worden had approved to manage the family’s finances, the paper reported.

The couple married in 2014, and Worden filed for divorce in 2018 after McClain accused her of assault — a move Worden contended was part of long-standing attempts by McClain to gain custody of her son. A few months later, McClain went to space, and Worden then discovered the bank account access, the paper reported. Worden denied committing assault and the case was later dismissed.

NASA officials told the Times they did not know of any crimes committed on the ISS.

NASA spokeswoman Megan Sumner told the Times the allegations facing McClain were not a factor in the decision to ultimately cancel the spacewalk, and declined to comment on Worden’s other concerns.

I84 collision near Hampton, IL leaves two hospitalized

WQAD News -

HAMPTON, Illinois -- Two people are in the hospital after their vehicles collided on Sunday afternoon.

Around 1:00 p.m. a motorcycle and a car collided with each other on a stretch of I84 between East Moline and Hampton, resulting in two people being rushed to the hospital by ambulance, according to Hampton Police. Their condition is currently unknown.

News8 will follow the story and provide more information when it is released.

THE CITIES PODCAST: Shouldn’t your kid be in Head Start?

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Each week, News 8’s Jim Mertens talks with area leaders, entertainers, community activists, and interesting characters who are part of the fabric of life in “The Cities”.

THIS EPISODE:  Jim talks with the executive director of Project NOW and its Head Start director.

Head Start is enrolling pre-school  children, offering low income families and kids with disabilities a chance to be better prepared for when they’re ready for kindergarten.  But Head Start offers more than just pre-school.  There’s health care and emotional support for children.  There’s also training and help for parents.

Maureen Hart and Marcia Seabolt talk about what’s offered to parents in Rock Island, Mercer, and Henry counties.

You can catch entire episodes of “The Cities” on WQPT, public television for the Quad Cities region, Thursdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and Mondays at 6 p.m.

Two fatal Clinton County crashes Saturday, 2 people killed

WQAD News -

CLINTON COUNTY, Iowa -- Two separate crashes in Clinton county on the afternoon and night of Saturday, August 24th left two people dead out of the four total occupants, according to press releases from the Clinton County Sheriff's office.

In the first incident, Clinton County deputies were dispatched to the 3000 block of Hwy 67 south of Folletts at approximately 1:50 p.m. They were responding to an accident where a motorcycle driver failed to properly turn around a curve and fell into the ditch. The passengers, a male and female, were ejected from the motorcycle. Both were transferred to area hospitals. The male driver, remained hospitalized, while the female passenger was pronounced dead around 3:30 p.m.

Around 10:00 p.m. later that night, deputies were dispatched to a car rollover at the intersection of 290th Ave and 182nd St near Dewitt. Witnesses stated that the vehicle, an SUV failed to make a curve turn at a high speed and rolled over. The deputies found that one victim was thrown from the car and was laying in the ditch. This victim was flown to the hospital via helicopter, but later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.

These accidents remain under investigation by the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. The victims' identities have not yet been released.



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